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
Jul 26, 2014
BOURBONNAIS, Ill. (AP) — Almost as soon as he signed with the Chicago Bears, Jimmy Clausen got some tutoring on the offense from Jay Cutler.If everything goes according to plan, his knowledge of the system won't be tested in a meaningful way.The Bears would love nothing more than to see Cutler get through the season without missing time and render the backup quarterback spot a...
For Bears, backup QB 1 of few questions on offense
ANDREW SELIGMAN, Associated Press | Jul 26, 2014BOURBONNAIS, Ill. (AP) — Almost as soon as he signed with the Chicago Bears, Jimmy Clausen got some tutoring on the offense from Jay Cutler. If everything goes according to plan, his knowledge of the system won't be tested in a meaningful way. The Bears would love nothing more than to see Cutler get through the season without missing time and render the backup quarterback spot a non-issue. Instead, it's one of the few areas of concern for an offense that ranked among the league's best last season and has all its starters back. For now, coach Marc Trestman has the returning Jordan Palmer in the lead. Then, there's Clausen trying to win it, with rookie David Fales likely trailing the pack. "They're both very hungry," Cutler said. "They've both worked extremely hard this offseason putting in the time mentally, which is probably more important for them right now, just trying to figure out the playbook so they can go to the line of scrimmage and be fluent in what they want to do. We'll see how it goes." There is no shortage of eyes on this competition, given Cutler's history of injuries and the departure of veteran Josh McCown. He played his way to a starting role in Tampa Bay after making the most of his opportunity when he got the call with the Bears last season. Now, Palmer and Clausen are competing. Neither has thrown a pass since 2010, but assuming the Bears don't bring in someone else, one of them could be called on if Cutler gets hurt. "The guys are doing a heck of a job in terms of what we've seen," Trestman said Saturday after the Bears completed their second training camp practice. "I think you've seen it. I think you've seen some pretty sufficient play in the backup role." Trestman and general manager Phil Emery expressed confidence in Palmer as the No. 2 quarterback early in the offseason. But that didn't stop them from giving him some competition. The Bears signed Clausen, the former Notre Dame star, to a one-year deal in early June following a strong workout. Almost as soon as the ink dried on his contract, he found himself getting a crash course in the system from Cutler. "He helped me out a lot, especially that first day, going through the formations and just the basic things they do in this offense," Clausen said. "Obviously you get a whole entire playbook, but a lot of the plays in the playbook aren't necessarily the ones you run. So he kind of went through pretty much the whole entire playbook and said, 'Hey, you need to know this, this and this.' He really helped me a lot." The Bears know just how important the backup spot can be given Cutler's history. He hasn't played a full 16 games since 2009, his first season in Chicago after being acquired from Denver, and he has missed 13 over the past four years. He sat out five last season, forcing McCown into action, and the veteran performed about as well as anyone could have expected. He went 3-2 in five starts and appeared in eight games overall, throwing for 1,829 yards with 13 touchdowns and just one interception. It was quite a turn for someone who was coaching high school football in North Carolina when the Bears signed him late in the 2011 season, with Caleb Hanie struggling after Cutler broke his thumb and the team in a freefall. Now, the Bears are wondering: Can Palmer or Clausen be this season's McCown? They're looking at one guy (Palmer) who has attempted just 15 passes since he entered the league in 2008 and another (Clausen) who flopped in Carolina. Clausen completed 52.5 percent of his passes and threw for 1,558 yards as a rookie with the Panthers, but he also threw three times as many interceptions (nine) as touchdowns (three). Carolina then drafted Cam Newton with the No. 1 pick in 2011, and Clausen hasn't played since then. His four-year rookie contract with the Panthers expired after last season, which he spent on the waived/injured list because of a torn labrum in his right shoulder. He has dealt with questions about his attitude over the years, just like Cutler, but he's getting another opportunity with the Bears. "A lot of people say different things about me or different guys on the team or Jay or whoever it may be," Clausen said. "But until you get to really know that person, then you can make your own judgment." NOTES: CB Tim Jennings (quad) sat out Saturday's practice while DE Willie Young (quad) left early. Trestman said neither injury is serious. ___ Online: AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL
Jul 22, 2014
DALLAS (AP) — Charlie Strong riled up plenty of Texas fans during a statewide spring tour by saying the Longhorns wouldn't be in the national championship game.The new coach toned down his honest assessment in future stops, then said Tuesday in his first appearance at Big 12 media days that he prefers not even talking about championships."'I've been part of two national championships. The place...
Texas' Strong prefers not talking national title
STEPHEN HAWKINS, Associated Press | Jul 22, 2014DALLAS (AP) — Charlie Strong riled up plenty of Texas fans during a statewide spring tour by saying the Longhorns wouldn't be in the national championship game. The new coach toned down his honest assessment in future stops, then said Tuesday in his first appearance at Big 12 media days that he prefers not even talking about championships. "'I've been part of two national championships. The place (Florida) that I won it at, we never talked about going and winning a national championship," Strong said. "You expect them to have expectations at the University of Texas because you're at a premier program. But it's all about our players and just making sure we go compete. I don't ever want to put pressure on our team, on our players at all. I just want them to go out and just go to work each and every day." The Longhorns haven't even won a Big 12 title since the 2009 season, when they made it to the national championship game, which is the primary reason Mack Brown is no longer the Texas coach. Oklahoma is the preseason favorite to win its league-high ninth Big 12 title. Texas, which appeared with the Sooners, West Virginia, Kansas State and Iowa State on the second day of media days, is picked fourth. Strong said his national championship comment on the first stop of the spring tour came as the Longhorns had just finished spring practice. "We were not a healthy football team at that time," Strong said. "I can't say just how far off we are and that we will not know that until we go compete this fall. But we still have work to do. Now, we're not as bad as we used to be." Strong said quarterback David Ash played "very well" when healthy last season and is the starter. Ash has been cleared to participate in contact drills after missing most of last season with concussion symptoms and part of spring drills with a broken left foot. Oklahoma coach Bo Stoops sounded hopeful about possibly adding two proven offensive players this season, and not having to wait until 2015 for former Missouri receiver Dorial Green-Beckham and quarterback Baker Mayfield, a true freshman starter for Texas Tech last season when he threw for 2,315 yards and 12 touchdowns in eight games. Green-Beckham was dismissed by Missouri in April after several off-field incidents, and this month got to Oklahoma, where Stoops and receivers coach Jay Norvell had personally recruited him out of high school. The Sooners have filed an appeal seeking for him to be able to play this season, a year after 59 catches and 12 touchdowns as a sophomore at Mizzou. "Through extensive conversations with the people at Missouri and our people, it was something that we felt the person that he is, the potential that he has as a young man and as an individual, that we felt the opportunity to give him a second chance at our place could serve him well and be great for his future," Stoops said. Red Raiders coach Kliff Kingsbury referred to "just team policy" for a decision blocking Mayfield, who wasn't on scholarship at Texas Tech, from being able to play immediately at Oklahoma without losing a season of eligibility. "'A guy that you haven't invested a scholarship in, I don't know why it would be an issue," Stoops said. "It's something that we're working through." Bill Snyder will turn 75 during the upcoming season, his 23rd as Kansas State's coach. Told by one reporter that there have been 48 coaches at other Big 12 schools since he was first hired at Kansas State in 1989, Snyder chuckled. "There's a variety of different reasons. Sometimes people move on," Snyder said. "The age factor, I can't negotiate that. ... I'm as old as time, and that's not going to change." Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads hired former Kansas coach and Oklahoma offensive coordinator Mark Mangino. Rhoads said Mangino has a proven record as a play caller and brings a tough mentality. West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said he has never been more excited about going into a season than he is about the Mountaineers' third in the Big 12. They were coming off an Orange Bowl victory before getting to the Big 12 and going 6-12 in conference games the last two years. "I think our players in our locker room understand what the Big 12 is all about," Holgorsen said. "They understand how challenging it is."
The previous relationship between Green-Beckham and Stoops and OU co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell helped lead to the wide receiver winding up in Norman.
OU football: Bob Stoops hopeful that Dorial Green-Beckham can play this season
By Ryan Aber | Jul 22, 2014DALLAS — Oklahoma remains hopeful that Dorial Green-Beckham will be able to play for the Sooners this year, OU football coach Bob Stoops said Tuesday at Big 12 Media Days at the Omni. Stoops addressed the media for the first time since Green-Beckham, who was dismissed from Missouri after last season, was added to OU’s roster. Stoops said Green-Beckham’s appeal was pending with the NCAA. The previous relationship between Green-Beckham and Stoops and OU co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell helped lead to the wide receiver winding up in Norman. After discussions with several people at Missouri, Stoops and his staff decided to pursue Green-Beckham. “We felt the person that he is, the potential he has, we felt the opportunity to give him a second chance at our place could serve him well,” Stoops said. Green-Beckham might have been the best player on a Missouri team that won the SEC East last season. In two years with the Tigers, Green-Beckham had 87 catches for 1,278 yards and 17 touchdowns. Green-Beckham was the top recruit in the 2012 class after setting a national high school record with 6,353 career receiving yards at Springfield (Mo.) Hillcrest. He was booted from the Tigers following accusations of breaking into an apartment and pushing a woman down stairs. He was never charge in that incident. Green-Beckham was twice arrested for marijuana-related offenses while at Missouri. If Green-Beckham is ruled eligible, a seemingly unlikely scenario given his past transgressions and allegations against him, he would give the Sooners offense a big boost. OU returns just one receiver — Sterling Shepard — with any significant college experience.
Jul 22, 2014
DALLAS — Oklahoma remains hopeful that Dorial Green-Beckham will be able to play for the Sooners this year, OU coach Bob Stoops said Tuesday at Big 12 Media Days at the Omni. Stoops addressed the media for the first time since Green-Beckham, who was dismissed from Missouri after last season, was added to OU’s roster. Stoops said Green-Beckham’s appeal was pending with the NCAA. The prior...
OU football: Bob Stoops hopeful Dorial Green-Beckham will be able to play for Sooners in 2014
ryan aber | Jul 22, 2014DALLAS — Oklahoma remains hopeful that Dorial Green-Beckham will be able to play for the Sooners this year, OU coach Bob Stoops said Tuesday at Big 12 Media Days at the Omni. Stoops addressed the media for the first time since Green-Beckham, who was dismissed from Missouri after last season, was added to OU’s roster. Stoops said Green-Beckham’s appeal was pending with the NCAA. The prior relationship between Green-Beckham and Stoops and OU co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell helped lead to the wide receiver winding up in Norman. After discussions with several people at Missouri, Stoops and his staff decided to pursue Green-Beckham. “We felt the person that he is, the potential he has, we felt the opportunity to give him a second chance at our place could serve him well,” Stoops said. Green-Beckham was one of if not the best player on the Missouri team that won the SEC East last season. In two years with the Tigers, Green-Beckham had 87 catches for 1,278 yards and 17 touchdowns. Green-Beckham was the top recruit in the 2012 class after setting a national high school record with 6,353 career receiving yards at Springfield (Mo.) Hillcrest. He was booted from the Tigers following his dismissal following accusations of breaking into an apartment and pushing a woman down stairs. He was never charge in that incident. Green-Beckham was twice arrested for marijuana-related offenses while at Missouri. If Green-Beckham is ruled eligible, a seemingly unlikely scenario given his past transgressions and allegations against him, he would give the Sooners offense a big boost. OU returns just one receiver—Sterling Shepard—with any significant college experience.
Jul 17, 2014
On Aug. 31, Phillips will trot onto another field. It will be hot. It could be raining. But it won’t be in Jay and it won’t be little leaguers. Phillips will make his Big 12 officiating debut with the nationally televised Baylor-SMU game, which inaugurates McLane Stadium hard by the Brazos River.
From little league to the Big 12, Jerod Phillips has come a long way in officiating
By Berry Tramel | Jul 17, 2014IRVING, Texas — The first football game Jerod Phillips ever officiated was a little league showdown in Jay, his hometown in Oklahoma’s Delaware County, near the Arkansas state line. It was hot. Maybe 100 degrees. And pouring rain. “You couldn’t even see across the field,” Phillips said. That was 21 years ago. Phillips was a college freshman just trying to make some extra money. On Aug. 31, Phillips will trot onto another field. It will be hot. It could be raining. But it won’t be in Jay and it won’t be little leaguers. Phillips will make his Big 12 officiating debut with the nationally televised Baylor-SMU game, which inaugurates McLane Stadium hard by the Brazos River. “That’s going to be a surreal moment for me,” Phillips said. “That’s going to be a big day. I’m humbled for that opportunity.” More from Tramel Big 12 Officiating: Eight-man crews are here to stay Test your football knowledge with the Big 12 officiating testTargeting rule worked in Big 12 Conference last year And Phillips, a line judge, will be thinking about the drenched and muggy field in Jay. “That’s where we started... me and my dad,” Phillips said. “I always like to think when I go into these stadiums, ‘It’s a long way from Jay, Oklahoma, little league.’” Not too long ago, Phillips was calling high school games. Then junior college. That’s where the Big 12’s officiating scouts spied him. They directed Phillips into the Division II Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, moved him into the Southland and Mountain West conferences, and finally elevated Phillips to the Big 12. Quite a jump in six years. Phillips’ rapid ascension opens a window into how officials get to the highest levels of football. “We noticed it right off that he had a lot of potential,” said Walt Anderson, the Big 12’s director of officiating. “Kind of put him on our radar.” What exactly did the Big 12 notice? A physically fit official who was always where he was supposed to be and displayed a willingness to get better. “The first thing is, because it’s just so important to us in terms of the fitness, a guy in shape will catch your visible eye,” Anderson said. “Looks like he belongs on the football field as opposed to belonging in the bar. “We watch how they work. We watch what they’re looking at. Even at a lower level, there are certain basic fundamentals. We want them learning good mechanics. Just like a coach would tell you, if I can coach guys that I know are going to be coming into my program to do certain things early on, I don’t have to spend time teaching them later. “There are certain fundaments we look for in officials; it catches our eye, because it’s like I don’t have to retrain this guy. I don’t have to spend time at this level, he’s already at this level. I can take him at that point and move him forward. We noticed that with Jerod.” Phillips, 39, is a seventh-grade geography teacher and coach in Grove, just north of Jay. He got into officiating through his father, Buddy, who spent 20 years calling Oklahoma high school games. Jerod Phillips worked high school games himself for many years. “I’m proud for him,” Buddy Phillips said. “He’s really worked hard. I don’t mean this in a mean way. A lot of the ol’ boys, especially in high school, they’re just kind of looking for a paycheck and they don’t really get into the rules and the mechanics, try to better themselves, but Jerod never was that way. Way we look at it, go into a job, try to do it the best you can. That’s been his approach.” Phillips has dedicated himself to attending clinics and incorporating what he’s learned. That’s what Anderson has seen since Phillips came aboard CFO West, the Big 12’s umbrella officials organization, in 2009. “Once I started interacting with him when he was part of the Southland and he’s getting feedback directly on games ...then I see how he reacts the next week,” Anderson said. “He would take everything that we would do and he would do immediate improvement. Some people, you have to beat ‘em over the head with stuff and it never sinks in. He’s not only coachable, he’s responsible, in that he responds to what you’re coaching him. You see that effect right away. “When you find people that perform and are coachable, they have a tendency to rise above the crowd rather quickly. And that’s exactly what he did.” Buddy Phillips watched his son’s first game calling on the Division II level, at Pittsburg State, and figured his son was headed for advancement. “I told the wife after the first game or two, he’s got such a demeanor and calm under stress,” Buddy Phillips said. “He’s got a knack for it. He’ll do good. Whenever I first started working with him, I knew he had a feel for it. “I know he’s worked hard. He’s studied hard. When he first applied, they said, ‘Man, you gotta lose some weight.’ Well, I think he lost 40 pounds. He got to watching his diet and lost 40 pounds.” Jerod Phillips is an example of the Big 12’s commitment to officiating. This is serious business, from the conference office to the guys on the field. They know their craft the same way coaches know theirs. Big 12 officials are committed to excellence, and if that commitment slides, Anderson stands ready to ride herd. “We’ve got a system here... the mechanics, the philosophies they’re teaching, the viewpoint of the game to make it the best it can possibly be,” Phillips said. “That’s their goal. If you put your focus and concentrate on what they want you to do, the opportunities to move ahead are there.” And so next month in Waco, a glistening new stadium opens along with a glistening new chapter in a career. Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at email@example.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.
