Buffalo Bison football
|4 - 6||1 - 4||3 - 2||.400||282||402|
|2013-09-06||vs||Cherokee||L||0 - 50|
|2013-09-13||@||Boise City||L||42 - 54|
|2013-09-20||@||Waynoka||L||20 - 42|
|2013-09-26||vs||Shattuck||L||8 - 52|
|2013-10-04||vs||Balko||L||8 - 54|
|2013-10-12||@||Goodwell||W||78 - 28|
|2013-10-17||vs||Sharon-Mutual||L||0 - 48|
|2013-10-25||@||Word of Life (Wichita)||W||46 - 36|
|2013-11-01||vs||Tyrone||W||36 - 26|
|2013-11-08||@||DC-Lamont||W||44 - 12|
|Player Name||Number||Year||Height||Weight||Position (main)|
|There are no players associated with this team.|
Buffalo football News
NewsOK articles about Buffalo football, or articles mentioning current or former Buffalo football players.
Buffalo High School Varsity Boys Football
Other players with state ties in the NFL TULSA QB G.J. Kinne (Philadelphia): The former Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year will attend his third NFL camp after stints with Omaha in the United Football League and San Antonio in the Arena Football League. Kinne went to camp with the Jets two years ago and made the Eagles practice squad last season. Kinne is battling former USC...
Oklahomans in the NFL: Okies in NFL training camps
Jul 27, 2014Other players with state ties in the NFL TULSA QB G.J. Kinne (Philadelphia): The former Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year will attend his third NFL camp after stints with Omaha in the United Football League and San Antonio in the Arena Football League. Kinne went to camp with the Jets two years ago and made the Eagles practice squad last season. Kinne is battling former USC quarterback Matt Barkley for the No. 3 job. WR Demarius Johnson (Philadelphia): The NCAA’s all-time leader in all-purpose yards and kickoff return yards. An undrafted free agent, Johnson has compiled only 21 receptions in two seasons with the Eagles. His nitch is he’s averaged 10.3 yards on punt returns, 25.9 yards on kickoffs. DE Tyrunn Walker (New Orleans): An undrafted free agent, Walker made the Saints roster two years ago but never appeared in a game. Last season, he made his NFL debut, playing primarily on special teams, accumulating 12 tackles in seven games. RB Trey Watts (St. Louis): The son of the famous OU quarterback-turned-politician, Watts was an undrafted free agent. There’s a buzz the third all-time leading rusher in TU history might surprise and make the roster with a solid training camp. OTHER COLLEGES DL Armonty Bryant, East Central (Cleveland): Appearing in a dozen games with the Browns, Bryant, a seventh-round pick, recorded 12 tackles and a dozen quarterback hurries last season. DS Bryce Davis, Central Oklahoma (Pittsburgh): After spending two years on the Bengals practice squad, Davis attempts to make the Steelers roster. WR Caleb Holley, East Central (Buffalo): An Alaska native who earned a training camp invite after a strong tryout last spring. Holley hopes to turn some heads during camp. OKLAHOMA HIGH SCHOOL PLAYERS RB Felix Jones, Tulsa Washington (free agent): After playing four years in Dallas, Jones saw limited action (48 carries) last year with the Steelers. He has 2,912 career yards rushing but is looking for work. CB Bryan McCann, Putnam City (Arizona): Signing late in the season with the Cardinals, McCann recorded two special teams tackles in six games. In 35 NFL games, undrafted four years ago, McCann has totaled 29 tackles in 35 games with the Cowboys, Ravens and Raiders. WR Robert Meachem, Tulsa Washington (New Orleans): Age (29) isn’t an issue, but Meachem recorded only 16 catches last season. He’s been bypassed on the depth chart by Kenny Stills and other Saints wideouts. It’s a big camp for Meachem. WR Wes Welker, Heritage Hall (Denver): The Broncos put up video-game like numbers in Welker’s first season with Peyton Manning. The consummate slot receiver, Welker (83 catches, 778 yards, 10 TDs) has compiled 841 career receptions and is only 642 yards shy of becoming the 41st player to reach 10,000 career receiving yards. The primary focus is to get that elusive Super Bowl ring.
Jul 26, 2014
NAPA, Calif. (AP) — Khalil Mack is entering the NFL with much more fanfare than he began his college career.The former two-star recruit who got his only scholarship offer from Buffalo coming out of high school, worked his way into a first-round pick this spring and is being compared to some of the best pass-rushing linebackers in the league before he even puts his pads on for the first...
Raiders have high hopes for rookie Khalil Mack
JOSH DUBOW, Associated Press | Jul 26, 2014NAPA, Calif. (AP) — Khalil Mack is entering the NFL with much more fanfare than he began his college career. The former two-star recruit who got his only scholarship offer from Buffalo coming out of high school, worked his way into a first-round pick this spring and is being compared to some of the best pass-rushing linebackers in the league before he even puts his pads on for the first time. Oakland Raiders coach Dennis Allen likened Mack to Denver star Von Miller, who had 11 1/2 sacks as a rookie when Allen was defensive coordinator for the Broncos in 2011. Mack welcomes the high expectations and said his goal is to win the defensive rookie of the year award. But he knows he has a long way to go to reach that level. "I'm starting at the bottom right now," Mack said. "I'm trying to work my way up. I know I got to get a lot better." Mack was awfully good in college where he set an NCAA record with 16 forced fumbles and a modern-day record with 75 tackles for loss. He had 10 1/2 sacks, three interceptions, five forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries as a senior to vault himself to the No. 5 pick in the draft. The Raiders targeted him from the start of the draft process and were ecstatic about the versatility he can add to the defense after he lasted until their first-round pick in May. "Well when he was there on the board and when we picked him, there was definitely some drawing going on, some scribbling going on," defensive coordinator Jason Tarver said. "What's nice about Khalil is he has size and athletic ability, so that he can do some things on the edges of your defense, both in the run game and in the pass game, with his power, his length and his ability to bend and move." Mack has quickly impressed his veteran teammates, who marvel at his speed to get around the edge and strength to overpower blockers. But up until now, they have only seen Mack in shorts. The Raiders get to put on the pads for the first time this season on Sunday, a day Mack has been waiting for ever since he was drafted. "I think he's going to be one of the rookies who makes some big plays and helps the team win this year," defensive end LaMarr Woodley said. "I can only imagine what that guy can do when he puts shoulder pads on." Mack is part of an overhaul on a Raiders defense that allowed the second-most points per game (28.3) in franchise history in 2013. That was part of a second straight four-win season that extended Oakland's playoff drought to 11 years. Mack could be the game-changing player that the Raiders have lacked in recent years — a versatile pass-rusher who can get after the quarterback from almost anywhere on the field. "We'll see how much he can handle," Allen said. "The more he can handle, the more we're able to do. He's an extremely talented player. You have to keep in mind he's still a young player. Even though he's very talented, there's still going to be a little bit of a learning curve." Mack is also quite inquisitive, often asking veterans such as Justin Tuck for pointers on how to be a better pass rusher. He said Tuck has taught him how to better use his hands as a pass rusher and Woodley has tutored him on how to be more physical when matching up against tight ends. But Tuck said he doesn't want to confuse the rookie with too much information too soon. "There will be a time when he'll be ready to take it up a notch," Tuck said. "You don't want to overload him with too much stuff. There are a lot of people in his ear right now, coaches and stuff like that. So right now, just work it through, slow process, it's a long season." NOTES: The Raiders will have their first padded practice Sunday: "Tomorrow is the first day we really play football." ... LB Kaluka Maiava missed practice after tweaking his hamstring on Friday. ... CB Tarell Brown sat out with an illness. ... DT Antonio Smith said the reason he missed the offseason workouts was because he underwent sports hernia surgery. ___ AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina is down to one college football all-star game.The Medal of Honor Bowl in Charleston said Thursday it had hired the founder of the College All-Star Bowl game in Greenville, David Wyatt, for its organization. Wyatt says his move means there's no need to organize the Upstate game in 2015."I am proud of the impact South Carolina has made in the game of...
SC down to 1 college all-star game
PETE IACOBELLI, Associated Press | Jul 10, 2014COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina is down to one college football all-star game. The Medal of Honor Bowl in Charleston said Thursday it had hired the founder of the College All-Star Bowl game in Greenville, David Wyatt, for its organization. Wyatt says his move means there's no need to organize the Upstate game in 2015. "I am proud of the impact South Carolina has made in the game of football and look forward to helping the Medal of Honor Bowl become the nation's best college all-star bowl," Wyatt said. Both games featured NFL draft eligible seniors looking for an extra job audition or two to impress pro evaluators. The College All-Star Game began in 2013. The inaugural contest was held at North Greenville University in March while last year's event was played at Furman and moved up a month to before the NFL scouting combine to better fit into the hectic schedules of pro scouts. The Medal of Honor Bowl began this past January. Organizers said scouts from all 32 NFL teams and most CFL clubs watched player practices this year. Former NFL head coach Sam Wyche was bowl commissioner of the College All-Star Game and agrees that one unified effort could help the Charleston bowl become more of a can't-miss opportunity for prospects. "I think this Charleston game could become the East Coast version of the Senior Bowl" played each season in Mobile, Alabama, Wyche said by phone. Wyche enjoyed his role with the game and says he'll do whatever is asked should the Medal of Honor bowl request his help. Along with Wyche, the College All-Star Bowl featured head coaches with historic ties to South Carolina in ex-Clemson icon Danny Ford and former South Carolina State great Willie Jeffries. The game was originally open just to players who competed at South Carolina schools, or who played high school football in the state but went elsewhere for college. This past year, organizers opened the selection process up to all eligible seniors. Wyche was uncertain if Ford or Jeffries would have a role in the Charleston game going forward. At the Medal of Honor Bowl, the teams were led by ex-Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen and former Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills and Georgia Tech coach Chan Gailey. Wyatt says he'll be involved in developing a leadership conference and coordinating a business mentor program that participating players can use during their week in Charleston. Bowl chairman Tommy McQueeney said his group was fortunate to hire Wyatt. "He brings a wealth of experience to the group and he will be a true asset as we prepare for the 2015 game and beyond," McQueeney said. "Our goal to become the best is enhanced by David's addition." The Medal of Honor Bowl is in the second year of a five-year agreement with Citadel. It will take place January 10th at Citadel's Johnson Hagood Stadium. Last year's game drew about 7,000 fans, about what organizers had hoped for in the week leading up to the contest. Wyche believes Charleston has the support of the community and the backing of pro scouts — who love spending time in South Carolina's coastal city — to make a long run as part of college football's postseason. "I think this is going to be great," he said.
May 19, 2014
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Seantrel Henderson listens to his weaknesses from the NFL's pre-draft scouting report on the offensive tackle, and there are no signs of any discomfort or anger."Underachiever traits," the report reads. "Suspect maturity, dependability and decision-making."The criticisms are nothing new. Henderson was dealing with them well before Buffalo selected him in the seventh...
Bills rookie OT Henderson down to his last chance
JOHN WAWROW, Associated Press | May 19, 2014ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Seantrel Henderson listens to his weaknesses from the NFL's pre-draft scouting report on the offensive tackle, and there are no signs of any discomfort or anger. "Underachiever traits," the report reads. "Suspect maturity, dependability and decision-making." The criticisms are nothing new. Henderson was dealing with them well before Buffalo selected him in the seventh round out of the University of Miami. "I don't really think about what anybody really said," Henderson said, referring to the pre-draft assessment. "I know who I am. And I know what I can do. And I know what I can be." Henderson is not hiding from the mistakes that sidetracked what had the makings of a promising career. Four years ago, he drew comparisons to NFL star tackles Jonathan Ogden and Orlando Pace, while being regarded as one of the nation's top recruits coming out of high school in St. Paul, Minnesota. Today, he's grateful to have a shot at playing professionally after acknowledging that marijuana use led to him being suspended several times at Miami, and also confirming he tested positive again for marijuana at the NFL combine in February. Henderson insists that's behind him. "I feel like in college, I had a lot of maturing to do, sir," he said during a three-day rookie minicamp that ended on Monday. "But at the same time, I have no regrets. I'm happy where I'm at. I wouldn't change it for anything, sir. I'm happy to be here in Buffalo." It's in Buffalo where Henderson can begin focusing on what's ahead, while appreciating he's run out of second chances. "I know for a fact this is the last chance I've got, sir," Henderson said. "I've been through it all in my past four years at the University of Miami. And I know this is the last chance that I've got to be successful. So I won't let it go." Henderson ends most every answer with "sir," a trait that dates to college. What's new is the pat answer Henderson has begun to lean on when confronted with questions about how much he has to prove. "I've got to prove that I can work as hard as any other guy here, be on time at all times and gain trust with the coaches," he said. "Being accountable, reliable and dependable does that." The Bills have been upfront with Henderson. "We've talked to Seantrel, and he knows that he's got one shot," general manager Doug Whaley said. "He's been dealing with some demons. Hopefully, those demons are out of his life. And why not give somebody — this is America — a second chance." At 6-foot-7 and 331 pounds, Henderson has the frame, skill and nimble footwork of someone capable of exceling at tackle. There were times at Miami where Henderson showed glimpses of his potential. He earned freshman All-American honors. Last year, he was credited with 10 blocks that resulted in touchdowns, and was invited to the Senior Bowl. And yet, there are the off-field concerns, some of which Henderson had little control over. In July 2012, Henderson mourned the loss of his best friend, Jordan Hughes, who was shot and killed in St. Paul. A few days later, he sustained a concussion after being involved in a car accident. In 2011, Henderson had surgery to repair a nagging back problem. Questions, however, have been raised over his passion for football. Bills coach Doug Marrone, a former offensive lineman, is keeping an open mind. "It's early. It really is. And for me, consistency is the thing. I think over a period of time we'll know," Marrone said. "There is no doubt that he can play. The problem is going to come into can he be consistent enough and disciplined enough and have the structure to be a pro." Henderson has plenty of reasons to be motivated, including his 2-year-old daughter and his mother. "I wake up in the morning, and the first thing I think about is my daughter and my mom, and these are people I feel that I have to provide for," Henderson said. "If I don't, then who else will?" ___ AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Steve Spurrier believes the South Carolina Gamecocks have more success ahead, even without recent No. 1 NFL draft pick Jadeveon Clowney.The 69-year-old Spurrier acknowledged he wasn't sure how long he'd coach South Carolina when he returned to college football in November 2004. Instead, Spurrier's prepping for his 10th season while overseeing the greatest run in Gamecock...
Spurrier prepping for life after Clowney
PETE IACOBELLI, Associated Press | May 15, 2014COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Steve Spurrier believes the South Carolina Gamecocks have more success ahead, even without recent No. 1 NFL draft pick Jadeveon Clowney. The 69-year-old Spurrier acknowledged he wasn't sure how long he'd coach South Carolina when he returned to college football in November 2004. Instead, Spurrier's prepping for his 10th season while overseeing the greatest run in Gamecock history. Spurrier is the school's all-time leader in coaching victories. He's won the program's lone Southeastern Conference Eastern Division title in 2010 and his teams have gone 42-11 the past four years, ranking only behind SEC powerhouses LSU and Alabama for most wins in that stretch. "Age isn't that big a deal, it's more about your health," Spurrier told The Associated Press. "I read something that said Hillary (Clinton) would be 69 if she won the election. So it's about how you feel and I feel pretty good." Spurrier's also confident that his team is still on the rise, despite defensive end Clowney foregoing his senior season for the Houston Texans. "I don't know why people think this is the end of something," Spurrier said. "We've got a team that has a chance to be okay." Success at South Carolina did not come easily for Spurrier, who went just 35-27 his first five seasons. But Spurrier and his assistants began to mine a talented ore of home-grown high school players like cornerback Stephon Gilmore, receiver Alshon Jeffery, tailback Marcus Lattimore and Clowney — and the rise began. Those players all excelled at South Carolina, each one leaving early for the NFL. Gilmore was taken in the first round by Buffalo in 2012 while Jeffery was chosen in the second by Chicago. The injured Lattimore was selected in the fourth round a year later by San Francisco while Clowney topped them all with his showing a week ago. "That says a lot about what we've done," Spurrier said. It also gave South Carolina a solid platform to attract more top players and make a run at the title Spurrier covets most — an SEC championship. "That's something we haven't done yet," he said. "But we'll try and see if we can get that done." The coach understands why some might think the defense will take a step back after losing Clowney, defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles and cornerback Victor Hampton, all who left for the pros after their junior seasons. In all, South Carolina will be without five defensive starters — defensive end Chaz Sutton and cornerback Jimmy Legree were both seniors in 2013 — from last year's group. Spurrier said cornerback will be a critical spot come fall camp and is looking forward to four recruits in Wesley Green, D.J. Smith, Chris Lammons and Al Harris pushing the returnees and maybe earning some playing time. At defensive end, sophomores Gerald Dixon and Darius English were atop the depth chart after spring workouts finished last month. Spurrier liked what he saw of junior college transfer Abu Lamin, a defensive tackle from Fayetteville, North Carolina. Whoever starts on the end against Texas A&M on August 28th won't command the spotlight that Clowney had for his three seasons. "Yeah, it was definitely fun coaching him," Spurrier said of Clowney. "It was certainly different because he was a guy that didn't have play but was still out there for us." Clowney was headed to the NFL from the moment he stepped on campus, Spurrier said, and he had some people telling him he should've sat out his final season to protect his high draft status. Spurrier said the scrutiny on his every move had an effect on Clowney, but he still put in the work to improve. To some observers, Clowney looked like he was taking it easy after his All-American sophomore season where he had a school record 13 sacks and was the SEC defensive player of the year. Clowney had just three sacks this past season, far off the numbers many projected for him. "You can watch it on film, I think there were only three or four times he was blocked by one guy," Spurrier said. "I think those were the times he got his sacks."
May 9, 2014
ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — The Detroit Lions have made a habit out of taking pass-catching prospects in the NFL draft.Detroit drafted North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron with the No. 10 pick Thursday night, a slightly surprising selection because of its depth at the position and glaring needs elsewhere on the roster."They know they made the right decision," Ebron said Friday afternoon at Lions...
Lions take another pass-catching prospect in draft
LARRY LAGE, Associated Press | May 9, 2014ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — The Detroit Lions have made a habit out of taking pass-catching prospects in the NFL draft. Detroit drafted North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron with the No. 10 pick Thursday night, a slightly surprising selection because of its depth at the position and glaring needs elsewhere on the roster. "They know they made the right decision," Ebron said Friday afternoon at Lions headquarters. "And in my mind, they made the right decision." The Lions became the first team since the start of the common draft in 1967 to use a first-round pick on a tight end or wide receiver in at least six drafts over a 12-year span, not counting supplemental selections, according to STATS LLC. Detroit general manager Martin Mayhew and coach Jim Caldwell look and sound fired up about the latest one. Mayhew and Caldwell envision the 6-foot-4, 250-pound Ebron creating matchup problems for defenses that also have to scheme to stop Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate, Brandon Pettigrew and Reggie Bush. "That should be very, very difficult to handle," Caldwell said. Mayhew said offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi ranked Ebron No. 2 on his wish list behind only Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who was drafted No. 4 overall by the Buffalo Bills. "He is going to be a natural fit offensively based on what our new offensive coordinator is going to put in place using some of the New Orleans Saints offensive system," Mayhew said. Former North Carolina coach Butch Davis thought Ebron was such a natural athlete that he offered him a scholarship during the school's football camp going into his junior year in high school even though he wasn't actively playing the sport. "I hadn't played a lick," Ebron said. Ebron was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey, where he played little league football until walking away from the sport when he was about 10 because of the death of his grandfather. "Pretty much lost touch on life," he recalled. "Then my mom told me that I wasn't going to sit on the couch my whole life, so I had to do something. Now I am here doing something." After the death of her father, Gina Jackson took her family to Greensboro, North Carolina, and encouraged the youngest of her three sons to get back on the field. "I needed something to get him out of that rut," she recalled. Playing football proved to be an outlet for Ebron, who the Lions hope produces anything like Calvin Johnson or Brandon Pettigrew have and not like Charles Rogers, Roy Williams or Mike Williams failed to do for them. ___ AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL ___ Follow Larry Lage on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/larrylage
May 7, 2014
NEW YORK (AP) — Jadeveon Clowney just wants it to be over already.The NFL's first May draft gave everyone a little more time to critique the prospects and try to figure out who is going where and when.No player has been more scrutinized than Clowney, the defensive end from South Carolina whose every move — on and off the field — has been analyzed since he ended his sophomore season with a...
