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Verner’s return a healing touch

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.“Just relax, have popcorn, something to drink and watch the game on TV,” he said. Instead of hectic, the game had moments when everything slowed down and fell into perfect place for the Bruin sophomore. Verner picked up the spirits of his father, not to mention UCLA coach Karl Dorrell, the UCLA team and Bruin fans who truly are loyal, with two interceptions, one of which he returned for the touchdown that sealed UCLA’s 30-21 upset victory over then-No. 10 Cal. He was thinking about his father. “I can’t wait to get on the phone and talk to him,” he said shortly after the game. Flowers and cards are nice when you’re home recovering from surgery. Alterraun Verner, well-mannered young man that he is, had a better way to pick up the spirits of his father who, he said, had minor surgery. The surgery was major enough for Robert Verner to remain at home in Carson while UCLA played California. Verner, a UCLA cornerback, did not want his father to have to deal with a hectic Saturday football afternoon in the Rose Bowl. The big play of the day came with UCLA nursing a 23-21 lead with slightly more than a minute and a half remaining in the game. It’s hard to dispute negative Bruin fans, fans who no doubt booed the team earlier in the game, who could see nothing but gloom and doom after Cal freshman Jahvid Best returned the kickoff following a field goal 59 yards. Faith in Dorrell has eroded as fast as he fires offensive coordinators. Cal’s headliner is DeSean Jackson, a gifted junior wide receiver from Long Beach Poly High. So gifted there is reason to wonder why USC, which has had a pipeline to Poly seemingly since the leather helmet era, did not work harder to recruit him. The Trojans believed they landed the top prep receiver in the nation when Patrick Turner, a junior best known for dropping passes, signed with them. On the big play Saturday, with third-and-5 on the UCLA 30 and the Bears thinking first down, Cal quarterback Nate Longshore had to like what he saw when he scanned the Bruin defense. Jackson was one-on-one against Verner. That’s soon-to-be 21-year-old Jackson with 138 receptions in slightly more than two and a half seasons one-on-one against not-yet 19-year-old Verner. It had to seem ridiculous to Longshore. Doesn’t UCLA know about child labor laws? All that turned out to be ridiculous was the manner in which Verner shadowed Jackson, catlike, and pounced forward as Longshore cranked to throw and got to the ball before the helpless Jackson. The perfect read was the perfect marriage of natural ability and raw instincts with knowledge and acquired instincts that come with hard work, good coaching and attention to detail during film study in which popcorn is not served. If Longshore had been excited when he saw the matchup, it was Verner who was pumped as the ball was thrown. “I was like, `Catch it, catch it,”‘ Verner said. “I had to calm myself down. If I had dropped it, I would have been devastated.” It was the Bears who were devastated. In two Saturdays, they went from thinking about the national championship to contemplating playing in the Rose Bowl to becoming a candidate to play in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, aka the Crash Landing Bowl. It was the Bruins who were elated. They have gone from scratching their heads as they wondered how they let the season slip away with inexplicable losses to Utah and Notre Dame to sharing the Pacific-10 Conference lead with Arizona State. Disproving the theory that the quick guys with bad hands become defensive backs, Verner held the ball Longshore threw and sprinted to the end zone. He has four interceptions at UCLA. He has returned three for touchdowns, equaling the Bruin career record. “Have you ever been caught from behind (after intercepting a pass)?” a curious reporter asked. Verner thought for a moment. Then he thought some more. He did not want to provide incorrect information. “In high school or anywhere?” he asked. Anywhere counts. Verner thought back, back, back. Anywhere includes playing Junior All-America Football with the Carson Colts. “Not that I remember,” he said. When Longshore and Jackson are asked about Verner, they’ll remember. Clearing out the mini-notebook … Go figure: Verner was named Pacific-10 Conference Defensive Player of the Week. He’s the sixth