Jul 15, 2014
Oklahoma doesn’t have any wide receivers committed for its 2015 class, but Jay Norvell’s success on the recruiting trail the last three years has filled the position group with young talent, meaning it’s not an immediate need. Despite that, the Sooners are actively pursuing Texas receivers John Humphrey and Ryan Newsome.
Oklahoma football: Sooners' wide receiver group is full of young talent
By Jason Kersey | Jul 15, 2014NORMAN — Oklahoma currently has no wide receivers committed for its recruiting class of 2015, which seems strange considering the Sooners’ recent success in scoring early wideout commitments. In each of the past three recruiting classes, the Sooners had at least two receivers committed by this point. Last year, Dallis Todd and Jeffery Mead committed in April and June, respectively. Jay Norvell’s success on the recruiting trail the last three years has filled the position group with young talent, meaning it’s not an immediate need with this year’s class. Oklahoma offered 27 scholarships to wide receivers in the 2013 recruiting class, and offered 16 receivers the next year. So far in the 2015 class, the Sooners have only extended offers to 12 wideouts. The fact that Oklahoma isn’t offering as many wideouts this year, though, doesn’t mean Bob Stoops’ staff isn’t actively pursuing some — especially a pair of receivers from Texas. “Coach Stoops is really taking time out of his day to recruit me, and he’s actually one of the coaches spearheading my recruiting,” said Ryan Newsome, a 5-foot-9 slot receiver from Aledo, Texas. “He talks to me frequently, and he makes sure I’m aware that I’m on their mind 24/7 and that I’m a top target for Oklahoma.” Newsome and three-star prospect John Humphrey — a former Baylor commitment from Clear Falls High in League City, Texas — appear to be Norvell’s top two receiver targets for 2015. Humphrey (6-foot, 160 pounds) originally committed to Baylor in April, but decommitted last month. The Bears wanted him to play defensive back, but he said he prefers offense. “I can play DB, but that’s not where my heart was,” Humphrey said. “I have a passion for playing offense. I love making plays, scoring touchdowns.” Humphrey said he plans to commit before his senior season begins, while Newsome appears content to let the process play out over the next several months. He’s scheduled official visits to his top five schools — Notre Dame (Sept. 5), UCLA (Oct. 10), Texas (Oct. 17), Oregon (Oct. 31) and Oklahoma (Nov. 7). Newsome said Oklahoma’s success in developing slot receivers such as Ryan Broyles, Jalen Saunders and Sterling Shepard is what makes the Sooners attractive to him. Shepard’s role with the Sooners is expected to increase in 2014. The junior made significant contributions as a freshman and sophomore, but entering this season, he’s expected to be the only eligible receiver with much major college football experience. Oklahoma’s receiver landscape for the 2014 season could shift dramatically if Missouri transfer Dorial Green-Beckham gains immediate eligibility. The former five-star recruit is appealing for an NCAA waiver, but his chances for success aren’t good. Despite the apparent lack of experience at receiver this season, though, Oklahoma’s future there appears to be bright because of Norvell’s recruiting efforts the past few years. The Sooners nabbed four high-school receivers in each of their past two recruiting classes, and signed three in 2012. Junior Durron Neal; sophomores Derrick Woods and Austin Bennett; redshirt freshmen Jordan Smallwood and K.J. Young; and true freshmen Mark Andrews, Michiah Quick and Todd will all have opportunities to contribute this season. “It’s never the same in college football,” Norvell said during spring practice. “You always have to coach new players, and it’s fun to coach new players. I think that’s the exciting thing about college football is there are very few incumbents, or guys who come back and have themselves established. It’s fun to see kids grow and mature.”
Jul 6, 2014
From the smooth, almost laid-back approaches of Lovie Smith and Jim Caldwell to the fiery passion of Mike Zimmer, new NFL coaches are reshaping the environments of their teams.Some have much bigger chores than others.Bringing in a new coaching staff usually means the previous one did too much losing. That's true times seven this year as Smith takes over at Tampa Bay, Caldwell in Detroit, Zimmer...
Change it up: How 7 new coaches are shaping tone
BARRY WILNER, Associated Press | Jul 6, 2014From the smooth, almost laid-back approaches of Lovie Smith and Jim Caldwell to the fiery passion of Mike Zimmer, new NFL coaches are reshaping the environments of their teams. Some have much bigger chores than others. Bringing in a new coaching staff usually means the previous one did too much losing. That's true times seven this year as Smith takes over at Tampa Bay, Caldwell in Detroit, Zimmer in Minnesota, Ken Whisenhunt in Tennessee, Bill O'Brien in Houston, Jay Gruden in Washington and Mike Pettine in Cleveland. PETTINE: BEING BLUNT Pettine might have the biggest challenge because he takes over a perennial loser: Cleveland last made the playoffs in 2002. There's been discord surrounding the franchise ever since Jimmy Haslam bought it in 2012, and he's already on his third head coach. The son of a highly successful high school coach, Pettine is bright, self-confident and media savvy, seemingly lacking the suspicious nature of so many NFL head coaches. He doesn't pull punches, which is critical in engineering a cultural change. "I would say no nonsense," Pettine says. "I have been nicknamed BFT: Blunt Force Trauma. The days are too short to dance around subjects and I think guys appreciate that." SMITH: STAYING LOW-KEY Another necessary skill is communication. Smith, who was 84-66 in nine seasons in Chicago, yet was canned after 2012, is a master at that. After the roughness of Greg Schiano's reign in Tampa, Smith's low-key style easily won over the players. Not that Smith doesn't know how and when to be stern; he learned under Tony Dungy, a master communicator. "It's been a while, I can honestly say, since you've seen guys smile this much and have this much fun," says DT Gerald McCoy, among the Bucs' best players. "It's just a completely different feel around the building." CALDWELL: STAYING CALM Caldwell also comes from the Dungy coaching tree, and he might still be the man in Indianapolis had Peyton Manning not missed 2011 after neck surgery. The Lions needed a steadying influence as head coach after the often unpredictable Jim Schwartz regime. To some, Caldwell was a surprise choice. To others, he is the anti-Schwartz and will bring a calm steadiness to Detroit — along with more discipline for a team that sometimes stepped beyond the bounds of NFL protocol in its on-field behavior. Caldwell has joked about his reputation for remaining even-keeled. "There's no need for a whole lot of cussing, screaming, yelling and all that kind of stuff," Caldwell says. "It's a mini-quiz out here. I never had any of my professors yelling in my ear when I was sitting at the desk filling out those multiple-choice questions." ZIMMER: THE TEACHER Zimmer might be doing some yelling in Minnesota, but it will be in a constructive way. An outstanding defensive coach in Cincinnati since 2008, he was in the running for several jobs before landing the Vikings gig. His forthright manner, confidence in his defensive schemes and tough love approach make him stand out from predecessor Leslie Frazier. Most of all, Zimmer sees himself as an educator. "I think one of the things of being a coach, you're a teacher," he says. "You're trying to teach them about techniques, you're trying to teach them about all the different aspects of the game of football, not just offense or defense, but what the other side of the ball is thinking." GRUDEN: FOLLOWING HIS OWN LEAD Gruden, the younger brother of ESPN analyst and 2003 Super Bowl-winning coach Jon Gruden, was Zimmer's alter ego in Cincinnati. Gruden ran the Bengals' offense, and when Washington decided to replace Mike Shanahan, it sought someone who could design an attack around Robert Griffin III, while also protecting the 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year. Nearly everything had fallen apart in the nation's capital last year, one season removed from an NFC East title. Perhaps most damaging was the fractured relationship between veteran coach and dynamic quarterback. So Gruden is charged with fixing things on the field and off it. "I'm not going to try to do something that Shanahan didn't, or not do something that he did, or do something that my brother did or Joe Gibbs did," Gruden says. "I'm just going to try to coach the way I know how, and the way I've done it in the past, and hopefully it'll be good enough." WHISENHUNT: PICKING UP THE PACE Like Gruden, Whisenhunt is considered an offensive guru. With Kurt Warner as his quarterback, he took usually downtrodden Arizona to a Super Bowl. What he likes best is a quick pace — everywhere. His practices in Tennessee are run at a faster tempo than in previous years. Players and coaches jog from drill to drill. Whisenhunt says he hopes that's noticeable because the intent is to better mimic game speed and conditions. "I think you have to create an intensity in practice because the game is so fast," he explains. Veteran receiver Nate Washington, who was with Pittsburgh when Whisenhunt was an assistant there, says the change is impossible to miss. "Before, things have happened in the past and we can't really sit here and try to compare the two or what's been happening before," he says. "But as of right now, I have seen a lot more intensity on this team, period." O'BRIEN: TEAM FIRST The excitement in Houston disappeared with a 14-game losing string that sank the Texans from AFC South champs to worst in the league. O'Brien, who could have written his own ticket at Penn State for years, instead chose to return to the NFL and take on a reclamation project. Not as massive a challenge as the one he faced with the Nittany Lions, perhaps. But certainly a hefty one for the former offensive assistant at New England. O'Brien delivered some not-so-subtle messages early on. Veterans don't have their names on their lockers anymore, only their numbers. A note on the inside of each locker says: "Always put the team first." Rookies have a temporary cubicle set up in the middle of the locker room and won't get real ones until they make the team. That goes for everyone, even top choice Jadeveon Clowney. "Being a head coach is about making sure the team understands the philosophy of what you want to get done: hard work, being a good teammate, team first and all of those things that we talk about every day," O'Brien says. ____ AP Pro Football Writer Dave Campbell and Sports Writers Noah Trister, Tom Withers, Kristie Rieken, Teresa M. Walker, Fred Goodall and Joseph White contributed to this story. ___ AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL
Oklahoma football: Dorial Green-Beckham officially joins Sooners, but many questions remain unansweredJul 3, 2014
Perhaps the most pressing question is this: Can trouble former Missouri wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham play for Oklahoma in 2014? According to sources close to the program, OU plans to pursue an NCAA waiver for immediate eligibility.
Oklahoma football: Dorial Green-Beckham officially joins Sooners, but many questions remain unanswered
jason kersey | Jul 3, 2014NORMAN — Dorial Green-Beckham shook hands with OU assistant coaches Jay Norvell and Cale Gundy — ending a clandestine, three-hour Thursday morning meeting — jumped in the back seat of a black van and departed the Barry Switzer Center, having taken the first step toward resuming his college football career. Green-Beckham, a former five-star wide receiver and No. 1 overall prospect in the 2012 recruiting class, officially became a Sooner approximately 90 minutes later, when OU coach Bob Stoops made the annoucement in a news release. For the former Missouri wideout, though, many questions remain unanswered: Can he keep his nose clean in Norman? What convinced Oklahoma coaches to add the troubled player who was kicked off Missouri’s team following two marijuana arrests and allegations he broke into an 18-year-old woman’s apartment and shoved her down stairs? Perhaps the most immediate question on everyone’s mind, though, is this: Can Green-Beckham play for the Sooners in 2014? The OU news release announcing Green-Beckham’s enrollment said he wouldn’t be eligible until 2015, but sources close to the program told The Oklahoman that OU plans to pursue an NCAA waiver for instant eligibility. “In my opinion, based on what we’ve seen, it’s hard to identify any of the more common waivers that really apply neatly and easily to his situation,” said John Infante, a former NCAA compliance officer who now runs the Bylaw Blog, a site devoted to explaining common issues in major college athletics. After losing several key wide receivers to graduation, Oklahoma’s only returning wideout with any significant experience is junior Sterling Shepard. The position group is one of only a few areas where the Sooners — a squad widely expected to compete for a national championship next season — are considered relatively weak and untested. Following OU’s announcement, many fans immediately began latching onto the idea of Green-Beckham receiving a so-called “run-off” waiver, which the NCAA created a couple years ago for players who claimed they were removed from programs for reasons beyond their control. Oklahoma State’s basketball team recently added senior point guard Anthony Hickey, a three-year starter at LSU who was granted immediately eligibility via the run-off waiver. However, Hickey’s situation was different; the Tigers recruited depth at Hickey’s position, then peacefully parted ways with him because of things like missed classes and workouts. The run-off waiver requires that the athlete’s previous school approve the request. But even if Missouri signs off on it, Infante said there might still be issues. “What that boils down to really is that they weren’t good enough, or they got recruited over or something like that,” Infante said. “It certainly does not include a disciplinary dismissal. “I think the idea that Missouri would come back and say, ‘No, actually, he was not dismissed from the team for disciplinary reasons’ is a little farfetched.” Another case that could give Green-Beckham hope for a waiver is that of basketball player Dez Wells, who was expelled from Xavier two summers ago after sexual assault allegations but was never charged. Wells gained immediate eligibility at Maryland. Green-Beckham was never charged in the allegations of burglary and assault that resulted in his dismissal from Missouri. “What I was told about that case is that it is more complicated than simply the fact that he was expelled for something that was never charged as a crime,” Infante said. “There are other factors there. Without knowing what those factors are, it’s hard to say whether those two situations are similar enough that Green-Beckham should get the same result.” Infante said Oklahoma’s best bet with Green-Beckham is probably to “get all the spaghetti together and throw it against the wall to see if any of it sticks.” Green Beckham (6-foot-6, 225 pounds) caught 87 passes for 1,278 yards and 17 touchdowns in two seasons at Missouri. He set the national high school record with 6,353 career receiving yards and 75 touchdowns at Hillcrest High School in Springfield, Mo. The Sooners were in the hunt for Green-Beckham during his high-profile recruitment in 2012, when he ultimately chose to sign with Missouri. “We are pleased to welcome Dorial to the University of Oklahoma, where he is excited to continue his education and resume his playing career,” Stoops said in the statement. “Dorial understands the privilege and responsibilities of representing the Oklahoma Football program. He is a talented young man who is eager to get to work with the rest of our team in the classroom and on the field.” According to sources, Green-Beckham will be held to a zero-tolerance policy with the Sooners because of his checkered past. “I appreciate this opportunity from Coach Stoops and the University of Oklahoma,” Green-Beckham said in a statement. “There are people here who will help me build a strong foundation. I’ve disappointed myself and others in the past. I know that I have a lot of work to do and I’m ready to get started. “The university has made the expectations clear and I want to live up to them and be a positive part of the campus and team.”
Jun 29, 2014
LAGRANGE, Ga. (AP) — Former Auburn tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen, a fan favorite who played on the 2010 national championship team, has died in a one-car crash in Georgia, state police said.Authorities said Lutzenkirchen, 23, was ejected from a 2006 Chevrolet Tahoe when it overturned several times near LaGrange early Sunday morning. He was a passenger in the vehicle.Auburn coach Gus Malzahn...
