Jay Bulldogs football
|7 - 4||3 - 2||4 - 2||.636||304||261|
|2012-08-31||@||Vinita||W||23 - 14|
|2012-09-07||@||Grove||W||27 - 26|
|2012-09-14||vs||McDonald County. Mo.||W||32 - 26|
|2012-09-21||vs||Hilldale||L||7 - 26|
|2012-09-28||@||Lincoln Christian||L||27 - 34|
|2012-10-05||@||Locust Grove||W||41 - 12|
|2012-10-12||vs||Westville||W||48 - 12|
|2012-10-18||@||Seq. Tahlequah||W||15 - 0||8 OT|
|2012-10-26||vs||Keys (Park Hill)||L||20 - 42|
|2012-11-02||vs||Blackwell||W||36 - 14|
|2012-11-09||@||Stigler||L||28 - 55|
|Player Name||Number||Year||Height||Weight||Position (main)|
|There are no players associated with this team.|
Jay football News
NewsOK articles about Jay football, or articles mentioning current or former Jay football players.
Jay High School Varsity Boys Football
Mar 26, 2015
Upstate New York is a beautiful part of the country. Mountains. Lots of waters. Lots of quaint villages. Now, upstate New York in March is no fun. The snow can be gorgeous for about 15 minutes, but I’m already tired of it, after about 30 hours in Syracuse. I’m sure the locals, after a long, […]
Syracuse travelblog: A trip to Cooperstown
Berry Tramel | Mar 26, 2015[img url=http://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/3/2015/03/babe-ruth.jpg]3614906[/img] Upstate New York is a beautiful part of the country. Mountains. Lots of waters. Lots of quaint villages. Now, upstate New York in March is no fun. The snow can be gorgeous for about 15 minutes, but I'm already tired of it, after about 30 hours in Syracuse. I'm sure the locals, after a long, hard winter, can't wait for spring. Wednesday was our dead day in Syracuse. No basketball business. So we drove over to Cooperstown. We had visited Halls of Fame both Monday and Tuesday, no reason to stop now. The Baseball Hall of Fame waited in Cooperstown, so off we went. THE VILLAGE A copy of the weekly Cooperstown newspaper, The Freeman's Journal, sat on a counter, proclaiming “COOPERSTOWN’S NEWSPAPER FOR 207 YEARS.” Made us who work at The Oklahoman and the Tulsa World and the Norman Transcript, all in the neighborhood of 120 years old, feel like whippersnappers. Yep, Cooperstown is old. Founded by the father of author James Fenimore Cooper. Incorporated in 1807, named Cooperstown in 1812. James Fenimore Cooper wrote his series, The Leatherstocking Tales, based around Cooperstown. The Last of the Mohicans. The local high school team is called the Hawkeyes. Cooperstown sits on the shores of massive Lake Otsego, which can be beautiful but was frozen over Wednesday. Cooperstown is a seasonal town. Lots of beautiful homes sit in and around Cooperstown. An Opera company operates outside town during the summers. The village is home to the Farmers Museum and the Fenimore Art Museum. It has a huge medical center that doesn't fit at all, with architecture that looks like it belongs at 33rd and Classen, not in a Dickens village. The town's population in 2010 was 1,852. Much of the commerce in the village has dissipated, replaced by tourist enterprises on the charming stretch of Main Street. Cooperstown can remind you of the village in "Funny Farm," the Chevy Chase comedy in which Chevy and his wife move to a charming little town that is inhabited by kooks. I came across no kooks in Cooperstown, but the village was completely charming. Much of the business in town is baseball-related. Shops named Yastrzemski's and Shoeless Joe's. The town was mostly dead on Wednesday. In the summers, the place is hopping. Induction Weekend, I'm told, you can't even move up and down the streets. But things were slow Wednesday. We parked just down the street from the Hall of Fame, on the street. Two-hour parking. I went out and moved the car after awhile, got even a closer spot. Probably not necessary. I doubt the meter maid was on duty. BASEBALL'S SHRINE [img url=http://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/3/2015/03/cooperstown-fans1.jpg]3614910[/img] Here's my lasting impression of the Baseball Hall of Fame. As I walked up a wide staircase to reach the second floor of the exhibits, a boy about 10 years old sat on a step, playing on his cell phone. I couldn't really blame him. Let's see. I first went to Cooperstown in 1976. Went back in 2000. First went to Canton in 1998; went back in 2004 and 2006. So that's baseball '76, football '98, baseball '00, football '04, football '06, football Monday, baseball Wednesday. I consistently have said that Canton's Hall of Fame trumps Cooperstown's Hall of Fame. Monday, I wavered. Just wasn't wowed by the Pro Football Hall of Fame anymore. I remain unwowed. But I rescind my order of preference. The Baseball Hall of Fame wows me even less. It sits in a gorgeous, stately building on Cooperstown's Main Street. It's OK. But it's nothing special. Especially after going to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame the day before. The gallery of Hall of Famers, for instance. Plaques on a wall in a high-ceilinged room that makes you think you're in a library. Jim Traber called me while I was touring the gallery. I was ashamed when my phone rang; like I had allowed my phone to ring in church or something. The exhibits lack pizazz. There's a room that dedicates a locker to each major league team. Inside each locker are a few items, most of them contemporary. Why not uniform progression for each team? Why not tribute to the ballparks of each team? The Hall of Famers for each team? The Babe Ruth exhibit is cool. Lots of interesting stuff in there. And a decent Hank Aaron section. The African-American experience and the Latin experience both are well-displayed. But the exhibit to women in baseball is almost as big as either. Cooperstown has been victimized by baseball's sins. A tribute to baseball records specifies that all records are through 2006. It's not Cooperstown's fault that baseball history stopped with Barry Bonds. But it is Cooperstown's fault that it thinks fans want to celebrate Frank Thomas in a Blue Jays jersey and Tom Glavine wearing the threads of the Mets. Thomas and Glavine, two of the most recent inductees, are honored in an early exhibit. Thomas hit his 500th homer with Toronto. Glavine reached 300 victories with New York. The Hall of Fame lacks much in the way of interaction. The videos seem outdated. There's a heavy reliance on words, which will be the death of any museum. Heck, on the plaques themselves, modern curators have gotten fat. Babe Ruth's plaque has about 28 words of description. Ty Cobb's about 25. The 21st-century inductees include about 80 words. If you need three times as many words to describe the feats of Bert Blyleven as you need for Babe Ruth, there's a problem. The museum costs $23 to enter, and I'd still say a baseball fan needs to go. Once. Not necessarily thrice. I'd like to come back to Cooperstown some day. Bring the Dish. But if I do, I don't know if I'll go to the Baseball Hall of Fame. COOPERSTOWN DINER [img url=http://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/3/2015/03/burger.jpg]3614907[/img] We grabbed a late lunch/early dinner at the shotgun-shaped Cooperstown Diner. A place with about four tables and maybe eight chairs. Typical diner fare. But atypical cheeseburgers. We ordered the jumbo cheeseburger and were rewarded with the tallest hamburger I've ever seen. Literally. It was two inches tall. The meat was shaped like, I don't know, two hockey pucks stacked on top of each other. I have no idea how we were supposed to eat it, but the bread was thin -- which is good, breads weighs you down -- so I mashed mine down and was able to get it in my mouth. I don't know how you cook a burger that thick, but the diner pulled it off. I also had mashed potatoes and brown gravy; any place that serves brown gravy is OK by me. The Cooperstown Diner has been in business since 1921. I'm telling you. This is an old place. NEW YORK STATE OF MIND Despite its beauty, upstate New York is in many ways a depressed place. The slow loss of industry over the last 50 years has hurt the economy in places like Rome and Utica and Schenectaday. The drive from Syracuse east on I-90 takes you over the Erie Canal, which sounds majestic but isn't all that impressive. The Verdigris River at the Port of Catoosa is much more impressive. The Erie Canal is just not that wide. The drive from I-90 to Cooperstown is charming. Go along two-lane highways through quaint villages and pretty lakes when not covered by snow. Lots of interesting houses back up to Schuyler Lake and I'm sure make for great summer homes. SYRACUSE HISTORY My old pal Ed Frost sent a note after he found out I was in Syracuse. Ed is always good for some historical perspective: "'If you were in Syracuse on October 11, 1959, you could have bought a grandstand ticket for $2.50 to watch Mickey’s All-Stars vs. Willie’s All-Stars with former middleweight champion Carmen Basilio as umpire. There was a home run hitting contest, too.' "That’s a quote between pages 240 and 241 in the Mickey and Willie book I’m reading. It’s on a page of pictures. Mickey, Willie, Rocky Colavito and Hank Aaron were all there, but the book doesn’t say who won the home run contest. It does say Willie hit a grand slam and his team beat Mickey’s 8-2 in the game. It was at Syracuse’s MacArthur Stadium, says the book. Funny. I don’t think I ever thought of Syracuse in connection with baseball, but I just encountered this passage a while ago when I was reading after our hail and wind and rain settled down. I’m still just a little over halfway through the book and enjoying it. Thought I’d give you a little history on the city’s sports history. Of course, I’m more prone to think of Jim Brown there, and Bud Wilkinson working on his master's and helping Ossie Solem coach. I had to look up that name — thought it was Ossie Salem, but it was Solem. "I tend to think of most things in sports frameworks, I guess. If I happen to glance at a clock and it says 7:14, you know what I think of (Babe Ruth). And it’s amazing to me how often it happens — I glance, and it’s 7:14..." If you look at a clock and think of Babe Ruth, you would enjoy the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The Associated Press prefers to receive daybook event listings and comments via email to email@example.com with the word "daybook" in the subject line.For added consideration, mirror the format of the listings below, and submit events at least two business days in advance when possible. For listings submitted with less notice, events attended by national and state figures and government officials...
BC-NY--NYC Daybook, NY
Associated Press | Mar 18, 2015The Associated Press prefers to receive daybook event listings and comments via email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the word "daybook" in the subject line. For added consideration, mirror the format of the listings below, and submit events at least two business days in advance when possible. For listings submitted with less notice, events attended by national and state figures and government officials may receive precedence. ----- NOT FOR PUBLICATION OR BROADCAST ---- ----------------------------------------- Metro New York Day Schedule Thursday, March 19, 2015 ----------------------------------------- -------------- NEW YORK CITY --------- 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. An investment management conference organized by Quinnipiac University, the "Quinnipiac Global Asset Management Education V Forum" or "Quinnipiac G.A.M.E. V Forum," is schedule to open Thursday and continue through Saturday, March 21; Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel, 811 Seventh Ave. Contact: David Sauer, email@example.com or 203-582-3754. 8:30 a.m. Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer participates in these events. —8:30 a.m. — Brewer hosts a meeting of Manhattan Borough Board members; 19th floor, 1 Centre St. —1 p.m. — Brewer and City Councilwoman Laurie A. Cumbo hold a City Hall news conference to call for state government officials to include Democratic state Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins in negotiations about the state budget for the next fiscal year; steps, City Hall. Contact: Kristia M. Beaubrun, KBeaubrun@council.nyc.gov, 917-817-1824 or 718-260-9191 ext. 3. —7 p.m. — Brewer speaks during an event about civic participation, efforts to promote interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or so-called "STEM" subjects, and female technology professionals of minority descent, titled "Black Women & Latinas in Civic Tech: Who is Using STEM for Social Good?"; note: time of Brewer's speech is approximate; Civic Hall, second floor, 156 Fifth Ave. Contact: Andrew William Goldston, firstname.lastname@example.org, 212-669-3539 or 917-960-1187. 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Social worker Alexis Carter and Brooklyn interior designer Gail Ressler discuss the topic "Local and Long Distance Caregiving" during the fourth session of a five-part "Roundtable for Boomers and Seniors" program, presented by state Sen. Liz Krueger; Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, 331 E. 70th St. --Note: Must RSVP. Contact: Tammie Williams, email@example.com or 212-490-9535. 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. During Thursday's conclusion of The Diller-Quaile School of Music's "Piano Pedagogy Festival & Conference" that began Tuesday, March 17, titled "A Keyboard Celebration: An Exploration of Traditions and Innovations in Pedagogy," an adviser to Ecuador's education minister, choral conductor Jose Criollo, delivers a 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. presentation about Latin American music education techniques including the system titled "El Sistema"; 24 E. 95th St. --Note: Thursday's 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. conference activities include a 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. presentation by Criollo. Contact: Julie Livingston, firstname.lastname@example.org or 347-239-0249. 10 a.m. Finalists in fifth grade through eighth grade compete in the 51st annual "Daily News New York City Spelling Bee," scheduled to open Thursday and conclude Friday, March 20; Celeste Bartos Forum, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, The New York Public Library, 476 Fifth Ave. Contact: Anina Bose, email@example.com, 212-792-8494 or 201-532-0891. 10 a.m. Members of the city Taxi and Limousine Commission hold a monthly public meeting; 19th floor, 33 Beaver St. --Note: An Internet broadcast will be accessible through the websites http://nyc.gov/taxi and http://new.livestream.com/nyctaxi/ Contact: Allan J. Fromberg, firstname.lastname@example.org or 212-676-1013, or Greg Gordon, email@example.com or 212-676-1013. 10 a.m. Members of City Council's Committee on Governmental Operations hold a preliminary budget hearing to discuss the mayor's budget proposals for the next fiscal year, and examine spending during the current fiscal year by eight city agencies, boards, commissions, departments and offices, as well as community boards; Committee Room, City Hall. Contact: Sarah Anders, SAnders@BenKallos.com or 212-860-1950. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. holds an annual event marking the March observance of "Women's History Month," honoring the founder, president and chief executive of the Morris Heights Health Center, Verona Greenland, an actress from the public television children's show "Sesame Street," Sonia Manzano, and communications firm AT&T Inc.'s state president, Marissa Shorenstein; Pelham Bay and Split Rock Golf Courses, 870 Shore Road, Bronx. Contact: Bharati S. Kemraj, firstname.lastname@example.org, 718-590-3541 or 347-229-3664, or John DeSio, email@example.com or 917-209-4974. 10:30 a.m. Transit Wireless LLC CEO William A. Bayne Jr., state Chief Digital Officer Rachel S. Haot, Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials including Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast and communications firm AT&T Inc.'s state president, Marissa Shorenstein, recognize teams that won an "App Quest 3.0 Challenge" competition featuring $50,000 in prizes, during an event featuring demonstrations of the winning mobile device applications for commuters; Vanderbilt Hall, Grand Central Terminal, 89 E. 42nd St. Contact: Aaron Donovan, firstname.lastname@example.org, 212-878-7440 or 212-878-4728. 11 a.m. Representatives and supporters of the Coalition for the Homeless discuss Thursday's release of the coalition's annual "State of the Homeless" report during a news briefing; fourth floor, 129 Fulton St. Contact: Dan Levitan, Dan@Berlinrosen.com, 646-452-5637, 646-200-5315 or 201-67-7475. 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Construction industry representatives, government officials and transportation advocates hold a City Hall news conference to discuss Thursday's release of a report about road conditions in the city and state, and call for increased government funding of public works and renovation projects; steps, City Hall. --Note: Must RSVP. Contact: Joshua Knoller, email@example.com, 201-294-9586 or 212-938-0836, or Jody Fisher, firstname.lastname@example.org or 347-419-0444. Noon About 100 religious officials including state Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr., the Rev. Johnnie M. Green Jr., and members of the nonprofit coalition Mobilizing Preachers and Communities, or MPAC, and the New York Hispanic Clergy Organization Inc. and representatives of the advocacy group Families for Excellent Schools hold a City Hall news conference to call for state government officials to overhaul the school system statewide; steps, City Hall. Contact: Ann Noonan, email@example.com or 646-251-6069, or Khan Shoieb, Khan@StuLoeser.com or 646-650-5503 or 347-596-6389. 1:45 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. During St. John's University's sixth annual fundraiser for two pediatric cancer charities, Locks of Love and the St. Baldrick's Foundation, employees and students will have their heads shaved while honoring a 5-year-old boy from Babylon and a 4-year-old boy from Queens receiving treatment for cancer; living room, D'Angelo Center, 8000 Utopia Parkway, Queens. Contact: Nancy Haberman, firstname.lastname@example.org or 212-843-8021, or Elizabeth Reilly email@example.com or 917-578-1985. 3 p.m. German soprano Diana Damrau, starring in The Metropolitan Opera's production of French composer Jules Massenet's 1884 comic opera "Manon," signs compact discs including her album released Tuesday, Jan. 13, "Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor"; Met Opera Shop, north lobby, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, near Columbus Avenue and 63rd Street. --Note: Must RSVP. Contact: Michael Cavarretta, firstname.lastname@example.org, 212-843-9284 or 978-578-7631. 3:45 p.m. to 4 p.m. To mark this year's 80th anniversary of 1935 publication of the board game "Monopoly" by Parker Brothers, before the company's 1991 purchase by toy manufacturer Hasbro Inc., the parent company's senior vice president of global brand strategy and marketing, Eric Nyman, rings Nasdaq's closing bell; broadcast studio, Nasdaq MarketSite, Four Times Square, near Seventh Avenue and 43rd Street. Contact: Jennifer DeAngelis, email@example.com or 401-727-6833, or Christine Barna, Christine.Barna@nasdaq.com, 646-441-5310. 4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Board members from the Police Athletic League of New York City including attorney and broadcaster Rikki Klieman and Chairman Robert J. Morgenthau, the president and chief executive of the New York Giants professional football team, John K. Mara, and the league's Executive Director Frederick J. Watts visit the league's William J. Duncan Center to participate in a ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the completed renovation of the center's first floor, funded by a $250,000 donation from the Mara family to the NY/NJ Snowflake Youth Foundation and an additional $100,000 raised by the foundation as part of the NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee's fundraising initiative; 552 W. 52nd St. Contact: Andrea Kotuk, firstname.lastname@example.org or 212-353-9585, Frederick J. Watts, 212-477-9450 ext. 324, or Caroline Waldman, email@example.com or 212-353-9585. 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Brooklyn Nets professional basketball player Mason Plumee and members of the team's youth basketball development staff lead a clinic for about 45 children who participate in the Police Athletic League of New York City's programs at the league's Armory Center, organized as part of the team's "Get the Ball Rolling" health initiative and attended by representatives of the initiative's sponsor, beverage manufacturer Coca-Cola Co.; practice court, use Calvin Klein VIP entrance, Barclays Center, 620 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn. --Note: Must RSVP; 4 p.m. speaking program followed by 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. basketball clinic. Contact: Josh Gold, firstname.lastname@example.org or 310-920-3666, Barry Baum, email@example.com, 718-942-9533 or 917-847-1737, Mandy Gutmann, firstname.lastname@example.org, 718-942-9587 or 937-477-1880, or Stuart Bryan, email@example.com, 718-942-9574 or 919-218-0047. 6 p.m. A regional director of the United Auto Workers, Julie Kushner, and the international president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, Marc Perrone, will receive the Jewish Labor Committee's human rights awards during a dinner where U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler is scheduled to speak; New York Hilton Midtown hotel, 1335 Sixth Ave. --Note: Must RSVP; 6 p.m. cocktail reception followed by 7 p.m. award presentation, dinner and speaking program. Contact: Arieh Lebowitz, firstname.lastname@example.org or 212-477-0707. 6 p.m. The Doe Fund co-founder George T. McDonald and the Rev. Alfonso Wyatt speak during an annual cap-and-gown graduation ceremony for formerly homeless men and former male inmates who completed the fund's yearlong "Ready, Willing & Able" job training program; Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, 980 Park Ave. Contact: Alexander Horwitz, email@example.com or 646-672-4236. 6 p.m. Health care workers, including nurses, and union officials publicize a campaign about state budget funding for the next fiscal year and risks of hospital closures, introduced during a Wednesday, March 18, lobbying event in Albany; Service Employees International Union Local 1199 United Healthcare Workers East, 310 W. 43rd St. Contact: Dave Bates, firstname.lastname@example.org or 212-603-3788, or Erin Malone, email@example.com, 212-603-0016 or 917-494-2631. 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Participants in the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce's "Young Entrepreneur Academy" program compete in a business pitch competition judged by local business advocates and executives; auditorium, R. 605 Staten Island Technical High School, 485 Clawson St., Staten Island. Contact: Jen Remauro, firstname.lastname@example.org, 347-865-8038 or 347-308-0348. 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Diplomatic officials from Germany and the Maldives participate in a forum titled "Countdown to Paris: Update on Global Climate Treaty Negotiations," presented by environmental organization 350.org's city chapter and the New York Society for Ethical Culture; auditorium, first floor, 2 W. 64th St. Contact: Lyna Hinkel, email@example.com or 646-284-8987, or Mark Dunlea, firstname.lastname@example.org or 518-860-3725. 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. During a "Songbirds of Civil Rights" fundraising concert to benefit the Department of Africana Studies of The City University of New York's John Jay College of Criminal Justice and mark the March observance of "Women's History Month," more than a dozen dancers, drummers, guitarists, jazz musicians, pianists and singers are scheduled to perform; Gerald W. Lynch Theater, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, 524 W. 59th St. --Note: Must RSVP. Contact: Doreen Vinas-Pineda, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, 212-237-8645 or 212-237-8764. 8 p.m. Choreographer Jamie Benson premieres his modern dance "FOMO," short for the phrase "fear of missing out," during a "Comedy in Dance Festival" scheduled to open Thursday and continue through Sunday, March 22; Triskelion Arts, 106 Calyer St., Brooklyn. Contact: Jamie Benson, email@example.com or 323-704-5298. -------------- LONG ISLAND ----------- 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Nassau County attorneys and court employees model spring apparel provided by retailer Hudson's Bay Co.'s department store chain Lord & Taylor and elaborate hats during the Nassau County Bar Association's "Dressed to a Tea" fashion show fundraiser, featuring the theme "A Day at the Races" and benefiting a half-dozen area charities; 15th and West streets, Mineola. Contact: Valerie Zurblis, firstname.lastname@example.org or 516-747-4070 ext. 204, or Jodi B. Zimmerman, email@example.com or 516-801-3900. -------------- WESTCHESTER ----------- 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The former chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, delivers a 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. keynote speech to open Thursday's 14th annual "Human Rights Institute for Student Leaders" and rally at Iona College, attended by about 340 teenagers from 25 high schools in Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan and Westchester counties and Connecticut's Fairfield County; 715 North Ave., New Rochelle. Contact: Aaron Biller, firstname.lastname@example.org or 212-663-4862. 4 p.m. Yonkers city officials including Mayor Mike Spano and Superintendent of Schools Michael Yazurlo and the chancellor of The State University of New York, Nancy L. Zimpher, mark the start of a "Yonkers Thrives Partnership" education initiative during an event attended by members of the Yonkers Thrives Partnership Leadership Council; Hudson River Museum, 511 Warburton Ave., Yonkers. Contact: Christina Gilmartin, email@example.com, 914-377-6208 or 914-512-4017. --------------------------------------- Copyright 2015. The AP-New York. All rights reserved.
