Lobo Asada con Chili Verde

With the daunting stat of not winning a non-conference road game since Colorado in 2006, the Sun Devils traveled to Albuquerque to take on the Lobos of New Mexico. In the first game of a home and home series with New Mexico, ASU looked to break the long stretch of road losses. The good news for Sun Devil nation is they took care of business in front of 25,742 fans as they toppled New Mexico 58-23. The bad news is that it was another sloppy effort against a lesser team.

ASU’s main focus tonight was to control the triple option offense of the Lobos. And at times it appeared they faced this type of offense every week. On other drives? They moved the ball on the Sun Devils like they weren’t even on the field. And one word that has been heard in practice all fall finally came to light, adversity. Coach Norvell as well as Coach Graham have been preaching that this young team would be faced with it, and how would they react would be the question. Luckily the stretch of the second quarter where New Mexico scored 14 unanswered points to close within eight was stymied by halftime. “We’ve been preaching and preaching to prepare for adversity”, quoted Coach Graham. “And at halftime I told them to do what you were suppose do”. Evidently, many of the troubles the Sun Devils encountered during the that stretch was caused by players freelancing and not following the game plan. After listening to QB Taylor Kelly and Coach Graham in the post game presser, the message was clearly sent to the team that they MUST follow the coaches direction in the second half.

Besides that stretch in the second quarter, the game was never really in doubt for the Devils. Running back DJ Foster logged 217 yards on the ground with 19 carries. He’s the first Sun Devil to gain over 200 yards since 2001 when Delvon Flowers reached the magical 200 barrier. His first words when asked about the big game were pure praise for his linemen and Taylor Kelly. He almost tried to explain it was everyone else who put up those yards instead of himself. Kelly also had a big day on the ground with 97 yards including a 41 yarder in the first quarter.

Besides starting the game again (Weber State also) with a defensive penalty, the other curiosity of the first half was the two point conversion that saw De’Marieya Nelson throw to kicker Zane Gonzalez. It’s reminiscent of something the Oregon Ducks would try and also makes other teams in the conference think twice about what this team can throw at you.

Special teams was also something of some concern this evening. The short kickoffs can be attributed to the 30-35 mile an hour gusts of wind, but the blocked extra point, missed field goal and blocked PAT (lead to a 2 point conversion for New Mexico) are something that need to be fixed immediately before PAC-12 play begins.

Back up running backs Kalen Ballage and Demario Richard both saw extensive action with some good results in addition to wide out Cameron Smith. As young as this Devil squad is, these are the type of games to get as many guys action before league play starts.

The progression of ASU’s first three games are just what you’d want going into a season. starting off with a weak opponent and gradually working your way up into tougher competition. Coach Graham said during the post game presser that there was “marked improvement” over the Weber State game. But the guys were still making mistakes. The three fumbles (one lost) and four penalties ASU committed are a thorn in Coach Grahams side and he will make a concerted effort this week in practice on those issues. So with a ‘good’ win on the road and PAC-12 play beginning next weekend in Boulder against the Buffaloes, the Sun Devils can now focus on continued improvement as the first mid term exam will be UCLA in Tempe in a couple of weeks. As for me? I’m heading off for some BBQ and some more green chili before I head back to San Diego.

Let the South Title Defense Commence

Just like starting my 1965 Plymouth Valiant convertible, the Sun Devil offense took a little bit to get warmed up. And just like my hooptie, once it got going, it ran like a dream as ASU beat the Wildcats of Weber State 45-14 on a hot August night in Tempe, AZ. Weber St was clearly outsized and out matched by the 19th ranked team in the country in front of an opening night crowd of 52,133. Taylor Kelly finished the night going 18-27 for 238 yards and one TD in only one half of play. Nothing flashy or Sportscenter worthy, but a victory over a team that the Sun Devils had to beat.

For many in attendance, the absence of the north end zone bleachers was a little disconcerning, just as it was when the Carson Athletic Center was built behind the south bleachers in 1988. This game against the Wildcats was a classic lose lose proposition for ASU. Win big and thats what you’re suppose to do and barely win, then you’re a weak team. The general feeling around the press box as well as crowd tonight was the same, not a ‘great’ effort. You can afford to be critical when the expectations are high, and the expectations for ASU are indeed high after last years PAC-12 South championship.

