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Friday, November 19, 2010 ❘ the gazette ❘

nfl

haggan is forcing people to notice Multi-faceted linebacker earning his playing time

oNliNE > in depth

Coach Josh McDaniels pledges civility. gazette.com/sports

by arnie stapleton The Associated Press —

ENGLEWOOD • Champ Bailey admits he knew nothing about Mario Haggan when the linebacker arrived in Denver midway through the 2008 season following a five-year NEXT stint in BufDenver at San Diego, 6:30 p.m. falo with a Monday, ESPN, résumé that included 107.9 FM zero starts, one sack and one suspension. Bailey quickly saw how versatile and valuable Haggan was. “He can do it all,” Bailey marveled. It seems like the Broncos are asking him to do just that nowadays. In addition to his special teams responsibilities, Hag-

THe AssoCiATeD Press file

Broncos linebacker Mario Haggan celebrated a sack against the Chiefs last week in Denver.

gan will pull double duty on defense. He’ll rotate between inside and outside linebacker Monday when the Broncos (3-6) visit the Chargers (4-5). The Broncos went away from their 3-4 scheme with three down linemen and four linebackers when Ay-

ers got hurt in early October, two months after Elvis Dumervil was lost for the season with a torn chest muscle. They had mixed results with the 4-3 look and ditched it after the bye week, however. At outside linebacker in the 3-4 last week, Haggan had his best game as a pro, sacking Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel three times in the first half and forcing a fumble that was returned 75 yards for a touchdown. “He hit the quarterback another four times right as he was getting the ball off,” defensive coordinator Don Martindale noted. “It’s something that he’s worked on, and Mario has played everywhere we’ve asked him to play, and the thing that impresses me the most about him is just how

unselfish he is. Whatever is called upon, whatever his job is, he just goes out and does it.” His trio of sacks matched his total from his previous 97 NFL games. “It’s opportunity,” Bailey said. “I don’t think he had the opportunities in Buffalo that he has here. We’re using him everywhere.” Haggan played in eight games as a sub in 2008 after returning from a four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. When Josh McDaniels arrived from New England that next offseason, he was like Bailey, a little unsure what to make of Haggan. McDaniels quickly fell for the linebacker, who has started all 25 games for him. “This defense is really a perfect fit for Mario because it’s a downhill, hit-them-inthe-face physical style of defense,” McDaniels said.

college basketball

don’t call them division iii stooges Tigers coach thinks win over D-I Air Force will help with recruiting by FRANK SCHWAb frank.schwab@gazette.com —

When Andy Partee speaks to high school recruits from now on, the Colorado College men’s basketball coach will have a solid sales pitch. The Tigers pulled off a monumental upset Wednesday by beating Air Force, one of the rare occasions a DiviNEXT sion III team knocks off Lewis & Clark a Division I squad, and at Colorado it wasn’t an exhibition College, 1 p.m. win either. According to Saturday CC, it was the first nonexhibition victory for a Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference school over a Division I team since Sewanee topped Belmont in 1997. The Tigers’ win might come up in a few of Partee’s phone calls to prospective players going forward. “Maybe now I’ll get my foot in the door with some of those upper-echelon

players,” Partee said. The win over Air Force shines a light on a CC program that has made significant strides under Partee. In Partee’s second year, in 2007-08, the Tigers were 0-22. They improved each of the past two years, but still hadn’t gotten over the hump last year, at 12-13. Now, CC has a chance to use a headturning win in its season opener as a springboard for the season. “It speaks volumes for the direction of the program,” Partee said. Although Colorado College has a popular and successful hockey program, its Division III sports usually don’t get a lot of attention. Athletic director Ken Ralph stood outside the Tigers’ locker room Wednesday, as proud as he has appeared after any of the hockey team’s big wins. “For the college, it’s a nice shot in the arm,” Ralph said. “Our Division III sports sort of toil in anonymity in this town behind Air Force and UCCS. To have a night where we can be in the spotlight is fun.”

