Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

August 8, 2008
Postgame notes

OAKLAND -- Michael Bush said he was halfway in tears prior to going on the field for the first time.

If Lane Kiffin had any tears, they would be of joy because he saw exactly what he wanted from Bush.

Kiffin said he was especially impressed with Bush's feet. He weighs almost 250 pounds, but moves extremely well.

Bush said he knows because he's a big guy and defenders like to go for his legs, he has to have quick feet.

Bush ran for 27 yards in eight carries and a five-yard touchdown, stepping through Niners safety D.J. Parker on the way.

*Darren McFadden said he was nervous until he got hit.

*It looks like if Kififn has more than one running back he likes, he will mix it up. Last year he rarely did that, but with Bush, McFadden and Justin Fargas he said he likes the idea of changing things up.

He said it's what USC did with Reggie Bush and LenDale White to keep defenses off balance.

*Kiffin was happy the Raiders didn't have any turnovers and came away with four.

*Tommy Kelly looked strong in the middle. That's good news for the run defense. He'll get better as he gets into better shape. Kelly was left in for a few extra snaps along with Gerard Warren to get some extra work for conditioning purposes.

*The passing game still needs work and thankfully for the Raiders they have a little time. I have to wonder if the long pass Javon Walker didn't go up and catch from JaMarcus Russell might have been different if he were in better shape. Expect Kiffin to really push Walker now that he has game film of him not getting up high to make a catch.

*Johnnie Lee Higgins returning a punt for a touchdown and another punt for good yardage that was negated by a penalty was another positive. Kiffin attributed Higgins play (which included a snag of a quick slant from Russell for a first down) to improved confidence and work in the weight room.

Maybe new strength coach Brad Roll will end up being the team MVP.

*Kiffin said Sebastian Janikowski hurt his left leg in practice on Wednesday. He doesn't expect it to be a major issue and hopes Jano will be able to kick in the next preseason game.

*Tyvon Branch will have surgery on his injured right thumb. It's another injury Kiffin doesn't think is serious, even though Branch will have surgery. Branch came back into the game wearing a cast.

"I ran down on punt and caught a helmet in the pile," Branch said.

*Kiffin liked what he saw from the first-team in run defense.

*Didn't talk to Russell after the game. By time reporters got into the locker room, Russell was gone.

*Kiffin also noted the play of Greg Spires at defensive as a plus with the second unit.

*The Raiders ran for 248 yards and averaged six yards a run. The 49ers netted 70 yards on the ground.

*In an attempt to rest Shane Lechler, expect the Raiders to go for it on fourth down in the preseason more often than they would during the regular season.

--Jason Jones

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About Raiders Blog and Q&A

Matt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee's sports staff in fall 2011.

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