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Thanks for joining us! We write about sports, food, life and anything else interesting here in Ashburn and Loudoun County, all while cramming as many features into the site as possible.

Our staff consists of one old man and a dog named Maggie The WonderBeagle. Want to know more? Click on the icon below:

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Jacksonville Hiring Meyer Sure Looks Like Spurrier 2.0 In NFL

Now that Jacksonville has hired Urban Meyer as its head coach in the NFL, and reportedly paid him millions and millions of dollars to do so, I’d like to get in line to ask several questions.

The first would be “are you guys crazy?”

I mean, the pro game and the college game are quite different. In college, you motivate and teach to young men hungry to learn so they can make it to the next level. The NFL is the next level, so to the players in the league, it’s a job, not an apprenticeship.

What worked in college most times does not work in the NFL.

Look no farther than Nick Saban, the guy who seems to make winning a college national championship a staple of January television viewing. He tried the pro game with the Miami Dolphins back in 2005 shortly after winning a national title in college with LSU.

He lasted 2 years. Went 15-17.

Then there was the time noted NFL personnel and coaching expert Dan Snyder decided Marty Schottenheimer – who had started off 0-5 before getting things together at 8-8 in his only season in Washington – was too dull a coach and went out and backed a truck of money to Steve Spurrier's door. In what he announced with similar expectations to what Jacksonville is doing today, Snyder hired Spurrier to bring winning ways and wide open offenses to Ashburn.

The Ol’ Ball Coach also lasted two years. He went 12-20.

Hmmmm. Both Meyer and Spurrier gained their national reputation at the same school: Florida.

Tell me this doesn't sound like Spurrier 2.0.

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There's A Lot A Certain School Could Learn From Watching Alabama

You could tell by the end of Alabama’s first touchdown-scoring offensive series, Ohio State was in trouble last night.

Alabama is going to lay 50 on these guys, I told my faithful dog Maggie, the WonderBeagle.

Since she had chosen to take Ohio State and the points, she immediately got down from my lap, and as you see in the picture to the right, kneeled down and prayed I was wrong.

Her prayers - and Ohio State’s -  were not answered.

Part of it was certainly the tremendous athletes Alabama has, but Ohio State had great athletes too. Yes, the Buckeyes also were missing a key player in injured running back Trey Sermon, but he wasn’t playing defense.

The part that caught my attention, however, was how Ohio State approached playing defense against this powerful offense. It looked pretty predictable, and made Alabama’s drives look relatively easy. ESPN, as it does in national championship games, provides multiple feeds for the game, including a “film room” with coaches, and they did not appear impressed.

Former Auburn coach and UNC defensive coordinator Gene Chizik noted Ohio State was playing so much one-high safety, Alabama’s offense could pretty much pick what they wanted to do. Liberty Coach Hugh Freeze, who knows a thing or two about offense and has actually beaten Alabama as a head coach, echoed that by saying you could see clearly what Ohio State’s defense was going to do when you came to the line of scrimmage.

Alabama’s hard enough to beat when you DO confuse the quarterback; letting him easily see what he’s facing is just inviting a boat race. It creates a situation where I kind of thought Alabama QB Mac Jones was just having a ho-hum night, making throws that were good, but nothing spectacular. Then you realize he threw for 464 yards and 5 touchdowns while completing 80 percent (36 of 45) of his passes.

Ho hum, indeed.

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Recent Comments
Guest — Jack Slovic

Hello

Dave On point analysis- communication growth and stability critical to success Look forward to getting your long form commentary ... Read More
Tuesday, 12 January 2021 19:33
Dave Scarangella

Thanks, Jack!

Welcome to the site!
Tuesday, 12 January 2021 19:44
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I Will Wager You Did Not Know This

File this away under “things I learned that I did not know while watching the Colts play the Bills:”

CBS seems to really be pushing an original show they’ve come up with called Clarice, as I’ve seen multiple commercials for it before we’ve even reached halftime of the Colts-Bills game. The show is supposed to be the story of FBI agent Clarice Starling who was played by Jodie Foster in “Silence Of The Lambs.”

The movie always reminds of one particular line Hannibal Lecter – played  by Anthony Hopkins - says to Clarice about a census taker who once tried to test him:  “I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.”

The line was sufficiently creepy for me to remember, but what I didn’t know is it was an inside medical joke. I looked up the line to make sure I quoted it accurately, and came across this explanation: Lecter was probably being treated with drugs, which I certainly hope a maniac like him was. The drugs were probably called monoamine oxidase inhibitors, or MAOIs.  Since Lecter is a psychiatrist, he knows this. Which means he also knows this:

The three things you can’t eat with MAOIs are liver, beans or wine. So he’s telling a joke by saying he ate some guy's liver with fava beans and a nice Chianti to indicate he’s not taking his meds. And creep everyone out.

Learning this has been the highlight of an otherwise less than exciting game so far….

