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Jan 14 2018, 03:16 PM
Portland Pythons runningback Borro Gore recently sat down with our NBC Sports Portland reporter Jerry McNerry to talk about his start to the season, his role with the team, and more.
JM: Hey Borro, thanks for taking some time out of your busy training schedule to have a chat with us!
BG: It's my pleasure, always love talking to the media. Gives the people a chance to get to know me a little better.
JM: And they already seem to love you quite a bit! A lot of Portland fans have been clamoring for you to get a bigger share of the runningback workload, do you agree with that sentiment?
BG: Yeah, as a competitor I'd love to get the ball more. I think I'm the best runningback in the DSFL, so yeah I'd love the ball. But I know [Portland's current starting runningback] Goose knows the offense well and he's been playing like a beast, so it's a tricky situation. I'm just glad to be getting work on the field and I know bigger things are coming for me.
JM: Is it ever frustrating to watch a guy who people don't consider a high profile back, a "meat and potatoes" type runningback, getting a bigger workload than you?
BG: I wouldn't say frustrating. The first three or four weeks it's expected, you know? He's had a lot more time training as a professional, so he had a leg up on me. And when you're joining a team late in the offseason like I did, that's another setback. But we're starting to win some games, and that helps everything.
JM: That seems to be the case, doesn't it. How do you feel like you've done so far in the role you've been given on this team?
BG: I think I'm doing alright. Between the 20s I need to step my game up a little more. I'm not seeing the field like I should be and I'm not capitalizing on my strength or speed like I want to be. But I think I'm playing well in the red zone. It felt good to get a couple of scores against the Solar Bears, finally breaking that end zone. Your first professional touchdown is one you'll remember, and even if it's a one yard run, I'm happy I was able to do enough to get in the end zone. Then to get another later that game and another a few weeks later, I'm happy about that.
JM: You're actually tied for the league lead in rushing touchdowns, did you know that?
BG: I didn't! That's pretty cool man, that's pretty good. I'd like to not be tied and have the lead to myself, but I'll take it. I don't want to be a goal line back for the rest of my life, but being able to find the end zone down there is a skill that I know some teams will value down the line. So I just keep up my philosophy of maximizing every chance I get on that field.
JM: Let's shift to the Pythons, how do you think the season is going so far?
BG: Coming on strong and only getting stronger! We're going to surprise some teams. We started a little slow, but I think everyone in that locker room was confident about where we stand this season. We had some things to work on early, but we're setting ourselves up for a run. Our guys are playing well right now. Storm, Aaron, McPoyal, and Roenick are all great players for our offense. I know I'm the last one who needs to step up in a big time role for us to take it to another level and get a chance to defend our Ultimini. I'm up for it.
JM: Well, we'll all be rooting for you here at NBC Sports Portland. Thanks for the time, Borro.
BG: Anytime, Jerry. Be good.GRADED
Jan 6 2018, 01:41 PM
In week 3 of the DSFL season, two 0-2 teams will face off for a chance to turn their early season woes around.
The Portland Pythons will travel to Palm Beach to take on the newly branded Solar Bears this Tuesday. Both teams struggled early in the season to the surprise of some. The Solar Bears fell to the San Antonio Marshalls and Tijuana Luchadores, while the Portland Pythons fell to the Norfolk SeaWolves and Kansas City Coyotes.
Both teams faced difficult starts to the season, being forced to go on the road for both games. The Solar Bears have an early advantage in this matchup, however, as they'll make their debut at their home field in Palm Beach. It will be interesting to see what the fan turnout is like for their first game since moving from Chicago in the dark of night.
The Solar Bears are led by their quarterback and wide receiver combo of Jim McMahon and Dennis McKinnon, along with an incredibly balanced and solid offensive line. They also boast a speed demon at the running back position, Walter Payton. Through two games, McMahon has gone 38/84 with 532 yards and 3 touchdowns. Although his passing yard numbers are solid, he'll need to be a more accurate passer to extend drives. Incompletions and dropped passes plagued the Solar Bears during their first too games, but the Solar Bears coaching staff and front office are pleased with his ability to throw the ball downfield.
The biggest critique fans had for the Solar Bears so far has been their inability to get Walter Payton the ball in open space. After only gaining 21 yards in the first game, Payton found a bit of a groove in game two and rushed for 84 yards. They'll need more of that from Payton if they want to have a chance at the Ultimini this season.
