MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
LA Angels 6 Detroit 0
LA Angels 11 Detroit 4
Cleveland 6 Chicago White Sox 3
NY Mets 2 Washington 1
Chicago Cubs 10 St. Louis 3
BOX SCORES: http://hosted.stats.com/mlb/scoreboard.asp
PLAYER NEWS: http://hosted.stats.com/mlb/news.asp
MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
LOUISVILLE 9 INDIANAPOLIS 6
FORT WAYNE 7 WEST MICHIGAN 4
WEST MICHIGAN 6 FORT WAYNE 1
SOUTH BEND 4 PEORIA 1
LOS ANGELES 81 INDIANA 68
NEW YORK 95 ATLANTA 84
MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER
CHICAGO 3 MINNESOTA 2
Major League Baseball
BALTIMORE ORIOLES — Sent RHP Austin Voth to Norfolk (IL) on a rehab assignment.
CHICAGO WHITE SOX — Recalled LHP Sammy Peralta from Charlotte (IL).
CLEVELAND GUARDIANS — Recalled RF Oscar Gonzalez from Columbus (IL).
DETROIT TIGERS — Recalled RHP Trey Wingenter from Toledo (IL).
LOS ANGELES ANGELS — Transferred RHP Ben Joyce from the 15-day IL to the 60-day IL. Designated INF Jared Walsh, LHP Tucker Davidson and RHP Tucker Walsh for assignment. Activated RHP Reynaldo Lopez. Recalled RHP Zach Weiss from Salt Lake PCL).
MINNESOTA TWINS — Reinstated DH Byron Buxton from the paternity list. Optioned OF Trevor Larnach to St. Paul (IL).
OAKLAND ATHLETICS — Sent SS Kevin Smith and 2B Esteury Ruiz to Las Vegas (PCL) on a rehab assignment.
ATLANTA BRAVES — Agreed to terms with RHPs Rowan Wick and Seth Elledge on minor league contracts.
COLORADO ROCKIES — Optioned RHP Riley Pint to Albuquerque (PCL).
LOS ANGELES DODGERS — Optioned 2B Yonny Hernandez to Oklahoma City (PCL).
MILWAUKEE BREWERS — Acquired 1B Carlos Santana from Pittsburgh in exchange for INF Jhonny Severino. Optioned RHP Trevor Megill to Nashville (IL).
National Basketball Association
NEW YORK KNICKS — Signed G Dylan Windler to a two-way contract.
SAN ANTONIO SPURS — Signed G Sidy Cissoko and F Sandro Mamukelashvili.
National Football League
CAROLINA PANTHERS — Signed WR Javon Wims. Placed WR Marquez Stevenson on the active/physically unable to perform (PUP) list.
CINCINNATI BENGALS — Signed DE Trey Hendrickson to a one-year contract extension.
CLEVELAND BROWNS — Activated WR Anthony Schwartz from the active/non-football injury (NFI) list.
GREEN BAY PACKERS — Activated OT Caleb Jones and DBs Tarvarius Moore and Tarif Carpenter from the active/non-football injury (NFI) list. Placed WR Jeff Cotton on injured reserve.
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS — Signed CB Chris Lammons.
KANSAS CITY CHIEEFS — Signed WR Tyler Scott.
LAS VEGAS RAIDERS — Signed CB Isiah Brown. Waived CB Jordan Perryman with an injury designation.
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS — Signed WR Milton Wright.
NEW YORK GIANTS — Signed DT Kevin Atkins.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS — Activated P Mitch Wishnowsky from the active/non-football injury (NFI) list. Signed LB Kyahwa Tezino.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS — Re-signed LB Ben Burr-Kirven.
WASHINGTON COMANDERS — Waived DB Xavier Henderson from the active/physically unable to perform (PUP) list with an injury settlement.
National Hockey League
ARIZONA COYOTES — Signed F Logan Cooley to a three-year, entry-level contract.
READING ROYALS — Re-signed G Nolan Maier.
Major League Soccer
D.C. UNITED — Signed M Gabriel Pirani on loan from Santos FC (Brazilian Serie A), pending receipt of his international transfer certificate (ITC) and P-1 visa.
HOUSTON DYNAMO FC — Loaned F Sebas Ferreira to Club Regatas Vasco de Gama (Brazil) for the remainder of the season.
LOS ANGELES FC — Acquired a 2023 international roster slot from Columbus Crew in exchange for $150,000 in general allocation money (GAM).
INDIANA HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL WEEK 1
|BOYLE COUNTY (KY.)||AT||GIBSON SOUTHERN||6:00 PM|
|CENTER GROVE||VS.||ST. EDWARD (OHIO)||12:05 AM|
|SOUTHSIDE HOMESCHOOL||AT||PHALEN ACADEMY||5:00 PM|
BIG 10 WEEKLY FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
MINNESOTA VS. NEBRASKA
THURSDAY, AUG. 31
WISCONSIN VS. BUFFALO
MICHIGAN STATE VS. CENTRAL MICHIGAN
MICHIGAN VS. EAST CAROLINA
PURDUE VS. FRESNO STATE
RUTGERS VS. NORTHWESTERN
INDIANA VS. OHIO STATE
ILLINOIS VS. TOLEDO
MARYLAND VS. TOWSON
IOWA VS. UTAH STATE
PENN STATE VS. WEST VIRGINIA
MARYLAND VS. CHARLOTTE
PENN STATE VS. DELAWARE
MINNESOTA VS. EASTERN MICHIGAN
ILLINOIS AT KANSAS
INDIANA VS. INDIANA STATE
IOWA AT IOWA STATE
NEBRASKA AT COLORADO
PURDUE AT VIRGINIA TECH
MICHIGAN STATE VS. RICHMOND
RUTGERS VS. TEMPLE
MICHIGAN VS. UNLV
NORTHWESTERN VS. UTEP
WISCONSIN AT WASHINGTON STATE
OHIO STATE VS. YOUNGSTOWN STATE
MICHIGAN VS. BOWLING GREEN
WISCONSIN VS. GEORGIA SOUTHERN
INDIANA VS. LOUISVILLE (IN INDIANAPOLIS, IN)
MINNESOTA AT NORTH CAROLINA
NEBRASKA VS. NORTHERN ILLINOIS
NORTHWESTERN AT DUKE
ILLINOIS VS. PENN STATE
PURDUE VS. SYRACUSE
MARYLAND VS. VIRGINIA
RUTGERS VS. VIRGINIA TECH
MICHIGAN STATE VS. WASHINGTON
IOWA VS. WESTERN MICHIGAN
OHIO STATE VS. WESTERN KENTUCKY
INDIANA VS. AKRON
ILLINOIS VS. FLORIDA ATLANTIC
PENN STATE VS. IOWA
NEBRASKA VS. LOUISIANA TECH
MICHIGAN STATE VS. MARYLAND
NORTHWESTERN VS. MINNESOTA
OHIO STATE AT NOTRE DAME
MICHIGAN VS. RUTGERS
PURDUE VS. WISCONSIN
PURDUE VS. ILLINOIS
MARYLAND VS. INDIANA
MINNESOTA VS. LOUISIANA
NEBRASKA VS. MICHIGAN
IOWA VS. MICHIGAN STATE
NORTHWESTERN VS. PENN STATE
RUTGERS VS. WAGNER
NORTHWESTERN VS. HOWARD
OHIO STATE VS. MARYLAND
MINNESOTA VS. MICHIGAN
ILLINOIS VS. NEBRASKA
IOWA VS. PURDUE
WISCONSIN VS. RUTGERS
MARYLAND VS. ILLINOIS
MICHIGAN VS. INDIANA
WISCONSIN VS. IOWA
RUTGERS VS. MICHIGAN STATE
PURDUE VS. OHIO STATE
PENN STATE VS. UMASS
MICHIGAN STATE VS. MICHIGAN
IOWA VS. MINNESOTA
NEBRASKA VS. NORTHWESTERN
OHIO STATE VS. PENN STATE
INDIANA VS. RUTGERS
ILLINOIS VS. WISCONSIN
PENN STATE VS. INDIANA
NORTHWESTERN VS. MARYLAND
MINNESOTA VS. MICHIGAN STATE
WISCONSIN VS. OHIO STATE
NEBRASKA VS. PURDUE
MINNESOTA VS. ILLINOIS
NORTHWESTERN VS. IOWA (IN CHICAGO, IL)
MICHIGAN STATE VS. NEBRASKA
RUTGERS VS. OHIO STATE
MARYLAND VS. PENN STATE
MICHIGAN VS. PURDUE
INDIANA VS. WISCONSIN
ILLINOIS VS. INDIANA
NEBRASKA VS. MARYLAND
PENN STATE VS. MICHIGAN
OHIO STATE VS. MICHIGAN STATE
PURDUE VS. MINNESOTA
WISCONSIN VS. NORTHWESTERN
IOWA VS. RUTGERS
IOWA VS. ILLINOIS
MARYLAND VS. MICHIGAN
INDIANA VS. MICHIGAN STATE
OHIO STATE VS. MINNESOTA
WISCONSIN VS. NEBRASKA
NORTHWESTERN VS. PURDUE
PENN STATE VS. RUTGERS
NEBRASKA VS. IOWA
FRIDAY, NOV. 24
PURDUE VS. INDIANA
RUTGERS VS. MARYLAND
ILLINOIS VS. NORTHWESTERN
MICHIGAN VS. OHIO STATE
MICHIGAN STATE VS. PENN STATE
MINNESOTA VS. WISCONSIN
COLLEGE FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
SATURDAY, AUG. 26
NOTRE DAME VS. NAVY (DUBLIN, IRELAND) | 2:30 P.M. | NBC
MERCER VS. NORTH ALABAMA (MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA) | 3:30 P.M. | ESPN
JACKSONVILLE STATE VS. UTEP | 5:30 P.M. | CBSSN
NEW MEXICO STATE VS. UMASS | 7 P.M. | ESPN
SAN DIEGO STATE VS. OHIO | 7 P.M. | FS1
VANDERBILT VS. HAWAI’I | 7:30 P.M. | SEC NETWORK
JACKSON STATE VS. SOUTH CAROLINA STATE (ATLANTA, GEORGIA) | 7:30 P.M. | ABC
USC VS. SAN JOSE STATE | 8 P.M. | PAC-12 NETWORK
LOUISIANA TECH VS. FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL | 9 P.M. | CBSSN
THURSDAY, AUG. 31
WAKE FOREST VS. ELON | 7 P.M. | ACC NETWORK
UCF VS. KENT STATE | 7 P.M. | FS1
GEORGIA STATE VS. RHODE ISLAND | 7 P.M. | ESPN+
