Some athletes wear their emotions on their sleeve. Albert Fann, Cal State Northridge's All-American tailback, wears them on his elbow pads.
Fann printed the initials T. A., T. G. and K. L., then added an R. I. P. below. They stand for Tracy Anderson, Tom Gray and Ken Lesure, all former Northridge teammates who have died within the past four years.
Anderson, a senior linebacker, was gunned down on the streets of Pacoima, in September, 1988. Gray, a nose tackle, died of a heart ailment last December. Lesure was killed this summer in an accident on the Harbor Freeway. He had pulled to the side of the road to help a stranded motorist and was struck by a hit-and-run driver.
"It's my own little tribute to those guys," Fann said. "They were all great people."
What's in a name: The Moorpark College football team is 39-12 the past five seasons and was 9-2 and won the Western State Conference championship last season.
Yet Coach Jim Bittner apparently isn't known well enough in the college's athletic department to have his name spelled correctly.
When the school's sports information office issued a release this week previewing the 1990 team, Bittner's last name was misspelled--"Bitner"--six times. In two other instances the second 't' was written in.
However, the coach shouldn't feel too badly. Freddie Bradley, the Raiders' All-American tailback, had his first name spelled "Freddy." All Bradley did last season was rush for 1,266 yards and score 23 touchdowns.
Highly touted: Three Valley-area football teams are in the JC Athletic Bureau preseason Top 20. Moorpark (9-2 last season) is ranked sixth; Glendale (5-4-1) is 19th and Ventura (7-4) is 20th.
The Bureau picked Moorpark 11th nationally. Moorpark, at No. 9, is the only area team in Cal-Hi Sports Magazine's state Top 20.
Home from the range: Bob Shoup might have taken a sabbatical from Cal Lutheran, but he has not taken a sabbatical from football.
Shoup, the former Cal Lutheran coach, spent several weeks in the spring working as a volunteer coach with the University of New Mexico.
"That was a really enjoyable experience for me," said Shoup, who handled the specialists, outside linebackers and defensive backs during spring practice.
Champion assistant: It is somewhat fitting that Cal State Northridge women's volleyball Coach Walt Ker would hire a Division I veteran in conjunction with the team's move to Division I. The "vet," Mora Kanim, played on UCLA's 1984 national championship team and served as a Bruin graduate assistant in 1986.
The past three years she coached at Marymount High in Los Angeles and in the Zuma Bay U.S. Volleyball Assn. club program.
Kanim, and assistants Angela Brinton-Collins and Anna Garcia, both former CSUN stars, will be relied on heavily for scouting this season.
"Every opponent will be scouted or videotaped," Ker said. "I didn't have to rely on scouting reports in Division II because we played the teams so many times that I knew every team's idiosyncrasies. As for Division I, I see the Final Four every year, but I don't know the teams after that."
No bull: The Pierce College football program appears to be on the rise after posting 1-9 and 4-6 records the past two seasons.
"We're going to be a whole lot better this year," Coach Bob Enger said. Enger was hired two years ago when Pierce revived its program after a two-year hiatus brought on by budget cuts.
"If this year's team were to play last year's, we'd be in for a nice field day. . . . We expect to be in contention (for the division title) this year."
Enger's biggest goal, however, is to post a winning record. If the Brahmas can do that, he figures Pierce will start to land the quality players who have opted to play for other local schools in the past two seasons.
"Success breeds success," he said. "If we start winning again, the good players will want to come here. . . . Right now, we feel like there are two Pierces. One (in Woodland Hills) and one in (Moorpark)."
Enger's reference to Moorpark might have some validity--the Raiders have 21 players from San Fernando Valley high schools on this year's team.
Losing the edge: Although Pierce holds an 11-2 series lead against Moorpark, the Brahmas have been outscored, 106-20, in the past two meetings.
Pierce's most recent victory over Moorpark was a 27-14 win in the 1985 Brahma Bowl.
Macho mascot: Antelope Valley College has adopted a new "hard body" mascot to exemplify what the school believes is the desert dwelling-type of marauder the nickname is based upon.
However, the new mascot is only a logo and the flouncing fuzzball of a parrot (for pirate-type marauders) previously seen frolicking at Antelope Valley athletic events still will be on the sidelines.
Several years ago, the previous mascot's uniform, a duck suit, reportedly was blown up by the cannon that is shot when the football team scores.
Kirby Lee and staff writers Mike Hiserman, John Ortega, Brendan Healey and Theresa Munoz contributed to this notebook.