Mar 18, 2015
The 6-foot-5, 210-pound Garrett, The Oklahoman’s Big All-City Offensive Player of the Year last season, received his first scholarship offer on Wednesday, from Air Force.
High school notebook: Mustang QB Chandler Garrett gets first offer
By Scott Wright and Jacob Unruh | Mar 18, 2015Add Mustang quarterback Chandler Garrett to the ever-growing list of junior football players with Division I scholarship offers. The 6-foot-5, 210-pound Garrett, The Oklahoman’s Big All-City Offensive Player of the Year last season, received his first scholarship offer on Wednesday, from Air Force. Garrett was ranked No. 9 on The Oklahoman’s Super 30 recruit rankings for the Class of 2016. He threw for 2,389 yards with 18 touchdowns and 11 interceptions last fall, while rushing for 303 yards and nine scores. He has been getting interest from a wide variety of programs, including Notre Dame, Kentucky, Indiana, Wyoming and Missouri. He recently attended Oklahoma’s Junior Day as well. So far, more than 20 players in the state’s 2016 recruiting class have scholarship offers. OSSAA’S CLARK NAMED MID-DEL AD Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association assistant director Mike Clark has been named the new Mid-Del Schools athletic director. Clark has been with the OSSAA since 2009. He oversees volleyball, wrestling, academic bowl and soccer. He is a former athletic director at Mustang. He also coached wrestling at Midwest City for 10 years, coaching 19 individual state champions and two dual state team titles and a team title. Clark will replace Rick Bachman in July. Bachman has announced his retirement following 40 years with Mid-Del Schools. PURCELL’S REIMER RETIRES Longtime Purcell boys basketball coach Lee Reimer recently announced his retirement, bringing to end one of the most successful tenures in school history. Reimer made the announcement to bring to an end his 30-year career with the Dragons following the team’s elimination from the area tournament. During his tenure at Purcell, he went 485-313. He has a total of 545 wins, including 60 at Medford. He won two state championships, including the 1984 Class A title at Medford before leaving the next season to take over Purcell. He led the Dragons to the Class 3A title in 1994. He is the second-winningest coach in Purcell boys basketball history. Boney Matthews went 922-245 over a 40-year career, mostly at Purcell, winning three titles. SUBURBAN CONFERENCE BOYS TEAM NAMED The Suburban Conference named its All-Conference boys basketball team this week with Carl Albert taking home two top honors. Senior Hayden Howell was named the Player of the Year and coach Jay Price was named Coach of the Year after the Titans made the Class 5A championship game. Piedmont freshman Adokiye Iyaye was named Newcomer of the Year and El Reno senior Bryon Elledge was named Defensive Player of the Year. Here is a look at the entire roster: Player of the Year: Hayden Howell, Carl Albert Coach of the Year: Jay Price, Carl Albert Newcomer of the Year: Adokiye Iyaye, Piedmont Defensive Player of the Year: Bryon Elledge, El Reno First Team: L’liott Curry, Guthrie; Bryon Elledge, El Reno; Gerard Giles, Western Heights; Brock Henderson, Chickasha; Luke Laster, Shawnee Second Team: Adokiye Iyaye, Piedmont; Christian Wassana, El Reno; Mason Harrell, Carl Albert; Kiahree Kerns, Western Heights; Rudy Thompson, Western Heights Third Team: Jackson Winrow, Shawnee; Brandon Shumway, Chickasha; Wes Smith, Carl Albert Jalal Gondal, Noble; Trey Hopkins, Carl Albert Honorable Mention: Carl Albert: Darren Dobbins; Chickasha: Colton Christian, Magyver Boles; Noble: Chris Nimsey, Casey Harris, Christian Robinson;Piedmont: Addaryl Quinn, Trevor Bailey, Brant Ranney; Shawnee: Tanner Rowland, Tanner Sparks; Western Heights: Kevin Rassat, Quinton Garrett All-Defensive Team: Wes Smith, Carl Albert; Kevin Rassat, Western Heights; Luke Laster, Shawnee Jalal Gondal, Noble; Brock Henderson, Chickasha
DURHAM, N.C. — On the east side of Duke’s campus sits Wilson residence hall, a sprawling, reddish-brownish brick building with no air conditioning.This is where Jahlil Okafor goes to escape labels, to feed his Netflix addiction, to try to fit in while standing out for one of the No. 1-seeded teams in the NCAA tournament.There are no reminders of basketball past and not much talk of basketball...
Jahlil Okafor, on the brink of superstardom, tries to blend in
By Paul Skrbina, Associated Press | Mar 17, 2015DURHAM, N.C. — On the east side of Duke’s campus sits Wilson residence hall, a sprawling, reddish-brownish brick building with no air conditioning. This is where Jahlil Okafor goes to escape labels, to feed his Netflix addiction, to try to fit in while standing out for one of the No. 1-seeded teams in the NCAA tournament. There are no reminders of basketball past and not much talk of basketball future. No Mr. Basketball of Illinois trophy, Team USA jersey, national player of the year mementos. “I had enough shoes and stuff to bring,” he said with a shrug. This stop, Durham, N.C., is where Okafor is caught between boyhood and manhood. His transition just happens to be nationally televised. About 100 freshmen live in Wilson, most of who aren’t athletes. Okafor shares a two-room suite with his best friend and point guard, Tyus Jones. They spend their time rapping and giving each other a hard time. Missing their families. “He’s not a pig,” Jones said with a laugh. “He keeps his room nice and neat. People look at him as if he’s not human, but he’s just a 19-year-old kid.” “A 7-foot 5-year-old,” senior teammate Quinn Cook said. Okafor also is a national player of the year candidate predicted by many to be the No. 1 overall pick in the June NBA draft. He’s the first freshman in the 63-year history of the Atlantic Coast Conference to be named player of the year. He is on the brink of becoming a superstar. A very rich superstar. “Pretty much everybody here (at Duke) is the best at what they do,” Okafor said. “I do my thing on the court, but we have geniuses here starting their own businesses before they hit 20. Being talented here kind of makes you blend in.” Something that has been difficult for the kid who was 6-foot-5 in seventh grade. Here he is known by one name. “You’re ‘Jah,’ ” Duke associate head coach Jeff Capel tells Okafor, whom he said hasn’t brought up the NBA to him. “You should be a guy identified by one word, like LeBron or Kobe or Bird or Magic or Jordan. At some point in your career it should just be ‘Jah,’ and the world knows who that is.” ——— ‘He loves, loves, loves his family’ Before the basketball world began learning about “Jah,” he was playing the tuba. He was a freshman fulfilling his music course obligation and starting on the varsity basketball team at Whitney Young High School in Chicago. Chukwudi “Chucky” Okafor was there too. He’s always there. “He came to my band lessons and he was still the loudest one,” Jahlil said of his father. “I let him know you can’t do that.” Except he can. Except he does. The stage is no matter. Jahlil Okafor had a minor role in a school musical and spent the rest of his time holding a spotlight. Chucky stood up during intermission and began clapping. “Man, that’s the best stagehand I’ve ever seen,” Chucky recalls yelling. These days, Chucky is a fixture at Duke games. He stands — never sits — with other parents a few rows behind the Blue Devils bench. His son plays the leading role on a roster with seven other McDonald’s All-Americans. Chucky still is the loudest one. “The Okafors should have a reality show,” Capel said, not kidding. “VH1 or Bravo or ESPN. They are so fun. They have showered that kid with so much love and support. That’s the reason why he’s so happy.” To Chucky and Jahlil, love is a verb. Like his father, Jahlil lost his mother at a young age. Jahlil was 9, living with Dacresha “Dee” Benton in Oklahoma, when her lung collapsed after a bout with bronchitis. Jahlil ran from the house hysterical, calling 911 from a neighbor’s phone because his family’s phone didn’t work. His older sister, Jalen, was there too. Benton died March 16, 2005. She was 29. Basketball became Okafor’s refuge. The growing up began. “She’s completely my inspiration for everything I do,” Okafor said. Soon after his mother’s death, Jahlil moved to Chicago to live with Chucky, strengthening a bond the two already had shared. Jahlil’s aunt, Dr. Chinyere Okafor-Conley, helped raise him, just as she helped raise her brother after their mother died. “The first word that comes to mind about Jahlil is ‘family,’ ” said Cook, Okafor’s roommate on the road. “The connection he has is incredible to me. … I know that he loves, loves, loves his family.” Chucky, who does marketing for a traveling company, said he had some run-ins with the law as a teenager. Says Jahlil’s birth changed his perspective. Chucky also has earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees. “I don’t want to seem like I’m not humble or I’ve raised the best son since Jesus Christ,” Chucky said, “but a lot of this stuff doesn’t surprise me. It’s expected. “He didn’t just come to Duke as a place to stop. That’s where he’s going to get his degree. In my family, graduation is way more celebrated than Christmas, birthdays. He will be no different.” ——— ‘He’s got a ballerina’s feet’ ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas calls Okafor a Tim Duncan type — tough without being over the top. Says his will be the first name called in the draft. “His hands are phenomenal,” Bilas said. “He’s got great size and length. He’s got a ballerina’s feet.” Okafor’s defense, particularly on ball screens, has been questioned, though Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski isn’t buying it. “It’s amazing how good a job he’s done on defense as a result of the physical play on the offensive end,” Krzyzewski said. “The misconception about the ball screen is that two guys are defending it. Five guys are defending it.” Okafor is embarrassed by his struggles from the free-throw line, where he’s goes 51.1 percent, worst on the team. Okafor can’t escape the talk, the dissection. He doesn’t necessarily try. When he needs an ear, though, one person he calls on is Jabari Parker, a Simeon High School graduate about a year removed from Okafor’s shoes. “It’s bigger than basketball between me and him,” said Parker, who was picked second by the Bucks in last year’s NBA draft after spending a season at Duke. “Of course I miss playing with him. … We don’t even talk about basketball that much.” His advice for his friend? “He just has to go on his feeling,” Parker said. “It’s in his heart.” ——— ‘The biggest stars on campus’ It’s Tuesday, the day before North Carolina-Duke, Part I. Krzyzewskiville is deserted. “Looks like a war zone,” one female student said in passing. Tents are half-collapsed under the weight of snow. School is closed thanks to an ice storm. Jeffrey Ho, a sophomore from Massachusetts, has been taking turns sleeping here since the first week of January so he can get into the game. He steps over some empty cases of beer to check his tent. “You see him on campus, nobody really treats him any different than any student,” Ho saod of Okafor in particular and the school’s basketball players in general. “People don’t take photos or run up to them or do anything weird. “But when they’re on the basketball court, they’re the biggest stars on campus. It’s a very weird dichotomy — the difference between when they’re on campus and when we see them in Cameron.” In less than 24 hours, music will blast from speakers the size of small sheds on this makeshift campground next to Cameron Indoor Stadium. Students in Okafor jerseys and Christian Laettner jerseys will play beer pong on one side; others will gather for a small Bible study on another. “It’s crazy out there,” Okafor said. ——— ‘My thing, my true love’ Chucky Okafor is, along with just more than 9,300 others, sweating 40-weight motor oil, which he wipes from his head with a white towel. He’s clapping again, this time as his son is helped to the locker room to chants of “OK-A-FOR, OK-A-FOR.” Moments earlier on this mid-February night, Jahlil Okafor reaches for his left ankle with his left hand. He had just let loose a turnaround jumper and his size-17 left shoe didn’t quite stick the landing. His hands cover his eyes. He’s down for a good minute. “There’s no definite answer of what’s going to happen next,” Chucky later said. “As a parent, I enjoy being loud and supportive. I cheer on the whole squad. From a selfish standpoint, I want to make myself feel like he does better when I’m in the gym. There’s no science to that.” Jahlil re-enters with 45 seconds left in the half, with him a noticeable limp. Cameron exhales. He plays the entire second half and overtime of a 92-90 victory against North Carolina, finishing with 12 points and 13 rebounds. Twice in OT he gives the Blue Devils the lead, including for good with 1 minute, 42 seconds left. Okafor missed the next game, three days later against Clemson, but scored a career-high 30 points and grabs nine rebounds in an overtime victory against Virginia Tech a week after spraining his ankle. Okafor is averaging 17.5 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game while shooting 66.8 percent from the field, all team highs for the 29-4 Blue Devils. That premonition Okafor had while completing a fourth-grade assignment, the one in which the teacher had everyone write down what they wanted to be when they grew up, seems one step closer. “I wrote professional basketball player,” Okafor said. “I thought everyone was going to say basketball player or football player, but I saw stuff like astronauts and chefs. That’s when I realized maybe this is my thing, my true love.” ——— ‘He’s very gifted’ He has unfolded all 83 of his inches and 270 of his pounds onto a beige, L-shaped couch tucked in the corner of a players lounge inside Cameron Indoor Stadium. A gray Duke hoodie spills over a pair of black Duke warmup pants, which spill over the walking boot choking his aching left ankle, the one he sprained the previous night. “You have Jay Williams right there,” he said, pointing to pictures decorating the walls, like he’s showing off his new home. “Mason Plumlee … I’m playing with his younger brother.” Okafor has danced with teammates after Krzyzewski’s 1,000th career victory, has been named ACC Rookie of the Week eight times, and Player of the Week once. He has stopped by assistant coach Jon Scheyer’s number-retirement ceremony in Northbrook. He spent the good part of an afternoon with another “Jah,” Capel’s son Elijah, at his birthday party, to which he didn’t go empty-handed, stopping first at a mall for a present. He’s leaving an impression. “Scary is not a bad word,” North Carolina coach Roy Williams says when describing Okafor’s game. “He’s very gifted.” An impression is being left on him. A couple of Duke posters hang on Okafor’s dorm wall. His king-size bed is here. He also has his PlayStation. “I always knew I wanted to be in the NBA and play myself in a video game,” Okafor said. “That was my goal when I was a kid. … It’s crazy to think that at the end of this season I could potentially have that opportunity.” ——— ©2015 Chicago Tribune Visit the Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC _____ Topics: t000003277,t000003278,t000003183,t000040506,t000404471,t000027855,t000003142,g000065560,g000362661,g000066164,g000065598
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Bruce Pearl is sitting on the bench at Rupp Arena, watching his Auburn players launch shots on the morning of the Kentucky game.“Basketball,” he said in a voice that harkens to Sammy Sosa and a “Saturday Night Live” skit, “has been berry, berry good to me.”Pearl is a youthful 54 but has had a half-dozen incarnations, starting with the time he donned an eagle costume as a...