NFL Draft 2014: Prospects ready to end long wait
RALPH D. RUSSO, Associated Press | May 7, 2014NEW YORK (AP) — Jadeveon Clowney just wants it to be over already. The NFL's first May draft gave everyone a little more time to critique the prospects and try to figure out who is going where and when. No player has been more scrutinized than Clowney, the defensive end from South Carolina whose every move — on and off the field — has been analyzed since he ended his sophomore season with a helmet-removing hit against Michigan. "I've been tired of it. I wish the draft was two or three weeks ago," Clowney said Wednesday after playing flag football with grammar-school kids at the NFL's Play 60 festival at a park on the west side of Manhattan. The Houston Texans have the first pick and Clowney could be their guy. Or maybe it's Khalil Mack, the stud linebacker from Buffalo. Or maybe they'll take a quarterback, such as Johnny Manziel. Or maybe they'll trade the pick. The NFL has given fans two extra weeks to ponder these questions. The draft is usually held in April, but some scheduling conflicts at Radio City Music Hall caused the league to push it back. Commissioner Roger Goodell said it's too soon to say whether May drafts are here to stay. This year's draft finally gets underway Thursday night, Day 1 of the three-day, made-for-TV marathon. Rounds 2 and 3 are Friday night. It concludes with four rounds Saturday, when there will likely be more intrigue than usual. Missouri linebacker Michael Sam, who made public that he is gay back in February, is projected to be a possible late-round selection. The NFL has never had an openly gay player. Sam is trying to be the first, though he might have to get there as an undrafted free agent. But first, the Texans are on the clock. Will they take Clowney? "Man, I don't know," the 266-pound pass rusher said. "Do you know?" Clowney looked NFL-ready after a spectacular sophomore season, when he had 13 sacks and was Southeastern Conference defensive player of the year. NFL rules state otherwise. Players must be three years removed from high school to be draft eligible. Clowney's junior season fell short of crazy expectations. He had some injuries. Opponents game-planned to neutralize him. His play was spotty and his work ethic was questioned after he suddenly went to his coach and pulled himself from a game. "It's been crazy, everybody telling when you're going to go in the draft," he said. "What your weakness is. What your strength is. A lot of criticism against all the players. It's just something you got to take on." Clowney took it on at the combine and his pro day workout at South Carolina. He wowed scouts with the speed and agility of a running back and placed himself firmly at the top of just about every mock draft. Still, it's not a foregone conclusion the Texans will take him. Houston needs a quarterback and new coach Bill O'Brien has said he plans to add one during this draft. Many fans in southeast Texas would like it to be Manziel, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner and native Texan who played for Texas A&M. If there is one player who can relate to the scrutiny Clowney has faced, it's Johnny Football. Manziel's character has been questioned after having a brush with the law and another with the NCAA during his time at A&M. And he's had his heavy-on-improvisation style dissected by scouts. He's also a little short by NFL quarterback standards, just under 6-feet. Still, his play was so sensational he could end up as a top-five pick. "I don't care if I'm No. 1 or 200, I just want to play," Manziel said. It is doubtful Manziel will have to wait that long. He could be the first quarterback off the board. Or maybe that'll be Central Florida's Blake Bortles. He looks the part of the classic NFL quarterback at 6-foot-5, 232 pounds. He's nimble, too, but also a late-bloomer. Then there's Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who many figured would challenge to be the No. 1 overall pick. He apparently slipped out of favor during the postseason draft process. Small hands, a narrow frame and an underwhelming pro day combined to make Bridgewater no sure thing to be taken in the first round. At least that's what the so-called experts say. But who knows how seriously to take that? "You try not to pay attention to what's being said, but at the end of the day, I'm human," Bridgewater said. "I was off Twitter for a while because you know that's probably the easiest way to see what's being said about you. Stay away from the internet. Wasn't watching ESPN, NFL Network." All the speculation ends soon. "I'm just ready, man," Clowney said, speaking for pretty much everybody involved. ___ Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP
May 7, 2014
Among the hundreds of players eligible for this year's NFL draft, one has come out and announced he's gay.For all the dramas that will grab center stage each time a big name moves up or down the board, the fate of Michael Sam — and whether he gets a real shot to play at the next level — could wind up trumping them all.More than a few players and front-office execs have vowed they'd play...
Column: Long on guts, all Sam needs is a fair shot
JIM LITKE, Associated Press | May 7, 2014Among the hundreds of players eligible for this year's NFL draft, one has come out and announced he's gay. For all the dramas that will grab center stage each time a big name moves up or down the board, the fate of Michael Sam — and whether he gets a real shot to play at the next level — could wind up trumping them all. More than a few players and front-office execs have vowed they'd play alongside anyone if he made them a better team. This could be the weekend that claim is put to the test. Sam is under-sized (6-foot-2, 252 pounds) by NFL standards, so the skills that won him acclaim as one of the top defenders in the top-tier Southeastern Conference won't carry as much weight as it otherwise might with the league's tough-to-impress scouts. The loyalty and respect he garnered among his Missouri teammates, who dutifully kept Sam's secret throughout last season, will count as a character reference but not much more. Because while Sam was a factor on just about every down as a defensive end in college, predicting how he'll adapt to a role in the pros as a part-time, pass-rushing linebacker and special-teams player is a roll of the dice. What's certain, on the other hand, is that he'll have a media circus in tow wherever he lands. "I would not hesitate to use a draft pick on him," said Bill Polian, a longtime NFL executive with Buffalo, Carolina and Indianapolis who is currently working as an ESPN analyst. "He's a hard-nosed football player and there's always room for one of those." Yet even while saying he thinks Sam's problem won't be with potential teammates — "players won't have any issues with (his sexual orientation) at all" — Polian suggested that by coming out, Sam may have left some front offices skittish. "They may not see the distraction as worthwhile," he added. At least one current general manager believes otherwise. "I certainly think there is an element of courage that goes along with that," said Trent Baalke of the San Francisco 49ers, whose team interviewed Sam during his pro day workout at Missouri. "That's an issue that is continually being addressed, not only in the National Football League but in society. It needs to be addressed and I'm glad that the NFL is taking an active role from the commissioner on down." Roger Goodell greeted Sam's announcement in February by saying, "Good for him. He's proud of who he is and had the courage to say it. Now he wants to play football. "We truly believe in diversity," the commissioner added, "and this is an opportunity to demonstrate it." But Sam's agents acknowledge they're as much in the dark about his draft prospects as everyone else. Well aware that it only takes one franchise or owner determined to make a point or drum up lots of free publicity (think Dallas Cowboys and Jerry Jones) — they've been told he could go anywhere from the end of the first round to being left off the board altogether. The consensus among scouting services is that he'll be selected on the final day of the draft, if at all, somewhere between the fourth and sixth of the seven rounds. A few commenters on message boards have suggested it would be fitting if Sam was taken with the last pick in the last round, a dubious distinction known as "Mr. Irrelevant." For his part, Sam has stayed out of the public eye, turning down requests for interviews since addressing his sexuality at the scouting combine with both smarts and poise. More to the point, he's overcome long odds before. Raised in a one-parent household, Sam lived in a car briefly as a youngster and with classmates several times during his high school career. He lost one brother to gun violence and two others are in prison. Just getting to the football field some days took the kind of guts that even the toughest NFL players have to admire. All he's asking for is the chance to display that toughness one more time.
May 3, 2014
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Zach Moore and Larry Webster found unconventional ways to reach NFL draft weekend.When Moore's subpar high school grades scared away big-time football schools from offering scholarships, the Chicago native enrolled at tiny Concordia University in Minnesota. Webster, the son of a former NFL player, spent three years starting on Bloomsburg's college basketball team before...
NFL welcomes small-school players to big stage
MICHAEL MAROT, Associated Press | May 3, 2014INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Zach Moore and Larry Webster found unconventional ways to reach NFL draft weekend. When Moore's subpar high school grades scared away big-time football schools from offering scholarships, the Chicago native enrolled at tiny Concordia University in Minnesota. Webster, the son of a former NFL player, spent three years starting on Bloomsburg's college basketball team before giving football a second shot in 2012. League scouts still found them and next week, these two Division II stars could hear their names called out on the biggest stage of all, Radio City Music Hall. "Not many of these people thought I would get this far," Moore said. "The knock always is the level of competition. They're always going to grill you for not facing Division I talent, but as they watch in film, they know I can play." The scouts have increasingly found talent at smaller schools, making sure they don't miss out on the next big thing in football, even if it comes far from the spotlight. Examples can be found everywhere. Football Championship Subdivision alums Kurt Warner and Joe Flacco both earned Super Bowl rings after becoming starting quarterbacks, although Warner had to play in Arena Football and NFL Europe first. Robert Mathis, who also played in the FCS, is the NFL's reigning sacks champ. Offensive lineman Jahri Evans has been to five Pro Bowls despite coming out of Bloomsburg. And three of the greatest players in NFL history — Brett Favre, the late Walter Payton and Jerry Rice — all played college ball in Mississippi, though none of the three played at an SEC school and only Favre played in the top level of college ball. Those sorts of oversights have prompted NFL decision makers to take their annual talent search to some unusual places. "I was actually in Concordia this year and I wasn't the only GM, which really blew my mind when I saw a stack of business cards and saw another GM in there," Colts general manager Ryan Grigson said. "I was always taught by my old boss Charley Armey, I remember him saying years ago, 'Scout the player, not the school.'" It's a sentiment that seems to resonate within a league no longer totally reliant on traditional powerhouses to find talent. A year ago, Central Michigan offensive lineman Eric Fisher was selected No. 1 overall by Kansas City. This year, Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack is projected to go in the top five, giving the once overlooked Mid-American Conference the possibility of having top-five picks in back-to-back years. The small-school talent pool is not drying up. Anything but. —Quarterback Jimmy Garopollo has drawn comparisons to Dallas quarterback Tony Romo, a fellow Eastern Illinois alum, and isn't expected to last beyond the second round. —Haitian immigrant Pierre Desir, a 23-year-old cornerback, husband and father who worked in sewers between stints at two Division II schools, Washburn in Kansas and Lindenwood in Missouri, could go on the second day of the draft. —Short, powerful running back Terrance West ran for 2,509 yards and 41 touchdowns last season at Towson and appears to have a similar physique to Maurice Jones-Drew. —Offensive lineman Billy Turner played on three straight FCS championship teams at North Dakota State. —Receiver Jeff Janis of Saginaw Valley State impressed scouts at the combine with a 4.42-second 40-yard dash after measuring in at 6-foot-3, 219 pounds. —Linebacker Johnny Millard of Cal Poly is attempting to follow in the footsteps of his father, Keith, a longtime NFL player. Moore, a 6-5, 269-pound pass rusher who had 21 sacks over the past two seasons, and Webster, a 6-6, 252-pound defensive end who had 26 sacks in that span, are in the mix, too. Both were finalists for the Cliff Harris Award presented to the nation's best small-school defender. None of these guys is surprised. "I do feel like there is a lot of talent in Division II that does get overlooked because it's Division II, unless you stand out," Webster said. "You have to really stand out. If you don't, you get overlooked." It's not that teams can't find the talent. It's just that sometimes it takes a lot more work to discover it beyond the traditional BCS schools. Getting to some campuses can be complicated, and analyzing game tape isn't always easy. While BCS schools have plenty of tape available for scouts, often from multiple angles and against other potential draft prospects, that's not always the case in the FCS, Division II and III, the NAIA, or even all of the FBS leagues. "That's where the real grinders on your staff find players. The lazy guys, they are not sitting there at a D-III school or another school that has poor facilities and you are sitting there with a VHS tape and an actual remote control where you hit rewind," Grigson said. "I've been there before and then it rewinds all the way to the beginning of the tape and you've got to find where you were at before. It becomes a challenge, but the guys that work for me and work for the Indianapolis Colts have that type of drive to where they will sit there painstakingly through four, five tapes." Eventually, they're able to determine whether a Moore or a Webster can cut it in the NFL. And more frequently, NFL decision-makers are giving guys like Moore and Webster the benefit of the doubt. "Throughout the course of the season last year I have had over from 35-40 scouts from different teams come through," said Moore, who never played in front of a crowd bigger than 7,000. "I just stuck to the mindset that if you are good they will find you, and that is how I am fortunate enough to be here." ___ AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL
May 1, 2014
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Lou Tepper knew exactly what button he could push to motivate linebacker Khalil Mack in the week leading up to Buffalo's daunting season-opening test against Ohio State last year.The Bulls defensive coordinator began referring to Mack as: "JAG — Just A Guy.""I don't know who it was, but somebody from (the Buckeyes) staff said he was 'just a guy,'" said Tepper, the...
Buffalo LB Khalil Mack separates himself from pack
JOHN WAWROW, Associated Press | May 1, 2014BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Lou Tepper knew exactly what button he could push to motivate linebacker Khalil Mack in the week leading up to Buffalo's daunting season-opening test against Ohio State last year. The Bulls defensive coordinator began referring to Mack as: "JAG — Just A Guy." "I don't know who it was, but somebody from (the Buckeyes) staff said he was 'just a guy,'" said Tepper, the former Illinois head coach who has a lengthy history of developing college linebackers. "So after that, we started to call him all that week a 'JAG.' And there's no question that he was motivated to prove that he belonged." Mack can no longer be dismissed. Beginning with his lights-out performance in a 40-20 loss to the Buckeyes in which he had nine tackles, 2 1/2 sacks and returned an interception for a touchdown, Mack capped a dominating senior season that has him projected to be a top-five selection in the NFL draft next week. "It was funny," Mack said this week, recalling Tepper's motivational ploy. "But even then, I knew what he was trying to do." As for the lingering sting of the nickname, Mack said he's just getting started when it comes to separating himself from the pack. "That's the thing. I'm still working hard to prove it," he said. He's accomplished much already during a season in which he helped the Mid-American Conference team earn its second bowl berth. Mack won the Jack Lambert Award and finished second to Alabama's C.J. Mosley in the Butkus Award voting — both honoring the nation's top linebackers. He set a conference record with 16 career forced fumbles. His 75 career tackles for a loss tied current Jaguars defensive end Jason Babin's college numbers, and were the most at the NCAA level since 2000. At 6-foot-2 and 251 pounds, Mack is touted to have the speed, strength and versatility to play any linebacker position in either a 3-4 or 4-3 system. At the NFL combine in February, Mack topped linebacker prospects in four of six categories: the 40-yard dash (4.65 seconds), 20-yard shuttle (4.18 seconds), vertical jump (40 inches) and broad jump (128 inches). Though Mack was already on NFL scouts' radars after considering entering the draft last year, he began upping his value following the game against Ohio State. Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer was left impressed, saying: "His stock in the draft just went up." After struggling a week later in a loss to Baylor, Mack was difficult to contain against MAC competition. He was a one-man wrecking ball in forcing three fumbles and getting three sacks in a late-season win over Miami, Ohio. NFL general managers, scouts and draft experts have taken notice, too. "The guy looks like the real deal," Browns GM Ray Farmer said. "When he got on bigger stages, he demonstrated he could perform." Added former Dallas Cowboys executive and NFL.com senior analyst Gil Brandt: "There's nine guys that could be the first pick in the draft, and he's one of the nine guys." All 32 teams were represented at Buffalo' pro day in March. That group included two general managers, Buffalo's Doug Whaley and Oakland's Reggie McKenzie, and newly hired Browns coach Mike Pettine. "The sky's the limit on him," Whaley said. "He can do whatever you need him to do." Over the past month, Mack limited his predraft visits to six teams, including those owning the first three selections, Houston, St. Louis and Jacksonville. He's also drawn interest from Atlanta (No. 6 pick) and Detroit (No. 10). The Bulls, who made the jump to the MAC in 1999, aren't accustomed to having such attention. Since the NFL merger, no Buffalo player has been drafted higher than the fourth round. Mack has a history of being overlooked, too. A devastating knee injury sustained while playing basketball limited him to playing just his senior season at high school in Fort Pierce, Florida. Liberty was the only school to initially offer him a scholarship. The Bulls didn't become interested until Liberty assistant Robert Wimberly was hired by Buffalo and made Mack an offer. Mack acknowledged he thought his chances of playing football were over when he injured his knee. "I felt terrible," he said. "It was a thing where I knew I had to get ready to do something else with my life that didn't involve sports." Some six years later, Mack is both anxious and eager to start the next chapter of his career. "To know what I've been through, and know what I experienced, this means so much," Mack said. "If anything, a lot of hard work is paying off. "I'm trying to embrace this process because it's only going to happen once. And I'm trying to make the most out of it." ___ AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL
The Rams better get off to a good start this season because the middle of their schedule is savage.Year 3 of the Jeff Fisher Regime opens with a home game against Minnesota, a game at Tampa Bay and a home game against Dallas. The Rams will have every chance to win early.Then comes an early bye week, probably too early to be of value.And then comes serious trouble: Games at Philadelphia, at home...
St. Louis Post-Dispatch Tipsheet column
By Jeff Gordon, Associated Press | Apr 24, 2014The Rams better get off to a good start this season because the middle of their schedule is savage. Year 3 of the Jeff Fisher Regime opens with a home game against Minnesota, a game at Tampa Bay and a home game against Dallas. The Rams will have every chance to win early. Then comes an early bye week, probably too early to be of value. And then comes serious trouble: Games at Philadelphia, at home to San Francisco (on Monday night), at home to Seattle, at Kansas City, at San Francisco, at Arizona -- three in a row on the road! -- and then back home against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. If the Rams are still in one piece at playing at San Diego next, things ease up a bit with games at home to Oakland, at Washington and at home to Arizona (on short rest on Thursday night) and the New York Giants. Then the season ends with the traditional game in the Seattle madhouse. Whew! That schedule has "7-9" written all over it. In fact, ESPN tabbed the over-under at 7. It's bad enough playing in the NFC West, but forcing that division to play tough AFC West teams this season is just piling on. Based on last season's records, this schedule ranks as the third-hardest in the NFL. They play seven playoff teams during a span of eight games. The Rams will need to rebuild their home-field advantage and beat some powerful teams in The Ed to get to the high side of .500. Wish them well. MYSTERIES OF THE UNIVERSE Questions to ponder of Cardinal hitters will ever heat up this season: What kind of knucklehead hides pine tar on his neck? What does your stadium food choice say about you? Say, what's up in the Russell Wilson household? QUIPS 'R US Here is what some of America's leading sports pundits have been writing: Tim Brown, Yahoo Sports: "Twenty-six men, including (Albert) Pujols, have hit 500 home runs. All kinds of men. All kinds of eras. Some, it's what they did, why they went to work; they hit home runs. Others, the home runs seemed a consequence of the rest of their game. The home runs came with the daily pursuit of the perfect swing, the reliable glove, the secondary lead, the big jump. But, maybe, mostly, the perfect swing." Elizabeth Merrill, ESPN.com: "Blame it on the NFL for pushing back this year's draft two weeks, and the fact that there's nothing else to talk about until May 8. Blame South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier, who stirred the pot a bit in February when he called (Jadeveon) Clowney's work ethic just 'OK.' But maybe the only one you can blame for this whole mess is Clowney for drawing too much attention to himself. He finished sixth in the Heisman Trophy voting as a 19-year-old sophomore, a rarity for a defensive player. Then there was the hit, on New Year's Day 2013, that has been replayed so many times it almost seems redundant to type. Clowney exploded into the Michigan backfield in the Outback Bowl and hit running back Vincent Smith with such force that it jarred Smith's helmet off his head. From that day on, stories about Clowney's athletic prowess flowed like sweet tea at a Carolina barbecue. He was called the greatest defensive player since Lawrence Taylor; he was Superman and supposedly even wore a cape as a baby. He was projected as a lock for the No. 1 draft pick in 2013, but he couldn't declare because he was just two years removed from high school. So Clowney went back to school, and had a non-superhuman year at South Carolina in which he amassed just a fraction of his sophomore statistics, and here he finds himself, surrounded by questions about motivation. Does he really love football? Has he been skating by on talent? Did he shut it down in 2013, saving his body and bank account? Is he still worth a No. 1 pick? Colin McGowan, Sports on Earth: "I suppose the NFL media operates this way during draft season because it works. I'm using 'works' in a loose sense here, because most everything about it is intellectually bankrupt. I mean it generates clicks and ratings because it appeals to the football fan's id. All of this fevered nothing exists because fans would like to know who their team is going to pick. This is an understandable desire, but what's concerning is that it's apparently strong enough that fans won't take an acceptable answer, which is that they can't know who their team is going to pick until it has already happened. There's a considerable gap between what we want to know and what we can know, and for whatever reason, fans fail to see it, plummeting to their psychic death like stampeding buffalo over a canyon's lip." Tom Verducci, SI.com: "There is nothing grand about Wrigley Field. Its architectural achievement is its very lack of grandness. It's the clapboard house of ballparks, appealing to our need for a sense of home, for not just the familiar but for the familial. Grandpa Wrigley is always there for us. Wrigley Field is the most meaningful sports venue in this country. It is meaningful because of the concrete ramps and steel beams and off-kilter lines that make it resemble the first draft of a ballpark. But it is more meaningful because of the time and place those brick-and-mortar characteristics have come to define. Like the Statue of Liberty, Wrigley has grown to be identified and cherished for its patina. The longer Wrigley stands and the faster, louder and busier everything else outside its brick walls becomes, the more we need it." Norman Chad, Washington Post: "Coaching in the NBA might be easy, but keeping your job is hard. First of all, it's not easy -- what, you want to be calling out plays for J.R. Smith eight months a year? As for staying employed, look at the precarious state of Mark Jackson, who has led the Golden State Warriors to 47-35 and 51-31 records the past two seasons and somehow is in danger of getting fired; the Warriors were 23-43 in 2011-12 The NBA is so tough, back in the day John the Baptist could've led the Orlando Magic to an 81-1 record and still been beheaded. MEGAPHONE "I think the stock market in college football is going through the roof. Four teams is going to draw more interest, and eventually it will go to eight because of the benefits and revenue that comes from the market for college football." Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy, anticipating a bigger NCAA playoff down the road. ——— Follow Jeff Gordon on Twitter @gordoszone and on Facebook at Gordo'sZone. ——— ©2014 St. Louis Post-Dispatch Visit the St. Louis Post-Dispatch at www.stltoday.com Distributed by MCT Information Services _____ Topics: t000046469,t000003183,t000003195,g000362661,g000066164,g000065594
DENVER — What's a prediction without an apology?Sorry, Seattle. I stink at predicting Super Bowls. No Red Hook for me.But predicting the regular season? Straight cash, homie.Last year, I missed the Broncos' final record by one. When the NFL released its schedule, I had the Broncos going 14-2. They finished 13-3. The culprit was San Diego's Thursday-night upset at Denver. You rascal, Philip...
