Sunday, April 29, 2007

Running NFL Draft Blog

Brian Milne's running draft blog following former Cal Poly defenders and draft hopefuls Courtney Brown and Kyle Shotwell on the final day of the NFL Draft (Rounds 4-7):

6 p.m. Shotwell will stay in Cali. ...
Shotwell confirmed tonight that he has agreed to a free-agent deal with the Oakland Raiders. He said he would likely travel to Alameda to prepare for minicamp this week. That's it for tonight ...

4 p.m. Draft comes to a close ...
The draft ends without Kyle Shotwell being picked up. Shotwell and defensive lineman Chris White are hoping to catch on with an NFL team as a free agent. ... Brown will likely move quickly to sign with Dallas and join the team for its minicamp next month.

2:40 p.m. Indy goes with defense, but not a LB ...
The Colts took defensive end Keyunta Dawson of Texas Tech with the 242nd overall pick. There are 13 more picks remaining. Tampa Bay, St. Louis and Jacksonville, three teams that have shown interest in Shotwell, each have two picks remaining. Detroit has the final pick at 255.

2:30 p.m. Dallas takes another corner ...
The Cowboys just took another cornerback, so it looks like Brown will have some rookie competition. Dallas picked Alan Ball (6-1, 176 pounds) with the 237th pick overall. ... Shotwell is still on the board. There are 255 picks in the draft.

1:55 p.m. What will Indy do?
Four of the first 11 picks in the seventh round were linebackers, although they were all inside. Indianapolis, the team Shotwell visited with recently, has the 242nd pick overall. That might be his best shot.

:50 p.m. Still no Shotwell ...
The Buck Buchanan Award winner is still on the board with just over 30 picks remaining.

1:40 p.m. Just what they needed ...
Dallas was hoping to pick up a corner in the draft to help back up Anthony Henry and Terence Newman, a solid duo on both sides for the Cowboys. After that, the Cowboys are young on the corners and could use a prospect like Brown who could also contribute on special teams and work well with a new coach. Either way, you knock Dallas' secondary will always be tested and need some help with pass-happy teams like Philly and New York around.

1:20 p.m. — Brown joins the 'Boys ...
With the second pick of the seventh round, 212th overall, the Dallas Cowboys select Courtney Brown, CB, Cal Poly. ... The selection marks the third straight year a Cal Poly player has been taken in the draft. ... Dallas was not one of the teams Brown visited. ... Shotwell is still on the board.

1:10 p.m. Six down, one to go ...
The sixth round is over and the two Mustangs are still on the board.

12:40 p.m. Strike one, strike two, strike three ...
The Packers went with two linebackers (Boise State's Korey Hall and Cal's Desmond Bishop) and a kicker. Maybe that's good for Shotwell later in the draft? Less LBs on the board, although both those guys played inside. The kicker was Mason Crosby from Colorado for the record. Green Bay, yet to take a cornerback, still has two picks in the seventh. Few experts thought Brown would last this long on the CB board.

12:20 p.m. Will it be Green Bay?
The Packers, one of the teams that flew Brown in recently, have the next three picks ... could this be it?

12:10 p.m.
Titans look elsewhere ...
There was some talk Brown might go to the Titans this week, at least that what Terry McCormick wrote in a couple Nashville publications. The Titans, however, went elsewhere with their fifth-round selection along with their first pick in the sixth round.

The teams to look for ...
Brown has drawn the most interest from
Seattle, Green Bay, Kansas City and San Diego.
Shotwell has drawn the most interest from Indianapolis, which already drafted a linebacker. Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, Kansas City and Baltimore would also be a good fit.

11:50 a.m.
Five rounds down, two to go ...
Brown and Shotwell better hear their name soon or they'll have to go the free-agent route.
Brown was projected by many to be a fourth or fifth rounder, which means he's slipped a bit among the cornerbacks in the draft.
Shotwell wasn't projected to go until the seventh round.

11:30 a.m.
It's now or never ...
The second day of the NFL Draft is just about halfway through, and Brown and Shotwell still haven't been called.
Eighteen cornerbacks have already gone in the draft, which means Brown could be on deck. He was ranked 17th by
We're 177 picks into the draft and only 12 outside linebackers have gone, which isn't the best of news for Shotwell, ranked 22nd at that position by the same Web site.