WESTERN MICHIGAN VS. ST. FRANCIS (PA) | 7 P.M. | ESPN+
UCONN VS. NC STATE | 7:30 P.M. | CBSSN
MINNESOTA VS. NEBRASKA | 8 P.M. | FOX
MISSOURI VS. SOUTH DAKOTA | 8 P.M. | SEC NETWORK
UTAH VS. FLORIDA | 8 P.M. | ESPN
TULSA VS. ARKANSAS-PINE BLUFF | 8 P.M. | ESPN+
UAB VS. NORTH CAROLINA A&T | 8 P.M. | ESPN+
ARIZONA STATE VS. SOUTHERN UTAH | 10 P.M. | PAC-12 NETWORK
FRIDAY, SEPT. 1
EASTERN MICHIGAN VS. HOWARD | 6:30 P.M. | ESPN+
MICHIGAN STATE VS. CENTRAL MICHIGAN | 7 P.M. | FS1
MIAMI (FLA.) VS. MIAMI (OHIO) | 7 P.M. | ACC NETWORK
GEORGIA TECH VS. LOUISVILLE (MERCEDES-BENZ STADIUM IN ATLANTA) | 7:30 P.M. | ESPN
KANSAS VS. MISSOURI STATE | 8 P.M. | ESPN+
HAWAI’I VS. STANFORD | 11 P.M. | CBSSN
SATURDAY, SEPT. 2
IOWA VS. UTAH STATE | 12 P.M. | FS1
KENTUCKY VS. BALL STATE | 12 P.M. | SEC NETWORK
LIBERTY VS. BOWLING GREEN | 12 P.M. | CBSSN
MICHIGAN VS. EAST CAROLINA | 12 P.M. | PEACOCK
PURDUE VS. FRESNO STATE | 12 P.M. | BIG TEN NETWORK
SMU VS. LOUISIANA TECH | 12 P.M. | ESPNU
TENNESSEE VS. VIRGINIA (NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE) | 12 P.M. | ABC
TCU VS. COLORADO | 12 P.M. | FOX
BOSTON COLLEGE VS. NORTHERN ILLINOIS | 12 P.M. | ACC NETWORK
OKLAHOMA VS. ARKANSAS STATE | 12 P.M. | ESPN
OLE MISS VS. MERCER | 2 P.M. | ESPN+/SECN+
IOWA STATE VS. UNI | 2 P.M. | ESPN+
TEMPLE VS. AKRON | 2 P.M. | ESPN+
OHIO VS. LONG ISLAND UNIVERSITY | 2 P.M. | ESPN+
AIR FORCE VS. ROBERT MORRIS | 2 P.M. | ALTITUDE SPORTS
OREGON VS. PORTLAND STATE | 3 P.M. | PAC-12 NETWORK
INDIANA VS. OHIO STATE | 3:30 P.M. | CBS
AUBURN VS. UMASS | 3:30 P.M. | ESPN
MARYLAND VS. TOWSON | 3:30 P.M. | BIG TEN NETWORK
WISCONSIN VS. BUFFALO | 3:30 P.M. | FS1
WESTERN KENTUCKY VS. SOUTH FLORIDA | 3:30 P.M. | CBSSN
WASHINGTON VS. BOISE STATE | 3:30 P.M. | ABC
NOTRE DAME VS. TENNESSEE STATE | 3:30 P.M. | NBC
PITT VS. WOFFORD | 3:30 P.M. | ACC NETWORK
CINCINNATI VS. EASTERN KENTUCKY | 3:30 P.M. | ESPN+
TEXAS VS. RICE | 3:30 P.M. | FOX
APPALACHIAN STATE VS. GARDNER-WEBB | 3:30 P.M. | ESPN+
ARKANSAS VS. WESTERN CAROLINA | 4 P.M. | ESPN+/SECN+
MISSISSIPPI STATE VS. SE LOUISIANA | 4 P.M. | SEC NETWORK
NORTH TEXAS VS. CAL | 4 P.M. | ESPNU
SYRACUSE VS. COLGATE | 4 P.M. | ESPN+/ACCNX
GEORGIA VS. UT MARTIN | 6 P.M. | ESPN+/SECN+
CHARLOTTE VS. SOUTH CAROLINA STATE | 6 P.M. | ESPN+
FLORIDA ATLANTIC VS. MONMOUTH | 6 P.M. | ESPN+
GEORGIA SOUTHERN VS. THE CITADEL | 6 P.M. | ESPN+
JAMES MADISON VS. BUCKNELL | 6 P.M. | ESPN+
MARSHALL VS. ALBANY | 6 P.M. | ESPN+
FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL VS. MAINE | 6:30 P.M. | ESPN+
USC VS. NEVADA | 6:30 P.M. | PAC-12 NETWORK
TEXAS A&M VS. NEW MEXICO | 7 P.M. | ESPN
UL MONROE VS. ARMY | 7 P.M. | NFL NETWORK
VANDERBILT VS. ALABAMA A&M | 7 P.M. | ESPN+/SECN+
COLORADO STATE VS. WASHINGTON STATE | 7 P.M. | CBSSN
BAYLOR VS. TEXAS STATE | 7 P.M. | ESPN+
HOUSTON VS. UTSA | 7 P.M. | FS1
KANSAS STATE VS. SOUTHEAST MISSOURI STATE | 7 P.M. | ESPN+
OKLAHOMA STATE VS. CENTRAL ARKANSAS | 7 P.M. | ESPN+
MEMPHIS VS. BETHUNE-COOKMAN | 7 P.M. | ESPN+
SOUTHERN MISS VS. ALCORN STATE | 7 P.M. | ESPN+
TROY VS. STEPHEN F. AUSTIN | 7 P.M. | ESPN+
ALABAMA VS. MIDDLE TENNESSEE | 7:30 P.M. | SEC NETWORK
ILLINOIS VS. TOLEDO | 7:30 P.M. | BIG TEN NETWORK
SOUTH CAROLINA VS. NORTH CAROLINA (CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA) | 7:30 P.M. | ABC
PENN STATE VS. WEST VIRGINIA | 7:30 P.M. | NBC
WYOMING VS. TEXAS TECH | 7:30 P.M. | CBS
LOUISIANA VS. NORTHWESTERN STATE | 7:30 P.M. | ESPN+
VIRGINIA TECH VS. OLD DOMINION | 8 P.M. | ACC NETWORK
TULANE VS. SOUTH ALABAMA | 8 P.M. | ESPNU
NEW MEXICO STATE VS. WESTERN ILLINOIS | 9 P.M. | ESPN+
UTEP VS. UIW | 9 P.M. | ESPN+
ARIZONA VS. NORTHERN ARIZONA | 10 P.M. | PAC-12 NETWORK
BYU VS. SAM HOUSTON | 10:15 P.M. | FS1
UCLA VS. COASTAL CAROLINA | 10:30 P.M. | ESPN
SAN DIEGO STATE VS. IDAHO STATE | 10:30 P.M. | CBSSN
SUNDAY, SEPT. 3
RUTGERS VS. NORTHWESTERN | 12 P.M. | CBS
SAN JOSE STATE VS. OREGON STATE | 3:30 P.M. | CBS
FLORIDA STATE VS. LSU (ORLANDO, FLORIDA) | 7:30 P.M. | ABC
MONDAY, SEPT. 4
DUKE VS. CLEMSON | 8 P.M. | ESPN
NFL PRE-SEASON SCHEDULE
NFL/HALL OF FAME GAME – AUGUST 3
N.Y. JETS VS. CLEVELAND (NBC), 8:00
THURSDAY, AUGUST 10
HOUSTON AT NEW ENGLAND, 7:00
MINNESOTA AT SEATTLE, 10:00
FRIDAY, AUGUST 11
N.Y. GIANTS AT DETROIT, 7:00
GREEN BAY AT CINCINNATI, 7:00
ATLANTA AT MIAMI, 7:00
PITTSBURGH AT TAMPA BAY, 7:00
WASHINGTON AT CLEVELAND, 7:30
DENVER AT ARIZONA, 10:00
SATURDAY, AUGUST 12
INDIANAPOLIS AT BUFFALO, 1:00
TENNESSEE AT CHICAGO, 1:00
N.Y. JETS AT CAROLINA, 4:00
JACKSONVILLE AT DALLAS, 5:00
PHILADELPHIA AT BALTIMORE, 7:00
L.A. CHARGERS AT L.A. RAMS, 9:00
SUNDAY, AUGUST 13
KANSAS CITY AT NEW ORLEANS, 1:00
SAN FRANCISCO AT LAS VEGAS, 4:00
THURSDAY, AUGUST 17
CLEVELAND AT PHILADELPHIA, 7:30
FRIDAY, AUGUST 18
CAROLINA AT N.Y. GIANTS, 7:00
CINCINNATI AT ATLANTA, 7:30
SATURDAY, AUGUST 19
JACKSONVILLE AT DETROIT, 1:00
MIAMI AT HOUSTON, 4:00
BUFFALO AT PITTSBURGH, 6:30
CHICAGO AT INDIANAPOLIS, 7:00
TAMPA BAY AT N.Y. JETS, 7:30
KANSAS CITY AT ARIZONA, 8:00
NEW ENGLAND AT GREEN BAY, 8:00
TENNESSEE AT MINNESOTA, 8:00
DENVER AT SAN FRANCISCO, 8:30
LAS VEGAS AT L.A. RAMS, 9:00
DALLAS AT SEATTLE, 10:00
SUNDAY, AUGUST 20
NEW ORLEANS AT L.A. CHARGERS, 7:05
MONDAY, AUGUST 21
BALTIMORE AT WASHINGTON (ESPN), 8:00
THURSDAY, AUGUST 24
PITTSBURGH AT ATLANTA, 7:30
INDIANAPOLIS AT PHILADELPHIA (PRIME VIDEO), 8:00
FRIDAY, AUGUST 25
DETROIT AT CAROLINA (CBS), 8:00
NEW ENGLAND AT TENNESSEE, 8:15
L.A. CHARGERS AT SAN FRANCISCO, 10:00
SATURDAY, AUGUST 26
BUFFALO AT CHICAGO, 1:00
SEATTLE AT GREEN BAY, 1:00
CLEVELAND AT KANSAS CITY, 1:00
ARIZONA AT MINNESOTA, 1:00
N.Y. JETS AT N.Y. GIANTS, 6:00
CINCINNATI AT WASHINGTON, 6:05
MIAMI AT JACKSONVILLE, 7:00
BALTIMORE AT TAMPA BAY, 7:00
LAS VEGAS AT DALLAS, 8:00
L.A. RAMS AT DENVER, 9:00
SUNDAY, AUGUST 27
HOUSTON AT NEW ORLEANS (FOX), 8:00
WEEK 1 REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE
DETROIT LIONS AT KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (THU) 7:20P (CT) 8:20P NBC
CAROLINA PANTHERS AT ATLANTA FALCONS 1:00P (ET) 1:00P FOX
HOUSTON TEXANS AT BALTIMORE RAVENS 1:00P (ET) 1:00P CBS
CINCINNATI BENGALS AT CLEVELAND BROWNS 1:00P (ET) 1:00P CBS
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS AT INDIANAPOLIS COLTS 1:00P (ET) 1:00P FOX
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS AT MINNESOTA VIKINGS 12:00P (CT) 1:00P CBS
TENNESSEE TITANS AT NEW ORLEANS SAINTS 12:00P (CT) 1:00P CBS
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS AT PITTSBURGH STEELERS 1:00P (ET) 1:00P FOX
ARIZONA CARDINALS AT WASHINGTON COMMANDERS 1:00P (ET) 1:00P FOX
GREEN BAY PACKERS AT CHICAGO BEARS 3:25P (CT) 4:25P FOX
LAS VEGAS RAIDERS AT DENVER BRONCOS 2:25P (MT) 4:25P CBS
MIAMI DOLPHINS AT LOS ANGELES CHARGERS 1:25P (PT) 4:25P CBS
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES AT NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 4:25P (ET) 4:25P CBS
LOS ANGELES RAMS AT SEATTLE SEAHAWKS 1:25P (PT) 4:25P FOX
DALLAS COWBOYS AT NEW YORK GIANTS 8:20P (ET) 8:20P NBC
BUFFALO BILLS AT NEW YORK JETS (MON) 8:15P (ET) 8:15P ESPN/ABC
TOP NATIONAL RELEASES/HEADLINES
BENGALS QB JOE BURROW CARTED OFF THE PRACTICE FIELD AFTER CALF INJURY
CINCINNATI (AP) — Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow was carted off the practice field after he came up hobbling from a scramble on Thursday.