The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.) Paul Klee column
Paul Klee, Associated Press | Apr 24, 2014DENVER — What's a prediction without an apology? Sorry, Seattle. I stink at predicting Super Bowls. No Red Hook for me. But predicting the regular season? Straight cash, homie. Last year, I missed the Broncos' final record by one. When the NFL released its schedule, I had the Broncos going 14-2. They finished 13-3. The culprit was San Diego's Thursday-night upset at Denver. You rascal, Philip Rivers. This edition of Predicting the Broncos Schedule is dead on. Just in case: can we buy a mulligan? Week 1: Broncos vs. Colts Date: Sept. 7 (6:30 p.m., NBC) If there's an Andrew Luck banner flapping outside Sports Authority Field, the NFL has some 'splainin' to do. There won't be a Flacco Flag Fiasco, but there will be another reunion. Can't see Peyton Manning losing to the Colts again. Can you? Prediction: Broncos 37, Colts 20 (Record: 1-0) Week 2: Broncos vs. Kansas City Date: Sept. 14 (2:25 p.m., CBS) We had the Chiefs pegged in 2013. Andy Reid's new club was a cute story — and a product of a Charmin early schedule. Once again, the Broncos should worry about the Chiefs winning the AFC West like Manning should worry about bankruptcy. Prediction: Broncos 30, Chiefs 24 (Record: 2-0) Week 3: Broncos at Seattle Date: Sept. 21 (2:25 p.m., CBS) Note to self: Don't pick against the Seahawks in the Super Bowl. The 12s will send hate mail and harassing phone calls for months. Hey, I lived in the great state of Washington for four memorable years. You deserved a title, Seattle. One question, though: Is the nickname "12s" a nod to the number of 'Hawk fans pre-Pete Carroll? Prediction: Seahawks 43, Broncos 8 (Record: 2-1) Week 4: Bye Week 5: Broncos vs. Cardinals Date: Oct. 5 (2:05 p.m., Fox) Last season the Broncos got a sneak peek at the site of the Super Bowl with an early season game against the Giants at MetLife Stadium. In Week 5, we can ask a similar question: can they return to University of Phoenix Stadium on Feb. 1, 2015? Prediction: Broncos 33, Cardinals 16 (Record: 3-1) Week: 6: Broncos at New York Jets Date: Oct. 12 (11 a.m., CBS) If Peyton Manning had considered Eric Decker an indispensable part in the Broncos' offense, Jesse's hubby would still be breaking hearts in Colorado. Instead, the Big Heartthrob is in the Big Apple, where I suspect he will prove the doubters wrong. Prediction: Broncos 27, Jets 6 (Record: 4-1) Week 7: Broncos vs. 49ers Date: Oct. 19 (6:30 p.m., NBC) The West is best. No other division is predicted to win more games than the NFC West (35.5 wins), according to the folks in Las Vegas. Only the Broncos are expected to win as many games as the Niners and Seahawks (11). The loser: East Coast bias. Prediction: Niners 17, Broncos 16 (Record: 4-2) Week 8: Broncos vs. San Diego Date: Oct. 23 (6:25 p.m., CBS) Ex-Charger Shaun Phillips is now an ex-Bronco. Considering the cold, hard cash awarded DeMarcus Ware ($20 million guaranteed), the ex-Cowboy better outproduce the 12 sacks scored by Phillips in his one season with the Broncos. Prediction: Broncos 27, Chargers 21 (Record: 5-2) Week 9: Broncos at New England Date: Nov. 2 (2:25 p.m., CBS) It must be nice to be the Patriots. Once again, Las Vegas believes the Pats own an easy road to the playoffs. The predicted win totals for the AFC East foreshadow another division title: New England (10 wins), Dolphins (7.5), Bills (6.5), Jets (6.5). Prediction: Broncos 37, Patriots 36 (Record: 6-2) Week 10: Broncos at Oakland Date: Nov. 9 (2:05 p.m., CBS) Peyton Manning's performance at Oakland was the finest display of quarterbacking I've seen: 266 yards and four touchdowns — in the first half. But it was just the Raiders, you say? Oakland players fought with coaches on the sideline. They cared. Prediction: Broncos 37, Raiders 17 (Record: 7-2) Week 11: Broncos at St. Louis Date: Nov. 16 (11 a.m., CBS) The Rams nabbed reliable middle linebacker James Laurinaitis in the 2009 draft. Nice pick, St. Louis. He's started every game the past five seasons. The Broncos had 10 picks in 2009. How many are still here? Only special teams whiz David Bruton Jr. Prediction: Broncos 42, Rams 14 (Record: 8-2) Week 12: Broncos vs. Miami Date: Nov. 23 (2:25 p.m., CBS) Familiar faces line the Broncos' 2014 schedule like a high school reunion. Welcome back, Knowshon Moreno. Here's a fun game: gather your buddies for a friendly wager. Who scores more fantasy points on Nov. 23, Moreno or Montee Ball? Prediction: Broncos 35, Dolphins 24 (Record: 9-2) Week 13: Broncos at Kansas City Date: Nov. 30 (6:30 p.m., NBC) Did Emmanuel Sanders do the Chiefs wrong? Kansas City sure thinks so. Before the Broncos signed the wide receiver, the Chiefs thought they had a deal. "There was no handshake," Sanders said. There won't be during his first game in Kansas City, either. Prediction: Broncos 28, Chiefs 24 (Record: 10-2) Week 14: Broncos vs. Buffalo Date: Dec. 7 (2:05 p.m., CBS) Still stinging from the Smackdown in the Swamp? Super Bowl losses leave a mark. Ask the Bills, who own the NFL record for consecutive defeats in the Big One (four). They can't trump the Broncos, who own the most Super Bowl losses, period (five). Prediction: Broncos 45, Bills 17 (Record: 11-2) Week 15: Broncos at San Diego Date: Dec. 14 (2:05 p.m., CBS) The sunshine of San Diego has hosted three Super Bowls, the most recent in 2003. Hey, Chargers: time to renovate those digs? Sites of the next three Big Games: Glendale (Ariz.) in 2015, Santa Clara (Calif.) in 2016 and Houston in 2017. Prediction: Chargers 21, Broncos 20 (Record: 11-3) Week 16: Broncos at Bengals Date: Dec. 22 (6:30 p.m., ESPN) Peyton Manning is super for a football team. He's awful for print deadlines. Denver has five games in prime time - vs. Indianapolis, vs. San Francisco, vs. San Diego, at Kansas City, at Cincinnati - and all five opponents figure to be in the playoff hunt. Prediction: Broncos 28, Bengals 24 (Record: 12-3) Week 17: Broncos vs. Oakland Date: Dec. 28 (2:25 p.m., CBS) There's one player who makes the Raiders relevant again: Johnny Football is made for silver and black. Do us all a favor and make it happen, NFL. Prediction: Broncos 38, Raiders 17 (Record: 13-3) - Twitter: @Klee_Gazette ——— ©2014 The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.) Visit The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.) at www.gazette.com Distributed by MCT Information Services _____ Topics: t000007079,t000007065,t000007115,t000046469,t000003194,t000003183,c000212563,g000065596,g000362661,g000066164,g000224911,g000065634,g000065594,g000224461,g000223557
Terrelle Pryor may be the greatest athlete ever to have his career derailed by a tattoo scandal.If you want to know how such an extraordinary talent landed in Seattle, in the shadow of Russell Wilson and in a competition with Tarvaris Jackson just to be the Seahawks’ backup quarterback, think back four years ago to a silly NCAA controversy.Back then, Pryor was starting to live up to his...
Jerry Brewer: Terrelle Pryor is the Seahawks’ latest reclamation project
By Jerry Brewer, Associated Press | Apr 23, 2014Terrelle Pryor may be the greatest athlete ever to have his career derailed by a tattoo scandal. If you want to know how such an extraordinary talent landed in Seattle, in the shadow of Russell Wilson and in a competition with Tarvaris Jackson just to be the Seahawks’ backup quarterback, think back four years ago to a silly NCAA controversy. Back then, Pryor was starting to live up to his legend. He came to Ohio State as one of the most sought-after recruits in college sports history. Sports Illustrated dubbed the ultra-athletic quarterback’s college announcement “the most anticipated signing day announcement in history.” By 2010, Pryor was a junior who already had a Rose Bowl MVP on his rÃ©sumÃ©. Then, as the Buckeyes were preparing for the Sugar Bowl in late 2010, the NCAA suspended Pryor and four teammates for the first five games of the 2011 season for selling championship rings, jerseys and awards and receiving improper benefits from a tattoo parlor. Over the next six months, various media reports claimed Pryor had received other improper benefits, including cars. Amid all the innuendo, he withdrew from Ohio State. He became eligible for the NFL supplemental draft in 2011, and the Oakland Raiders selected him in the third round. No surprise, that wasn’t the route to NFL stardom. Now Pryor, still just 24, is the latest reclamation project on a championship team known for giving — and profiting from — second chances. The Seahawks traded a seventh-round pick to try to revive Pryor’s career, and if the quarterback takes advantage of the opportunity, he can alter his career forecast in dramatic fashion. He can’t become the Seahawks’ franchise quarterback, obviously. But if he approaches this situation with humility, if he’s willing to learn and compete, he can turn into a useful NFL player. The question is what “useful NFL player” means in his case. It could be as modest as developing into a dependable backup quarterback. It could be as electric as turning into a new age, Kordell Stewart-like, “Slash” type — only Pryor could be even more dangerous as a multi-positional offensive threat because he’s a 6-foot-4, 233-pound specimen who can run 40 yards in 4.38 seconds. It could be as fairy-tale as learning from Wilson, figuring out the nuances of quarterbacking and getting a starting job elsewhere in the future. But right now, Pryor comes to the Seahawks as a raw athlete with a career 69.3 passer rating. He started nine games last season for the Raiders and didn’t establish himself. For the Seahawks, this is a low-risk acquisition of a player who is clearly an NFL athlete. You need a microscope to see his value as an NFL quarterback at this moment, but the talent is obvious. Pryor began a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers last season with a 93-yard touchdown run. It was the longest touchdown run in NFL history for a quarterback, and it also broke Bo Jackson’s Raiders record. Coming out of high school, Pryor was heavily recruited in football and basketball. There was debate over which sport he should choose. Considering the Seahawks’ stability at quarterback, they might want to reinvent Pryor. While it’s highly irregular for a quarterback to change positions three years into his NFL career, Pryor has the kind of talent to do it. He isn’t just a fast quarterback. He is, as general manager John Schneider said in a statement, “an incredibly explosive athlete, and we’re excited for him to come in and compete.” As long as Schneider and coach Pete Carroll are in charge, the Seahawks will always be the land of opportunity, for both undervalued talent and for wayward prodigies. Marshawn Lynch regained his form here. Bruce Irvin was embraced despite his past. Wide receiver Mike Williams had his only productive NFL season in Seattle. Not everyone experiences a resurrection, of course. LenDale White, a star running back when Carroll was at USC, lasted just a month after Carroll joined the Seahawks in 2010. Terrell Owens lasted three weeks. Kellen Winslow Jr. was cut before the regular season. On this team, track record means little. It’s a wonderful thing for players determined to make the most of today. It’s an awful thing for players averse to being challenged. Which one is Terrelle Pryor? Well, this much is certain: He needs this chance more than the Seahawks need him. Pryor can fail, and the Seahawks will still be contenders to win another championship. And even if he succeeds, he probably won’t play enough to move the needle. The reward of this alliance is so lopsided. Can Pryor see it? Will he capitalize on it? If he has any fight in him, he can redirect his career. If he wants to be defined by a tattoo indiscretion, well, not even the Seahawks can save ‘em all. ——— Second-chance Seahawks The Seahawks have been creative in finding talent, often looking to players in need of second chances. Here are some of their hits and misses: Nice thinking Marshawn Lynch, RB Comment: Beast Mode had legal troubles and fell out of favor in Buffalo, but now he’s the Seahawks’ most irreplaceable star. Bruce Irvin, LB/DE Comment: Former high-school dropout was in and out of trouble before turning his life around, culminating with the Seahawks selecting him out of West Virginia in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft. Brandon Browner, CB Comment: Seahawks found Browner in the CFL, and though he had multiple drug suspensions in three seasons in Seattle, he did earn a Pro Bowl appearances and help establish the famously physical play of Seattle’s cornerbacks. Nice try LenDale White, RB Comment: Seahawks traded for Carroll’s former running back at USC in late April 2010. He was cut by late May 2010, sending a message about work ethic. Terrell Owens, WR Comment: T.O., then 38, lasted just 20 days during the 2012 training camp. Kellen Winslow Jr., TE Comment: It appeared Winslow would be the Seahawks’ pass-catching tight end before the 2012 season, but the Seahawks released him after he refused to take a pay cut. ——— ©2014 The Seattle Times Visit The Seattle Times at www.seattletimes.com Distributed by MCT Information Services _____ Topics: t000046469,t000003183,t000007067,t000003194,t000007089,t000007151,t000003195,t000007079,t000007065,t000007119,t000007075,t000007105,g000362661,g000223557,g000066164,g000065594
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Receiver Mike Williams is returning home to Buffalo after being acquired by the Bills in a trade with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday.The trade, contingent on Williams passing a physical, addresses a significant need for the Bills by adding an experienced, proven starter to what had been a young group of receivers. In exchange, the Bills gave up a sixth-round draft...
Bills land WR Williams in trade with Bucs
JOHN WAWROW, Associated Press | Apr 4, 2014BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Receiver Mike Williams is returning home to Buffalo after being acquired by the Bills in a trade with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday. The trade, contingent on Williams passing a physical, addresses a significant need for the Bills by adding an experienced, proven starter to what had been a young group of receivers. In exchange, the Bills gave up a sixth-round draft pick. At 6-foot-2 and 212 pounds, Williams has topped 900 yards receiving in two of his four seasons. That includes 2010, when he led NFL rookies with 65 catches, 964 yards and 11 touchdowns. He comes to Buffalo with a hefty price tag a year after signing a six-year, $40 million contract. Injuries limited Williams to just six games last season, when he finished with 22 catches for 216 yards and two touchdowns. Williams grew up in Buffalo, where he was a high school star. He then spent three seasons at Syracuse, where he played under current Bills coach Doug Marrone before abruptly quitting the team during his junior season. In a statement released by the Bills announcing the trade, Marrone addressed the falling out at Syracuse by saying he feels that is now in the past. "Today, Mike has an opportunity to get a fresh start to his career here in his hometown, and regain his form as a productive player in the National Football League," Marrone said. "We feel Mike is a player who has the ability to help our team improve." Williams also missed the entire 2008 season after being suspended for violating the school's academic integrity policy. With questions about his departure from Syracuse, Williams' stock dropped entering the 2010 draft. He was eventually selected in the fourth round, 101st overall, by the Buccaneers. He made off-field headlines last month. On March 23, he was allegedly stabbed in the leg by his brother, Eric Baylor, who has since turned himself in to police. Williams was treated and released from a hospital for a thigh wound. According to Hillsborough County Sheriff's office, Williams initially told deputies he and his brother were wrestling and the stabbing was accidental. "At this time, we felt this was best for both sides, and we wish Mike well going forward," Buccaneers GM Jason Licht said of the trade. Overall, Williams has 215 catches for 2,947 yards and 25 touchdowns in 54 games. In Buffalo, Williams joins a receiving group that featured only one proven starter in Stevie Johnson. Johnson's numbers plummeted in 2013 in part due to injuries, and he missed the final two games following the death of his mother. The Bills' passing attack struggled as a whole, finishing 29th in yards gained. That was in part due to a series of knee injuries that limited rookie starting quarterback EJ Manuel to just 10 games. Williams' addition provides the Bills an opportunity to address other needs in the draft next month; they own the ninth overall pick. The Bills used two of their first four selections on receivers in last year's draft by choosing Robert Woods in the second round and speedster Marquise Goodwin in the third. ___ AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Alabama quarterback Blake Sims headed to south Florida for spring break like countless other college students.Unlike them, he spent four sun-splashed days working on things like footwork and arm position. It was a business trip for Sims, who finally is getting his chance to compete for the Crimson Tide's starting job after spending one season as a running back and two...
Alabama QB Sims devotes spring break to QB work
JOHN ZENOR, Associated Press | Apr 3, 2014TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Alabama quarterback Blake Sims headed to south Florida for spring break like countless other college students. Unlike them, he spent four sun-splashed days working on things like footwork and arm position. It was a business trip for Sims, who finally is getting his chance to compete for the Crimson Tide's starting job after spending one season as a running back and two backing up AJ McCarron. "It's a once in a lifetime opportunity," Sims said. "I'm having fun out there. Everybody's smiling. Everybody's having fun. Just trying to do what we've got to do to be the best." The senior spent about five hours a day last week working with quarterbacks coach Ken Mastole. He's trying to make the most of his first shot at winning the starting job. Sims is the only one of Alabama's five quarterbacks this spring who has thrown a pass in college, though he's known more for his running ability. Florida State transfer Jake Coker arrives this summer as the presumed front-runner. Sims has seen limited action in 18 games the past two seasons. More than half of his 244 career passing yards (130) came in a route of Georgia State last season, and he's also run for 355 yards. "He can execute an offense at the collegiate level," Mastole said Thursday in a phone interview. "I mean, there's no question about it. Is he going to stand up there and be that big, attractive guy that the naked eye of the average fan can watch and say, 'Wow?' Like Andrew Luck has a nice release or Aaron Rodgers just looks pretty throwing the football? There's going to be sometimes where it comes out a little bit sideways. "For Alabama football, he can definitely play within that offense, it's just going to be him digesting a new system and then letting him absorb all the information so that when he goes out there he can be that Blake Sims that people remember from high school in Georgia as a sensational player." Mastole's clients include NFL draft prospects Teddy Bridgewater and Tajh Boyd and the Buffalo Bills' EJ Manuel. Some of the lessons for Sims were about things like bringing his arm up a little and not leaning back when making throws. Others were more about keeping positive even with Coker arriving in a couple of months. Sims said he's not stressing about the competition — or Coker. "I have talked to him," he said. "He has a great personality, and I'm ready for him to get here and make 'Bama even much better as a team and bring his personality and make everybody smile and take him in with open arms." He's also focusing on leadership and absorbing information. He's eaten meals with teammates, tried to offer encouragement when needed and picked the brains of new offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin. Sims is also getting more accustomed to taking snaps under center instead of the shotgun as a wildcat-style quarterback. The other four contenders are more dropback passers like McCarron. "That's a work in progress for Blake," Alabama coach Nick Saban said at the start of spring practice. "I thought he made significant progress last year. I think that that's one thing that we want to evaluate and know that he needs to progress in is his ability to be a more consistent passer, especially in the system that we implement now." Mastole thinks the biggest key for Sims is just utilizing the playmakers surrounding him, like wide receiver Amari Cooper. "Play within coach Kiffin's system, that's going to be the key," he said. "And the beautiful part of it is he can improvise."