Ex-Auburn football player killed in Georgia crash
Associated Press | Jun 29, 2014LAGRANGE, Ga. (AP) — Former Auburn tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen, a fan favorite who played on the 2010 national championship team, has died in a one-car crash in Georgia, state police said. Authorities said Lutzenkirchen, 23, was ejected from a 2006 Chevrolet Tahoe when it overturned several times near LaGrange early Sunday morning. He was a passenger in the vehicle. Auburn coach Gus Malzahn called Lutzenkirchen "a great player and competitor" and "a great teammate and friend off the field." "This is a sad day for the entire Auburn family," Malzahn said Sunday in a statement. "I find peace knowing that even though Philip was taken from us too soon, that he lived his life to the fullest, leaving a lifetime of great memories for his family and friends to cherish forever." Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs said Lutzenkirchen's death was "a devastating tragedy for his family, the Auburn family and his countless friends." "He had a strong faith, a big heart and a burning desire to help others," Jacobs said. "Philip was a bright light this world desperately needed, and his death leaves a void that can't possibly be filled." Driver Joseph Ian Davis, 22, was partially ejected from the vehicle and was also killed, investigators said. Authorities said blood was drawn from Davis to determine whether alcohol was a factor in the crash. Troopers said 22-year-old Elizabeth Craig of Eatonton, Georgia and 20-year-old Christian Case of Dadeville, Alabama were injured. Lutzenkirchen set school records for a tight end with 14 career touchdown catches and seven during the 2011 season. He scored the winning touchdown against Alabama to preserve the national title run in 2010, performing an end zone dance later nicknamed "The Lutzie." His Auburn career ended early when he opted to undergo hip surgery late in his senior season in 2012. Lutzenkirchen signed as a free agent with the St. Louis Rams but was waived in August 2013. He was a volunteer assistant coach at Saint James School in Montgomery, Alabama and worked at a wealth management company. "Philip Lutzenkirchen was what every parent aspires their son to be," former Auburn coach Gene Chizik said in a statement released through the school. "He was compassionate, determined, honorable and full of love, integrity and respect. In 27 years of coaching, I have come across what I would consider to be a few 'rare' young men. Phillip was certainly one of those 'rare' ones. He truly lived his life for other people and always found time to give to others." Other Auburn players and coaches posted tributes to Lutzenkirchen on Twitter. "The Auburn Family is broken today with the loss of a great Auburn man and friend (Philip) Lutzenkirchen," offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee wrote. "Crushed and without words." Lutzenkirchen's Auburn teammate Kodi Burns posted: "Lutz was a brother to me and my other brothers. I loved him. And I will miss him. One of the greatest men I will ever know. RIP love you man." Lutzenkirchen was a graduate of Lassiter High School in Marietta, Georgia.
Jun 27, 2014
DENVER (AP) — Never mind that there were dozens of TV sets at the bar, many turned to pro wrestling, poker and bowling to provide background noise early one weekend morning. Jon Forget walked in, asked the bartender to change one set to soccer and got laughed out of the joint.Fast forward almost two decades and there's no room to sit at the bar Forget runs these days. His concept for a soccer...
Soccer gets boost in US from young, informed fans
EDDIE PELLS, Associated Press | Jun 27, 2014DENVER (AP) — Never mind that there were dozens of TV sets at the bar, many turned to pro wrestling, poker and bowling to provide background noise early one weekend morning. Jon Forget walked in, asked the bartender to change one set to soccer and got laughed out of the joint. Fast forward almost two decades and there's no room to sit at the bar Forget runs these days. His concept for a soccer pub near downtown Denver is taking off, and a new generation of American-born soccer fans piled in by the hundreds Thursday to watch the U.S. advance to the World Cup knockout round despite a 1-0 loss to Germany. Forget's success at the 3-year-old Three Lions pub is a microcosm of what's happening around America during the World Cup. Social media numbers are strong, TV ratings are setting records and, other than Brazil, no country's fans have bought more tickets to the games than those from the United States. All this in a country that long fought against soccer's global intrigue, even though the number of American kids playing the game has been rising slowly for decades. "Over the past 25-30 years, you've seen people come over here from around the world and they know the game and they start influencing Americans," Forget said. "This generation has the proper training, a lot more have played at a high level. They understand the game. It's not boring to them." In fact, just the opposite. Merritt Paulson, who owns the MLS Portland Timbers franchise that regularly sells out its 21,000-seat stadium, calls the burgeoning group of 20-something soccer fans, many of whom took their high school passion into recreational adult leagues, the "on-demand generation." "They want what they want, when they want it and how they want it," Paulson said. "It's that shorter attention span. The fact that soccer games are two hours, start to finish, win, lose or draw, with very condensed action, fits very well into the psychographics of those folks." In the U.S., soccer is a youth-driven sport; about 70 percent of "core" soccer players — those who play 26 or more times a year — are ages 6-17, according to the most recent numbers from the Sports and Fitness Industry Association. These days, instead of leaving the game after high school, that age group is graduating into the most vocal segment of fans. Of the 3.1 million tweets about the U.S. vs. Ghana game earlier this month, 53 percent of them came from people 18-34, according to Nielsen Social. And 69 percent of people checking in on their Facebook accounts from host cities in Brazil were in that age group. Networks and sponsors covet younger viewers, which helps explain ESPN's decision to go all-in on World Cup telecasts; every game has been televised live since 1998. The U.S.-Portugal game last Sunday drew 24.7 million viewers — the most ESPN has ever garnered for an event not involving American football. Tapping into a populous that has become more ethnically diverse, the number of U.S networks televising soccer grew from 11 to 21 and programming hours rose from 2,600 to 3,890 over the last four years — a 43 percent increase that matched the increase in TV advertising spending (from $266 million to $378 million), according to Nielsen. NBC Sports televises Premier League games, Fox has the UEFA Champions League and takes over the World Cup telecasts starting in 2018. All in all, it's a much different landscape from three decades ago, when the only regular soccer programming in America was the reliable PBS stalwart, "Soccer Made In Germany." "For decades, there was this wariness about soccer within U.S. culture and wariness that affected people at the top," said Jay Coakley, a professor who examines sports' role in society. "Now, that wariness is disappearing. People at the top are seeing soccer as a means of marketing their own interests." Video games, fantasy leagues, highlight shows, the steady stream of Ronaldo, Messi and other stars, both on the field and in advertisements, keep the sport in touch with the American mainstream in a way it hasn't been before. "Walking down the street now, you see kids wearing Manchester United jerseys and Chelsea Football Club jerseys and Barcelona, and I didn't even know what those were as a kid," said Mike Helfand, a 42-year-old Chicago attorney who has traveled the globe watching U.S. teams play. Though America's major league, the MLS, has work to do to bring its level up to the European leagues, the league's steady expansion, improving talent level and fan-friendly pricing will keep the sport on the radar after the World Cup ends. Since 2010, the number of adults attending a big-time soccer match in the United States has increased by 87 percent. The farther the U.S. goes in this year's World Cup, the higher than number could rise over the next four years. All of which has Forget looking to expand his soccer-pub business. "I've had people come to the pub because a friend dragged them down here," he said. "They'll spend two hours watching a game and they'll walk out the door and say, 'I'm coming back next week.' It can be a defining moment for people. It's very, very different than what we've been used to here in America." ___ Associated Press writer Leanne Italie in New York and AP Sports Writer Anne Peterson in Portland, Ore., contributed to this report.
Former top prospect Dorial Green-Beckham to Oklahoma? Three reasons it makes sense, and three reasons it doesn'tJun 18, 2014
NORMAN — A little more than two years ago, Oklahoma was a major player in the Dorial Green-Beckham sweepstakes. Green-Beckham, a five-star wide receiver prospect considered the nation’s best player in the recruiting class of 2012, ultimately picked Missouri and compiled 87 catches, 1,278 yards and 17 touchdowns in two seasons with the Tigers. After […]
Former top prospect Dorial Green-Beckham to Oklahoma? Three reasons it makes sense, and three reasons it doesn't
jason kersey | Jun 18, 2014[img url=http://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/12/2014/06/dgb.jpg]2790656[/img] NORMAN — A little more than two years ago, Oklahoma was a major player in the Dorial Green-Beckham sweepstakes. Green-Beckham, a five-star wide receiver prospect considered the nation’s best player in the recruiting class of 2012, ultimately picked Missouri and compiled 87 catches, 1,278 yards and 17 touchdowns in two seasons with the Tigers. After two marijuana-related arrests and an investigation into Green-Beckham allegedly forcing his way into an apartment and assaulting an 18-year-old woman, though, Tigers coach Gary Pinkel dismissed the star receiver on April 11. Green-Beckham was never charged in the incident, but issued a statement to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch after his dismissal acknowledging his immaturity. “I have been young and dumb,” Green-Beckham said in the statement. “I want to be better. During my suspension I’m entering counseling. With help, I know I can be stronger emotionally and spiritually.” After early reports that Green-Beckham was transferring to Eastern Illinois — an FCS school that would give him immediate eligibility in 2014 — CBSSports.com reported in late May that he was now considering skipping next season altogether and entering the 2015 NFL Draft. Sources with knowledge of Green-Beckham’s situation have indicated there’s at least marginal interest in bringing the troubled superstar to Oklahoma. Here are three reasons the possible transfer would make sense, and three reasons it wouldn’t: Reasons it makes sense 1. Existing relationships: OU head coach Bob Stoops and co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell established good relationships with Green-Beckham and his family during the recruiting process. That familiarity might give the Sooner coaches special insight into Green-Beckham and some reason to believe he isn’t a lost cause and could, under the right circumstances, flourish both on and off the field. 2. OU receiver needs: The Sooners need wide receivers. OU lost starters Jalen Saunders, Lacoltan Bester and Jaz Reynolds, and senior-to-be Trey Franks chose to end his football career with a year of eligibility remaining. The only Sooner receiver with any significant experience returning in 2014 is junior Sterling Shepard, although it would seem highly unlikely that Green-Beckham would be immediately eligible in Norman. 3. Green-Beckham’s immense talent: The 21-year-old caught 59 passes for 883 yards and 12 touchdowns as a sophomore last season. He caught six balls for 144 yards and two scores in the Tigers’ SEC Championship Game loss to Auburn. He’s got the on-field skills to star in Oklahoma’s offense. Sometimes talent of that magnitude can make coaches take risks that might seem crazy to the outside world. Reasons it doesn’t make sense 1. Past experience: The Sooners’ recent experience with troubled superstar wide receivers — Josh Jarboe and Trey Metoyer — should give everyone serious pause about bringing in a player with Green-Beckham’s reputation. In Jarboe’s case, Stoops’ staff even gave him a second chance after he brought a gun onto his high school campus and was sentenced to two years of probation. Stoops dismissed Jarboe after his profanity- and violence-laced rap video went viral just after he arrived in Norman. Metoyer was kicked off the team after being arrested on two indecent exposure counts. College football coaches often believe they can save troubled players, and that is certainly admirable. But some guys simply aren’t worth the risk. 2. OU’s reputation: The University of Oklahoma’s and Bob Stoops’ reputations when it comes to player misconduct remain, for the most part, sterling. Stoops doesn’t and never has tolerated malfeasance. Of course, if Green-Beckham arrives, changes his life and flourishes on the football field, Stoops and the school would be seen as saviors, and rightfully so. But does the school really want to stake its reputation on a player with Green-Beckham’s notoriety? The coaches also have to consider adding Green-Beckham within the context of Frank Shannon. Shannon, the team’s leading tackler last season, was recently investigated on a sexual assault complaint. Although the district attorney declined to prosecute the case, OU could still issue its own punishment after its Title IX investigation is completed. Does the University of Oklahoma really want its football program stained by multiple allegations of violence against women? 3. Eligibility issues: Green-Beckham was already considering skipping the 2014 season and preparing for next year’s NFL Draft. He never redshirted at Mizzou and could, in theory, redshirt next season in Norman and have two years of eligibility remaining. Such a scenario might be exactly what Green-Beckham needs — time to adapt to new surroundings and get his life together while still practicing. After a redshirt year, he could have a monster 2015 season in OU’s offense with a quarterback like Trevor Knight, who will only get better by then. But would a star of Green-Beckham’s status be willing to wait a whole year before playing college ball again? I see no scenario under which the NCAA would grant him a waiver for immediate eligibility, so the only way he plays at Oklahoma is after a redshirt year.
Jun 15, 2014
In an interview with The Oklahoman last week, Blake Bell said he remained close with Trevor Knight throughout last season's back-and-forth position battle and that the two have "always been buddies."
Oklahoma football: Blake Bell weighs in on relationship with Trevor Knight, transition to tight end
BY JASON KERSEY | Jun 15, 2014WICHITA, Kan. — Blake Bell insists his relationship with Trevor Knight was nothing but positive, even as they spent the better part of an entire calendar year competing to be Oklahoma’s starting quarterback. “We’ve always been pretty tight,” Bell said in an interview with The Oklahoman last week before his appearance at a Sooner Caravan event. Knight was named the starter at the beginning of last season, but Bell took over after a couple games and started eight times in 2013. After Knight’s Sugar Bowl MVP performance, though, Bell changed positions to tight end for his senior season. Q: Can your relationship with Trevor and your experience at quarterback help your chemistry on the field next season? A: Well I think it’s really good. Me knowing what he’s thinking, and he knows what I’m thinking. I know when he’s hot; I can see coverages really well and all that stuff, too. When you were the guy, it always seemed like Trevor was one of the first players to greet you as you came off the field, and vice versa. Trevor’s a great guy. He’s not a guy who is ever gonna get mad or say anything bad to you. Our relationship was always really positive; even when he was hurt and I was playing. I have nothing bad to say about him. We’ve always been buddies.” You got used to being hit and playing in rough, physical situations as the Belldozer, but did you find blocking to be the biggest challenge in your new spot? I would say the catching and that stuff, reading the defense and routes and stuff, I would say that came somewhat easy. I played wide receiver (as a sophomore) in high school; I know that was a long time ago now. I’d say the blocking has been the most difficult part, but you know, getting in the film room and having guys all around, coach Joe Jon (Finley) and coach (Jay) Boulware have done a great job helping me.
Jun 8, 2014
NEW YORK (AP) — Hut ... hut ... home run!The San Diego Padres threw a Hail Mary on the final day of the Major League Baseball draft Saturday by taking Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel — listed as a shortstop for Texas A&M, even though he never played for the Aggies — in the 28th round."It was kind of, 'Why not?'" Padres general manager Josh Byrnes said before the Padres hosted the...
