Eric Adelson

  • Emerging UCF football factory's latest gem: Speedy WR Breshad Perriman

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago

    ORLANDO, Fla. – People here at UCF chuckle when asked about the Breshad Perriman 40-yard dash time. They don't laugh at the time itself; they laugh at the reaction.

    Why was the nation surprised?

    "There was this drill we'd do, where all of us would have to chase the ball," says tight end Justin Tukes, who is hoping to be in the same draft class as Perriman. "Anytime Breshad got the ball, there was no need to chase the ball. He had already left us."

    "People just don't see UCF as a huge school," shrugs wide receiver Jordan Akins.

    Case in point: Perriman made one of the best catches of the 2014 season last December in a last-second touchdown to beat East Carolina. It was about as under-the-radar as a televised Hail Mary catch can be.

    "We practice that every Thursday," says wide receivers coach Sean Beckton. "It never works."

    "We're not playing as much against the top competition as we want," Tukes says. "It's teams that aren't as strong as the Georgias the Miamis and the Alabamas."

    Beckton actually thinks that held Perriman's speed down a little during the season.

  • NFL's due diligence on Greg Hardy shows what the Cowboys lacked

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 5 days ago

    Jason Garrett said the Dallas Cowboys did their due diligence on Greg Hardy.

    Lisa Friel's due diligence was far better.

    The NFL made a necessary statement on Wednesday, suspending Hardy for 10 games in the wake of a domestic violence incident involving the Dallas defensive lineman. It was Friel, the former Manhattan prosecutor, who led the league's investigation. She is clearly unafraid of aggressive fact-finding in her new role. She's also unafraid of waiting on a conviction to act.

    "The NFL's investigation concluded that Hardy violated the Personal Conduct Policy by using physical force against Nicole Holder in at least four instances," the league's release states.

    Four separate instances.

    Often, an assault victim is too afraid to come forward and testify against her assailant. That victim understandably fears retribution for snitching, and puts her (or him) in an unfair situation.

     

  • Draft hopeful CB Bernard Blake shoulders big load as mentor for youths

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago

    At Werner Elementary School in Ft. Collins, Colo., Jennifer Johnston often encourages her fifth-grade class to email a celebrity they admire. It's part of her push to get kids to dream big and learn about the humongous world outside the school.

    "No one really ever returns an email," Johnston says. "But Bernard did."

    Bernard is Bernard Blake, a defensive back for Colorado State and NFL draft hopeful. A boy named Tate Johnson emailed Blake and then, a few days later, Tate came up to his teacher and asked if Bernard Blake could visit the school.

    "Uhhhh," Johnston said. "Sure!"

    Blake came to the school and met the kids. Then he came back again. Then he kept returning, sometimes with a writing project, sometimes with a math project. Then he came to have lunch with the kids. Then he was outside at recess with them. It got to the point that when Blake didn't come in for a couple of weeks, Johnston worried the lesson plan would suffer.

    "He would come in and the kids would light up," Johnston says. "He would motivate kids to do great work. He was a hoot."

    Johnston even asked Tate w hy he did all this.

  • Goodbye for now: Why the Islanders could return to Nassau Coliseum

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 10 days ago

    UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Megan Hallquest started working at Nassau Coliseum when she was 16 years old. She sold Carvel ice cream.

    “First job ever,” she said proudly. “Greatest first job ever.”

    She’s 23 now, and she’s moved on to pretzels, then Chinese food, and now adult beverages. “Finally,” she says with a smile, “I get beer.”

    Megan’s sister worked here, too. So did her brother. She was “devastated” when she learned the Islanders were moving to Brooklyn, and she figures she’ll be crying on the night they finally depart.

    She also figures they will be back.

    “Brooklyn is not for them,” she said. “They will learn the hard way.”

    She’s not the only one who thinks this. In a canvassing of several workers in and around Nassau Coliseum, there was a clear undercurrent of thought that their cherished team will someday return to Long Island.

    “This is home for the Islanders,” said 74-year-old Mike Nastri, a ticket-taker and usher since 1973. “Barclays Center is not.”

    “All parties are all in for this experiment,” says deMause. “The big question is whether people will put up with watching hockey in a basketball arena.”

    Hallquest is one of those people.

    “I say three years.”

  • Her man: Henrik Zetterberg’s special bond with young Red Wings fan

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 12 days ago

    Before every home game, Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg looks up during the warm-up skate to where she would sometimes sit. There isn’t much time to think about anything other than hockey in those moments leading up to the opening faceoff, but he makes sure he takes a moment. And somewhere in that moment within a moment, he thinks of her.

    “It’s so hard to say how and why we connected,” Zetterberg said. “That’s how life is; you connect better with some people.”

    From the very beginning, he connected with Mollie.

    There really wasn’t any story behind that name. It just seemed to fit her. Mollie was a sunny name for a bright girl. She seemed to be smiling right out of the womb.

    “I wanted a name that made her different,” said her mom, Colleen Moquin, “and she was different.”

    Mollie played all kinds of sports growing up in Flushing, Mich., from swimming to basketball, volleyball to soccer. She never played hockey, but it became a favorite when she began watching it on TV. Soon her whole family was watching it with her. She had that kind of charisma; people just followed along.

    “Always happy,” Colleen said. “Very, very happy.”

    Mollie had stage 4 bone cancer.

    Mollie turned bright red.