Bruce Pearl trying to rehab his scandal-tainted image — again — at Auburn
By Teddy Greenstein, Associated Press | Mar 10, 2015LEXINGTON, Ky. — Bruce Pearl is sitting on the bench at Rupp Arena, watching his Auburn players launch shots on the morning of the Kentucky game. “Basketball,” he said in a voice that harkens to Sammy Sosa and a “Saturday Night Live” skit, “has been berry, berry good to me.” Pearl is a youthful 54 but has had a half-dozen incarnations, starting with the time he donned an eagle costume as a student assistant at Boston College. “From BC to Stanford to Iowa to Southern Indiana to Wisconsin and then Knoxville,” he said. To Auburn, which he calls “the perfect situation,” a powerhouse athletic program in a conference he once ruled. “The game has taken me everywhere,” he said, “and you realize what an amazing, beautiful, wonderful country it is. I have been happy every place I’ve been. I like the South probably the best because of the weather and the sense of community. Plus I’m more of a conservative Republican — and I’m surrounded by them!” And with that, he lets out a laugh. You’re not supposed to talk politics in a sports story, let alone reveal your affiliation. But Pearl has never followed convention, starting with the time he taped that telephone conversation with Deon Thomas. Before his players take on Kentucky, he’ll tell them they have pretty much no chance to win and joke that at least the game will be “good for our RPI.” ——— ‘I knew he was remorseful’ At 35 and building Southern Indiana into a Division II national power, Pearl’s name already was synonymous with scandal. Dick Vitale had blasted him, saying Pearl had committed “coaching suicide” in 1989 by trying to secure proof of what he had told his boss, Iowa coach Tom Davis: that Thomas had reneged on a verbal commitment to Iowa after Illinois dangled $80,000 and a Chevy Blazer. “I’m still not comfortable with my methodology,” Pearl told me then, “but I thought exposing this was necessary for college athletics.” Illini Nation rejoiced when the NCAA slapped Pearl with a three-year show-cause penalty in 2011. By then Tennessee had severed ties, even though Pearl got all six of his Volunteers teams into the NCAA tournament. He stayed in Knoxville and took a marketing job with a grocery company to “pay the bills,” he said. Then he flourished as a broadcaster on SiriusXM Radio and ESPN. Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs called Pearl the day after firing Tony Barbee, the seventh straight Tigers coach to depart with a losing record (18-50) in Southeastern Conference games. Jacobs met with Pearl at a hotel in Bristol, Conn. Jacobs said in a telephone interview that he “cut right to it” and asked Pearl why he lied to the NCAA. “As Bruce began to tell me the story, a lot of emotions came through,” Jacobs said. “I knew he was remorseful — and that the toughest challenge would be getting him to forgive himself. I knew he had repented. He talked about the harm it had done to college basketball, the University of Tennessee and to his family. He didn’t talk about himself.” Asked if he was squeamish about hiring someone with five months left on a show-cause penalty, which meant he could not meet or even contact recruits, Jacobs replied: “I was not. I was squeamish about hiring a guy who had misled the NCAA, but everything else about Bruce far outweighed not being able to travel and recruit for a few months. We even agreed not to appeal it. We teach student-athletes that if you make a mistake, there are consequences. It doesn’t matter if you are 15 or 55.” You get more chances, of course, if you are wildly successful at your job. A seven-time conference coach of the year, Pearl got Milwaukee to a Sweet 16 and went a league-best 65-31 in SEC games from 2006 to 2011. And if you can make money for your employer. Auburn Arena drew an average of 5,823 fans last season. This season the final average was 7,825, ranking third in the SEC at more than 85 percent of capacity. “I saw a guy (in the arena) who played football with me,” Jacobs said, “and I asked him, ‘Are you lost?’ These are people you never see in the wintertime.” Pearl somehow has gotten football-mad fans to support a basketball team that finished the regular season 12-19 and 4-14 in the SEC. “It’s not about marketing and showmanship,” says the man who once cheered on the Lady Vols basketball team with his chest covered in orange paint. “It’s about commitment and being all in, whether that means speaking in classes, talking to freshmen at orientation, raising money for charity. The (fans) know we cannot do this without them.” Billboards around town read “LET’S DO THIS TOGETHER.” That was Pearl’s idea. “He is the most generous person I’ve ever been around,” Jacobs says. “He takes every phone call, returns every text. He genuinely loves people, so they love him.” ——— ‘We ran clean programs. Period.’ What is it about Pearl that keeps me defending him after all these years? His explanation for the Thomas affair made sense: As a 28-year-old assistant, he went to Davis with his contention that Illinois had cheated to land Thomas, the 6-foot-8 Simeon star. An Iowa official supplied the recording device, and Thomas seemed to confirm the inducement. (He later explained he was just agreeing in hopes of ending the call.) When NCAA officials asked for his tape, Pearl said he felt compelled to turn it over. “Look, I was the guy who cooperated with the NCAA in the Illinois investigation,” he says now. “And I did some things in the course of that that I was uncomfortable with. And then because of that, we had to run clean programs. And we ran clean programs. Period. Period. “Then when you make the mistakes we made, it’s even more embarrassing and costly.” His explanation for what transpired at Tennessee: Guard Aaron Craft, a high school junior, had verbally committed. He and his father got wind that Pearl was hosting a barbecue and asked if they could come by. Though having them and other recruits at his house that day was against the rules, Pearl said OK. Someone took a picture of Craft at Pearl’s house. That photo got in the hands of NCAA investigators. Pearl met with them in 2010 regarding what he thought was a charge of improper contact with recruits, and they confronted him with the photo. He says he panicked and claimed ignorance. His assistant coaches had been called in previously, and he says he did not want to contradict what they might have said. “Not 10 minutes after, I brought my staff in and said, ‘Guys, I didn’t tell the truth,’ ” he said. “They had answered the way I answered. I said, ‘We’re going to fix this.’ I asked friends what I should do. I talked to my AD and waited for the NCAA to come back. We tried to tell the whole truth, but it made no difference.” A lot of scummy stuff transpires in college basketball that goes either ignored or unproven. Not in this case. Tennessee fired him in March 2011, fearing sanctions also involving other alleged misdeeds by the coaching staff. That August, the NCAA slapped him with the three-year show-cause penalty. He had become a full-blown pariah. ——— ‘Am I worthy?’ At practice earlier this season, Pearl got angry when one of his players turned the ball over. Or failed to get back on defense. Guard KT Harrell can’t recall the circumstances, but he’ll never forget Pearl’s reaction. “He lost his mind,” Harrell said. “He was screaming and ended up taking his shirt off. It was hard for me to keep a straight face. And then when we saw he had a smirk on his face, everyone knew it was cool (to laugh).” Pearl has the gift of being able to put those around him at ease. After his team got drilled by Kentucky on Feb. 21, falling behind 30-4 after 11 minutes, he mentioned to the media that in 1995, his Southern Indiana team trailed UC Riverside 30-8 in the Division II national championship game. “This game,” he said, “reminded me nothing of that game.” People laughed. After all, UC Riverside did not start a front line of 7 feet, 6-11 and 6-10. “I’ve never had a losing season,” Pearl said during the team shootaround. “But I’ve enjoyed this team more than many I’ve coached. They haven’t quit. They keep listening.” Recruits even got Pearl’s message before they could hear him speak. His show-cause penalty meant he could not contact recruits until Aug. 24. While recruits toured Auburn’s campus, Pearl stayed at Jacobs’ lake house, figuring, “Let there be no question.” Yet Pearl has managed to attract a five-man class (four signed, one verbal) that is 12th nationally in 247Sports.com’s composite rankings. Danjel Purifoy is a former Mr. Basketball in Alabama who attended three high schools and was reportedly pursued by Maryland, Kentucky and the rest of the SEC. The 6-6 forward chose Auburn despite having never met Pearl. “My staff and (Auburn football coach) Gus Malzahn delivered the message I couldn’t,” Pearl said. When Jacobs first contacted him about the job, Pearl says he wondered, “Am I worthy?” Then he asked himself, “Can I change the perception of Auburn basketball?” Pearl is well on his way to doing that. Can he change the perception of Bruce Pearl among his many detractors? Now that’s another matter. ——— ©2015 Chicago Tribune Visit the Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC ————— ARCHIVE PHOTOS on Tribune News Service (for help with images, contact 312-222-4194): _____ Topics: t000008056,t000008078,t000003183,t000158174,t000003195,t000046469,t000003277,g000065659,g000362661,g000066164,g000216885,g000065682,g000065650,g000065560,g000065574,g000065584
LEXINGTON, Ky. — First there was The Dunk, quickly christened by people as the best of the year even though it was only a week into February.Then came The Dunk to End All Dunks, again labeled the best of 2015 and also a slight sign of progress because we were within reasonable distance of March.That they were both delivered by Willie Cauley-Stein was almost an anomaly, something as rare as a...
Kentucky’s Willie Cauley-Stein poses double threat of defense and dunks
By Mike Bresnahan, Associated Press | Mar 2, 2015LEXINGTON, Ky. — First there was The Dunk, quickly christened by people as the best of the year even though it was only a week into February. Then came The Dunk to End All Dunks, again labeled the best of 2015 and also a slight sign of progress because we were within reasonable distance of March. That they were both delivered by Willie Cauley-Stein was almost an anomaly, something as rare as a junior at Kentucky, which Cauley-Stein happened to be. He’s slotted as a high pick in this year’s NBA draft because he plays great defense. The dunks are a sideshow. If the Lakers keep their top-five protected pick after the May 19 lottery, Cauley-Stein will probably be there for their turn. He’s not polished on offense like presumed top picks Jahlil Okafor and Karl-Anthony Towns but NBA front-office types compare him favorably to defensive stopper Tyson Chandler. Or as one said, he’s “a 7-foot Dennis Rodman,” only touching the surface of a 21-year-old whose confidence has come slowly, part of a complex makeup traced to his younger years. They call Spearville the “City of Windmills” and it’s hard to disagree. Dozens of large wind turbines dot the plains in the western Kansas town, spinning and spinning and spinning. Time is measured in farmer’s almanacs, not rush-hour traffic, and twitter still refers to the peaceful sound of birds. Cauley-Stein was a tree without a forest while being raised by his grandparents, towering over a population of 806 that often congregated at the Windmill Restaurant. His mother and father played basketball at nearby small colleges but split when he was young, leaving him in limbo if not for Norma and Valen “Val” Stein. His older brother, Bryce, was interested in the wheat farm owned by the Steins, but Willie avoided the tractors and combine harvesters. “He was shy and pretty much a homebody,” Norma Stein said. “He’s had to work hard to get where he’s at.” His grandparents kept him in check, guiding him as best they could, but his high school was small. Very small. He might not have had enough NCAA-approved classes to be eligible to play college ball down the road, according to people familiar with his situation. That’s when a future Hall of Famer entered his life. Cauley-Stein played AAU basketball with the son of former NFL offensive lineman Will Shields and ended up becoming friends with Shavon Shields, who now plays basketball at Nebraska. Cauley-Stein transferred to a much larger high school near Kansas City and lived with the Shields family by the end of his sophomore year. The transition was mostly seamless. Mostly. “He’s one of those kids that is just used to doing what he wants to do when he wants to do it,” said Shields, who played 14 years with the Kansas City Chiefs and was elected into the Hall of Fame this year. “He struggled with the fact that, hey, you’ve got to make those phone calls and tell us where you’re going to be, when you’re going to be there, when you’re going to be home. And leave us phone numbers so we can find out who you’re with.” Cauley-Stein realized during an orientation session it would take time to adapt to the teeming hallways of Olathe Northwest High. His entire town of Spearville could fit into the school’s main building, he muttered to himself. “We always thought he would do very well, but I don’t know if he always thought he would do really well,” said Athletic Director Jay Novacek, whose cousin of the same name played tight end for the Dallas Cowboys. “He’s one of those guys who has to really do something before he believes it.” Football played a surprising role for Cauley-Stein, who became one of the state’s best wide receivers thanks to 4.6 speed in the 40, Novacek said. A coach from Kansas University even offered him a football scholarship on the spot while watching him play in a seven-on-seven tournament. Kentucky basketball Coach John Calipari once came to watch Cauley-Stein play football against rival Olathe North. Basketball coaches have an ongoing battle with football coaches because they don’t want their star player getting hurt. Not Calipari. Not that night, anyway. “I stood on the sideline with Coach Calipari the whole game, and of course he loved watching Willie catch passes and run with the ball but he was more excited to watch him just knock people out on catch-and-run plays,” Novacek said. Of greater importance to Cauley-Stein’s existence in the athletic universe was basketball. He had plenty of dunks back then, but his defense was what attracted coaches. Calipari signed him to a letter of intent even though Cauley-Stein’s competition was mainly undersized centers. Kentucky would be different, though. It wasn’t surprising to see Cauley-Stein return to college after his freshman season. He’s not of the same scoring mold as Julius Randle and current-day teammate Towns, past and future members of the one-and-done Kentucky club. Going pro after his sophomore year was more sensible but Cauley-Stein suffered a broken ankle during the Wildcats’ Sweet 16 game last year against Louisville. He would have been a first-round pick but not nearly as coveted as now. He has become college basketball’s most versatile defender, an active shot-blocker who can also cover guards. “Any time you have a 7-foot kid start the game defensively on your point guard, that’s pretty unique,” Tennessee Coach Donnie Tyndall said. (EDITORS: BEGIN OPTIONAL TRIM) He also has those dunks. Oh, those dunks. Search for one against Florida in early February and you’ll find these phrases in various online headlines: “Annihilated” (in ALL CAPS), “lays waste” and “posterized” (also in capital letters). His more recent dunk achieved instant Internet immortality, a fastbreak windmill effort against Auburn. “I make a highlight dunk or something, I’m getting head-butted, dudes’ faces are looking crazy,” Cauley-Stein told reporters. “Seeing my teammates happy is more fun than me actually doing something.” Calipari, though, wants more from him. Cauley-Stein’s outside shot has improved but still needs work. His confidence wavers there. “I want Willie to risk more. Risk! Go make a play!” Calipari said after Cauley-Stein scored four points in Kentucky’s 74-56 victory Wednesday at Mississippi State. “He shot an airball (near) the foul line so then he stopped playing offensively. That’s crazy. You’re the best player on the floor.” (END OPTIONAL TRIM) NBA teams will try to answer a simple question: Who is Willie? The one with the thoughtfulness to add Stein to his given last name of Cauley, a nod to his grandparents and his mother, with whom he has since forged a bond? Or the one with the “hellacious” dunks, to quote his grandmother, a soon-to-be-pro trying to make it in a world that isn’t Kansas anymore. Or, shortly, Kentucky. Shields thinks he knows, remembering the increased discipline in the latter part of Cauley-Stein’s high-school days. “At any point, he could have said, ‘I’m going home, I’m not going to come back if you do it this way or that way,’” Shields said. “He persevered. He worked through it.” ——— ©2015 Los Angeles Times Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC _____ Topics: t000003277,t000003278,t000003183,g000065650,g000362661,g000066164,g000065634
In less than two weeks, voters within the Grove Public School District will determine the fate of a $15.7 million bond issue.If approved by voters on March. 3, the proposition will net a total of $13.5 million for the district to be used for two distinct projects.Of those funds, $12.6 million will be used to construct a performing arts center on the high school campus.The remaining $1 million...
Grove Voters to consider $15.7 million bond
Kaylea M. Hutson firstname.lastname@example.org, Associated Press | Feb 20, 2015In less than two weeks, voters within the Grove Public School District will determine the fate of a $15.7 million bond issue. If approved by voters on March. 3, the proposition will net a total of $13.5 million for the district to be used for two distinct projects. Of those funds, $12.6 million will be used to construct a performing arts center on the high school campus. The remaining $1 million will be used to provide technology improvements throughout the district. The bond, explained Superintendent Sandy Coaly, is designed to finance the performing art center and technology improvements without raising the district's millage or tax rate. Instead, she explained, it will extend bonds which are set to expire including those which were passed to build the Early Childhood Center and make improvements to other district facilities. "It does not raise the taxes," Coaly said. "It simply maintains the [current] millage." Coaly said increasing budgetary pressures from the state mean schools are left passing bond issues in order to make improvements or build new facilities. Highlights of the Bond Last fall, school officials held at least two discussion times with members of the community and teachers within the school district, to determine the specific needs for a performing arts center. During those discussions, several items emerged as priorities, including an auditorium which could seat more than 1,000, as well as the need for a FEMA safe room to protect members of the high school community in the event of inclement weather. Preliminary plans, developed by the district's architects Boynton Williams & Associates, includes the following highlights: a 45,000 square-foot facility built attached to the existing high school. an auditorium which will seat 1,300 to 1,500 patrons. a lobby where banquet-style seating can be held, with overflow to the current high school commons. a FEMA safe room designed to house at least 800 students, faculty and staff in the event of an emergency. an auditorium which will include a fly tower, full rigging and curtains and an orchestra pit. a black box stage, prop room and make up rooms. a audio/visual system. additional support areas for the band and vocal programs, including storage. expanded parking. The technology portion of the bond issue would upgrade the district’s Internet capabilities, and replace what district officials describe as an antiquated phone system and 200 obsolete computers. The cost to replace the computers is $125,000, to replace and upgrade the current phone system is around $125,000 and to upgrade security cameras, software, monitors and the internet for the district would cost around $650,000. If the bond passes on March 3, Coaly anticipates holding a series of community meetings to help answer any outstanding questions regarding the construction of the performing arts center. Voices of Support In the last week, local attorney and Grove parent Christy Wright, created a Facebook campaign to urge patrons to vote yes for the measure. "I started Facebook page to get the vote yes message out to the public," Wright said. "School board members and school administrators cannot tell you to vote yes, they can't campaign. They can only distribute information." The page, http://bit.ly/voteyesgrove, includes information about the bond as well as graphics to show the preliminary plans which have been established by the district. Wright said ultimately, the bond will not only benefit students within the district but also the entire community. "It's wonderful when a couple with young children comes to town and we get to show off our beautiful Early Childhood Center," Wright said. "That doesn't happen when a family with older students moves to town. "Your child can't be the lead in the school play in high school. We have no facility for a play. When a child at the upper elementary needs to attend an assembly, many of them will be sitting on the floor, because there are not enough seats." Wright said the district's band and choral program are also impacted by the district's current facilities, a situation which would be alleviated if the bond passes. "I want voters to know there is no tax increase with this bond, it replaces old bonds that are expiring," Wright said. "It includes a FEMA safe room incorporated into the performing arts center, large enough to protect all students and staff at the high school in case of a tornado." During the Tuesday, Feb. 17 Grove City Council meeting, members of the council voted unanimously to approve a resolution supporting the passage of the bond. Community Support Other voices of support have come from those within the entertainment community in Grove. Suzanne Boles, artistic executive for the Grove Playmakers, said the Playmakers board of directors and management team have also voted to support the bond. "We will encourage our audiences to vote for it," Boles said. "Students in this town need the right kind of environment and space for arts education. We provide football fields and basketball fields for sports and labs for science. This would provide the right kind of facility for arts to grow." Boles said she, and others within the Playmakers community, believe the proposed performing arts center will also benefit the community. "This should be a great facility in which our students can learn," Boles said. Jana Jae, who organizes the American Heritage Music Festival in Grove, has also come out in support of the bond. "I'm all for it," Jae said. "I'm all for anything that supports the art and cultural and community events." Opposition to the Measure While no formal opposition to the bond has emerged, one district patron voiced his displeasure during the Feb. 10 school board meeting. George Fracek told the board he would vote no, and encourage others to do likewise for several reasons, including the fact that district officials lumped the technology funds together with the performing arts center. Fracek mentioned some inadequacies he sees in the preliminary performing art center plans, including the lack of a space to create sets for dramatic performances. Fracek also raised concerns that the performing arts proposal does not make allowances for video or television style production, including cameras or editing "on a greater level than just recording something for either review or archival reasons." While the biggest selling point for the issue is that it would not raise district taxes, Fracek said Grove students deserve more. "This plan tries to please everyone with little nuggets of 'carrots' except in the area of play production, where there is a huge lack of facilities," Fracek said. "Let’s pay a few more mills (millage) for it (center) to be adequate. "[Otherwise] we will just continue paying taxes for something that is not adequate." Bond Issues Around The State Grove is not alone in using bonds to improve or replace facilities. During the Feb. 10 election, Tulsa-area voters approved three school bond issues worth more than $500 million. The propositions included a two, with a combined total of $370 million, which included $9 million for transportation Broken Arrow Public Schools, a combined $120.4 million, which included $1.4 million for transportation, for the Jenks Public School System, and a $27 million proposition for the Union Public School System. All of the bonds were approved with more than the required 60 percent majority vote, which is required by state statue. Like in Grove, none of the bond issues in Broken Arrow, Jenks or Union will raise taxes. All three districts will also use a portion of their bond money for technology improvements. In March, Tulsa Public School officials will place a $415 million bond package on the ballot. Voting Information Voters have until 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 25, to apply for absentee ballots for the March 3 election. Completed absentee ballots must be returned by voters by 7 p.m. on March 3, in order to be eligible for the election. Additionally, early voting will take place at the Delaware County Election Board office from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 26 and Friday, Feb. 27. The election board is located at 225 South Fifth Street, Jay. Voters can cast their ballots at their respective polling places from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 3. Voters are required to show identification when casting their ballots. For more information, persons interested may contact the Delaware County Election Board at 918-253-8762 or download an absentee ballot application at www.elections.ok.gov.
Feb 15, 2015
Durant finished with three points on 1-for-6 shooting in 10 minutes. It snapped his All-Star streak of 30-point games at four.