Now or never for Shotwell and Brown

The second day of the NFL Draft is just about halfway through, and Cal Poly defenders Courtney Brown and Kyle Shotwell still haven't been called.
Eighteen cornerbacks have already gone in the draft, which means Brown could be on deck. He was ranked 17th by
We're 177 picks into the draft and only 12 outside linebackers have gone, which isn't the best of news for Shotwell, ranked 22nd at that position by the same Web site. Check back to the Cal Poly Insider sports blog and for updates throughout the day.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The wait is almost over

The first day of the draft is over and Cal Poly’s Courtney Brown and Kyle Shotwell are still waiting for their names to be called.
As expected, the two defenders will be second-day picks at best.
Many have projected Brown to go in Rounds 4-6. Shotwell in the seventh round or as a free agent. Free agents usually strike a deal shortly after the draft, which runs all day Sunday with Rounds 4-7.
Brown’s chances look pretty good after 10 cornerbacks were taken on the first day – three in each of the first two rounds and four in the third. has Brown ranked as the 17th best cornerback, so if teams continue to take three corners a round, the late fifth or sixth round look doable. The fourth round might not happen unless there’s a serious run on DBs.
As for Shotwell’s chances, ranks him 22nd among outside linebackers. Only seven outside linebackers went drafted in Saturday’s first three rounds. And even fewer (four) inside linebackers were taken. That could mean Shotwell will be going late as projected, possibly as a free agent unless one of the cover-two teams is really high on the Buck Buchanan Award winner. Remember Indianapolis was the lone team to fly him out shortly before the draft.
Brown visited with
Seattle, Green Bay, Kansas City and San Diego.

Friday, April 27, 2007

All the latest draft buzz

A look at the latest draft buzz circulating around former Cal Poly defenders LB Kyle Shotwell and CB Courtney Brown, projected to go on the second day of this weekend's NFL Draft:

• Todd McShay of Scouts Inc. has Courtney Brown going to Jacksonville in the fifth round with the 150th overall pick in his up-to-date mock draft on He did not have Shotwell going in the seven-round draft. Shotwell has been surprisingly left off’s DraftTracker of prospects. has Brown as a fourth-rounder. The site also has Shotwell as a seventh-round or free-agent pickup. doesn't list Brown but has Shotwell going in the seventh round to the St. Louis Rams. also lists Shotwell as a late-round pick.

Terry McCormick in a couple Nashville publications suggests Brown could be a fifth-round pick of the Titans.

• Yahoo! Sports contributor John Murphy of Next Level Scouting, Inc. says Shotwell is one of the top five defensive players not invited to the combine.

• Brown goes in the sixth round to the Green Bay Packers, according to the, and
goes in the fourth round and is among the hidden gems, according to

• Shotwell just missed the cut in a mock draft, while Brown was projected as the 125th overall pick of the New Orleans in the fourth round.

• Brown is a fifth-round pick of San Diego and Shotwell a seventh-round pick of Atlanta, according to

Here's one of our stories in The Tribune this week on the predraft process, noting Shotwell has been projected as a seventh-round pick at best by most experts and mock drafts. There will be complete coverage Saturday through Monday as well.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Shotwell hoping for a better shot

When Kyle Shotwell won the Buck Buchanan Award in December and went on to lead the East-West Shrine Game in tackles, it looked like the Cal Poly linebacker would be following the paths of former Mustangs Chris Gocong and Jordan Beck in the upcoming NFL Draft.
After all, the previous four Buchanan winners — named top defensive player in Division I-AA football — were all drafted in the first four rounds of the NFL Draft. Gocong and Beck each went in the third round.
But it appears Shotwell won’t be so fortunate. Despite another record-breaking season, a solid pro day workout, a strong showing in the East-West Shrine Game and a four-sack performance against I-A San Diego State's burly offensive line at Qualcomm Stadium, Shotwell has been projected as a seventh-round pick at best by most experts and mock drafts. Part of the problem goes back to Shotwell being snubbed from the NFL Combine, which meant much less exposure for the I-AA standout.
"I would've thought if you watched me play on the field and saw my athletic ability, you'd say I was a third or fourth rounder," Shotwell said this week. "I don't really get it when I go to the East-West Shrine Game and outplayed all of those other guys. ... There's obviously some politics involved there and some other things, but I just have to overcome all of that stuff."
It’s a little puzzling when you think about what he did in his career and where he’s being projected along with the other small-school linebackers in the draft. It’s easy to see why 6-foot-5, 250-pound Zak DeOssie of Brown is supposed to be a fourth-rounder, but Justin Durant (one of five Hampton players invited to the combine) and some others have raised eyebrows.
Here are the top I-AA linebackers and how their numbers stack up going into this weekend’s draft (projections by