Likewise, Dennis McKinnon has been quiet so far. He's had 6 receptions for only 43 yards through his first two games and the growing pains connecting with Jim McMahon have been palpable so far. There were quite a few instances of the quarterback and receiver getting their wires crossed, and they'll need to work on their communication and get on the same page reading defenses before Portland game. There's little doubt that they'll eventually click, both players are considered among the most talented on the team and they've regularly been seen after practice running route trees vs. various defensive looks. Look out for a big game from McKinnon this week.
They'll be facing off against a stout Portland front seven, anchored by Norman Bagwell, the prize acquisition of Portland's draft this past offseason. Bagwell has been one of the few bright spots for Portland so far, amassing 7 tackles and 2 sacks so far on this opening road trip. He'll need to continue to be a terror and pressure Jim McMahon in order for the Portland defense to stop the Solar Bears dynamic offense.
Egan Winter and Alexander Barclay are the top two corners for Portland and they'll be tasked with the responsibility of keeping Dennis McKinnon quiet for one more week. Bobby Ruckus so far has shown a lot of diversity in his game, with an ability to step up in the run game while also able to be a safety net in the passing game. Ruckus had 8 tackles in his season debut, but had a quieter 3 tackle second game. The Portland staff loves Ruckus as a player, but they're looking for more of what they say game one, where Ruckus is flying around the field making tackles left and right. He'll be a key piece to stopping Walter Payton make any game breaking players.
On the other side of the ball, the entire Portland offense struggled throughout the first two games. Austin Roenick has passed for 327 yards and 2 touchdowns through two, and they'll need much more from him going forward. Very few doubt Roenick's talent as a thrower, and he's one of the smartest quaterbacks in the DSFL today, so it will be interesting to see if he can get back on track this week against the Solar Bears. The encouraging about the pass game so far is how Dwayne Aaron has looked. He's had 12 receptions for 126 yards and two touchdowns. He's been a reliable outside receiver for this team and has probably been their best offensive performer thus far.
Borro Gore is a player who fell short of expectations so far. He was expected to come in and be the lead back, but he's only racked up 66 yards in two games. John Goose has been the more impressive back, with 100+ yards on 29 carries. Judging from reports coming out of the Portland camp, Gore should start to see an increased workload in the coming weeks, but the position is still far from solidified.
Another player expected to make a leap sometime this season is Glenn McPoyal. The young tight end has made major strides in practice, but hasn't had a huge impact in game yet. He's another piece of the Portland puzzle that must start to click if they want any chance at making a real defense of last seasons Ultimini title.
Finally, after a very disappointing first few weeks, Portland kicker Adrienne Nugent will need to get back on track. He had a similar start last season before coming on strong, and the Portland staff is hoping for a similar turnaround this season. The most worrying part of their special teams is Nugent, who has been known to skip practices on a somewhat regular basis. The Pythons even resorted to holding and open tryout for the position, but had little success finding anyone they thought would be a hands down improvement over Nugent.
Overall, this should be a close and exciting game. Both teams are making early season adjustments, and both should come out firing in week 3. Since we're a Portland based newspaper, there may be some bias here, but we expect the Pythons to take care of business and win in a close game, 31-27.GRADED
Jan 5 2018, 01:09 PM
A flurry of reports about the reasons behind Borro Gore's academic dismissal from the University of Miami continue to emerge. Initially reported as being deemed ineligible from the school, it now appears that Gore was actually quietly asked to leave the school all together.
According to sources, Borro had set up an elaborate ring of "helpers" who would shadow all of his classes. All of these shadow figures were students at the University of Miami, and they would attend all of Borro's classes, do the homework, take the tests, etc. Bore typically had one of these students shadowing per class he was enrolled in during a given semester.
At this point you may be thinking, so what? He had a study buddy for every class to help him understand the material and perform well in the classes. Well, it now appears that they not only attended the classes, they were doing the assignments and submitting their work as Borro Gore.
The most bizarre story comes from a professor of an introductory math class the University offered which Bore reportedly enrolled in. The professor who wished to remain anonymous, said that Gore was actually one of his favorite students. He would actively participate in lectures, did very well on all of the tests and assignments, and would help other struggling students understand concepts in smaller sessions led by teacher's assistants.