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — For someone who was lightly recruited coming out of high school, linebacker Khalil Mack is attracting an impressive crowd leading up to the NFL draft.Representatives from all 32 teams were on hand Tuesday for the University at Buffalo's pro day, and the projected first-round draft pick was the main attraction inside the Buffalo Bills Fieldhouse."Thirty-two teams?...
LB Mack draws impressive crowd to Buffalo workout
JOHN WAWROW, Associated Press | Mar 4, 2014ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — For someone who was lightly recruited coming out of high school, linebacker Khalil Mack is attracting an impressive crowd leading up to the NFL draft. Representatives from all 32 teams were on hand Tuesday for the University at Buffalo's pro day, and the projected first-round draft pick was the main attraction inside the Buffalo Bills Fieldhouse. "Thirty-two teams? That's a blessing," Mack said. "I don't try to notice that. I try to keep that on the backburner. I'm still working hard, and that's what it's about with me. I don't focus on the attention." Mack is becoming difficult to overlook. At 6-foot-3 and 251 pounds, he possesses the size, speed and versatility to play a variety of positions in any type of defensive scheme. He also has impressive numbers over a four-year college career in the Mid-American Conference, which he capped by earning the Jack Lambert award as the nation's top linebacker. He set an FBS career record with 16 forced fumbles and tied another one with 75 career tackles for a loss. Not bad for someone who, coming out of Fort Pierce, Fla., first considered attending Liberty University, before being offered a full scholarship by Buffalo, and only after Liberty assistant Robert Wimberly was hired by the Bulls. Some five years later, Mack had the NFL's attention during a Bulls pro day that traditionally attracts between 15 and 20 scouts. "That just shows you what high regard the NFL has of him," Bills general manager Doug Whaley said of the turnout. "The sky's the limit on him." Among those on hand were Oakland Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie and Cleveland Browns rookie coach Mike Pettine, the Bills' former defensive coordinator. Pettine joked he just happened to be in town to pick up a few things he left behind. As for his interest in Mack, Pettine broke into a wide smile and said: "Just a little bit." Pettine then spent about 10 minutes on the sideline discussing Mack with Bulls coach Jeff Quinn. "Absolutely the best player I've seen. He's just so complete," Quinn said of Mack. "He's a game-changer." That was evident in a last year's season-opening 40-20 loss at Ohio State. Mack was in on nine tackles and had 2½ sacks. He returned an interception 45 yards for a touchdown that put a scare into the Buckeyes by cutting their lead to 20-13 early in the second quarter. "That was his coming-out party. The game wasn't too big for him," Whaley said. "He showed that he belonged out there. And those are the type of guys he'll be playing against on Sundays." His production didn't tail off, either. Mack finished the season with a MAC-best 10½ sacks and 19 tackles for a loss. He also had five forced fumbles and three interceptions while leading Buffalo (8-5) to only its second bowl berth, a 49-24 loss to San Diego State in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. An NFL scouting report rates Mack as a top-10 draft prospect and lists "disruptive first-step quickness" among his strengths. On Tuesday, Mack limited his workouts to individual drills and one 40-yard dash, in which he was clocked at 4.54 seconds. That was an improvement over the 4.63-second time he had at the NFL combine in Indianapolis last month. "It didn't feel like me. I felt tight," Mack said, referring to his time at Indianapolis. "I finished it up the way I wanted to today." Mack has been highly motivated to succeed since he first arrived in Buffalo. He wore No. 46 after discovering that was the number of his power ranking out of 100 on an NCAA football video game. Though he might consider changing numbers after being drafted, Mack doesn't intend to alter his approach. "I feel like there's a lot more that I have to prove, especially coming out of the MAC," Mack said. "I feel like I've got to go out there and dominate on the next level."
Feb 25, 2014
Jason Collins played an NBA game the other night and made history. The first openly-homosexual player in a major team sport. Someone asked me what I thought, and I said, does he get back on defense? That’s what was foremost in my mind, after that Thunder-Clipper debacle the other day.
Discrimination: Jason Collins, Michael Sam & Tim Tebow
Berry Tramel | Feb 25, 2014[img]2358637[/img] Jason Collins played an NBA game the other night and made history. The first openly-homosexual player in a major team sport. Someone asked me what I thought, and I said, does he get back on defense? That’s what was foremost in my mind, after that Thunder-Clipper debacle the other day. Michael Sam came out of the closet, too, before taking part in the NFL Combine, where he didn’t test all that well. The Missouri pass rusher, the reigning SEC defensive player of the year, might not get drafted, and it won’t be for social reasons. It will be because scouts don’t believe he can get to the quarterback enough. But I salute the courage of Collins and Sam. What they did wasn’t easy to do. I don’t know how much public or locker-room ridicule they might face. The pros aren’t college. In Collins’ case, for example, he’s not going to be subjected to nearly as much verbal use in NBA coliseums as he would have been in college gyms. Student groups – led by Sam’s own Missouri, which has had the ridiculous Antlers for decades – can be quite vicious. So can older fans. You don’t get quite the same vile reception in the NBA as you do in college. There’s the occasional superfan in the NBA who takes upon himself to be king of the jerks, but those guys you can pick out. You can look them in the eye, and whether they shut up or not, they know that you know who they are, and there’s an unspoken agreement that said superfan could be squashed like a bug at the ballplayer’s discretion. Crowds are different. Mobs chanting in unison are much more sinister, because that’s not a breakdown of an individual spirit, that’s a breakdown of society. And when society breaks down, we’re all in trouble. The NFL is a little different, in that its fans can be coo-coo. Oakland. Buffalo, I’m told. Cleveland, back in the day when it had an NFL franchise to care about. College football crowds can be rough, too, but football is different. The fans are farther away. They aren’t as accessible to the field of play. The players are padded up for car wrecks. In basketball, players are physically and emotionally vulnerable. Not so in football. So Michael Sam probably will hear some things but should be able to tone it out rather easily. The locker room? Sam’s coming along at the perfect time. Collins has paved the way, so Sam’s not an all-sports pioneer, just an NFL pioneer. And the Richie Incognito scandal in Miami has every NFL locker room on notice. Quit playing Animal House. Quit acting like fools. Be professional. There still are knuckleheads everywhere. But even if you don’t condone Sam’s lifestyle, condemnation is not the proper reaction. Even if you don’t understand it, mockery is not the proper response. The truth is, we would all be appalled if we knew the details of most NBA and NFL sexual activities. In case some have forgotten, heterosexuality does not equate to purity. Which is as good a time as any to talk about Tim Tebow. Here’s what I don’t understand. Why isn’t Tebow on an NFL roster? I don’t advocate handing him a franchise. He’s not one of the 32, or 50, best quarterbacks in the world. But top 100? There’s no chance Tebow is not. He’s unorthodox. His passing form doesn’t pass the eye test. He’s inaccurate. But Tebow has a certain je ne sais quoi. He gets some things done. He’s 9-7 as an NFL starting quarterback and he beat the Steelers in the 2011 playoffs. And now he can’t find a job. The Cowboys late last season were quarterback desperate. Tony Romo was out with a back injury, and Dallas had nothing behind Kyle Orton. So Dallas signed Jon Kitna for the season finale against the Eagles. Let me repeat. Dallas signed 41-year-old Jon Kitna, who last played in the NFL in 2011 and who had been coaching high school in his native Washington state. Kitna is a grizzled old pro who in a pinch would learn the plays and not make dumb decisions. If Dallas had been forced to go with Kitna, the Cowboys would not have lost 48-10. Guaranteed. They would have lost 31-10. Guaranteed. The Cowboys would rather have lost with dignity than risk the mockery of signing Tebow. Tebow might have gotten the Cowboys beat 48-10. Likely would have. But Dallas would have had a better chance of beating Philly with Tebow than beating Philly with Jon Kitna. So why has Tebow been ostracized? Same reason we figured homosexuals were staying in the closet. Fear. Fear of the media circus. Fear of the chemistry disruption in the locker room. The NFL is full of born-again Christians. But for some reason, Tebow has become the lightning rod. Most of that is his own doing. He wears his Christianity on his sleeve, not necessarily in a humble-Christ way, but in a self-promotional way that turns off many people. There was a time in the 2011 season, during Denver’s amazing run to the playoffs, that Tebow was the single-most popular player in the NFL. More popular than Tom Brady. More popular than Adrian Peterson. More popular than Peyton Manning. It was crazy. Tebow resonated with people, both good and bad. Pro and con. In the same way that Michael Sam and Jason Collins is a hero to many and a villain to some, Tebow polarized. But my question is this. If a franchise was willing to accept the social spotlight and locker-room adjustments that came with signing Jason Collins, and the Netropolitans were, and if an NFL franchise is willing to accept the social spotlight and locked-room adjustments that will come with drafting or signing Michael Sam, why has no team grabbed Tim Tebow when it has a quarterback emergency? The answer is clear. Not all spotlights, not all adjustments, are created equal. Tim Tebow is kept out of quarterbacking in the NFL by a shaky arm and reverse discrimination.
Feb 2, 2014
Sander, who has done a little bit of everything for the Antlers during his football career, will join the Sooners as a defensive back.
High school notebook: Deer Creek's Caden Sander to walk on at OU
BY SCOTT WRIGHT AND JACOB UNRUH, Staff Writers | Feb 2, 2014Deer Creek's Caden Sander has decided to go to Oklahoma as a preferred walk-on. Sander, who has done a little bit of everything for the Antlers during his football career, will join the Sooners as a defensive back. The 6-foot, 175-pound Sander played quarterback for Deer Creek as a senior, throwing for 2,144 yards and 14 touchdowns. He rushed for 740 yards and 11 TDs. He has also returned kicks and has 12 career interceptions for the Antlers. He was named the District 5A-2 Ironman of the Year. McALESTER'S PRATT COMMITS McAlester receiver and Oklahoman All-State first-team selection Caden Pratt has verbally committed to Southeastern Oklahoma State in Durant, the Tulsa World reported. An all-purpose playmaker, Pratt scored 24 touchdowns while compiling a combined 1,779 yards rushing, receiving, and passing. He helped the Buffaloes to a Class 5A runner-up finish. Also, Coweta linebacker Tristan Butcher switched his commitment from North Carolina-Charlotte to Central Oklahoma, according to the World. Tulsa Union linebacker Coleby Evans also committed to NCAA Division II power Pittsburg State (Kan.) after setting a school record for tackles in a season. LITTELL CLIMBS RANKINGS Stillwater's Jon Littell recently climbed one spot to No. 29 in Perfect Game's rankings for the 2014 high school baseball class. The outfielder and third baseman has impressed with his arm strength from the outfield, throwing 92 mph. He was also on the roster for the Perfect Game All-American Classic. Littell is the son of Oklahoma State women's basketball coach Jim Littell. Jon Littell has signed to play at Oklahoma State.
For 15 years, Wes Welker has played football for teams in Lubbock, Texas; suburban Boston and now Denver. But Welker’s favorite basketball team is the Oklahoma City Thunder. The 1999 Heritage Hall High School graduate loves the Thunder and during Super Bowl week was asked about the Thunder and the hot stretch of OKC superstar Kevin Durant.
Super Bowl 48: Wes Welker talks Kevin Durant
Berry Tramel | Jan 31, 2014For 15 years, Wes Welker has played football for teams in Lubbock, Texas; suburban Boston and now Denver. But Welker’s favorite basketball team is the Oklahoma City Thunder. The 1999 Heritage Hall High School graduate loves the Thunder and during Super Bowl week was asked about the Thunder and the hot stretch of OKC superstar Kevin Durant. “It’s been pretty phenomenal just watching him out there,” Welker said. “They had (Russell) Westbrook go down, and so your key players have got to step up, and he’s definitely stepped up in a major way. It’s been really fun to watch and he’s great for Oklahoma City, not just as a player, but as a person. They definitely appreciate him there.” Can Welker, who has had his share of hot streaks, relate to the “zone” in which Durant seems to be in? “Yeah, I think every athlete at some point or another has been in the zone like that,” Welker said. “Just having to carry over from game to game like he has is pretty incredible. I look forward to him keeping that going throughout the year.” I wrote about Welker for the Friday Oklahoman. You can read that column here. But Welker had a lot to say about a variety of subjects. I’m going to write more about Welker for the Sunday paper, but there’s plenty of stuff that won’t make, either, so I thought I would share it. On his Super Bowl experience being an advantage. Welker has played in two Super Bowls. The entire Seahawk roster has played in a combined zero: “Maybe a little bit. Just trying to give some guys insight of what this week is like, the media obligations and the traveling to practice and not being at the facility through the week and different things like that. It’s definitely different and something that you kind of have to get used to.” On the Seahawks’ defense biggest strength: “Their whole defense is a big strength. That’s why they’re the No. 1 defense. Obviously their back end and defensive backfield is definitely up there. They do a great job across the board of playing pretty sound defense and staying on top of it. So we’re definitely going to have our hands full.” On the Bronco receivers, five of whom caught at least 10 touchdown passes this season: “I think everybody has their own opinion and everything, but this is one of the best groups I’ve ever played with. It’s the NFL. There’s a lot of good receiving groups. Every team is going to have good receiving groups in the NFL.” On his many concussions: “I think they do a good job of the protocols and different things like that these days. But we’re football players, we’re competitors and you want to be out there playing. You want to be out there on the field and giving your best for your team. It’s kind of a tough issue sometimes and you just go out there and deal with it and try to keep yourself safe, but at the same time, given the chance to go compete, you go compete.” On what Welker does the Saturday night before a big game: “I think basically just relaxing and going over my gameplan and being on to of all that. Making sure that I’m just ready to go. Make sure I’m getting my massages and stretched out and ready to go for Sunday.” On if he’s slept the night before previous Super Bowls: “Yeah, I have. I think just knowing the past, going through the week and preparation and everything else, you’re ready to get some sleep and make sure you’re ready to go for Sunday.” On his plans for Sunday morning: “My plan for Sunday morning is just like any other game. Just focusing and getting ready for the game and treating it like any other regular season game.” On his pre-game rituals: Welker said he likes to arrive at the stadium early, four hours before kickoff. Listen to the Kings of Leon and get his mind ready for the game. On how he’s handled Super Bowl hoopla, which for Welker has meant five straight days, Sunday through Thursday, of media sessions: “You try to make it as normal as possible. Just try and focus on the game, focus on the week and the gameplan and just getting ready for it. You deal with it how you can.” On Denver coach John Fox: “He’s one of those guys, he’s very inspirational, a very motivational type guy. The energy he brings to the team and everything like that. The guy can talk to anybody. You sit down at lunch and he can just sit there and talk and talk and talk. I mean, he’s that way with everyone. Just a great man, a great individual. I’m glad he’s our coach and our leader.” On Fox’s heart problems, which kept him away from the Broncos for four games this season: “I wouldn’t say he was different at all. He came back feeling healthier than he was before. So obviously, he’s our guy and he brings that energy and at the time we were just worried about his health and making sure that he was all good. We just told him, we’ll take care of everything on our end and you just get right and get back when you’re ready.” On playing with Hall of Fame quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Tom Brady: “It’s kind of by design. There’s just not too many quarterbacks I’d actually play with. So, when it came down to it, it was two options. This has been a good one.” On what people don’t know about Manning: “He’s actually a very genuine person. A great teammate, he loves hanging out with the guys and being around the guys, camaraderie and everything else. He enjoys it. It makes you enjoy it as well.” On his relationship with Brady: “We just text after the game and stuff like that, but he’s a good friend of mine and we wish nothing but the best for each other.” On if it was bitter or sweet to beat the Patriots in the AFC title game: “I think a little bit of both. Obviously playing there and everything like that, you make a lot of relationships and a lot of friends and you wish the best for them. But, at the same time you’re excited about the opportunity you have in front of you.” On the impact of the weather, which doesn’t figure to be as severe as previously feared: “I feel good about it. I played in this for six years so I have a good idea of what to expect and what to be ready for, different things like that. It really didn’t feel too bad out there just walking over here to this boat and things like that. I’m looking forward to it, this is what football is supposed to be.” On throwing the ball in bad weather: “I’ve seen a lot of games where they’ve been able to throw for a lot of yards in bad weather. I don’t see that being a problem for us. I just see us going out there and executing our plays and not worrying about the weather or anything else. Just have the mindset that we’re going to move the ball and score touchdowns.” On his most memorable cold weather game: “Really there are so many to choose from. I remember we played the Jets one time in 2007 later in the year, low scoring game. It was tough. We had another one in Buffalo where we had 70 mile per hour winds. They had to take a rope and pull the field goal post back upright so that we could kick extra points and field goals and different things like that. I remember the receivers, we would just rotate and we would be throwing each other jackets. There would only be one receiver in the game because we really couldn’t throw the ball. Just basically, ‘Here you take my jacket, now you get over here and get warm, I’ll go in this play.’ We would rotate three of us the whole game.”
Jan 27, 2014
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Ben Williams knows about the hard knocks of football and the pressure athletes put on themselves to compete, even with injuries.For those reasons, he said, he's supporting a proposed Mississippi law that would require public and private schools to evaluate student athletes for concussion after they're shaken up during practice or competition. A player with a concussion...
Miss. House, Senate pass bill on youth concussions
EMILY WAGSTER PETTUS, Associated Press | Jan 27, 2014JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Ben Williams knows about the hard knocks of football and the pressure athletes put on themselves to compete, even with injuries. For those reasons, he said, he's supporting a proposed Mississippi law that would require public and private schools to evaluate student athletes for concussion after they're shaken up during practice or competition. A player with a concussion would be banned from play until fully recovered. Williams, a Yazoo City native, played football at the University of Mississippi in the early 1970s and for the NFL's Buffalo Bills from 1976 to 1986. He said athletes need careful evaluation if they're hit hard enough to possibly have a head injury. "They want to play," Williams said. "They like the game. They like the contact. They like it a lot." The Mississippi House and Senate have both passed House Bill 48 (http://bit.ly/1cWl94o), and it awaits action by Gov. Phil Bryant. The governor had not received the bill by Friday and he will evaluate it before deciding whether to sign it into law, spokeswoman Nicole Webb said. The bill was pushed by the NFL and the Mississippi State Medical Association and supported by associations that govern school activities. The National Sports Concussion Coalition — with members from youth, college and professional sports, including the NFL and the NCAA — says Mississippi is the last state without a youth concussion law to set standards for medical evaluation and return to play. Dr. Lee Voulters, a neurologist at Gulfport Memorial Hospital and co-chairman of board of trustees for Mississippi State Medical Association, said children and teenagers' brains are more pliable than adults, which means the younger people are at greater risk of concussion. "There are tens of thousands of concussions in this country with sports every year," Voulters said. "And as it stands now, with the programs in place, NFL players and college players have a lot more protection and safety protocols in place than high school football players do in this state." The bill would not cover sports teams that are not affiliated with schools, such as youth soccer or volleyball leagues. "I just thought that was too much of a responsibility and too much burden on our volunteer coaches, which are moms and dads," said House Public Health Committee Chairman Sam Mims, R-McComb, one of the bill's sponsors. Mims' committee killed bills in 2012 and 2013 that would've required youth sports organizations unaffiliated with schools to adopt policies for concussion screening. He said he had worked "very closely" the past several months with leaders of the Mississippi High School Activities Association, which governs public schools' activities, and the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools, which governs private schools' activities, to find a plan they support. The bill specifies that failure to follow a concussion policy does not give reason for people to sue a school, school district, activities association or medical professional. It also specifies that the Mississippi State Department of Health must endorse a concussion education course to provide information to the public. MHSAA lists concussion guidelines on its website that are nearly identical to the bill that passed. Where the guidelines say a player "should" be removed from play, evaluated and given time to fully recover, the bill says those things "shall" happen. The association requires students and parents to sign forms to acknowledge that concussions are possible in sports. The forms also list concussion symptoms. "It's about minimizing risk," MSHAA director Don Hinton said Friday. Les Triplett, activities director for MAIS, said policies already in place take care of most of what a new law would mandate. "Anything that brings attention to safety, we're for it," Triplett said. Sen. Brice Wiggins, R-Pascagoula, who once coached soccer at a Catholic school, supported the bill. "As a coach, I'm concerned about their well-being. and I want to do everything that I can," Wiggins said. "If they're saying, 'Do A, B, C, D and E,' and sit them out and then return them only at the proper time, I'm all for that." ___ Follow Emily Wagster Pettus on Twitter: http://twitter.com/EWagsterPettus
Former NFL players talk about concussions and the $765 million lawsuit settlement they agreed to with the league in August. NBC analyst and former Bengals wide receiver Cris Collinsworth: “One day I think you'll see similar lawsuits hit high school football. When it does, high school football might say, ‘Thank you, but no thank you, we've had enough.'” Former NFL linebacker Aaron Curry:...
