Rival offensive coordinators probably have a checklist approach when it comes to accounting for Miami defensive end Jaelan Phillips. He’s got to be on top of that checklist.
Duke University didn’t account for much in the Blue Devils’ 48-0 loss to the Hurricanes last weekend.
Sure, Miami QB D’Eriq King got most of the prestige mention in its ninth win this season (9-1).
The former Redlands East Valley stud, Phillips, a two-time 2020 ACC Player of the Week, made his presence felt before his team pulled away.
He sacked Blue Devils’ QB Chase Brice after a short chase, dropping him for a 4-yard loss — forcing a punt.
Next series, Phillips dropped him again, forcing another punt.
Phillips, who’s getting plenty of press attention, said, “I’ve always played with the highest motor that I can. My biggest thing is controlling what you can control.
“And so, I think the reason the production is kind of coming now, later on in the season, is just I’ve been able to get comfortable and be able to start working new moves and be able to gel with the defense more.”
Four tackles came off that motor, 3 1/2 for lost yards with 1 1/2 sacks.
“And then, obviously, the fact that I’ve had this motor, this is kind of just natural. This is kind of just what comes.”
Miami, ranked ninth, looks like they’d be able to take over unbeaten Cincinnati and once-beaten Indiana, carving out some possible arguments for getting into the FBS playoff. The Canes lost to Clemson earlier this season.
Saturday’s game against No. 20 North Carolina will be followed by a season-ender against Georgia Tech.
Wonder what a 10-1 record will get Phillips’ team during bowl season?
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Yes, the California Collegiate Athletic Association fall and winter sports are canceled for the 2020-21 school year. It’s no surprise.
Same for the century-old Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, which has called it for the fall and winter months. Spring sports like baseball, track & field, plus tennis and golf are still on the hopeful list.
COVID-19 keeps striking at lives around us.
Both schools’ basketball programs — men’s and women’s — were set to have interesting seasons.
Eric Bridgeland, the University of Redlands’ first-year coach, worked overtime to pull in a balanced, talented and deep roster for the 2020-21 season. Not that anyone else — either at UofR or Cal State San Bernardino -- didn’t work hard.
That roster, with players from all across the west coast, will be put on hold until next season.
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Public health guidance, all the safety standards, plus NCAA recommendations all played a part in those lofty SCIAC presidents’ minds. Seems they waited as long as possible before pulling the plug on football and basketball, men’s polo, women’s volleyball, swimming & diving, soccer and cross country.
It’s frustration everywhere. Athletes from Div. II Cal State and Div. III Redlands must be wondering, both to themselves and out loud, “Hey, how come they’re playing football at USC, at Clemson, at Notre Dame, at BYU … but we can’t play?”
Money talks, of course. It’s possible that all those PPE materials’ expenses played a role in canceling athletics. Virus testing, too, has to run up the tab on athletic costs.
Let’s not forget, either, that distance learning is taking place. Hard to imagine playing sports when students aren’t even physically attending class.
Everything is on hold. Recruiting at the DII and DIII levels are on hold. Will current athletes return? If they do, won’t that block a chunk of incoming freshmen?
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NCAA Division I sports in nearby Riverside — UC Riverside and California Baptist -- are still a go. Basketball may never be as popular. Attendance in both of those gymnasiums will likely go up handily during the season.
At least there’s some hope.
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Whenever area college hoops resumes, keep an eye on Faith Boulanger who’s committed to Cal State San Bernardino.
A first-team All-CIF star at Burbank Burroughs High as a junior in 2019-20, the combo guard-forward is probably sweating out whether or not she’ll be playing her senior season in 2021.
This is a mighty pickup for a needy Lady Coyotes’ team. Boulanger, at 14 points and nearly eight rebounds a game, was a second-team All-CIF pick as both a freshman and sophomore; a three-time all-league first-team pick and the 2020 Pacific League Player of the Year.
She chose Cal State because of the coaching staff, referring to Lady Coyotes’ head coach Casandra Renno, adding that “it’s also close to home, but far enough away for me to develop some independence.”
Last year’s Burroughs squad, 25-8 overall, went through nearby Ventura St. Bonaventure, Arroyo Valley, La Habra Whittier Christian and San Clemente in the CIF finals before losing to L.A. Westchester in the So Cal playoffs.
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Redlands Bicycle Classic organizers, always looking for a good location to run one of its stages, might’ve been looking up at mountainous Forest Falls.
Imagine that spot for the individual time trial — a virtually all-uphill battle with steep mountain climbs. Can’t pull it off, though. Forest Falls Road is way too important for the inhabitants of that community.
Don’t be surprised, incidentally, to see that race moved from April to a fall schedule. Nothing’s set just yet. Just don’t be surprised.
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One of our own, Highland sports writer John Murphy, published an insightful piece on Olympic hero Rafer Johnson back in June 2017. Murphy, who’s worked at a few handfuls of newspapers throughout California, was then toiling for the Hanford Sentinel, up in the Central Valley.
Johnson is a product of that Central Valley area. Johnson, who died last week at age 86, grew up in Kingsburg.
World-class athlete, actor, spokesman, Murphy’s piece touched a little on all of that.
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Next week, I want readers to focus on a pair of articles published on two high school head football coaches. Different missions. Different districts. Different sets of bosses. Both with CIF championship rings.
Wait for this one. Hope I do it right.
(Got a sports tip? Want to chat about local sports? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org).