All-Star notebook: Kevin Durant's playing time limited at All-Star Game
By Darnell Mayberry | Feb 15, 2015Kevin Durant didn’t expect to play much in Sunday’s All-Star Game while recovering from what he deemed nagging injuries. And he didn’t. The Thunder star and reigning MVP played just five first-half minutes and went scoreless in that time, missing all three of his shots, each of them coming from beyond the 3-point line. Durant didn’t score his first points until draining a 3-pointer with 1:47 remaining in the third quarter. Durant entered the game experiencing soreness in his surgically-repaired right foot. He also recently missed four of five games due to a sprained left big toe. But Durant vowed to be in New York City for the mid-season showcase and spent much of the weekend detailing why the event is such an honor for him. “Once you get here and feel like you belong, that’s what I want the most out of all is to just feel like I deserve to be here with all these great players,” Durant said. Durant finished with three points on 1-for-6 shooting in 10 minutes. It snapped his All-Star streak of 30-point games at four. GASOL BROTHERS MAKE HISTORY Pau and Marc Gasol became the first brothers in NBA history to start an All-Star Game, with Pau playing for the East and Marc playing for the West. Their feat promoted other players to think about what it would be like to share such a moment with their sibling. “That would be crazy, man,” said Russell Westbrook, who has one younger brother named Ray. “It’d be crazy. When you have a sibling, to be able to do something with your brother, someone that you love dearly, it’d be definitely exciting.” Westbrook was then asked whether Ray has any skills. “Not in this sport,” Russell said. “He plays football, so he can play football.” GOOD TIMES IN THE BIG APPLE Before Sunday’s game, Westbrook was asked what his favorite New York memory was. “Our Christmas game we played here last year,” he said. Why? “We won and in a memorable way,” Westbrook said. Westbrook dominated the Knicks in that game, scoring 14 points with 13 rebounds and 10 assists in 29 minutes. The Thunder won by 29 points. SPLIT PERSONALITY Former NBA player Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway got to see a different side of Westbrook when paired with him and WNBA player Tamika Catchings during Saturday night’s more laid back Shooting Stars competition. “It’s really shocking,” Hardaway said. “The way he plays on the court is different from what he is off the court. He’s a very funny guy. Tells a lot of jokes. Goes with the flow. He switches it on when he gets on that court.” THREE QUESTIONS WITH DUNK CONTEST CHAMP ZACH LAVINE Q: How and when did you come up with those dunks? A: “It’s kind of weird. I came up with them in high school. I was practicing them in high school. I just wanted to come out with a bang. And I tried to get a 50 on every dunk. It didn’t happen, but I was close on all of them. So that was the main thing. I wanted to show everybody what I got.” Which one of the dunks was the one that nearly knocked Andrew Wiggins unconscious when he saw you practicing it? “That’s the funny thing. I didn’t do that one. I got some tricks in the bag still.” Does that mean you have another dunk contest in you to try to bring that one out? “Hopefully. I like dunking. I didn’t bring them all out. But the one that — I know one of them that almost knocked him out was the first one that was in my routine. We were practicing the other day, and he said, ‘I ain’t never seen that before.’ He can get up, too. So that means a lot coming from my boy.” FACES IN THE CROWD Celebrities seen Sunday night included Bill Clinton, Rihanna, Floyd Mayweather, Ethan Hawke, Chris Tucker, Anthony Anderson, Ellen Pompeo, Ansel Elgort, P. Diddy, Beyonce, Jay-Z.
Oklahoma football: Offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley talks quarterbacks and his new system in WWLS interviewFeb 11, 2015
NORMAN — New Oklahoma offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley jumped on The Sports Animal on Wednesday afternoon with Dusty Dvoracek and Mark Rodgers to talk about the quarterback race, his new system and Samaje Perine, among other topics. Here are a few highlights of the interview, which you can listen to in full at this link, […]
Oklahoma football: Offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley talks quarterbacks and his new system in WWLS interview
Jason Kersey | Feb 11, 2015NORMAN -- New Oklahoma offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley jumped on The Sports Animal on Wednesday afternoon with Dusty Dvoracek and Mark Rodgers to talk about the quarterback race, his new system and Samaje Perine, among other topics. Here are a few highlights of the interview, which you can listen to in full at this link, Q: How do you size up the quarterbacks you've got at OU?A: I love what we've got to work with. Obviously I haven't been out on the field with these guys yet, won't get to do that here for another few weeks ... any time you put a new system in, there's gonna be a little bit of uncertainty. That's natural. That's normal. That's not something that I'm concerned with. The thing that I like is we have two things in that room: We have talent and we have experience. You can't coach those two things. It doesn't matter if we had Tom Brady sitting in this room, you still have to install what you're doing. There's still gonna be some newness to it. That's part of the deal, but the thing we do have is some experience. We have some guys who have some ability, and we've got numbers. We've got four scholarship guys in there. It's a lot better than the situation when I walked into East Carolina five years ago. We had two quarterbacks on scholarship, none of which had ever even appeared in a college game. I like what we have to work with. We're gonna do a good job of adapting what we do to what these quarterbacks do well. I think there's a lot worse situations you could be walking into. Do you look back at what guys have done in the past, or do these guys all have a clean slate with your new system?It's a good question. I've watched very, very little of those guys. I've watched more of our linemen, our running backs and our skill guys, just to get an idea of the different skill sets that we have. We knew going into this recruiting the last couple weeks after I got hired that we probably we're gonna take a quarterback. We felt like we had some more areas that there was a stronger need. I haven't watched them much and I don't intend to. I'm gonna base my evaluation on what they do in this offense. You watch guys in different offenses, and I think that evaluation can not be accurate, or you can get the wrong idea or have preconceived notions. I don't wanna have that. I've talked to all the guys individually about not only what they've done here at Oklahoma, but about what they've done at other institutions or in high school even, to get an idea of how their mind works, what they've been exposed to, how they've been coached. We've had a lot of good meetings. How can you use Samaje Perine best when you've got an offense predicated on throwing the ball?It's not hard to use him. It's not hard to see his talent, and really the entire talent we have in that backfield. We have five or six guys that can play. I think it's gonna be fun figuring out different ways to use those guys. This offense can look so many different ways. There's been years when we're right there at 50-50; there's been years when we've run it more than we've thrown it. I don't know how this one's gonna turn out. I do know we're gonna use all our skill guys and our best players are gonna touch the ball. I'm very aware of the talent that we have back there. They've done a great job recruiting running backs here, and that's arguably maybe the most talented room on the entire team. … That's the beauty of this thing; we can adapt to what our guys do well. You can make sure your best players are touching the ball and this offense can look however it needs to look. As long as we're scoring points and moving the ball and helping our team win, then how we get that done is honestly irrelevant to me. What about Cale Gundy made him the best guy to take over the inside receivers?The biggest thing, when I came in on the interview and got a chance to talk ball with all these guys on the offensive staff and Coach Stoops, it was pretty clear to me that Cale had a good understanding of what we were doing. You can tell the guys in coaching who have the ability to move around, that are versatile. As we talked ball, it was clear ... Cale obviously understood running backs very well, but it was clear to me that he had a good sense of the overall picture of what we were trying to do offensively. You could tell that the receiver play was not foreign at all to him. He's a big-picture guy. ... That was initally in our head as we had some initial thoughts, and once it happened and we coach started looking at some receiver candidates and we talked to some different people, you start figuring out how the staff's gonna work out. The fact that Cale had been in this offense before, he had a great understanding and knows these kids. That's a position we've gotta get going is that receiver position. The more time we spent together out on the road, the more we talked ball, the more apparent it became to me that he was certainly capable of it. Coach Stoops certainly agreed with it. The other part of it is Jay Boulware. Jay was coaching the tight ends, but Jay's coached running backs at a lot of great places and had a lot of success doing that. Those guys were both versatile enough and unselfish enough to make that move. They're gonna be great because of it. I think it shows a strong commitment to what we're doing offensively.
Feb 9, 2015
NORMAN — All signs are pointing to Tim Kish remaining on Oklahoma’s football coaching staff in 2015. Four-star, 2016 linebacker Dontavious Jackson tweeted Monday afternoon that he’d just had a “great talk” with Kish and Bob Stoops. Jackson, from Elsik High School in Houston, picked up an OU offer late last month. He’s also got […]
Oklahoma football: All signs point to linebackers coach Tim Kish returning to staff in 2015
Jason Kersey | Feb 9, 2015NORMAN -- All signs are pointing to Tim Kish remaining on Oklahoma's football coaching staff in 2015. Four-star, 2016 linebacker Dontavious Jackson tweeted Monday afternoon that he'd just had a "great talk" with Kish and Bob Stoops. Jackson, from Elsik High School in Houston, picked up an OU offer late last month. He's also got offers from Baylor, Arizona State, Michigan, Michigan State, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, among others. If Kish is out recruiting 2016 players at this point, he's probably coming back. The only time Stoops has fired assistant coaches after signing day was two years ago, when he chose not to retain Bruce Kittle, James Patton and Jackie Shipp. The last of those announcements was made Feb. 12, 2013. When Stoops announced that he'd fired co-offensive coordinators Josh Heupel and Jay Norvell on Jan. 6, he was asked if there were more staff changes to come. "At this point no," Stoops responded. About a week later, cornerbacks coach Bobby Jack Wright retired. Stoops filled Heupel's spot with Lincoln Riley, and has hired Dennis Simmons and Kerry Cooks to replace Norvell and Wright, respectively -- although Simmons and Cooks haven't been officially announced as hired yet. Still, Kish was considered to be on the hot seat because of his inability of late to land many linebacker recruits. The Sooners extended 22 scholarship offers to linebackers for the 2015 signing class, but only signed two of those, Ricky DeBerry and Arthur McGinnis. The Sooners are set to have only 11 linebackers on scholarship this fall, which seems like a low number considering OU's desire to continue running a 3-4 defensive scheme. Stoops said 11 was his staff's "target number" for linebackers, though, at his signing day news conference last week. It is unclear at this time how the coaching staff will have its duties divided. Offenses like Riley's have traditionally had inside and outside receivers coaches, but there's no indication that Stoops intends to split receiver coaching duties at this point. Cooks' Twitter biography calls himself the "secondary" coach at OU, but last season, defensive coordinator Mike Stoops coached safeties and Wright coached corners. If Cooks is set to take over the entire secondary, where would that leave Mike Stoops? Until OU officially announces the hirings of Simmons and Cooks, this is all pure speculation. But one thing that seems fairly certain at this time is that the coaching hirings and firings are over, meaning Kish will likely be back.
All signs are pointing to Tim Kish remaining on Oklahoma’s football coaching staff in 2015.
Oklahoma football: Tim Kish likely to remain on coaching staff
By Jason Kersey | Feb 9, 2015NORMAN — All signs are pointing to Tim Kish remaining on Oklahoma’s football coaching staff in 2015. Four-star, 2016 linebacker Dontavious Jackson tweeted Monday afternoon that he’d just had a “great talk” with Kish and Bob Stoops. Jackson, from Elsik High School in Houston, picked up an OU offer late last month. He’s also got offers from Baylor, Arizona State, Michigan, Michigan State, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, among others. If Kish is out recruiting 2016 players at this point, he’s probably coming back. The only time Stoops has fired assistant coaches after signing day was two years ago, when he chose not to retain Bruce Kittle, James Patton and Jackie Shipp. The last of those announcements was made Feb. 12, 2013. When Stoops announced that he’d fired co-offensive coordinators Josh Heupel and Jay Norvell on Jan. 6, he was asked if there were more staff changes to come. “At this point no,” Stoops responded. About a week later, cornerbacks coach Bobby Jack Wright retired. Stoops filled Heupel’s spot with Lincoln Riley, and has hired Dennis Simmons and Kerry Cooks to replace Norvell and Wright, respectively — although Simmons and Cooks haven’t been officially announced as hired yet. Still, Kish was considered to be on the hot seat because of his inability of late to land many linebacker recruits. The Sooners extended 22 scholarship offers to linebackers for the 2015 signing class, but only signed two of those, Ricky DeBerry and Arthur McGinnis. The Sooners are set to have only 11 linebackers on scholarship this fall, which seems like a low number considering OU’s desire to continue running a 3-4 defensive scheme. Stoops said 11 was his staff’s “target number” for linebackers, though, at his signing day news conference last week. It is unclear at this time how the coaching staff will have its duties divided. Offenses like Riley’s have traditionally had inside and outside receivers coaches, but there’s no indication that Stoops intends to split receiver coaching duties at this point. Cooks’ Twitter biography calls himself the “secondary” coach at OU, but last season, defensive coordinator Mike Stoops coached safeties and Wright coached corners. If Cooks is set to take over the entire secondary, where would that leave Mike Stoops? Until OU officially announces the hirings of Simmons and Cooks, this is all pure speculation. But one thing that seems fairly certain at this time is that the coaching hirings and firings are over, meaning Kish will likely be back.
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — Stanford coach David Shaw, a wide receiver in his playing days with the Cardinal, was effusive in his praise of the three receivers who signed with the Cardinal on Wednesday.Parade's first team All-Americans JJ Arcega-Whiteside and Trenton Irwin topped the 22-player recruiting class for Stanford. Jay Tyler, who scored 127 touchdowns during his high school career in...
Receivers top Stanford's recruiting list
Associated Press | Feb 4, 2015STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — Stanford coach David Shaw, a wide receiver in his playing days with the Cardinal, was effusive in his praise of the three receivers who signed with the Cardinal on Wednesday. Parade's first team All-Americans JJ Arcega-Whiteside and Trenton Irwin topped the 22-player recruiting class for Stanford. Jay Tyler, who scored 127 touchdowns during his high school career in Louisiana, also signed. "He has ridiculous catch range," Shaw said of Arcega-Whiteside. "Guys can be pushing him or bumping him and anything close to him, he'll get." Shaw called Irwin "a special route runner. I told him he was the best route runner in the nation in high school. He's a guy you can't cover." The Cardinal also picked up safety Justin Reid, whose older brother, Eric, plays for the San Francisco 49ers. Former 49ers and Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh, now at Michigan, unsuccessfully recruited Eric to Stanford, who chose to remain in state and attended LSU. "I'm not surprised," Shaw said. "We knew we had a good chance. But he and his brother are great students. He came on a visit and had a blast." Shaw called Justin underrated as a safety. Ben Edwards, one of the top-rated safeties in the nation out of Florida, also chose Stanford. Two players — fullback Houston Heimuli and linebacker Gabe Reid — signed but will go on Mormon missions before enrolling in 2017. Linebacker Sean Barton will enroll with this class after originally signing in 2013 and going on his mission. Defensive tackle Wesley Annan and defensive end Dylan Jackson may be on the field as freshmen. Shaw acknowledged Stanford is "not deep there" and recruited the position out of need. "I'm impressed with how mature this class is," Shaw said. "There are guys who are physically ready for college football. There's a chance for these guys to play." Brian Chaffin, a center out of North Carolina, was the first to send in his signed letter, which arrived in the Stanford football offices shortly after 5 a.m. "He's a ringleader," Shaw said of Chaffin. "He's vocal, he's outgoing and talks to everybody. He was in the middle of everything with the other recruits." Overall, the Cardinal signed 11 offensive players, four of them linemen, 10 defensive players and a punter. ___ STANFORD Top 25 Class: Rivals ranks Stanford 19th, Scout has them No. 25. Best in class: Trenton Irwin, WR, Hart, Valencia, California. Best of the rest: Nick Wilson, OG, Milton (Ga.) High Late addition: Quenton Meeks, CB, Del Norte, San Diego One that got away: Equanimeous St. Brown, WR, committed to Norte Dame on signing day.
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma signed four receivers as part of a top 25 class on Wednesday, a step the Sooners hope returns them to college football's elite.Oklahoma opened last season ranked No. 4 but finished out of the Top 25. Since then, the Sooners have fired co-offensive coordinators Josh Heupel and Jay Norvell and hired Lincoln Riley to step in.Riley now has some options for his...
Oklahoma pulls in Top 25 class
By CLIFF BRUNT, Associated Press | Feb 4, 2015NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma signed four receivers as part of a top 25 class on Wednesday, a step the Sooners hope returns them to college football's elite. Oklahoma opened last season ranked No. 4 but finished out of the Top 25. Since then, the Sooners have fired co-offensive coordinators Josh Heupel and Jay Norvell and hired Lincoln Riley to step in. Riley now has some options for his pass-happy Air Raid system. John Humphrey is a 160-pound speedster who passed up offers from Notre Dame, Clemson, Baylor and others. Dede Westbrook, a transfer from Blinn Community College, led the nation's junior college ranks with 1,487 yards and 13 touchdowns last season. Dahu Green, a 6-5 leaper from Westmoore High School in Oklahoma City, caught 14 touchdowns as a senior. A.D. Miller, from Bishop Dunne High School in Dallas, used his 6-3 frame to haul in 18 touchdown passes last season. "The direction changed midway through, after the holidays and in the last two weeks," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. "In the end, we wanted to get more speed and quickness in some of the inside spots. And then we had a couple of guys that could go up and get the ball outside as well." The top overall addition, linebacker Ricky DeBerry of Mechanicsville, Virginia, is considered one of the nation's top overall recruits. "More of an outside guy, rusher, but a cover guy, great tackler," Stoops said. Neville Gallimore of the Canada Prep Football Academy in St. Catherine's, Ontario, Canada, is the Sooners' top offensive line pickup. The junior is one of four additions on the line. Stoops acknowledged that the Sooners have been thin in the secondary the past few years. He felt that need was addressed with six players who Stoops says comprises the best group he's recruited in his 16 years at the school. "We got players at every position that we needed," Stoops said. "I felt we hit our target on numbers to start camp next year at the right numbers, really, at every position." ___ OKLAHOMA Top 25 Class: Yes Best in class: Ricky DeBerry, LB, Mechanicsville, Va. Best of the rest: Neville Gallimore, OL, St. Catharine's, Ontario, Canada. Late addition: Prentice McKinney, db, Dallas. One that got away: Josh Wariboko-Alali, OL, Oklahoma City (UCLA).
Here’s what some well-known football coaches had to say about football players competing in other sports at the high school level.
What they're saying about multi-sport athletes and recruiting
BY SCOTT WRIGHT | Feb 1, 2015Here’s what some well-known football coaches had to say about football players competing in other sports at the high school level: Tulsa defensive coordinator Bill Young: “I had the pleasure of coaching Kelly Gregg at Oklahoma. I’ve never seen a player who used his hands as well as Kelly did, and you know it came from wrestling all those years. Barry Holleyman was a great basketball player at Putnam City North and I think that really helped his feet and agility as a defensive lineman at OU. It’s one of the first questions I ask when I recruit a kid — ‘What other sports does he play?’ I’ve always like multi-sport athletes. I think it helps them from a competitive standpoint.” Douglass coach Willis Alexander: “Playing other sports throughout the year teaches a kid to always compete. It keeps them at a competitive level all the time. High school sports is about teaching life lessons, and real life is everyday competition. You’ve got some parents who want their kids to specialize in one sport, and you’ve got some who just want to do whatever they want to do, and get good at whatever it is.” Former Putnam City North coach Bob Wilson: “I’m not sure how much it helps you when you get to the next level. When you get to that point and those kids decide they’re gonna play that particular sport, the weight programs are so strong and there’s a full-time weight coach. When you get to that level, the kid has to come in and dedicate to it and be working all the time. The consistency of doing all those things and staying competitive during high school is a good thing. I don’t know how much playing different sports in high school helps, but I think it’s important that they try to contribute if they can. Texas wide receivers coach Jay Norvell: “I love to see them play more sports. Kids that don't specialize, kids that play a lot of sports, improve more in college because now they're just focusing on one thing, and you can really see them make a huge jump. I expect him in this first year of college to make a huge jump of understanding how to play football at this level.” Former Oklahoma State coach Pat Jones: “Sometimes you can determine more about a kid athletically when he’s playing another sport, as far as flexibility and body control and all that kind of stuff. It’s almost more like watching a combine. From a competitive standpoint, you can tell some things from how they competed, how their body language was with their teammates and coaches.”
