Ratto: 'Smilin' Hue' won't be smiling for long

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Ratto: 'Smilin' Hue' won't be smiling for long

Aug. 20, 2011

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Even when Hue Jackson is annoyed, he expresses himself with a smile. Saturday, it was an odd, forced, unconvincing smile, just like his claim that the Oakland Raiders decrepit performance against the San Francisco 49ers was on me.

How we doin? he said, trying to fake it as best he could. You guys are doing great? Im not.

Over and over again, he cited failure after failure in a 17-3 loss at Candlestick Park And UFC Octagon that made both Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick look like mid-level NFL quarterbacks and his own Jason Campbell look like what he was last year.
RECAP: Hunter runs 49ers past Raiders 17-3

Injury prone, at worst. Inconsistent at best.

And over and over again, he went back to the mantra, Thats on me. Im not going to put that on the players.

Were obviously a little disappointed in the way we performed tonight, he said. Obviously the practice performance hasnt met the on-field performance, and thats what I gotta get done. Thats my job. I will get that fixed. Were not playing like I think the Raiders can play, and I told them that. That starts with me. The head coach, and then it goes all the way down. We got some work to do. And thats what we need to get done.

So its not the players fault? A sensible person would say, Well, why the hell not? What else are they there for but to be reminded in public as well as private that being run on, thrown on and bullied by a team like the 49ers is a great way to be a 5-11 team?

Thats the real problem here for the Raiders as they limp back to the wine country. They have nothing except rookie wide receiver Denarius Moore to be excited about after a uniformly turgid performance. Even Smilin Hue, when tossed the, What impressed you tonight? softball, said, Nothing.

RELATED: Raiders' Campbell being tested for concussion

He elaborated, but your brain tends to stop at the word nothing. Hes right, of course, but when the optimist loses the lilt in his own voice on D-minus-23, the level of failure is considerable, and the fear of the future is palpable.

They allowed the 49ers to gain 239 yards rushing in 41 carries, including 105 by the new putative Frank Gore trainee, rookie Kendall Hunter, all on what Jackson dismissive called basic runs. The linebackers and secondary allowed both Smith and Kaepernick to throw at will to pretty much whomever they wished, except for the one time defensive end Matt Shaughnessy dropped into coverage and intercepted a pass aimed at tight end Vernon Davis. And they were stopped persistently when they needed either first down or touchdown yardage (2-for-11 on third or fourth downs, and 0-for-2 inside the red zone).

And if none of the starters looked good, and only Moore among the backups, against a team that is trying to find its own consistency, well, you can pretty much figure how downcast Smilin Hue must truly be.

And how nail-chewing angry his own head coach, Al Davis, must be.

Oh, no doubt. No doubt, he said, not about Davis but about how his own plans for the evening disintegrated. I mean, I made a statement that we wouldnt get the ball run on us like that, and we did. Thats disappointing. I guess thats my point. The things that I want to see fixed that we talked about that I think weve shored up a little bit, being able to stop the run, being a little more consistent in the scoring zone, doing some things I think our football team is starting to do, in practice, didnt show up today in the game.

But then he fell back on the old Im-not-worthy schtick that will age quickly if things dont change quickly.

Thats the disappointing part. Thats on me. Im not going to put that on them. Obviously we gotta go back and continue to do those things better than what were doing to get to where we need to be. Thank gosh today was the second preseason game. Its not the regular season.

And thank God these teams dont meet again this year.

An announced crowd of 69,732 which was actually 40,000-some-odd, distracted itself with what one security guard called, a lot of fights. It was crazy. There were some girl fights, too. A bunch of them.

In addition, three people were shot near Jamestown Avenue around 8:15, according to San Francisco police. One victim was hospitalized and two others had not yet been found at the time of this report (9:30 p.m.). No reason for the shooting could be ascertained, but the time and location of the incident suggested that it was fans leaving the game either as perpetrators, victims or both.
NEWS: Two men shot outside Candlestick Park

Of the brawls inside, we dont believe that they were expressing their opinions of the poor level of play one particularly strident encounter about six rows into the lower deck behind what once was home plate pitted two 49er fans against each other. The best guess as to why they went at it? One probably said, You know, I think Smith looked pretty good tonight. In this town, those are genuinely fightin words.