The 26-year-old franchise quarterback hobbled on one leg and then went to the ground after the play near the end of the afternoon practice.
Coach Zac Taylor later said it was a calf injury. Burrow was wearing a sleeve on it and came up limping.
Several teammates gathered around while trainers tended to the Pro Bowl quarterback before he was helped on to the back of a cart.
“Sometimes players feel a little sore after the first day,” Taylor said when asked about Burrow wearing the sleeve on his right calf.
“I’m not the expert here, but my gut says Joe will be OK,” center Ted Karras said in the locker room.
“I’m not going to talk about another player’s injuries, but I know about calf strains all too well, and they are painful but aren’t the end of the world,” defensive end Sam Hubbard said. “They do linger a bit, but I think the training staff and Joe are going to do the right thing and to take care of this early in camp and be ready to go.”
Burrow is still negotiating with the Bengals on a long-term contract that could make him one of the NFL’s highest-paid players.
Burrow had talked Wednesday about how good he felt at the opening of camp after his first three NFL training camps were disrupted and how he hoped to play in some preseason games.
Preseason practice was truncated in Burrow’s rookie year in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. In 2001, he was still rehabbing after knee surgery the previous December. On the first day of camp last year, he was stricken with appendicitis.
“I feel in my position I don’t want to waste any of these days that I have to get better,” he said. “I’ve wasted enough days over the last two years with injuries, appendicitis, COVID year before that. I don’t want to get out of camp wishing I had seven more days that I could have got better.”
VIKINGS STAR JUSTIN JEFFERSON PLAYS HIS CONTRACT SITUATION COOL AND WELCOMES THE PRESSURE
EAGAN, Minn. (AP) — Justin Jefferson walked off the Minnesota Vikings practice field once the first session of training camp was finished, looking as fit and lean as ever with his easy, wide smile framing his designer sunglasses.
He was the picture of cool, hardly sweating the absence of a contract extension.
“That’s not the words that I have right now. Really, I’m about winning a Super Bowl,” Jefferson said. “Just getting the wins and being with my team. The contract is going to play itself out, and I’m just out here to play football.”
The relentless drive and gregarious presence of Jefferson sure keeps the tension to a minimum in Minnesota. The unresolved contract situation for outside linebacker Danielle Hunter appears to be much more of an issue for the club this summer even though Jefferson was absent all spring on his own offseason training and business agenda.
Jefferson has two years remaining on his rookie deal, for one. He’s also blossomed into the type of superstar at a premium position that there’s little doubt the Vikings will ante up. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has said, perhaps tongue in cheek, he wouldn’t even want to stay on the job without Jefferson on the roster. The negotiation between the Vikings and Jefferson’s representatives is in the “constant ongoing dialogue” phase, Adofo-Mensah said this week.
“There’s certain types of players you want around — players who love football, are great at football, make their teammates better, have that winning spirit,” Adofo-Mensah said. “I’ll never forget when I first met him, he just talked about winning.”
The Vikings are breaking in a rookie wide receiver, Jordan Addison, this season after jettisoning veteran Adam Thielen for salary cap savings. They’ve increased K.J. Osborn’s role, banking on the fourth-year player’s ability to do enough damage to keep defenses honest and reduce the burden of coverage that Jefferson will continue to see. Tight end T.J. Hockenson will play a big part in that, too.
Still, the onus will be on Jefferson to continue to evolve as a route-runner and pass-catcher after a thrilling third season during which he led the NFL with 128 receptions and 1,809 yards and won the AP Offensive Player of the Year award.
“That’s nothing new. I love the target on my back. That means more pressure toward me. That means more people looking at me, and it opens up more people,” Jefferson said.
The Vikings, starting with quarterback Kirk Cousins, ought to be on track for a smoother and more productive season as an offense now that they have a full year in head coach Kevin O’Connell’s system.
“I’m always confident in me and Kirk’s relationship. Since I’ve been here our relationship has gotten better and better. I feel like he’s trusting me more. I’m trusting him more. The more we play together, the better we are,” Jefferson said.
One place that was on Jefferson’s offseason itinerary was Brazil, where he befriended soccer star Vinicius Jr. in Brazil. Jefferson traveled to South America as part of his role as one of the NFL’s global flag football ambassadors to help promote the alternative sport.
“One of the most beautiful places that I’ve ever visited. It was definitely an eye-opener, just being with Vinicius Jr., seeing the type of life he lives over there and just being a part of that culture and that vibe. It definitely was a great experience,” Jefferson said. “I love being a face of the league, but I’ll be even more a face of the league once I get a Super Bowl.”
RUNNING BACK AARON JONES GETTING MORE VOCAL AS HE HELPS LEAD YOUNG PACKERS OFFENSE
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Jones doesn’t buy the notion that the lack of experience on the Green Bay Packers’ offense will result in diminished production.
“I think we can be very explosive,” the 28-year-old running back said. “We’ve got a lot of speed, got a lot of weapons, some people (you) may not have ever heard of and some people you may have heard of.”
Jones is one of the more familiar names on an offense that will be relying heavily on newcomers as the Packers adapt to life without four-time MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who was traded to the New York Jets.
That puts more of an onus on Jones to assert himself as a leader.
Jones is accepting that responsibility by following the lessons he learned from his parents — both military veterans — and from former teammates such as Rodgers, Randall Cobb and Marcedes Lewis.
“I had some of those vets who aren’t here anymore help me get to this spot. I’ve been more a lead-by-example guy, but those guys put me in situations, made me get comfortable with being uncomfortable, and I think thank them for that,” Jones said. “I feel like it led to this and I’m ready to lead these guys in any way.”
He also is learning from the example his parents set while serving decades in the Army, with his father earning the rank of command sergeant major and his mother advancing to sergeant major. Jones’ father, Alvin Jones Sr., died in the spring of 2021 at the age of 57.
“It was never about them,” Jones said. “It was about the people that they were bringing along. When they were deployed, they were responsible for making sure that this group of people get back to their families safe. My dad told me so many times — and I’ve been there — he promised a kid’s mother, ‘I’ll make sure your son comes home safely.’ So things like that.
“It’s never about me, it’s about the people around me and who I can bring along and how I can help.”
Jones has tried to help out this year by being more vocal. His teammates already notice the difference.
“You see him in the huddle kind of getting the offensive line going before we go out in a competition period, just kind of encouraging the guys, ‘All right. Here we go,’ which is great,” running back AJ Dillon said. “It’s awesome. Definitely a couple of guys who were doing that role left, so he’s stepped up into that and done a great job so far throughout camp.”
Jones has long been a model teammate.
The 2017 fifth-round pick from UTEP is one of three players — Jim Brown and Adrian Peterson are the others — to rush for at least 5,000 yards, score at least 60 touchdowns from scrimmage and gain at least 5 yards per carry over their first six seasons in the league.
Each of the past two seasons, Jones has been the Packers’ nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award, which honors players for excellence on the field and service in the community.
He showed his loyalty to the Packers by agreeing in the offseason on a restructured deal that reduced his salary for this season. He followed that up by getting a tattoo of the Packers’ “G” logo on his knee.
“He does things the right way,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said. “You guys have heard me talk about him at length in terms of just what he does on the field, what he does off the field, what he does as a father, as a son. And I think everybody in that locker room holds him in the highest regard.”
Jones is hoping he can continue setting that type of example for years to come. As he enters his seventh NFL season, Jones believes he isn’t even at the halfway point of his career.
“I’m going longer than 12,” Jones said. “Hopefully a Frank Gore career. That’s the goal. I want to play as long as I can. And I feel like 12, I can definitely achieve that, but I want to go longer.”
NOTES: Rookie WR Dontayvion Wicks (concussion) didn’t practice Thursday. … The offense had to do push-ups or down-ups at the end of practice for a second day. That punishment goes to the players on whichever side of the ball loses that day’s main competition period. … QB Alex McGough, the USFL MVP, says he’s working late nights trying to learn the Packers’ playbook. McGough just signed with the Packers last week. “I probably go to bed at 1 a.m. just because I’m studying,” McGough said. “I don’t want to let these guys down.”
CARDS REWORK CONTRACT FOR ALL-PRO SAFETY BUDDA BAKER, ADD BONUSES AND INCENTIVES, AP SOURCE SAYS
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The Arizona Cardinals have reworked the contract for All-Pro safety Budda Baker, adding $2.4 million in bonuses and incentives for the upcoming season, including a $300,000 signing bonus, according to a person familiar with the deal.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal hasn’t been announced.
Baker also received a raise for next season. The NFL Network first reported about the reworked contract.
The 27-year-old has been one of the best defensive players in the league since he was drafted in the second round out of Washington in 2017. He’s a two-time All-Pro selection in 2017 and 2020 who is known as a hard-hitter despite his relatively small stature at 5-foot-10 and 195 pounds.
Baker had previously made it known he was unhappy with his contract, but was on the field for the Cardinals’ first practice of training camp on Wednesday, giving a good indication that contract talks were trending in the right direction.
On Thursday, the safety’s confidence was rewarded.
“He plays the game, in my opinion, how it should be played,” Cardinals first-year coach Jonathan Gannon said. “It’s easy to point out to other people that type of effort and enthusiasm when you turn on the tape. That’s how he’s always been.”
SEAN PAYTON PINS BLAME FOR AWFUL 2022 SEASON BY BRONCOS, WILSON ON PREDECESSOR NATHANIEL HACKETT
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Sean Payton was so intent on having the Denver Broncos put last year’s awful 5-12 season behind them that he had a video made showing a 2022 Ford Bronco with its rearview and side mirrors removed.
Clearly those mirrors were no longer missing this week when he excoriated his predecessor, Nathaniel Hackett, and lashed into Hackett’s new team, the New York Jets, in an interview with USA Today’s Jarrett Bell that was posted Thursday.
Payton, who’s returning to the sideline after a year’s sabbatical, called the work Hackett and his staff did in Denver last season “one of the worst coaching jobs in the NFL” and said there were “20 dirty hands” around Russell Wilson’s career-worst season.
“Everything I heard about last season,” Payton said, “we’re doing the opposite.”
Although Payton was known for his frankness during his 15-year stint with the New Orleans Saints, his comments came as somewhat of a surprise given that he’s admonished his team not to look back at 2022 and because he had avoided playing the blame game when discussing roster repairs and culture change.
