Monday, November 22, 2010

Rivalry Week!

The special Rivalry 2010 section of The Daily Universe is out today!

BYU-Utah Football 2010: End of an Era

Everything looks beautiful. And we are so lucky to have such great writers on the sports desk. They had unique ideas and their stories covered a wide variety of topics.

I feel bad for David, because he contributed much more than I did! He gathered old photos from the Special Collections Archive, and edited all the stories, came into work on Sunday and wrote a viewpoint. And Brandon and the copy desk did tons of work to make this section look so good. All I did was write a viewpoint and draw a cartoon.

Here are all the stories in our glorious Rivalry section!

Let the hype begin: Utes up next for BYU, by Alex Hairston and Sarah Gambles
Edwards, McBride reminisce, by Morgan Jones
'Red Blood, Blue Blood' documents the rivalry, by Natalie Barrett
Cosmo, Swoop keep rivalry alive, by Holland Davis
Enjoy it, Cougar fans, viewpoint by David Mortimer (and a cartoon by me!)

Spring forward, fall back? by Josh Bolding
Rivalry affects relationships, by Kirsten Bowe
I can be your hero, baby, by Matt Livingston*
Keeping the rivalry under wraps, by Sarah Sanders
An outsider's guide to the rivalry, by Michael McKinlay
Bringing out the sibling rivalry, by Sarah Gambles
5 things to remember for facing the 'formidable' red team, by Yours Truly
Head games, by Alex Hairston

*For some reason, Matt's story isn't posted on the website. But you can read the PDF version by clicking on the link and going to page 11.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Alternative Ending!

The fireside story that I talked about on Saturday is on today's front page.

BYU football team shares gospel messages while on the road

There are actually two endings to the story that didn't make it in the paper.

1) This one just didn't make it because there wasn't enough space on the page.

One of these heroes, BYU running back David Foote, said he enjoys meeting fans and church members just as much. “It’s my favorite part, to meet everyone after [the fireside], and seeing the faces in the crowd that’s cheering us on,” Foote said. Alex Petersen, a Colorado native who is proud to be 7 1/2 years old, was one excited Cougar fan who collected Foote’s autograph as well as many others. Alex said the fireside helped him plan for his future. “I learned about being a missionary,” Alex said. Some day, when Alex is serving and preaching and blessing other people’s lives as a missionary, those people will at least partly have BYU football to thank.

2) Here's one I wrote that I knew wouldn't make it in the paper. It had some potential for controversy, and it didn't really fit in the story. But I wrote it for fun anyway. In talking with Elder Arntz who is quoted in the story, it came up in our conversation the fact that Jake Heaps said earlier this season that he wasn't planning on going on a mission. Anyone who knows me knows how passionately opposed I am to this. :S And Elder Arntz agreed with me, of course. So he said he would talk to Jake Heaps, and afterward I asked how it went.

The football players weren’t the only ones giving spiritual guidance.
Arntz said he was eager to meet quarterback Jake Heaps, who earlier this season said he was not planning on serving a mission, and offer some persuasion.
“If I get to talk to him tonight, I’ll probably ask him, ‘Are you going on a mission?’” Arntz said. “And if he says no, I’ll do like all missionaries are supposed to do and be devastated. Hopefully that will have some sort of effect on him. I know that he’ll be blessed if he goes on a mission. I know that he’ll have more blessings than he’ll have room to handle.”
After the fireside, Arntz did get to talk to Heaps, who said he is thinking about a mission.
Mendenhall said his players, the fans and even he can all learn from the teachings of the Book of Mormon prophet Alma.
“The real message was this, which is the same message to each of you, and to me, and our team,” Mendenhall said. “‘Even to experimenting on my word.’ That means act, even if you’re afraid. And then see what will happen.”

So, yes, obviously I was pushing my own agenda, haha. But, I wrote it anyway, and I figured it would at least work as another "DVD special feature" for the blog.


Here's another extra you get for reading my blog: While our football writer Sarah went to the postgame press conference for the BYU coaches and players, I went to the CSU press conference to get quotes, in case Alex or Sarah wanted them for their stories.

I got some interesting stuff:

Head coach Steve Fairchild

Well, you all saw it like I did. I mean, there’s no excuses. We totally got outplayed, we got outcoached, we got outclassed. Today I did not see this coming. I thought we had a very good week of practice and preparation. But I give credit to BYU, Bronco Mendenhall and his staff, because they certainly played a terrific game, and we did not. Now let’s go back to work, and hopefully we can finish up the season on a good note in Laramie.