What they're saying: Former NFL players talk about concussions
By Mike Baldwin | Jan 25, 2014Former NFL players talk about concussions and the $765 million lawsuit settlement they agreed to with the league in August. NBC analyst and former Bengals wide receiver Cris Collinsworth: “One day I think you'll see similar lawsuits hit high school football. When it does, high school football might say, ‘Thank you, but no thank you, we've had enough.'” Former NFL linebacker Aaron Curry: “A settlement on concussions isn't going to make up for early death, forgetting kids' names and the rest of stuff that comes with brain trauma.” Former NFL quarterback Brett Favre: “In some respects I'm almost glad I don't have a son because of the pressures he would face, plus the physical toll it could possibly take on him.” Hall of Fame Buffalo Bills offensive lineman Joe DeLamielleure: “We lived our dreams — the players. Now our families live our nightmares. Let's help take care of the women and kids who have had to take care of their dads from all the stuff from concussions.” Former OU and Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Tony Casillas: “There probably are more accidents with kids getting concussions falling off bikes than tackling someone. But thousands of kids still ride bikes. No question concussions are a serious matter. We were guinea pigs for today's players. With better education, research and testing there should be significantly fewer cases of dementia and other long-term effects when these players get older.” Former New York Giants linebacker Harry Carson: “The human body was not created or built to play football. You're going to have some brain trauma. ... I hold the game of football responsible. It's a sports-wide problem.” Sports agent Leigh Steinberg: “This will be a major issue for years to come. This has been a ticking time bomb. We've just seen the tip of the iceberg. There will be more books, articles, documentaries and television shows focusing on concussions and brain damage. It will keep this issue front and center not only for everyone in football but every mother or father that has a child contemplating playing the game.” Hall of Fame running back Tony Dorsett: “Football has been kind to me, but when I signed up, I didn't know some of the repercussions. I knew I could get injured, but I didn't know about possible trauma to my head, things that could happen to me later in life.” Former OU quarterback Thomas Lott: “Go back and look at pictures of me and compare them to (recent OU quarterbacks) Sam Bradford and Landry Jones. You'll be shocked how big my pads were. Today offensive linemen's pads are smaller than the shoulder pads I wore. More attention being paid to concussions and better equipment will make a huge difference moving forward.” Former Pro Bowl center Kevin Mawae: “The unfortunate thing is the general fan sees $765 million and they think it's a windfall for the players. It's great for guys that need immediate help, but it's hush money they will never be held accountable for.” ESPN analyst, former NFL player and coach Mike Ditka: “It's absolutely good to see players can now get some help. People have hid behind this too long. It's time it's out in the open.”
Jan 24, 2014
BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Confidence trickling from every response, Mike Pettine handled the onslaught of questions at his introductory news conference like a seasoned pro. He was in total control.Despite being an NFL head coach for only a few hours, Pettine had the routine down pat.He was faking it."I do not feel comfortable at all," he said, breaking the tension and smiling. "The sooner I can get...
Pettine plans to bring toughness to Browns
TOM WITHERS, Associated Press | Jan 24, 2014BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Confidence trickling from every response, Mike Pettine handled the onslaught of questions at his introductory news conference like a seasoned pro. He was in total control. Despite being an NFL head coach for only a few hours, Pettine had the routine down pat. He was faking it. "I do not feel comfortable at all," he said, breaking the tension and smiling. "The sooner I can get off this stage and out of this suit and working on getting this team headed in the right direction, the better." After a winding, 25-day search and piercing scrutiny, the Browns got their man. Pettine, a no-nonsense, demanding coach in the mold of his football-loving father, was named the Browns' seventh coach since 1999 — and fourth in six years — on Thursday. The hiring brought relief to Cleveland fans, Browns players and even Pettine's oldest daughter, who wasn't so excited about her dad's opportunity a few days ago. The Browns interviewed 10 candidates and subjected themselves to national ridicule before hiring the 47-year-old Pettine, who transformed Buffalo's defense in his one season with the Bills. He also learned some tricks working as Rex Ryan's defensive coordinator in New York and knows what it takes to win in the AFC North after years on Baltimore's staff. It may have taken longer than expected, but the Browns feel they got the best coach available. Pettine arrived at the team's headquarters for a third interview noon as snow fell. Less than two hours later he signed a five-year contract to take over a Browns team that went 4-12 under Rob Chudzinski. Seven teams began the offseason looking for a coach and the Browns were the last to find one. "I know we were exhaustive to the point that we caused people to question and wonder," said CEO Joe Banner. "It wasn't fun. But what you've got to do in the end is try to focus on what you're trying to do, which is find a coach you think can lead your team effectively for a long time." Pettine's hiring followed a thorough search in which presumed favorites — Denver offensive coordinator Adam Gase and New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels — dropped from consideration. There were reports the team circled back to speak with McDaniels this week, and there was even talk of a "mystery" candidate in the past few days. The team had been expected to give Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn a second interview, but decided to hire Pettine rather than wait until after the Super Bowl to speak with the leader of the NFL's top-ranked defense "That's probably the toughest decision because there's no doubt we were very impressed with him in the interview," Banner said of Quinn. Because they were the last team to hire a coach, the Browns have some catching up to do. Pettine needs to work quickly so the team doesn't get further behind. "That's not a perception, that's absolute reality," Pettine said. "As soon as I can, I'm going to get out of this suit and get into sweats and get that staff built." Pettine wasn't unnerved by the fact that Chudzinski was fired after one season. "When you look at the other attractive parts of the job, it was a young roster, plenty of cap space, a deep draft, plenty of picks," Pettine said. "I'll always take the cockiness of a coach, but I'll bet on myself." He inherited that conviction from his dad, Mike Sr., a legendary high school coach who retired as the winningest coach in Pennsylvania history. The younger Pettine played quarterback for his dad but never beat him as a coach, losing all five matchups. Pettine's final question was about his 19-year-old daughter, Megan, who last week went on Twitter to say her dad was getting a second interview before adding, "It's the browns . But hey, still pretty cool." Her account has since been deleted. "We had a very long father-daughter chat after that one," he said. "She learned a very valuable lesson in the power of social media, and again let's not forget where she came from. Her formative years were spent in Baltimore, where she was trained to not be a Browns fan, so I hope that we can give her a little leniency that way. "We have a very special relationship. She sent me a text this morning that I think would have made most fathers cry." Pettine was asked if she's changed her mind on the Browns. "She has no choice," he said. "She's a fan now." ___ AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org
Jan 23, 2014
BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Mike Pettine knows he might not have been Cleveland's first choice or even the Browns' second pick.All that matters to the son of a high school coaching legend is that he's the one they selected."It's been my life-long dream to be an NFL head coach," Pettine said Thursday, "and however that opportunity presents itself, it's fine with me."After nearly a month of twists,...
Browns hire Mike Pettine after twisting search
TOM WITHERS, Associated Press | Jan 23, 2014BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Mike Pettine knows he might not have been Cleveland's first choice or even the Browns' second pick. All that matters to the son of a high school coaching legend is that he's the one they selected. "It's been my life-long dream to be an NFL head coach," Pettine said Thursday, "and however that opportunity presents itself, it's fine with me." After nearly a month of twists, turns and talk, the Browns found their man. Buffalo's defensive coordinator, who didn't seem to be on Cleveland's radar when the team began a coaching search last month, signed a five-year contract Thursday and was named the Browns' seventh full-time coach since 1999. Pettine replaces Rob Chudzinski, fired on Dec. 29 after just one season. The Browns interviewed 10 candidates before deciding on the 47-year-old Pettine, who has built a solid reputation with a no-nonsense approach with his players. "I have been nicknamed BFT — Blunt Force Trauma," he said. "The days are too short to dance around subjects some time and I think guys appreciate that." His straight-forward style attracted Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, who set out to find a "strong winner" and feels the clean-shaven Pettine can lead Cleveland's resurgence. "He's very smart," Haslam said. "He's aggressive. He's innovative. You can see he's tough. He's going to be very demanding. He's going to set high standards for our organization." Pettine spent one year with the Bills after four as Rex Ryan's defensive coordinator with the New York Jets. Before that, Pettine was an assistant coach in Baltimore, giving him some familiarity in Cleveland's division. Pettine understands there are challenges in turning around the Browns, who have lost at least 11 games in each of the past six seasons and made the playoffs once in their expansion era. Pettine believes the Browns have talent — as evidenced by their six Pro Bowlers — and wants to be the one to return them to glory. "There's only 32 of these jobs and they don't come along often," Pettine said. "People ask me, 'Why didn't you wait? There will be chances next year?' I don't know if I believe in that. When you put all the factors together, this franchise is in position, given the right leadership, to win." Pettine emerged as the favorite to become Cleveland's fourth coach in six years as the Browns eliminated candidates and Denver offensive coordinator Adam Gase, considered the front-runner when the search started, told the team to move on without him. His hiring ends a 25-day odyssey for the Browns. It was a quest filled with rumors, denials, withdrawals and far too much drama for a franchise seeking stability. At the Pro Bowl in Hawaii, Browns tight end Jordan Cameron echoed the sentiments of most Cleveland fans. "I'm just happy to have a coach," he said. The Browns flew to Mobile, Ala., on Tuesday to interview Pettine for the second time at the Senior Bowl. The four-hour meeting came shortly after Gase, the first candidate the team contacted, called Haslam and withdrew from consideration. The team had been expected to give Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn a second interview, but if he was their pick, the Browns would have had to wait until after the Super Bowl to finalize a deal. Banner said the decision to hire Pettine before speaking with Quinn a second time was "tough." As six other teams filled their head-coaching vacancies, the Browns kept looking. The lengthy delay led to a national perception the team didn't have a clear plan. Aware of the criticism, Haslam sent a letter to Cleveland fans last week explaining why the team was being "methodical" in finding Chudzinski's replacement. Haslam argued the view of the Browns was media driven. "That's a perception that you all have generated," he said to reporters. "That's not the perception among candidates or football people that I've talked to around the country." Browns CEO Joe Banner took a playful jab at Cleveland's front office, which was characterized locally as "The Three Stooges" when the search began. "I don't know if you had a chance to meet Mike, but since (GM) Mike Lombardi and I are Moe and Larry, we went and set out to find Curly and we succeeded," he said. "That's why it took so long; there aren't a lot of Curlys running around the country." Now that he's in place, Pettine is ready to roll up his sleeves and fix the Browns. Football is in his blood. He learned the game from his father, Mike Pettine Sr., who won four Pennsylvania state championships and retired as the winningest coach in state history. Not long after getting the job, Pettine phoned his dad. "It was special," he said. "It didn't last very long because he knew I had a lot of stuff to get done. My poor mom answered the phone and he said "Is that Michael?" He ripped it out of her hands. They were both excited and knew how much work it went into this." ___ AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org
Jan 22, 2014
The emails are in, and lots to talk about. The Thunder riding high (this week) and the Thunder struggling (last week). Sugar Bowl leftovers. Mike Gundy. Lots on the table. Let’s get to it. OU FOOTBALL Tom: “Frankly, I am glad for both the kid and the university (Kendal) Thompson is leaving OU. I had season tickets during the era that his dad (and others) was caught up in all of the...
Tramel emails: Thunder lineup changes & benefits of Kendal Thompson leaving
Berry Tramel | Jan 22, 2014[img]2325560[/img] The emails are in, and lots to talk about. The Thunder riding high (this week) and the Thunder struggling (last week). Sugar Bowl leftovers. Mike Gundy. Lots on the table. Let’s get to it. OU FOOTBALL Tom: “Frankly, I am glad for both the kid and the university (Kendal) Thompson is leaving OU. I had season tickets during the era that his dad (and others) was caught up in all of the drugs, shootings and alleged rape. It never made sense to me that this was a good fit to bring back the spectacle of that era. I realize that is not fair to the son, but the reality is that what would have been portrayed would have brought back the disgrace of the OU program of a past era. If there was any doubt at all, the comments of Charles Thompson in the middle of the season solidified my opinion.” You’re probably right. It’s probably best for all concerns. I thought Kendal, from all reports, handled everything great. And Charles handled it as well as anyone could. He’s a father first. So that was going to have some sticky points. But it’s probably best that Kendal is moving on. Dan: “Please, could we get a few more stories about the Sugar Bowl, 23 is not quite enough!” OU fans would read 123. Jim: “If I recall, you were the only sports writer to pick OU over Alabama. Congratulations.” I picked Bama 27-17. But on game day, I did write a column about how many double-digit underdogs in BCS games manage to pull the upset. THUNDER UP Chris: “Durant is crazy. Couple of years ago, he used to be a scorer. Has turned into a shooter, too.” I don’t know. I always thought Durant was a primo shooter. I know he’s gotten better, but I think he’s gotten better at degree of difficulty. Just straight shooting, I think Durant was a phenom shooter even at Texas. Steve: “While I know this is what you do, it must be very special to witness what KD is currently doing from up close. After last night’s performance, he is bringing back memories of MJ in his prime. As for the defense, I, too get frustrated with Perk and Thabo’s inability to make offensive contributions with any form of consistency. However, without their defense last night the Thunder are down a game to Portland in the division AND the season series is lost.” It’s an amazing run, no doubt about it. And it’s a very good question. Do we appreciate what we are seeing? Do we appreciate what fell in our lap six years ago? I hope so. I think so. Not to sadden the mood, but it won’t last forever. Jim: “I have watched basketball since I was 12 years old (now 75). Watched the Rochester Royals, at the Edgerton Park arena in Rochester, because we were in a PAL league and we could stay and watch the games after playing. Well, we were just kids with no coaches, etc. Anyway, I have seen some great scorers, Cousy, Wanzer, Wilt, McAdoo and later Kareem (on TV) and others, but Durant tops them all! I am not a big fan of present day pro basketball. I usually only watch the last quarter if any, but the last quarter of this (Warriors) game was something else.” I have no idea who Wanzer is. But I know the Rochester Royals, who moved to Cincinnati, and then to Kansas City, and now are in Sacramento. I had never even thought about the Buffalo/Rochester connection. Upstate New York has had three NBA franchises, all three have scooted out of the region. The Buffalo Braves went to San Diego and became the Clippers. The Syracuse Nationals went to Philadelphia and became the 76ers, after the Warriors from Philly to San Francisco. Kevin: “Why do Rocket fans boo D-Fish when he touches the ball?” The Lakers traded Fisher to Houston two years ago and he declined to report, instead negotiating a buyout of his contract, which allowed him to sign with the Thunder. Fisher wanted no part of the then-rebuilding Rockets. Kent: “The curse of Kelvin Sampson returns. Rockets score 19 points in a half. Looked like OU-Mizzou in the 2003 Big 12 finals in Dallas. No one much remembers that game, but it was wild. The Sooners led 37-18 at halftime and eventually led 46-24 with 15:05 left in the game. And then OU won 49-47. The Sooners scored three points those final 15 minutes, all on foul shots. Missouri’s Rickey Paulding missed a driving shot with four seconds left that would have tied the game. That’s the only game that came to mind when I watched the Rockets’ 19-point second half. Joel: “On the discussion about the starting lineup, there were a couple of comments you made I thought were interesting: 1) Perkins should keep starting, even for minimum minutes, due to team chemistry; and 2) You like Thabo but wish he’d play better. So here’s my question: Why is Brooks so rigid about how he starts the game and the second half? I can understand chemistry (I guess), although it can’t be lost on the players that the Thunder have issues with how they start games and second halves and that can’t help team chemistry. In my opinion, Brooks is a very loyal person, and truly values his players. That’s why they like him. But I’m afraid this is going to wear thin if they don’t win it all. I’m just hoping, for his sake, that he’s not playing the Doug Collins role vs. Phil Jackson and that he’s never able to get them over the top.” The starting lineup has worked. That’s why Brooks sticks with it. It combines offense and defense. It allows some solid offensive players to come off the bench and give the B team a boost. This lineup will wear thin when it doesn’t work. Otherwise, it would be nuts to switch. Mike: “Things are never as good as they seem and never as bad as they seem. Notice the Heat have quietly lost three straight. It’s good to remember that what happens in January stays in January. It’s all practice until April.” Great points. When the Thunder struggles, losing at Salt Lake and Denver and Memphis, or when the Thunder wins four straight and Durant goes crazy, it’s still January. Mike: “If the Thunder don’t get Perkins and Sefolosha off the floor, they are going nowhere. Sefolosha can’t hit the broadside of a barn and Perkins is very consistent in committing fouls. The Thunder will never win a championship if these issues are not corrected. Get rid of those two and try to get Gasol from the Lakers. If the Thunder had a scoring center and would make their offensive game plan to score in the paint when possible, they would be unbeatable. Most good championship caliber teams have a scoring center.” Leading the NBA right now in paint points are 1. Detroit, and 2. Philadelphia. Minnesota is fifth. Memphis is sixth. Sacramento is eighth. New Orleans is 10th. The Thunder is 11th. Miami gets no scoring from the center position. Bosh doesn’t play center and gets most of his points outside. Ibaka scores more inside than does Bosh. In fact, most of the recent NBA champions did NOT have scoring centers. Miami, Dallas, Boston. Only the Lakers. Mitch: “Truth must be told here and that is both Thabo and Perkins are liabilities. Their so-called defensive prowess is overwhelmed by extremely limited offense. With Westbrook out, it shows. Forty percent of the lineup is an offensive backwater. Yes, there is no need to have four or five go-to guys with KD and Westbrook, but that does not mean you want extremely bad offensive players at all times. Perkins’ value is declining faster than the Nellie Johnstone Well #1 at Caney Creek. I’m not saying the solution is easy. But the first step is to identify the problem. I really cannot articulate a great reason for starting Sefolosha. Defense is often hard to measure but results are evident. These two deadwoods are part of the problem and not the solution.” This was written last week, when the Thunder was coming off that loss to the Grizzlies. And it’s been obviously renounced with the Thunder’s recent play. But you know what this kind of thinking represents? Football mentality. The idea that every loss is cataclysmic and is a sign that something is very wrong. It’s not even true in football, with 12 games a year. It’s absolutely nonsense in the NBA, which plays 82 regular-season games. You know what a five-game losing streak in the NBA represents (not that the Thunder ever has a five-game losing streak)? One NFL game. One. The Thunder has plenty of scoring with Durant and Westbrook. Heck, in recent games, the Thunder has had plenty of scoring with just Durant. The Thunder needs Thabo and Perk — or someone like them — for defense, and that’s shown in recent games. Jim: “The Thunder are built to win track meets. Without Westbrook, that option is gone. They have the talent but are not coached to run disciplined plays. Reggie does better when running the second unit because much of that time Durant is out of the lineup. When he plays with Durant, he defers to the detriment of his own skills to score. As much as I like the coach, he will not win with them without all the pieces in place for every game. Too much risk, if I owned the team. San Antonio has less talent but they do what they are coached to do and that solid coaching has them in contention every year. Presti comes out of that franchise. He needs to make a change if he wants to get the most out of what he has.” Let me get this straight. You say OKC won’t win the NBA without Westbrook. I agree. You say the Thunder should can Scotty Brooks so it can hire a coach as good as Gregg Popovich. I agree. The only coach as good as Gregg Popovich that I know of is Gregg Popovich. So if you can talk Pop into coming into OKC, sign me up. MIKE GUNDY Bob: “I read your article on Gundy and Wickline very carefully. How interesting! I am wondering, if on the larger scene at OSU, Gundy has issues with Holder and then that just sifts down? I will be very interested to see how the Cowboys do at football next season. They will lose in Norman for sure. I wish Gundy would admit that the OU game is not just another game for the fan base.” You might be onto something about Gundy/Holder, but I think they have mended fences to some degree. I don’t know that for sure. Frank: “I have read and enjoyed your articles for years and rarely disagree and even then it was just opinion. I have to say, though, lately you have become focused on bashing Gundy from saying things like you don’t fit the profile of someone he would come after to this latest article. He was jealous of Wickline and wanted to fire him. BS, Berry. Fire the best line coach in the country? Don’t buy it. How bout a story on Bob, Mikey and Brent?” I wrote about Mike Stoops and Venables when it happened. Two years ago. Is that the best you’ve got? And by the way, I didn’t bash Gundy this time. I just said he wanted to fire Wickline. Maybe he had good reason. But I know he wanted to fire him. Jerry: “If you do a history on the quarterback selections made by Gundy, you will find that every excellent quarterback, from the beginning of Gundy’s head coaching career, was an afterthought, NOT the initial selection. Everyone one! Can he really pick a winner from the beginning? Many of his initial picks were not just bad, they were awful.” Well, I wouldn’t say they were an afterthought. But it’s often been a circus. The Donovan Woods/Bobby Reid waltz, the Reid/Zac Robinson waltz, the decision to start Alex Cate against Colorado in 2009. The switches of the last two seasons. It hasn’t been smooth. Mike: “Ouch! The article on Wickline hurt my OSU Orange Pride. I hope there is nothing to it. I will be devastated if there are problems with Mike Gundy, his coaching staff and Mike Holder. I want to believe we have turned the corner and there are brighter days ahead. OSU is dear to my heart. In other words, I bleed orange. I am a 1978 alum, therefore I have been through a lot. As they used to say in the Civil War, ‘I have seen the Elephant.’ Maybe, just maybe, OSU can gain some respect for where we have come from and where we want to go.” What are you talking about? Of course OSU has gained some respect. The Cowboys’ national brand is soaring. OSU had a rough end to the 2013 season, but these are not the times that try men’s souls. 0-10-1 tries your soul much more than losing Bedlam or a tight Cotton Bowl. COLLEGE BASKETBALL Tommy: “You are so correct there are few venues like The Phog in collegiate basketball. Many of the old homes had been replaced except for Kansas and Duke. However, I would say both programs thrive in their unique old stadiums. I think it is safe to say as long as Bill Self is coaching, The Phog will remain. I think the appreciation that is so mutual of Bill Self for the history of, and the current status of, KU basketball is just so prevalent. I really think as much as any coach, he has embraced the university in total although he graduated from a rival university in the same league. He has really bought into KU and the fans, alumni, and administration have responded in kind. It is so refreshing even for someone like Cindy Self to be so involved in the community, charitable foundations along with her husband. It is quite a change from the image of the Roy Williams family that really never thought Kansas, Lawrence or KU was quite up to the class of North Carolina. The down home attitude and total class of Bill Self just fits. I hope he never goes pro. It would be such a loss not only to KU but to the game.” Well, there’s a lot there. I never detected that Roy Williams didn’t fit at KU. In fact, I think Jayhawk fans were mortified when he left. I remember what the Kansas City Star’s Joe Posnanski wrote when Williams departed. Something along the lines of, we thought he was more than a basketball coach. But no doubt, Self has embraced the Jayhawk tradition. Stang: “OSU women’s coach Jim Littell has moved the program into national prominence, but I see no support. Why is there no radio coverage for the program? You can’t get 105 FM in either OKC or Tulsa. Surely this adversely affects recruiting. And very limited TV coverage as well.” It’s a great point. You would think with all the sports radio options in OKC and Tulsa now, OSU could sign a contract with someone that would include women’s hoops. And the television situation is abysmal, too. I thought OSU signed a deal with Fox Sports? It appears to have had little effect. John: “Enjoyed your article on Allen Fieldhouse. I agree it’s a classic venue, however fan support did take a dive when the team was down many years ago. My brother is a KU graduate and I remember going to OSU game at Allen in 1980 on Saturday afternoon when he was a student and I was in high school at John Marshall — it was maybe half filled and OSU won easily behind Leroy Combs and Lorenza Andrews (Self was a year away). KU had Darnell Valentine. Flip side is I also saw OU play there in ‘93 or ‘94 (Jeff Webster was top OU player) and it was filled to capacity and was rocking. Needless to say, KU won easily. It’s a great place. Might sound crazy but I wish OU would retrofit McCasland to about 8,500 capacity. If they did, it wouldn’t be far off from Allen.” Well, OU can’t retrofit the Fieldhouse. It only seated 4,100 in its heyday. So that’s a non-starter. But you’re right. KU had its dips back in the day. Even then, though, Allen Fieldhouse was a great place. Timothy: “Call it the Kansas roll.You are scrapping with them and all of a sudden in a few minutes of time you are down 17. Then they tend to let up in the middle and you can get within eight or nine and then they finish you off. It would have been a leg up on the rest of the conference if we could’ve hit the 3. We have lost two conference games on the road by a total of five points. Kansas usually hits a skid of mediocrity in or about mid-conference season. That doesn’t always mean they lose them, but they can be had.” I don’t know. As far as OSU is concerned, the Cowboys trail KU by two full games, and KU has played the tougher schedule. The Jayhawks already have been to Ames and Norman. If the Cowboys win out, they still need KU to lose somewhere else, just to have a tie. And winning out is very difficult, since OSU plays at Ames, Austin, Norman and Waco. COLLEGE FOOTBALL Ed: “Really enjoyed what you wrote about the flip flops in college football, dating back to the heydays of Harvard and Yale. Right down my alley. I well remember when Santa Clara was a power. Saw us (OU) play them here in 1949. Yep, times and fortunes change. I’m not quite old enough to remember it, but if you dig deep enough, you can see that the University of Chicago once put quite a whipping’ on Texas. Nobody stays on top of the mountain forever. Thanks for a trip down memory lane.” Minnesota is my favorite example. And Kansas State, too. Heck, nobody remembers this, but Florida State didn’t even play football until 1948, and Florida was an afterthought until the ‘80s and not even a national power until Spurrier in the ‘90s. Blake: “Is there anyway OU considers leaving the Big 12 at this point? It sure seems to me the Big 12 needs to be proactive to expand at least two more schools soon if they are to thrive competitively long term.” No. Contracts are much more iron-clad than they used to be. The Big 12 is going to have to pull itself up. Chris: “Bobby Petrino, with his track record and issues, he stills gets another chance. Both at Western Kentucky and Louisville. Why wouldn’t someone, somewhere take a chance on Mark Mangino? Based upon my understanding, while Mangino was not a joy to work with, the allegations were grossly overstated and not established by the majority of players. I also know that he had a horrible relationship with the AD (who is now gone). All of his negatives don’t seem to be worse or as bad as Petrino. They were not NCAA allegations and the man won a ton of games at KANSAS! They won an Orange Bowl for goodness sakes, and yet he seems to be outcast as a leper, yet others with issues similar continue to get opportunities because they win. I’m not a Mangino fan or a Mangino detractor, just curious as to why it seems no one at any level will touch him.” Chris: I just think at that time there was a wave of alleged mistreatment of players. With all the talk about exploitation of players, scandal of player abuse was a hot-button issue. Meanwhile, coaches lying or cheating and screwing around is nothing new. I do think things are relaxing on Mangino. Becoming offensive coordinator at Iowa State is a great step. Steve: “I was lucky enough to be in New Orleans this year for the OU game. I felt we had a good chance to win but probably still less than 50-50. I have been around OU a long time and it seems when even their fans become doubters is when OU will show us who OU football really is. But speaking of history, I would put Alabama, Notre Dame and OU in the all-time top five programs. I was wondering how many times a college football team has beaten both Alabama and Notre Dame in the same year. And for OU this year, neither game was at home.” I know Southern Cal beat both Bama and Notre Dame in 1970 and 1978. Tennessee beat both in 1999 and 2001. PRO FOOTBALL Billy: “Am I the only human being who realizes that (Richard) Sherman was beaten on that play, (Michael) Crabtree got behind him and if Kap (Colin Kaepernick) makes a back corner pass instead of the short underneath pass, the whole scenario changes.” I don’t know. Sherman is so good, he goads QBs into those throws. And if a play requires a perfect pass for completion, better throw it somewhere else. Tiki: “The NFL is rigged. You and I both know holding could be called on half the plays in football, or a nit-picky foul in basketball. There has rarely been a level playing field where big money is involved.” Big money is the very reason games AREN’T rigged. The risk is too great. If it is found that sports organizers have rigged games, the sport goes poof. Maybe an isolated official (Tim Donaghy) or upset ballplayer (Black Sox) rigs a game, but nothing orchestrated. There’s too much money in it already. Ben: “How in the world did OU not sign Wes Welker out of high school? Ranks up there with letting Barry Sanders go. Really, Wes was all-state everything?? No offer from OU?” Sometimes you miss. Tom Brady was a sixth-round draft pick.
A farewell to people with Oklahoma ties who enjoyed a game day experience.
Tributes: Frank Parr was a local soccer icon
BY SCOTT MUNN, Assistant Sports Editor, email@example.com | Jan 20, 2014A farewell to people with Oklahoma ties who enjoyed a game day experience: *Frank Parr, 92, of Oklahoma City was employed by the Federal Aviation Administration. Away from work, he was heavily involved in local soccer. Parr spent 30 years as a member of the Oklahoma Soccer Association as a player, coach, referee or administrator. He served eight years as the Central Oklahoma Soccer League president. Parr was just one of three people given the Oklahoma Soccer Officials' Golden Whistle Award. *Ed Sheldon, 84, of Bartlesville served in the Army during the Korean War. While stationed in Augsburg, Germany, he played basketball. Sheldon later became recognized for handmade turkey calls. The outdoorsman made the devices out of three turkey hen wingbones — and they became so popular with fellow hunters that a turkey calling competition was named in Sheldon's honor. *Mark Champion of Tulsa was an auto racing enthusiast. He provided color commentary over the public address system at now-defunct Tulsa Speedway, while also contributing articles to the Speedway News. Champion did not mind handling the dangerous side of racing, too. He often patrolled Turn 1 at the Tulsa track, working as a fireman and paramedic. Champion died recently at age 65. *Former Weatherford chief of police Byron Cox, 57, volunteered at Kiwanis Baseball Park. He also umpired high school and summer league baseball. Cox suffered from diabetes the last few years and lost both legs. He had been fitted with prosthetics and continued to work for the police department; Cox hoped to someday return to umpiring. *Oklahoma City resident Dave Roberts, 67, was a standout athlete in the 1960s at Dewey High School. He turned down several baseball scholarship offers, instead choosing to play football at Oklahoma. Roberts played for the Sooners' freshmen team, and then gave up sports to focus on studies that led to a juris doctorate from the OU law school. *Rodney Moody, 55, of Edmond was a standout athlete at Altus High School. He particularly excelled at golf, earning a scholarship to Cameron University in Lawton. Moody worked in the grocery business for several years, before returning to school, this time at Southwestern State in Weatherford. He played golf for the Bulldogs. Moody participated in the 85th U.S. Open qualifier at the Oklahoma City Golf and Country Club. He also played in the 84th U.S. Amateur qualifier in Oklahoma City. *Paul Mathews, 86, of Ninnekah was a self-made millionaire. He was a politician and realtor in Seminole County, owning several pieces of land during his lifetime. Mathews operated the Little League in the 1960s in Seminole, and he helped build a ballpark behind the town's armory. He also assisted in the development of a baseball field in Wewoka. *Jack Mars, 78, moved to Tulsa to work for B.F. Goodrich. As a youngster in Akron, Ohio, Mars was quite the athlete. He stood 6-foot-7 and starred in football, basketball, baseball and boxing. Perhaps before a growth spurt, Mars participated in the legendary Soap Box Derby in Akron. *Leonard Tunnell of Miami, OK, coached sports at Ketchum, Wyandotte, Locust Grove and Bluejacket schools. The six-time Bronze star recipient during World War II died at age 89. *Henryetta resident Ken Wion was a text book consultant for D.C. Heath & Co. As a young man, he played football and basketball and ran track for Woodward High School. He then played college football at Southwestern State in Weatherford. After retirement, he spent time supporting Henryetta High athletic teams. He died at age 73. *John Mahaffey, 14, of Cache participated in Special Olympics. He was a member of the Hammer Heads swim team. *Clayton Smith, 18, played baseball for Morris High School. He received an athletic scholarship to Highland Community College in Kansas shortly before he died in an automobile crash. *Oklahoma City physician James Wenzl acquired an interest in medicine while playing high school football in Greenleaf, Kan. Wenzl suffered a broken nose, a broken tibia, a dislocated shoulder and a broken foot over his junior and senior seasons. He told family members, “I spent so much time talking to doctors in those two years that I became intrigued by the work.” Wenzl, a former pediatric nephrologist at The Children's Hospital, was also a standout half-miler for the Greenleaf track team. He died at age 78 after a five-year fight with cancer. *Oklahoma City resident John Meek, 84, played basketball at Westark Junior College in Fort Smith, Ark. ... Terry Myrks, 43, played boys basketball at Idabel High School. ... Clarence Cox, 96, coached youth baseball and softball in south Oklahoma City. ... Ruben Potter Jr., 76, was an All-State football player at Elk City High School. ... Walters native Keith Hooker, 71, was a farmer by trade, but he also raised race horses. Attended the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas every December. ... Brian Martin, 51, of Ardmore played high school football and baseball in his native California. ... *Martha Scroggin, 77, of Midwest City played basketball for Buffalo Valley High School. ... Jeannie Hutton, 71, was a twirler on football Friday nights at Wynnewood High School. ... Herman Hackett, 80, of Enid sponsored softball and Little League baseball teams. ... Michael Wahl, 57, of Edmond was president of the Oklahoma City Men's Senior Baseball League. ... Dana Pitts Orebaugh, 64, of Edmond was a swimming instructor at the downtown YMCA. She was also a member of The Sportsman's Club swim team. ... *Doris Stephens Puckett, 95, of Edmond played basketball at old Marshall High School in Logan County. ... Gladys Lunow, 93, of Oklahoma City was a four-year letter winner for the Moore High girls basketball team. ... Dolores Dial Renfrow, 81, of Duncan was a championship swimmer for the University of Central Oklahoma. She was also a twirler. ... Retired Army Ranger Mack Haymaker, 82, of Enid raced motorcycles in the late 1950s. BY SCOTT MUNN
Oklahoma State football: Why Mason Rudolph is capable of competing for the starting quarterback job as a freshmanJan 18, 2014
Mason Rudolph has been running the Air Raid spread system at Rock Hill (S.C.) Northwestern High, and his high school coach believes he's physically ready to play at the college level.
Oklahoma State football: Why Mason Rudolph is capable of competing for the starting quarterback job as a freshman
BY GINA MIZELL, Staff Writer, firstname.lastname@example.org | Jan 18, 2014STILLWATER — Much of Mason Rudolph's life as a quarterback can be defined by the Y-corner route, a staple play in the Air Raid spread system where an inside receiver breaks toward the back pylon of the end zone when the play is run inside the 20-yard line. With about 15 seconds remaining and no timeouts left in his first game as a sophomore starter for Rock Hill (S.C.) Northwestern High, Rudolph took a sack instead of finding the open receiver. Time ran out, and Northwestern lost. The last game of that regular season, nearly an identical situation, instead resulted in a game-winning touchdown toss. Later, that route became his final pass as a high schooler in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas. Again, it was a game-winner with less than a minute to play. And that's perhaps the biggest reason why Rudolph is capable of competing right away for the Oklahoma State starting quarterback job as an incoming true freshman. “He'll run (Y-corner) 1,000 times at Oklahoma State,” said Kyle Richardson, Rudolph's high school coach. “It's the bread and butter of Air Raid … He will be running Y-corner for seven straight years. “I think he's pretty good at it right now, how good's he gonna be after seven years of running it?” Rudolph's numbers certainly back up his grasp of the same offensive system he'll run as a Cowboy. He put together a monster senior season in an area traditionally rich with Division I talent, completing 72 percent of his passes and tossing 64 touchdowns versus just eight interceptions. He led Northwestern to a 15-0 record and Class 4A Division II state title and No. 7 ranking in the final USA Today Super 25 national poll. But Richardson also believes Rudolph is physically ready for the blows he'd take in college football. The 6-4 Rudolph bulked up to 220 pounds this season, allowing him to pick up 16 rushing touchdowns to help set a state record for total touchdowns by a quarterback in a season (80). That ability could certainly become an asset at OSU, where the quarterback run game was in play with both Clint Chelf and J.W. Walsh behind center. “He just became more dynamic,” Richardson said, “to where defensive coordinators had more to worry about than just, hey, he's just gonna sit back there and throw it and kill us with his arm. He'd kill them with his arm and his leg. “Our offense has kind of been tagged that all they do is throw it. Well, this year we could throw it, and if you dropped them all (into coverage) and took away the pass, he would hit you with the run.” Opposing coaches took note of Rudolph's progression. Like Bobby Carroll, the current coach at nearby York who previously coached notable stars like projected top-10 NFL Draft pick Jadeveon Clowney and Buffalo Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore. “It's almost like the triple option,” Carroll said. “You've got to defend the pass. You've got to defend the tailback. Now you've got to defend the huge, strong quarterback. “He just really developed from that junior to senior year as much as I've ever seen somebody do in the state of South Carolina.” So why is Rudolph still a bit overlooked on the recruiting trail? Richardson points to two key reasons. First, Rudolph was not very interested in the camp scene, where recruiting gurus often evaluate heavily and assign their star rankings. He even turned down an invitation to the Under Armour All-America game earlier this month. “He didn't concern himself with those things in the offseason,” Richardson said. “He didn't chase the stars, he chased the ring, and that's what he got.” Second, even in becoming a pass-run option as a senior, Rudolph still fights the “system quarterback” stigma. But even if that were the case, he's certainly going to the right school for that system. Rudolph has enrolled early at OSU to participate in spring practice, where J.W. Walsh, Daxx Garman, Richard Lagow and Jake Hubenak will also be vying for the starting job. Richardson expects Rudolph's biggest adjustment to be the speed of the defense, and recognizing that windows he used to be able to throw through might not be open anymore. There also could be some different terminology, even though the overall concepts of the offense will be almost identical. Like that Y-corner route. “He chose Oklahoma State over LSU for those reasons,” Richardson said. “To come in and compete for a job the minute he gets there and be in the system that he could get into a spot to compete earlier because he knows (it). “At this point, it's gonna be on him to go in and take advantage of whatever reps he can get early, and then from there, see what happens.”
Jan 17, 2014
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan State's Mark Dantonio and Michigan's Brady Hoke had very different seasons, and their hour-long presentations reflected that Friday at the state High School Football Coaches Association clinic.With 10 straight victories, including the Big Ten Championship and the Rose Bowl, Dantonio's talk was titled "Winning Thoughts" and often to the Spartans' school-record...
Different tones for Hoke, Dantonio at clinic
JACK EBLING, Associated Press | Jan 17, 2014LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan State's Mark Dantonio and Michigan's Brady Hoke had very different seasons, and their hour-long presentations reflected that Friday at the state High School Football Coaches Association clinic. With 10 straight victories, including the Big Ten Championship and the Rose Bowl, Dantonio's talk was titled "Winning Thoughts" and often to the Spartans' school-record 13-1 mark. He met with reporters before the speech and posed for photos with coaches. After losing five of six games in November and December, including the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, to finish 7-6, Hoke declined to answer questions, spoke primarily about tackling and safety issues, then left. He began by introducing new offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier and invited everyone to visit campus. While changing a losing culture in East Lansing, Dantonio has taken the program to seven straight bowls, has won the last three and had seen this year's seniors win 42 games in four seasons, the most by any team in the state in nearly a century. His team had the nation's No. 1 defense for 14 consecutive weeks. "We had some amazing times and amazing stories," Dantonio said. "Our returning tailbacks had a combined 14 carries. We had questions at quarterback and receiver. And we needed to find a kicker. Somehow, some way, it all started to come together." Three hours earlier, Hoke reintroduced Nussmeier to the state's coaches. The former Michigan State assistant and Alabama coordinator said he was happy to be back, this time in Ann Arbor, and mentioned Michigan's great tradition and his admiration for Hoke as a person. Hoke then presented a series of tips on how to make a defense better, after sounding a strong warning about the future of football. "We're talking about a game we all have a passion for," he said. "If we don't protect it, it can go away. And it's the greatest team sport there is." Hoke asked how many coaches in attendance were involved with the USA Football and Heads Up Football movements to make the game safer and teach proper techniques at the earliest levels. The response was underwhelming. "There are enough negatives out there for a lot of different people that if we don't protect it, I really have a bad feeling about this great game and its future," Hoke said. "I wasn't taught about heads-up tackling. My dad was a great teacher. You've got to love him. But I was taught to put my face through someone and drive him backward." After showing video of proper techniques with practice footage, Hoke set the stage for an hour-long symposium on concussions and keys to a safer game. Then, Dantonio shifted the discussion to tackling the problems most coaches face and some can conquer. "You're inches away," he told the crowd, referring to his team and others that persevere. "You don't know what's going to make that difference."
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Clemson coach Dabo Swinney is already locked into fixing things that went wrong during the Tigers' 11-2 season.Swinney doesn't want returnees satisfied after a third straight season of double-digit victories and the school's first victory in a BCS bowl with their 40-35 win over Ohio State at the Orange Bowl earlier this month.The countdown clock on video screens at...
