Monday, February 28, 2011

Zimmer on Maualuga: "He Was Extremely Average"

New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker looks for an opening between Cincinnati Bengals safety Roy L. Williams (31) and linebacker Rey Maualuga during the second half of New England's 38-24 win in an NFL football game in Foxborough, Mass., Sunday, Sept. 12, 2010. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
Winslow Townson - APMore photos »
6 months ago: New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker looks for an opening between Cincinnati Bengals safety Roy L. Williams (31) and linebacker Rey Maualuga during the second half of New England's 38-24 win in an NFL football game in Foxborough, Mass., Sunday, Sept. 12, 2010. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer is not, and has not, been a happy man. His defense fell from having a top-five ranking to barely being in the top-15 of NFL defenses. If that wasn't enough for him to deal with, it seems as if there's going to be a changing of the guard at the position that will be calling Zimmer's shots on the field before the 2011 season starts. Zimmer is expecting that four-year Bengals middle linebacker Dhani Joneswill head to free agency. They've been grooming two-year linebacker Rey Maualuga to take his place.
Maualuga, who fell to the Bengals in the second round of the 2009 NFL draft, is built more for the middle linebacker position. Zimmer thinks Maualuga is ready for the position chance, but he still needs a lot more work.
"He sure has to play a hell of a lot better than he did this year because he was extremely average," Zimmer said. "He's undisciplined. Half of our whole defensive team is undisciplined. That's why we give up big plays."
This isn't the first time that Zimmer has singled out Maualuga with criticism. Back in November, Zimmer said that Maualuga needed to be more team oriented and said that sometimes he runs around "like a chicken with its head cut off."
However, even though Zimmer thinks Maualuga is just an average linebacker, PFF ranks him as the teams best linebacker having a rating of 11.6 against the run, a team high.
Even though it sounds as though Zimmer really doesn't like Rey Maualuga, it's probably the exact opposite. I was always told, regardless of the situation I was in, that I only need to really worry if my bosses stop criticizing my work because it meant that they didn't care anymore. Zimmer being on Maualuga's case right now probably just means that he can see a lot of promise in the Bengals future middle linebacker and expects a lot of him.
In his four years as the Bengals middle linebacker, Dhani Jones has had 295 tackles (getting more each year), five and a half sacks and one interception. Rey Maualuga has posted 79 tackles, two sacks and two interceptions in his two-year career in Cincinnati, all while playing an unfamiliar position.
While it seams clear that the Bengals plan to move forward by allowing Jones to move on with his career and move Maualuga to his more natural position, what is unclear is who will take Maualuga's SAM position over. Will Zimmer attempt to move Michael Johnson back to outside linebacker again? Will they do their best to re-signBrandon Johnson and thrust him into a starting role or will second-year linebacker Roddrick Muckelroy take over Maualuga's former position?

NFL Combine Results: Roy Helu and the 10 Biggest Surprises in Sunday's Workouts

LINCOLN, NE - NOVEMBER 26: Roy Helu Jr. #10 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers slips past Liloa Nobriga #48 of the Colorado Buffaloes during their game at Memorial Stadium on November 26, 2010 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska defeated Colorado 45-17 (Photo by Eric
Eric Francis/Getty Images
Roy Helu Jr. was considered a solid but not explosive back. He may have just changed that perception.
Helu is well built at 5'11" and 219 pounds, and he can move that compact body. He posted a 4.42 in the 40. He then posted the second best (among RBs) 3-cone drill time at 6.67. 
Not content with that, Helu posted the best RB times in the 20- and 60-yard shuttles.
He then went for the eighth-highest vertical leap among RBs with 36.5" and a 10th-best broad jump at 9'11".
Helu's explosiveness likely just propelled him from the fifth round to the third.

Helu impressive for combine

Roy Helu Jr.
Roy Helu Jr.