Manziel joins list of QBs drafted by MLB teams
DENNIS WASZAK Jr., Associated Press | Jun 8, 2014NEW YORK (AP) — Hut ... hut ... home run! The San Diego Padres threw a Hail Mary on the final day of the Major League Baseball draft Saturday by taking Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel — listed as a shortstop for Texas A&M, even though he never played for the Aggies — in the 28th round. "It was kind of, 'Why not?'" Padres general manager Josh Byrnes said before the Padres hosted the Washington Nationals. "Best athlete on the board," Mike Dee, the Padres' president and CEO, wrote on Twitter. Manziel likely won't ever play an inning of professional baseball, but he's not the first NFL quarterback who heard their name called during the MLB draft. Sure, Manziel was a terrific baseball player at Tivy High School in Kerrville, Texas, but he hasn't played the sport since so he could focus on football. It looks as though he might have called a successful audible after being the 22nd overall pick in the NFL draft last month. "We'll see what happens with his football career," Padres closer Huston Street said. "He's potentially got a baseball one." Here are a few quarterbacks who turned down the baseball diamond for the football gridiron: ___ JOHN ELWAY A two-sport star in high school in California, Elway was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 18th round in 1979. He chose to go to Stanford, where he continued to play baseball and football. The Yankees drafted the slugging outfielder, who was also a hard-throwing pitcher, in the second round in 1981 — 52nd overall, six spots ahead of Tony Gwynn — and he played for their short-season affiliate in Oneonta. Elway was selected No. 1 overall in the NFL draft by Baltimore in 1983, but unhappy with the team, he threatened the Colts that he would turn to baseball if they didn't trade him. Baltimore gave in and dealt him to Denver, where Elway forged a Hall of Fame career and won two Super Bowl rings. ___ DAN MARINO Marino was a right-handed pitcher and quarterback at Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, and drew interest for his skills in both sports. The Royals drafted him in the fourth round of the 1979 draft — yes, they took Elway and Marino in the same draft — but Marino opted to play football at the University of Pittsburgh. Good play call. Marino became one of the game's greatest quarterbacks, going in the first round to the Miami Dolphins in 1983, setting dozens of passing records and being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005. ___ TOM BRADY Yep, the three-time Super Bowl champion and two-time MVP was a pretty good baseball player, too. So good, that he was drafted out of high school in the 18th round by the Montreal Expos in 1995 — as a catcher. He ended up not signing with the Expos and headed to the University of Michigan, where he worked his way up the depth chart from seventh to starter. He wasn't particularly highly touted coming out of college, going to New England in the sixth round. But, we all know what happened next. ___ MICHAEL VICK He was such an amazing athlete that the Colorado Rockies drafted him as an outfielder out of Virginia Tech in the 30th round of the 2000 baseball draft — even though he hadn't played the sport since the eighth grade. Vick was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2001 NFL draft and became one of the game's most dynamic players with the Atlanta Falcons. After rejuvenating his career following a nearly two-year jail term for his role in a dogfighting ring, the soon-to-be 34-year-old Vick is with the New York Jets and competing with Geno Smith for the starting job. ___ RUSSELL WILSON The quarterback of the Super Bowl-champion Seattle Seahawks was a 41st-rounder by Baltimore out of high school in 2007, but opted to go to North Carolina State. He was a fourth-round pick of Colorado in 2010 and played in the Rockies' system as a second baseman. Wilson, who later transferred to Wisconsin, told the Rockies in January 2012 that he wanted to pursue an NFL career, and was a third-round choice by Seattle that April. He wasn't quite done with baseball yet, though. In December 2013, he was acquired by the Texas Rangers in the Rule 5 draft. A few weeks after winning the Super Bowl, Wilson attended Rangers spring training and participated in infield drills. ___ COLIN KAEPERNICK The speedy, athletic and tattooed signal-caller of the San Francisco 49ers had a blazing fastball in high school. He threw two no-hitters in his senior season and was a two-time all-state pitcher in California. Kaepernick turned down a few offers to play college baseball and instead chose a football scholarship at Nevada. He still was drafted in the 43rd round in 2009 by the Cubs, but continued his college football career, was a second-round pick by the 49ers in 2011 and helped lead them to the Super Bowl in his second season. ___ BRANDON WEEDEN The Dallas Cowboys' backup quarterback once had a brilliant baseball future after being a second-round pick of the Yankees in 2002. A 6-foot-4 fireballing right-hander, Weeden was traded to the Dodgers in 2004 and spent the 2006 season in the Royals organization, but was never able to advance beyond Class A. He was 19-26 with a 5.02 ERA in five minor league seasons before hanging up his baseball cleats and heading to Oklahoma State to play quarterback. He was a first-round pick of the Browns in 2012, but the 30-year-old QB was cut in March — two months before Cleveland drafted Manziel. Weeden signed a two-year deal with the Cowboys. ___ JAKE LOCKER The Angels really wanted Locker, drafting the strong, speedy outfielder and right-handed pitcher in the 40th round out of high school in 2006 and again in the 10th round in 2009 out of the University of Washington. Locker actually signed with the Angels the second time, but stayed off the diamond and played another season for the Huskies' football team. He was the eighth overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft, but injuries have plagued his first few seasons. ___ A few other notable QBs who were once baseball draft picks: Jay Schroeder (1st round in 1979, Blue Jays); Ken Stabler (2nd in January 1968, Astros); Chris Weinke (2nd in 1990, Blue Jays); Kerry Collins (26th in 1990, Tigers; 60th in 1991, Tigers; and 48th in 1994, Blue Jays); Daunte Culpepper (26th in 1995, Yankees); Steve McNair (35th in 1991, Mariners); Matt Cassel (36th in 2004, Athletics); Joe Theismann (39th in 1971, Twins); and Mark Brunell (44th in 1992, Braves).
May 27, 2014
On ESPN’s SportsCenter Tuesday morning, NFL Hall of Famer and former Oklahoma State running back Barry Sanders said it will be difficult for retired NFL players to win a case against the league over alleged illegal drug use. Sanders, who retired from the league in 1998, sat down for an interview with ESPN host Jay […]
Barry Sanders says retired players have tough case against NFL
Erik Horne | May 27, 2014[img url=http://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/11/2014/05/Barry-Sanders.jpg]2687015[/img] On ESPN’s SportsCenter Tuesday morning, NFL Hall of Famer and former Oklahoma State running back Barry Sanders said it will be difficult for retired NFL players to win a case against the league over alleged illegal drug use. Sanders, who retired from the league in 1998, sat down for an interview with ESPN host Jay Crawford in which the 1988 OSU Heisman winner was asked questions about the retired players’ lawsuit against the league. The lawsuit claims the NFL obtained and administered drugs to players illegally in order to speed up their return to the field and maximize profits. “It’ll be a challenge to prove that the trainers forced them to take anything,” Sanders said. “I don’t know if it would be impossible, but I think it’ll certainly be a challenge. I don’t know that every individual has a case; you probably (have) more guys that don’t really have a case. That’s really between the trainers and the team doctors and those individual players, and if you have documentation that can prove that they did something inappropriate, I guess you have to go forward with that, but I think that’s an uphill battle.” Crawford asked Sanders if he ever took a drug he didn’t want to take during his tenure in the league: “I’m not a great example because I never took anything,” Sanders said. “I was one of the guys, I would have to say, I had to face probably through the pressure sometime of not taking something, and having maybe a reputation of not being a tough guy. But I didn’t miss that many games. “It (drugging) happens in that game. It’s a part of it for some guys, but I don’t know if you can place responsibility or blame on someone.” Sanders said that during his NFL career, Mondays and Tuesdays — the days after a grueling game, or a 25- to 30-carry day — were part of the territory of being a running back. He also reiterated that he feels fine and has no regrets about leaving the game when he did at the age of 30. “For me … a lot of times you’re sore, but I’ve played the game my whole life — from high school to NFL. Some games you’re gonna be more sore than others,” Sanders said. “It was no different when I played in the National Football League. You have some games when you’re really sore because you’re a running back and you’ve taken a lot of blows. But that’s a part of the game and you’re normally over that by Wednesday or Thursday.” “I think that was one of the most important decisions of my life,” Sanders said on retirement. “It (having physical limitations) wasn’t even something I thought about then. I’m sure I benefited from that. I have no complaints there.”
The Tuttle school board approved the hire of Lincoln Christian defensive coordinator Brad Ballard as the Tigers’ new football coach on Monday night.
Tuttle picks Lincoln Christian assistant Brad Ballard to be new head coach
Scott Wright | May 13, 2014Lincoln Christian defensive coordinator Brad Ballard has been named the new head coach at Tuttle. The Tuttle school board approved the hire of Lincoln Christian defensive coordinator Brad Ballard as the Tigers’ new football coach on Monday night. A Claremore native, Ballard comes to Tuttle after spending the last eight seasons at Lincoln Christian. He has also worked at Missouri Southern, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M and a few high school stops, including Miami, Ketchum and Jay. “He’s going to do a tremendous job,” Lincoln Christian head coach Darren Melton said. “He brings a lot of passion to the game. He’s a kid magnet. He coaches them hard, but does it with a lot of love. The kids in Tuttle are gonna love him. “He’s creative, he’s cutting-edge. The thing people need to know about him is that he’s got an offensive mind, too. You can’t be a good defensive coordinator without knowing offense. He’s following a guy who had an awful lot of success, but we lost a good one. He’s a great friend and we’re really happy for him.” Ballard replaces Philip Koons, who was the Tigers’ head coach for the last 21 seasons. He won more than 200 games and two state titles before resigning last month. Multiple schools have been in pursuit of Koons, but he has yet to land anywhere.
A Claremore native, Brad Ballard comes to Tuttle after spending the last eight seasons at Lincoln Christian. He has also worked at Missouri Southern, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, and a few high school stops, including Miami, Ketchum and Jay.
High school notebook: Tuttle names Brad Ballard new head coach
By Scott Wright and Jacob Unruh | May 13, 2014The Tuttle school board approved the hire of Lincoln Christian defensive coordinator Brad Ballard as the Tigers’ new football coach on Monday night. A Claremore native, Ballard comes to Tuttle after spending the last eight seasons at Lincoln Christian. He has also worked at Missouri Southern, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, and a few high school stops, including Miami, Ketchum and Jay. “He’s going to do a tremendous job,” Lincoln Christian head coach Darren Melton said. “He brings a lot of passion to the game. He’s a kid magnet. He coaches them hard, but does it with a lot of love. The kids in Tuttle are gonna love him. “He’s creative, he’s cutting-edge. The thing people need to know about him is that he’s got an offensive mind, too. You can’t be a good defensive coordinator without knowing offense. He’s following a guy who had an awful lot of success, but we lost a good one. He’s a great friend and we’re really happy for him.” Ballard replaces Philip Koons, who was the Tigers’ head coach for the last 21 seasons. He won more than 200 games and two state titles before resigning last month. “We’re very excited to have coach Ballard coming in,” Tuttle superintendent Bobby Waitman said. “He’s energetic, and really just a perfect fit for our football program.” NORMAN NORTH’S CICHERO WINS GATORADE AWARD Norman North soccer standout Mauro Cichero was named the Gatorade Oklahoma Boys Soccer Player of the Year on Tuesday. The 6-foot-3, 165-pound senior also won the award last year. Cichero had 16 goals and 10 assists in 15 games entering Tuesday night’s Class 6A semifinal match against Broken Arrow. Cichero has a 3.26 grade-point average and mentors students learning English as a second language. He signed with SMU. “Cichero possesses vision and an ability to read the game that makes him stand out from other players his age,” said Gordon Drummond, head coach at crosstown rival Norman High. “He’s a complete soccer player.” SANTA FE’S BYCKO COMMITS TO ARMY Edmond Santa Fe junior baseball player Zac Bycko verbally committed last month to play at Army, his mother told The Oklahoman. Bycko plays third base and catcher for the Wolves, who finished the year 21-19.
Apr 22, 2014
For the second time in a week, Oklahoma lost a football commitment. Three-star defensive tackle Du’Vonta Lampkin of Cyprus Falls, Texas, tweeted Tuesday night that he was reopening his recruitment. “This is an hard decision but theres (sic) not a reason that OU still isn’t my number 1,” Lampkin tweeted. “We feel taking the visits is the best thing for me so thats what I’m going to do!” Last...
Big 12 football notebook: Oklahoma loses another commitment
By Ryan Aber and Jason Kersey | Apr 22, 2014For the second time in a week, Oklahoma lost a football commitment. Three-star defensive tackle Du’Vonta Lampkin of Cyprus Falls, Texas, tweeted Tuesday night that he was reopening his recruitment. “This is an hard decision but theres (sic) not a reason that OU still isn’t my number 1,” Lampkin tweeted. “We feel taking the visits is the best thing for me so thats what I’m going to do!” Last week, Casady offensive guard Josh Wariboko-Alali, the Sooners‘ first commitment for the 2015 class, announced he had withdrawn his commitment as well. Lampkin had been committed to the Sooners since late November. His change of heart leaves the Sooners with just three commitments — offensive linemen Bobby Evans, cornerback Jamie Johnson and defensive tackle Marquise Overton. GUNDY: PLAYOFF WILL EVENTUALLY EXPAND Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said Tuesday that he doesn’t believe much will change as far as the philosophy of running a program with the new four-team playoff beginning this year. “I think now with four teams in, it’s going to make it more exciting,” Gundy said. “I’ve said this time and time again, I think the stock market in college football has gone through the roof. The coverage, the publicity, just from all you guys now that are talking college football 24/7, 365 not only on the radio but on television.” That interest will lead to expansion, Gundy said. “The four-team is going to draw more interest and I think eventually it will go to an eight-team playoff because of the benefits and the revenue that will come from the television and that market that’s out there for college football.” STOOPS LOOKING FOR CASE’S REPLACEMENT Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops addressed the loss of Reed Case, who had been with the program since 2011 and was the team’s first director of player personnel. Case left the Sooners to become Texas’ on-campus recruiting coordinator. Asked what he’s looking for in Case’s replacement, Stoops said, “Mostly where Reed was, a guy that is personable and can organize recruiting. Really, not a guy that’s looking to be on the field because he’s not allowed to be on the field. “Most of all a guy that administrates recruiting, someone that understands recruiting, can host people when they are here, can direct our coaches and organize and help Coach (Cale) Gundy, who is our recruiting coordinator, and organize where everyone is at and keep up with it all.” MANGINO MAKING IMPACT AT ISU Former Oklahoma offensive coordinator and Kansas head coach Mark Mangino is quickly making progress in his first spring as Iowa State’s offensive coordinator. “Change in itself sometimes creates energy. Right, wrong or indifferent sometimes it does,” Cyclones head coach Paul Rhoads said. “I think it’s created energy with our guys. I think they have a real excitement about the offense. Mark makes no hiding the fact that ball distribution is important to this offense, and we’ve done that, so we’ve had a lot of peope get a lot of touches. The more people you have involved, the more excitement and energy you get out of practices and preparation. “I think our offensive line is vastly improved because of experience that they’ve had and the coaching that they’re getting. I think the rest of the offense sees that and responds to it.” Rhoads said there was no concern bringing Mangino onto his staff after the way Mangino’s time at Kansas ended. “We talked about it and more importantly I talked to a lot of other people that were around the program and around those issues,” Rhoads said. “I had no concern about him. … Mark’s been nothing but an exceptional staff man.” BRILES RESPONDS TO UT’S EDMOND After Texas’ spring game Saturday, Longhorns linebacker Steve Edmond had harsh words for Baylor. “I really don’t like Baylor,” Edmond said. “I still think they’re trash.” Edmond said the Bears’ celebration after beating Texas was over the top. The win over Texas in the final game at Floyd Casey Stadium gave the Bears the Big 12 title. Tuesday, Bears coach Art Briles was asked about Edmond’s comments, first saying he was unaware of the comments. “Well that’s all right,” Briles said when told of Edmond’s words. “Shoot, everybody’s entitled to their opinion. I’m not going to spend a lot of time being protective of somebody’s comments about our program when they don’t understand it.” Texas coach Charlie Strong said Edmonds “has to be smarter than that.” SOONERS OFFER 2015 KICKER Oklahoma special teams coordinator Jay Boulware offered class of 2015 kicker Austin Seibert a scholarship on Tuesday, the Belleville, Ill., prospect tweeted. It is Seibert’s eighth scholarship offer, and Oklahoma’s first to a special teams player in the 2015 recruiting class. Boulware will need to find replacements for both kicker Michael Hunnicutt and punter Jed Barnett, both of whom will be seniors in 2014. Hunnicutt has converted 86.1 percent of his career field-goal attempts and was a semifinalist for last year’s Lou Groza Award, which goes to the nation’s top kicker each year. The Sooners’ backup kicker, Nick Hodgson, did well as a kickoff specialist last season, but he’ll also be a senior in 2015. Barnett, who transferred to OU from a California junior college last spring, made significant improvement throughout his first season in Norman. He pinned Oklahoma State at its own 1-yard line twice in the Sooners’ 33-24 Bedlam upset victory. ALABAMA TRANSFER CHOOSES OHIO STATE Oklahoma lost out on Alabama transfer offensive lineman Chad Lindsay, who texted confirmation to CBSSports.com that he will sign with Ohio State. “It’s done. Go Buckeyes!” Lindsay texted to the website’s Jeremy Fowler. Lindsay (6-foot-2, 302 pounds) started four games last season for the Crimson Tide, but didn’t play in Alabama’s 45-31 Sugar Bowl loss to Oklahoma. Lindsay has already graduated, so he’ll be eligible to play immediately for the Buckeyes. Lindsay, from The Woodlands, Texas, visited Ohio State, Cal, OU, Louisville and Michigan after deciding to transfer. Out of high school, Lindsay chose Alabama over offers from OU, LSU, Tennessee, Auburn, Notre Dame and Nebraska, among others.