Clemson not resting on past success
PETE IACOBELLI, Associated Press | Jan 16, 2014COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Clemson coach Dabo Swinney is already locked into fixing things that went wrong during the Tigers' 11-2 season. Swinney doesn't want returnees satisfied after a third straight season of double-digit victories and the school's first victory in a BCS bowl with their 40-35 win over Ohio State at the Orange Bowl earlier this month. The countdown clock on video screens at Clemson's football complex is winding down to the next season's opener at Georgia — and Swinney wouldn't have it any other way. "We had a team meeting this week to get these guys back refocused on the new year," Swinney said. "It's what you do. You start over every year." Swinney won't have as many offensive pieces to start over with as he did a year ago. Record-setting quarterback Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins won't return — Boyd who exhausted his eligibility and Watkins who chose to give up his final college season for the NFL draft. The two were critical components why the Tigers averaged over 500 yards and 40 points a game the past two seasons. Most questions Swinney will face are about who'll replace Boyd, not just as starting quarterback but as the face of Clemson football. "Right away," Swinney said with a grin, "right away you've got to go there." Cole Stoudt, son of former NFL quarterback Cliff Stoudt, has been Boyd's backup the past three seasons and done well when pressed into service. Boyd was remarkably durable during his time, so Stoudt's role was usually to mop up after games had gotten out of hand. Still, Stoudt's completed nearly 80 percent of his throws this season for 415 yards and five touchdowns. Behind Stoudt is another player with an NFL pedigree in Chad Kelly, the nephew of Buffalo Bills great Jim Kelly. Also in the mix is true freshman DeShaun Watson, one of the country's top high school prospects who enrolled at Clemson earlier this month. Swinney has said often that Watson, at 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, is the prototype quarterback for Clemson's high-speed offense. "At the end of the day, we are going to have a guy ready to go when it comes time to play, but we've got a long way to go before we figure all of that out," he said. Swinney would also like to elevate Clemson's running attack. The Tigers had their third straight season with a 1,000-yard rusher when senior Rod McDowell passed that mark in the Orange Bowl win. But the Tigers lacked the breakaway back they'd had in past years with C.J. Spiller and Andre Ellington. The Tigers will look for production from Zac Brooks, D.J. Howard, C.J. Davidson, along with freshmen redshirts Wayne Gallman and Tyshon Dye. "We have a chance to be pretty special in our back field," Swinney said. "It will be a little bit of a shift in that direction, if you will, but we will see." They'll be no shortage of players to take over for Watkins, who set school records with 101 catches and 1,464 yards. Charone Peake was a starter before injuring a knee in September, but is rehabbing well and should be ready for the fall. Starter Martavis Bryant, who caught the second-most passes on the team behind Watkins, also declared early for the NFL. But Adam Humphries, Germone Hopper, Mike Williams and T.J. Green all return and expect to make an impact. Clemson's defense took a big step forward this season under second-year coordinator Brent Venables and got a boost this week when All-American defensive end Vic Beasley returned to school instead of entering the NFL draft. That leaves intact a defensive line that helped the Tigers lead the country in tackles for loss. The secondary will lose both cornerbacks in senior Darius Robinson and Bashaud Breeland, who gave up his final year in college for the NFL draft. The Tigers will be counting on several young players like MacKensie Alexander, the fourth best high-school prospect from last year who was redshirted after getting hurt in fall camp. Swinney says a focus of spring ball will be in cutting down turnovers. The Tigers had 26 of them during the season, 10 of those coming in its two losses to national champion Florida State and No. 4 South Carolina. "You don't even have a chance to win those games when you're not taking care of the ball," the coach said. "We've got to really take another step there."
Jan 15, 2014
For the Wednesday Oklahoman, I wrote about how the decision-makers at some schools don’t trust their own judgments. They would rather hire a proven coach — even if that proof is less than appetizing — than venture into the unknown. You can read that column here.
College football hires: Where the coaches comes from
Berry Tramel | Jan 15, 2014[img]2319553[/img] For the Wednesday Oklahoman, I wrote about how the decision-makers at some schools don’t trust their own judgments. They would rather hire a proven coach — even if that proof is less than appetizing — than venture into the unknown. You can read that column here. I also listed the five schools with the best track record of hiring assistant coaches to be head coach — and the five schools with the best track record of hiring head coaches to be head coach. But I had the data for every major-conference school, and I thought I would share it. Here’s what I did. I went back to every hire since roughly World War II. I made some judgment calls. If a coach was hired before the war but coached well after the war — Gen. Robert Neyland at Tennessee, Wally Butts at Georgia, Jim Lookabaugh at OSU — I included him. If a coach came in in 1945 and coached a year or two, I mostly ignored him. Remarkably, I found the previous employer of every coach on this list except one — Pitt’s John Michelosen, who coached Pitt from 1955 through 1965. I found some of his previous history, but I never could figure out what he was doing in 1954. Probably coaching in the NFL, but I couldn’t be sure. Anyway, I thought this was fantastic information, because it can be used so many ways. Which I intend to in the next few days. Who’s had the most stable environment for head coaches? Which school has lost the most assistants to head coaching jobs? What’s been the most prolific stepping stone job? Funny job switches over the years. All kinds of interesting topics, and I tend to get to them in the next few days. But first, I thought I’d just give you the data, ranking the schools from most likely to hire an assistant coach to be head coach, to least likely. It’s a great tour through post-war college football history. If you’re of a certain age, you’ll see all kinds of names you once knew but forgot about it. Pepper Rodgers from Kansas, UCLA and Georgia Tech. John Pont at Indiana and Alex Agase at Purdue. Bo Rein at North Carolina State and, tragically, LSU. John Ralston at Stanford. Pete Elliott, the former Bud Wilkinson lieutenant, at Nebraska, California, Illinois and Miami. Forest Evashevski at Iowa. You can look at coaches’ strange circles. Paul Dietzel going from LSU to Army to South Carolina. Bill Curry from Georgia Tech to Alabama to Kentucky. Wes Fesler from Pitt to Ohio State to Minnesota. You can look at oddities, like Stanford’s amazing affinity for NFL coaches and how Notre Dame isn’t the only school to hire a high school coach. Well, there’s a bunch you can look for. But I’ll get you started by just listing the schools. For OU and OSU, I went way back in time. And I didn’t make note of several coaches who had been head coaches at one time but were assistants when hired at certain jobs: *-denotes sat out one season before being hired; **-denotes sitting out multiple seasons before being hired; OKLAHOMA STATE 91.7 percent Mike Gundy 2005 Oklahoma State assistant Les Miles 2001 Dallas Cowboys assistant Bob Simmons 1995 Colorado assistant Pat Jones 1984 Oklahoma State assistant Jimmy Johnson 1979 Pitt assistant Jim Stanley 1976 Oklahoma State assistant Dave Smith 1972 Winnipeg Blue Bombers assistant Floyd Gass 1969 Austin College Phil Cutchin 1963 Alabama assistant Cliff Speegle 1955 Edmonton Eskimos assistant J.B. Whitworth 1950 Georgia assistant Jim Lookabaugh 1939 Capitol Hill High School Ted Cox 1936 Tulane Albert Exendine 1934 Oklahoma State assistant Pappy Waldorf 1929 Kansas assistant John Maulbetsch 1921 Phillips SYRACUSE 88.9 percent Scott Shaffer 2013 Syracuse assistant Doug Marrone 2009 New Orleans Saints assistant Greg Robinson 2005 Texas assistant Paul Pasqualoni 1991 Syracuse assistant Dick MacPherson 1981 Cleveland Browns assistant Frank Maloney 1974 Michigan assistant Ben Schwartzwalder 1949 Muhlenberg Reaves Baysinger 1947 Syracuse assistant Biggie Munn 1946 Michigan assistant OKLAHOMA 85 percent Bob Stoops 1999 Florida assistant John Blake 1996 Dallas Cowboys assistant Howard Schnellenberger 1995 Louisville Gary Gibbs 1989 Oklahoma assistant Barry Switzer 1973 Oklahoma assistant Chuck Fairbanks 1967 Oklahoma assistant Jim Mackenzie 1966 Arkansas assistant Gomer Jones 1964 Oklahoma assistant Bud Wilkinson 1947 Oklahoma assistant Jim Tatum 1946 Iowa Pre-Flight Snorter Luster 1941 New York Giants assistant Tom Stidham 1937 Oklahoma assistant Biff Jones 1935 LSU Lewie Hardage 1932 Vanderbilt assistant Adrian Lindsey 1927 Bethany (KS) Bennie Owen 1905 Bethany (KS) GEORGIA 83.3 percent Mark Richt 2001 Florida State assistant Jim Donnan 1996 Marshall Ray Goff 1989 Georgia assistant Vince Dooley 1964 Auburn assistant Johnny Griffith 1961 Georgia assistant Wally Butts 1939 Georgia assistant WEST VIRGINIA 81.8 percent Dana Holgorsen 2011 Oklahoma State assistant Bill Stewart 2007 West Virginia assistant Rich Rodriguez 2001 Clemson assistant Don Nehlen 1980 Michigan assistant Frank Cignetti 1976 West Virginia assistant Bobby Bowden 1970 West Virginia assistant Jim Carlen 1966 Georgia Tech assistant Gene Corum 1960 West Virginia assistant Art Lewis 1950 Mississippi State assistant Dudley DeGroot 1948 Los Angeles Dons Bill Kern 1940 Carnegie Tech KANSAS STATE 77.8 percent Bill Snyder 2009 retired Ron Prince 2006 Virginia assistant Bill Snyder 1989 Iowa assistant Stan Parrish 1986 Marshall Jim Dickey 1979 North Carolina assistant Ellis Rainsberger 1975 Wisconsin assistant Vince Gibson 1967 Tennessee assistant Doug Weaver 1960 Missouri assistant Bus Mertes 1955 Kansas State assistant VANDERBILT 78.6 percent James Franklin 2011 Maryland assistant Robbie Caldwell 2010 Vanderbilt assistant Bobby Johnson 2002 Furman Woody Widenhofer 1995 Vanderbilt assistant Rod Dowhower 1995 Cleveland Browns assistant Gerry DiNardo 1991 Colorado assistant Watson Brown 1986 Rice George MacIntyre 1979 Ole Miss assistant Fred Pancoast 1975 Memphis Steve Sloan 1973 Georgia Tech assistant Bill Pace 1967 Arkansas assistant John Green 1963 Florida assistant Arthur Guepe 1953 Virginia assistant Bill Edwards 1949 Cleveland Browns assistant NORTHWESTERN 72.7 percent Pat Fitzgerald, 2006, Northwestern assistant Randy Walker, 1999, Miami-Ohio GaryBarnett,1992, Colorado assistant Francis Peay, 1986, Northwestern assistant Dennis Green, 1981, Stanford assistant Rick Venturi, 1978, Illinois assistant John Pont, 1973, Indiana Alex Agase, 1964, Northwestern assistant Ara Parseghian, 1956, Miami-Ohio Lou Saban, 1955, Washington assistant Bob Voigts, 1947, Cleveland Browns assistant VIRGINIA TECH 71.4 percent Frank Beamer 1987 Murray State Bill Dooley 1978 North Carolina Jimmy Sharpe 1974 Alabama assistant Charlie Coffey 1971 Arkansas assistant Jerry Claiborne 1960 Alabama assistant Frank Moseley 1951 Kentucky assistant Robert McNeish 1948 Navy assistant CALIFORNIA 69.2 percent Sonny Dykes 2012 Louisiana Tech Jeff Tedford 2002 Oregon assistant Tom Holmoe 1997 California assistant Steve Mariucci 1996 Green Bay Packers assistant Keith Gilbertson 1992 Washington assistant Bruce Snyder 1987 Los Angeles Rams assistant Joe Kapp 1982 non-football Roger Theder 1978 California assistant Mike White 1972 Stanford assistant Ray Willsey 1964 NFL assistant Marv Levy 1960 New Mexico Pete Elliott 1957 Nebraska Pappy Waldorf 1947 Northwestern BAYLOR 66.7 percent Art Briles 2008 Houston Guy Morriss 2003 Kentucky Kevin Steele 1999 Carolina Panthers assistant Dave Roberts 1997 Notre Dame assistant Chuck Reedy 1993 Baylor assistant Grant Teaff 1972 Angelo State Bill Beall 1969 LSU assistant John Bridgers 1959 Baltimore Colts assistant Sam Boyd 1956 Baylor assistant WAKE FOREST 64.2 percent Dave Clawson 2014 Bowling Green Jim Grobe 2001 Ohio Jim Caldwell 1993 Penn State assistant Bill Dooley 1987 Virginia Tech Al Groh 1981 Texas Tech assistant John Mackovic 1978 Purdue assistant Chuck Mills 1973 Utah State Tom Harper 1972 Wake Forest assistant Cal Stoll 1969 Michigan State assistant Bill Tate 1964 Illinois assistant Billy Hildebrand 1960 Wake Forest assistant Paul Amen 1956 Army assistant Tom Rogers 1951 Wake Forest assistant Peahead Walker 1937 Elon UTAH 63.6 percent Kyle Whittingham 2005 Utah assistant Urban Meyer 2003 Bowling Green Ron McBride 1990 Arizona assistant Jim Fassel 1985 New Orleans Breakers assistant Chuck Stobart 1982 Toledo Wayne Howard 1977 Long BeachState Tom Lovat 1974 Utah assistant Bill Meek 1968 Army assistant Mike Giddings 1966 Southern Cal assistant Ray Nagel 1958 UCLA assistant Jack Curtice 1950 Texas-El Paso TEXAS TECH 63.6 percent Kliff Kingsbury 2013 Texas A&M assistant Tommy Tuberville 2010 Auburn* Mike Leach 2000 Oklahoma assistant Spike Dykes 1987 Tech assistant David McWilliams 1986 Texas assistant Jerry Moore 1981 North Texas Rex Dockery 1977 Tech assistant Steve Sloan 1975 Vanderbilt Jim Carlen 1970 West Virginia J.T. King 1961 Tech assistant DeWitt Weaver 1951 Tulsa assistant NEBRASKA 62.5 percent Bo Pelini 2008 LSU assistant Bill Callahan 2004 Oakland Raiders Frank Solich 1998 Nebraska assistant Tom Osborne 1973 Nebraska assistant Bob Devaney 1962 Wyoming Bill Jennings 1957 Nebraska assistant Pete Elliott 1956 Oklahoma assistant Bill Glassford 1949 New Hampshire FLORIDA STATE 62.5 percent Jimbo Fisher 2010 Florida State assistant Bobby Bowden 1976 West Virginia Darrell Mudra 1974 Western Illinois Larry Jones 1971 Tennessee assistant Bill Peterson 1960 LSU assistant Perry Moss 1959 Wisconsin assistant Tom Nugent 1953 VMI Don Veller 1948 Indiana assistant MISSISSIPPI STATE 61.5 percent Dan Mullen 2009 Florid assistant Sylvester Croom 2004 Green Bay Packers assistant Jackie Sherrill 1991 Texas A&M** Rockey Felker 1986 Alabama assistant Emory Bellard 1979 Texas A&M Bob Tyler 1973 MississippiState assistant Charles Shira 1967 Texas assistant Paul Davis 1962 MississippiState assistant Wade Walker 1956 MississippiState assistant Darrell Royal 1954 Edmonton Eskimos Murray Warmath 1952 Army assistant Slick Morton 1949 VMI Allyn McKeen 1939 Memphis WASHINGTON STATE 61.5 percent Mike Leach 2012 Texas Tech** Paul Wulff 2008 Eastern Washington Bill Doba 2003 Washington State assistant Mike Price 1989 WeberS tate Dennis Erickson 1987 Wyoming Jim Walden 1978 Washington State assistant Warren Powers 1977 Nebraska assistant Jackie Sherrill 1976 Pittsburgh assistant Jim Sweeney 1968 Montana State Bert Clark 1964 Washington assistant Jim Sutherland 1958 Washington assistant Al Kircher 1952 Michigan State assistant Forest Evashevski 1950 Washington State assistant PITTSBURGH 61.1 percent Paul Chryst 2012 Wisconsin assistant Todd Graham 2011 Tulsa Dave Wannstedt 2005 Miami Dolphins Walt Harris 1997 Ohio State assistant Johnny Majors 1993 Tennessee Paul Hackett 1989 Pittsburgh assistant Mike Gottfried 1986 Kansas Foge Fazio 1982 Pittsburgh assistant Jackie Sherrill 1977 Washington State Johnny Majors 1973 Iowa State Carl DePasqua 1969 Pittsburgh Steelers assistant Dave Hart 1966 Navy assistant John Michelosen 1955 assistant Red Dawson 1952 Michigan State assistant* Tom Hamilton 1951 Pittsburgh administrator Len Casanova 1950 Santa Clara Mike Milligan 1947 Pittsburgh assistant Wes Fesler 1946 Princeton assistant OREGON 60 percent Mark Helfrich 2013 Oregon assistant Chip Kelly 2009 Oregon assistant Mike Bellotti 1995 Oregon assistant Rich Brooks 1977 UCLA assistant Don Read 1974 Portland State** Dick Enright 1972 Oregon assistant Jerry Frei 1967 Oregon assistant Len Casanova 1951 Pittsburgh Jim Aiken 1947 Nevada Tex Oliver 1938 Arizona STANFORD 60 percent David Shaw 2011 Stanford assistant Jim Harbaugh 2007 San Diego Walt Harris 2005 Pittsburgh Buddy Teevens 2002 Florida assistant Tyrone Willingham 1995 Minnesota Vikings assistant Dennis Green 1989 San Francisco 49ers assistant Jack Elway 1984 San Jose State Paul Wiggin 1980 New Orleans Saints assistant Rod Dowhower 1979 Stanford assistant Bill Walsh 1977 San Diego Chargers assistant Jack Christiansen 1972 Stanford assistant John Ralston 1963 Utah State Jack Curtice 1958 Utah Chuck Taylor 1951 San Francisco 49ers assistant Marchmont Schwartz 1942 Stanford assistant OLE MISS 60 percent Hugh Freeze 2012 ArkansasState Houston Nutt 2008 Arkansas Ed Orgeron 2005 Southern Cal assistant David Cutcliffe 1998 Tennesee assistant Tommy Tuberville 1995 Texas A&M assistant Billy Brewer 1983 Louisiana Tech Steve Sloan 1978 Texas Tech Ken Cooper 1974 Ole Miss assistant Billy Kinard 1971 Arkansas assistant John Vaught 1947 Ole Miss assistant TCU 60 percent Gary Patterson 2000 TCU assistant Dennis Franchione 1998 New Mexico Pat Sullivan 1992 Auburn assistant Jim Wacker 1983 Texas State F.A. Dry 1977 Tulsa Jim Shofner 1974 San Francisco 49ers assistant Billy Tohill 1972 TCU assistant Jim Pittman 1971 Tulane Fred Taylor 1967 TCU assistant Abe Martin 1953 TCU assistant ILLINOIS 59.1 percent Tim Beckman, 2012, Toledo Ron Zook, 2005, Florida Ron Turner, 1997, Chicago Bears assistant Lou Tepper, 1991, Illinois assistant John Mackovic, 1988, Kansas City Chiefs* Mike White, 1980, San Francisco 49ers assistant Gary Moeller, 1977, Michigan assistant Bob Blackman, 1971, Dartmouth