“It doesn’t happen often where an NFL team or organization gets embarrassed,” Payton told USA Today. “And that happened here. Part of it was their own fault, relative to spending so much (expletive) time trying to win the offseason — the PR, the pomp and circumstance, marching people around and all this stuff.
“We’re not doing any of that. The Jets did that this year. You watch. ‘Hard Knocks,’ all of it. I can see it coming. Remember when (former Washington owner) Dan Snyder put that Dream Team together? I was at the Giants (in 2000). I was a young coach. I thought, ‘How are we going to compete with them? Deion’s (Sanders) there now.’ That team won eight games or whatever. So, listen … just put the work in.”
Payton’s next media availability is Friday.
Asked about Payton’s comments, Jets coach Robert Saleh had some spicy comments Thursday.
“Well, I’m not going to acknowledge Sean on that. You know, he’s been in the league a while. He can say whatever the hell he wants,” Saleh began.
“But as far as what we have going on here, I kind of live by the saying, ‘If you ain’t got no haters, you ain’t poppin’,’ so hate away. Obviously we’re doing something right if you’ve got to talk about us when we don’t play you until Week 4.”
The Jets visit the Broncos on Oct. 8 in Week 5.
Saleh also defended Hackett, who was hired as New York’s offensive coordinator following his dismissal from the Broncos on Dec. 26 with a 4-10 record. Hackett’s arrival helped lure Aaron Rodgers to the Jets this offseason.
“I think Hackett’s doing a phenomenal job here. The coaching staff is doing a phenomenal job. And we’re focused on us,” Saleh said. “I get it, there’s a lot of external noise, there’s a lot of people that are hatin’ on us and a lot of people looking for us to fail. There’s a lot of crows pecking at our neck. But all you can do is spread your wings, keep flying high until those crows fall off and suffocate from the inability to breathe.”
Behind Rodgers, the Jets are aiming to end the league’s longest current playoff drought at 12 years. Up next are the Broncos, who haven’t been back to the postseason since winning Super Bowl 50 in Peyton Manning’s last game, the seven-year streak the longest ever for a Super Bowl champ.
The Broncos’ chances of turning it around in 2023 rest largely on how Wilson bounces back from last year, when he looked nothing like the star he was in Seattle.
“There’s so much dirt around that,” Payton said. “There’s 20 dirty hands, for what was allowed, tolerated in the fricking training rooms, the meeting rooms. The offense. I don’t know Hackett. A lot of people had dirt on their hands. It wasn’t just Russell. He didn’t just flip. He still has it. This B.S. that he hit a wall? Shoot, they couldn’t get a play in. They were 29th in the league in pre-snap penalties on both sides of the ball.”
Payton said he’s encouraged by what he’s seen from Wilson so far this offseason, adding, “He’s still got gas in the tank.”
FANS RETURN TO WASHINGTON COMMANDERS CAMP TO CELEBRATE THE TEAM’S OWNERSHIP CHANGE
ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — Three weeks after Dan Snyder and wife Tanya began exploring selling part or all of the Washington Commanders, Andrew and Laura Potts went to a home game and decided to become season-ticket holders.
They hoped a sale would be completed by the time they returned, and they got their wish last week when NFL owners unanimously approved the transfer of the team from the Snyders to a group led by Josh Harris.
The couple from Front Royal, Virginia, was in the front row at the first public practice of training camp, with the back of Andrew’s jersey bearing the words, “SNYDER GONE.”
Snyder is gone, and Washington football fans are back. More than 3,000 attended Thursday, filling up brand new bleachers and standing room space next to the field like nothing seen at this team’s camp in recent years.
“Just the excitement: Nobody’s negative anymore,” said Laura Potts, 34. “All the negativity’s gone all of a sudden. It’s really fun to see.”
The packed stands full of cheering fans was a stark contrast from a year ago, when the grounds were nearly empty and apathy at an all-time high. The Commanders were last in the NFL in attendance after ranking 31st of 32 teams in 2021.
And the fans who were there often wore the colors of the visiting team. Looking around at the crowd assembled for practice, offensive lineman Sam Cosmi envisioned a world this season where home games feel like home.
“It’s going to be nice,” Cosmi said. “I feel like this year we’re not going to be at a home game and having to go on silent count. I’m looking forward to that. I think we’ll have a packed stadium with burgundy and gold, so I’m excited about that.”
Josh Kirby, 24, of Stephens City, Virginia, was excited just to see Harris, team president Jason Wright and Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin signing autographs and taking pictures with fans on their way in. Chants of “Thank you, Josh!” filled the air, and individual fans expressed their appreciation to Harris as he made his way by.
“That means a lot to me,” Kirby said. “They’re recognizing the fan base and what they mean to Washington football.”
Bringing fans back is one of the immediate priorities for the new ownership group, which features three prominent figures with Washington-area ties in Harris and limited partners Mitchell Rales and Mark Ein, as well as basketball Hall of Famer Magic Johnson.
“All of us in the new ownership group are deeply committed to making this a franchise that people are proud to support and that brings people together,” Ein told The Associated Press by phone Wednesday. “We want to deliver a world-class experience for our fans at the stadium and wherever we touch them. That’s a deep commitment we all have: making this one of the great fan experiences in all of sports.”
New ownership’s mere presence is helping. Since word emerged of Harris and Snyder reaching an agreement in principle on a $6.05 billion sale in mid-April, the team has added 4,143 more season-ticket holders, according to a Commanders spokesperson.
The effort is also there. Harris’ group is looking into fixing up aging FedEx Field, and the addition of the bleachers themselves, along with food trucks, a store and more fan-friendly activities stood out.
“Mr. Harris ain’t playing games,” 2020 Defensive Rookie of the Year and Maryland native Chase Young said. “I know (fans are) excited about new ownership, and just the stands itself made it feel more like an NFL practice, for real.”
Minutes earlier, Cosmi sounded the same tone.
“This looks put together,” he said. “It looks like a professional football team.”
A professional football team that’s now wanted by the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia after several off-field scandals derailed previous plans. Rep. James Comer, a Kentucky Republican, and Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C.’s nonvoting representative in the House, introduced a bill to Congress on Thursday that could pave the way for the Commanders to make the old RFK Stadium site their next home.
Deciding on where to build will take some time, and it could be until 2030 until Washington — whatever the team is called at that point — starts playing in a shiny, new, state-of-the-art facility.
Until then, Andrew Potts said, “It’s refreshing” for Commanders fans not to be the butt of jokes because of Snyder or the negative news he made. The organization is now hoping to take camp crowds and turn them into even bigger ones for games this fall and beyond.
“Having support from fans is a huge thing for a football team — for any football team,” Cosmi said. “When you feel like you can come out here and you know what you’re playing for and you have people to play for, that just helps a ton.”
SAQUON BARKLEY FOLLOWED HIS HEART IN SIGNING FRANCHISE TAG AND JOINING THE GIANTS
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Star running back Saquon Barkley followed his heart in signing his franchise tag and joining the New York Giants for the start of training camp.
Speaking for the first time since signing a one-year, $11 contract earlier Tuesday, Barkley said he wanted to play the game he loved, realized he had little leverage in contract talks after being tagged and hoped having a second straight big season would help increase the value of running backs across the NFL.
“I had an epiphany,” Barkley said Thursday after the second day of practice. “Now, the reality of it is, I kind of just followed my heart.”
The Giants and Barkley failed to reach a deal on a multi-year contract extension on July 17, meaning he could only play on a one-year deal, centered around the $10.1 million franchise tag the Giants placed on him on March.
There was speculation Barkley would sit out a part of training camp or possibly the entire season if he was very unhappy. It never came that close. The two sides got together Monday and 24 hours later the 26-year-old signed his tender sheet which was coupled with $909,000 in incentives.
Barkley said he considered sitting out, but opted to sign the new contract after talking with family and former players. He also noted if he sat out and the Giants had a bad season, no team would want to sign him the following season.
“The only way that I will make a change or do something that’s going to benefit for myself and my family is doing what I do best, and that’s showing up playing the game I love and do at a high level,” Barkley said.
Barkley strongly hinted he could have gotten more money from contract proposals made during the 9 1/2-month of negotiations that started last season. He turned them down because he felt the offers were not “respectable” at the time. He said he didn’t use “fair” because most fans don’t come close to making what an athlete does, he said.
Barkley ran for a career-best 1,312 yards as well as 10 touchdowns in 2022. He also shared the team lead with 57 catches in helping the Giants (9-7-1) make the playoffs for the first time since 2016.
The Penn State product hopes another good season will increase the value of his position. The Giants can put a franchise tag on Barkley again next season.
Barkley refused to speculate how he would react if he was tagged again, but noted he is now focused on this season. He admitted he was disappointed at times during the talks, but felt the sides talked in good faith.
Barkley is now focused on this season and he has no regrets. His goal is being there for his teammates and helping them win a title. He also wants to combine with fellow running backs such as Christian McCaffrey of the 49ers, Jonathan Taylor of the Colts and Najee Harris of the Steelers to change the financial narrative for the position.
“There are a lot of running backs out here that are pivotal,” Barkley said. “A key point to having teams have success in this league, helping teams have success in this league and the way that we are getting devalued, it’s not fair at all. But life’s not fair. God willing, I stay healthy so I can show them and then I can tell them.”
Barkley had no problem with the Giants giving quarterback Daniel Jones, defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence and left tackle Andrew Thomas deals this year worth a combined $365 million, saying he always wants the best for his teammates.
NOTES: DT Rakeem Nuñez-Roches was in a car accident on Tuesday and has missed the first two days of practice. Coach Brian Daboll said the free agent signee is making progress and will not be sidelined long. … Second-round draft pick John Michael Schmitz played center with the first unit Thursday. Ben Bredeson was there on Wednesday. Daboll said the two would rotate for now, and so will other players at other positions. … UConn coach Danny Hurley, who led the Huskies to the NCAA men’s basketball title, was at practice with some of his assistant coaches.
PATRIOTS’ LAWRENCE GUY ON THE FIELD AT TRAINING CAMP AMID ONGOING CONTRACT DISCUSSIONS WITH TEAM
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Lawrence Guy won’t say whether he is content with his contract situation with the New England Patriots.
He’s at training camp. For now, that’s enough.
The veteran defensive lineman reported as scheduled this week and has been on the field each of the first two days of workouts after skipping the team’s optional offseason program in the spring and last month’s mandatory minicamp.
“Me and my agent have been in discussions with the organization, and I’ll keep that private and between us,” Guy said on Thursday. “I’m here. I have a big smile on my face. I’m going to do whatever I can for the organization and work as hard as I can. That’s why we play this game, we play this game to be on the field.”
Guy is entering the third season of the four-year, $11.5 million contract he signed in 2021. He’s been with the Patriots since 2017 and is entering his 13th NFL season.
It’s included stops at five different teams, but he’s had his longest and most productive years with the Patriots, winning a Super Bowl ring in the 2018 season.
The 33-year-old has been one of the more consistent members of New England’s defensive front during his tenure, coming off a 2022 season that saw him start each of the 14 games he appeared in, totaling 46 tackles and two sacks. But he did deal with a nagging shoulder injury, which kept him sidelined for three games.