Posted Feb 27, 2011

There may still be some doubters about how he'll play the game at the professional level, but Roy Helu Jr. put to rest any doubters about his physical prowess. Helu ranked tops in a couple of categories among all running backs at the combine and among the best all-around.

In today's testing down in Indiannapolis, Roy Helu Jr. showed strong in every single measurable drill.
In the 40 yard dash, Helu ran a 4.42, good enough for sixth in a group led by Maryland's Da'Rell Scott who reeled off an eye-popping 4.34. It should be noted, though, that Helu came in at 219 lbs., the second heaviest of those who ranked in the top six.
Helu's jump of 36.5 inches in the vertical test, was good enough for the top eight. The highest jump among the running backs was Georgia Tech's Anthony Allen who jumped 41.5.
Helu went 9 foot, 11 inches in the broad jump, good enough for 10th at the position. That category was led by UCONN's Jordan Todman, who broad jumped 10 foot, 6 inches.
In the 3-cone drill, Helu missed the top mark by a hundredth of a second as his 6.67 came in right behind Miami's Greg Cooper, who finished with a 6.66.
But Helu took the top marks in both the 20-yard and 60-yard shuttle, running a 4.01 and an 11.07, respectively. Cooper was second to Helu in the 20-yard with a 4.03, while Oklahoma State's Kendall Hunter followed Helu in the 60-yard with an 11.19.
On a related note, Alabama running back and Heisman Trophy winner, Mark Ingram, didn't finish in the top 10 in any of the aforementioned drills.
Niles Paul also tested today, posting solid, though, not spectacular numbers in the measurable drills. But from watching many of the individual drills they were running with the wideouts, Paul seemed to impress there, perhaps quieting some of the critics in regard to his hands, which are small by NFL standards for wide receivers.
Paul's 40 was a 4.51, tied for 14th best among wideouts. He finished second in the bench press with 24 reps. The top mark went to Greg Little, the wide receiver who was suspended last year for the entire season at North Carolina, for violation of NCAA rules. He posted 27 reps on the bench. Paul ranked 12th in the group in the 20-yard shuttle with a 4.14.
The defensive line will go tomorrow, which is obviously when we'll see Pierre Allen. And then on Tuesday are the defensive backs which will feature a trio of Huskers inPrince AmukamaraEric Hagg and Dejon Gomes.

NFL Combine 2011 Results: Stephen Paea & the Combine's 10 Strongest Player

 Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon St.

EUGENE, OR - DECEMBER 03:  Running back LaMichael James #21 of the Oregon Ducks rushes with the ball past tackle Stephen Paea #54 of the Oregon State Beavers at Autzen Stadium on December 3, 2009 in Eugene, Oregon.  (Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images)
Tom Hauck/Getty Images
Bench: 49 reps.
And then there’s this guy.
Paea beat everyone by 11 reps. That’s astounding. That’s basically akin to running a 4.1 forty.
Paea is strong. Unholy strong. And that’s what he projects to exhibit in the NFL—strength in stopping the run, strength in holding the point of attack. He won’t be a double-digit sack guy, but in a lot of ways players like Paea are tougher to find. In spite of his MCL injury, he is not getting out of the 

NFL Combine 2011: Stephen Paea Is Breaking Records Before Draft Day

NFL Combine 2011 Was This Weekend and Stephen Paea is One of the Stars 
The NFL Combine hit full stride this weekend. Athletes from all over the country were running, jumping and bench pressing. The big hope amongst players is that they make a case to be selected in the NFL Draft in April. 
The top 50 athletes are hoping to nab a huge pay day by netting a spot in the first round. Stephen Paea may have knocked on the door during the Combine. The Oregon State defensive tackle has fallen off the board in most mock drafts. 
He may soon make a return to the top 32 shortly. Paea threw up 225 pounds 49 times. That is a Combine record and a feat worthy of scouts stopping to take notice. Imagine that strength and endurance pushing around lineman for four quarters. 
The Combine is never about just one amazing feat, but a record breaking performance is enough to make your stock rise. If Paea can close out the next two months wisely, he could find himself being picked on day one. 
It is hard not to salivate at the prospects of this animal putting on your favorite team's uniform. I know I wouldn't mind him breaching the line for mine.

