Tag Archives: Maria Torres

Profiles

The first piece I’m linking to is written by Lou Somogyi for Blue and Gold Illustrated about a little-known record now held by Notre Dame receiver TJ Jones. It’s not a typical profile in that it doesn’t see Jones through a story. Instead, it just focuses on his stats and the context of their importance. But I chose it because I thought it was a different way to do a profile on your beat, something other than the typical “from hero to zero” idea.

I chose a more standard profile by the Fresno Bee’s Bryant-Jon Anteola, this one about Fresno State’s freshman Jamal Ellis. It’s very typical in that it is the story of a player growing up on the field, but it stands out to me because Anteola uses game action in the text, which is something I guess I hadn’t considered doing before. He describes what Ellis did against San Diego State on a very deep level and how he improved for the game against Nevada.

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The Maria Torres Story: Influenced By Her Father, Motivated By Trade Rumors

Maria Torres, a University of Georgia journalism student, does not claim that she knew from the moment she was born that she wanted to write about sports. In fact, it took Torres until her early teens to discover a burning love for baseball that still resides within her today.

Growing up, Torres’ father was always a big baseball fan. He rooted for the Yankees, and Torres justifies this by saying he roots for the brand, not the team in which she is not too fond of today. But when her dad was engulfed in the 2003 World Series between “his” Yankees and the Florida Marlins, Torres discovered that there was something there that sirened her towards the draw of the sport.

Giddy about her new passion, Torres found herself in uncharted territory.

“It was never really on my radar,” Torres said. “I did not play sports growing up, as my parents never really emphasized that, and I never really thought about watching sports on television.”

But it was too late. A passion was quickly struck for the hometown baseball team, the Atlanta Braves, and particularly for one of their better players: Andruw Jones.

So when Jones trade talks heated up in 2006, Torres got her first taste of interacting with the baseball media, calling into a radio show to voice her opinion on the rumors.

“I wrote it down, and knew exactly what I was going to say,” Torres said. “I just went off on a tangent on how I did not want him gone because he helped the Braves go from the 90s funk that they got through, all the way to 2006, and helped the Braves along. I was insistent on the fact that they could not trade him!”

Today, Torres finds herself in a sports writing class within the Grady College of Journalism at UGA, and covers the women’s softball team for the school paper, the Red & Black.

Torres continues to bond with her father through the game of baseball, as they are able to relate the sport to any other life conversations that may come up along the way.

“We talk about sports stuff,” Torres said. “My dad is my go-to for anything, whenever I am having a crisis for anything with journalism and sports.  I learned from him what I know about baseball.”


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From couch to web: How Logan Booker made sports writing a “living”

Logan Booker’s involvement in sports media started on his couch.

He’d been laid off in 2009, along with the millions of other people who lost their jobs after the recession. He was 27 and he didn’t have a college degree, so he wasn’t able to stand out in the potential employee market.

Without anything else to do, he fell back on writing, something he’d always been passionate about. He opened a blog and started ranting about University of Georgia football, commenting on all its glories and pitfalls.

“I’d read people’s blogs all the time but I’d always just commented on them,” Booker said. “It was my way of voicing my expressions, so I decided to make my blog its own so I could put my content into articles. It started as just a big time-killing hobby.”

But eventually his ramblings started to draw the eyes of many, including a better-known blogger who asked Booker to join forces with him and combine audiences. That partner later made a deal with Bulldawg Illustrated, a publication that was strictly print-based at the time, so that he and Booker could overhaul the publication’s online presence.

Suddenly Booker found himself with a larger audience than ever before, averaging 10,000 or more hits per article and gaining hundreds of Twitter follows (he stands at 3,089 followers). With access to practices and coaches, he was able not only to comment on Georgia football but to report on it. A new avenue opened up for him, one that was completely different from the job he’d lost as a copywriter for the advertising agency JWT.

Booker also decided to back to school while he worked on his first blog. And he did it so well that he got into the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication after a stint at Georgia Perimeter College, where he graduated with a 3.9 GPA and an Associate’s degree in Writing.

Now, in classrooms surrounded by people who are about 10 years his junior, he’s two years away from a Bachelor’s degree in journalism and working as a sportswriter “for a living.”

“I consider it a success story, just a little later than most people,” he said. “And by living I mean $250 a month. Rolling in the dough.”

Fresno State has challenges ahead before landing its first “big-time” bowl appearance

Even with a schedule that doesn’t feature marquee teams, it won’t be easy for Fresno State to keep itself in the running for a high-profile BCS bowl.