The expected stars on offense, Kelly, Foster and Strong all produced up to expectations with yards and TD’s. The interest for most was what would some of the ‘new’ guys or back-ups come with both on defense as well as offense. Running backs Kalen Ballage and Demario Richard looked good in 2nd half action while receivers Ellis Jefferson and Gary Chambers had nice moments throughout the game including a TD each. QB Mike Bercovici didn’t exactly make to many heads turn going 6-12 for 65 yards.

A couple things of note include: a new record for student section attendance with almost 10,000 kids. ASU didn’t create any turnovers and had four penalties. The turnover stat is a believable one as the Sun Devils replaced nine starters this year on defense. Those nine became quite the ball hawking squad throughout 2013. The first play on defense resulted in a penalty on ASU. Coach Graham has zero tolerance for penalties, so those should be cleaned up within the next couple of weeks.

As for Coach Graham, he to alluded to the game being a little slow and sloppy in the post game presser. Perfectly understandable with all the new kids and it being the first game of the year. The schedule works out nice early for the Devils in 2014. Weber St, then on to New Mexico and then up to Boulder for the Buffaloes. An escalating level of difficulty leading into the UCLA game later this month.

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Still Going Old School

In a day of instant information access through twitter, Facebook and countless other social networks I still prefer the ‘be there, gather and report’ ways of journalism. I’ve been referred to as a dinosaur, grandpa and archaic reporter when it comes to my writings and opines. Hell, I’m writing all this for a website, on a computer through a wireless connection, so I’m not that behind the times. Every year I am asked why I get up at an ungodly hour, drive through 3 hours of So-Cal traffic to sit in a room with countless other media types when all I have to do is connect to the internet on any computer, smart phone, ipad or television. I’m told that any pertinent info can be attained through websites or twitter which breaks news faster than any other news source in history, or uncompromising photos of people on insta-gram or Facebook. But then again, I’m still the guy that would just as soon call or talk to someone in person than have a text conversation.

So with all that mindless banter out of the way, here we are at Pac-12 media days. Expanded to two days (and thank the heavens its not four days like the SEC), the Pac-12 descended onto Paramount Studios in Hollywood, CA. Continuing the theme of media days on movie sets from the past years with media day visits to FOX, Universal and Sony, the PAC-12 is continuing to find new ways to show off the Conference of Champions. Commissioner Larry Scott addressed the media with opening remarks about how the PAC-12 went 6-3 in bowl games and how the conference added another 10 NCAA titles to its impressive amount of 469 to date. He also welcomed new-coming coaches Chris Peterson and Steve Sarkisian. I thought it was unusual he welcomed Sarkisian, in his first year at the helm of USC, but he’s actually been around the conference since 2001 with a year absence for the NFL. AND, he was the head coach of the University of Washington the last few years.

Some other news, notes, nuggets and comments from Day 1:

* Utah wide receiver Dres Anderson red shirted the final year the Utes were in the Mountain West, and he feels the move to the PAC 12 has really elevated the recruiting and talent level of players looking at Utah. He also commented on how his family is still split on his choice of Utah instead of his fathers (NFL great Willie ‘Flipper’ Anderson) alma mater UCLA.

* QB Sean Mannion is listed at 6’5″ 220 pounds and Connor Halliday at 6’4″ 197 pounds, both believable after seeing/interacting with them. Their slight of frame would lend the belief that they could be an injury waiting to happen. DE Leonard Williams listed at 6’5″ 300 pounds? I’d never believe it standing next to him. Maybe after a few weeks at Old Town Country Buffet, but not currently.

* Anytime spent with Washington State coach Mike Leach, is time well spent. I’ve had him on my former radio show as well as countless number of interviews. He speaks his mind with not much relevance to who is listening. His goofiness is such a dichotomy to his face he shows with his two published books on leadership as well as the American Indian Geronimo.

* And finally a nerd alert: This conference is stacked with quarterbacks for your PAC-12 fantasy leagues. There are more Davey O’Brien watch list candidates in the PAC-12 than any other conference. Curiously enough, that school down south doesn’t have one…….

Hunting in Mexico – How and Why

A huge shout out to Matt Woodward from Borderland Adventures for taking some time out to talk about hunting in Mexico!