Jan 28, 2015
PHOENIX (AP) — With a push from the NFL, all 50 states and the District of Columbia passed youth concussion laws over the span of about five years.They were modeled after legislation passed in Washington state in 2009. But an Associated Press analysis shows just 21 of the laws that followed included all four key elements in Washington's bill."Washington state is the 'gold standard,'" said Peter...
Why what's missing in states' youth concussion laws matters
By HOWARD FENDRICH and EDDIE PELLS, Associated Press | Jan 28, 2015PHOENIX (AP) — With a push from the NFL, all 50 states and the District of Columbia passed youth concussion laws over the span of about five years. They were modeled after legislation passed in Washington state in 2009. But an Associated Press analysis shows just 21 of the laws that followed included all four key elements in Washington's bill. "Washington state is the 'gold standard,'" said Peter Carfagna, the founder of a sports marketing company and a teacher at Harvard Law School. "I have a hard time thinking of a good reason why you'd deviate from it." Here's an explanation of why those basic tenets are considered important: IMMEDIATELY REMOVING ATHLETE SUSPECTED OF HAVING A CONCUSSION This is the most rudimentary of the provisions, and yet it's not mandated by two states, Illinois and Wyoming. Immediately leaving a game or practice is important because a person is at increased risk for a second, more dangerous, concussion while the brain is still healing from one. "One and you're out. No same-day return," said Richard Ellenbogen, co-chairman of the NFL's head, neck and spine committee. "Anybody suspected — the key word is 'suspected' — of having a concussion, (is) pulled out." Arizona and South Carolina allow a player to return the same day if cleared by a doctor who's present. EDUCATING COACHES As news about head injuries connected to sports has spread, it's become easier to drive home the importance of recognizing symptoms so a coach, for example, knows when to send a player to the sideline. "Awareness has risen, and we're evaluating more students for concussions than ever," said Cynthia Clivio, a high school athletic trainer for the private Kamehameha Schools in Hawaii. "Part of it is, our coaches are more educated." New York's law, for example, says schools' coaches, gym teachers, nurses and athletic trainers must take a course that covers how to recognize, treat and monitor students' concussions. INFORMATION FORM SIGNED BY ATHLETE AND PARENT Part of the process of increasing awareness is making athletes and parents aware of the dangers of concussions — and of the dangers of continuing to play or practice when suspected of getting a concussion. Dr. Dawn Comstock, who is studying the laws' effectiveness as part of a project funded by the Centers for Disease Control, called those forms "an important part of the overall education piece." WRITTEN CLEARANCE BY A HEALTH CARE PROVIDER WITH CONCUSSION TRAINING The more specific this part of a law, the lower the chances an athlete will return to action before it's safe. This element of the laws was the least consistent. Only 30 states other than Washington contain both elements — that the clearance be in writing, and that it come from a health care provider with concussion training. "That language was very carefully chosen," said Jay Rodne, the Republican who sponsored the law in Washington state. "We wanted to make sure ... a school district could not just have an uncertified or unlicensed athletic trainer who was given the title 'athletic trainer' but had no certification or no credentials to clear an athlete." Rodne, along with academics who tracked the laws, said advocacy groups for various types of health care providers tried to influence decisions on who would be allowed to clear athletes. As for requiring something in writing, Harvard's Carfagna said: "Without having something in writing to establish who gave the clearance, there's a better chance it could be someone unqualified. There's no fingerprint." EVEN LAWS THAT MEET ALL FOUR STANDARDS AREN'T AS STRONG AS THEY COULD BE Rodne said enforcement mechanisms were too costly to get approved. In Oklahoma last year, a bill that failed would have suspended athletic trainers, coaches or referees who allow an athlete with a concussion to return to action later that day. Other attempted improvements were rejected, too. In Massachusetts, for example, baseline concussion testing for all high school athletes — to allow someone treating them to better gauge whether they have a head injury — was considered in 2013. In Maryland, a 2014 bill would have made players on one high school football team per county wear concussion impact sensors to track brain injuries. "Our work is not done. It's not even close to being done," Ellenbogen said. "We're changing the culture, but we've got to reach all Americans." ___ Follow AP Pro Football Writer Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich Follow AP National Writer Eddie Pells on Twitter at http://twitter.com/epells ___ Online: AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and AP NFL Twitter feed: http://twitter.com/AP_NFL
Jan 28, 2015
PHOENIX (AP) — Criticized for its own handling of head injuries, the NFL launched an extensive lobbying campaign to pass laws protecting kids who get concussions while playing sports. The result: Within just five years, every state had a law on the books.But are the laws strong enough?An Associated Press analysis of the 51 youth concussion laws — one in each state and the District of Columbia —...
AP Analysis: Youth concussion laws pushed by NFL lack bite
By HOWARD FENDRICH and EDDIE PELLS, Associated Press | Jan 28, 2015PHOENIX (AP) — Criticized for its own handling of head injuries, the NFL launched an extensive lobbying campaign to pass laws protecting kids who get concussions while playing sports. The result: Within just five years, every state had a law on the books. But are the laws strong enough? An Associated Press analysis of the 51 youth concussion laws — one in each state and the District of Columbia — found that fewer than half contain all of the key principles in the initial bill passed in Washington state in 2009. That measure mandated education for coaches about concussion symptoms, removal from a game if a head injury is suspected, written clearance to return, and a concussion information form signed by parents and players. About a third of the laws make no specific reference to which ages or grades are covered. Even fewer explicitly apply to both interscholastic sports and rec leagues such as Pop Warner or Little League. Certain laws make clear they cover public and private schools, others only refer to public schools, while some don't say at all. Almost all lack consequences for schools or leagues that don't comply. "We did make compromises ... in some states where we wanted to get something. A 'B'-level law, as opposed to an 'A'-level law," said NFL Senior Vice President of Health and Safety Policy Jeff Miller, who testified about concussions before Arizona's legislature on Tuesday while in town for the Super Bowl. "Better to get something good, and get something in place," Miller said, "as opposed to shoot for something fantastic in all places — and fail." The laws were passed with remarkable speed, and many were weakened because of concerns about cost. Jay Rodne, the Republican who sponsored Washington's initial law, said putting expensive enforcement mechanisms in the bills would have caused many to fail. Judy Pulice, in charge of state legislation for the National Athletic Trainers' Association, helped guide the NFL as bills were written and was disappointed that the final products didn't include penalties for noncompliance. "What happens if you don't pull the kid out of the game? What happens if you put them back in with no medical release?" Pulice said. "Nothing happens." The AP's review of the laws passed after Washington found that only 21 have all four of the requirements in the model legislation. All but two of the laws call for the immediate removal of an athlete from a game or practice if a concussion is suspected. All but four contain language about education for coaches. Yet only 34 say that before returning to action, an athlete with a head injury must have written clearance from a licensed health care provider trained in the evaluation and management of concussions. Just 30 mandate that a concussion information form be signed both by the athlete and a parent or guardian. "They don't all have the (main) principles. Not every state has the same bite as Washington state," said Dr. Richard Ellenbogen, chairman of neurological surgery at the University of Washington and co-chairman of the NFL head, neck and spine committee. He treated Zackery Lystedt, the middle-school football player who nearly died after getting two concussions in a game. Washington's law was named for the teen. After that landmark bill was passed, Ellenbogen recalled, he had a conversation with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell about efforts to replicate the legislation. "The commissioner asked me, 'What do (you) want to get out of this?' I said, 'I want to see, in my lifetime, 10 more states pass a Zack Lystedt law,'" Ellenbogen said. "And he said, 'No. We're going to get all 50 states. And we're going get them in under five years.'" Goodell pushed for the laws at a time his league was facing almost daily reminders of concerns about the link between football and head injuries. Researchers studying brain tissue of deceased former players such as Junior Seau and Dave Duerson, who both committed suicide, found signs of a degenerative disease also found in boxers and often connected to repeated blows to the head. Thousands of ex-players sued the league, saying it didn't do enough to inform them about, and protect them from, concussions. President Barack Obama suggested fans might have a guilty conscience while watching football. Against that backdrop, Ellenbogen said, the NFL held weekly conference calls with state legislators, doctors and other advocates. Miller, who led the lobbying, estimated the effort cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Their success was swift. By comparison, it took more than twice as long to get mandatory seat belt laws passed in 49 states; New Hampshire still doesn't have one for adults. "We wouldn't have had 50 states pass these laws," Ellenbogen said, "if it wasn't for the financial backing and political gravitas of the NFL." Goodell wrote 44 governors whose states had not enacted laws. He spoke about the topic at Harvard's School of Public Health and in an address to the Congress of Neurological Surgeons. And when, a few days before last year's Super Bowl, Mississippi became the last state to finalize its law — albeit a measure missing elements — the league patted itself on the back, saying it had "actively advocated" for the regulations. In October, the NFL trumpeted that Goodell would accept the Brain Injury Alliance of Washington's 2014 Leadership Award. Now the question becomes how effective these laws might be in a country where, according to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly a quarter-million people under 19 were treated in emergency rooms for nonfatal, sports-related concussions in 2009. For 10 years, Dr. Dawn Comstock has collected data from athletic trainers at hundreds of U.S. high schools, and she is comparing state-by-state concussion statistics from before and after each law was enacted to try to understand the practical effect the legislation is having. "I'm sensitive to people getting a false sense of security," said Comstock, of the Colorado School of Public Health at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. "It's great what (state lawmakers) did. But has it made a difference for any player playing any sport?" Larry Cooper, athletic trainer at a school for grades 7-12 outside of Pittsburgh, charts concussions reported in all sports. In the 2007-08 academic year, three years before Pennsylvania passed its law, there were 10 concussions reported at his school, he said. That rose to 15 in 2013-14, and 18 already in 2014-15. "Parents and student-athletes are much more aware of signs and symptoms," Cooper said. He's not the only one noticing. Despite the weaknesses in a majority of the laws, there does seem to be consensus that they have increased awareness. The NFL's Miller said they can always be amended. "I say, 'Let's go back and make them better.' That's OK, too," he said. "There's only 10 laws that are etched in stone and those are the Ten Commandments. Everything else can be changed. Everything else can be improved." ___ Follow AP Pro Football Writer Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich Follow AP National Writer Eddie Pells on Twitter at http://twitter.com/epells ___ Online: AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and AP NFL Twitter feed: http://twitter.com/AP_NFL
Jan 17, 2015
Despite his youth, new OU offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley has been a college football coach for a good while .Mike Leach hired Riley as his full-time outside receivers coach at age 23.
Oklahoma football: Why Bob Stoops thinks Lincoln Riley is 'the perfect guy' for the Sooners
BY JASON KERSEY | Jan 17, 2015NORMAN — Lincoln Riley’s remarkable memory was one of the first things his high school teachers and coaches noticed about him. “You tell him something one time, and that’s all it took,” remembered Muleshoe High football coach David Wood. “The teachers here at the school would talk about how he never took notes. He had a photographic memory. All he did was look at the board, and he’d be able to remember everything. “He has a brilliant mind.” That intelligence put Riley in the fast lane. It’s why the 31-year-old has gone from little Muleshoe, Texas, to becoming Oklahoma’s offensive coordinator in a lot less time than it normally takes coaches to reach that level. OU coach Bob Stoops officially introduced Riley at a Saturday afternoon news conference, calling Riley “the perfect guy to move forward in the direction we want to go.” Riley replaces Josh Heupel as Oklahoma’s offensive playcaller and quarterbacks coach. Stoops still has to replace fired wide receivers coach Jay Norvell and recently retired cornerbacks coach Bobby Jack Wright, but said Saturday he is still working on filling those positions. For now, Stoops has the most important of those vacancies filled. Following a tremendously disappointing 8-5 season — capped by an embarrassing 40-6 Russell Athletic Bowl loss to Clemson — Stoops is, in many ways, staking the future of his program on the youngest offensive coordinator he’s had since he arrived in Norman 16 years ago. Despite his youth, though, Riley has been a college football coach for a good while. He walked on as a quarterback at Texas Tech, but after his first season, coach Mike Leach called Riley into his office. “I’d probably never talked to him for more than five minutes,” Riley said. Leach told Riley bluntly that he probably wouldn’t ever play quarterback at Texas Tech. However, Leach had noticed Riley’s intelligence, and offered him a chance to become a student assistant. “I had to make a decision,” Riley said. “Do you keep doing the college thing and enjoying it and keep trying to play … or do you wanna grow up right now? That’s the path I chose.” Leach hired Riley as his full-time outside receivers coach at age 23. By comparison, when Stoops was 23, he was just starting as an Iowa graduate assistant. Stoops didn’t get a full-time college coaching gig until he was 28. “That’s rare,” Stoops said of Riley getting a job so young, “but when you look at his background and the fact that Mike had been grooming him there for four years as a student, he knew what he was getting.” Stoops compared it to when he was defensive coordinator at Kansas State, and Brent Venables became the Wildcats’ full-time linebackers coach right out of school. “I look at what kind of experience has it been? Has it been good or bad experience?” Stoops said. “Lincoln’s had a lot of good experience at a young age.”
Jan 12, 2015
New coach runs Air Raid offense, but still depends heavily on running backs.
Oklahoma football: A closer look at Lincoln Riley and his offensive philosophy
Jan 12, 2015NORMAN — Running back Vintavious Cooper left his first conversation with Lincoln Riley with a clear idea of what his role would be in East Carolina’s “Air Raid” offense. Or so he thought. “He fooled me,” Cooper remembered with a laugh Monday. Riley “fooled” Cooper in a good way, though. “Coach Riley actually gave me the ball a lot more than I expected,” he said. Riley was officially hired as Oklahoma’s new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Monday after five years in the same position at East Carolina. Because he’s a Mike Leach disciple and runs the Air Raid, some might be worried what that means for Samaje Perine and the Sooners’ running backs. But fear not, Sooner fans. This isn’t Leach’s offense, which has never had a 1,000-yard rusher in any of Leach’s 13 seasons as a head coach. This is Riley’s own version of it, and he depends heavily on running backs. Cooper carried the ball at least 200 times in each of his two seasons — 2012 and 2013 — at East Carolina for a total of 2,242 yards and 20 touchdowns. He also caught 70 passes out of the backfield. “It goes hand-in-hand with his philosophy of establishing the physicality up front, and at the same time, having a guy that can come out of the backfield and make catches in the screen game,” Cooper said. East Carolina ranked third in the nation last year in passing offense (371.9 yards per game) and was fifth in total offense (533 yards per game). The 31-year-old Riley’s ECU offenses have ranked 1-5 in school history in terms of total offensive production. Before arriving at East Carolina, Riley spent seven seasons on the Texas Tech coaching staff under Leach. That tenure began when Riley — who spent one year as a walk-on quarterback with the Red Raiders — ended his playing career to become a student assistant. He was elevated to a graduate assistant coach, and became Tech’s full-time receivers coach at age 23. He was the Red Raiders’ wide receivers coach during Michael Crabtree’s record-breaking career. “Lincoln brings a fresh perspective to our program that I believe will help us maximize our potential offensively,” OU coach Bob Stoops said in a news release. “He owns a consistent track record of implementing innovative offensive concepts during his career and has a history of developing productive offensive players. He has been mentored by a number of successful offensive coaches during his career, while developing his own unique offensive approach.” After Stoops fired co-offensive coordinators Josh Heupel and Jay Norvell last week, he made it clear that he wanted to bring in an offensive coordinator with a strong system already in place. Riley certainly fits that bill, and has shown an ability to adjust his system based on the personnel he’s got. At Oklahoma, he gets a strong group of running backs led by Perine, who rushed for 1,713 yards and 21 touchdowns last season. Joe Mixon will also join the fray this year. The former five-star prospect sat out all of last season while serving a suspension, but while in high school, the Oakley, Calif., native was good at catching passes out of the backfield. Junior-to-be Keith Ford, who rushed for 392 and five touchdowns last year, also showed an ability to be productive in the pass game. As quarterbacks coach, Riley will inherit an open competition. Trevor Knight looked like a budding superstar in the 2014 Sugar Bowl against Alabama, but struggled mightily to reproduce that magic throughout last season. Baker Mayfield, who sat out this year because of NCAA transfer rules, is expected to be in the mix as a potential starter. He was the Big 12’s Offensive Freshman of the Year at Texas Tech in 2013. “Oklahoma is one of those programs you dream of working for as a coach, especially for a head coach as respected and as successful as Bob Stoops,” Riley said in a news release. “I know the high expectations that come along with this position, and I’m ready to embrace the challenge. I’m excited to arrive in Norman to build relationships with our student-athletes and get to work with the rest of the coaching staff.”
Jan 12, 2015
NORMAN — Oklahoma cornerbacks coach Bobby Jack Wright has decided to retire from coaching, sources confirmed Monday evening to The Oklahoman. An official announcement of Wright’s retirement is expected this week. He could move into an administrative role within the OU athletic department, although that is still yet to be determined. His retirement ends a […]
Oklahoma football: Cornerbacks coach Bobby Jack Wright retiring from coaching
Jason Kersey | Jan 12, 2015NORMAN -- Oklahoma cornerbacks coach Bobby Jack Wright has decided to retire from coaching, sources confirmed Monday evening to The Oklahoman. An official announcement of Wright's retirement is expected this week. He could move into an administrative role within the OU athletic department, although that is still yet to be determined. His retirement ends a remarkable coaching career that has spanned five decades. Wright began his coaching career in the early 1970s at Texas high schools before moving into the college ranks at Texas A&I (now Texas A&M-Kingsville) in 1979. There, he coached future Pro Football Hall of Famer Darrell Green. In 1983, he moved to North Texas State for three seasons. Wright came to Texas in 1986 and served under three head coaches while spending time coaching linebackers, the secondary, special teams and wide receivers. In 1997, Wright was the Longhorns' defensive coordinator. The Russell Athletic Bowl was Wright's 21st bowl game as a coach. Wright is one of only two assistant coaches to serve under Bob Stoops during all of his first 16 years in Norman. The Mission, Texas, native was one of the first hires Stoops made when he took over Oklahoma in 1999, brought aboard to bolster the Sooners' recruiting in the state of Texas. Wright did that throughout his time at Oklahoma and expanded his reach far beyond Texas. In recent years, Wright helped bring Tony Jefferson and Aaron Colvin to the Sooners. Wright discovered defensive end Charles Tapper at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl combine in San Antonio when Tapper was a raw, inexperienced football player. Tapper was a first-team All-Big 12 defensive end as a sophomore. For his first five seasons at OU, Wright served as the recruiting coordinator and defensive ends coach. In 2005, Wright was named the assistant head coach, assistant defensive coordinator and continued to coach defensive ends. From 2011-12, Wright added special teams coordinator to his duties in addition to coaching the defensive ends. In 2013, he switched to coaching cornerbacks when Jerry Montgomery came aboard to coach defensive linemen and Jay Boulware took over special teams.
