Tag Archives: Vanguard

The Beer Garden Strikes Back

...and we're back.

...and we're back.

Okay…so we’re back after an egregious break. A hell of a lot has happened since Sept. 16, the last time we posted. First of all, Bar Refaeli is on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue this year and, mostly because of that, this blog has blown up to over 112,000 hits. And John Smoltz is a Red Sox! Strange times, indeed.

In a closer orbit, the Portland State men’s basketball team is about to implode if they don’t find some leadership and a little more consistent shooting. But their biggest problem might be the one they simply can’t solve: The Vikings lack an inside presence. One of their toughest inside guys, Julius Thomas, is just 6-5, and taller players like Kyle Coston roam the outside. It’s an odd team this year, and it makes one pine for last year’s model, which featured 6-11 bruiser [uh, literally more like jaw smasher] Scott Morrison and dynamic wing Deonte Huff.

Vanguard sports editor Skyler Archibald is on board with my lack of inside presence theory. Check http://www.dailyvanguard.com for the latest Vikings coverage.

So what does the future hold? Well, it’s spring training, the interminably long NBA season has finally ground its way past the All-Star break, the Bruins are in first place, and Pitt just creamed UCONN. All that means we’re going to have plenty to talk about in the coming months, and the Beer Garden will be there, if only to enjoy the ride.

Oh, and one more thing: Bar Refaeli is just insanely hot.

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Goodbye to the Oregonlive Vikings blog

In a tragic turn of events, the Oregonlive Vikings blog has died. Well, euthanized would be a better word. It’s proprieter and content generator Ian Ruder decided that after almost 700 posts, it was time to hang up the keyboard and pursue other interests. Since I’d become used to sporadic postings, I only caught wind of this today.

I worked with Ian many years ago, during my first year at PSU. He’s a talented writer, a solid reporter and an insightful observer of everything Portland State. His commentary will be missed.

In the meanwhile, check out the Vanguard sports section for all the latest news.

Back at it

Former PSU star Shaun Bodiford.

Former PSU star Shaun Bodiford.

Portland, Ore. – Standing composed and confident on the Stott Community Field following Portland State’s short walk-through Friday morning, the glimmering smile on Tygue Howland’s face was tough to miss.

The beaming grin that the junior quarterback owned followed a few short words that encapsulate his more than three years in the South Park Blocks.

“I’ve been waiting three years for this,” Howland said.

The this Howland is referring to is, of course, the Vikings’ matchup with Western Oregon Saturday at 1:05 p.m. at PGE Park.

The Vikings are back in action Saturday afternoon with a must-win matchup against Western Oregon to kick off the 2008 season. Vanguard beat writer Nate Hellman has the scoop, which apparently is that Vikings starting QB Tygue Howland still has a lot he must prove, especially since he’s only thrown 13 completions in just three career games.

If you’re a Vikings fan, that isn’t heartening news. I’m not usually a hater, but there are few things that cause me more pessimism than Portland State football. We all know Jerry Glanville isn’t going to put a decent team on the field until at least next year, and we all know that there are huge problems with everything from the O-line to the itty-bitty running backs that Mouse Davis is trying to turn into receivers.

The Oregonian picked the Vikings to go 5-6 this year. They’re going to be lucky if they win four games, and that is being generous. Let me put it this way: lose THIS game, and the program will be destroyed for years to come. Actually, I think Vanguard sports editor Skyler Archibald put it this way: lose this game and it will literally ruin your program for a bit. Agreed.

Beat Western Oregon, then we’ll worry about confidence and dreams fulfilled. If Howland can keep his knees intact, that’ll be a victory in itself.

Note: The dude about to score a TD is former Vikings player Shaun Bodiford, a good guy with a motor mouth who is now, I believe, a kick returner and wide out with the Green Bay Packers.

Last images of the Duck

The Big Man, the day of his death.

The Big Man, the day of his death.