1) So why Mexico?

Lots of reasons. It’s like southern AZ was, 100 years ago. Vast unspoiled chunks of the Sonoran desert. We hike into canyons each week, knowing we may have been the only person with modern equipment to have ever hunted it. It’s just a special place. Hunting that is relatively unspoiled is hard to find anywhere, and we have a great resource right at our back door.

2) A lot of people get concerned about the legalities of hunting in Mexico. Can you walk us through the important stuff?

It’s actually very simple, and your outfitter should take care of most for these details. Obviously, you’ll need a valid passport, and a visa on your way in. Your hunting contract and gun permit are the most important items.
At a vehicular crossing, here’s how it will go. Arrive at US Customs, declare guns, and present US Customs with form 4457, a declaration document that you can print off the internet, or get from an agent. Cross the border, present your gun permit and contract to the Mexican Customs (Aduana) for signatures and stamps, Proceceed to the local mexican military base, and repeat that same process. So, one stop on the US side, two stops on the Mexico side, and in reverse on the way out.

The smaller border towns can be a joy to cross in, while the bigger cities tend to slow the process down. I can get 4 hunters in, with rifles, in such a short time, that most hunters think we haven’t completed the process.

3) Can you describe some of the Do’s and Don’ts of lining up a hunt in Mexico?

Enjoying your time in Mexico is simply about the people that you are with. Grill your outfitter, see if you can get your actual guide on the phone, know that you can communicate with your outfitter, and that they know what they are doing. Do not get stuck with someone who does not know the ranch, or the game.
Call references, as many as you can. This is important. Try to dig for their honest opinion, how they really feel. Would they go back? Would they bring their wife? or son? These kinds of things will tell you a lot. Try to talk to someone that DIDN’T kill a deer.

Check your gun permit ahead of time. Sometimes this isn’t possible, but if you can, verify that the serial number and all the information on your permit are correct. If your gun permit isn’t correct, don’t attempt to cross it.

4) Tell us about a typical hunt – food, accommodations, guides, terrain, quality of game…

I can only vouch for our hunts, so I’ll give you a quick run down of how a hunt with us goes.
Day one, hunter arrives in Tucson before noon. We pick him up, and head for the border. We are across in about 90 minutes, including checking in our guns. Then it’s one to three hours to our ranches, depending on where you will be hunting. You’ll arrive in time to check the zero on your rifle, and maybe get quick tour of the ranch.
Our cooks take good care of us, at 7 pm, dinner will be served, then we’ll relax till bed. Hot showers and a private bedroom will keep you comfortable. Our crew will have your fireplace stoked, and stack of mesquite to get you through the night.

We’ll hunt hard, all day for the next 6 days, taking lunch breaks, and maybe a nap. You’ll see a lot of Coues deer….and some great ones. We are looking to kill bucks over 110″s, and we have an average of 112.3″. You’ll hunt with our experienced guides, who guide Coues deer, elk and other species throughout the Southwest. You’ll have no communication problems. Our guys know the ranches, and know the animals.

The terrain is as rough as anything in the southwest, but deer numbers are high, and you can make the hunt as easy or difficult (physically) as you want. You’ll use a truck to get from one vantage point to the next, then hike in after your buck.

5) Tell us something about hunting in Mexico that might surprise some of our readers..

There is not a 120″ Coues deer on every ridge…That might surprise some. We absolutely bust our tails down there to kill the bucks that we do, very few come easy. The genetics that we hunt can be hunted on leftover tags in AZ, we simply have the age classes necessary to produce big deer. Almost zero hunting pressure allows for extreme buck to doe ratios (1:1 in some cases). With all that taken into consideration, it can still take a lifetime to kill a jumbo buck down there.

6) Can you give us an idea on costs?

Coues Deer hunts range from about $2750 on the very low end, to almost $6000 for premium ranches. Expect to pay $4500 to $5500 to hunt with a reputable outfitter. I know some guys that will jump on that number and say that’s way too high to pay. I have dealt with and know a lot of outfitters in Sonora, and you get what you pay for.

7) Most of us know about Coues and Mulies – what are some other species you can hunt there?