Jan 6, 2015
BY THE NUMBERS — With Bob Stoops firing his co-offensive coordinators, here’s a statistical look at the Sooners’ struggles
Oklahoma football: A by-the-numbers look at the Sooners' offensive struggles
By Jason Kersey | Jan 6, 201523 Oklahoma’s total offense rank in 2014. The Sooners averaged 464.7 yards per game. 20 Oklahoma’s scoring offense rank in 2014. The Sooners averaged 36.4 points per game. 83 Oklahoma’s passing offense rank in 2014. The Sooners averaged 203.5 passing yards per game. 10 Oklahoma’s total offense rank in 2010, the year before Josh Heupel was promoted to offensive coordinator. 14 Oklahoma’s scoring offense rank in 2010, the year before Josh Heupel was promoted to offensive coordinator. 3 Oklahoma’s passing offense rank in 2010, the year before Josh Heupel was promoted to offensive coordinator. 32 Number of wide receivers catches in the five games this season after Sterling Shepard’s groin injury. 3 Number of wide receiver touchdown receptions in the five games this season after Sterling Shepard’s groin injury. 1.82 Oklahoma’s touchdown-to-interception ratio in the four years since Josh Heupel’s promotion to offensive coordinator. 2.51 Oklahoma’s touchdown-to-interception ratio in the 12 years under Bob Stoops before Josh Heupel’s promotion to offensive coordinator. 5 Number of carries by running back Samaje Perine in the Sooners’ 48-14 loss to Baylor this year. Perine finished the season with 1,713 yards and 21 touchdowns. 20 Number of high school wide receivers who have signed with Oklahoma since Jay Norvell’s hiring 1 Number of those WRs who have been drafted (out of the nine who have been eligible for the NFL Draft) 4 Number of 1,000-yard receiving seasons under Norvell, three of which were by Ryan Broyles. 0 Number of 1,000 yard receiving seasons under Norvell since Broyles’ senior season in 2011. 0 Outright Big 12 championships since Heupel’s promotion.
Jan 6, 2015
The Sooners’ offense will have new leadership in 2015, and Bob Stoops said he’s been given all the resources he’ll need to lure a top-notch offensive coordinator to Norman. Here’s a look at some of the possible candidates to be Oklahoma’s next offensive coordinator.
Oklahoma football: A look at some possible offensive coordinator candidates
BY JASON KERSEY | Jan 6, 2015NORMAN — Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops fired co-offensive coordinators Josh Heupel and Jay Norvell, announcing the moves in a Tuesday news conference. The Sooners’ offense will have new leadership in 2015, and Stoops said he’s been given all the resources he’ll need to lure a top-notch offensive coordinator to Norman. Here’s a look at some of the possible candidates to be Oklahoma’s next offensive coordinator: SONNY CUMBIE Age: 33 Current position: TCU co-offensive coordinator/QBs Current salary: N/A Why it makes sense: Cumbie spent four seasons as an offensive coordinator and receivers coach at Texas Tech — his alma mater — before jumping to TCU this season. His work with Horned Frogs quarterback Trevone Boykin has been phenomenal. Could he have a similar impact with Trevor Knight? Cumbie also has a relationship with OU’s Baker Mayfield — who could wrestle the Sooners’ QB job from Knight — from their days at Texas Tech. Why it doesn’t: Cumbie doesn’t call plays at TCU, and Stoops probably wants an experienced play caller running his offense in 2015. SCOTT FROST Age: 40 Current position: Oregon offensive coordinator/QBs Current salary: $400,000 Why it makes sense: Oregon ranks second in the country in scoring offense and third in total offense this season. Frost has been part of the Oregon staff since 2009 — and offensive coordinator the past two years — mastering the Ducks’ high-powered, up-tempo offense that has become one of the most explosive in the nation. He’s coached Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota the past two years, and Oregon is playing for the national championship next week against Ohio State. Frost will surely get a raise from Oregon after this season, but Stoops has been given ample resources to surely out-bid almost anyone if it comes to that. Why it doesn’t: Frost is probably close to landing a major head coaching job, so would he really leave Oregon for another offensive coordinator gig? Also, with things going as well as they are at Oregon, would he really leave to take on a rebuilding project in Norman, especially if the Ducks give him a big raise? TYSON HELTON Age: 36 Current position: Western Kentucky offensive coordinator Current salary: $135,000 Why it makes sense: In his first season as Western Kentucky’s offensive coordinator, the Hilltoppers averaged 534.6 yards of offense and 44.4 points per game. WKU were second in the nation in passing offense, averaging 374.3 passing yards. He has spent time coaching running backs, tight ends and quarterbacks, giving him a good variety of experience working with several aspects of an offense. Helton would surely receive a gigantic raise in Norman from his current $135,000 salary. Why it doesn’t: Helton has only called plays for one season, and none of his experience has been in any of the Power Five conferences. JOSH HENSON Age: 39 Current position: Missouri offensive coordinator/TEs/OL Current salary: $550,000 Why it makes sense: Henson was promoted to Missouri’s offensive coordinator in December 2012, and he made tremendous improvements to the Tigers’ offense. Mizzou went from a 5-7 record in 2012 to 12-2 in 2013, when the Tigers won the SEC East and the Cotton Bowl. The Tigers ranked 34th nationally in passing efficiency in Henson’s first year, as opposed to 103rd in that category the season before. He spent four seasons as LSU’s recruiting coordinator from 2005-08, meaning he’s got good connections in the South that could pay huge dividends in recruiting. He’s a Tuttle native, so he’s got plenty of local connections. Why it doesn’t: Henson played at Oklahoma State. He’s also got a pretty good thing going at Missouri, which has won consecutive SEC East championships and seems to be a program on the rise in what is considered college football’s best conference. RHETT LASHLEE Age: 31 Current position: Auburn offensive coordinator/QBs Current salary: $600,000 Why it makes sense: Lashlee is a Gus Malzahn disciple, having played quarterback in high school under Malzahn and working under him for much of his young career. He’s smart and innovative, and a good quarterback teacher, having worked the last two years with Nick Marshall. The Tigers played for the national championship in Lashlee’s first season at Auburn. Why it doesn’t: Would Lashlee leave Malzahn? Also, would the Sooners be willing to pay him more than the $600,000 he’s making right now? Stoops also indicated Tuesday that he wants an experienced play caller and coordinator, so would he be willing to bring in someone so young? SETH LITTRELL Age: 36 Current position: North Carolina offensive coordinator/TEs Current salary: $250,000 Why it makes sense: Littrell played under Stoops and was a fullback and team captain on the 2000 national championship team. He’s worked at Texas Tech, Arizona, Indiana and now North Carolina, giving him lots of varied experience. He’s also got familiarity with current OU offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh; the two worked together at Tech and Arizona. Why it doesn’t: Heupel was also a former Stoops player and 2000 team captain. Stoops’ best assistants on the current staff are those he didn’t have a previous relationship with. New, fresh ideas are what the Sooners need offensively. MARK MANGINO Age: 58 Current position: Iowa State offensive coordinator/TEs Current salary: $350,000 Why it makes sense: Mangino was the Sooners’ offensive coordinator on the 2000 national championship team. He was Kansas’ head coach during the Jayhawks’ most successful stretch ever, peaking with an Orange Bowl win to end the 2007-08 season. He made obvious improvements in his first year at Iowa State, despite the Cyclones’ poor record. Stoops and Mangino remain close friends. Why it doesn’t: The way in which Mangino left Kansas would probably make it difficult for Stoops to justify hiring him to David Boren and Joe Castiglione. Also, the last time Stoops re-hired an old coordinator — Mike Stoops — the old magic didn’t come back. GARRICK MCGEE Age: 41 Current position: Louisville offensive coordinator/QBs Current salary: $650,000 Why it makes sense: McGee has head coaching experience, having spent two seasons leading UAB from 2012-13. He was Arkansas’ offensive coordinator under Bobby Petrino, and the Razorbacks went 10-3 and won the Sugar Bowl in 2010 with the nation’s No. 8 total offense. McGee played quarterback at Oklahoma from 1994-95. Why it doesn’t: McGee is well paid at Louisville, and has a good working relationship with Petrino. DOUG MEACHAM Age: 50 Current position: TCU co-offensive coordinator/WRs Current salary: N/A (reportedly $350,000) Why it makes sense: Meacham shares the offensive coordinator title with Sonny Cumbie, but is the one who calls plays at TCU. He’s a good recruiter and has overseen the Horned Frogs’ incredible offensive resurgence in 2014. He was a finalist for the Broyles Award this year as the nation’s top assistant coach. He’s very familiar with the Texas recruiting scene, having worked at Oklahoma State and Houston before TCU. Why it doesn’t: Meacham is a former Oklahoma State player and has a good thing at TCU, with Boykin returning next season. LINCOLN RILEY Age: 31 Current position: East Carolina offensive coordinator/QBs Current salary: $278,800 Why it makes sense: East Carolina ranked fifth in the nation in total offense this season, and Riley is considered a rising star in the coaching profession. He learned the Air Raid offense as a player and then coach under Mike Leach at Texas Tech, and was Michael Crabtree’s position coach during his record-breaking career. He’s been ECU’s offensive coordinator for five seasons. Why it doesn’t: If Stoops wants an established, experienced offensive coordinator, would Riley’s age be a barrier despite his five years as offensive coordinator? JAKE SPAVITAL Age: 29 Current position: Texas A&M offensive coordinator/QBs Current salary: $483,000 Why it makes sense: Spavital is a Dana Holgorsen disciple, working under him at Oklahoma State and West Virginia before becoming Kevin Sumlin’s offensive coordinator in 2013. He worked with Johnny Manziel during his first season with the Aggies, and Manziel’s passing numbers actually improved in his sophomore season under Spavital. He’s got plenty of recruiting connections in Texas, and is an Oklahoma kid, having played quarterback at Tulsa Union. Why it doesn’t: Spavital is still a new offensive coordinator, having only called plays the last two years. He’s also still very young, and has only been a full-time college coach for four years.
Dec 29, 2014
WASHINGTON (AP) — It was supposed to be a joke. "Are you still president?" comedian Stephen Colbert asked Barack Obama earlier this month.But the question seemed to speak to growing weariness with the president and skepticism that anything will change in Washington during his final two years in office. Democrats already are checking out Obama's potential successors. Emboldened Republicans are...
For Obama, high ambitions, less power to achieve
By JULIE PACE and NANCY BENAC, Associated Press | Dec 29, 2014WASHINGTON (AP) — It was supposed to be a joke. "Are you still president?" comedian Stephen Colbert asked Barack Obama earlier this month. But the question seemed to speak to growing weariness with the president and skepticism that anything will change in Washington during his final two years in office. Democrats already are checking out Obama's potential successors. Emboldened Republicans are trying to push aside his agenda in favor of their own. At times this year, Obama seemed ready to move on as well. He rebelled against the White House security "bubble," telling his Secret Service detail to give him more space. He chafed at being sidelined by his party during midterm elections and having to adjust his agenda to fit the political interests of vulnerable Democrats who lost anyway. Yet the election that was a disaster for the president's party may have had a rejuvenating effect on Obama. The morning after the midterms, Obama told senior aides, "If I see you moping, you will answer to me." People close to Obama say he is energized at not having to worry about helping — or hurting — Democrats in another congressional election on his watch. He has become more comfortable with his executive powers, moving unilaterally on immigration, Internet neutrality and climate change in the last two months. And he sees legacy-building opportunities on the international stage, from an elusive nuclear deal with Iran to normalizing relations with Cuba after a half-century freeze. "He gained some clarity for the next two years that is liberating," said Jay Carney, who served as Obama's press secretary until this spring. "He doesn't have as much responsibility for others." Still, pillars of Obama's second-term agenda — gun control, raising the federal minimum wage, universal pre-school— seem destined to stand unfulfilled. Wrapping up the Iraq and Afghanistan wars isn't turning out to be nearly the tidy success story Obama once envisioned. Even supporters say one of the president's top remaining priorities may have to be simply preventing Republicans from dismantling his earlier accomplishments, including the health care law. The Yes-We-Can man is entering a twilight of maybes, his presidency still driven by high ambitions but his power to achieve them running out. ___ Before the midterm election results arrived, Obama's advisers say, the president realized he would finish his presidency with Republicans running Capitol Hill. Whatever message the Democrats' defeat sent about the president's own standing, Obama concluded the status quo meant more gridlock. Indeed, 2014 had been another year of fits and starts for a White House that has struggled to find its footing in Obama's second term. The feeble HealthCare.gov website stabilized, but scandal enveloped the Veterans Affairs Department. Syria got rid of its chemical weapons, but a violent extremist group pulled the U.S. back into military conflict in the Middle East. The unemployment rate fell, but so did Obama's approval ratings — to the lowest levels of his presidency, worse than the second-term averages for most recent presidents. "I don't care who you are, after eight years or six years of the presidency, your influence has eroded," said Robert Dallek, a historian who has met periodically with Obama. "Even someone like Eisenhower or Reagan, you just can't sustain it." While White House officials acknowledge the presidency has challenges in its waning years, they say recent economic gains and executive actions on immigration and climate change show Obama still can exert considerable influence. "This year the president's policy successes vastly outstripped his political successes," said Dan Pfeiffer, a senior White House adviser. Nearly two dozen White House officials, former Obama aides, presidential historians and political analysts discussed Obama's standing as he closes his sixth year in office, some on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss their conversations with the president or his top advisers. For much of the year, Obama appeared to struggle with the realization that his political standing had slipped. He publicly complained about criticism of his foreign policy by pundits in Washington and New York (his private gripes were more colorful and profane). Despite Democratic pleas to stay out of November's elections, he said his policies were indeed on the ballot. He desperately sought to break free of the confines of the White House. One afternoon in June, he joined his chief of staff in making an impromptu Starbucks run on foot, leaving aides and reporters sprinting to catch up. "Bear on the loose," the president's advisers jokingly said. They said it was good for his mood to break free from the bubble. But there were also real concerns in the West Wing about his behavior. Not only was he trying to escape the ever-present press, but Obama was ordering his Secret Service detail to keep its distance. In 2014, Obama also went back to war in the Middle East. Less than three years after the last American troops left Iraq, Obama sent U.S. forces back to train and assist the country's security forces in fighting Islamic State extremists. By fall, the U.S. was launching airstrikes against the militants in Iraq and Syria. As he announced the strikes, Obama promised Americans this time would be different from the long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. No U.S. combat troops would on the ground, he said. But he seemed to be trying to reassure himself as much as anyone else. In public and in private, Obama appears to understand his presidency may end on a war footing. He's been reading "Redeployment," a collection of short stories about the Iraq war by former Marine Phil Klay. Shortly before Christmas, he made an unusual visit to a military base in New Jersey to thank troops and their families — and pledge to preserve hard-fought military gains abroad. ___ Obama is realistically optimistic about what he can get done over the next two years, advisers say. He wants to try tax reform and sees opportunities to accelerate growth and job creation with the economy on firmer footing. Aides have reached out to historians and political scientists to solicit ideas for Obama's next State of the Union address, including fresh ways to address income inequality. "They have reasonable expectations," said Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam, who spoke with White House aides about income inequality before the election. "It is the sixth year, after all." A big question hanging over the White House is how much Obama, whose charisma once charmed the world, can still shape the national debate. "There's almost always a point of diminishing returns on a president's words," said Jeff Shesol, a former presidential speechwriter for Bill Clinton. Indeed, the president is forging ahead as something of an isolated figure. December's debate over keeping money flowing to the government showed Democrats in Congress won't hesitate to go their own way. In recent weeks, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York has questioned the timing of Obama's 2010 health care law. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi pronounced herself "enormously disappointed" that Obama embraced a spending bill she saw as a GOP attempt at blackmail. And Sen. Bob Menendez, the outgoing Senate Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, began work with Republicans on new penalties against Iran — against Obama's wishes. Inside the White House, Obama's tight inner circle of loyal advisers keeps shrinking. The trio of political gurus who helped run his presidential campaigns — David Axelrod, Robert Gibbs and David Plouffe — have long since moved on. As has onetime chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, now the mayor of Chicago. Other longtime aides, including Pfeiffer and deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes, are said to be eyeing exits. Bringing in fresh talent is becoming a greater challenge. Obama may have to navigate this challenging phase of his presidency without a full stable of trusted advisers with whom he's comfortable. Many Democratic operatives are also more interested in spots on Hillary Rodham Clinton's potential presidential campaign than joining an administration entering its twilight. In some instances, it has been hard for the White House to get prominent Democrats to publicly back Obama's policy decisions, particularly on foreign affairs, until they know Clinton's position. Clinton is widely expected to announce a bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. Obama is trying to branch out. He started keeping his version of a bucket list: the names of authors, business leaders, innovators and others he wants to bring to the White House for a private lunch or dinner. Some who have visited: inventor and business tycoon Elon Musk, historian Doris Kearns Goodwin and AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, a major Republican donor. Obama has opened up his social circle beyond a core group of friends from Chicago and his childhood in Hawaii. He's become close to former NBA basketball player Alonzo Mourning, who has hosted fundraisers for Obama's presidential campaigns. Former football player Ahmad Rashad, who dated senior presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett earlier this year, worked his way into the president's golf outings and joined the first family on vacation in the Florida Keys and Martha's Vineyard. ESPN host Michael Wilbon, an occasional golf partner, said Obama displayed an astounding "ability to compartmentalize" amid the past year's frustrations. "A lot of successful people have to have that, but not like the president," Wilbon said. Obama admits to being distracted at times. Asked how much sports he watches on TV, the president told ESPN this month, "There are times I will admit at night, when I've got a really fat briefing book, where I might have the game on with the sound off." ___ Less than halfway through his presidency, Obama reflected on how being in office had left him "all dinged up." The vaunted "hope" posters from his 2008 campaign are "all dog-eared and faded," he said at a fundraiser three years later. He was searching for ways to re-create the energy of 2008. Heading into his final two years in the White House, that challenge is greater. While Obama and his team talk a good game about opportunities ahead, they've been here before: Plunging into a new year full of energy and ideas, only to run smack into Washington gridlock. Signs that Obama's presidency is closing are all around. Within weeks, the race to replace him will begin in earnest. Democrats are lining up to endorse Clinton, though she's yet to declare her candidacy. By spring, a committee of Obama friends and advisers will announce which city will host his presidential library. Honolulu, Chicago and New York are in contention. People close to Obama say he is weighing what he will do when he leaves the White House at the relatively young age of 55. He is studying the paths his predecessors have taken and has expressed interest in working on both domestic and international issues. He is considering ways to expand mentoring programs he started for young black men in the U.S. and emerging leaders in Africa and Asia. "He's going to have a very unique opportunity and ability to reach young people not only here but in other countries," said Jon Favreau, Obama's longtime speechwriter who left the White House last year. It is less clear where Obama and his family will go after their time in the White House ends. They own a red-brick, Georgian-style home in Kenwood, a neighborhood on Chicago's South Side. Their oldest daughter, Malia, graduates from high school soon and has been looking at colleges in California. The president is said to be drawn to the idea that he could blend in more easily in bustling New York. Obama is already imagining life with fewer restrictions. Asked in a New Yorker interview earlier this year whether he would want to be a judge, Obama said that sounded a bit "too monastic." "Particularly after having spent six years and what will be eight years in this bubble, I think I need to get outside a little bit more." ___ Follow Julie Pace at http://twitter.com/jpaceDC and Nancy Benac at http://twitter.com/nbenac
WASHINGTON (AP) — It was supposed to be a joke. "Are you still president?" comedian Stephen Colbert asked Barack Obama earlier this month.But the question seemed to speak to growing weariness with the president and skepticism that anything will change in Washington during his final two years in office. Democrats already are checking out Obama's potential successors. Emboldened Republicans are...