In 93 games for the Patriots, he’s started 91 of them. He also served as a team captain in 2020 and was the team’s Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee last season.
“I’m in Year 13. Every day is a blessing when I get to touch this field,” Guy said. “Every day is a blessing that my family gets to come out and see me play this game.”
He cited his family as at least one reason he wasn’t present during spring workouts, noting that his wife gave birth to their fourth child around that time.
Now his attention is back on the football field.
“My job is to go out there and play football, let everything else handle itself on the other side of it,” Guy said. “But when I’m out here with this jersey I’m going to make sure I’m out here playing for my teammates, for my coaches.”
While he said retirement is a contemplation after every season at this point in his career, Guy said the enjoyment for playing is still there.
“When I’m done enjoying this game and I feel like I need to hang them up, then I’m going to hang them up,” Guy said. “Right now, I’m just happy to have my kids out here to see me play. I have my daughter asking if I can throw her on the goal post. … I just want to build those memories and enjoy it, every down I can.”
JAGUARS LT CAM ROBINSON EMBRACES TEMPORARY BACKUP ROLE WHILE PREPARING FOR 4-GAME SUSPENSION
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Jacksonville Jaguars left tackle Cam Robinson is a backup for the first time in six years.
The reduced role isn’t something he wanted, but he’s embracing it.
“It’s honestly not terrible,” Robinson quipped.
The NFL suspended Robinson last month for the first four games of the regular season for violating league policy on performance-enhancing drugs. Robinson spoke publicly about the punishment for the first time after practice Thursday, saying he unwittingly ingested a banned substance after tearing a ligament in his right knee in December.
“I hadn’t even started rehabbing yet,” he said. “I was still on crutches. I take full responsibility for it. I just got to be more careful and be more cautious about what I’m putting into my system.”
Robinson first learned about the failed drug test in January, but the appeals process took more than five months before he learned the ultimate outcome.
“It was a long time coming, really, really nerve-wracking,” he said. “Probably the most nerve-wracking offseason I’ve had. So, yeah, it’s kind of good to get the verdict and know what I got to know, do know what I got down the road and just work to getting back to where I need to be.”
Even though coach Doug Pederson expects to have Robinson available for 13 games this fall, he decided to use training camp and the preseason to get third-year pro Walker Little more snaps at the position. So Robinson is working as a backup for the first time since his rookie training camp in 2017.
“We understand the situation. We have to prepare both guys,” Pederson said.
Pederson anticipates sliding Little to left guard — a position he’s never played — once Robinson is reinstated in early October. But Robinson will have to be away from the facility for part of the suspension.
“We actually got a really good plan for that, just to try to keep me locked in as mentally as much as I can be,” Robinson said. “I think that’s probably the most important part.”
A second-round pick from Alabama in 2017, Robinson has started 75 games for Jacksonville. The team thought enough of him to sign him to a three-year, $52.75 million contract in 2022. But under the collective bargaining agreement, Robinson’s suspension voids all guaranteed money remaining in the deal.
It essentially means the Jaguars could cut or trade Robinson with no additional salary-cap repercussions. But that’s unlikely given Robinson’s experience and the team’s belief that it’s a legit playoff contender in 2023.
More troubling for Robinson: the suspension is without pay, so he will lose roughly $900,000 a game. But he’s focused on getting in playing shape and staying there after he’s forced to leave the team in a little more than a month.
In the meantime, he and his offensive line teammates have found a little extra motivation to carry them through camp. A prominent website ranked the unit 31st in the league in pass blocking, prompting line coach Phil Rauscher to create T-shirts that point out the less-than-desirable spot.
Offensive coordinator Press Taylor proudly wore it during practice Thursday.
“It definitely puts a little chip on our shoulder,” Robinson said. “But, man, if I got to be honest, we’re kind of used to that playing in (Jacksonville). That’s kind of like an uphill battle we face every year.
“So we got a narrative we got to flip, and we’re in the process of doing that right now.”
DOLPHINS CB JALEN RAMSEY TO UNDERGO KNEE SURGERY AND MISS START OF SEASON, AP SOURCE SAYS
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Dolphins All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey will undergo surgery Friday to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee, a person familiar with the diagnosis told The Associated Press.
Ramsey was injured and he was carted off the field at the end of Miami’s practice on Thursday. The person, speaking to the AP on condition of anonymity because the team hasn’t released details, said the severity of Ramsey’s injury will be determined during surgery.
Miami opens the season on September 10 at the Los Angeles Chargers.
Ramsey collided with receiver Tyreek Hill during an 11-on-11 drill. Ramsey went down grabbing at his left knee and was attended to by trainers.
Ramsey was helped up but didn’t appear to put any weight on the leg. He was carted back to the locker room as Miami’s second full-team practice of training camp closed.
“I’ll be back on that field stronger than ever… in due time!” Ramsey tweeted Thursday evening. “This SO minor for God’s child! I trust fully & know He got me! I’m forever grateful to worship His name!”
The Dolphins acquired the All-Pro cornerback Ramsey in a trade with the Los Angeles Rams in March.
Ramsey, a six-time Pro Bowl selection, had 77 tackles and four interceptions during the Rams’ Super Bowl-winning 2021 season. Last season, he had a career-high 88 tackles and four interceptions.
BENGALS DE TREY HENDRICKSON SIGNS 1-YEAR EXTENSION
The Cincinnati Bengals signed defensive end Trey Hendrickson to a one-year contract extension through the 2025 season.
Financial terms were not disclosed by the Bengals for Hendrickson, who has been selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his two seasons with the team.
Hendrickson, 28, followed up a career-best 14-sack season in 2021 with eight more in 2022. He also recorded three forced fumbles and 24 quarterback hits in 15 starts.
Hendrickson has totaled 42 sacks and nine forced fumbles to go along with 131 tackles in 76 career games (47 starts) with the New Orleans Saints (2017-20) and Bengals. He was selected by the Saints in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
REPORT: JETS TO HOST DALVIN COOK ON FREE-AGENT VISIT
Free-agent running back Dalvin Cook is slated to visit the New York Jets this weekend, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reports.
The Jets are the latest team to show interest in Cook. The Miami Dolphins reportedly made an offer to the former Minnesota Vikings running back in June, and Cook had multiple other proposals on the table. He’s also in talks with the New England Patriots about setting up a potential visit, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports.
Jets head coach Robert Saleh left the door open to adding Cook when asked on July 20.
“Obviously, you never want to say no to a great player,” Saleh said, according to Pro Football Talk’s Myles Simmons. “I’ll leave (general manager Joe Douglas) to that one. I know there’s a lot of contractual stuff that goes with it. But he is a good one.”
Aaron Rodgers reportedly took a pay cut on his reworked contract Wednesday to give the Jets more financial flexibility.
If Cook signs with New York, he’d join a backfield that features Breece Hall and Michael Carter, among others. Hall is still working his way back from an ACL tear that prematurely ended his 2022 campaign.
The Vikings released Cook in June after a six-year run with the franchise. The 27-year-old has been one of the NFL’s most productive backs and eclipsed 1,100 yards in each of his last four seasons. He’s also made four consecutive Pro Bowls.
TEAMMATES SAY PANTHERS NO. 1 PICK BRYCE YOUNG’ ‘BROUGHT THE HOUSE DOWN’ AT ROOKIE TALENT SHOW
SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) — It turns out playing football may not be Bryce Young’s only talent.
The Carolina Panthers’ No. 1 overall draft pick wowed teammates with his rendition of Keyshia Cole’s song “Love” at the team’s annual rookie talent show on Wednesday night at Wofford College.
“ He brought the house down,” Panthers offensive tackle Ickey Ekwonu said.
Ekwonu was among the many who were impressed with Young’s showmanship and poise on stage in front of his new Carolina teammates.
“He got everyone singing, everyone clapping and got a standing ovation,” Ekwonu said. “And he went first — that’s a lot of pressure going first. I think he killed it.”
Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson said the performance was so good that he thought he was at a concert.
“Bryce had a hell of a performance,” Thompson said. “… Everybody enjoyed it. He got into it. I’m trying to tell you, it was like a concert. He set the stage.”
Thompson said he was “shocked” to learn Young had so much personality.
The 2021 Heisman Trophy winner is known for his quiet, humble demeanor and a business-like approach to the game. But it terms of his personality, he’s kept things largely even keeled — that is, until he let it all out on stage.
“Just seeing that personality out of him,” Thompson said. “It was good for us to see and good for him to be up there.”
Thompson said sometimes it takes rookies time to get comfortable with their new teammates and earn trust.
“Yesterday, it was a whole different Bryce,” Thompson said. “… We didn’t know what to expect, but he got up there and killed it. That’s it. First-round pick, he had a lot of stuff on you, and he killed it. He lived up to it.”
It wasn’t the first time Young has performed Cole’s hit song.
He was filmed on Instagram performing “Love” when he was playing quarterback for Alabama.
The 22-year-old Young was not made available to reporters on Thursday after speaking during the first two days of training camp.
But he said earlier in the week he was preparing for the talent show by singing in the shower, adding that he likes to do so with his eyes open.
“I’m more of a visualizer,” Young said with a laugh. “I see the crowd. A little crowd control. That’s more of my thing.”
Young’s winning performance came on the same day coach Frank Reich selected him as the team’s starting quarterback. Barring injury, Young will start Carolina’s Week 1 game against the Atlanta Falcons on Sept. 10.
Young has impressed his coaches and teammates with his strong arm, attention to detail and knowledge of the game, wrestling away first-team reps from veteran quarterback Andy Dalton back in June.
Panthers wide receiver DJ Chark said he knew Young had a great personality after spending three days in July working out with him and other Carolina skill position players at SMU.
“He’s smart, funny and those things carry over to the field,” Chark said. “The moment never gets too big or too intense because you have that relationship and things like that.”
ROGER CRAIG, TOM COUGHLIN AND MIKE SHANAHAN ADVANCE IN HALL OF FAME CONSIDERATION
Versatile running back Roger Craig, and two-time Super Bowl-winning coaches Tom Coughlin and Mike Shanahan advanced to the next stage of consideration for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The selection committees cut down the list of candidates from 31 seniors and 29 coaches and contributors to 12 in each category in results announced Thursday.
The 12-person committees for each group will meet next month to pick up to three senior candidates among players who last played no later 1998, and one coach and contributor. The finalists will be part of the Hall’s class of 2024 if they are supported by at least 80% of voters next January.
Craig was a key part of San Francisco’s dynasty in the 1980s with his ability as a physical runner and as a receiver out of the backfield. Craig was the first player ever to have 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving in the same season in 1985, and led the NFL with 2,036 yards from scrimmage in 1988 when he helped the 49ers win the Super Bowl.
Craig was also part of the title-winning teams in San Francisco in the 1984 and 1989 seasons. His 410 yards from scrimmage in those Super Bowl wins are the third- most ever behind only Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Franco Harris.
Among the other senior candidates are former league MVP Ken Anderson, 1978 Defensive Player of the Year Randy Gradishar and AFL star receivers Otis Taylor and Art Powell.