It’s pretty limited. In most of Sonora, your outfitter can get you a Javelina tag. Javelina are thick in some regions. There are also Gould’s turkey to hunt in parts of Sonora, this is a spring season .

Mexico offers some amazing opportunities, especially if you live in the states along the southern border. A hope, skip and a jump and you are in some world-record Coues country! Know the rules, know the right questions to ask, and the logistics may not be as challenging as you think.

For more info, check out Matt’s website: Borderland Adventures. Again – a big “Thank You” to Matt and the guys over at BLA!

Fulfilled from Jay Park on Vimeo.

Comedian GARY OWEN at Stand Up Live in Phoenix on April 25-27! Five Shows!

Comedian GARY OWEN at Stand Up Live!

April 25-27

Don't miss Shaq All-Star Comedian GARY OWEN in Phoenix!

His star is definitely on the rise with appearances in movies such as Think Like A Man, Ride Along, Little Man and Daddy Day Care!

For tickets, call 480-719-6100 or visit standuplive.com.

Gary Owen
Events subject to change without notice.

Simple Fly Fishing by Yvon Chouinard, Craig Mathews & Mauro Mazzo

I loved fly-fishing in my younger days, and probably miss it more than any other type of fishing. I was fortunate enough to grow up in Atlantic Salmon country, fishing rivers such as the famous Miramichi. That being said I had never heard of Tenkara – what a cool technique! I was fortunate to be able to view an advance copy of the book and I can tell you this will be a great book whether you are young or old, novice or expert – I guarantee you’ll learn something!

From the release:


Modern-day fly fishing, like much in life, has become exceedingly complex, with high-tech gear, a confusing array of flies and terminal tackle, accompanied by high-priced fishing guides. But in a long-anticipated book, Simple Fly Fishing, Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard joins noted fly fishermen Mauro Mazzo and Craig Mathews to reveal the best way to catch trout: simply, with a rod and a fly and not much else.

The wisdom in the book comes from a simpler time when the premise was the more you know, the less you need. It introduces modern-day readers—beginner anglers to master fishermen—to the techniques based on Tenkara fishing, which relies less on equipment and more on how to discover where the fish are, at what depth, and what they are feeding on. Then it describes the practices needed to present a fly at that depth, make it look lifelike, and hook the fish.
“This is a book for the young person who has wanted to learn, but is intimidated by the complexity, elitism, and expense of the sport,” says Chouinard, a Tenkara enthusiast. “For the woman and her daughter who are put off by the image of the testosterone-fueled, good old boy bass and trout fisherman who turned the ‘contemplative pastime’ into a competitive combat sport. And for the long time angler who has everything and wants to replace all that stuff with skill, knowledge, and simplicity.”

With chapters on wet flies, nymphs, and dry flies, the authors employ both the Tenkara rod as well as regular fly fishing gear to cover all the bases. Illustrated by renowned fish artist James Prosek, with inspiring photographs and stories throughout, Simple Fly Fishing reveals the secrets and the soul of this captivating sport.

Patagonia Books is intended as a way to advance our love of books as well as nature and a reflective life. We publish a select number of titles on wilderness, wildlife, and outdoor sports that inspire and restore connection to the natural world. We also present books that raise awareness about not only the environmental challenges our world faces, but suggest ways that we can work together to slow the disintegration of our planet. This includes immediate activities, such as strategies to reduce our carbon footprint, as well as more in-depth examinations of the meanings of affluence, consumerism, and capitalism in the 21st Century.

We believe that books are still the most important medium for passing our values to the next generation. The titles we publish reflect the principles that guide the business and personal lives of many of us who work at Patagonia and many who participate in the sports we support. These include the vow to lead an examined life, to do what we can as individuals and as a company to make a difference to the environmental challenges we all face, and to hold up our company, with full transparency and honesty, as an example for other businesses.

Huddle Up at PhxSoul.com for the SOULFUL Super Bowl XLIX Events in Arizona!

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And another curse falls

Arizona Javelina

Those of you who know me know that I have struggled with various curses over the years; I’ve definitely had some challenges filling Arizona big game tags. Now to be fair, I’m a bit f a “victim of circumstances” – nonetheless, success has been a fickle maiden for sure. In October I finally filled an Arizona deer tag. He wasn’t a monster, but he was all mine. My real nemesis all these years however, has been the lowly javelina. I have eaten up a lot more hours and boot leather chasing those stinky pigs than I have anything else. My daughter got hers. I’ve helped other people get theirs, thanks to my successful advice and directions.My tags continued to go unfilled.