Yes-We-Can president faces twilight of maybes
By JULIE PACE and NANCY BENAC, Associated Press | Dec 28, 2014WASHINGTON (AP) — It was supposed to be a joke. "Are you still president?" comedian Stephen Colbert asked Barack Obama earlier this month. But the question seemed to speak to growing weariness with the president and skepticism that anything will change in Washington during his final two years in office. Democrats already are checking out Obama's potential successors. Emboldened Republicans are trying to push aside his agenda in favor of their own. At times this year, Obama seemed ready to move on as well. He rebelled against the White House security "bubble," telling his Secret Service detail to give him more space. He chafed at being sidelined by his party during midterm elections and having to adjust his agenda to fit the political interests of vulnerable Democrats who lost anyway. Yet the election that was a disaster for the president's party may have had a rejuvenating effect on Obama. The morning after the midterms, Obama told senior aides, "If I see you moping, you will answer to me." People close to Obama say he is energized at not having to worry about helping — or hurting — Democrats in another congressional election on his watch. He has become more comfortable with his executive powers, moving unilaterally on immigration, Internet neutrality and climate change in the last two months. And he sees legacy-building opportunities on the international stage, from an elusive nuclear deal with Iran to normalizing relations with Cuba after a half-century freeze. "He gained some clarity for the next two years that is liberating," said Jay Carney, who served as Obama's press secretary until this spring. "He doesn't have as much responsibility for others." Still, pillars of Obama's second-term agenda — gun control, raising the federal minimum wage, universal pre-school— seem destined to stand unfulfilled. Wrapping up the Iraq and Afghanistan wars isn't turning out to be nearly the tidy success story Obama once envisioned. Even supporters say one of the president's top remaining priorities may have to be simply preventing Republicans from dismantling his earlier accomplishments, including the health care law. The Yes-We-Can man is entering a twilight of maybes, his presidency still driven by high ambitions but his power to achieve them running out. ___ Before the midterm election results arrived, Obama's advisers say, the president realized he would finish his presidency with Republicans running Capitol Hill. Whatever message the Democrats' defeat sent about the president's own standing, Obama concluded the status quo meant more gridlock. Indeed, 2014 had been another year of fits and starts for a White House that has struggled to find its footing in Obama's second term. The feeble HealthCare.gov website stabilized, but scandal enveloped the Department of Veterans Affairs. Syria got rid of its chemical weapons, but a violent extremist group pulled the U.S. back into military conflict in the Middle East. The unemployment rate fell, but so did Obama's approval ratings — to the lowest levels of his presidency, worse than the second-term averages for most recent presidents. "I don't care who you are, after eight years or six years of the presidency, your influence has eroded," said Robert Dallek, a historian who has met periodically with Obama. "Even someone like Eisenhower or Reagan, you just can't sustain it." While White House officials acknowledge the presidency has challenges in its waning years, they say recent economic gains and executive actions on immigration and climate change show Obama still can exert considerable influence. "This year the president's policy successes vastly outstripped his political successes," said Dan Pfeiffer, a senior White House adviser. Nearly two dozen White House officials, former Obama aides, presidential historians and political analysts discussed Obama's standing as he closes his sixth year in office, some on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss their conversations with the president or his top advisers. For much of the year, Obama appeared to struggle with the realization that his political standing had slipped. He publicly complained about criticism of his foreign policy by pundits in Washington and New York (his private gripes were more colorful and profane). Despite Democratic pleas to stay out of November's elections, he said his policies were indeed on the ballot. He desperately sought to break free of the confines of the White House. One afternoon in June, he joined his chief of staff in making an impromptu Starbucks run on foot, leaving aides and reporters sprinting to catch up. "Bear on the loose," the president's advisers jokingly said. They said it was good for his mood to break free from the bubble. But there were also real concerns in the West Wing about his behavior. Not only was he trying to escape the ever-present press, but Obama was ordering his Secret Service detail to keep its distance. In 2014, Obama also went back to war in the Middle East. Less than three years after the last American troops left Iraq, Obama sent U.S. forces back to train and assist the country's security forces in fighting Islamic State extremists. By fall, the U.S. was launching airstrikes against the militants in Iraq and Syria. As he announced the strikes, Obama promised Americans this time would be different from the long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. No U.S. combat troops would on the ground, he said. But he seemed to be trying to reassure himself as much as anyone else. In public and in private, Obama appears to understand his presidency may end on a war footing. He's been reading "Redeployment," a collection of short stories about the Iraq war by former Marine Phil Klay. Shortly before Christmas, he made an unusual visit to a military base in New Jersey to thank troops and their families — and pledge to preserve hard-fought military gains abroad. ___ Obama is realistically optimistic about what he can get done over the next two years, advisers say. He wants to try tax reform and sees opportunities to accelerate growth and job creation with the economy on firmer footing. Aides have reached out to historians and political scientists to solicit ideas for Obama's next State of the Union address, including fresh ways to address income inequality. "They have reasonable expectations," said Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam, who spoke with White House aides about income inequality before the election. "It is the sixth year, after all." A big question hanging over the White House is how much Obama, whose charisma once charmed the world, can still shape the national debate. "There's almost always a point of diminishing returns on a president's words," said Jeff Shesol, a former presidential speechwriter for Bill Clinton. Indeed, the president is forging ahead as something of an isolated figure. December's debate over keeping money flowing to the government showed Democrats in Congress won't hesitate to go their own way. In recent weeks, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York has questioned the timing of Obama's 2010 health care law. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi pronounced herself "enormously disappointed" that Obama embraced a spending bill she saw as a GOP attempt at blackmail. And Sen. Bob Menendez, the outgoing Senate Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, began work with Republicans on new penalties against Iran — against Obama's wishes. Inside the White House, Obama's tight inner circle of loyal advisers keeps shrinking. The trio of political gurus who helped run his presidential campaigns — David Axelrod, Robert Gibbs and David Plouffe — have long since moved on. As has onetime chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, now the mayor of Chicago. Other longtime aides, including Pfeiffer and deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes, are said to be eyeing exits. Bringing in fresh talent is becoming a greater challenge. Obama may have to navigate this challenging phase of his presidency without a full stable of trusted advisers with whom he's comfortable. Many Democratic operatives are also more interested in spots on Hillary Rodham Clinton's potential presidential campaign than joining an administration entering its twilight. In some instances, it has been hard for the White House to get prominent Democrats to publicly back Obama's policy decisions, particularly on foreign affairs, until they know Clinton's position. Clinton is widely expected to announce a bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. Obama is trying to branch out. He started keeping his version of a bucket list: the names of authors, business leaders, innovators and others he wants to bring to the White House for a private lunch or dinner. Some who have visited: inventor and business tycoon Elon Musk, historian Doris Kearns Goodwin and AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, a major Republican donor. Obama has opened up his social circle beyond a core group of friends from Chicago and his childhood in Hawaii. He's become close to former NBA basketball player Alonzo Mourning, who has hosted fundraisers for Obama's presidential campaign. Former football player Ahmad Rashad, who dated senior presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett earlier this year, worked his way into the president's golf outings and joined the first family on vacation in the Florida Keys and Martha's Vineyard. ESPN host Michael Wilbon, an occasional golf partner, said Obama displayed an astounding "ability to compartmentalize" amid the past year's frustrations. "A lot of successful people have to have that, but not like the president," Wilbon said. Obama admits to being distracted at times. Asked how much sports he watches on TV, the president told ESPN this month, "There are times I will admit at night, when I've got a really fat briefing book, where I might have the game on with the sound off." ___ Less than halfway through his presidency, Obama reflected on how being in office had left him "all dinged up." The vaunted "hope" posters from his 2008 campaign are "all dog-eared and faded," he said at a fundraiser three years later. He was searching for ways to re-create the energy of 2008. Heading into his final two years in the White House, that challenge is greater. While Obama and his team talk a good game about opportunities ahead, they've been here before: Plunging into a new year full of energy and ideas, only to run smack into Washington gridlock. Signs that Obama's presidency is closing are all around. Within weeks, the race to replace him will begin in earnest. Democrats are lining up to endorse Clinton, though she's yet to declare her candidacy. By spring, a committee of Obama friends and advisers will announce which city will host his presidential library. Honolulu, Chicago and New York are in contention. People close to Obama say he is weighing what he will do when he leaves the White House at the relatively young age of 55. He is studying the paths his predecessors have taken and has expressed interest in working on both domestic and international issues. He is considering ways to expand mentoring programs he started for young black men in the U.S. and emerging leaders in Africa and Asia. "He's going to have a very unique opportunity and ability to reach young people not only here but in other countries," said Jon Favreau, Obama's longtime speechwriter who left the White House last year. It is less clear where Obama and his family will go after their time in the White House ends. They own a red-brick, Georgian-style home in Kenwood, a neighborhood on Chicago's South Side. Their oldest daughter, Malia, graduates from high school soon and has been looking at colleges in California. The president is said to be drawn to the idea that he could blend in more easily in bustling New York. Obama is already imagining life with fewer restrictions. Asked in a New Yorker interview earlier this year whether he would want to be a judge, Obama said that sounded a bit "too monastic." "Particularly after having spent six years and what will be eight years in this bubble, I think I need to get outside a little bit more." ___ Follow Julie Pace at http://twitter.com/jpaceDC and Nancy Benac at http://twitter.com/nbenac
Dec 26, 2014
OU coach Bob Stoops reported that doctors and trainers believed Romar to be fine but ordered X-rays as a precaution.
Oklahoma football notebook: Matt Romar leaves practice in ambulance
By Jason Kersey, Erik Horne and Berry Tramel | Dec 26, 2014OU defensive tackle Matt Romar suffered an apparent neck injury near the end of practice Friday. Romar was wheeled off Kroy Crofoot Field at First Academy High School in Orlando, Fla., and placed in an ambulance. OU coach Bob Stoops reported that doctors and trainers believed Romar to be fine but ordered X-rays as a precaution. Romar, a promising redshirt freshman from Port Arthur (Texas) Memorial, had nine tackles this season with one sack. STRIKER: NO FINANCIAL CONSIDERATIONS OU linebacker Eric Striker said he didn’t see former Sooner Tony Jefferson’s recent advice on staying in school. Jefferson declared for the NFL Draft after his junior season, then went undrafted. But Striker appreciates it. “I mean, yeah, Tony’s been there,” Striker said. “And a lot of guys have been there. And you see the draft from last year. A lot of juniors didn’t get picked up. So you’ve got to be real conscious. This is a big life decision you’re making, you know what I mean? “For Tony to come out and say that, not just here at Oklahoma but at every university, juniors should think about that. Because he was in a bad situation. And it sucked for him. The fact that he said that, I have to take that into account. That’s him reaching out to us, just being truthful and honest. I appreciate him for that.” Striker said his decision won’t be based on financial considerations. “Nah, nah,” Striker said. “No, my family can take care of themselves. I don’t have any kids. I’m not in that type of situation. I enjoy college life. Like I said, the NFL is a dream. When it comes down to it, I’ve got to make the best decision for me.” MCSHAY: BOWL FILLED WITH NFL TALENT The OU-Clemson matchup might not have the luster of the College Football Playoff games, but it'll still have its share of NFL caliber talent. ESPN college football analyst Todd McShay ranked college football's remaining bowl games based on NFL talent. He leads with the Rose Bowl between Oregon and Florida State, which features 16 players who could be drafted in 2015. Checking in at No. 7 is the Russell Athletic Bowl, where McShay says “you should keep an eye on the line of scrimmage,” and that there are four players on each team that currently have draftable grades: “The Sooners have a pair of second-round offensive tackles in Daryl Williams and Tyrus Thompson. Williams is the higher-graded of the two and is more consistent and powerful, while Thompson is a more natural athlete who needs to remove some inconsistencies from his game. “The entire Oklahoma O-line will have its hands full with the Clemson D-line, starting with DE/OLB Vic Beasley. He's a difference-maker as a pass-rusher whose first-step quickness and closing speed are near elite.” ANDREWS ADAPTING TO TIGHT END OU freshman Mark Andrews signed with the Sooners as a four-star wide receiver prospect, but has been working at tight end while redshirting this season. The 6-foot-6, 236-pounder from Scottsdale, Ariz., was the 25th-ranked wide receiver — and the 176th-ranked overall player — in the 2014 recruiting class, according to Rivals. Senior Blake Bell, who switched to tight end from quarterback during the last offseason, said he’s been impressed with Andrews’ progress. “From what I saw in the very beginning to now, he’s definitely getting a lot better blocking and (with) technique,” Bell said. “He’s got four more years, so that’s going to help him a lot. Coach (Jay) Boulware will do a great job of teaching him all that stuff.” NO DGB IN FLORIDA Quarterback transfer Baker Mayfield is with the Sooners on the bowl trip, but wide receiver transfer Dorial Green-Beckham is not. The reason? NCAA rules. Ineligible players cannot travel, but since Mayfield transferred from Texas Tech in January, he has completed two full semesters. Thus when the fall semester ended, he was eligible to travel, though he cannot play in the bowl game. But since Green-Beckham transferred from Missouri in the summer, he’s completed just one semester at OU and thus could not be part of the traveling party. SANCHEZ WAXES NOSTALGIC OU cornerback Zack Sanchez grew sentimental as he talked about playing one final game with some of his senior teammates. “Some of the guys that I’ve been around with since I’ve got here, like Rashod (Favors) and Julian (Wilson), and this is the last time we’ll be together as teammates,” Sanchez. “This has been a special week for us. Me and Shod went to see a movie last night. Spending the week with him, he’s been like the big brother to me since I’ve stepped foot on campus. It’s been good to spend this last week with the guys, away from home and playing football.” Sanchez and Favors both are from Fort Worth, Texas. CLEMSON TO WEAR STICKERS Clemson helmets will be adorned with two special stickers for the game. The Russell Athletic Bowl will provide a sticker. The second sticker will commemorate the 75-year anniversary of Clemson’s first bowl game, a 6-3 victory in the Cotton Bowl over Boston College and legendary coach Frank Leahy.
Dec 25, 2014
The Sooners have started true freshmen Steven Parker and Jordan Thomas at safety and cornerback, respectively, several times this season.
Oklahoma football notebook: Steven Parker, Jordan Thomas still adjusting
BY JASON KERSEY AND RYAN ABER | Dec 25, 2014Oklahoma’s defensive backfield has struggled mightily at times this season. The Sooners rank ninth in the Big 12 Conference in pass defense, allowing an average of 272.7 yards per game to opposing quarterbacks. A lot of those problems, though, can be attributed to several young, inexperienced guys playing in Oklahoma’s secondary. The Sooners have started true freshmen Steven Parker and Jordan Thomas at safety and cornerback, respectively, several times this season. “I think it’s been an eye-opening experience,” defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said of Parker and Thomas. “I don’t have any question that both those freshmen have the possibilities of being All-Americans when they leave here if they progress and work hard and be competitive. They both have shown they can compete at this level.” Thomas said that the biggest adjustment for him this year has been the fact that everyone on this level — unlike in high school — is a great athlete. “Everyone out there knows the game just as good as you do or better,” Thomas said. “The speed is entirely different. Everyone is just as strong, just as big, just as fast if not bigger, faster and stronger. That was the one thing I had to cope with the most. Just getting adjusted to the bigger and better players.” NORVELL TALKS WR DEPARTURES Oklahoma’s wide receivers have been among the most disappointing position group of the 2014 season, with junior Sterling Shepard being the only wideout to be consistently productive. Adding to that difficultly, though, has been the untimely departure of a couple talented young receivers. Redshirt freshman Dannon Cavil and junior Derrick Woods both left the team this year. Cavil, who never made a game appearance in Norman, announced his departure in the middle of the season, while Woods was dismissed from the team earlier this month. “Every year there are challenges,” said receivers coach Jay Norvell. “You never want to lose anybody. We want to help all of these players improve and reach their goals. It’s a competitive environment. College football is that way, whatever school you’re at. It’s unfortunate if it doesn’t work out, but that’s life. Life is hard. “You have ups and downs and you have to work your way through it. Some guys just choose a different route. That’s their prerogative. You’ve just gotta keep working through it.” QUOTABLE Mike Stoops, on facing Brent Venables: “It’s never about us; it’s about our programs and getting our players to play and do what they have to do to play well. … This game is very difficult. The longer you’re in it the more you respect the people and the way they go about their business and the way they do things. Brent has been first-class ever since I first met him.”
Dec 23, 2014
ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — It was a subtle change that maybe made a difference. With Robert Griffin III wearing a wristband for the first time, the Washington Redskins ended a six-game skid.It made sense, given that coach Jay Gruden has been trying to get Griffin to play with a better tempo all season."We just wanted to experiment a little bit," Gruden said Tuesday. "We have some calls that are a...