  • Kyle Shotwell, Cal Poly
    6-1, 230 pounds, 4.52-second 40-yd dash

    7th round, free agent
  • Justin Durant, Hampton
    6-1, 230 pounds, 4.51 40yd

    2nd round
  • Zak DeOssie, Brown
    6-5, 250 pounds, 4.5 40yd

    4th round
  • Chad Nkang, Elon (LB/SS)
    6-0, 220 pounds, 4.52 40yd

    6th round
  • Adam Hayward, Portland State
    6-0, 235 pounds, 4.5 40yd

    7th round, free agent
  • Cameron Siskowic, Illinois State
    6-2, 230 pounds, 4.63 40yd

    7th round, free agent

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Remembering a pioneer for women's athletics

I’ve been getting a lot of response on a feature that ran today on Mary Lou White, a longtime advocate for women’s athletics at Cal Poly who died on April 9.
White was a pioneer for women’s sports at Cal Poly well before Congress passed Title IX in 1972.
Jani Johnson, now a cross country and track and field coach at Cuesta, earned one of Cal Poly’s first six female scholarships in 1975 thanks in part to the work of White and others such as Evie Pellaton.
Johnson shared some of her memories about White and Cal Poly in the mid-70s in an e-mail I received on Sunday evening:

I had a lot of respect for Dr. White as a teacher. She was the teacher of an upper class course I took at Poly in 1977 (learning how to teach a PE activity skill). I was an energetic, somewhat flighty, athletic student who loved sports, but didn't really understand what it took to be a PE teacher. I learned the value of planning a class, looking professional, being on time and being prepared to teach others a skill. I was telling my exercise leadership class at Cuesta about Dr. White and her influence only about 2 weeks ago ... Thank you, Evie, for all you and Mary Lou did for us — the women athletes of my era (60-80s) — in helping us reach our athletic dreams and aspirations. Your guidance and pioneering, in the form of leadership, acquiring sport uniforms, finances for travel and of course, support and encouragement, inspired me to compete as an athlete, as well as teach and coach at the collegiate level.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Jani Johnson

Friday, April 20, 2007

Simmons emerging as Big West's best

For some reason – it was either the 50-degree temperatures and chance of showers, or the Yankees-Red Sox game on ESPN – only a couple scouts made it out to Friday’s Big West Conference baseball game between UC Riverside and Cal Poly.
What they missed was another fine showing by the conference’s top pitching prospect, UC Riverside right-hander James Simmons. Here’s what their scouting reports should have noted on Friday:
The 6-foot-4, 215-pound junior improved to 8-2 in a 3-1 win over the Mustangs at Baggett Stadium. Despite struggling to find his slider for much of the night, Simmons struck out eight and walked just one in his third complete game in 11 starts. He gave up a run on six hits in the 120-pitch outing (82 were strikes).
Simmons, projected to go in the top three rounds of the June draft, has a slow, fluid motion and throws with such ease (see video) that many fans were left unimpressed with his stuff. But if you watched Simmons throw from behind the plate, and saw the movement on his fastball (regularly hitting 92-88 mph) and late action on his change and breaking pitches, you came away impressed. His first four strikeouts came on called third strikes, freezing Cal Poly hitters with cutter after cutter.
“Last week I got roughed up pretty good at Washington, so I really focused on locating my fastball better than I did last week,” Simmons said referring to his first loss since March 2. “I was just trying to keep guys off-balanced, mixing away, inside and with the changeup.
“Some days my slider’s there, sometimes it’s not. You just have to kind of figure it out and go with what’s working best for you that night.”

Thursday, April 19, 2007

NFL draft predictions for Shotwell, Brown

The NFL Draft is a little over a week away and everybody wants to know where Cal Poly’s top two prospects, LB Kyle Shotwell and CB Courtney Brown, are going to go.
When I last talked to the two former Mustang defenders, neither one was sure where they’d fall in the draft or even what teams were most interested.