I knew that they were playing pretty good football. Anytime you go out and just lay the ball on the ground like we did and give up the big pass play and let them get rolling, I mean, you’re going to get what you’re getting them. We couldn’t get them off the field on third down, we couldn’t make plays offensively. So again, rather than look at us, you know we’ll certainly look at us and try to correct mistakes, but I certainly want to give BYU and Bronco Mendenhall credit.

The effort was there. I just think you can’t turn the ball over like we did, like I said, give up third-down conversion after third-down conversion, you’re going to be in for a long effort.

It did surprise me. I thought we were coming on defensively. … It was silly. If you can’t get off the field, they’re going to score points, and that’s what happened.

There’s no question. No, I think we were too [coming off a perfect storm]. I just think they executed better, they played better, we turned the ball over, and … I certainly don’t want to take away from anything that BYU did. They played a good game, I give Bronco and his staff all the credit in the world.

We just handed it away in the first quarter.

Elijah-Blu Smith – recovered BYU’s first fumble

It was a big blow to the team, like everybody saw. We started off pretty good, we had some good momentum going into the game. We just didn’t capitalize it into a win for us.

[Did they do anything that caught you off guard in their pass game?] Not really. We knew they were going to throw some play actions at us, and those kind of passes. We had to execute and make plays for us.

[on Ashworth coming out of nowhere] We knew they had firepower in all their receivers. [Number] Two [Cody Hoffman] was the guy that came in who we tried to focus on, but definitely they came battling, ready to play, and they showed it.

They put them up on us. They were making the plays. They got more than we did. They ended up taking us overall.

Defensive coordinator Larry Kerr

[on Ashworth] Well, he ran by our guy one time, and we were in a two-deep coverage, and it never should have happened but it did. So they got a big play there. And then there was another play where we got two defenders right there, we just don’t find the football. So their guy made the plays, we didn’t.

You look at that whole game, and they won every battle and that’s the credit to them. Very disappointing for us.

Ricky Brewer

The result wasn’t what we wanted. …

[on his own personal good game] Obviously you want to play well individually. [But] if everyone plays well individually, we win games. I just want to go out and do my part. As far as the team is concerned, I’d rather win and have no tackles then obviously lose the way we did today.

Oh man, it happened so fast. We just didn’t show up in the first quarter. I mean, we beat ourselves, to be honest. Obviously, they’re a great team. I’m not taking anything away from them. But penalties, turnovers – those are the recipe for disaster. That’s what we served up today.

BYU’s not a bad team. They’re bowl-eligible, they’re going to a bowl game. And I think we underestimated them, to be honest. They came out swinging, and they won the game.

[on extra emotions because of senior night] I don’t think that we came out too fired up. I just believe that we didn’t do a great job of executing. Like I said before, we beat ourselves and basically served it up to them. That’s all I have to say about that.

Raymond Carter

[on his fumble, that was recovered by Kyle Van Noy for a touchdown] I caught the ball, and I didn’t see him coming, he just hit me. Everything happened so fast, you can’t really react to it. BYU came out playing hard, we got to prepare good this week and get ready for Wyoming, finish out strong.

That was the plan, to get the running game going. But like I said, we got off to a slow start. Once we picked it up, we was moving the ball. We just have to maintain that. …

This was a winnable game for us. If we would have came out harder than what we did, and we would have pulled out the game. But unfortunately we didn’t. ... We got a lot of talented guys, and our talent, we didn’t really show that today. …

Freshman quarterback Pete Thomas

This is the most embarrassed I’ve ever been after a football game. We played pretty bad on offense, and, I mean, you can’t turn the ball over three teams and expect to win a ball game. We can’t put our defense into situations like that. It’s just tough. I thought we came out of the tunnel pretty good, but nothing was clicking.

[on senior night] That’s the most disappointing them about this whole game. I personally feel like I let the seniors down. … We let them down today.

[on being forced to throw their game play out the window] Definitely. Obviously, we had to abolish the game plan pretty quick, and that’s not good. … It all started with the way we played in that first quarter, on offense.

To me it felt like we never quit, we stayed in there. We just couldn’t do anything. That’s the most disappointing thing, because we had probably our best week of practice we ever had. But today our plans just fell apart. And we can’t let that happen again.

I’m embarrassed. I know our fans our embarrassed. I think we didn’t expect to come out like this. Thank God we have another game…

[on BYU leaving the conference, and not being able to grow up with Jake Heaps as freshmen quarterbacks] That would be a good rivalry, but I just can’t control any of that. We just got to play who’s on our schedule.