The moment a kick is missed, a pass is dropped, a tackle is whiffed is only the beginning. A football stadium is a safe haven.Players don’t hear F-bombs from the student section. They can mute wrath from afar.No, in 2014, blood boils when 21-, 22-year old athletes turn on their cell phone in the locker room. After sifting through all “keep your chin up” text messages from Moms and girlfriends,...
Twitter often a tough opponent for athletes to handle
By Tyler Dunne, Associated Press | Apr 21, 2014The moment a kick is missed, a pass is dropped, a tackle is whiffed is only the beginning. A football stadium is a safe haven. Players don’t hear F-bombs from the student section. They can mute wrath from afar. No, in 2014, blood boils when 21-, 22-year old athletes turn on their cell phone in the locker room. After sifting through all “keep your chin up” text messages from Moms and girlfriends, many inevitably tap open their Twitter accounts. “Coaches say, don’t go on Twitter, don’t read it,” Florida cornerback Jaylen Watkins said at the NFL scouting combine, “but it’s like touching a hot stove when you’re little. You’re going to touch it.” Again, social media and sports have collided. Not necessarily by what athletes tweet themselves, rather by what they read. The backlash, the aftershock. Through the pre-draft madness, everything is measured. Speed. Power. Intellect. Athleticism. The 300-plus draft prospects at the NFL combine in Indianapolis in February were lab rats. But there’s no stopwatch in existence that reveals how Prospect A will react to obscene and anonymous taunts. Rick Pitino and Tom Izzo recharged the furor during the college basketball season. With fans blistering his players after games, Pitino said the site “poisons” minds. Izzo said Twitter is essentially a 24/7 opposing student section. Then, days later, Iowa coach Fran McCaffery banned Twitter on his team. After air-balling a potential game-tying three-pointer, the Hawkeyes’ Zach McCabe absorbed fans’ rage and then tweeted: “The fact that I have iowa fans saying - - - - (to) me is insane. . . You fans suck. . . Suck a fat one all of you.” Most draft hopefuls in Indy vowed they’re above 140-character slurs. Some kids stay above the muck. Many don’t. Their mental fortitude is tested daily. Watkins’ first exposure to this came his sophomore year. Florida lost to Georgia, 24-20, and he was the goat. The corner was burned for a touchdown on a crucial fourth-and-6 play. He said fans ripped him, relentlessly, for a week. “They tweet at you when you’re winning,” Watkins said. “But the same one that said ‘Congrats’ will come back at you when you’re losing. If I have a chance to read what they say, I’ll block them. It’s rough sometimes.” This is a cyber student section without rules. It’s a Texas Tech fan shouting to Marcus Smart. Four- and five-star recruits have been doused in praise through high school. Coddled, not crucified. One gaffe in the spotlight — like McCabe’s miss — triggers a foreign response. So, as Green Bay Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk said last year, players take criticism two ways. They can mute it all entirely. Or they can hunt it down, create “Google Alerts” for themselves and read every tweet. USC safety Dion Bailey touches the stove. He reads every mention and isn’t afraid to egg on others. After Stanford scored a touchdown against Michigan State in the Rose Bowl, he ripped the Big Ten. Through the Trojans’ losses to Notre Dame and UCLA, he said it got ugly. Same deal when Lane Kiffin was fired. “Some guys can’t handle the audacity that some fans have,” Bailey said. “Because they can say things, but they know we’re not going to say anything back because we have something to lose and they don’t. They take advantage of it a little bit. But it’s all fun to me. I keep smiling and just move on with my life. “All kinds of things. It got crazy with the Kiffin situation.” Some players understand fans’ angst. They feel angst themselves. After all, this is a tool many 18-35 year-olds tend to daily. Syracuse defensive tackle Jay Bromley says everyone is a fan of something; he follows the New York Knicks. “And all my choice words aren’t pretty right now,” he said. He remembers the uproar online when his coach, Scott Shafer, called the city of Atlanta “softnosed” during an ice storm. Other players do not understand. Oregon defensive tackle Taylor Hart created his account six weeks before the combine. He has tweeted zero times, opting to live his life the old-fashioned way, face to face. But he thinks back to 2012 when Ducks kicker Alejandro Maldonado missed a 41-yard field goal in overtime against Stanford that wiped out national title hopes. “Some people were saying some nasty stuff,” Hart said. “That was just another reason why I never really had it. Those people don’t really matter.” At the heart of it, that’s the question. Why should any athlete care what the knucklehead with 13 followers even thinks? Why sweat it? Seattle’s Richard Sherman is the league’s premier shutdown cornerback. He has his own “Beats by Dre” commercial that finishes with him ignoring reporters. Yet following his now-infamous rant to Erin Andrews, there he was interacting instead of ignoring. San Jose State cornerback Bene Benwikere read every tweet, every response through that week-long furor. People called Sherman “an ignorant ape,” a “jungle monkey” and the n-word multiple times, said he “deserved to get shot in the (expletive) head” and that he needs to be “introduced” to George Zimmerman. The reaction was abominable, but not abnormal. Benwikere doesn’t see the point in feeding the fire. As he walked through the Lucas Oil Stadium lobby, he had a few words of wisdom for all prospects. “You’ve got to have self-control,” Benwikere said. “To be a football player, you have to have to self-control. You have to be strong and realize that most of these guys have probably never even played the game. Even if they have played the game, they haven’t been in that moment, that situation.” “How Richard responded, how people came at him, for me, if I’m in that situation, it’s more, ‘Let them be them. You’re entitled to your opinion.’ ” There’s no policing social media. It’s transparency at warp speed. A Wild West of interaction. Pro days and combines and interviews accomplish plenty. In 2014 and beyond, teams are must determine the thickness of a prospect’s skin, too. That noise on Twitter will only get louder. “You can’t stop everybody,” Benwikere said. “You can’t please everybody. You can’t stop everybody.” ——— ©2014 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Visit the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel at www.jsonline.com Distributed by MCT Information Services _____ Topics: t000046469,t000003183,t000410793,t000047572,t000003086,t000012820,t000047574,t000391277,t000411419,t000003277,g000065619,g000362661,g000066164
Apr 10, 2014
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — If connections were all it took to make a splash at the Masters, Bill Haas would have contended long before now."We've had a bunch of family play here," said Haas, whose opening-round 68 catapulted him into the lead."A bunch," as it turns out, is hardly an exaggeration. Bill's father, Jay, played the tournament 22 times from 1976 to 2005. His uncles, Jerry Haas and Dillard...
Column: A Masters bloodline that runs deep
JIM LITKE, Associated Press | Apr 10, 2014AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — If connections were all it took to make a splash at the Masters, Bill Haas would have contended long before now. "We've had a bunch of family play here," said Haas, whose opening-round 68 catapulted him into the lead. "A bunch," as it turns out, is hardly an exaggeration. Bill's father, Jay, played the tournament 22 times from 1976 to 2005. His uncles, Jerry Haas and Dillard Pruitt, made the field once and twice, respectively. His great uncle Bob Goalby won in 1968. But golf is not one of those enterprises where a dad simply hands over the keys with a pat on the back, says "good luck," and the business runs exactly the way it did before. It's easier to inherit size, strength and speed, apparently, than touch. Even casual fans can come up with the great father-son pairings in most other pro sports: Bobby and Barry Bonds (baseball); Archie and Peyton and Eli Manning (football); Rick and Scooter, Jon, Drew and Brent Barry (basketball); Bobby and Brett Hull (hockey); Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Junior (NASCAR). To find golf's best father-son tandem, you have to turn back almost 150 years. That would be Tom Morris Sr. and Tom Morris Jr., who were known as "Old Tom" and "Young Tom" to avoid any confusion, since they each won four of the first dozen British Opens. At least nine father-son tandems have won golf tournaments since, and a dozen have played in the Masters — but never in the same tournament together until Craig and Kevin Stadler did it Thursday. Asked why golf didn't seem quite as family-friendly as the other sports — at least in terms of success — Haas was ready with an answer. "I've been asked that before, and I think (it's) purely numbers. The odds of getting out on tour are small. And then you take it down to how many tour players have sons, and then how many have sons that even like golf. "And then if you like golf," he said finally, "the best part about this game is that you have to earn it." Haas, from Greenville, S.C., did just that on his sixth go-round at Augusta National with his own scorecard in his pocket. He got off to a shaky start with a bogey at No. 1, then found another gear and tore off six birdies. His second hiccup came at 17, when his iron shot landed just past the flag yet somehow slid all the way off the right side of the green. "The wind somewhat switched, maybe," Haas said, "at least that's what I'm claiming." Bill was along for plenty of Jay's rounds and even toted the bag on one occasion. He had no trouble recalling his previously most memorable trip. That was 1995, when Jay was leading by two strokes midway through the tournament. Oddly enough, the wind figured into that one, too. As Jay stood over a short putt, a gust moved the ball, costing him one stroke. He dropped another when his shot into 15 slid off the green and into the pond. "I never remember thinking, 'Man, I wish I could hit this shot for my dad. But there's some times now, I'm like 'I wish my dad could hit this shot for me.'" Jay, who is 60 and a force on the Champions Tour, won nine times on the PGA Tour. But his dream of getting the locker next to Goalby's in Augusta National's champions room never got closer than that third-place finish. "That can't happen," Jay told The State newspaper of Columbia, S.C., last week, "but I hope Bill can." Bill has been aiming at that goal since high school. A friend took Jay and his sons to Augusta back then and they squeezed in 27 holes, in addition to playing in the pre-tournament Par 3 contest. "Did you beat him?" a reporter asked Bill, referring to Jay. "I don't think so. I don't beat him much, honestly," Bill replied. "Even now?" came the follow-up. "Even now, yeah," Bill conceded. "He's good." ___ Jim Litke is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him at Twitter.com/JimLitke.
Apr 5, 2014
With Brennan Clay, Damien Williams and Roy Finch gone from last year’s team, the pair each have a chance to have a big impact at running back this season. And with five-star recruit Joe Mixon still a couple of months away from arriving on campus, spring practices have been particularly important for Ford and Ross.
Oklahoma football: Spring practices vital for potential impact running backs Keith Ford, Alex Ross
BY RYAN ABER, Staff Writer | Apr 5, 2014NORMAN — For different reasons, Oklahoma running backs Keith Ford and Alex Ross found themselves in the coaches’ doghouse last season. For redshirt freshman Ross, it happened quickly. In the fourth quarter of the season opener against Louisiana-Monroe, Ross got his first college carry — an 8-yard run around the edge. He finished it off by picking up a personal foul penalty after swinging at a Warhawks defender at the end of the play. Ross didn’t get another carry until the Iowa State game in mid-November. Ford’s issue was keeping hold of the ball. He fumbled out of bounds in the Texas game, then coughed it up early in the next game against Kansas. He didn’t get another carry until the Sugar Bowl. With Brennan Clay, Damien Williams and Roy Finch gone from last year’s team, the pair each have a chance to have a big impact at running back this season. And with five-star recruit Joe Mixon still a couple of months away from arriving on campus, spring practices have been particularly important for Ford and Ross. “I paid my dues and waited my time,” Ross said last week. “I felt like I needed time to get acclimated to everything around here.” Ross has certainly convinced Trevor Knight, who came to OU in the same signing class as Ross. “Nobody’s going to outwork him,” Knight said. “He’s more of a quiet guy. He’s not much of a vocal leader but he leads by example. In the weight room, he’s a beast; in any running drill, he’s going to finish first every single time. “Getting those reps especially is helping him out a lot just getting comfortable with the offense, and when he gets his shot, he’s going to make some big plays.” Sooner coaches have been complimentary of both. “He’s doing a good job of running, finding holes, doing what he’s supposed to do, fewer mistakes, those kinds of things,” Sooner coach Bob Stoops said of Ross. “He’s a big powerful guy when he gets loose.” Sooner co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell said the zone-read offense that OU implemented last year for Knight is “made for” a runner like Ford. “He’s got a ton of opportunities and he’s been put in a lot of situations,” Norvell said. “He’s getting those opportunities and you learn from your mistakes and you get better but he’s made some really good plays. He’s a physical back. He’s got to be more consistent.” Ford, a true freshman last season, had a steep learning curve last year that included not only learning the playbook and fitting in with the system but also figuring out he couldn’t get away with some of the things he did in high school. “Everybody is faster, everybody is bigger and everybody is stronger,” Ford said. “They are on scholarship too. … They are going to try to make plays, they are going to try to create turnovers. It’s a part of the game.” Ford said the adjustment for improved ball security was about doing “little things” right. “When you’re a freshman sometimes you don’t value the ball the way you need to,” Norvell said. “He had a couple issues with that and that’s a definite emphasis for him — locking up in traffic and making sure you take care of it,” Norvell said. He’s also gained size, putting on nearly 10 pounds since last season. Ross has gained more than 10 pounds. “All those guys come and they’re gonna give you that thump,” Sooner defensive end Charles Tapper said. “If you’re not ready for that thump, they’re gonna run you over. They’re gonna take that ball and they’re gonna hit the goalpost every day.”
Apr 2, 2014
Flowers is impressing coaches and teammates during spring practice.
OU football: True freshman Dimitri Flowers drawing comparisons to Trey Millard
By Ryan Aber | Apr 2, 2014NORMAN — Over and over Wednesday, Oklahoma coaches and players kept bringing up the same comparison when Dimitri Flowers’ name was mentioned. “He’s very similar to Trey (Millard),” Sooners coach Bob Stoops said. “If he had the same number on and grew some dreads, you’d look from behind and think it was him — and with the way he plays. “We’re elated about him.” Wide receivers coach Jay Norvell. Tight ends coach Jay Boulware. Running back Keith Ford. All brought up Millard’s name when asked about Flowers, the early enrollee who was recruited to play Millard’s fullback/H-back/tight end role. Flowers’ time might come even quicker than anticipated. Oklahoma coaches knew there would be a hole to fill, losing not only Millard but three senior running backs off last year’s team. But the 6-foot-1, 234-pound Flowers is progressing even better than expected. “He’s a very natural receiver,” Norvell said after making the comparison to not only Millard but Jermaine Gresham. “He has an ability to adjust in space, and you can play them on the edge. You can play in the backfield.” Flowers’ high school coach at San Antonio’s Churchill High, Glenn Hill, encouraged Flowers to graduate a semester early to begin his college career. “I think anyone that can do that should,” Hill said. “If you can do that and clearly academically he can, there’s really no negative to it. You get to knock out a bunch of hours in college, get used to the rigors of college and you get extra practice out of it. “What are you going to stay here for? Prom?” Hill used Flowers in a variety of ways — running back, slot receiver, wide receiver, even quarterback. “We moved him around really to try to create as many mismatches as we could,” Hill said. “It sounds like they’re going to do pretty much what we did with him. You take a guy like that and get him lined up against linebackers, you’ve got a mismatch. Then you’ve got the safeties back there that aren’t as big and physical as he is.” With Millard gone, Aaron Ripkowski is likely to step into that role like he did after Millard was injured late last season. But there will be room in the offense for Flowers. “Oh definitely, no question,” Stoops said. “And he’s shown every indication that he’ll be ready for it.” Flowers opened eyes Wednesday with a short-yardage diving catch against solid coverage. “We’re elated about Dimitri every day,” Stoops said. “He’s very natural.” Flowers’ intellect — both on and off the football field — have made the transition to OU a smooth one. “He makes fantastic grades,” Hill said. “He was one of our National Merit Scholarship finalists. You take the football out of it, and he was going to get scholarships academically. You take that kind of personality, that kind of brains and everything else he has and he’s going to be successful.” That’s translated on the field. “He knows a lot more than the average freshman,” Boulware said. “I feel very confident in putting him out there right now, and as he continues to progress, I think we have something there.”