The two have talked with a majority of the teams and the general feeling is neither one will be drafted as high as third-rounders Jordan Beck or Chris Gocong before them.

Both are likely second-day picks and could go undrafted all together.
Here’s a look at what various news and scouting services are saying about the two prospects:
Most of the scouting services feel Courtney Brown will be taken in Rounds 4-7.
USA Today notes Brown “erased concerns about his lack of athleticism at his pro day and will be one of top non-combine players drafted.”
has the cornerback as a late-round pick or free agent.
And has him as a fourth-rounder, ranked 17th among available corners and 127th overall out of all players.
notes Shotwell’s draft stock is also rising because of pro-day workouts. He is ranked 22nd among outside linebackers and 299th overall, projected as a seventh-round or free-agent pickup.
The site projects former Cal Poly defenders Chris White and Kenny Chicoine in the free-agent category as well. is releasing a new list of rankings next week in preparation for the NFL Draft on April 28-29. NFL expert
Tom Marino, in a team-by-team breakdown, has Shotwell going in the seventh round to the St. Louis Rams.
also lists him a late-round pick.

4/22 Update: Todd McShay of Scouts Inc. has Courtney Brown (link requires ESPN Insider subscription) going to Jacksonville in the fifth round with the 150th overall pick in his mock draft on Apri 17. He did not have Shotwell going in his seven-round draft.

4/23 Update: In his TFY Draft Preview on, Tony Pauline lists Brown among his hidden gems, going in the fourth round.

Where do you think Shotwell and Brown will be drafted?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Eager for the draft?

Some Cal Poly baseball fans were caught off guard by today’s feature on ace Thomas Eager.
Not by the angle about his emotional approach on the mound, but by the fact that the Mustangs’ emerging ace could be gone after this season.
While Eager is only a sophomore, in terms of eligibility, the right-hander is eligible for the draft this summer. Eager, 21, redshirted in 2005 as a true freshman and is technically in his third year with the program.
According to Major League Baseball rules, any amateur who is 21 or older within 45 days of that year’s draft is eligible for selection.

In most cases, four-year collegiate players aren’t eligible until their junior or senior seasons. Graduating high school seniors and community college players are also eligible for the draft.
So while many Mustangs fans figured Cal Poly’s current pitching staff is built for the future, starting two freshmen and a sophomore this weekend at UC Irvine, the green-and-gold rotation could lose another underclassman to the draft this June.
Eager said he won’t make any decisions until after the draft, but it’s already evident in the eyes of the coaches and scouts that he’s ready for the next level thanks to a low-90s fastball and lethal late-breaking slider.

If Eager does leave Cal Poly early, he would be the eighth underclassman in three years to do so.
And let’s not forget the Mustangs are in danger of losing their top hitter as well, as junior outfielder Grant Desme – on pace to break Cal Poly season records for home runs and RBI – is eligible for the draft this year as well.

4/20 UPDATE: Baseball America had an interesting blog update on Desme this week, where one coach called Demse “the best hitter we’ve seen all year, bar none."

Friday, April 13, 2007

Playing the name game at Cal Poly-SLO

Man, that -SLO sure gets people fired up.
So does Cal Poly still have a branding problem?
It appears many of the Cal Poly faithful think so (see comments on the previous post below).
The whole topic came up this week when Cal Poly, this being the San Luis Obispo campus, was mistakenly called Cal Poly Pomona in an Division I softball poll. Cal Poly-Pomona is a DII school that doesn't even field a softball team in the spring.
Not that this is the first time the two schools have been confused.
One of the most memorable blunders came during a media/coaches teleconference in March 2002, when the Big West Conference’s own moderator, Randy Rosenbloom, welcomed Cal Poly head men’s basketball coach Kevin Bromley to the call as the “Broncos head coach.”
“We’re the Cal Poly Mustangs,” Bromley replied in a stern tone. “The Broncos are in Pomona.”
As noted in an earlier post, I've seen Cal Poly referred to as Cal Poly-SLO, Cal State Poly, Cal Polytechnic State and California-San Luis Obispo the last two years alone.
It seems like small potatoes, but those inconsistent references don't sit very well with the folks in Cal Poly's athletic department. The Mustangs fought hard to drop the "-SLO" in the 90s and even address the name game in its media guides on Page 2.