Gore and the professor got along famously. Now, the professor wasn't much of a football fan, and didn't see Gore as a football player, he saw him as a bright, young student who was excelling in one of his classes. The professor, on a whim, decided to attend a football game during Borro's sophomore season at Miami, the homecoming game near the end of the season. He usually made a habit of attending at least one game per year, but had gone a couple of years without attending a game. He figured no better time to attend now that one of his favorite students was a highly regarded player on the team.
That's when things got very, very strange. Early in the 1st quarter, Borro Gore scored a touchdown and his picture flashed on the jumbotron. Except in the professor's eyes, that wasn't Borro Gore. He brushed it off as a mistake by the jumbotron operator. Except it kept happening. Every time Borro Gore touched the ball, the same unfamiliar picture flashed on the score board.
After the game, the professor managed to find a leftover game program which featured head shots of all the players on the roster. Again, he saw the same stranger in the picture where the Borro Gore's face he knew should have been. At this point, he felt a pit in his stomach and knew something was wrong.
The following week, "Borro Gore" walked into the professors classroom. He had kept the program from the game to be sure, and his suspicion was confirmed as he looked back and forth between the picture and person sitting in his classroom. After the lecture ended, the professor asked Gore to stick around for a minute. He dropped the program in front of the faux Gore, and that's when the jig was up. This young man was actually a graduate student, and broke down in tears when confronted with the allegation. He immediately confessed to the entire operation.
Borro Gore had met plenty of people as a star football player for the University, and many more than willing to go out of their way to help Gore. Gore kept in contact with anyone who mentioned they were graduate students or on an honor roll, and would ask them for help in his classes. At this point it's unclear how he managed to convince them to help him in his classes or if there were multiple instances of people actually impersonating him. According to students in other classes, they were certain that the real Borro Gore did regularly attend their class. Based on our investigation, it would appear that in most cases Gore would attend and simply cheat off of the students shadowing him by copying their work, or simply turning their work in as his own. We've found that there were at least 10 students involved in helping Gore during his first three semesters at the University of Miami.
Over the course of the next few months, reports surfaced that Borro Gore was found academically ineligible and would be forced to sit out the entire following season. That was an unusually harsh step for failing a class, and led many people to speculate how exactly he had earned that type of punishment. Borro Gore quickly announced his intention to submit his name to enter the DSFL.
Fans and boosters alike hounded school message boards and local radio shows, lambasting the University of Miami football staff and administration alike for how they handled the situation. All of them clearly had no idea the extent of what actually happened, and it's unclear why the school wasn't forthright what happened initially. According to a source of ours, the plan was for Miami officials to privately convince Gore to leave the school under the pretense he was simply suspended, when in actuality was was expelled, but they wanted to save both sides the embarrassment of explaining what happened.
It's unclear how this happened under the nose of the Miami athletic department, who typically are instrumental in making sure their players attend classes and are keeping up in class. Perhaps Borro's success early in his academic career gave him a little additional slack with the staff. After all, Borro is extremely well spoken and charming when he conducts interviews, and appears to be a bright young man.
Gore did not respond to a request to be interviewed about these reports, but instead referred us to his agent. His agent simply said, "I cannot confirm or deny any of those reports, as I didn't work with Borro during that time. It was a non-factor for our professional relationship, so it was never discussed." The Portland Pythons struck a similar tone off the record and said they are still enthused to have Borro Gore on the team, but didn't offer up a comment to be published in the article.GRADED
Jan 4 2018, 07:52 PM
It was a somber scene in the Portland Pythons locker room. After their second straight loss to open the season, while also being the defending champions, there was a palpable frustration in the air with players visibly upset.
"That was ugly, man. No one wants to go out there and lose two in a row. I just got here, but I feel a sense of responsibility for defending our championship. That's not how we want to start," Borro Gore commented. "It's feels horrible, but we have to remember that it's early, a lot of new guys stepping up. It's not time to roll over and give up. We'll get better next week when we take on the Solar Bears. We've got to forget about what happened these last couple of weeks and move on to the next game."
Borro Gore came in as a relative unknown in this league, but he's been impressing some of his teammates with his work ethic. His progress during practice has been easy to see as he has gained more familiarity with his teammates and the offensive scheme. Gore was one of the few players to offer up their locker to the media to ask questions after the game. When asked about his personal performances in the game, "I mean, it felt good running out there again, getting some of that contact I missed. I think I had some good runs, I think there were some runs where I made the wrong read or cut too early, or didn't cut early enough. I think I made a step in proving I can be a feature back in this league, coming in without much time to prepare or learn the system. But I'm not there yet. There's a lot of tape I've got to watch and learn from, so I'm just excited to play the next game because I know it's going to be easier every week."