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Don't Look Now, But Ohio State May Win It All

It was just a passing thought while watching Ohio State start to flex its offensive muscles last night.

“These guys,” I told Maggie the WonderBeagle, “are playing like they are in midseason form.”

Then it occurred to me why: Because it WAS the middle of a normal season for Ohio State. They’d only played 5 regular season games (six including the Big Ten championship game they had to force a rules change to allow them to be included), which for most teams is when they are healthiest, most prepared and generally at their peak.

The test of winning a championship has always been playing your best at the end. Many a team has started a season on a roll, gets to 7-0 or 8-0 and then things start to fade. Staying that good for that long is a grind. By November, the bumps and bruises add up. A slight muscle pull here, an angry knee there, and that burst of speed that completes the long bomb isn’t quite there.

Winning a championship that starts with a game on Labor Day and concludes in mid-January is as much a game of survival as it is a game of skill. I couldn’t help but think of Virginia, back in 1990. They were 7-0 and No. 1 in the country before injuries, the grind of the season, and opponents having a lot more film to study caught up with them. They finished 8-3.

But Ohio State only had to play six games this season to make it to the final four. They hadn’t hit that phase of the season where you have to get over the hump. While Clemson played the first of its 11 games on September 12, the Buckeyes didn’t take the field for the first time until Oct. 24. They’ve barely been playing for two months. Over half of their wins have been blowouts, so starters did not play a full game in many of the contests.

As a result, they brought huge talent, fresh legs, and a team that a long season had not beaten up to the game with Clemson.

It was clear by the end of the first quarter that they knew how to use it.

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Recent Comments
Doug Johnson

How ironic

That my well-placed trash-talking got spoiled by a last minute garbage touchdown.
Sunday, 03 January 2021 15:51
Dave Scarangella

Hmmmmmm :)

Sunday, 03 January 2021 16:09
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Hokies-Liberty Leads Off Noon College Football Games

I have an old friend who has been telling me for 45 years that if you're not prepared, you're dead.

So since I don't want to see anybody mortally wounded for not properly preparing for a big Saturday of college football watching, here's a list of every game to be played and includes where it will be televised. By my count, every game except one - Western Kentucky at Florida Atlantic - can be seen somewhere.

Here's the list. First part is the noon games, and if you click on "continue reading" you'll see the rest of the list: 

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Watching Super Bowl III Last Night Was A Lot Of Fun....

Last night I was stumbling across channels and found the original broadcast of Super Bowl III on the NBC Sports Network. I ended up watching all 3 hours of it.

It made me want to shout at ESPN that this is what a channel like ESPN Classic should have been versus the constant showing of 19 Duke basketball games from 3 years ago.

Part of the appeal was the memories of a then 12-year-old me watching in disbelief as the Colts kept committing turnover after turnover every time they got near the goal line. It just reminded me of my post-game reaction, namely that the Colts couldn’t get out of their own way and if they just stopped throwing interceptions, they could have easily won.

Heck, if they had just kneeled every time they got into the red zone and kicked field goals they would have won. Back then the goal posts were on the goal line, so once you breached the 20, a field goal was like an extra point.

Part of the appeal was also the memory of my Dad, who had decided to become a Colt fan, mainly because I had decided to become a Redskins fan. Where I grew up in Norfolk, you either got the Colts or the Redskins, so there was always a tug of war on who got to watch the 25-inch console color television with no remote control in the den (I was the remote control). He too was pained by the game, but when the Colts finally punched it in for a touchdown in the final 3 minutes, he was elated.

This, I soon learned, was because he had bought a square in the office pool, and had a 6 for the Jets and a 7 for the Colts. He had thought the Colts would have to win 27-6 for him to win and had long given up on that early in the second half. But he then realized 16-7 was a winner. And what was the first thing he said to me after explaining that?

What all Dads say when a windfall comes their way: “Don’t tell Mom.”

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Since It's The Opening Sunday For The NFL, I'll Say It Again...

This is a story I seem to tell every year on the opening Sunday of the NFL season. And I’m going to tell it again, because it’s a great story and one I’ll never tire of either telling or hearing.

If you’re a college football player and you got released in the last wave of NFL cuts, today’s probably not your day. After playing football every day of your life, you’re sitting at home watching. And you’re wondering if your football days are over.

Which takes to me to the subject of a Virginia Tech player named Nick Sorensen.

I worked at Rowe Furniture back in 2001 up here in Northern Virginia. My office was right around the corner from that of Nick’s Dad, and as any proud papa would, we talked about Nick a lot. Nick had signed as a free agent with the Miami Dolphins and stayed with the team right up to the last cut. Then he got the call that he was released.

Nick had no idea what his future would hold. But at least for this football season, he decided he was going to stay ready. He worked out every day at a local high school. He’d come by the office and see his Dad some times and I’d ask him what he was going to do. He had no specific reason to be optimistic, but he just knew if the phone ever did ring, he had to be in shape and he had to be ready.

He worked out every day as if the phone WOULD ring.