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound long snapper signed after visiting Norman, completing a journey that began when Horky became his pee-wee team’s snapper by default many years ago.
Oklahoma football: How Wesley Horky landed a rare scholarship offer for a long snapper
BY JASON KERSEY | Mar 29, 2014Long snapper Wesley Horky accompanied his punter to a private lesson two years ago with 17-year NFL veteran Craig Hentrich. Hentrich’s eyes nearly popped out of his head after the first snap that day. “He was already as good as any snapper who ever snapped to me,” said Hentrich, who played four years at Notre Dame before an NFL career that included a Super Bowl victory with the Green Bay Packers. “It was amazing for a high school sophomore who never had a formal lesson of any kind.” Horky, from Ravenwood High School in Brentwood, Tenn., was planning to walk on at Tennessee before Oklahoma called with a scholarship offer last month. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound long snapper signed after visiting Norman, completing a journey that began when Horky became his pee-wee team’s snapper by default many years ago. Horky was too big as a fifth grader to play any skill positions, so he was the team’s center and then, naturally, took over the long snapping duties. “The other coach and myself just kinda showed him how to get the ball back, and it turned out he was good at it,” said Brad Horky, Wesley’s dad. When he got to high school, Horky attended several Kohl’s specialist camps around the region and began to gain notoriety as one of the recruiting class of 2014’s best long snappers. The Ravenwood High team wasn’t very good Horky’s sophomore and junior seasons — it finished 2-8 and 3-7, respectively, those years — but that actually worked to Horky’s advantage. “He’d get anywhere from seven to nine snaps a game, just on punts because we weren’t scoring touchdowns,” Brad Horky said. “We’d go to these camps, and some guys would come from undefeated programs but only have five to 10 snaps all year. “Wes was doing that in a game.” Horky started at tight end his junior year, then started both there and at defensive end his senior season, but knew his future was as a long snapper. Hentrich, who played his final 12 NFL seasons with the Tennessee Titans, retired in 2009 and started Legacy Kicking, a business based out of Nashville, Tenn., that tutors kickers and punters all over the country. After that first meeting, Hentrich regularly called and asked Horky to provide snaps during his private lessons in the Nashville area. “Quite honestly, I’ve really never seen him throw a bad snap, and I’ve seen hundreds of his snaps,” Hentrich said. “His balls are super easy to catch. As a punter, catching good spirals is really what we want to do, and that’s what he’s so good at. Every one of his balls is a perfect spiral.” Horky picked up an offer from Murray State, a Football Championship Subdivision program in Kentucky, but wanted the chance to play big-time college football and committed to become a preferred walk-on at Tennessee. But a few weeks after National Signing Day, OU special teams coordinator Jay Boulware called to say he had a scholarship for Horky. He visited in late February and signed before he left. “I just fell in love with OU,” Horky said. “The players, the coaching staff, the whole nine yards. It’s awesome.” He fills an important need for the Sooners, too, with long snapper Austin Woods graduated. Oklahoma has rarely awarded scholarships to long snappers right out of high school, but coach Bob Stoops said Horky’s special skills made him an exception. “It’s something we really need with Austin being gone, and the positive with Wesley is he can really cover too,” Stoops said. “Woody was awesome snapping the ball but getting down and covering people wasn’t a big part of his game. “We’re fired up about him.”
Mar 29, 2014
Jordan Smallwood’s first season with Oklahoma ended before it began as the wide receiver from Jenks had to have foot surgery before practice began last fall. Smallwood returned to practice during bowl preparation and has been in the mix during spring practices. “A great start,” Sooners coach Bob Stoops answered when asked about the impression Smallwood had made so far in the spring. “He’s gonna...
Oklahoma football: Jordan Smallwood turning heads for Sooners
By Jason Kersey and Ryan Aber | Mar 29, 2014Jordan Smallwood’s first season with Oklahoma ended before it began as the wide receiver from Jenks had to have foot surgery before practice began last fall. Smallwood returned to practice during bowl preparation and has been in the mix during spring practices. “A great start,” Sooners coach Bob Stoops answered when asked about the impression Smallwood had made so far in the spring. “He’s gonna be a really good player.” Earlier in the week, several outside coaches were observing the Sooners’ practices, and the wide receivers made an impression based on more than their ball-catching abilities. “They were marveling at how well our receivers were blocking out there on the perimeter,” Stoops said. “It’s just attitude and effort more than anything.” KNIGHT GETS A BREATHER At a scrimmage just before spring break, the Sooners gave starting quarterback Trevor Knight a bit of a break, with the other quarterbacks — redshirt freshman Cody Thomas, freshman Justice Hansen and transfer Baker Mayfield — getting the work. “They’ve all looked good,” Sooners coach Bob Stoops said. “Justice obviously coming right from high school has the biggest adjustment, but he’s a really talented guy with his arm and how he works. Baker has looked really good. You can tell he’s played. It’s obvious when you watch him out there. He’s comfortable and makes plays.” Mayfield must sit out this season after transferring from Texas Tech. VOTE OPEN FOR FIELD DESIGN Fans can vote at SoonerSports.com for the field design for OU’s spring game on April 12. Midfield designs include the OU logo by itself, an OU helmet and an outline of the state with the OU logo in the middle. End zone designs include two different designs with “Oklahoma” in each end zone and three others with various diamond designs. One fan who votes online will be chosen randomly for a VIP experience that includes field passes and a pregame photo session. The game will begin at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased for $5 each by calling the OU Athletics Ticket Office at (405) 325-2424 or (800) 456-4668. Ticket prices increase to $10 on April 9. All seating is general admission, and parking on campus is free for the game. Season-ticket holders, OU students, members of the Sooner Kids Club and children 5 and under will be admitted free. COACHES CLINIC SET Bob Stoops and his staff will lead a three-day coaches clinic Thursday through Satuday at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. The clinic will begin at 5 p.m. Thursday with registration and check-in at the stadium. The event will feature OU coaches as well as high school and junior-college coaches from around the country. Coaches will be able to watch an OU scrimmage as well as a practice. The cost is $50 per coach. If four or more coaches register together, the rate is $45 per coach. Registration forms can be found at SoonerSports.com. Co-offensive coordinator Josh Heupel and defensive coordinator Mike Stoops will speak Thursday. Friday’s sessions include demonstrations by offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh, defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery, co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach Jay Norvell and cornerbacks coach Bobby Jack Wright as well as Jerry Schmidt, OU’s director of sports enhancement. Other speakers include McAlester coach Bryan Pratt and Blanchard’s Jeff Craig.
Mar 4, 2014
One of the best things about my job is the stories I hear. And some of the plum tales come from the old days. Like Bud Wilkinson football. Benton O’Neal of Ada, one of the three O’Neal brothers to play for Wilkinson at OU, emailed me Monday with a gem of a story.
Oklahoma football: Remembering the Hoot Owls
Berry Tramel | Mar 4, 2014One of the best things about my job is the stories I hear. And some of the plum tales come from the old days. Like Bud Wilkinson football. Benton O’Neal of Ada, one of the three O’Neal brothers to play for Wilkinson at OU, emailed me Monday with a gem of a story. I love the stuff from those days, because it’s so different from what we hear today. Let me give you an example. Our man John Helsley wrote a nifty story for the Monday Oklahoman about Bob “Pee Wee” Williams, a student trainer/manager for Henry Iba’s Oklahoma A&M basketball teams in the 1940s. Williams was a roommate of the great Bob Kurland. You can read the story here. But there’s a line in the story about Kurland and Williams living together as roommates in the basement of Gallagher Hall. And part of Kurland’s job was to sweep the floor and lock up at night. Picture that. A 7-foot all-American. One of the transcendent figures in basketball history. A player who led OSU to back-to-back NCAA titles. With a broom in his hand, sweeping up Gallagher Hall. It was a different time. And the same with OU football in the days of Wilkinson. Here is O’Neal’s story: “Here is an interesting tidbit about OU teams in the ’50s. While I was on the teams of the ’55, ’56, ’57 and ’58 football seasons, Coach Wilkinson would trim the varsity (seniors, juniors and sophomores) down to about 55 to 60 players. You will remember in those years you had to play both ways (offense, defense, and special teams). He liked to have five complete teams at all positions ready to play. [img]2365504[/img] “After these were established, the teammates playfully named the substitute squads. Of course everyone knew who the starters and alternates were as they played most of the first half and usually the third quarter. We named the third team the ‘Tiger Squad,’ because they were made up of primarily defensive animals that were learning to play offense. The fourth team was the ‘Twilighters’ as they would be put into the game as it was getting to be twilight. The fifth team’s name was the ‘Hoot Owls’ because by the time they got in, the owls would be hooting. “It was great fun. These OU teams were so good the twilighters and hoot owls got to play a lot, and when the fifth team was in the game, you could hear the players on the bench going Hwoo, Hwoo, Hwoo.” Now that’s priceless. I can picture Tommy McDonald, who was always a bit whimsical, going “Hwoo, Hwoo, Hwoo” from the bench. But the regal Clendon Thomas? The tough Jerry Tubbs? The suave Jimmy Harris? That’s as novel to think about as picturing Bob Kurland sweeping up the gym. O’Neal helped contribute to a book being written about OU icon Port Robertson, written by Ed Frost, a friend of mine. O’Neal shared with me a couple of dispatches he had with Frost. “As I know you have heard numerous times, without Port’s guidance and counsel, myself and many of my teammates and friends would not have completed their degrees and education at the University of Oklahoma,” O’Neal wrote. “In my particular situation, I had decided not to tryout for OU’s football team. I was an average high school player. “I was a freshman in Cross Center at the start of the 1955 football season. Port contacted me and said, ‘You little PEAHEAD, where are you?’ I told him I was not as good as my brothers Pat and Jay and did not have a football scholarship. He said for me to get my butt over to the dressing room and walk on because he knew I could run. I did and made second-team freshman quarterback, beating out three other frosh quarterbacks on scholarship. He moved me into Jefferson House in the middle of that semester and gave me a half scholarship. How appreciative I was. “I became discouraged after my junior year realizing I would never play very much because of great OU quarterbacks David Baker, Bobby Boyd and Bob Cornell. My grades started to suffer, and I considered dropping out of school altogether. Port found out about that and once again ordered me to get back out there on the football field and complete my education. I was glad I did and went to Port to thank him. He said I need you to apply to be a graduate assistant coach, help him coach the freshmen, complete my degree and to take some graduate courses. “He also thought I might enjoy being a coach, because my brothers were enjoying it at that time. It turned out I was a worse coach than I was a player, so I took my business degree and went into banking. I just retired from a successful 50-year career in the banking industry. You might say I owe it all to that GREAT MAN, PORT ROBERTSON! “1955 was the very first year for the Air Force Academy. Since all they had were plebes (freshmen), they scheduled their football season against all Big Eight freshmen teams. Yes, I got out there and completed several passes to fullback Carl Slayton out of the backfield because the Air Force did not cover him. He was a very good player but not a good student. He transferred to another school after one semester. I’m not sure where and never heard from him again. “This is where I need to tell you about how tough it is to continue to stay out on the OU football team. Remember I walked on in 1955. There were 35 freshmen on football scholarships and 70 freshmen walkons. Four years later,1958, there were 13 of the original 35 scholarship earners still there plus one walkon, me. (I received a half scholarship half way during my first semester and then a full one for my junior and senior years.) Two-a-day practices in the Oklahoma heat were brutal and each year I would tell myself if I can make it through these drills, I can do anything. Port always told us the same. “One day as we were going through a 100-plus degree hot September practice in 1955, one of our freshmen teammates fell to the ground and began to throw up. Coach Port came over to him and said, ‘Don’t do that, it lowers your morale.’ We did not see that guy anymore. It was a time that you did not get water during practice. They did not think you were getting in shape until you got cotton mouth. The trainer would bring out orange and lemon slices at the halfway break during practice. The big mean linemen and linebackers would get all the oranges and leave all the lemons to us little backs. I didn’t care because if you have ever had cotton mouth you know a lemon is not sour…anything moist is very welcome. “Thanks for letting me vent some old times almost forgotten.” Vent to us anytime, Benton O’Neal.
Feb 19, 2014
The Oklahoma City Storm, the defending homeschool national champions, will host some of the nation's top high school basketball teams over the next three days in the OKC Storm Festival. Thursday's action will include two games at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in downtown Oklahoma City. Flower Mound, Texas, will face OnPoint Academy at noon, followed by the Storm taking on Prime Prep at...
High school basketball: OKC Storm hosting nationally ranked opponents
By Scott Wright and Jacob Unruh | Feb 19, 2014The Oklahoma City Storm, the defending homeschool national champions, will host some of the nation's top high school basketball teams over the next three days in the OKC Storm Festival. Thursday's action will include two games at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in downtown Oklahoma City. Flower Mound, Texas, will face OnPoint Academy at noon, followed by the Storm taking on Prime Prep at approximately 1:30 p.m. Fans can enter through the southeast entrance of the arena. Prime Prep, the Dallas-area school started by NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, is currently ranked No. 12 in the nation by USA Today. The Storm is led by TCU signee Chauncey Collins, who is averaging 27.1 points per game this season. Festival action will continue all day Friday and Saturday, with some of the best programs in the region coming to OKC, including Sunrise Christian from Kansas and other notable Texas programs. Friday and Saturday games will be played at Church of the Harvest, located at Interstate 35 and NE 63rd St. CARL ALBERT'S WARREN SCORES 45 Carl Albert senior Cameron Warren nearly set a school record Tuesday night, scoring 45 points as the Titans rallied for a 72-66 win at Ardmore. Warren's 45 points were one shy of the record held by Carl Albert coach Jay Price. It was the fifth straight win for the fourth-ranked Titans, who are 16-5 on the season. Southmoore's Brickman to be honored Southmoore football coach Jeff Brickman has been selected to receive the Semper Fidelis Coaching Award from the U.S. Marine Corps, in conjunction with the Glazier Football Clinics. The award is given annually to high school football coaches who exemplify the Marines' standard of excellence, which constitutes integrity, responsibility, honesty, honor, courage, and commitment. Brickman is being honored for his dedication to his football players and his community in providing aid to them after the May 20, 2013, tornado. Brickman led a campaign to help those in need by working for several weeks, raising more than $90,000 in cash and gift cards, which went to benefit the 22 Southmoore football players who lost their homes, as well as 88 other families that suffered losses from the tornado. Brickman will be recognized at the Glazier Football Clinic on Friday in Tulsa.
Feb 18, 2014
NORMAN — In the past year and a half, Oklahoma self-reported secondary NCAA violations, which were recently obtained by The Oklahoman through an open records request. The latest violation received occurred in October. The violations range from the routine, coaches sending texts or making calls outside of the designated allowed contact times, to the absurd. Three athletes had to donate $3.83...