recruiter for the program two seasons before that. This is his team, through and through. This is his creation. Colorado College, which finished 12-13 in Division III last season, conquered The Team That Reynolds Built, 60-57. The Tigers won at Clune. The Tigers won despite shooting 33 percent from the field. The Tigers won while Reynolds played his starters almost the entire game. This isn’t just another tough loss. This is a catastrophe. Air Force officials can kid themselves and say that’s an overstatement. It is the absolute truth. After losing to his crosstown rival, a D-3 cross-town rival, Reynolds must be held accountable. It’s time for a new era in Air Force basketball. No more excuses. No more whining, by Reynolds, about not being able to obtain transfers or international players. No more looking soulfully off into the

Ex-Broncos Jay Cutler, right, and Brandon Marshall didn’t do much in the Bears’ win. Marshall was penalized for tossing the ball to Cutler after a first down before leaving with a leg injury. thE assoCiatEd prEss

notes Texans QB Schaub expected to start vs Jets Houston quarterback Matt Schaub is back with the team after he was hospitalized with an injury to the bursa sac in his right knee. Schaub practiced on Thursday, and coach Gary Kubiak expects his No. 1 quarterback to start when the Texans visit the Jets on Sunday. Collins will be Titans No. 3 QB Kerry Collins is healing up quickly enough from a strained left calf that he will be Tennessee’s emergency third quarterback Sunday against Washington.

CHRISTIAN MURDOCK, THE GAZETTE

distance, by Mueh, and talking suggestively about improvement. The time of reckoning has arrived. Jeff When reynolds Reynolds came to Air Force, the Falcons were near the top of the Mountain West. They traveled to the NCAA Tournament in 2004 and, with Reynolds working as an assistant, in 2006. They had a precise, intricate, dangerous offense, known as The Princeton, solidly in place. This was a program the school could be proud of, and it was. Section 8 was a blast to watch, a blast to listen to. It was packed with manic students who produced a frightening, uplifting amount of sound and emotion. Section 8 is virtually gone, dried up by 31 losses in 32 MWC games. The Princeton Offense no longer operates at Air Force. Yes, there’s some kind of

mutation that slightly resembles The Princeton, but it’s not the real thing. Air Force is the worst team in the Mountain West, and one of the worst teams in the country. A thrilling revival has been completely stamped out. The program had been horrible for a quarter century, and then it was respectable, even briefly powerful. The revival lasted half a decade. The revival is over. Can Reynolds recover? Sure, he can, but it won’t be easy. If Reynolds wants to remain in charge of the Falcons, he needs to win at least six games in the Mountain West. That would require a 6-10 record. Not easy, but not impossible. He would need to finish 4-4 at Clune and 2-6 on the road. This is his fourth season. This is not an unfair expectation. If he delivers another 0-fer — 0-16 — or anything close to it, there is no doubt it’s time for a new coach at Air Force. It will help if he steps up and takes responsibility. He

• Chandler Parsons and Kenny Boynton led eight players in double figures with 16 points apiece, and No. 9 Florida beat North Carolina A&T 105-55. • Laurence Bowers had nine points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots, and No. 15 Missouri overcame awful free throw shooting in its opener to hold off Western Illinois 66-61. • Star freshman Perry Jones had 20 points and eight rebounds, helping 17th-ranked Baylor beat Jackson State 63-49. • Travis Franklin scored 22 points, Andy Ogide had 15 and Colorado  State (2-0) shook off a slow start to beat Denver (0-4) 77-66.