The other remaining semifinalists are Maxie Baughan, Joe Jacoby, Albert Lewis, Steve McMichael, Eddie Meador, Sterling Sharpe and Al Wistert.
Anderson was a four-time Pro Bowler for Cincinnati and won the MVP in 1981 when he helped the Bengals reach their first Super Bowl before losing to San Francisco. When Anderson retired after the 1986 season he ranked sixth all time with 32,838 yards passing and 13th with 197 TD passes.
Gradishar was a key part to Denver’s “Orange Crush” defense in the 1970s, making the Pro Bowl seven times in 10 seasons and being selected as an All-Pro in 1977 and ’78.
Taylor and Powell were among the top receivers in the pass-happy AFL. Powell’s 81 touchdowns rank second best in AFL history behind Don Maynard, and his 8,015 yards receiving were third behind only Maynard and Hall of Famer Lance Alworth.
Taylor, who died in March at age 80, was an All-Pro twice and led the AFL in TD catches in 1967 and the NFL in yards receiving in 1971.
Shanahan won back-to-back titles for Denver in the 1997 and ’98 seasons and Coughlin won two championships with the Giants in the 2007 and 2011 seasons to earn advancement to the next stage.
Of the 14 coaches to win multiple Super Bowls, nine are in the Hall of Fame, two more are active, with Shanahan, Coughlin and George Seifert the only ones not to get into the Hall.
Mike Holmgren, who won a Super Bowl for Green Bay in the 1996 season and lost two more trips with the Packers and Seahawks, also advanced.
The other semifinalists in the coach and contributor category are Frank “Bucko” Kilroy, Robert Kraft, Buddy Parker, Dan Reeves, Art Rooney Jr., Marty Schottenheimer, Clark Shaughnessy, Lloyd Wells and John Wooten.
The Class of 2024 will be formally enshrined next summer in Canton, Ohio.
NFL PREVIEW: NEW YORK GIANTS
The Giants had a successful first season with Brian Daboll, who quickly turned them into a playoff team en route to winning Coach of the Year.
But the Giants will no longer catch teams by surprise after winning 10 games last season, including a wild-card victory vs. the Vikings.
Despite making roster upgrades and paying their top players, the Giants will have a tough time returning to the postseason considering they reside in a competitive NFC East with the Eagles, Cowboys and Commanders.
The Giants will likely need newcomers Deonte Banks (the team’s first-round rookie cornerback) and Bobby Okereke (a standout linebacker who signed during free agency) to quickly find their footing in New York and help the defense become one of the best units in 2023.
The Giants have plenty of playmakers on their roster, but the season will once again fall on the shoulders of quarterback Daniel Jones, who was paid like a top-10 quarterback in the NFL.
Biggest gamble this offseason: Paying Jones $40 million per year
After a slow first three seasons, Jones made drastic strides in 2022 under the guidance of Daboll, which earned the quarterback a four-year, $160 million contract extension this offseason. This led many to wonder why the Giants made the investment after one good year; New York prioritized the skill positions this offseason in the hopes that it will lead to even more improvements from Jones, who had a subpar supporting cast (outside of running back Saquon Barkley) in 2022. New York traded for tight end Darren Waller, drafted wide receiver Jalin Hyatt and signed wide receiver Parris Campbell. Suddenly, Jones has a strong crew of pass catchers with wideouts Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, Wan’Dale Robinson and Isaiah Hodgins also on the roster. It’s time for Jones, the ’19 No. 6 pick, to play like a top-10 quarterback after receiving a new deal and additional weapons this offseason.
Toughest stretch of the season: Weeks 3 to 8
The Giants have a brutal schedule overall, with Sports Illustrated’s Conor Orr calling it borderline criminal. And most might agree with that assessment because of the brutal six-game stretch the Giants were handed, with four games on the road against the 49ers, Seahawks, Dolphins and Bills, and two at home vs. the Commanders and Jets. The Giants made many roster upgrades in the offseason, but it might not matter, given they could easily go 1–5 during that grueling stretch to derail their season. New York also starts the season against the Cowboys and faces the Eagles twice in the final three games. To steal a line from Orr, what on Earth did the Giants do to deserve this?
Breakout player to watch: Edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux
Thibodeaux struggled to finish plays at times during his rookie season, but he consistently won his matchups and often found himself in the backfield. With 40 pressures and 13 quarterback hits as a rookie, Thibodeaux could develop into a sack artist in his second season after recording only four sacks in 2022. Also, Thibodeaux’s 10.3% pressure rate was more than fellow first-round rookies Aidan Hutchinson (9.9%) and Travon Walker (9.2%).
Position of strength: Interior defensive line
Dexter Lawrence received a hefty pay raise after a dominant 2022 season, which included Pro Bowl and second-team All-Pro selections. Lawrence signed a four-year, $90 million contract extension, making him the fourth-highest-paid interior defensive lineman in the league, according to Over the Cap. Lawrence went from being a run-stopping specialist to a versatile playmaker last year, with a career-high 7.5 sacks. Leonard Williams, who can also play on the edge, cashed in two years ago with a three-year, $63 million contract and remains a productive playmaker in the middle of New York’s defensive line. The Giants also added A’Shawn Robinson and Rakeem Nunez-Roches this offseason.
Position of weakness: Interior offensive line
Instead of being specific, the offensive line could have been listed here, but that would be unfair to left tackle Andrew Thomas, who continues to get better after establishing himself as one of the best at his position last season. At right tackle, Evan Neal (the No. 7 pick in ’22) had a rocky rookie season, but so did Thomas in ’20—perhaps Neal can improve in Year 2. But the Giants have real concerns on the interior, with the guard spots possibly up for grabs in training camp, and with a rookie center in John Michael Schmitz, a ’23 second-round pick.
X-factor: TE Darren Waller
No one will say Jones is missing a legitimate No. 1 wideout if Waller regains his top form from his dominant days in 2019 and ’20. (He averaged 98.5 receptions and 1,170 receiving yards during that time.) When healthy, Waller is a matchup nightmare and is just as dangerous in the passing game as Travis Kelce, George Kittle and Mark Andrews. But if Waller continues to deal with injuries, Jones will need one of his many wideouts to step up and deliver Pro Bowl–type seasons.
Sleeper fantasy pick: WR Isaiah Hodgins
Hodgins became the top option in the Giants’ pass attack in the second half of last season, and he made the most of his chances. In his final five games, he scored 14-plus points four times, including one game with almost 23 points. The Giants don’t have an alpha wideout, so Hodgins is worth a look.—Michael Fabiano, SI Fantasy
Best bet: Take the over on Daniel Jones’s rushing prop of 575.5 yards
The Giants are best when Jones is able to use his mobility. Jones logged 708 ground yards last year on the way to a winning record for New York. Why fix what isn’t broken?—Jennifer Piacenti, SI Betting
Final record: 8–9, third in NFC East
OLD-SCHOOL DABO SWINNEY KEEPS CLEMSON ON TOP IN ACC
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Clemson coach Dabo Swinney doesn’t use the transfer portal, prefers to promote from within his staff and once said he’d quit coaching if players were paid, which has come to pass under name, image and likeness earnings.
Still, the ACC’s longest-tenured coach, who critics have labeled behind the times, has stayed on top and is seeking is eighth league title in the past nine seasons and ninth overall.
Swinney, starting his 15th year, credits steadiness in building a strong culture that has kept the Tigers out front of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
“Football is a marathon and it’s not a sprint,” said Mickey Conn, Clemson’s co-defensive coordinator. “Sometimes, a sprint’s easy. But if you want to win and have a successful program like Dabo has built here, you’ve got to be in it for the long term.”
And Swinney’s cultivated success in his own way. He brushes aside big picture issues and simplifies his program’s success: “Just got to win. All that stuff is a lot to talk about, but it still comes down to what you do on the field,” he said Thursday at the close of ACC media days.
Clemson figures to get a strong push from rising Florida State when the ACC preseason rankings are released. The teams face each other at Clemson on Sept. 23.
Having the Seminoles back in the league chase may not be good for Clemson, “but it is definitely good for the ACC,” Swinney said, smiling.
It’s been a while since Clemson was pushed in the ACC play. Since Florida State won the league title in 2014, the Tigers have gone 100-13 overall and 66-5 against ACC opponents.
It took Swinney time to develop a powerhouse. Coordinators Chad Morris on offense in 2011 and Brent Venables on defense in 2012 touched off a recruiting boon that included NFL standouts like quarterback Trevor Lawrence, defensive tackles Dexter Lawrence and Christian Wilkins and receiver Tee Higgins.
Tar Heels coach Mack Brown watched Swinney’s long-term build, as both a TV analyst and an ACC rival. He said the mindset at Clemson is staying the course. “They’ve got a plan for each coming year,” Brown said. “They might tweak it a little bit, but they won’t change it.”
Swinney has added only two transfers since 2014, both to bolster experience at quarterback. Neither David Olsen in 2014 nor Hunter Johnson in 2022 played significant roles in games.
Roster spots were at a premium this fall, especially with seven draft-eligible players, including all-ACC defensive tackle Tyler Davis, returning for another college season.
Clemson center Will Putnam said knowing your coaches aren’t seeking to supplant you through the portal is a big selling point at Clemson.
“As a player, it’s definitely respected,” Putnam said. “Really trusting guys who buy into him. He rewards that by giving them the opportunity they deserve.”
Swinney was a vocal opponent of paying players, going as far as to say he’d quit the game if it came to pass. These days, Swinney, who’ll make $10.75 million plus incentives this season, believes NIL opportunities have been a “net good” for the sport.
The problem, Swinney said, is “there’s no order, there’s no structure. It’s different rules at different places. The biggest thing I would like to see is just some continuity.”
Swinney can change his style when he feels it’s necessary. He subbed in reserve quarterback Cade Klubnik for ineffective starter DJ Uiagalelei early in the ACC championship game. Klubnik sparked the Tigers to the 39-10 victory after trailing 7-0.
Uiagalelei transferred to Oregon State with Klubnick this year’s starter.
Swinney, known for promoting from within, made the out-of-character move of dismissing former Tigers quarterback and offensive coordinator Brandon Streeter after last season and luring Garrett Riley of TCU to take over.
That’s not so unusual, Swinney said. He benched starting quarterback Kelly Bryant in favor of NFL No. 1 overall pick Lawrence as a freshman in 2018.
As far as adding Riley to lead the attack, Swinney said he had no relationship with Venables before hiring him after the 2011 season. Venables defensive schemes helped the Tigers six ACC and two national championships.
“Sometimes, you have to have a different voice from time to time,” Swinney said.
MICHIGAN RB BLAKE CORUM (KNEE) INSISTS HE’S READY TO GO
Michigan running back Blake Corum said Thursday that he has been cleared to play football this fall.
The star back hedged his comments a bit but he feels the left knee is recovered from surgery and expects to be on the field when the Wolverines host East Carolina on Sept. 2.
“I had a doctor’s appointment the other day, and I believe he cleared me,” Corum said at Big Ten media days at Indianapolis. “I might have to double-check to make sure that was the last appointment, but I’m cleared.
“But I think I’m good. Now it’s just being smart, going into camp and doing whatever I have to do to make sure this team is in the best position to win and attack the season.”