OU releases list of self-reported NCAA violations
By Ryan Aber | Feb 18, 2014NORMAN — In the past year and a half, Oklahoma self-reported secondary NCAA violations, which were recently obtained by The Oklahoman through an open records request. The latest violation received occurred in October. The violations range from the routine, coaches sending texts or making calls outside of the designated allowed contact times, to the absurd. Three athletes had to donate $3.83 each to a charity of their choice in order to be reinstated after they were served more than the allowable portion at a graduation banquet. The violations included a recruit on an official visit charging wireless Internet access at the hotel to the school through her hotel bill, a hand-drawn picture on an envelope sent to a player who was verbally committed and a voluntary practice on a travel day. In each case, the school presented its proposed corrective actions and punishment to deal with the violations. In most cases, the NCAA accepted those actions, though in a few cases the NCAA added additional corrective action. Most involved limiting recruiting contact with the involved recruit or all recruits for a period of one to four weeks and the coaching staff of the sport involved given additional rules education. Here's a breakdown of the violations: BASEBALL July 15-Aug. 19, 2012 Violation: Assistant baseball coaches Aric Thomas and Jack Giese and coordinator of baseball operations Ryan Gaines sent numerous text messages to a recruit. The coaches mistakenly believed the recruit had submitted a financial deposit. Resolution: The baseball staff was prohibited from initiating phone calls or correspondence with all recruits for two weeks beginning May 19, 2013. The three were given detailed rules education regarding recruiting and text messaging. Sept. 5-13, 2012 Violation: Assistant coach Aric Thomas made an impermissible phone call on Sept. 5. Assistant coach Jack Giese made one impermissible call on Sept. 13. Combined the two exceeded the one call per week to recruits outside of a contact period. Resolution: The baseball coaching staff were prohibited from initiating phone calls or correspondence with recruits for two weeks beginning May 19. The assistants were provided with detailed rules education regarding recruiting and phone calls. Sept. 10, 2012 Violation: Assistant coach Jack Giese made a phone call to a recruit after another staff member had already used the allowed phone call per week outside of the contact period. Giese also called the recruit three additional times after he was unable to reach the recruit on his earlier contacts. Resolution: The school declared the recruit ineligible for competition at the school and asked the NCAA for reinstatement and prohibited the baseball coaching staff from initiating phone calls to any recruit for two weeks beginning May 19. The coaching staff was also given detailed rules education. Oct. 23, 2012 Violation: Assistant coach Jack Giese sent one impermissible text message to a recruit that he intended to be sent to the recruit's junior college coach. Resolution: The baseball coaching staff was prohibited from initiating phone calls and written correspondence for two weeks beginning Feb. 27, 2013, and the baseball staff was provided detailed rules education. March 4, 2013 Violation: Assistant baseball coach Aric Thomas provided a meal to three coaches of recruits during a recruiting trip to San Diego. The value of the meal was $40 per person. Thomas said he misunderstood the rule. Resolution: All prospective recruits associated with the coaches were declared ineligible for competition at the school. If the school recruits one of the involved players, the coaches will have to repay the value of the meal to a charity by the coaches before the player(s) being reinstated. Thomas was not reimbursed for expenses incurred during the trip. Thomas and the coaching staff were provided detailed rules education. May 16, 2013 Violation: Former head coach Sunny Golloway scheduled an impromptu voluntary practice for pitchers and catches on May 16, a day the team was traveling to an away game. Golloway did not realize that no countable athletically related captivities could occur on a designated off day, regardless of whether or not they were voluntary. The violation was discovered about 10 minutes into the practice, which immediately ended. Resolution: The baseball staff was given rules education regarding countable athletically related activities. In addition, the NCAA mandated pitchers and catchers on the team be given an additional day off. FOOTBALL Feb. 1, 2012 Violation: Assistant coach Bruce Kittle sent congratulatory text to a student-athlete who had signed with OU. Feb. 1, 2012 Violation: Assistant coach Cale Gundy sent two congratulatory text messages to a student-athlete who had signed with OU. May 14, 2012 Violation: Assistant coach Jackie Shipp sent a text message to a recruit who was a junior at the time. Sept. 12, 2012 Violation: Assistant coach Bruce Kittle sent contact information for one recruit to another recruit, who was a junior at the time, when he meant to send it to assistant coach Josh Heupel. Resolution: For the four violations above, the football staff was precluded from having any written or telephone contact with recruits for two weeks and Kittle, Gundy and Shipp were provided detailed rules education. Contact for the three assistants involved was self-imposed. The NCAA expanded the noncontact period to the whole staff. July 19, 2012 Violation: Assistant coach Bruce Kittle pocket-dialed a recruit a day after receiving a permissible text message from the recruit. Resolution: Football staff was prohibited from initiating phone calls or correspondence with the recruit involved for four weeks and the recruit was declared ineligible for competition at the school barring NCAA reinstatement (self-imposed). Summer 2012 Violation: Online payments for summer football camps for two high school players were returned for insufficient funds. Attempts by the athletic department, football front office personnel and camp accountant to contact the responsible parties were unsuccessful. Resolution: The student-athletes were declared ineligible until restitution has been made. Coaches and camp directors were provided detailed rules education (self-imposed). Aug. 13, 2012 Violation: Assistant coach Mike Stoops returned a phone call after receiving a call from the recruit that same day. Resolution: Stoops was prohibited from initiating phone calls to recruits for two weeks beginning June 15. Stoops was provided detailed rules education regarding impermissible phone calls. Aug. 20-Sept. 6, 2012 Violation: A former athlete performed coaching activities while not enrolled as a graduate student. The former athlete graduated from the school, but his GPA was not high enough to enroll in the University Graduate College, so he instead enrolled in undergraduate hours to boost his GPA. Resolution: The school removed the person involved from his coaching position and reassigned him to a non-coaching role. The school added a weekly report to determine the full-time status of all graduate assistants with coaching duties. The person's financial stipend as a GA was not reallocated to another individual. Sept. 26-Dec. 24, 2012 Violation: Assistant coach Tim Kish sent replied to a text message from a recruit on Sept. 26. On Dec. 12, assistant coach Mike Stoops sent a text message to a recruit during the week of the recruit's official visit. On Dec. 14, Kish sent three text messages to a recruit and one to another during official visits. On Dec. 24, Kish sent one holiday greeting text to friends and family and inadvertently included a recruit. Resolution: Kish and Stoops were prohibited from initiating phone calls and correspondence with any recruit for two weeks beginning Jun 16, 2013, and the football coaching staff was provided with detailed rules education. The NCAA extended the two-week ban from initiating contact to recruits to include the entire football staff. Nov. 5, 2012 Violation: Assistant coach Bruce Kittle made a five-minute call to a recruit who was a junior. He claimed it was a pocket dial, but the length of the call led to it being self-reported. Resolution: The recruit was declared ineligible for competition at the school until the NCAA reinstates it and the football staff was provided rules education, though Kittle was no longer employed by the school when the violation was resolved. Jan. 9, 2013 Violation: Former assistant Jackie Shipp sent a total of three text messages to one or more recruits before written or financial commitment. Resolution: The coaching staff was prohibited from initiating phone calls or correspondence with recruits for two weeks beginning June 30. The coaching staff was prohibited from initiating phone calls or written correspondence with the recruit for two weeks beginning Sept. 1. Jan. 20-22, 2013 Violation: Assistant coach Tim Kish visited a recruit and his parents at their home on Jan. 20. Assistant Bobby Jack Wright visited the recruit's high school head coach Jan. 22. When the coach informed Wright of Kish's visit, Wright left immediately without having contact with the recruit. Resolution: The department reduced the 2013-14 football contact period by two days and conducted rules education with Wright and the football coaching staff. The NCAA ruled the recruit ineligible for competition at the school until eligibility is restored by the organization. Jan. 21, 2013 Violation: Assistant coach Tim Kish sent three text messages to a recruit's father before written or financial commitment. Kish said he was asking directions to the home for permissible contact. The recruit signed with OU. Resolution: The football coaching staff was prohibited from initiating phone calls or correspondence with any recruit for two weeks beginning Aug. 12. The coaching staff was provided detailed rules education regarding the use of electronic correspondence. Feb. 14, 2013 Violation: Assistant coaches Tim Kish and Jackie Shipp contacted the same recruit on back-to-back days. Shipp called the recruit on Feb. 13, then Kish followed with a phone call the next day, exceeding the limits on phone calls. The call was made after Shipp had accepted new employment. Resolution: Kish was prohibited from initiating phone calls to recruits for two weeks beginning June 16. The coaching staff was provided detailed rules education regarding recruiting and phone calls. In addition, the NCAA determined the entire coaching staff would be prohibited contact with recruits by telephone for one week. Feb. 26, 2013 Violation: Assistant coaches Mike Stoops and Cale Gundy sent two text messages to recruits before written or financial commitment. Stoops responded to an incoming text with “Thanks.” Gundy replied to a text message instead of replying by Facebook message. A Facebook message would've been permissible. Resolution: The coaching staff was prohibited from initiating phone calls and written correspondence with the recruits for two weeks beginning Sept. 1. The staff was also provided detailed rules education. March 9, 2013 Violation: A first-year, non-qualifying junior-college athlete attended a junior day event at the school, at the invitation of assistant coach Bill Bedenbaugh. Resolution: The department reduced the number of off-campus contacts with the recruit. The staff was given detailed rules education regarding unofficial visits and emphasized the importance of completing an unofficial visit request form before the invitation to campus. The NCAA also ruled the athlete ineligible at the school until restored by the NCAA. June 2, 2013 Violation: Assistant coach Mike Stoops sent a text message to a recruit before his signing a National Letter of Intent, a written offer of admission or financial aid or receipt of a financial deposit. Stoops accidentally sent a return text while reviewing incoming text messages. Resolution: The football coaching staff was prohibited from initiating any contact with the recruit for two weeks beginning Dec. 15. The coaching staff was given rules education regarding text messages. July 28, 2013 Violation: Assistant coach Cale Gundy and director of player personnel Reed Case exceeded permissible phone calls per week to a Tulsa player that decided to transfer to OU as a walk-on. Gundy and Case believed the calls were allowed because the transfer was already enrolled at the school for the fall. Resolution: The department provided additional rules education regarding telephone contact with recruits as well as transfers. July 31, 2013 Violation: A student-athlete was awarded financial aid for a period of less than one academic year when the player wasn't on pace to graduate after the semester. The academic adviser did not notify the compliance department of the change in graduation status. Resolution: The player signed a revised financial aid agreement that included the spring semester and the academic services staff were given rules education. Aug. 2, 2013 Violation: Assistant coach Jay Norvell made an impermissible phone call to a former Texas football player seeking to transfer to OU. Norvell called the player twice on Aug. 2. He believed he could initiate more than one phone call per week. The player eventually enrolled at Arizona. Resolution: The coaching staff was given rules education on the topic of transfers phone calls and recruiting. Oct. 3, 2013 Violation: The football staff mailed an envelope to a recruit, who was already verbally committed, that included an image that was more than the school's name and logo. The envelope included a hand-drawn picture with the handwritten addressee information. Resolution: The coaching and administrative staffs were given rules education regarding permissible recruiting materials. Also, now all envelopes must be approved by the department before use. GOLF Jan. 22, 2013 Violation: An athlete practiced with the golf team from Jan. 8-22 without having completed the NCAA Drug Testing and NCAA Student-Athlete Statement. Resolution: The golf coaching staff was given rules education regarding the involved rules as well as school and NCAA policies and procedures for all incoming student-athletes. ROWING Jan. 8, 2013 Violation: Assistant women's coach John Gartin sent a text to a recruit. The text was meant for someone else. Resolution: The rowing coaching staff was prohibited from initiating phone calls and correspondence with the recruit for two weeks beginning Feb. 1, 2013 and the staff was provided detailed rules education. MEN'S BASKETBALL April 13, 2013 Violation: Head coach Lon Kruger commented on an unsigned recruit during the television broadcast of the school's spring football game. The recruit signed April 19. Resolution: Kruger was given detailed rules education regarding publicity. April 17, 2013 Violation: Athletic department administrator Michael Alford tweeted congratulation to head coach Lon Kruger and OU basketball after a recruit committed to the school. The recruit signed with OU that same day. Alford deleted his tweet within five minutes. Resolution: The department provided detailed rules education regarding publicity. SOCCER July 19, 2012 Violation: Assistant women's coach Kacey Burke sent four text messages to a recruit before written or financial commitment. Burke responded to a text sent by the recruit, related to a camp. The recruit signed with OU. Resolution: The women's soccer coaching staff was prohibited from initiating phone calls and written correspondence with all recruits for two weeks beginning Aug. 1. The staff was provided detailed rules education regarding camp communication. Oct. 14, 2012 Violation: Assistant women's coach Kacey Burke inadvertently sent a text message to a recruit's father after the father texted Burke congratulations following a game. The recruit later signed with the school. Resolution: The soccer coaching staff was prohibited from initiating phone calls and correspondence with recruits for one weeks beginning May 24, 2013, and the staff was provided detailed rules education. May 8, 2013 Violation: A recruit, staying in the Embassy Suites on an official visit, ordered Internet service for $9.95. Assistant women's coach Graeme Abel did not notice the additional expense on the bill. Resolution: The recruit was ruled ineligible for competition at the school until repayment for the bill is made to the charity of her choice. The coaching staff was provided detailed rules education regarding additional lodging expenses. The form given to recruits on official visits was modified to include mention of additional lodging expenses. SOFTBALL Aug. 16, 2012-Sept. 24, 2012 Violation: Director of softball operations Sharon Bell sent 13 text messages intended for current player to a recruit. Resolution: Softball staff was prohibited from initiating any correspondence with the recruit for four weeks beginning Sept. 30, 2013 and Bell was provided detailed rules education. Nov. 5, 2012 Violation: A recruit was invited to an unofficial visit during an NCAA recruiting dead period for softball. Head coach Patty Gasso realized the mistake during the visit, ended the visit at that time and self-reported the violation. Resolution: The unofficial visit was counted as one of the school's permissible off-campus contacts and reduced the number of allowed off-campus contacts with the recruit by one. The NCAA also ruled the athlete ineligible for competition at the school until her eligibility is restored by the organization. TRACK AND FIELD April 18, 2013 Violation: Assistant track coach Brian Blutreich sent a text message to an assistant track coach to request an email address. After the email address was sent to him by another number, he replied with “thanks.” He was replying to the recruit. Resolution: The track staff was prohibited from initiating phone calls or correspondence with the recruit for two weeks beginning June 19. Blutreich was given detailed rules education. VOLLEYBALL July 18, 2013 Violation: Head coach Santiago Restrepo and assistant Erik Peterson inadvertently sent five text messages to a recruit when replying to a group text. The texts weren't directed at the recruit. Resolution: The coaching staff was prohibited from initiating phone calls and correspondence to all recruits for two weeks beginning Oct. 2. The coaching staff was provided detailed rules education regarding use of electronic correspondence in recruiting. WOMEN'S BASKETBALL April 16, 2013 Violation: Assistant coach Pam DeCosta made a phone call to a recruit's parent before the permissible date, asking for the recruit's schedule. Resolution: The recruit was declared ineligible for competition at the school and the school requested her reinstatement. The coaching staff was prohibited from initiating phone calls to the recruit for two weeks beginning Sept. 1. The coaching staff was provided detailed rules education. WRESTLING July 25, 2012 Violation: Assistant coach Michael Lightner sent an impermissible text message. He sent another three impermissible messages on or around Aug. 18. In addition, assistant trainer Christopher Watson sent four impermissible texts from Aug. 14-17 and assistant coach Jared Frayer sent one impermissible text Aug. 19. All texts, which were administrative in nature, were sent to a wrestler who all three believed had signed a housing agreement and paid a deposit, making contact permissible. Resolution: The wrestling staff was prohibited from initiating phone calls or correspondence with all recruits for two weeks beginning May 26, 2013. The three were given detailed rules education regarding recruiting and text messaging. Oct. 27, 2012 Violation: Assistant wrestling coach Jared Frayer sent a text message to a recruit's mother before written or financial commitment. Frayer believed he was texting a former wrestler. Resolution: The wrestling staff was prohibited from initiating phone calls or correspondence with any recruits for two weeks beginning July 20. The coaching staff was given detailed rules education regarding electronic correspondence. July 4, 2013 Violation: Two wrestlers ate meals at a booster's home. The meals were valued at $10 each. Resolution: The athletes have donated the value of the meals, $40 and $10, to charities of their choice. All student-athletes and coaches, as well as the involved booster, were given additional extra-benefit education. July 17, 2013 Violation: Assistant wrestling coach Michael Lightner made a phone call to a recruit on July 14. Head coach Mark Cody made two additional calls on July 17. Cody said he misunderstood the rule, which allows unlimited phone calls on the day of an off-campus contact. Resolution: The coaching staff was prohibited from initiating phone calls or correspondence to recruits for two weeks beginning Dec. 8. The coaching staff was given detailed rules education regarding off-campus contact exception for phone calls. OTHER December 2012 Violation: A student-athlete who was a midyear transfer and not eligible for competition was given two team awards. The awards included a watch valued at $99 for the teams' NCAA second-round participation and a ring valued at $179 for the Big 12 Championship. Resolution: The athlete returned the watch in new condition and donated the amount of the ring to charity. May 10, 2013 Violation: Three current student-athletes received food in excess of NCAA regulation at a graduation banquet. The three had graduated from the school but returned for an additional season of competition. The players were provided pasta in excess of the permissible amount allowed. Resolution: The three were required to donate $3.83 each (the cost of the pasta serving) to a charity of their choice in order to be reinstated. The department provided rules education to applicable athletics department staff members. Sept. 19, 2013 Violation: Director of Student-Athlete Academic Services James Troxel exchanged impermissible text messages with a football player from Iowa Western Community College who was on the OU campus. The athlete had previously been at Nevada, where Troxel had previously worked. Resolution: Academics and Student Life Department personnel were provided rules education regarding telephone contact with prospective recruits. The player was declared ineligible for competition at the school.