Even the peacemaker ended up throwing hands at the end, and they all had punched themselves into exhaustion before police, who doubtless had just finished adjudicating another coin flip, could reach them.

In short, it was a bad night for almost everyone. Oh, Jim Harbaugh crowed about his team, as you knew he would, but the 49ers arent that much further along the trail than the Raiders. They still hit their traditional two-touchdown glass ceiling, and thought they handled the Raiders at home, the Raiders were every bit as responsible for that as the 49ers.

And that, apparently until further notice, is the fault of Smilin Hue Jackson. A man who isnt going to be smiling much longer if this continues.

Internet immediately goes to DefCon1 on Chip Kelly-to-Cal

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USATSI

Internet immediately goes to DefCon1 on Chip Kelly-to-Cal

In what can be considered your standard bolt out of the blue, California head football coach Sonny Dykes has reportedly been fired.

In what can be considered your standard spur-of-the-Internet-moment-connect-the-dots inspiration, the Internet went immediately to DefCon1 on Chip Kelly-to-Cal rumors.

The logic, of course, is impeccable. Dykes never really snapped the Cal program around, taking a bad program and making it, well, mediocre, and he has spent much of the past two years aggressively seeking out other jobs, so one can assume there was at least some trouble in paradise, even if you want to make the case that Cal football and paradise are somehow connected.

And Kelly just got canned by the 49ers as part of Jed York’s latest I-will-not-be-made-to-look-ridiculous twitch, so he could sign a properly modest contract at Berkeley and still get his full $6 million with the offset from the three years left on his Jed deal.

So it makes perfect sense . . . which is why it should be judged with considerable skepticism.

For one, Kelly can almost surely do better in the college job diaspora. Cal is a big name with modest ambitions due in part to constant budget constraints, and there are better jobs out there even if he sits for a year.

For two, Cal and Kelly are an odd fit, given the persistent tensions between academia and athletica at Berkeley.

For three, the job comes with massive roadblocks, including Stanford, USC, Washington and (potentially) a resuscitation of the Oregon he left behind. Success will not come easy, if it does at all.

For four, Cal just finished four years of gimmick offense and overburdened defense, and Kelly would provide a more successful version of the same.

And for five, this is too easy, too simple, too convenient. Something about this scenario must be wrong somewhere. When people hit the Internet with photoshopped Kelly-in-Cal-costumes within minutes of the Dykes announcement, you know this is too obvious to actually come to fruition.

Why? Because we don’t live that well, that’s why.

The beauty of a triumphant Kelly at Cal glowering down at the charred ruin in Santa Clara seems more appealing than it actually is, because try as they might, Cal fans will never be backing the more popular horse here, and Kelly won’t win that battle unless he takes Cal to the Rose Bowl while the 49ers are still grappling over draft positions.

In that way, reality sucks. The idea that Jed York could be mocked in collegial absentia by his two biggest coaching hires is delicious but almost surely illusory.

But until we get more on why Dykes got canned 43 days after the team’s last game – recruiting, academic issues, legal issues, photocopier problems from him sending his resume out so often – all we have is the Chip Kelly rumor-ette to keep us intrigued.

Okay, to keep us amused.

Okay, to keep us from falling over in a coma. Cal should matter more than it does, but it’s been 13 years since the Holiday Bowl zenith of the Jeff Tedford Era, and 25 since Bruce Snyder took the Ursines to the Citrus Bowl. The evidence since 1990 is of a team with bigger dreams than means that is slightly below .500 (160-164). Sonny Dykes leaving means one more coach who didn’t make an impact unless his departure leads to either reassessment of the program’s standards, internal or external sanctions . . .

. . . or what the hell, Chip Kelly. Let’s face it – in these dismal days for wacked-out rumormongering, this is pretty intoxicating stuff.

Warriors are most geographically vague team in history of American sports

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Geology.com

Warriors are most geographically vague team in history of American sports

The Philadelphia/San Francisco/Golden State Warriors have always had a casual attitude about their home court, even by the once-flexible standards of the National Basketball Association.