Zac Pauga

[on losing on senior night] … It’s the opposite of what I wanted to happen. Even if it was a loss, I would have liked to play them closer and play them tougher. I’m definitely disappointed with what happened today.

I really have no idea. Even when we were sitting on the sidelines, it just felt like we couldn’t get a break, that things weren’t going our way, and I really have no idea.

It felt a lot like the game we played against them last year, where they just jump out on you, they’re so quick. Football’s such a game of emotions that if you get down even a little bit when you’re that far behind, it’s almost impossible to come back. And I kind of felt like that’s what happened.

We obviously would like to run the ball. And when you’re down 35 points, the run game’s kind of out of the window, and you’ve got to throw it if you want to stay in the game.

[on what was talked about at halftime] We just talked about getting back into the game and playing with a little bit of pride and showing people who we are. That’s what we tried to do.

I just felt like after those first couple turnovers when it was 21-0, it kind of surprised us and shocked us, and I feel like we didn’t really recover until the fourth quarter. I don’t know if that’s true or if that’s what the reason was, but that’s just how it felt to me on the sidelines.

Mychal Sisson

[on getting the first fumble recovery] We thought we was going to give it to them right out there after we caused that turnover. But they came back and responded. Just like any team should.

Everybody had high hopes. Especially the seniors, you try to send them out with a last victory at Hughes. So, it just didn’t come out how we really planned it and hoped it would come out to.


Here are the two football stories about the game itself:

BYU capitalizes on turnovers, picks up first road win (Sarah's story)

Ashworth has career day in leading pass attack (Alex's story) (The article's not on the website yet, but go to page 6 of the PDF) And make sure to read the beginning. It should give you a smile:


The whole newspaper looked great today, especially the sports stuff. Check out these stories:

Packing the house, by Josh Bolding (Some great front page photos by Luke Hansen!)

Mascots play for charity, by Holland Davis (Some more cool, fun photos, by Jamison Metzger - go to page 8 of the PDF)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Pottermonium Comes to BYU

I've had cartoons in The Daily Universe, and I've been on the front page of The Daily Universe. But never both at the same time.

To get everybody ready for the debut of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I, opening next week, this week's tab had four Harry Potter-related stories. It was an obvious choice for the front page, and someone brought up the idea of an illustration to connect Harry Potter to BYU and asked me to do it. And voila.

This cover almost didn't happen though. The day before putting the tab together, department advisers almost changed our two weeks' worth of plans at the last minute. I realize most older parents and grandparents maybe think of Harry Potter as simply the most popular children's book of all time, not really newsworthy. But my generation knows it's much more than that, especially at BYU. (Just go to "Overheard @ BYU," and you'll see Harry Potter references make up about half of all campus overheard conversations). As Harry Potter devotee and enterprise editor Tiffany Wallace said, "it defines our generation." Fortunately, Dumbledore's Army prevailed and Harry Potter made the front page anyway.


In other news, I am blogging straight from the press box at Hughes Stadium at Colorado State. I'm lucky enough to go on another Daily Universe trip, this time for the BYU football game against the Rams. It should be a good game - BYU's on a roll after last week's huge victory over UNLV. If we play the same way against the Rams, we're well on our way to a bowl game, and maybe even an upset over Utah (who lost horribly to TCU last week).

Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium - press box view

I was assigned to write a story about last night's football fireside. We haven't covered one this semester, and it's exactly the sort of feel-good story that BYU loves to see in The Daily Universe. I had a lot of fun talking to Fort Collins church members and interviewing them for my story. There were a lot of dads who brought their kids to see these tough football players who aren't too tough to share their spirits and testimonies. The fireside itself was great, I had never been to one before. I saw another side of Bronco Mendenhall, one I knew was there but was still cool to see in a suit and tie and with scriptures in hand. The coach is definitely more comfortable behind the chapel microphone than he is behind a press conference microphone.

The story should be on the front page of The Daily Universe on Monday. Make sure you check it out!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Mathematical Lie

The rumors of President Barack Obama spending $200 million-per-day on his trip to India, it was another issue that for some reason I immediately responded to. I wrote a viewpoint, but there wasn't room for it on Tuesday's page and it was similar to other columns already published this semester.

So, it gets to be a blog-exclusive piece!


A mathematical lie

‘You don’t have to make stuff up’

By J.J. Despain

There are three kinds of people in this world: those who can count and those who can’t.