Paea sets bench-press record

Published: Feb. 27, 2011 at 03:49 p.m.
01:32 – Oregon State DT Stephen Paea sets a record for the bench press with 49 reps of 225 pounds.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Edwardsville's Epenesa commits to Purdue

Boilermakers , Long Beach State topped list of 30 courting Tigers junior

The Telegraph
EDWARDSVILLE - Six months after saying she had not "really gotten into the whole college stuff yet," Sam Epenesa can be done with the college stuff.
With two prep seasons still to be played for the Edwardsville Tigers, Epenesa has given a verbal commitment to play Division I college volleyball at Purdue. Epenesa had a list of 30 suitors, but the final decision came down to Purdue and Long Beach State.
"It was hard to turn down Long Beach State," Epenesa said. "The beach is, literally, a five-minute walk from the dorm."
It's a far longer walk from Purdue to the Pacific, but an April visit to West Lafayette, Ind., and a favorable impression of Boilermakers coach Dave Shondell sold Epenesa, an honors student with hopes of becoming a pediatrician.
"It was just beautiful," Epenesa said. "Just looking around, I thought this campus is so pretty. All the coaches are going to be nice because every coach is going to want whoever comes on their campus. But their coach seemed like a pretty genuine guy. I don't know, it just seemed like the right place to be."
A gifted outside hitter, the 6-foot Epenesa was the 2009 Telegraph Large-School Player of the Year as a sophomore. Epenesa, who plays club volleyball with High Performance - STL, had 356 kills last season, ranking No. 3 all-time at Edwardsville.
She will join her club team later this month in the USA Volleyball Girls' Junior National Championships in Reno, Nev.
Epenesa's pledge to Purdue will force a Big Ten allegiance shift in her family, though they can retain garments in old gold and black. Iowa is the alma mater of both parents. "It's the Big Ten, so they're good," Epenesa said.
Sam's mother Stephanie played college volleyball at Iowa Wesleyan. There, Stephanie met a football player she would eventually follow to Iowa City and pursue a master's degree at Iowa. Sam's father was a 6-foot-4, 260-pound starting defensive tackle for the Hawkeyes after transferring from Wesleyan.
Epenesa Epenesa - "so nice they named him twice," says Hawkeye lore - grew up in the American Samoa capital of Pago Pago (pronounced Pango Pango).
The South Pacific island located more than 4,500 miles from the U.S. mainland is a football hotbed, with a Samoan boy about 40 times more likely to play in the NFL than a boy growing up in the U.S.
Former Rams linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa is Epenesa's cousin. Sam has Division I college football playing cousins at Colorado in Maxwell Tuioti-Mariner and Hawaii in Maxwell's older brother Lafu.
Sam Epenesa calls her father a "Football Dad, 101." Sam grew up playing soccer and softball before taking on volleyball at age 11, though her younger brother has added football to baseball and soccer commitments.
"I think it was easier on him because I'm a girl," Epenesa said of the toll her affection for soccer had on her football-loving dad.
Fa'a Samoa - meaning The Samoan Way - remains a culture dear to Sam Epenesa. And while football is the sport of choice for males in American Samoa, volleyball will pay the way to college for Sam Epenesa.
And some of the qualities that have so many Samoans excelling in football have helped Epenesa reach an elite level in her sport.
"You see a lot of athletes out there that are just great athletes," Edwardsville coach Jami Parker said. "Rarely do you see athletes that work as hard as Sam does."

Cypress College Chargers Poloa and Laufou

Alexandria Poloa
Alexandria Poloa
High School:
Savanna HS
Middle Blocker

Channing Laufou
Channing Laufou
High School:
Kennedy HS