Friday, August 28, 2009

A Conversation with Mike Havens

Mike Havens (left) is in his first year as Idaho State's offensive line coach after serving two years tutoring tight ends. A former offensive lineman himself for the Bengals, Havens inherits four starters on one of the most experienced units on the team. But he's had to deal with injury issues to his two starting guards, Lance Cartwright and Mitch Rudder, during this pre-season camp. I talked with Havens after practice Thursday, as the Bengals get down to serious preparation for next week's opener with Arizona State. But before we get to the interview, a personal note or two: Havens is married to former Bengal volleyball player Nikki Havens and they have a llittle boy named Wrecker, who I met at practice Thursday night and, just for the record, Wrecker has a great smile. He's already developing that o-lineman's personality.

1. Mike this is your first year as the offensive line coach, what adjustments have you had to make in your coaching approach?

Havens: The biggest adjustment is going from having one to two guys on the field at a tme to having five guys on the field. Having to watch five guys at once can be tricky and it takes a little bit to get used to, but it's something I've had to adjust to.

2. What is your assessment of your offensive line right now?

Havens: We have a real solid group, about four returners coming back, Mitch Rudder, Lance Cartwright, Brad Shedd and Ryan Henry, and we're going to find that one guy to play left tackle, maybe Braeden Clayson or Travis Nua. So like I said, we've got a real solid group there. They're hard working, they want to be a prideful group, so I think we're going to be okay.

3. Tell us about your newcomers -- who do you think will see playing time this year?

Havens: Definitely our two JC transfer kids: Travis Nua, he's been taking time at left tackle and also on the right side, at right tackle. Also Demetrius Grant is another JC transfer that also plays tackle. So you've got a good chance of seeing those guys. Hopefully not, but if we get some injuries, maybe the young kids (true freshmen). Probably my first young kid who I'd have to put in there is Mark Clampitt, who's done an excellent job of playing a little bit of tackle, playing a little bit of center, so he's one of those good, all-around guys.

4. He (Clampitt) has also played a little bit of fullback, hasn't he?

Havens: Yeah, he has played a little bit of fullback, so you could see him wearing an eligible number in the backfield, which would be a treat for him, I'm sure.

5. If you had to pick a two-deep right now, what would it look like?

Havens: Right now, it would be Braeden Clayson at left tackle, Lance Cartwright at left guard, Ryan Henry at center, Mitch Rudder at right guard, Brad Shedd at right tackle. And then for our twos, it would be Travis Nua at left tackle, Braeden Clayson probably at left guard, Nick Tranmer at center, probably Brad Curtis, who is another young kid, at right guard, and then Demetrius Grant at right tackle.

6. You've had some injury problems, particularly at the guard spot, does it look like Cartwright and Rudder are going to be healthy and ready to go when the season starts?

Havens: Yeah, you know they don't have any real major issues, a tweaked knee (Cartwright) and a concussion (Rudder), so they're going to be okay. We're limiting Lance right now just so he can be ready for the game at Arizona State, so I think they'll both be fine.

7. First week, you get Dexter Davis, all Pac-10 defensive end, and the next week you get Gerald McCoy, all-American defensive tackle, you boys are going to have your hands full.

Havens; Oh yeah, we've been talking about Dexter for sure, and trying not to look past him to the kid from Oklahoma, but those guys upfront know they're going to have a fight on their hands and they're all willing to do it and they're excited.

8. Who is your best offensive lineman right now?

Havens: Probably have to say Ryan Henry. You know, he's directing our group, he's one of the most explosive centers we've had here in a long time. He does some things that you know, the guys say, 'It's going to be a little bit tough.' We talk about those things as a staff, and I say, 'Yeah, it'll be tough, but we got Ryan Henry in there, it'll be okay, he'll get it done.' Like I said, he's explosive, he's athletic, he's a smart, heady football player, so he's probably our best right now.

Arizona State Update

Sun Devil Coach Dennis Erickson has released his first two-deeps and there are a number of interesting aspects to it. First of all, the Sun Devils have been hit by a number of injuries on the offensive line, and that has necessitated some shuffling. Second, Erickson who is still trying to decide who will be his feature running back/or backs, lists six different options there. He says he wants to narrow it to one speed back and one power guy. The Devils have suspended starting defensive end James Brooks for the first three weeks of the season, so he won't be playing against the Bengals. And freshman linebacker Vontaze Burfict, who has been something of a sensation with his big hits in practice, is still awaiting NCAA clearinghouse approval.

--Brad B.

And thanks for being a Bengal fan -- it ain't always easy, but it's always fun.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Familiar Face Returns

It seems that Kilee Quigley is not the only familiar face that will be gracing the Bengal soccer team this season. Jana Davis-Boehler will also be returning, however she will not be watching from the sidelines as Quigley will. Davis-Boehler will be returning to compete.

Originally she decided not to play in her final season of eligibility as she was finishing her undergraduate degree after the 2008 season and had plans to attend a physicians assistant program at either Idaho State or a school in Utah. After talking with her last season she related the idea that even though she had redshirted in 2006 due to an injury, she felt like she had played her four years.

Well, apparently the soccer bug has bit her again as she is back at Idaho State in the physicians assistant program and and back on the field for the Bengals. However, she won't be wearing her #12 jersey because freshman Ashley Jones has already made her stamp on the number scoring her first career and game winning goal in her second match as a Bengal against New Mexico State.

She is a player that truly loves the game and though her schedule is similar to a full-time work schedule, she will make time to train with Quigley and the team if possible and compete in a few games for the Bengals as school is her main priority. Even with that being said, Davis-Boehler will be a welcomed addition to the Bengal squad as she has posted six goals and five assists over her career as well as recording three game-winning goals in 2007.