When it comes to numbers in the news, they can be pretty intangible sometimes. Gigantic corporations or powerful countries get into numbers and figures that are hard for us to comprehend. A U.S. GDP increase of $151.5 billion, a national energy consumption of 86.4 million BTUs and the nearest star to our planet is 39.9 trillion miles away.

But what does it all mean? Any big number might as well be some other big number. The national debt is up to $13.7 trillion, but do we really feel a difference between 13.7 trillion and 1.37 trillion? Most of us have probably never seen a trillion of anything, except for occupied parking spaces on campus when we’re desperate for an empty one.

Big numbers usually wash over us without any effect. But one big number made a splash last week.

The rumor got rolling that President Barack Obama’s upcoming trip to India was going to cost taxpayers $200 million. Each day. He had 870 hotel rooms reserved and would be accompanied by 2,000 people and a flotilla of 34 navy warships.

Those might be just big numbers. But if you think about them for a second, you will realize they are too ridiculous to be real. Is it even humanly possible to spend $200 million a day on vacation? For anybody? I doubt even P. Diddy and his entourage would be capable of such a feat.

If $200 million still seems likely to you, consider this: the entire war in Afghanistan costs only $190 million a day.

And rightfully so, before too long all these numbers about Obama’s trip were confirmed to be rumors. Wild, senseless rumors.

"We don’t speak to [presidential travel] in detail for security reasons," Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said in a press conference. "But I will take the liberty this time of dismissing as absolutely absurd this notion that somehow we were deploying 10 percent of the Navy … in support of the president’s trip to Asia. That’s just comical."

While Morrell and the rest of the Pentagon were laughing, die-hard Obama critics like Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity were perpetuating the rumors (and therefore dismantling their credibility even further).

Rush Limbaugh made Obama’s trip part of his daily radio rancor on Nov. 2.

"It’s never been done before!" Limbaugh ranted. "You take this many people, this many airplanes, the question is: are you coming back?"

Rep. Michelle Bachmann went on Anderson Cooper’s CNN show to rail against Obama and his supposedly elaborate trip, but when asked to back up her claims she had no specifics to offer.

"Well, these are the numbers that have been coming out in the press, and of course those are the numbers that I have to believe," Bachmann replied.

What press? Limbaugh’s?

Multiple news sources have traced the $200 million amount back to an unnamed Indian government official quoted in India’s version of the Associated Press. No one knows who the official is, or if his information really is official.

In fact, many of the attacks on Obama have no basis in truth whatsoever. "Birthers" demand Obama to show his birth certificate, forgetting that the State of Hawaii and Obama himself have already released ample evidence of his American birth. And I never understood how enemies of Obama can accuse him of conniving with Christian preacher Rev. Jeremiah Wright and then later condemn him for being a Muslim. Can’t Obama’s opponents at least pick one lie and stick with it?

Cooper couldn’t let Bachmann’s gossip stand.

"Michele Bachmann used up our air time last night, rather than answering questions about Medicare...and she chose to spread a story which is blatantly false," he said. "Now you’d think that if a member of Congress was going to use this figure as a fact, she would want to be pretty darn sure it was accurate, right? … There are plenty of reasons to oppose the president, plenty of things to point to as government waste and overspending. You don’t have to make stuff up."

If you want to give reasons why our president is a bad president, you can cite his takeover of General Motors, or his giving up on the public option in health care reform, or any number of things. So why resort to lies? The truth is weapon enough, and it won’t shoot you in the foot.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Midterm Cartoons

I thought of a couple cartoon ideas in light of the midterm elections.

Here's the one that ended up in the paper today:

And here's one I drew but didn't fit on the opinion page (that's what a blog is for!):

Monday, November 1, 2010

Ansah learns all about football, America and life

I'm a little late getting this one up. This is the profile I wrote about Ezekiel Ansah, a BYU football player from Ghana.

(photo by Luke Hansen)

Ansah learns all about football, America and life*
(If that link doesn't work, click here and go to page 3:

This story took a long time to get in the paper. I wrote it way back before the Air Force game. We didn't want to run the story without photos, even if it was a photo of him on the sidelines. But I didn't realize that not only did Ansah not play, he didn't travel with the team. And then for the next home game, he didn't dress down.

I finally looked for pictures of Ansah online and asked the websites' permission to use their photos. But they didn't respond quickly enough for the story to run on Oct. 22., so the story had to wait. (They did respond, but it was a day late.)

Then, on the Oct. 23 home game against Wyoming, Ansah played! We got some pictures (thanks, Luke!), and the next week at practice I interviewed Ansah again and updated my story.

Anyway, on Oct. 29, the story was finally in the paper.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...