  • Jordan Spieth's biggest prize for winning the Masters – telling his sister he won

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 15 days ago

    AUGUSTA – Of all the wonders and joys that will come with winning the Masters, perhaps the best for Jordan Spieth will be telling his sister, Ellie.

    The golf world has marveled all week at Spieth's poise, his perspective, his whole persona, and a lot of that comes from being around Ellie, who is 14. She is a special-needs child, and her journey has served as a touchstone for her older brother's life.

    "She's the funniest member of our family," Jordan said. "It's humbling to see her and her friends and the struggles they go through each day that we take for granted – their kind of lack of patience or understanding, where it seems easy for us and it's not for them."

    When she came to see her brother play in person for the first time last week in Houston, Ellie kept asking Jordan after every round: "Did you win? Did you win?"

    And Jordan said, "Not yet." And then, "Not yet." And then finally, "No."

    "I can tell her I won now," he said Sunday with a grin.

    "This is the greatest game, the Masters," Shawn Spieth said. "But it's still a game."

     

  • Jordan Spieth remains calm – and in the Masters lead – thanks to a sixth-grade math teacher

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 16 days ago

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    AUGUSTA, Ga. – Three years ago, Jordan Spieth's caddie was a sixth-grade math teacher and a coach of his local high school girls golf team.

    "Polar opposite of Jordan," Michael Greller said. "These girls would get crushed, and they're giggling about it."

    You'd think caddying in front of the entire world at the Masters would have nothing to do with monitoring teens on muni courses and going to recess with little kids, but the worlds collided in a crucial moment here in Saturday's third round. Spieth had just flubbed a chip on the 17th hole, leading to a double bogey and trimming two shots off his chasm of a six-shot lead. Phil Mickelson and Justin Rose, having charged up the leaderboard to within shouting distance of Spieth, were already in the clubhouse.

    Then Grellar made Augusta National his classroom.

    "I more just listened," he said after the round. "After about a minute of him talking, it was time to step into the next shot."

    The 68-year-old caddying legend offered some spiritual advice as well.

    But it didn't cave in a lot.

    And teaching, he found, is not too far removed from golf.

     

  • Jordan Spieth's Masters secret: 'We go off Carl's reads' … so who's Carl?

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 16 days ago

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    AUGUSTA, Ga. – After posting the best 36-hole score in the history of the Masters, Jordan Spieth was asked about his putting. After two rounds here, no one's been better.

    "We go off Carl's reads," Spieth explained.

    Augusta National is a place that seeks out its legends every year, welcoming them and celebrating them. It happened again Friday, as everyone's attention turned to a white-haired Ben Crenshaw walking up the final fairway in his last Masters round.

    Crenshaw, though, was looking for a different legend: one who wasn't always sought out or celebrated.

    There he was, all 6 feet, 5 inches of him, standing at the end of Crenshaw's journey. It was 68-year-old Carl Jackson, the longtime caddie who spent a lot of his life dealing with struggle most of the members here could never fathom.

    "It was very hard," Jackson said after Crenshaw's round. "Very hard. But I never lived in a home that received welfare. I'm proud of that."

  • Jordan Spieth better so far than Tiger was in the '97 Masters

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 17 days ago

    AUGUSTA, Ga. – "Morning!" blared Jordan Spieth as he walked toward his tee shot on the 14th hole at Augusta National.

    A rules official nodded. It wasn't morning. It was nearly 2 p.m. It didn't matter. It was whatever time Mr. Spieth said it was.

    On this particular "morning," the 21-year-old Dallas native was on his way to an historic feat not even Tiger Woods has matched: the best 36-hole score in Masters history. That record had stood for 39 years, dating back to Raymond Floyd in 1976. Woods' four-round score of 18-under was unthinkable when he won here at age 21 in 1997. Spieth would finish his Friday at 14-under at the same age, halfway through the same event on the same course.

    But first he had to hit his shot on 14 from the pine needles, under a low tree branch, and onto a sloping green.

    "If I hit it real nice …" he said, almost coaxing the white orb.

    He hit it real nice, thrashing the ball out of the needles, around the tree limb, and onto the 14th green. Easy as that.

    "It was like he had no idea all these people were around," said Susan Kuczum, a patron from Pennsylvania, as Spieth walked away.

    Friday "morning."

     

  • 'Dumbass' Tiger Woods runs into familiar foe at the Masters

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 18 days ago

    AUGUSTA, Ga. – The microphones were close, too close, and out came that old familiar Tiger snarl.

    "Oh Tiger," Woods yelled to himself as he watched his tee shot on hole 15 veer offline. "Dumbass."

    That fire was quite familiar. The rest of Woods' first Masters round on Thursday, however, was decidedly unfamiliar to longtime fans: Woods treading water with a doting, yet calm throng tailing along in polite support.

    "You'll be all right!" was the loudest yell when Woods teed off, 10 years minus a day after his 16th-hole chip-in became one of the most celebrated shots in golf history. That 2005 shot caused a din that rattled off the tall trees here for what seemed like an hour. A decade later, most fans would more likely bet on Woods shooting 83 than 63. Instead, he shot 73. That fan on the first hole was spot-on: Woods was all right.

    Not bad. Not good. Just all right.

    After the round, Woods said his playing group was "fooled" by the pace of the greens. He said his goal for Friday is to "hit the putts harder."

    The old Tiger surely would have made birdie there.