Borro didn't dominate in either game, but he put up consistent numbers and seemed to find space where there didn't appear to be any. Both games found the Pythons in a rut, and they didn't call as many runs as they may have in a closer contest. Overall, the Pythons run offense performed well, but it wasn't enough to earn them a victory.
It's also worth mentioning that the Pythons had to go on the road for their first two games, a grueling task for any DSFL team to start the season. "That was different, I know the DSFL isn't the big leagues yet, but those fans are intense. They let you hear it out there. Being new to the offense and having all that noise constantly, there were a few plays called and I couldn't hear at all. I don't know all the signs from the sideline yet either so I couldn't pick it up that way either. The DSFL is no joke, I'm not sure if it's always been like this, but that was a wild atmosphere. I'm pumped to see how our fans turn out when we're at home."
Borro Gore ended his media session with a message for the fans, "Stick with us. We'll be alright. It's early and I've been in the locker room for a couple weeks now, we're going to be alright. You've got to trust me on that. The staff knows what they're doing, us players are working our asses off every week. We're going to hold each other accountable and make sure we put the best team on the field every week. It's a long season and we're still working on playing as a team, that just takes some time. We're on the road again next week, but come out week 4 and support us, I promise we won't let you down this season!"GRADED
Jan 3 2018, 10:45 PM
Just two days before his first professional game, Borro Gore signed his first professional contract.
The Portland Pythons play their first game on Thursday night, and Borro Gore arrived in the city of Portland for the first time in his life early Wednesday morning. He signed his first professional contract electronically the day prior.
"Didn't know that was even possible. Technology these days, am I right?" Borro commented.
Borro will have one day of practice before Portland takes on the Norfolk SeaWolves Thursday night. Not a full practice, mind you, just a walkthrough.
"Taking it slow, man. It's tough to pick up an offense in just a day. I think coach said we'll be going with a committee approach until I get a grasp on the playbook." When pressed on if he liked the idea of being in a running back by committee, Gore said, "Hell no, I don't think any running back in their right mind wants to be in a committee. You've got to be the baddest dude on the field when you're at this position. Cocky as hell and fearless. That's what my high school coach taught me. That means you have to have that dog inside of you, that never wants to leave the field."
The Pythons certainly love that mentality in Borro, but they'll need more than a good attitude in the running back they've put their hopes in, they need an effective rusher. Without an alternative viable long term starter at running back, Borro Gore has a giant role to fill for the defending Ultimini champions.
"There's a lot of pressure on me for sure. But I love that. I'm an unknown commodity, hell, even the Pythons probably don't even know what they're getting from me. I can't wait to show them though, man. It might take some time, but people will look back and wonder how I flew under the radar like I did, I can guarantee you that."
Borro Gore has been putting all of his energy in learning the Portland system and winning against the SeaWolves. Despite a hectic past couple of days, Borro is confident that despite what might be a limited role, he expects to still impress his team and fans.
"The offense we run here is different than what I've run in the past. The terminology is different. Everything just feels a little different. I feel like I've got a good football mind and pick things up pretty quickly, and it helps having a great coach and staff. And Austin (Roenick) has been helping me out, he put in some extra work today after walkthrough getting the mesh point and footwork down. It's I know coach said I'm splitting time this week, but I'm going to try and convince him tomorrow to change that up next week," he said with a grin.
When asked what he's looking forward to most, Borro quickly replied, "Hitting somebody! I miss that thud. It's been a few months, you know. Haven't had that contact that you get in a game in a while. Lowering my shoulder, ripping through arm tackles, that's the part of the game I love. Other than that, there's just a feeling you get before a game. Like a combination of anxiety and stress, and hell maybe sometimes a little fear. It fuels me." Borro expanded on what he thinks causes any fear before a game, "I think it's just the fear of letting your teammates down. If I didn't have that fear of letting them down, I'm playing for myself. A lot of guys might laugh when I say I've got fear before a game, but I think it's natural, man. That's where the will to run through a wall for the guys on your left and right. If you don't have that in you, you're at a disadvantage."GRADED