WOMEN • Air Force dropped a 68-58 road contest to Idaho State. Sophomore Alicia Leipprandt led Air Force (1-2) with 12 points. • Angie Bjorklund made six 3-pointers and had 26 points as No. 4 Tennessee beat Virginia 85-73. • Jasmine Thomas scored 16 points and No. 6 Duke gave coach Joanne P. McCallie her 401st career win with a 75-62 decision over Auburn. • Cierra Bravard had 19 points and eight rebounds to help No. 16  Florida State beat Colorado State 63-52 to a school-record 12th consecutive home victory.

knew when he accepted the job transfers and internationals were not in his Air Force future. After the CC loss, we heard typical Reynolds. “You hope they learn,” Reynolds said. “You hate to lose a game like that, but you hope they learn from it.” Let’s try a variation of what Reynolds said. Let’s take the burden off the players and place the burden where it belongs: You hope Reynolds learns. You hope Reynolds learns from it. Stay tuned. The Reynolds era isn’t over yet. It might be almost over. But it’s not over yet.

Goodell proud of Vick NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says Michael Vick is doing all the right things and he’s proud of the way the Eagles’ quarterback has turned his life around after serving time in prison for his role in a dogfighting ring. Speaking to the New York Daily News on a train ride to Philadelphia, Goodell said Thursday the 30-year-old Vick is doing a terrific job on and off the field. Goodell says society needs more success stories and he’s hoping Vick will be one, a person who made tragic error and overcomes it.

aiR foRce: Coach not safe if players hang their heads —

Reynolds: Falcons have progressively gotten worse from page 1

bears 16, dolphins 0

from page 1

Colorado College’s Nick Rose defended as Air Force’s Evan Washington went to the basket.

B3

play, said he will be closely watching the Falcons’ basketball team the rest of the season and evaluating the future of Reynolds, who is in his fourth season. “I don’t like changing coaching staffs once a season has started,” Mueh said. “I just don’t believe in that. I don’t think that’s good for the players, I don’t think that’s good for the coaching staff, etc. “Having said that, we’re just going to have to watch this. And watch it from the standpoint of, I want these players to go out and have fun playing the game. If it starts to get to a point where this is affecting morale and their heads are hanging, then we’re going to have to do something. Because that’s not fair to them.” Mueh has not given up on the season. He liked what he saw in the first half of the opener against Colorado-Colorado Springs. Mueh said the Falcons can turn it around Saturday by beating Tennessee State. “I love these players,” Mueh said. “I love this coaching staff for the people they are, but something has to happen. “It’s going to be about the kids. That’s what will determine what kind of decision I have to make. I don’t like changing coaches. I don’t like that in any sport. I just think that’s so disruptive. But at the same time, my priority, my first priority, is the kids.” Mueh has been deliberate in making coaching changes. In the past year,

the women’s volleyball and women’s basketball coaches were removed. Those moves were made for the cadets, Mueh said. “If you’re not having fun playing Division I sports, there’s something wrong and changes have to be made,” Mueh said. “That was true in volleyball – the kids weren’t having fun. That was true in women’s basketball — the kids weren’t having fun. I talked to the basketball team last year, and this year. And they’re excited. They’re still excited. I haven’t talked to them since this game. This is such a shock this happened, because I know these kids are better than that.” After the loss, Falcons forward Tom Fow said it was the players’ fault and didn’t reflect the coaches. “The coaches are doing everything they possibly can,” Fow said. “They’ve given us everything. It’s on us as players, including myself mostly, to get everybody to get on the same page.” Although a change could be made if things don’t improve, Mueh reiterated there are a lot of games remaining. “I’m always positive when it comes to this and a devastating loss like that sometimes triggers something in them, the coaching staff and the players that might propel us to get a whole lot better this season,” Mueh said. He added one more observation, “We’re not going to schedule any more D-III’s. That’s an absolute no win.”

noteworthy MEN • Jacob Pullen scored 15 points, leading No. 3 Kansas State to a tough, 76-67 victory over Presbyterian. Up 14 at the half, Kansas State couldn’t shake Presbyterian. • Freshman Talib Zanna had 14 points and 12 rebounds to lead No. 5 Pittsburgh to a 79-70 victory over Maryland on Thursday night in the semifinals of the 2K Sports Classic. • Harrison Barnes scored 19 points in No. 8 North Carolina’s 107-63 win over Hofstra in the opening round of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. Barnes made all four 3-point attempts and scored all his points in the first half.

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