After being ranked No. 17 in the initial BCS standings, the Bulldogs are in a prime position to reach their first “big-time bowl” in school history.

Of the 24 bowl games Fresno State has appeared in, its highest profile one was the 2005 Liberty Bowl. This year, with six games left and only one of them against a team that is currently over .500 (Wyoming), the Bulldogs have reason to believe they can win out, especially considering the performance of teams that were expected to be in contention for the national title.

But with no games scheduled against ranked opponents, Fresno State will have to continue to dominate defensively against teams that rush for more yards than the Bulldogs do. The Bulldogs have allowed opponents to gain 1078 yards rushing. Up next for them is San Diego State, which has gained 1133 yards on carries. After riding a three-game losing streak to open the season, the Aztecs were able to rebound for three straight wins, evening out their record at 3-3.

If the Bulldogs pull off a win this Saturday against San Diego State, they will be 7-0 for the first time since 1991. Head coach Tim DeRutyer told Robert Kuwada of the Fresno Bee that the Aztecs’ momentum would still be challenging because it’s a road game, “which is always tough.”

“Most non-BCS schools, one loss is going to knock you out, and our guys know that,” he said.

When they face Wyoming in three weeks, they’ll be up against a team that has so far carried for 1419 yards and passed for 2112.

And since their lead running back Marteze Waller (408 yards in 75 carries and four touchdowns) won’t be getting much action after spraining his right foot against the University of Nevada-Las Vegas last week, the Bulldogs will have to find a way to keep going offensively. They’re currently averaging 45.8 points per game and allowing 30.2.

It’s a good thing the Bulldogs have senior quarterback Derek Carr to fall back on. He’s passed for 23 touchdowns (second to Sean Mannion of Oregon State) and is sixth overall in passing yards (2276).

Brigham Young’s sophomore quarterback Taysom Hill had only started one game away from home in his entire career before Saturday’s match-up against Utah State. So, Jay Drew, who covers the Cougars for the Salt Lake Tribune, posed the question in one of his blogs if Hill would be able to perform in a hostile environment.

Hill showed he might have issues playing outside of the friendly confines of LaVell Edwards Stadium when he threw 13-for-40 in BYU’s season opener at Virginia. He had almost been a hero after scoring a go-ahead touchdown with 6:26 left in the game. But when he got the ball with less than two and a half minutes on the clock and Virginia in the lead by three, he threw four straight incompletions at the BYU 41. In his previous possession, he’d also thrown an interception. Virginia held onto win by a slim 19-16 margin.

However, Hill did manage to pass for 175 yards against the Cavaliers.

Since the opener, Hill’s efficiency has increased. Zac Ellis of Sports Illustrated wrote, “Hill had performed as merely a rushing quarterback this season” before encountering Utah State. Hill turned that around in the game against Utah this weekend. He reached some career highs in passing. His completion total went up to 54.8 percent and he gained 278 yards in the air.

Maybe it was just the thrill of starting an away game for the first time that caused Hill to falter in Virginia. Whatever the case may be, he can now take some comfort in knowing he won’t always choke if he’s not at home.

Sophomore slot back gets call for Navy in upcoming game against Western Kentucky

Navy assistant coach Danny O’Rourke announced Tuesday DeBrandon Sanders would make his first collegiate start against Western Kentucky on Saturday, bumping slot back Geoffrey Whiteside, who might sit out the whole game, from the starting lineup.

Whiteside, a junior, made his debut as a starter in the Midshipmen’s season opener against Indiana on Sept. 7, when he rushed for 97 yards in nine tries, according to his ESPN player card. His next start came a week later against Delaware. That time, he rushed 30 yards in three attempts with two touchdowns, bringing his average yards per rush to 10.6.

But Sanders, a sophomore, in seven carries this season (just five less than Whiteside) has gained 86 yards for a yards per rush average of 12.3. In an ideal world where Sanders’ average stood and he carried the ball five more times without Whiteside getting action, he’d have 147 yards to Whiteside’s 127.

Since Western Kentucky’s opponents have averaged 5.1 yards per rush attempt, Navy would benefit from starting the running back with the second-best rushing average on the team. Granted, Sanders’ sample size is smaller in comparison to Whiteside’s, but Sanders has another thing going for him. Against Delaware, he ran for 86 yards on three catches, including a 63-yard reception where he connected with quarterback Keenan Reynolds for a touchdown, the first of Sanders’ career. Whiteside has yet to catch a touchdown pass in his three receptions this season.