As per my custom, I put in for (and drew) a 33/37B archery tag this year. My friend John Greiss urged me to put in for a second tag; an 18B leftover general tag.I drew one of those too.John was named Arizona Game and Fish’s 2014 “Mentor of the Year”, and that is no coincidence. John has assisted in dozens if not hundreds of “firsts” when it comes to hunting, for people all over Arizona. He and friend Josh Smith helped my daughter get her first javelina. John was there in October when I got my first Coues. A new job in January sunk my chances of going out bowhunting, so my 18B tag was my last hope in 2014. I arranged to hunt on Sunday, and John and I made a plan. It was off to a rough start. I had to get up at 3 AM to make the 3+ hour drive to Bagdad. My daughter had a dance that night and I didn’t get to bed until almost midnight. I was a tired lil boy driving up there the next morning. John met me in town and we headed out to where Jose, Miguel, RL and the others were camped. They had a plan, and we loaded up the Rangers and headed out.

About an hour and a half into the real hunting, a herd of 3 or 4 was spotted. We set up an ambush, and Jose went on a mini Javelina drive – they were hunkered down in some thick stuff and not moving. Miguel scored, Jose and Andrew took shots, but only one tag was filled. After a couple of hours we went in and broke camp in order to facilitate heading to a different spot on the way out of town. Miguel and RL headed home, and the rest of us kept hunting.

Late in the afternoon, a single pig was spotted. Jose was really working the glass. There were 2 other rookie pig hunters there, but John insisted I take the shot. We re-positioned, glassed for a bit to make sure there was only one pig, and then John set up his Claw. I was trying to get set up but we were sideways on a slope so I elected to use the Triclawps. We put my rifle in (a Savage .22-250) got situated and I settled in for the shot. “Boom” “Whap”

“He’s down! He’s down” I was watching hi through my scope. He went down instantly, rolled down the hill, and fetched up on a bush. He kicked a few times and it was over. Shot was ranged at 175 yards, and then the work started.

As he lay

Snapped a few trophy pics and carried him up the hill.

We hunted until almost dark, trying to get the other guys onto a pig but to no avail. Icing on the cake? Miguel’s javelina tied John’s prior record for “javelina assists”. Mine was the one that created his new single-season record.

Sunset on the Ranger in 18B

By the time we got back to the trucks it was nearly 7:30. The ride home was long, but having a filled tag instead of an empty one made it much more bearable!

Lady Hunters – Tips On Starting Them Young

It’s not much of a secret that lady hunters are the fastest growing demographic in the hunting community. Part of that is due to families starting their daughters, nieces, neighbor girls and grand daughters early and making it fun for them, with no pressure. My daughter is not an avid hunter, but she has hunted and has a javelina under her belt. As a matter of fact, she got her first javelina before I did! My friend Chris McCotter is well known in Arizona hunting circles for not only his hunting prowess, but his support of wildlife organizations. He is also well-known for getting his entire family into hunting, including his wife and his daughter Cidney. Recently, someone asked Chris for some tips on raising lady hunters. His advice was as thorough and well-presented as I have seen. With his permission, I have reprinted it here.

I’ll go on record that I have not pushed Cid to do any of this but instead asked if she wanted to and let her make the call. I probably learned more from her than she did from me over the past few months taking her hunting.

A few I have learned along the way, and in no particular order -

- Relax – if your spastic and losing it then chances are she will be too or worse yet she won’t want to be in that situation as she won’t want to see you like that again. Just ‘let it happen’ – don’t try and MAKE it happen. And if it doesn’t? So what and laugh it off.

- Don’t get frustrated when you’re sneaking around the hill putting on a stalk and you look back and she’s lagging behind picking flowers along the way. And better yet – expect a frustrated look from her when you tell her to throw them down and get ready to shoot a javelina. Think about it – She just worked her butt off collecting them and you’re telling her to treat them like trash. Big picture dad, look at the big picture.

