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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS | Northridge Notebook

Brady Benefits From Personal Growth

March 24, 2000|VINCE KOWALICK

A bigger, broader Marcus Brady arrived at spring football practice Wednesday at Cal State Northridge.

For two seasons, Brady has been the Matadors' spark, a scrambling, play-making quarterback who burst onto the scene as a freshman out of San Diego Morse High and was selected Big Sky Conference newcomer of the year.

But Brady has spent much of his time at Northridge improvising behind porous protection and has taken lumps. An ankle injury last season slowed him down the stretch. By season's end, he was battered.

This season Brady will be better prepared to absorb--and deliver--blows. He gained 10 pounds during the off-season working out with a personal trainer in San Diego, building his 6-foot-1 frame to 190 pounds.

"My legs have improved a lot," Brady said. "I feel stronger, physically and mentally."

A less noticeable but equally important measure of Brady's growth continues to take place. After commanding the offense as an underclassman, Brady has comfortably assumed the role of team leader, on and off the field.

"I actually feel more like the man in charge this season," Brady said. "I was always the young guy out here, playing with older guys.

"On the field you feel the pressure and try to be a leader, but off the field you respect them as seniors. But those guys are gone now."

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The Matadors open Sept. 2 against Air Force at Colorado Springs. A game at Southwest Texas State follows, then Northridge plays its home and Big Sky Conference opener Sept. 16 against Northern Arizona.

Northridge will play at Weber State, Montana State, Cal State Sacramento and Portland State in their final season in the Big Sky. Northern Arizona, Idaho State, Montana and Eastern Washington play at Northridge.

Northridge will host a nonconference game against Cal Poly San Luis Obispo on Nov. 11.

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Northridge will have a new look on the road. The Matadors will sport new road uniforms--white jerseys and white pants adorned with red and black trim.

The jerseys will have "Northridge" imprinted across the chest.

"That's so when we're in Sports Illustrated, people will know who Air Force is playing," Coach Jeff Kearin said.

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No developments in the Bobby Braswell-to-Oregon-State saga. The Northridge men's basketball coach is recruiting this week while awaiting word whether he will be hired as the Beavers' coach.

Braswell, among six candidates who have interviewed to replace Eddie Payne, reportedly is Oregon State's No. 2 choice behind Colorado Coach Ritchie McKay, according to the Oregonian newspaper. Payne was fired after coaching the Beavers to five consecutive losing seasons.

Braswell, who this season led Northridge to a 20-10 record and within seconds of its first NCAA tournament berth, met with Mitch Barnhart, Oregon State Athletic Director, last week at Northridge.

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