Corum rushed for 1.463 yards and 18 touchdowns last season. He injured the knee against Illinois on Nov. 19 and effectively missed three games. He badly tore the meniscus, sprained the MCL and sustained a bone bruise.
Corum tried to play with a brace against Ohio State the next week and was done after two carries. He later missed the Big Ten championship game victory against Purdue and the College Football Playoff semifinal loss to TCU.
Corum rushed for 108 yards against Illinois for his eighth straight 100-yard outing. His season high was 243 against Maryland on Sept. 24.
After finishing seventh in Heisman Trophy balloting, Corum considered leaving for the NFL. But he decided to return and focus on getting the knee back to full strength before the 2023 college football season commences.
He said he recently reached the point where he knew the knee was no longer an issue.
“A couple weeks ago, that’s when I realized that most of my speed was coming back,” Corum said. “And then I started feeling the burst. There was definitely a point in time where I was like, ‘OK, I like where this is heading.’”
The Michigan backfield is loaded with Donovan Edwards also back in the fold. Edwards rushed for 991 yards and seven scores last season.
Edwards became the bell cow back after Corum’s injury and gained 520 yards and three touchdowns on 70 carries over the final three games.
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh expects big seasons from both players. He’s especially happy that Corum will be ready to go.
“I think Blake’s in a great place,” Harbaugh said Thursday in Indianapolis. “Everything he thought of, everything he visualized in terms of where he would be right now. He’s well trained, well thought out, and he’s in a great place.”
MINNESOTA COACH P.J. FLECK DEFENDS PROGRAM AGAINST ALLEGATIONS HE CALLS ‘BASELESS’
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck brushed off allegations that he runs a toxic program on Thursday, saying they mostly come from players and employees who have been dismissed or departed on their own.
“These allegations are baseless,” Fleck said during Big Ten media days at Lucas Oil Stadium. “We have full support of our athletic director, Mark Coyle, and our university leadership. This is a similar story that gets peddled every single year, and the majority of the players have been dismissed or removed from our football team.”
Multiple former players and employees have been quoted anonymously in reports, including by Front Office Sports, examining the program’s culture, including an accusation that Fleck has interfered with medical protocols to get injured players to return earlier than anticipated.
“We also have around a half-dozen anonymous reporting avenues within our football program that players can go to if they have an issue,” Fleck said. “And our athletic director, Mark Coyle, gives his cellphone number to every single football player to call him if they have any issue. To this date, there have been zero claims on this issue. Zero.”
Fleck said he knows where most of the complaints have originated.
“Oh absolutely, players talk,” he said. “Players have a lot of pride in what and how we do it. Sometimes, the negative voices are the loudest voices.
“Look at our team’s response, that’s going through that culture and that program right now. … You’ve got to make some really hard decisions. You stand firm on what you believe in. You’re as transparent as you can possibly be. Our administration, they know what we do and how we do it. They’re there all the time.”
Fleck is entering his seventh season with the Gophers. He is 44-27 with four bowl victories.
“My energy needs to be on the 2023 football team, and that only, and not the baseless allegations,” he said.
Although he sounded like a coach who wanted to discuss the subject, Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh declined to offer any details about an NCAA investigation that is expected to result in a suspension this season.
“As you probably already know, I’m not allowed to talk about any aspect of that ongoing situation,” said Harbaugh, who is accused of lying about recruiting violations. “I’m with you. I’d love to lay it all out there. I’ve got nothing to be ashamed of. But now is not that time. That’s about all there is to say about that.”
He declined to respond to five more related questions during an interview session that lasted 38 minutes.
Harbaugh is expected to serve a four-game suspension under a settlement between the school and the NCAA, The Associated Press has reported.
MOVE RIVALRY GAME?
A day after Ohio State coach Ryan Day suggested there should be a conversation about possibly moving the annual rivalry game with Michigan from the last regular-season date, Harbaugh didn’t seem too interested in changing a tradition that’s existed since 1935.
“We’ll play that whenever it’s scheduled,” Harbaugh said of the rivalry that started in 1897. “We know we’re going to play it every season at least once. I don’t have a particular opinion on when it should be played. Right now, it’s played that last game of the season. I think everybody is used to that. That’s part of the Thanksgiving tradition. That’s when we’ll expect it.”
The Big Ten’s shift to no divisions with a 12-team playoff in 2024 increases the likelihood of Michigan and Ohio State playing in back-to-back weeks, and possibly a third time if both qualify for the College Football Playoff.
“People see it from different points of view,” Day said. “I’m glad we still have the rivalry game. I do think we should consider when we play it, just because you may end up playing it back-to-back weeks … which would be awkward. I know we need to consider the tradition, but I think it’s worth a conversation on when.
“I think we shouldn’t move it, but I think it’s worth talking about. The game could not have an impact on a whole bunch, in terms of if both teams are in the Big Ten championship game already, then could it minimize the game? That’s my concern.”
COLORADO LEAVING PAC-12 AND RETURNING TO BIG 12 IN 2024 FOLLOWING UNANIMOUS VOTE BY BOARD OF REGENTS
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — Colorado is leaving the Pac-12, and the Big 12 is ready to welcome the Buffaloes back to the conference they left a dozen years ago.
Colorado’s board of regents voted 9-0 in a special remote meeting Thursday to approve the conference switch in 2024.
“The landscape of collegiate sports is ever-evolving, and the University of Colorado Boulder has determined the Big 12 is the best future fit for our athletic teams,” school President Todd Saliman said.
“After careful thought and consideration, it was determined that a switch in conference would give CU Boulder the stability, resources, and exposure necessary for long-term future success in a college athletics environment that is constantly evolving,” CU Chancellor Philip DiStefano said in a joint statement with Athletic Director Rick George.
“The Big 12’s national reach across three time zones as well as our shared creative vision for the future we feel makes it an excellent fit for CU Boulder, our students, faculty, and alumni,” DiStefano said, adding, “These decisions are never easy and we’ve valued our 12 years as proud members of the Pac-12 Conference. We look forward to achieving new goals while embarking on this exciting next era as members of the Big 12 Conference.”
While some of the regents expressed disappointment about leaving the Pac-12, they said the shifting sports landscape left CU no option but to rejoin the conference where they were a founding member in 1996.
The Buffs actually joined the Big Six conference in 1947 and remained with the expanded league for 63 years as it eventually grew into the Big 12.
Colorado will join the Big 12 in 2024 and becomes the third school to leave the Pac-12 in the last year, joining UCLA and USC, which are joining the Big Ten next year.
Big 12 presidents and chancellors voted unanimously Wednesday night to accept Colorado as a new member, clearing the way for the school to leave the Pac-12 and rejoin its former league, a person with knowledge of the meeting told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the Big 12 was not making its expansion plans public. ESPN first reported the vote.
Colorado still needs to go through a formal process on its campus in Boulder and officially accept membership.
Pac-12 presidents and chancellors, athletic directors and Commissioner George Kliavkoff were scheduled to convene Thursday to discuss the next moves for the conference, two people with knowledge of the meeting told AP on condition of anonymity because the conference is not making its internal moves public.
Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark has spoken for months about his desire to expand the conference and add schools in the Mountain and Pacific time zones. A second person familiar with the Big 12’s expansion aspirations, also speaking on condition of anonymity, told AP the school and league have been in contact for more than a month about a potential departure from the Pac-12.
Colorado’s departure could lead to more defections from the Pac-12, which has seemed vulnerable to more poaching after losing USC and UCLA to the Big Ten and with negotiations for a new media rights contract dragging on. Current deals with ESPN and Fox expire after this school year.
The Los Angeles schools are in their last go-round as Pac-12 members this year. With contractual agreements running out, the Buffaloes are positioned to rejoin the Big 12; the league last year came to an agreement with ESPN and Fox on a six-year extension worth more than $2 billion that runs through 2030-31.
Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff had said at football media days last week that the 10 remaining conference members were committed to staying together. Text messages to Kliavkoff and Colorado athletic director Rick George were not returned.
Colorado was an original member of the Big 12 in 1996, and joined the Pac-12 in 2011. The Buffaloes’ football team has had only one winning record over a full season since joining the Pac-12, and went 1-11 last year, leading to the hiring of former NFL star Deion Sanders.
The Big 12 has 14 members this year, but Texas and Oklahoma are leaving for the Southeastern Conference next year. The second person familiar with the Big 12’s discussions said the conference would ideally like to expand to 16 schools with Arizona, Arizona State, Utah and Colorado all coming over from the Pac-12 to create a Western wing of the league.
Big 12 leadership has also discussed the possibility of trying to add UConn, which won the men’s NCAA basketball tournament earlier this year, and Gonzaga, a basketball powerhouse that does not have a football team, the person said. The Big 12 has been the strongest men’s basketball conference in the country over the last few seasons, and Yormark has said he believes the sport could be a source of untapped value in future media rights deals.
Although the Big 12 landscape is different than it was when Colorado was last a member, the Buffaloes have several rivalries to renew.
“Iowa State is thrilled to welcome the University of Colorado back into the Big 12 Conference,” Iowa State Athletic Director Jamie Pollard said. “The Cyclones and Buffaloes enjoyed a spirited rivalry for more than 60 years in the Big 7, Big 8 and early years of the Big 12, so we are excited to resume competing with them next year.
“This great news for the Big 12 Conference would not have been possible without Commissioner Yormark’s vision as well as the hard work by former Commissioner (Bob) Bowlsby in bringing BYU, UCF, Cincinnati and Houston on board as members in 2023-24. The Big 12 brand has never been stronger, and I believe great days are ahead for our conference.”
CAN THE PAC-12 SURVIVE? CONFERENCE OF CHAMPIONS FACES MURKY FUTURE AFTER COLORADO BOLTS FOR BIG 12
The conference of champions appears to be in crisis.
Colorado’s announcement Thursday that it will return to the Big 12 comes a little more than a year after Southern California and UCLA said they were ditching the Pac-12 to join the Big Ten. It leaves the league that has won more NCAA championships than any other facing an uncertain future.
Still, without a media rights contract to replace ones that expires next summer, Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff keeps promising that all will be well. It is becoming harder to sell that no news on a deal is good news.
Colorado’s exit alone is not a death blow for the Pac-12. Losing a school that has been fielding one of the worst Power Five football programs for most of the last decade is recoverable, even with new coach and retired NFL star Deion Sanders grabbing headlines in Boulder.
However, there is no way to spin this latest hit as anything but a loss for a conference that has been the power center of West Coast college sports for decades. Colorado is a newbie, but USC’s membership dates to 1922, UCLA’s to 1928. The roots of the Pac-12 date to 1915 and its sports alumni include such names as Jackie Robinson, John Elway, Marcus Allen, Reggie Miller, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Jenny Thompson, Bill Walton and Barry Bonds.
To survive, the Pac-12 will almost surely try to add new member schools.
The questions now: Can the Pac-12 stop bleeding membership? And if not, does it trigger conferences beyond the Big 12 to target its schools? Will CU’s move trigger another wide-ranging round of realignment?
“I don’t believe it does” said former Fox Sports executive Bob Thompson. “A lot of that comes down to how fast the Big 12 wants to expand. I don’t see the SEC, the Big Ten, the ACC doing anything at this point.”