In 2008, Davis-Boehler competed in 11 games for ISU after hurting her knee in the Bengals season opening 2-1 victory over Utah State. She worked hard at her recovery and was back in the starting lineup by October to finish out the season strong. She also led the Bengals during a 3-1 victory over Sacramento State at home as she scored the first goal from a penalty kick.

Head coach Allison Gibson is still uncertain of the number that Davis-Boehler may be wearing (the #21 has been kicked around as it is her former#12 backwards), it seems that she may be able to compete in ISU's home opener against Maine on Sunday, August 30th at 1 p.m. so keep an eye on the Bengal soccer roster and the field!

--Assistant Media Relations Director
Katie Zigars

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Quigley Back on the Pitch in a New Role

The Bengal soccer team has a familiar face on the pitch as Kilee Quigley returns to Davis Field. However, this time Quigley is helping out head coach Allison Gibson in more ways than simply hitting the field as a player. As she continues to complete her sports management degree at Idaho State, which she plans to do in the spring of 2010, she will be with the Bengal soccer team for class credit. Quigley is taking a five credit internship course at Idaho State with the goal of learning from first hand knowledge coaching strategies, tactics and practical application.

Over the summer Quigley spent her time in the Bay Area coaching a youth club soccer team with former Idaho State assistant coach Lindsay Massengale who plays for the FC Gold Pride Women's Professional Soccer team. Quigley also spent her time playing soccer for the California Storm a women's premier soccer league (semi-pro) team. Quigley, who wore the number 23 for the Storm competed in three games. She also played scrimmage matches against Massengale's FC Goldpride team. The Storm serves as a feeder for the Women's Professional Soccer League which Quigley would like to return to playing.

In the meantime, while Quigley finishes her education (she plans to coach or work as a personal trainer after receiving her degree) she will no doubt throw out tidbits and comments to her former teammates as well as the wet-behind-the-ear freshman. Always a leader, Quigley co-captained the Bengals in the 2008 season and was looked up to by her teammates. She was a solid midfielder and in her time with Idaho State she played in 73 games, posted eight career goals and 11 assists for 27 points. Basically, the Bengals couldn't have a better former Bengal observing practice, interacting with players and organizing workouts for teammates that are unable to make the travel squad. Even if her observation and notation is her main goal, her ferocious attitude on the field and desire to support will be felt by the Bengals.

--Assistant Media Relations Director
Katie Zigars

The Good and Bad of Blogs

The good thing about writing a blog is that you can write just about anything you want...the bad thing is, well, you can write just about anything you want -- and it's typically cached in Cyber Space for eternity.

When I started my career in journalism, I wrote a lot of stupid stuff. There are probably still a few Kenny Rogers fans in southeastern Idaho who hate my guts because of a negative review I wrote of his concert at the Minidome (now Holt Arena) back in the 1980s. My home phone rang off the hook and we ran letters to the editor in the Journal for weeks after that. But after it all died down a couple of weeks later, life pretty much went on as normal. If somebody wanted to remind me of my intemperance, they had to go to the library and look up my review in the back copies of the Journal -- and then take the time to write another letter to the editor, or find some other public venue in which to flay me.

Ah, those were the days. Now, when you hit a keystroke and something regrettable pops out, it lives on through the Internet forever. Wanna know what Brad Bugger is saying or writing these days? Just hit google, and then cut and paste on any of several million different blogs, message boards or web sites. Cyber lapses in judgment have the half-life of plutonium.

Kellis Robinett (above), the former Journal sportswriter who covered the ISU beat until his departure earlier this year, is finding out just how long forever is. Kellis was apparently hired by the Wichita Eagle newspaper recently to cover Kansas State football and basketball. For a graduate from a Big 12 school (the University of Kansas) with an opportunity to report on top quality football and basketball, ordinarily this would be a plumb job. There's just one hitch: Kellis also used to write a blog about Kansas basketball, and in that blog he took a few pot shots at the folks in Manhattan -- Kansas, that is, not New York.

Several K-State fans know how to use Google, and they are using every opportunity they can to sabotage Kellis' first blogging attempts for his new employer. The comments sections on his first few blog posts are vitriolic, to say the least, and none of his new "readers" are very much interested in the subject of his posts.

There are two aspects of this story that seem to be fueling this get-Kellis feeding frenzy: the first is that Kellis' new boss, the Eagle's sports editor, has apparently told him to ignore the attacks and not respond. Another K-State web site, for example, has asked both Kellis and his editor for an interview to explain his past attacks on all things Wildcat. They have both declined. By not tackling this issue head-on, they've allowed the critics to continue to stir the pot. And Kellis remains the prime topic of discussion on his blog site -- not Kansas State athletes.

The second issue is that Kellis is just getting his feet wet covering the K-State beat and, as such, he's not exactly churning out ground-breaking scoops right now. That's understandable -- it takes time to build sources who trust you, and time to orient yourself to the people, places and history that make up a new beat. You can't expect a new reporter to walk right in and start producing brilliant journalism. Unfortunately, any slack the Wichita paper's readers may have extended the new kid on the block was exhausted as soon as Kellis' past writings were reproduced on various web sites. Very few Wildcat fans (although there are some) are willing to give him a break while he gets his bearings.

I haven't talked to him, but I suspect this is not exactly how Kellis envisioned his dream job -- covering a Big 12 football and basketball program -- would start. And that's unfortunate, but if nothing else, his experience should serve as a warning for all those eager, young bloggers out there: remember, what you write in those young and crazy days can and will be used against you later in life.

--Brad B.

And thanks for being a Bengal fan -- it ain't always easy, but it's always fun.