- Invest in one of these – Click Here. Store in your hunting rig and never forget it and you will be the greatest dad in the world.

- Never let a question she has go unanswered and no question is stupid as you’ll find they are ALL building blocks to future questions and they need to have answered.

- Being a great shot at the range bench doesn’t mean jack when it’s in the field on live game (this is true of most adults too) but if you can provide life like targets of the animal she’s hunting use them after the gun is dialed in and they have the basics down.

- Surf the internet and download or print off live photos of the animals she’s hunting. In all different positions. You’re looking for shot and no shoot scenarios. Like I said, print off or store on your smart phone as pics in a specific folder. Weeks leading up to the hunt review yes and no shots. Then the night before going out hunting laying there in the sleeping bag next to her with your headlamps on or lantern light review those pics again.

- Never underestimate the leg power a little kid has. They aren’t lugging your body weight up the mountain and it will surprise you. But don’t walk them to death either. If they want a pack make it ultra light carry your gear and theirs and shop for a kids pack if you can. There are cheap ones out there if you plan well ahead of the hunt you’ll find them. I bought my kids packs for $20-$25 each.

- If your kid is going to carry a pack, inspect it twice a day for items they may have added. A 10lb rock lugged 1.5 miles back to the truck cuz it was ‘pretty’ will explain why she’s so tired and can’t make the trek be one that could have been avoided.

- Camo is not mandatory hunting attire and any hello kitty attire she wants to wear is completely acceptable. Also pink is not mandatory for her either. Let her wear what she wants with in reason to the conditions and weather permit.

-Long hair held back in pony tail and or braid keeps it tucked out of the way and not something to get in the view of the scope or caught in the action of the rifle. Simply put it’s a distraction just not needed and take care of it at camp. (note from taking my wife hunting – as they get older they’ll probably want to toss in some lipstick and such to pretty up before pictures are taken. Don’t pick on them for it. )

- Don’t go cheap on boots and socks. Blisters on her feet mean an end of the hunt, period. They won’t play through the pain and you shouldn’t make them. When you think about it tossing in another $25 at the time to purchase boots will help pay back all you’ve invested in gas and time off work.

- Carhart youth pants will allow her to blaze through stickers like they aren’t there. Truth be told they are sold as ‘boys’ pants, just don’t mention that and cut the tag off if it says it. They also make youth leather gloves. Major investment and worth every penny. They can grab sticker bushes and push them out of the way as well if they tumble their hands won’t get cut up. Any pain that can be avoided makes the trip that much more enjoyable.

- If while you’re glassing you find an animal – show it to her. This doesn’t matter if it’s a rabbit or a chipmunk let them see it through the binos. It’s both practice getting them use to seeing game in glasses but also a distraction to the mind numbing boring as heck death silence part we call glassing. But to them it’s brutal nothingness and they want to do something.

- I’ll add this one for those of you thinking of taking your older daughter or wife out hunting and I mean it in all seriousness. Keep your hunting rig stocked with feminine hygiene products (glove box) as you will be that time of the month will hit on opening day. Besides, leaving a new one tied to a buddies door handle on his truck you find out in the woods is a riot.

- It’s blazing hot out and you just finished gutless method on two javelina and she wants you to cut open the guts and see what’s inside. You do it and give the best review of organs you can. If she wants you to cut the heart open you do. You never know, she might find it so fascinating that it leads to her becoming a heart surgeon. If she wants you to cut the stomach open you do, but hold your breath before you do. I don’t think she’ll EVER ask me to do that again. We laughed quite a while over that one.

- Make it fun and try to book hunts with her friends or other kids her age. Get her out to youth camps and let her mingle with the other kids and hear the stories they have. They seem to learn a lot from others their own age and not us old farts.

- If you can let her choose some of the details about the hunt. If it’s the third day of the hunt and you’re stumped where to go and what to do, give her some ideas and let her pick. If it turns out you find critters and she gets one SHE gets the credit. GOT THAT DAD?

- take photos – tons of them and let her take photos too! Kids take the coolest pictures.

Lastly – and the one I failed to master but learn how not to cry your eyes out that first time she fills a tag. If you figure that one out let me know. I have a second kid to go through this all again.

Dad and Daughter Javelina

Dad and Daughter Javelina