When referring to any Cal Poly athletic team, please use only "Cal Poly" to denote the school. Please refrain from using names such as "Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo" and "Cal Poly-SLO."
A quick search on the Web finds that Cal Poly-SLO and other variations are still used all the time. We’ve even let the -SLO slip by in The Tribune a couple times in AP text, and I always seem to get an e-mail about it the next day.
Darrell Jones’ bio with the Arizona Rattlers says Cal Poly-SLO.
Chris Gocong’s bio with the Philadelphia Eagles says California State Poly, which is a new twist.
At least the Atlanta Falcons got it right on Jordan Beck’s bio, well at least in the right-hand column. Read the complete bio and you'll see he played at Cal Poly/SLO.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Where is Cal Poly located again?

The Cal Poly softball team can’t catch a break.
Only 17 teams in Division I softball have a better record than the Mustangs, but Cal Poly (30-9, 6-0) is still knocking on the door of the top 25.
The Mustangs just missed the top 25 this week, landing in the 26th spot of this week’s Softball Collegiate Top 25.
Not that the Cal Poly faithful were complaining. Mustang die-hards are always happy when a Cal Poly team scores some national recognition, that is until they take a closer look at this week’s poll and realize labeled Cal Poly as Cal Poly Pomona.
Not only is Pomona a Division II school, the Cal Poly-Pomona Broncos (close enough to a Mustang I guess -- just check their logo above) don’t even field a softball team in the spring. has since corrected the error.
The miscue brings up an interesting question. Does Cal Poly, this being the San Luis Obispo campus, which I’ve seen referred to as Cal Poly-SLO, Cal State Poly, Cal Polytechnic State and California-San Luis Obispo in recent years, still have a branding issue on its hands?
It sure appears that way.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

If at first you don't succeed ...

Cal Poly head coach Larry Lee on Saturday said he will likely stick with Eric Massingham as his starting pitcher for Friday’s Big West Conference baseball game at UC Irvine despite the sophomore’s struggles in last week’s loss to Cal State Northridge.
The right-hander didn’t make it out of the second inning in his debut as a starter, allowing four runs on four hits and four walks.
It was the second time in six days a Cal Poly starter failed to get out of the second inning of a conference series opener. Frankie Reed struggled in the same role at Pacific.
Massingham, who was ineligible for the nonconference portion of the schedule, is 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA in eight innings. He has pitched 24.2 innings in his career with 12 of his 13 appearances coming as a reliever.
Mustangs pitching coach Jason Kelly said he likes the former De La Salle standout as a starter because he is well rounded and can usually rely on at least three different pitches on a given day.
Cal Poly is hoping Massingham is better adjusted to the starting role the second time around and can overcome any first-inning jitters, which seems to be a problem for the entire pitching staff. The team’s emerging ace, Thomas Eager, gave up five runs in the first inning Saturday when the Mustangs bounced back to win the finale and the series against the Matadors.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Mustangs still looking for a starter

WANTED: Friday night starter
Experience a plus but not mandatory. Must be a team player who is able to work long hours, handle pressure situations in a hard-hitting environment. Great advancement opportunities for left-handers. Interested parties should contact Larry Lee, Head Baseball Coach, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA 93407.

Thirty-four games into the 2007 season, the Cal Poly baseball team still has no idea who its Friday night starting pitcher is. DJ Mauldin was supposed to be the ace, but that plan failed when the Mustangs’ top pitching prospect developed arm problems and never returned after the season opener. Cal Poly recently announced Mauldin is now out for the season.
Mauldin’s spot in the rotation was filled by Matt Nobriga, but the junior transfer went 2-3 with a 5.37 ERA.
Cal Poly started Frankie Reed for the first time last weekend at Pacific, but the freshman failed to get out of the second inning in his debut as a starter.
The Mustangs tried Eric Massingham (1-0, 4.50) on Friday, but the late arrival’s debut as a starter went about as well as Reed’s, and Lee pulled the sophomore five outs into the game.
After the loss, Lee said he was uncertain who would be starting next Friday’s Big West Conference game at UC Irvine.
My guess is they're thinking about starting left-hander Derrick Saito, who is 2-1 with a 1.78 ERA in 25.1 innings of relief work.
If Lee goes with Saito or another new face, it’ll be the third straight weekend a Mustang has made their debut as a starter in a Big West series opener.