Thus, it should be only slightly amusing but not actually surprising that Warriors chief arenologist Rick Welts is now waffling a bit (courtesy Comrade Poole) on whether the team will change its name to San Francisco Warriors when it moves across the pond in 2019-20, or retain its current geographic association with Narnia.

I mean Golden State. I often confuse utterly fictional locales – when I can be bothered to give a toss either way.

But the Warriors, whether they play in Oakland, San Francisco, Pier 30, Pier 32, Westeros, Hobbiton, the Duchy of Grand Fenwick, Curryvania, the Klingon Empire, the Death Star or Planet Nine, are relocating, and once they break the seal on the earth in 12 days, Welts and his fellow elves will almost surely play the team’s future name as a mildly tedious cliffhanger.

Hey, fun is where you find it.

The matter of the team’s relocation will be a sore subject among lifelong East Bay residents, who have put up with the Warriors for 45 years in various stages of development, including the current “We Almost Never Lose” stage. They regard the Warriors’ transplantation to San Francisco to be an unspeakable crime given the high level of fan allegiance afforded them in Oakland.

And yes, they regard Oakland and San Francisco as very real places, as opposed to Golden State, Freedonia, Vulgaria or the Nexus of All Realities.

It is not yet fully known what San Franciscans think of this development, but that’s the nature of the gamble here. They may embrace the Warriors as the new toy in town and then lose interest, and frankly, neither Welts nor anyone else knows the answer to that.

Either way, their die is cast, and Joe Lacob and Peter Guber are now future former Oakland fixtures. Yes, they are quite fond of the exciting new real estate values and their exciting new unobstructed view of the bay, but it has long been assumed that the move would also entail changing the name back to “San Francisco” for the snob appeal.

Now Welts, who has overseen both arena projects (including the one at Piers 30 and 32 which ended up with the piers beating the Warriors in a rout), tells Comrade Poole that the San Francisco Warriors might not end up as the San Francisco Warriors after all.

“Four years ago, I think the conventional wisdom in our building here in Oakland was that yes, we should attach a city name to the team, then it becomes a more global franchise,” Welts marketing-gobbledy-gooked. “There was a lot of head-scratching four years ago about where the Golden State Warriors even played, in other parts of the world. What’s happened with the team over the course of the ensuing years, until today, has made the Warriors if not the preeminent, at least among the three best-known NBA franchises around the world. And everybody who didn’t know where the Golden State Warriors were four years ago, if you’re a fan today, anywhere in the world, you know where the Golden State Warriors are.”

In Oakland.

Now, the mic drop.

“The team’s success has caused us to really rethink whether or not that’s something we should or want to do,” he added. “I guess it’s fair to say there’s been no final decision made. But if you were a betting man, I think you would probably want to wager that the name might remain the same.”

Of course. Why not stay fictional when specificity might move fewer hoodies?

Then again, this is a team that in its 70 years has played home games in Philadelphia (the Arena, the Civic Center, Lincoln High School and Convention Hall), Hershey and Bethlehem PA, Atlantic City, Trenton, Collingswood and Camden NJ, and Saratoga Springs NY . . .

(a moment’s rest here to catch our breaths)

. . . and then after moving west in 1962, the Cow Palace, San Francisco Civic Auditorium and USF’s Memorial Gym, the Oakland Auditorium, San Jose Civic Auditorium, San Jose Arena, Richmond Auditorium, then Sacramento, Bakersfield, Fresno, San Diego, Eugene, Seattle, Phoenix and Salt Lake City.

In fact, and you can swindle the gullible at your neighborhood tavern with this one, the Warriors’ first game in San Francisco occurred almost three years before the team left Philadelphia. The Warriors played the visitors to the Minneapolis Lakers, who moved to Los Angeles a year later and had already played a regular season game at the Cow Palace earlier in the year, so this game, January 31, 1960, could have been considered a civic scouting trip for both teams as they sought new homes.

In other words, the Warriors are almost surely the most geographically vague team in the history of North American sports. Moreover, they are about to become the first team in sports history to go home for the third time under three different city names – Philadelphia, San Francisco and Krypton, or whatever the hell they want to call themselves this time.