The Blazers sent these pics of Kevin Duckworth to Vanguard sports editor Skyler Archibald, who hooked up the Beer Garden. These were taken on Monday, just hours before his death. They are a fascinating glimpse into what Blazers media wiz Bill Evans calls “the essence of the man we knew.”

The Blazers are hosting a memorial service at the Memorial Coliseum Saturday morning starting at 11 a.m.  Parking at the Rose Garden will be free to the public. Come pay your last respects to a local legend. The Beer Garden will have a report from the service.

Doing what he loved best.

Doing what he loved best.

Sad day for Blazers fans

Kevin Duckworth. Seeya later on down the road.

Kevin Duckworth. Seeya later on down the road.

Sad news, as most of you have probably heard: Kevin Duckworth is dead, after suffering congestive heart failure. Too bad, because the Duck was one of the true characters from those early ’90s teams. He was also a key component of their success during the Blazers’ two runs to the NBA Finals, one year averaging 18 points and eight boards a game. Duck was a big, sweet-natured man who never wanted to leave Portland and never stopped loving the Trail Blazers.

Not that you couldn’t see Duckworth’s death coming from miles away. I saw Duckworth last November at a Detroit Pistons game. Like many retired pro athletes, Duck didn’t much resemble the man he was during his playing days. He’d gained a lot of weight and was literally wide as a truck, but he’d remained active with the Blazers, supporting them in the community with a smile and stories from the glory days of Rip City. That’s what he was doing on the Oregon Coast when he died.

But that fall night last year he was at the Rose Garden there to be honored alongside former teammates Terry Porter, Clyde Drexler and Jerome Kersey during a halftime ceremony. I was there covering the game for the Vanguard and had a chance to speak with Duckworth.

It had been a particularly cold fall night, and I remember entering the media room with a chill. The Glide sat at a table in the front of the buffet line, TV lights shining on his bald head. He conducted court, smiling, regal. Drexler owns this city, and he owns the Portland media especially. As they fawned over their returning hero, Kevin Duckworth sat on a painfully small chair and dabbed at the beads of glistening sweat collecting on his brow.

“How’s it going, Duck?” I asked, trying to be casual.

“Going good,” he wheezed in a surprisingly soft voice. “Going good.”

I introduced myself and asked him a couple of questions. He was excited to be back. He loved the Blazers and the fans. Standard stuff, but I could tell something was wrong. Duck was really laboring, even a year ago.

I said goodbye and thanked him for his time. He thanked me for speaking with him, which I thought was odd. He seemed genuinely appreciative.

In case you need some proof that I don’t just have a wild imagination, some photographic evidence below. The Glide in all his glory, sitting at the press conference table.

The Glide last November.

The Glide last November.

Vikings football: sneak peek

The Vikings face Western Oregon on August 30 at PGE Park.

The Vikings face Western Oregon on August 30 at PGE Park.

Portland, Ore. — Like a ticking time bomb nearing its explosion point, the hours before the Vikings hit the field against Western Oregon are quickly shedding off.

The dial now reads seven days until season number two under head coach Jerry Glanville officially begins, when Portland State takes on the Wolves at PGE Park next Saturday afternoon.

And despite Glanville’s remarks that his squad is far from ready for live game action, offensive coordinator Darrell “Mouse” Davis believes the offense is shaping up nicely.

“We’re much better than a few weeks ago,” Davis said about his offensive unit.

Nate Hellman, ace beat reporter and sometime-editor of the Vanguard, Portland State’s daily student newspaper, has the scoop from the Vikings football practices. There is literally no other place on the web to get this much in-depth information on the Vikings than Hellman’s football blog. Check it religiously.

However, there’s something I have to say: the Vikings are going to get railed this year. Good god, they only went 3-8 last year and have a bunch of unproven running backs trying to play receiver. That sounds like a recipe for disaster, even in the abysmal Big Sky Conference. If they even flirt with going .500 this year I’ll tip my fucking cap. Until then, I’ll keep saying what I always say about Portland State football: When does basketball season start?