New wristband is helping hand for RG3, Redskins
By JOSEPH WHITE, Associated Press | Dec 23, 2014ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — It was a subtle change that maybe made a difference. With Robert Griffin III wearing a wristband for the first time, the Washington Redskins ended a six-game skid. It made sense, given that coach Jay Gruden has been trying to get Griffin to play with a better tempo all season. "We just wanted to experiment a little bit," Gruden said Tuesday. "We have some calls that are a little bit wordy, and we just put about five or six runs on there and a couple of play-action plays and a couple of dropbacks, and maybe speed up the process. Maybe for third down where you say, 'No. 5,' he can look at it and read it." Griffin wore the plays on his left wrist — it wasn't easy to spot, given how it meshed with his white long-sleeve undershirt — during Saturday's 27-24 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. In-game communication hasn't been ideal all season under the first-year coach, no matter which quarterback has been playing. The Redskins lead the NFL with eight offensive delay-of-game penalties. The New England Patriots, incidentally, have zero. On Saturday, the Redskins were flagged for running out the play clock just once, although that one was particularly stupefying because it came after the game had been stopped for an injury. Still, overall, Griffin and the offense appeared to have their act together better than in previous games. The wristband can be credited with playing a minor supporting role. "Everybody wears a wristband around the league, mostly," said Griffin, who said he also wore one in high school. "But it can help speed up the communication process between the coaches and quarterback, and get you in a better tempo as an offense. It's something they wanted to experiment with, and we used it a couple of times, and there was no problems." Gruden said he'll probably expand the number of plays on the list for Sunday's season finale against the Dallas Cowboys. Of course, the wristband only helps if the coach actually uses it. As he learned during the Eagles game, it's an adjustment calling out numbers instead of plays. "I think towards the middle of the game we ended up just calling (the plays) anyway," Gruden said. "It was kind of hard to find the numbers and all that. But there is some merit to it, no question." The win has calmed the Gruden-Griffin waters, at least for a week. Gruden said he's still getting a feel for his quarterback, in part because Griffin missed six games with a dislocated ankle. Griffin said Saturday's game was another chance to "sharpen up" his technique and other fundamentals that Gruden has continually preached. "To be honest with you, we're still getting to know one another, what he's good at, what he likes, what he's comfortable with," Gruden said. "He did a good job in training camp. He does a good job as far as knowing the football plays, (but) you really don't get a chance to see what he's comfortable with until you call them on game day." After the game, Gruden said: "Winning football games is the only thing that matters to me for a quarterback." Asked if that was fair, Griffin didn't want to get into such analysis. "Jay is the head coach, he's going to make decisions and do things a certain way," Griffin said. "My job is not to try to play that mental mind game. It's to go out and try to lead this team to victory." NOTES: LB Trent Murphy was placed on injured reserve with a broken bone in his right hand, the 12th Redskins player to go on season-ending IR. OL Rishaw Johnson was signed from the New York Giants' practice squad. ... The Redskins rearranged their schedule and practiced Tuesday so that they could be off on Christmas Day. ___ AP NFL websites: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL ___ Follow Joseph White on Twitter: http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP
Dec 22, 2014
NORMAN — The year 2014 started as well as it possibly could have for the Oklahoma football program. But nearly 12 months later, things don’t feel so great for OU football fans. The Sooners — widely considered a heavy favorite to win the Big 12 Conference and reach the College Football Playoff — finished the […]
OU football: Jason Kersey's favorite Sooner stories from 2014
Jason Kersey | Dec 22, 2014[img url=http://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/12/2014/12/Samaje.jpg]3524433[/img] NORMAN -- The year 2014 started as well as it possibly could have for the Oklahoma football program. But nearly 12 months later, things don't feel so great for OU football fans. The Sooners -- widely considered a heavy favorite to win the Big 12 Conference and reach the College Football Playoff -- finished the regular season 8-4 and are preparing for the Russell Athletic Bowl against Clemson next week. But the year had plenty of positives around OU football as well, and this blog post will highlight some of them. I've compiled a list of links to my favorite stories I wrote during the 2014 calendar year. These aren't breaking news stories; they are simply the stories I enjoyed working on the most, and I've tried to keep it positive. Consider it my Christmas gift to our readers who happen to be OU fans. [img url=http://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/12/2014/12/Trevor-Knight.jpg]3524431[/img] FRIDAY, JAN. 3: Oklahoma stuns Alabama with 45-31 upset victory in the Sugar Bowl Quotable -- Bob Stoops' mother, Dee, on her initial reaction when she found out the Sooners would face Alabama: "I said, 'Oh no.' But I feel very confident in Bobby’s body of work, so I’m not counting the Sooners out." SUNDAY, JAN. 12: The Collected Wisdom of former OU center Bubba Burcham Quotable -- Burcham, on his decision to quit coaching at Coweta High School and enter the ministry: "God puts a path for a man to do something, and you have to follow that path. I couldn’t deny what God was doing in my heart. So I jumped off the school bus." THURSDAY, FEB. 6: Georgia offensive lineman Orlando Brown the biggest -- literally and figuratively -- surprise for Oklahoma Quotable -- Brown, on his maturation through high school: "Through it all, I feel I kept a level head. I stayed humble. I worked hard. I feel as though this Oklahoma opportunity definitely shows that it paid off." SUNDAY, FEB. 9: A closer look at what went into Blake Bell’s decision to move to tight end Quotable -- Former OU center Gabe Ikard, on why Bell changed positions: "He did this for himself, but he also did this because it is the best thing for the team. He loves being at OU; didn’t want to leave the friendships he has established in Norman; and wanted to have an opportunity to play for a national championship next year." SUNDAY, MARCH 16: Trevor Knight taking his newfound fame in stride. Quotable -- Trevor's mom, Tricia Knight, on her son: "I always tell my friends that he makes me a better person, just by listening to the things he says. He's a very humble kid, and that's the way we raised him. He knows that life is gonna have his ups and downs, and he got to really experience that -- probably for the first time in his life -- last year. It builds character and it made him a better person." SATURDAY, APRIL 12: How Trevor Knight’s positivity and support helped his father through cancer treatments Quotable -- LaDonna Sutherland, the nurse who cared for George Knight throughout his cancer treatments, on the Sugar Bowl: "It was the best ending to the story, to have that finally come to fruition. George is just so proud of the boys. He just beamed when they walked in. I can tell you I've never seen it before as a nurse, the way those boys look at their dad. Trevor was there during his dad's worst times, and I genuinely think it was a big, huge part of pulling George through." [img url=http://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/12/2014/12/Jaz.jpg]3524435[/img] WEDNESDAY, MAY 7: Jaz Reynolds praises Bob Stoops in extensive interview about his past -- and his future Quotable -- Reynolds, on Bob Stoops giving him several chances: "That's Coach Stoops for you. He's a good coach, but he's a better man. He understands that people make mistakes. I say the same thing to everybody, I'm just happy that Coach Stoops is who he is and gave me a second chance to come back, even though I didn't deserve it. Honestly, that was the second time I'd been suspended. If I was to do that at any other school, I'm pretty sure they would've been done with me." FRIDAY, MAY 9: Aaron Colvin’s family supported him through tough stretch Quotable -- Colvin, on his parents: "I couldn’t ask for better parents, period. Their mentality, their mindset makes me stronger because they're just so strong-willed. They don't let many things affect them or get them down, and if they do, they're not gonna show it." SUNDAY, JUNE 15: Blake Bell’s resilience, flexibility resonate with residents from his hometown of Wichita Quotable -- Johnnie Bell, Blake's 87-year-old grandfather, on Blake: "He's been blessed with a frame of mind that is pretty much on the happy side. He always looked on the better side of things. He was always proper. In fact, I think he handled (last season) better than I did." SUNDAY, JULY 6: Lynn McGruder, another Sooner who received a second chance, rooting for Dorial Green-Beckham Quotable -- McGruder, on what advice he'd give Green-Beckham: "I would tell him to take it one day at a time. Stay positive. Really, really soak in the fact that he has a second chance, and truly, truly don't let anything negative from the outside come into his life." SUNDAY, JULY 20: Midsummer, Knight's dream: How Trevor Knight spent his summer vacation Quotable -- Trevor's pastor, Adam Barnett: "He keeps a level head and shows a lot of discipline in the way he manages his time. I'm proud of him for keeping his priorities straight. He could very easily get those out of order, but he doesn't." SUNDAY, AUG. 3: Strength coach Jerry Schmidt optimistic about Sooners’ leadership and newcomers Quotable -- Schmidt, on receiver Dorial Green-Beckham's first few summer workouts: "He was in the trash can quite a bit. To me going into it, I thought this guy is going to be a pain and throw our whole karma off as far as leadership and all that stuff. He responded to it. ... He said, 'I'm gonna get there coach.' ... Sometimes guys like that have kinda cruised through because they can kinda get by on their talent." [img url=http://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/12/2014/12/Lacoltan-Bester.jpg]3524432[/img] SUNDAY, AUG. 10: Lacoltan Bester, Justin Gilbert and 'The Play That Changed It All' Quotable -- OU co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell: "I can't remember a more satisfying season, and it just goes to show, one play can make a difference." MONDAY, AUG. 25: Eric Striker’s mother a continuing source of inspiration for the OU linebacker Quotable -- Striker, on his mother, Lia Skelton: "I'm the person I am because of her. I get my kindness from her. My humbleness from her. My relentlessness from her. I always try to project that image of how she raised me." TUESDAY, SEPT. 2: Sterling Shepard’s biggest fan isn’t crazy about his new role in the return game Quotable -- Shepard, on his mom, Cheri: "She remembers seeing my dad get kinda clobbered back there, but I’m not worried about it. That’s the name of the game. You’re gonna get hit." THURSDAY, SEPT. 4: Jordan Thomas’ intelligence, fast learning result in early playing time Quotable -- Thomas, on when he has fun: "I have fun when I sleep. You've got to rest your brain and rest your body from all the work you have to do mentally and physically. That's it." SUNDAY, SEPT. 7: Walk-on Caleb Gastelum rewarded with scholarship after big performance against Tulsa Quotable -- Gastelum, on staying motivated: "I tell myself everyday that hard work pays off. Sometimes you get down because you don't think it'll happen and things aren't going your way. You just remind yourself that if you work hard, good things will happen." TUESDAY, SEPT. 16: Freshman running back Samaje Perine has always looked, played mature beyond his years Quotable -- Samaje's mother, Gloria: "Samaje has worked all his life for this moment. He puts in a ton of work. He goes that extra mile. When everybody else is tired or playing video games, he’s in the gym or watching plays to try to get better. I’m happy that the coaching staff realizes that and trusts him." SATURDAY, OCT. 4: Trevor Knight was almost a TCU Horned Frog Quotable -- Trevor's dad, George Knight: "Trevor really thought he wanted to stay in Texas," George Knight said. "That's until he saw Norman and saw the campus and got to know the coaches there." [img url=http://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/12/2014/12/Tyrus-Thompson.jpg]3524434[/img] MONDAY, OCT. 27: Tyrus Thompson’s family motivates him to improve, make NFL Quotable -- Tyrus' wife, Olivia, on the challenges of raising two kids, working and having a husband who plays college football: "The road games are the hardest. I can't go because my job doesn't care that he plays football or that I don't have child care. There have been times when I've been on the brink of getting fired because they don't care. I've almost lost my job two or three times." MONDAY, NOV. 3: ‘Sooner Dave’ gets his moment in the sun Quotable -- Smith, on getting his chance against Iowa State: "I've learned that chances don't come often, so when they do come, you have to make the most of them. That's the only thing that was in my head when I was out there." THURSDAY, NOV. 6: Walk-on Oklahoma safety Najee Bissoon working to stand out from the crowd Quotable -- Bissoon, on his red hair: "I know it attracts attention. Not from crowds; I wanted to attract the attention of our coaching staff. I want Coach to always have something to remember me by. As a walk-on, it’s already hard enough to get much attention.” SUNDAY, NOV. 23: Samaje Perine runs for record 427 yards in OU’s 44-7 win over Kansas Quotable -- Legendary former OU running back Joe Washington: "With today's passing offenses, you've got a kid that rushes for 427 yards? It's a thing of beauty." SUNDAY, NOV. 30: Why news of Caleb Gastelum’s scholarship thrilled other walk-ons past and present Quotable -- Former OU tight end Trent Ratterree, on the walk-on brotherhood: "When one of us did well, it was like all of us did well. It is kinda like a sub-group within the team. We were always pulling for each other. Anytime a walk-on got to play, if they messed up. it hurt. If they did well, it felt good." FRIDAY, DEC. 5: Former high school rivals offer advice for stopping Samaje Perine Quotable -- Rouse High (Leander, Texas) linebacker Ryan Heinrich: "Rule No. 1 when you play Samaje is you always have to hit him low. Not just because you have a better chance of making a tackle, but for your own safety." FRIDAY, DEC. 11: Sooners fullback Aaron Ripkowski is as tough as they come Quotable -- Marlo Ripkowski, Aaron's mom, on her son receiving the Don Key Award: "To be able to a receive an award like that shows all his hard work and all those years paid off. He's such a good young man."
NORMAN — Oklahoma freshman running back Samaje Perine was named a finalist Thursday for the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award. The award, established in 2012, recognizes the top offensive player in NCAA Division I football who was born in Texas, graduated from a Texas high school or played college football in Texas and also has […]
Oklahoma football: Samaje Perine named finalist for Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award
Jason Kersey | Dec 11, 2014NORMAN -- Oklahoma freshman running back Samaje Perine was named a finalist Thursday for the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award. The award, established in 2012, recognizes the top offensive player in NCAA Division I football who was born in Texas, graduated from a Texas high school or played college football in Texas and also has strong character off-the-field. Perine, who played high school football at Hendrickson High in Pflugerville, Texas, has rushed for 1,579 yards and 21 touchdowns this season as a true freshman. In the Sooners' 44-7 win at home over Kansas on Nov. 22, Perine set the Football Bowl Subdivision record for single-game rushing yardage with a 427-yard performance. The other finalists for the award are Boise State running back Jay Ajayi, Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett, TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin and Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty. Fans can vote for their favorite finalist once per day at http://www.earlcampbellaward.com.
Dec 5, 2014
We don’t attack many root problems in America. We treat the symptoms, not the disease. So let’s discuss the core problem in the now-infamous Douglass-Locust Grove game. It’s not the OSSAA. It’s not Douglass’ behavior. It’s not Locust Grove’s lack of honor. It’s the shortage of quality officiating across America on the high school and […]
Douglass-Locust Grove: Will officiating shortage get even worse?
Berry Tramel | Dec 5, 2014[img url=http://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/3/2014/12/patrick-mckaufman.jpg]3507598[/img] We don't attack many root problems in America. We treat the symptoms, not the disease. So let's discuss the core problem in the now-infamous Douglass-Locust Grove game. It's not the OSSAA. It's not Douglass' behavior. It's not Locust Grove's lack of honor. It's the shortage of quality officiating across America on the high school and youth levels. And it's easy to understand why it exists. Time demands. Parental abuse. Limited financial gain. If every day was like Black Friday, you wouldn't find too many interested in being a store clerk. But every day can be like Black Friday for referees, umpires and game officials. Fewer young people are venturing into officiating. During this Douglass-Locust Grove week, I've heard from two officials concerned about the ramifications of the controversy, fearing that such a spotlight on officiating could keep officiating prospects from deciding to enter the vocation. "There is significant net loss of officials every year because very little new blood enters the system and old guys are retiring," wrote Beau Deen, a Norman engineer and long-time high school football official. "Why? There is no recruiting, and Baby Boomers make up the lion’s share of officials." Jerod Phillips also reached out to me. Phillips is a Big 12 official from Grove. Young guy who just was hired by the conference this season. I wrote about him in the summer, after meeting him at the Big 12 officiating clinic in Irving, Texas. You can read that column here. "Regardless of the outcome on the (Douglass-Locust Grove) issue, my biggest fear is we're trying to recruit young and up-and-coming officials at all levels, and I don't want this to leave a bad taste in people's mouths," Phillips said. "We're really top heavy. Lot of older officials. We're going to have to replace those guys. "If we're getting this bad publicity, we're going to lose some prospects. That kind of bothered me." Earlier this week, I wrote about Mike Whaley, who oversees officiating for the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association. You can read that post here. Whaley alluded to the shortage, too. Think about the shortage this way. On a typical Friday night, there are 150-170 high school games played. Last Friday night, there were 20 played. And still, one of the crews Whaley appointed to play didn't know the rules. Good officials know the rules. Period. So there's an acute shortage, and every time an official gets attacked by a fan, or an official screws up a game so bad it ends up in district court, it's less likely that a young guy will say, hey, I ought to try that. There are other issues, too. "It's really difficult," Phillips said. "I don't know what that falls back on or why or what we can put our finger on, other than I think life is so much faster. People just don't have time the way we did 10-15 years ago, to starting a new adventure. It's really hard to reach out and get in contact with people willing to do this." So, I asked Phillips, why should a young guy do it? He's not going to get rich. He can make some extra money. Make some extra money and catch a lot of grief. If those are the talking points of officiating, the shortage is not going away. "The positives? The majority of us have been associated with the games," said Phillips, who grew up in Jay, in eastern Oklahoma, south of Grove. "For lack of a better term, I wasn't good enough to play college football, but I still wanted to be in contact with the game. This was an avenue to stay in contact with the game. That's the main driving force behind my story. Being in contact with the kids, the brotherhood, the fellowship with the other guys you're traveling with." Phillips said he's made "lifelong bonds" with fellow officials. "Most of the really, really good guys that I know, have been football or basketball officials. It's a lifelong bond you develop." Deen concurs that pace of life makes it difficult to get certain people involved in officiating. That's why he says we need to market to the younger crowd. "What little unofficial recruiting there is aims at the wrong guys," Deen wrote. "Take me for instance. I’m 35 and just like most guys around my age, I’m married, have a high-pressure job, and have at least one child. There is almost no chance a guy starts officiating in this season of life. I know because I’ve tried to get friends to join. Trying to get new blood from my peer group is almost entirely futile." Deen asked me to use my "bully pulpit" to "stir the interest of the unmarried, unburdened-by-life college kids to put on the stripes and work games." I think it's a solid strategy and needs coordination, through the OSSAA. In the past, universities have had one-hour officiating classes through their health and physical education departments. If those no longer exist, work to reinstate them. Get to not just OU and OSU, but the regional universities and junior colleges. Set up clinics for beginners. Heck, offer free pizza and Dr. Pepper. You'll get a dozen people walk through the door just for that reason. Deen is right. The recruiting has to start with young people. "Whether it's basketball or football or whatever sport, I just really encourage people, for the young guy going to college, or the young guy trying to get into this, just the chance to be a positive influence," Phillips said. "It's the camaraderie and the atmosphere you get to be a part of. Not everybody gets to do that." Phillips acknowledges the problems. The abuse from fans. The pressure-cooker officials are in, no matter the level. "You're making decisions based upon people's young men and young ladies," Phillips said. "Emotions run thin. That's the biggest thing I hear. 'I don't want to put myself in situations where I have to deal with that.'" But, Phillips said, "I don't want that to overall affect what we're doing trying to recruit young officials." And Phillips, who at age 39 is a success story by any measure, said, "I would just say stay the course. The human element is always going to be there. We're human. We're going to make mistakes. Take into consideration the responsibility we have by choosing to do this. The responsibility to the players, the coaches, the fans, we have to do our best, whether it's a Little League game or an NFL game. I look at it as a huge responsibility. We need to be prepared for whatever can come that way. "The human element's always going to be there. At all levels, it's not our intent to go out and make mistakes. The more you prepare yourself, the more you study, the fewer mistakes you're going to make. You can't ever get away from that human element. That's always going to be there." Phillips is worried. He's not distraught. He says in northeastern Oklahoma, he's actually seen an uptick in the last year of young officials. He hadn't seen that in awhile, so he's encouraged. Phillips just didn't want Douglass-Locust Grove to scare off prospects. "I hope we continue to get those young guys," Phillips said. "Always going to be those bumps in the road. Hope we can shed a little light on the situation." Meanwhile, Deen is even more concerned. "I just completed my 18th season officiating," Deen wrote. "I started during my first fall as a freshman at OU. My dad, who retired from officiating after 41 years, got me started along with many others over the years. For a college kid it was great extra money and kept me involved in my favorite sport. "From all the articles I’ve read of yours regarding the DHS/LGHS game, it does appear that you give a rip about having high school officials that know the rules. The way that happens is to get young college guys (and gals if they want to, of course) calling little league and junior high long enough to know the rules so there is a pool of talent to replace the Baby Boomers dropping out in droves each year."
Nothing makes most college football coaches happier than being able to reward a deserving walk-on with a scholarship at some point during their career.
Oklahoma football walk-ons: Big 12 coaches share why they love awarding scholarships to walk-ons
BY JASON KERSEY AND ERIK HORNE | Nov 29, 2014Nothing makes most college football coaches happier than being able to reward a deserving walk-on with a scholarship at some point during their career. Kansas interim head coach Clint Bowen is especially fond of those moments. He knows exactly what it’s like for those players. Bowen walked on at Kansas in 1990, transferred to Butler County Community College, then walked on a second time with the Jayhawks in 1992. After returning to Kansas, he led the Jayhawks with 114 tackles, which ranks as the third-most tackles by a KU defensive back in program history. “It’s a different path than a scholarship kid,” Bowen said. “I think it takes a special individual because they have to overcome a lot more. To give a kid a scholarship, see their faces light up when that happens, they truly earned it. “They’re the ones with the incentive-based contract. They have to go and earn theirs, and when they do it’s pretty special.” Here’s a look at what other Big 12 coaches had to say about walk-on players and the rare opportunities to reward some of them with scholarships: Texas coach Charlie Strong: “I’ve always held scholarships for walk-ons. … I want them to understand they’re a part of this program. They come out to practice just like the scholarship players. They put in the time like the scholarship players, and if they do something good they’re gonna be rewarded.” Kansas State coach Bill Snyder: “We’ve awarded hundreds in my tenure here, which is a very significant number. Obviously, it’s rewarding because A: There are no gifts — they are all well-deserved, and earned, and, consequently, that forwards the value of hard work and being a good person, and achieving on and off the field. It’s motivation for others as well to do exactly that.” Oklahoma co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell: “You can tell by the reaction of the team that the guys really appreciate those guys’ effort. At Oklahoma, it probably doesn’t happen as much as it does at a lot of schools because of the level of players we’re able to recruit. It’s a little tougher for walk-ons to make their name here, but we still have had guys who do it and have done a great job.” Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops: “I think it takes a special guy to be able to do all that.” West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen: “Having walk-ons is a huge part of your developmental squad, part of your scout team. You’ve got to treat those guys great. The best rule the NCAA’s done here lately is being able to feed those guys. Having the numbers is why you’re able to be able to have scout teams and developmental squads. The more they develop, the better off it’s gonna help your team down the road.” Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury: “That’s one of the funnest parts of our job. … That’s one of the joys of being a coach.” Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads: “There’s nothing like it. Awarding a young man a scholarship, period, is a great feeling for a head football coach, whether it’s a high school senior you’re scholarshipping coming into your program or somebody that’s already here. Quite honestly, giving the walk-on a scholarship is probably more euphoric than the other. These are guys who have toiled, they’ve paid their own way. We value them at a very high level.”