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If You Bumped Into Your Sports Hero, Would You Recognize Them?

There is a nice thread on Twitter this morning from a guy named Matt Barrows, who had a chance encounter with former Virginia quarterback and Cavalier legend Shawn Moore. If you’re on Twitter, you can follow me @dullesdistrict, or check out the thread by going here.

Matt finds an empty seat at the Denver airport, notices the person next to him is a UVA fan (as he is) and they strike up a conversation about the good old days of UVA football. The stranger asks who the QB was when Matt was a student, and in the course of the conversation Matt goes on and on about the days of Shawn Moore and Herman Moore, who were playing before Matt went to UVA.

At the end of the conversation, the stranger introduces himself, and of course, it’s Moore.

As I posted on Twitter, it seems like 137 years ago when I was watching Shawn play QB for the Martinsville Bulldogs in high school. He’s always been a great person, so the conversation is not surprising. But it did surprise me Barrows did not recognize him. For one, Matt is a sportswriter for The Athletic and covers the San Francisco 49ers, so he should have some idea of what past and present football players look like.

For another, if you’re so fanatical about your college team that you strike up conversations with strangers at airports, you should probably know what Shawn Moore looks like. If they built a Mount Rushmore for UVA football, Shawn is one of the four. He led UVA to it’s only No. 1 ranking in football back in 1990, and has not only been one of the school’s best players in history, but his gentle demeanor has also made him a great ambassador for the Cavaliers.

But to be fair, I first considered the possibilities that someone who met me in college would recognize me now. I dug up an old photo and a current one. You see these side by side to your right. I personally don’t think I’ve changed at all, but my wife and several friends have indicated that the pictures look like people from two different planets.

So I may have to cut Matt some slack.

The thread also reminded me just how much ESPN has changed the landscape when it comes to the recognition of football players. Back when Shawn played, ESPN was not on the air wall to wall broadcasting every aspect of the lives of top players. If you saw somebody play, you saw the game on television – with that player wearing a helmet – and aside from a brief interview of sideline shot, really didn’t get a good look at their face to know what they looked like.

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Will $$$ Buy Happiness In College Football For Northwestern?

I couldn’t help but notice that Northwestern has just built the Taj Mahal of practice facilities on its campus, spending $270 million on something that is pretty incredible. The headline on Pete Thamel's story about it on Yahoo.com says "Move over Clemson, Oregon and Alabama ... Northwestern's ridiculous new practice facility is on another level." Then Pete gushes about it even more.

The story raises certain questions (like why didn’t Northwestern invest the money in that dump of a stadium they play in) but will also provoke questions at other schools (like "why don't we have something like this?"). The whole concept that spending that kind of money will gain a competitive edge in college football is something I’m not certain is always true, and many alumni when they’re not winning rationalize the lack of success by saying it’s because other folks have more money, more alumni, more “something we ain’t got.”

So I've gone back 12 years in the world of college football to test a theory, because I believe that no matter how well you've figured anything out in college sports, every 12 years another generation of athletes enters school and there's no guarantee each generation will look at things the same (if you've ever been a parent, you pretty much can guarantee they won't look at things the same). Thus by going back 12 years, you can compare the power players of the last generation to this generation. And I think you do see a trend. 

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Virginia, Virginia Tech Made The Right Decision. Here's Why

Now that Virginia has moved its game with Ohio to Nashville, and Virginia Tech and ECU have cancelled their game, the expected comments are flowing on social media about the two decisions.

Should have waited, some said. You wait, it won’t even be raining on Saturday, others said.

Both may be true. It’s the nature of leadership that there are some decisions that will always end up being no-win situations. Don’t move/postpone/cancel the game? The storm might change course directly at you and you’ve needlessly put people in danger. Move it early enough so that alternative plans can be executed in an orderly process? More times than not, things change and there is a chance you could have an empty field on game day without any wind or rain.

But this is not an ordinary storm. And while there was a time I too may have been thinking “why make the decision so early?” the events of the last week of August in 2005 have changed my mind on the subject permanently.

Up until then, hurricanes were a very subjective situation to me. I grew up in Norfolk and it seemed like every other year we had a hurricane coming up the coast. As a kid, I wanted to escape to the other side of the front door during hurricane conditions just to be outside and see what 70 mile per hour winds felt like. Never mind that those winds could be carrying a tree limb traveling 70 miles per hour in the direction of my head, as my parents would often counter to my idea of going outside. It just sounded like a fun idea.

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They Finally Did It...

They Did It

After a long and bumpy road, The Washington Nationals finally won the World Series. And made an old man in Ashburn cry...

Never Grow Old...

Never Grow Old

A trip to Spring Training reminded me we're all still kids at heart, and no matter how old, you keep playing until they get you out.

Gone But Never Forgotten...

Doodle

My faithful dogs probably rode shotgun on hundreds of stories I've written since 2003. This one is for you, Doodle & Schnoodle.

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