Feb 14, 2014
ATLANTA (AP) — Jim Fregosi's big league career got off to a real quiet start. His first three at-bats, as a teenager for the expansion Los Angeles Angels, he hit grounders back to perennial Gold Glove pitcher Jim Kaat.Over the next half-century, Fregosi made a lot more noise in majors.Fregosi, a six-time All-Star shortstop who went to manage the Angels to their first playoff appearance and...
Former manager, All-Star Jim Fregosi dies at 71
CHARLES ODUM, Associated Press | Feb 14, 2014ATLANTA (AP) — Jim Fregosi's big league career got off to a real quiet start. His first three at-bats, as a teenager for the expansion Los Angeles Angels, he hit grounders back to perennial Gold Glove pitcher Jim Kaat. Over the next half-century, Fregosi made a lot more noise in majors. Fregosi, a six-time All-Star shortstop who went to manage the Angels to their first playoff appearance and guide the rowdy 1993 Philadelphia Phillies into the World Series, died Friday after an apparent stroke. He was 71. Popular on and off the field, full of opinions and an outsized personality, Fregosi could argue with the best of 'em. He could also laugh at himself, and would poke fun at his part in one of baseball's most-lopsided trades — the deal that sent him to the New York Mets for a young, wild pitcher named Nolan Ryan. The Atlanta Braves said they were notified by a family member that Fregosi died early Friday in Miami, where he was hospitalized after the apparent stroke while on a cruise with baseball alumni. Fregosi ended more than 50 years in baseball as a special assistant to Braves general manager Frank Wren. "Jim played a vital role in our club over the last 13 years," Wren said Friday. "As a senior adviser he was someone you could always pick up the phone and get a feel for the players in the game. He covered all 30 teams for us and was such a positive, knowledgeable resource. He lit up a room and had just great relationships throughout the game. "When I first became GM, one of the things that made the transition so easy was having Jim as close as a phone call for advice and help or encouragement." Braves president John Schuerholz said the team would find a way to honor Fregosi this season. "He gave a lot to the game no matter what uniform he was in, no matter whether he was a player, a coach or a scout," Schuerholz said. "Some people say he could have managed again right now. He was so smart and knew the game so well. I agree with that." Schuerholz said Fregosi "didn't grow into this personality. I think he was born with it. I think he had that personality when he was born." Along with the Phillies and Angels — where he was reunited with Ryan and made the playoffs in 1979 — Fregosi managed the Chicago White Sox and Toronto. He took over the White Sox in the middle of the 1986 season after Tony La Russa was fired, and was hired by the Blue Jays after manager Tim Johnson was dismissed during spring training in 1999 for lying about his military service record. Phillies president David Montgomery said the team and others in baseball "lost a dear friend." "He'll be remembered for his vibrant personality, wisdom and love of the game," Montgomery said in a statement. "Our deepest sympathy is extended to his widow, Joni, daughters Nikki, Lexy and Jennifer and sons Robert and Jim." Giants general manager Brian Sabean said Fregosi's death "leaves a hole in the unique fabric of our great game. He was a great friend and mentor to so many, no matter what hat he wore." "He was a one-of-a-kind baseball lifer," he said. Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig spoke of Fregosi's widespread relationships in the game. "The outpouring of support in recent days illustrates the vast respect that Jim earned in a great baseball life," Selig said in a statement. Fregosi was an infielder in the majors from 1961 to 1978, hitting .265 with 151 homers and 706 RBIs. His best seasons came with the Angels. From 1964-69, he teamed with second baseman Bobby Knoop to form a strong double-play combination. They played together in the 1966 All-Star game. Knoop, now an Angels coach, said Fregosi was the kind of guy who "would not have a tattoo, but would cover your back. He was a tremendous person who had tremendous passion for the game and loved the Angels." The Angels retired Fregosi's No. 11 in 1988 and said he was a personal favorite of former owner Gene Autry. "His personality was infectious, his love of the game legendary, and his knowledge endless," the team said in a statement. Fregosi was traded from the Angels to the Mets after the 1971 season for a package of players that included Ryan. Fregosi played just 146 games over two seasons for the Mets and hit .233 with five home runs; Ryan turned into a Hall of Fame pitcher. Fregosi later played for the Texas Rangers and Pittsburgh Pirates. He began his managing career at 36 with the Angels in April 1978 — two days after his final game as a player with the Pirates. In 15 seasons as a manager, he posted a 1,028-1,094 record. With the Phillies, Fregosi handled a team that included a lot of rough-and-tumble players and helped them reach the 1993 World Series. Philadelphia was beaten by Toronto on Joe Carter's winning home run in Game 6. Former Phillies catcher Darren Daulton called Fregosi "the best manager I've ever played for." "Our relationship was so special ... and he was the one that taught me how to be a leader," Daulton said. "Fregos and I could relate to each other whether we were in the clubhouse or on the field. In 1993 The City of Brotherly Love changed the world ... Fregos was the driving force!" Lenny Dykstra, a Phillies star in those days, said Fregosi "was a player's manager." "Jim Fregosi was the reason that 1993 was one of the most exciting years in Philadelphia sports history," he said. James Louis Fregosi was born in 1942 in San Francisco and excelled in baseball, football basketball and track and field at Serra High School. He signed with the Boston Red Sox out of high school and went to the Angels in the 1960 expansion draft.
Feb 14, 2014
Trey Lippe Morrison was destined to become an athlete, the Tulsa World reports. His mother, Cristi Rader, was an All-State basketball player at Jay High School and became a coach. She now is known as Cristi Lippe. Trey's maternal grandfather was Ken Rader, a member of the University of Tulsa's 1964 Bluebonnet Bowl football team.
Tommy Morrison's son set for first professional boxing match
Feb 14, 2014Trey Lippe Morrison was destined to become an athlete, the Tulsa World reports. His mother, Cristi Rader, was an All-State basketball player at Jay High School and became a coach. She now is known as Cristi Lippe. Trey's maternal grandfather was Ken Rader, a member of the University of Tulsa's 1964 Bluebonnet Bowl football team.
Feb 12, 2014
The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association board votes to form a 13-person committee to study reclassification.
High schools: Discussions continue on whether to split all classifications
BY JACOB UNRUH | Feb 12, 2014Armed with more statistical information, Dick Balenseifen made another presentation regarding the inequities in Class 6A to the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association board of directors on Wednesday. His proposal is to divide the class in all sports similar to the Class 6A football split that begins in the fall. For the second straight meeting, the result wasn't exactly what the Putnam City Schools athletic director had hoped. The board voted to form a 13-person committee to study reclassification across all classes in all OSSAA activities. “It's a step in the right direction,” Balenseifen said. “We do have to represent all of the kids in the state of Oklahoma. It's not just about the bottom half of Class 6A or the top half of 6A, it's about everyone. “But I think the statistics that (Bishop McGuinness athletic director) Gary Savely and the other people working with our group all put together, they clearly indicate we have a problem.” Balenseifen said 89.5 percent of the 6A championships were won by the upper half of schools in the class over the last 10 years, a number more than 20 percent higher than any other class. By comparison, Class 5A-B titles are won by the upper half of the class just 51 percent of the time. “I say doing nothing is completely wrong,” Balenseifen told the board. “I do not know if I have all of the answers, but I'm 100 percent sure that if we do nothing, that in five years the top half of 6A is going to continue the domination of the bottom half of 6A. I have 17 years of proof, so doing nothing is wrong.” His data showed that smaller Class 6A schools are as handicapped in other sports than football, which has been won by Jenks or Tulsa Union the past 18 seasons. That resulted in a split into two divisions voted on by the board last spring. Balenseifen is using that model for his proposal. But board members such as Jay McAdams of Kingston and Bill Seitter of Watonga raised concerns about inequalities in other classes and if a split would really fix the problem for the upper half of the schools. “In all sports, I think you would see that bottom of the bracket still win some,” Savely told the board. Smaller schools in the upper half won fast-pitch softball (Southmoore), volleyball (Edmond Santa Fe) and cross country (Norman North). Balenseifen's data also said Class 6A's smallest school, Claremore, is nearly three times closer in size to the state's smallest school, Lone Wolf, than it is to Broken Arrow, the state's largest school. That, he says, is an unfair situation. The board, though, wants to examine the inequities in all classes with the committee, which will include Balenseifen. Also included in the committee will be a representative from each quadrant, three board members, one representative from a multi-high school district, two OSSAA staff members and two non-athletic activity representatives. “I understand with 6A and the ADM and the discrepancy what a big gap that is,” OSSAA executive director Ed Sheakley said. “I think that's the challenge, trying to make it fair for everybody, not just the 16 schools and 17-32 because I think there's some other inequities when it comes to a number of schools in other classifications that can claim the same thing.” The committee will examine each activity, even if it's not classified as a sport. Looking at football, though, has yet to be determined. “Don't know,” Sheakley said. “I think that probably right now that will have to be determined by the committee whether football will be included or excluded in this. Football is already split; that wasn't the complaint.” Balenseifen was pleased to keep the conversation going, even if it has expanded. “This is not about putting money into programs, this is not about anything else, it's strictly about the number of students,” he said. “We're concerned about all students in this state.”
Marquardt, who spent 20 years at Norman, guided the 1970 boy's basketball team to the Class 4A state championship.
Tributes: Legendary Norman High coach Max Marquardt dies at age 78
By SCOTT MUNN, Assistant Sports Editor, email@example.com | Feb 10, 2014A farewell to people with Oklahoma ties who enjoyed a game day experience: *Max Marquardt, 78, was inducted into the Oklahoma Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2001 for success he enjoyed as a high school basketball and baseball coach. The El Reno native spent 20 years at Norman High School, where he made the Tigers a consistent state basketball tournament participant. He led the 1970 team to the Class 4A state championship, beating Northwest Classen 47-42 with big scorers John Carroll and Joe Simpson providing all but six points. Before compiling a 349-147 record as a coach — which included early career stops at Pauls Valley and Pawhuska — Marquardt attended the University of Central Oklahoma on a basketball scholarship. He was a three-time all-conference player for the Bronchos. Marquardt was also on the school's football, baseball and track and field teams. Funeral services are 11 a.m. Thursday at Journey Church, 3801 Journey Parkway, in Norman. *Stan Johnson Jr., 80, retired in Oklahoma City after 30 years with the Scott Paper Co. He had a life of adventure, whether it was jumping out of airplanes as an Army paratrooper or coaching championship teams in youth football. Sandwiched in between was serving as athletic director at the downtown YMCA in Denver and playing fullback for the University of Wyoming's 1956 Sun Bowl championship football team. Johnson was also an accomplished body builder who won the Mr. Senior Okie title at age 40. *Delman Dennis, 80, of Oklahoma City attended the OU-Texas football game for more than 30 years. A longtime season ticket holder for Sooner football and basketball teams. *Hunter Miller beat cancer at age 4 and as a teen played golf for Jenks middle and high schools. He died at age 20. *Len Sherrell, 78, of Tulsa was a dirt car racing enthusiast. He raced a car for several years until a wreck in 1969 at Thunderbird Speedway in Muskogee forced him to retire. Sherrell owned a paint and body shop, and he remained in the sport by sponsoring a race car driven by Jackie Howerton, a local standout who also competed on the prestigious U.S. Auto Club Silver Crown Series. *Chad Roberts, 37, of Jay was a team roper and horse trainer. Served as president of the Grove Roundup Club. *Annie Boland, 60, of Oklahoma City was a member of the Kerr McGee swim team as a youngster. The Northeast High graduate also played competitive tennis. *Jack Lackey, 62, was a seventh-grade geography teacher who coached middle school football and basketball in Yukon. *Tom Taylor, 61, of Bremerton, Wash., was a retired welder at the U.S. Navy shipyard. The native Oklahoman played semi-pro baseball for the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. in Lawton when it was a state powerhouse. *Lewis Rackley, 88, of Walters was an Army medic during World War II. During down time, he starred as a fast-pitch softball player. After the war, he was hired by Monsanto — which wanted Rackley to pitch for the company softball team. He wound up spending 30 years working for Diamond-Shamrock in Muscle Shoales, Ala., where he retired as chemical plant supervisor. *Alton Livingston, 97, of Frederick graduated from old Hollister High School in 1932. He attended Cameron Junior College in Lawton, where he and brother Denton won a national doubles tennis championship. Alton Livingston served during World War II and then was a farmer by trade. *Unique Barnes of Broken Arrow lost a five-year fight against cancer at age 15. She played the mellophone on football Friday nights for the Pride of Broken Arrow marching band. Her father, Harlan, told the Tulsa World that one of Unique's favorite memories was marching in the 2013 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif. *Bruce Ruby, 84, played baseball for Central High School in Oklahoma City. After graduation, he was offered a contract by the St. Louis Cardinals, but his mother refused to sign off to allow the youngster to play professional baseball. Ruby continued his current job delivering electric bills by bicycle, and he wound up working 43 years for OG&E. He retired in 1987 as the company's supervisor of computer programming. He remained involved in baseball as a youth coach. *James Atkinson, 65, of Edmond was a certified public accountant who worked in the oil and gas industry. He competed in the National Sporting Clays Association, winning the Class A state championship in 2009 and 2011. An avid OU fan who battled pancreatic cancer for three years. *Steve Geddie, 59, of Tulsa, was a youth soccer coach. ... Eileen Carletti Dunn, 91, of Oklahoma City directed the physical education department at Tulsa Webster High School and Oklahoma College for Women. ... Stefan Rushing, 14, of Lawton was a soccer player. ... Larry Hodges, 59, of Oklahoma City attended Western State (Colo.) on a swimming scholarship. ... *Smith Montgomery, 65, of Wilburton worked with the Special Olympics. ... Ted Smith, 67, of Ada was chairman of the Hinton Kiwanis Rodeo. ... George Bowden, 81, of Hugo built race cars. ... Albert Hester, 88, of Choctaw boxed as a teenager. ... Joel McClung, 61, Oklahoma City was an Oklahoma wildlife game warden. ... *Funeral services for legendary Oklahoma race car driver Harold Leep Sr. are 2 p.m. Saturday at Southeast Baptist Church in Muskogee. Leep, 81, died Thursday from injuries suffered after falling on the ice at home. Leep was a five-time points champion at State Fair Speedway in Oklahoma City, while also enjoying unprecedented success at other dirt tracks throughout the country. He was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 2004.