Jim Valek, 1967, South Carolina assistant Pete Elliot,1960, California Ray Eliot,1942, Illinois assistant UCLA 59.1 percent Jim Mora Jr. 2012 Seattle Seahawks** Rick Neuheisel 2008 Baltimore Ravens assistant Karl Dorrell 2003 Denver Broncos assistant Bob Toledo 1996 UCLA assistant Terry Donahue 1976 UCLA assistant Dick Vermeil 1974 Los Angeles Rams assistant Pepper Rodgers 1971 Kansas Tommy Prothro 1965 Oregon State Bill Barnes 1958 UCLA assistant Red Sanders 1949 Vanderbilt Bert LaBrucherie 1945 Los Angeles High School KENTUCKY 58.3 percent Mark Stoops 2013 Florida State assistant Joker Phillips 2010 Kentucky assistant Rich Brooks 2003 Atlanta Falcons assistant** Guy Morriss 2001 Kentucky assistant Hal Mumme 1997 Valdosta State Bill Curry 1990 Alabama Jerry Claiborne 1982 Maryland Fran Curci 1973 Miami John Ray 1969 Notre Dame assistant Charlie Bradshaw 1962 Alabama assistant Blanton Collier 1954 Cleveland Browns assistant Bear Bryant 1946 Maryland LSU 58.3 percent Les Miles 2005 Oklahoma State Nick Saban 2000 Michigan State Gerry DiNardo 1995 Vanderbilt Curley Hallman 1991 Southern Miss Mike Archer 1987 LSU assistant Bill Arnsparger 1984 Miami Dolphins assistant Jerry Stovall 1980 LSU assistant Bo Rein 1980 North Carolina State Charlie McClendon 1962 LSU assistant Paul Dietzel 1955 Army assistant Gaynell Tinsley 1948 LSU assistant Bernie Moore 1935 LSU assistant IOWASTATE 58.3 percent Paul Rhoads 2009 Auburn assistant Gene Chizik 2007 Texas assistant Dan McCarney 1995 Iowa assistant Jim Walden 1987 Washington State Jim Criner 1983 Boise State Donnie Duncan 1979 Oklahoma assistant Earle Bruce 1973 Tampa Johnny Majors 1968 Arkansas assistant Clay Stapleton 1958 Oregon State assistant Jim Myers 1957 UCLA assistant Vince DiFranceca 1954 Western Illinois Emmett Stuber 1947 Southeast Missouri State VIRGINIA 58.3 percent Mike London 2010 Richmond Al Groh 2001 New York Jets George Welsh 1982 Navy Dick Bestwick 1976 Georgia Tech assistant Sonny Randle 1974 East Carolina Don Lawrence 1971 Virginia assistant George Blackburn 1965 Virginia assistant Bill Elias 1961 George Washington Richard Voris 1958 Army assistant Ben Martin 1956 Navy assistant Ned McDonald 1953 Virginia assistant Arthur Guepe 1946 Virginia assistant BOSTON COLLEGE 57.7 percent Steve Addazio 2013 Temple Frank Spaziani 2009 Boston College assistant Jeff Jagodzinksi 2007 Green Bay Packers assistant Tom O’Brien 1997 Virginia assistant coach Dan Henning 1994 Detroit Lions assistant Tom Coughlin 1991 New York Giants assistant Jack Bicknell 1981 Maine Ed Chlebek 1978 Eastern Michigan Joe Yukica 1968 New Hampshire Jim Miller 1962 Detroit Ernie Hefferle 1960 Washington Redskins assistant Mike Holovak 1951 Boston College assistant Denny Myers 1946 Brown assistant CLEMSON 55.6 percent Dabo Swinney 2008 Clemson assistant Tommy Bowden 1999 Tulane Tommy West 1993 Chattanooga Ken Hatfield 1990 Arkansas Danny Ford 1978 Clemson assistant Charley Pell 1977 Clemson assistant Red Parker 1973 The Citadel Hootie Ingram 1970 Arkansas assistant Frank Howard 1940 Clemson assistant PURDUE 54.5 percent Darrell Hazell 2013 Kent State Danny Hope 2009 Purdue assistant Joe Tiller 1997 Wyoming Jim Colletto 1991 Ohio State assistant Fred Akers 1987 Texas Leon Burtnett 1982 Purdue assistant Jim Young 1977 Arizona Alex Agase 1973 Northwestern Bob DeMoss 1970 Purdue assistant Jack Mollenkopf 1956 Purdue assistant Stu Holcomb 1947 Army assistant SOUTHERN CAL 54.5 percent Steve Sarkisian 2014 Washington Lane Kiffin 2010 Tennessee Pete Carroll 2001 New England Patriots* Paul Hackett 1998 Kansas City Chiefs assistant John Robinson 1993 Los Angeles Rams Larry Smith 1987 Arizona Ted Tollner 1983 Southern Cal assistant John Robinson 1976 Oakland Raiders assistant John McKay 1960 Southern Cal assistant Don Clark 1957 Southern Cal assistant Jeff Cravath 1942 Southern Cal assistant NORTH CAROLINA STATE 53.8 percent Dave Doeren 2013 Northern Illinois Tom O’Brien 2007 Boston College Chuck Amato 2000 Florida State assistant Mike O’Cain 1993 North Carolina State assistant Dick Sheridan 1986 Furman Tom Reed 1983 Miami-Ohio Monte Kiffin 1980 Arkansas assistant Bo Rein 1976 Arkansas assistant Lou Holtz 1972 William & Mary Al Michaels 1971 North Carolina State assistant Earle Edwards 1954 MichiganState assistant Horace Hendrickson 1952 North Carolina State assistant Beattie Feathers 1944 Appalachian State* COLORADO 53.8 percent Mike MacIntyre 2013 San Jose State Jon Embree 2010 Washington Redskins assistant Dan Hawkins 2006 Boise State Gary Barnett 1999 Northwestern Rick Neuheisel 1995 Colorado assistant Bill McCartney 1982 Michigan assistant Chuck Fairbanks 1979 New England Patriots Bill Mallory 1974 Miami-Ohio Eddie Crowder 1963 Oklahoma assistant Bud Davis 1962 Colorado administrator Sonny Grandelius 1959 MichiganState assistant Dal Ward 1948 Minnesota assistant Jim Yeager 1941 IowaState OREGON STATE 50 percent Mike Riley 2003 New Orleans Saints assistant Dennis Erickson 1999 Seattle Seahawks Mike Riley 1997 Southern Cal assistant Jerry Pettibone 1991 Northern Illinois Dave Kragthorpe 1985 IdahoState Joe Avezzano 1980 Tennessee assistant Craig Fertig 1976 Southern Cal assistant Dee Andros 1965 Idaho Tommy Prothro 1955 UCLA assistant Kip Taylor 1949 Michigan State Lon Stiner 1933 Oregon State assistant ARIZONA 50 percent Rich Rodriguez 2012 Michigan Mike Stoops 2004 Oklahoma assistant John Mackovic 2001 Texas** Dick Tomey 1987 Hawaii Larry Smith 1980 Tulane Tony Mason 1977 Cincinnati Jim Young 1973 Michigan assistant Bob Weber 1969 Arizona assistant Darrell Mudra 1967 Montreal Alouettes Jim LaRue 1959 Houston assistant coach Ed Doherty 1957 Philadelphia Eagles assistant Warren Woodson 1952 Hardin-Simmons Robert Winslow 1949 Southern Cal assistant Miles Casteel 1939 Michigan State assistant MARYLAND 50 percent Randy Edsall 2011 Connecticut Ralph Fridgen 2001 Georgia Tech assistant Ron Vanderlinden 1997 Northwestern assistant Mark Duffner 1992 Holy Cross Joe Krivak 1987 Maryland assistant Bobby Ross 1982 Kansas City Chiefs assistant Jerry Claiborne 1972 Virginia Tech* Roy Lester 1969 Rockville Montgomery High School Bob Ward 1967 Army assistant Lou Saban 1966 Buffalo Bills Tom Nugent 1959 Florida State Tommy Mont 1956 Maryland assistant Jim Tatum 1947 Oklahoma Clark Shaughnessy 1946 Pittsburgh WISCONSIN 50 percent Gary Andersen 2013 Utah State Bret Bielema 2006 Wisconsin assistant Barry Alvarez 1990 Notre Dame assistant Don Morton 1987 Tulsa Dave McClain 1978 Ball State John Jardine 1970 UCLA assistant John Coatta 1967 Wisconsin assistant Milt Bruhn 1956 Wisconsin assistant Ivy Williamson 1949 Lafayette Harry Stuhldreher 1936 Villanova PENN STATE 50 percent James Franklin 2014 Vanderbilt Bill O’Brien 2012 New England Patriots assistant Joe Paterno 1966 Penn State assistant Rip Engle 1950 Brown FLORIDA 50 percent Will Muschamp 2011 Texas assistant Urban Meyer 2005 Utah Ron Zook 2002 New Orleans Saints assistant Steve Spurrier 1990 Duke Galen Hall 1984 Florida assistant Charley Pell 1979 Clemson Doug Dickey 1970 Tennessee Ray Graves 1960 Georgia Tech assistant Bob Woodruff 1950 Baylor Bear Wolf 1946 Navy Pre-Flight KANSAS 46.4 percent Charlie Weis 2012 Florida assistant Turner Gill 2010 Buffalo Mark Mangino 2002 Oklahoma assistant Terry Allen 1997 Missouri State Glen Mason 1988 Kent State Bob Valesente 1986 Kansas assistant Mike Gottfried 1983 Cincinnati Don Fambrough 1979 retired Bud Moore 1975 Alabama Don Fambrough 1971 Kansas assistant Pepper Rodgers 1967 UCLA assistant Jack Mitchell 1958 Arkansas Chuck Mather 1954 Massillon Washington HS Jules Sikes 1948 Georgia assistant MIAMI 45.8 percent Al Golden 2011 Temple Randy Shannon 2007 Miami assistant Larry Coker 2001 Miami assistant Butch Davis 1995 Dallas Cowboys assistant Dennis Erickson 1989 Washington State Jimmy Johnson 1984 Oklahoma State Howard Schnellenberger 1979 Miami Dolphins assistant Lou Saban 1977 Buffalo Bills Pete Elliott 1973 retired Fran Curci 1971 Tampa Charlie Tate 1964 Georgia Tech assistant Andy Gustafson 1948 Army assistant TEXAS A&M 45.8 percent Kevin Sumlin 2012 Houston Mike Sherman 2008 Houston Texans assistant Dennis Franchione 2003 Alabama R.C. Slocum 1989 Texas A&M assistant Jackie Sherrill 1982 Pittsburgh Tom Wilson 1978 Texas A&M assistant Emory Bellard 1972 Texas assistant Gene Stallings 1965 Alabama assistant Henry Foldberg 1962 Wichita State Jim Myers 1958 Iowa State Bear Bryant 1954 Kentucky Ray George 1951 Southern Cal assistant NORTH CAROLINA 45.5 percent Larry Fedora 2012 Southern Miss Butch Davis 2007 Cleveland Browns** John Bunting 2001 New Orleans Saints assistant Carl Torbush 1997 North Carolina assistant Mack Brown 1988 Tulane Dick Crum 1987 Miami-Ohio Bill Dooley 1967 Georgia assistant Jim Hickey 1959 North Carolina assistant Jim Tatum 1956 Maryland George Barclay 1953 North Carolina assistant Carl Snavely 1934 Bucknell TENNESSEE 45.4 percent Butch Jones 2013 Cincinnati Derek Dooley 2010 Louisiana Tech Lane Kiffin 2009 Oakland Raiders Phil Fulmer 1992 Tennessee assistant Johnny Majors 1977 Pittsburgh Bill Battle 1970 Tennessee assistant Doug Dickey 1964 Arkansas assistant Jim McDonald 1963 Tennessee assistant Bowden Wyatt 1955 Arkansas Harvey Robinson 1953 Tennessee assistant Robert Neyland 1926 Tennessee assistant GEORGIA TECH 45 percent Paul Johnson 2008 Navy Chan Gailey 2002 Miami Dolphins assistant George O’Leary 1994 San Diego Chargers assistant Bill Lewis 1992 East Carolina Bobby Ross 1987 Maryland Bill Curry 1980 Green Bay Packers assistant Pepper Rodgers 1974 UCLA Bull Fulcher 1972 Tampa Bud Carson 1967 Georgia Tech assistant Bobby Dodd 1945 Georgia Tech assistant MICHIGAN 45 percent Brady Hoke 2011 San Diego State Rich Rodriguez 2008 West Virginia Lloyd Carr 1995 Michigan assistant Gary Moeller 1990 Michigan assistant Bo Schembechler 1969 Miami-Ohio Bump Elliott 1959 Michigan assistant Bennie Oosterbaan 1948 Michigan assistant Fritz Crisler 1938 Princeton IOWA 44.4 percent Kirk Ferentz, 1999, Baltimore Ravens assistant Hayden Fry, 1979, North Texas Bob Commings, 1974, Massillon Washington High School Frank Lauterbur, 1971, Toledo Ray Nagel, 1966, Utah Jerry Burns, 1961, Iowa assistant Forest Evashevski, 1952, Washington State Leonard Raffensperger, 1950, Iowa assistant Eddiel Anderson, 1939, Holy Cross INDIANA 42.3 percent Kevin Wilson,2011, Oklahoma assistant Bill Lynch, 2007, Indiana assistant Terry Hoeppner, 2005, Miami-Ohio Gerry DiNardo, 2002, Birmingham Thunderbolts Cam Cameron,1997, Washington Redskins assistant Bill Mallory, 1984, Northern Illinois Sam Wyche, 1983, San Francisco 49ers assistant Lee Corso, 1973, Louisville John Pont, 1965, Yale Phil Dickens, 1958, Wyoming Bob Hicks, 1957, Wyoming assistant Bernie Crimmins, 1952, Notre Dame assistant Clyde Smith, 1948, Wisconsin-La Crosse Bo McMillin, 1934, Kansas State DUKE 41.6 percent David Cutcliffe 2008 Tennessee assistant Ted Roof 2003 Duke assistant Carl Franks 1999 Florida assistant Fred Goldsmith 1994 Rice Barry Wilson 1990 Duke assistant Steve Spurrier 1987 Tampa Bay Bandits* Steve Sloan 1983 Ole Miss Shirley Wilson 1979 Duke assistant Mike McGee 1971 East Carolina Tom Harp 1966 Cornell Bill Murray 1951 Delaware Wallace Wade 1931 Alabama WASHINGTON 40.9 percent Chris Petersen 2014 Boise State Steve Sarkisian 2009 Southern Cal assistant Tyrone Willingham 2005 Notre Dame Keith Gilbertson 2003 Washington assistant Rick Neuheisel 1999 Colorado Jim Lambright 1993 Washington assistant Don James 1975 Kent State Jim Owens 1957 Texas A&M assistant Darrell Royal 1956 Mississippi State John Cherberg 1953 Washington assistant Howard Odell 1948 Yale MICHIGAN STATE 40 percent Mark Dantonio 2007 Cincinnati John L. Smith 2003 Utah State Bobby Williams 2000 Michigan State assistant Nick Saban 1995 Cleveland Browns assistant George Perles 1982 Philadelphia Stars Muddy Waters 1980 Saginaw Valley State Darryl Rogers 1976 San Jose State Denny Stolz 1973 Michigan State assistant Duffy Daugherty 1954 Michigan State assistant Biggie Munn 1946 Syracuse SOUTH CAROLINA 40 percent Steve Spurrier 2005 Washingon Redskins* Lou Holtz 1999 Notre Dame** Brad Scott 1994 Florida State assistant Sparky Woods 1989 Appalachian State Joe Morrison 1983 New Mexico Richard Bell 1982 South Carolina assistant Jim Carlen 1975 Texas Tech Paul Dietzel 1966 Army Marvin Bass 1961 Georgia Tech assistant Warren Giese 1956 Maryland assistant ARIZONA STATE 38.5 percent Todd Graham 2012 Pittsburgh Dennis Erickson 2007 Idaho Dirk Koetter 2001 Boise State Bruce Snyder 1992 California Larry Marmie 1988 Arizona State assistant John Cooper 1985 Tulsa Darryl Rogers 1980 Michigan State Frank Kush 1958 Arizona State assistant Dan Devine 1955 Michigan State assistant Clyde Smith 1952 Indiana Larry Siemering 1951 Pacific Ed Doherty 1947 Notre Dame assistant Steve Coutchie 1946 Mesa High School NOTRE DAME 33.3 percent Brian Kelly 2010 Cincinnati Charlie Weis 2005 New England Patriots assistant Tyrone Willingham 2002 Stanford George O’Leary 2002 Georgia Tech Bob Davie 1997 Notre Dame assistant Lou Holtz 1986 Minnesota Gerry Faust 1981 Cincinnati Moeller High School Dan Devine 1975 Green Bay Packers Ara Parseghian 1964 Northwestern Joe Kuharich 1959 Washington Redskins Terry Brennan 1953 Notre Dame assistant Frank Leahy 1941 Boston College MISSOURI 33.3 percent Gary Pinkel 2001 Toledo Larry Smith 1994 Southern Cal** Bob Stull 1989 Texas-El Paso Woody Widenhofer 1985 Oklahoma Outlaws Warren Powers 1978 Nebraska assistant Al Onofrio 1971 Missouri assistant Dan Devine 1958 Arizona State Frank Broyles 1957 Georgia Tech assistant Don Faurot 1935 Truman State AUBURN 28.3 percent Gus Malzahn 2013 Arkansas State Gene Chizik 2009 Iowa State Tommy Tuberville 1999 Ole Miss Terry Bowden 1993 Samford Pat Dye 1981 Wyoming Doug Barfield 1976 Auburn assistant Shug Jordan 1951 Georgia assistant OHIO STATE 25 percent Urban Meyer 2012 Florida* Luck Fickell 2011 Ohio State assistant Jim Tressel 2001 Youngstown State John Cooper 1988 Arizona State Earle Bruce 1979 Iowa State Woody Hayes 1954 Miami-Ohio Wes Fesler 1947 Pitt Paul Bixler 1946 Ohio State assistant TEXAS 22.2% Charlie Strong 2014 Louisville Mack Brown 1998 North Carolina John Mackovic 1992 Illinois David McWilliams 1987 Texas Tech Fred Akers 1977 Wyoming Darrell Royal 1957 Washington Ed Price 1951 Texas assistant Blair Cherry 1947 Texas assistant Dana X. Bible 1937 Nebraska ALABAMA 18.2 percent Nick Saban 2007 Miami Dolphins Mike Shula 2003 Miami Dolphins assistant Mike Price 2003 Washington State Dennis Franchione 2001 TCU Mike DuBose 1997 Alabama assistant Gene Stallings 1990 Phoenix Cardinals Bill Curry 1987 Georgia Tech Ray Perkins 1983 New York Giants Bear Bryant 1958 Texas A&M J.B. Whitworth 1955 Oklahoma State Red Drew 1947 Ole Miss MINNESOTA 18.1 percent Jerry Kill, 2011, Northern Illinois Tim Brewster, 2007, Denver Broncos assistant Glen Mason,1997, Kansas Jim Wacker, 1992, TCU John Gutekunst, 1986, Minnesota assistant Lou Holtz, 1984, Arkansas Joe Salem, 1979, Northern Arizona Cal Stoll, 1972, Wake Forest Murray ‘Warmath, 1954, Mississippi State Wes Fesler, 1951, Ohio State Bernie Bierman, 1932, Tulane ARKANSAS 9.1 percent Bret Bielema 2013 Wisconsin Bobby Petrino 2008 Atlanta Falcons Houston Nutt 1998 Boise State Danny Ford 1993 Clemson** Jack Crowe 1990 Arkansas assistant Ken Hatfield 1984 Air Force Lou Holtz 1977 New York Jets Frank Broyles 1958 Missouri Jack Mitchell 1955 Wichita state Bowden Wyatt 1953 Wyoming Otis Douglas 1950 Drexel
Jan 5, 2014
ALL-STATE FOOTBALL — Despite leading McAlester to the Class 5A semifinals last year at quarterback, Caden Pratt made the shift to slot receiver in his senior season with standout Dalton Wood returning from injury.
McAlester's Caden Pratt lives up to expectations as a coach's kid
BY TRENT SHADID Staff Writer email@example.com | Jan 5, 2014Being the son of a coach can be tough on a high school football player. Typically, more is expected of you from the coaching staff and your peers. As a four-year starter at McAlester, Caden Pratt lived up to those expectations and then some while playing for his dad Bryan. “Playing for my dad, it's had its ups and downs, but in the end I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world,” Caden said. “I wouldn't rather have been around any other group of people. They're all family to me.” For Caden, The Oklahoman's first-team All-State punt returner, doing whatever it takes to win has always been his only concern. Despite leading McAlester to the Class 5A semifinals last year at quarterback, Caden made the shift to slot receiver in his senior season with standout Dalton Wood returning from injury. “Last year, I touched the ball almost every play of the game,” Caden said. “Some games I had more than 40 carries. Coming into this year, I knew I was going to be somewhat of a decoy. And I was a lot of the time, but it really didn't matter to me as long as we were winning.” The Buffaloes did a lot of winning, going 12-2 and finishing runner-up to Guthrie in Class 5A. On the season, Caden scored 24 touchdowns while compiling a combined 1,779 yards rushing, receiving, and passing. “It's been a blast (playing at McAlester),” Caden said. “Everybody knows everybody and it's a football town. It makes it special to know that everyone backs you and everyone cares about what you're doing.” Bryan will miss having his son's playing-making ability on the field next season, but most of all he's thankful for how far the program has come during Caden's four years as a starter. “It's been a really fun ride,” Bryan said. “There's some challenges with it. I was probably harder on him than I was on the other kids on the team just because it's my son. But he's given me everything I could ask a son to give me and I'm really proud of him. He's just a playmaker and has done a great job of representing me and our team.”