Bruin Pac-10 Player of the Week this season. Along with Verner, there’s quarterback Ben Olson, cornerback Trey Brown, punter Aaron Perez, kick returner Matthew Slater and place kicker Kai Forbath. USC has had one Pac-10 Player of the Week – tailback Stafon Johnson. … Opinion: USC at Oregon is the first genuine test for the Trojans this season. Despite all the attention being paid to quarterbacks Mark Sanchez and John David Booty, the key to the game will be the ability of USC to establish a running game. … Bottom line: For all the negative things you can say about Al Davis, when he decided it was time to replace Tom Flores as coach of the then-Los Angeles Raiders, he did it without any silly smokescreens. By way of contrast, you have George Steinbrenner making a you-know-he’s-going- to-turn-it-down 30 percent cut in pay offer Joe Torre was guaranteed to turn down to remain manager of the Yankees. [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. 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first_imgPhoto was taken at the Fullerton Farm at Beam Dumfries from where Eunice O Neill emmigrated to the US in 1869. Her Grandson Thomas P O Neill II went on to become Speaker of the House of Representatives and served from 1977 to 1987 Names Left to Right Nicholas Crossan (Chair person of Tip O Neill Committee) Carl Fullerton (Tip O Neill Committee) Tom O Neill (Son of Tip) Christopher (Kip) O Neill (Son of Tip)TAOISEACH ENDA Kenny has paid tribute to the organisers of a Donegal Diaspora weekend in Buncrana, named in honour of the late great Tip O’Neill.Niall O’Dowd, the US publisher, was awarded the inaugural Tip O’Neill Donegal Diaspora Award at a glittering ceremony at the Inishowen Gateway Hotel last night.The weekend saw more than 80 members of the Irish American politician’s family in Buncrana, many visiting the family homestead at Dumfries which the O’Neill’s bought from an ancestor more than 30 years ago. It was the culmination of years of hard work by former mayor Nicholas Crossan, supported by many members of the Fullerton family – direct descendants of O’Neill’s grandmother who left for America in the 1860s.Tip went on to become one of the most powerful men in America as Speaker of the House of Representatives in Washington. He was a frequent visitor to Ireland and to Buncrana – and kept a picture of the homestead on his desk in DC.O’Dowd paid tribute to O’Neill after receiving the award last night from Pat Hume, wife of veteran SDLP politician John Hume, and a close friend of Tip.O’Neill had worked tirelessly for the peace process, encouraging Hume to continue his work for peace during some of the darkest days of the Troubles. The Irish-American politician passed away in 1994. December marks the 100th anniversary of his birth. Yesterday family members including his daughter Susan visited the family homestead.In a warm message read out at the Inishowen Gateway last night, Taoiseach Enda Kenny spoke of his delight at meeting the O’Neills in Dublin earlier this week.He congratulated Buncrana Town Council and Donegal County Council on the initiative.Mr Kenny said Tip O’Neill was a great politician who had worked so hard for America, but he had also worked hard for Ireland.“He is also remembered in Donegal and throughout Ireland as a steadfast and firm friend. Tip O’Neill made a huge contribution to assisting the land of his ancestors, not least in terms of helping to bring peace and stability to this country as well as contributing to its social and economic wellbeing,” he said. He also praised Niall O’Dowd, saying he was a fitting recipient of the inaugural award for his contribution to America and Irish-America and serving them with “distinction.”The Taoiseach said it was appropriate that Pat Hume presented the award because of her work and the work of John Hume alongside Tip O’Neill in the peace process.Donegal County Council Director of Services Michael Heaney said the weekend of events was part of The Gathering 2013 when Donegal would reach out to its diaspora across the globe, encouraging people to visit here and supporting those who wanted to bring investment and business ideas home.A statue of Tip O’Neill will be unveiled in Buncrana later today (Saturday) sculpted by Burt-based artist Maurice Harron. TAOISEACH PAYS TRIBUTE TO TIP O’NEILL DONEGAL DIASPORA ORGANISERS was last modified: September 8th, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more