Under previous Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren, the Big Ten still had eyes out west, with Oregon and Washington having the most appeal of the remaining Pac-12 schools. But Warren is gone now and his replacement said the Big Ten isn’t eager to expand more.
“All the direction I’m getting from leadership … is to focus on USC and UCLA. We have a lot of work to do there,” new Commissioner Tony Petitti said at Big Ten football media days earlier this week.
The continuing threat to the Pac-12 is primarily the Big 12, despite Kliavkoff’s dismissals (“The truth is we have bigger fish to fry,” he said last week in Las Vegas at football media day.)
Pac-12 presidents and chancellors, athletic directors and Kliavkoff were expected to meet Thursday to discuss next moves for the conference, two people with knowledge of the meeting told AP on condition of anonymity because the conference was not making its internal discussion public.
Brett Yormark has outmaneuvered Kilavkoff since being named Big 12 commissioner a day before USC and UCLA announced they planned to switch conferences. He has envisioned a 16-team league that covers all time zones.
The Big 12 jumped the Pac-12 in line last year and grabbed a deal with ESPN and Fox that probably could have been the Pac-12’s. While Kliavkoff was trying to figure out a way to close the revenue gap on the Southeastern Conference and the Big Ten, Yormark realized survival was at stake for the other Power Five conferences.
The Big 12 replaced the star quality brands of Texas and Oklahoma with quantity and reach (BYU, Houston, UCF and Cincinnati). The Big 12 will never catch up at the bank to the SEC and Big Ten, but it has more stability and harmony than the beleaguered Pac-12 and anxious Atlantic Coast Conference.
“What CU did is ensure their future. Whether the Pac-12 implodes now or whether the Pac-12 implodes in 2030 or whether the Pac-12 stays together, CU is set,” Thompson said.
Adding Arizona, Arizona State and Utah from the Pac-12 to join Colorado would make Yormark’s vision a reality, but those schools are still publicly committed to their current conference.
Arizona President Robert Robbins said in June the preference is to remain in the Pac-12, but until he knows exactly what a media rights deal pays, nothing is certain.
“We’re not going to get a Big Ten deal. We’re not going to get an SEC deal,” Robbins said then. “I’ve never thought that winning the bronze medal was a great aspirational goal. But if we win a bronze medal, I think we’d all declare victory.”
Thompson said as ESPN and other traditional networks deal with a changing financial model because of shrinking cable TV subscribers, they have become more selective and frugal when it comes to buying the right to broadcast games.
Still, less traditional networks for sports like the CW and Ion could provide a home and enough revenue to keep what’s left of the Pac-12 together for at least one more deal, Thompson said.
“They’ve just got to get a deal done,” he said.
The best-case scenario for the Pac-12 is that it finally lands a TV contract comparable to the Big 12’s (about $2 billion over six years) and the remaining members stay put.
Swapping out Colorado for, say, San Diego State, which awkwardly tried to position itself to exit the Mountain West in 2024 earlier this month, would mitigate the damage. The Aztecs and SMU have already been on the Pac-12’s radar to replace USC and UCLA.
The worst-case scenario? The Pac-12 losses all the four corner schools to the Big 12, the Big Ten is motivated to reverse course and add some combination of Oregon, Washington, Stanford and California. If not all of them. Instead of the Pac-12 absorbing Mountain West schools, the Mountain West could go on the offensive.
The Pac-12 dates back 108 years with the formation of the Pacific Coast Conference. Over a century, it went from the Pac-8 to the Pac-10 to the Pac-12, accumulating more than 500 NCAA championships .
That prestigious legacy is no guarantee of its future.
BIG TEN’S FOUR NEW COACHES TOOK DIVERGENT PATHS TO NEW-LOOK WEST DIVISION
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Luke Fickell got his first taste of leading a Big Ten program as Ohio State’s interim coach in 2011. This fall, he’s back with the more traditional title of head coach — at Wisconsin.
Former Baylor coach Matt Rhule is back in the college fray, too, this time at Nebraska.
They are the highest-profile members of the Big Ten’s four new coaches, all of whom took jobs with West Division teams in a league they revere.
“We could take the whole time on ‘why Wisconsin,’” Fickell said on the second and final day of the Big Ten’s annual football kickoff in Indianapolis. “It has a lot to do with being back in the Big Ten. It has to do with the respect I’ve always had playing against and preparing for Wisconsin, understanding and recognizing what I assumed the culture was like from afar. It felt like something that would be really, really in my wheelhouse.”
The Badgers certainly believe Fickell is the perfect fit to complete the mission Barry Alvarez started way back when Fickell was a highly-coveted football and wrestling prep star in Ohio.
While the number of new coaches hired is hardly an aberration in major college football, the journeys these men made are strikingly different.
Fickell became a star at Ohio State, making a record 50 consecutive starts at nose guard before logging one injury-plagued NFL season. He returned to his alma mater in 1999 as a graduate assistant and then spent two years at Akron before returning to Ohio State in 2002. He stayed there until Cincinnati took a swing at the former Buckeyes interim coach, who eventually led the Bearcats to the CFP Playoffs.
Now, on Oct. 28, Fickell will welcome those same Buckeyes to his new home in Madison.
“I know there will be storylines and things like that,” he said. “All I can say is that I hope we can be in a position to make it as big a game as it can be, and I think that’s a driving force for me and for us.”
Rhule was an NFL darling four years ago after turning around the Temple and Baylor programs, but was fired by the Carolina Panthers after five games last season. He finished with an 11-27 record.
Still, Cornhuskers athletic director Trev Alberts was impressed enough with the resume to give Rhule another shot, just like Nebraska’s experiment with Bill Callahan in 2004.
While Rhule’s goal is to restore the prestige to a program that hasn’t played in a bowl game since 2016, he believes the NFL experience has made him become a better coach.
“I think for me on a personal note, every job I’ve taken before it worked out, so you kind of always think it’s going to work out,” Rhule said. “I learned a lot about leadership by leading in tough times. It’s easy to lead when things are going well, but when you’re about to get fired and the whole stadium is going ‘Fire Sipple, Fire Sipple’. You know what I learned? I’m tough and my family is tough.”
Nobody is in a tougher or more unexpected spot than Northwestern interim coach David Braun. The two-time national championship winning defensive coordinator was hired by Pat Fitzgerald in January and promoted earlier this month when Fitzgerald was fired in the midst of a hazing scandal.
Braun, who grew up in Wisconsin, is a first-time head coach and he and his wife, Kristin, are expecting their third child this weekend as the start of camp looms. His job is keeping him busy, too.
“If this was January, we would hire a defensive coordinator immediately,” Braun said Wednesday. “But I plan on calling the defense because I want to make sure as many people as possible can stay in their positions. I plan on hiring a defensive assistant, but it’s going to take a special person who is going to say, ‘I’m going to leave my job and run into the fire.’”
Ryan Walters, meanwhile, has taken the most traditional route.
The former quarterback was moved to safety at Colorado and immediately began working his way through the assistant ranks when his playing career ended in 2008. After finishing the 2009 season as a student assistant with the Buffaloes, he made stops at Arizona, Oklahoma, North Texas, Memphis and Missouri before Illinois coach Bret Bielema hired him as defensive coordinator in 2021.
Now he’s heading across the state line to take over defending Big Ten West champ Purdue with a new quarterback and new staff in a league he knows well. And, he can’t wait to get started.
“It wasn’t like I got a job and I’m trying to figure it out,” he said. “It was I got a job and and I’m executing a plan. So to have a plan in place and to have it be executed in real time and exceed your expectations has been really gratifying.”
COLLEGE SPORTS REALIGNMENT IS A CHAOTIC, HEAD-SPINNING TREND IN WHICH CHANGE THE ONLY CONSTANT
College sports in the U.S. has seen scores of schools change conference affiliation over the past century, but the pace has quickened over the past three decades. It is no longer a surprise to see storied programs leave their longtime conference home in search of more stability and more revenue in the college athletics arms race. A look at football membership in the Power Five and the Group of Five, largely dating to the launch of the Big 12 in 1996:
1996 (9): Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Wake Forest, Virginia.
2023 (14): Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Miami, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest
1996 (11): Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin.
2023 (14): Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Rutgers, Wisconsin.
2024 (16): Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Rutgers, Southern California, UCLA, Wisconsin.
1996 (12): Baylor, Colorado, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech.
2023 (14): BYU, Baylor, Cincinnati, Central Florida, Houston, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech, West Virginia.
2024 (13): BYU, Baylor, Cincinnati, Central Florida, Colorado, Houston, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas Tech, West Virginia.
1996 (10): Arizona, Arizona State, California, Oregon, Oregon State, Southern California, Stanford, UCLA, Washington, Washington State.
2023 (12): Arizona, Arizona State, California, Colorado, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, Southern California, UCLA, Utah, Washington, Washington State.
2024 (9): Arizona, Arizona State, California, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, Utah, Washington, Washington State.
1996 (12): Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt.
2023 (14): Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt.
2024 (16): Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt.
2013 (10, first season): Central Florida, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Houston, Louisville, Memphis, Rutgers, SMU, South Florida, Temple.
2023 (14): Charlotte, East Carolina, Florida Atlantic, Memphis, Navy, North Texas, Rice, SMU, South Florida, Temple, Tulane, Tulsa, UAB, UTSA.
1996 (6): Cincinnati, Houston, Louisville, Memphis, Southern Mississippi, Tulane.
2023 (9): Florida International, Jacksonville State, Liberty, Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee State, New Mexico State, Sam Houston State, UTEP, Western Kentucky.
2024 (10): Florida International, Jacksonville State, Kennesaw State, Liberty, Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee State, New Mexico State, Sam Houston State, UTEP, Western Kentucky.
1996 (10): Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Kent State, Miami (Ohio), Ohio, Toledo, Western Michigan.
2023 (12): Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Kent State, Miami (Ohio), Ohio, Northern Illinois, Toledo, Western Michigan.
BIG WEST/WAC/MOUNTAIN WEST
1996 (Big West): Boise State, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico State, North Texas, Utah State.
1996 (WAC): Air Force, BYU, Colorado State, Fresno State, Hawaii, New Mexico, Rice, San Diego State, San Jose State, SMU, TCU, Tulsa, UNLV, Utah, UTEP, Wyoming.
2023 (MWC): Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, San Diego State, San Jose State, UNLV, Utah State, Wyoming.
2001 (7, first season): Arkansas State, Idaho, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Middle Tennessee State, New Mexico State, North Texas.
2023 (14): Appalachian State, Arkansas State, Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, James Madison, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Marshall, Old Dominion, South Alabama, Southern Mississippi, Texas State, Troy.
1996 (11): Arkansas State, Army, Central Florida, East Carolina, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana Tech, Navy, Northern Illinois, Notre Dame, UAB.
2023 (4): Army, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Notre Dame.
WAKE FOREST’S DAVE CLAWSON SAYS MULTIPLE PLAYERS RETURNED DESPITE TAMPERING BY OTHER SCHOOLS
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson said Thursday that six to eight of his players returned to the Demon Deacons despite tampering efforts by other schools hoping to persuade them to transfer with promises of lucrative endorsement deals.
He said the offers to his players ranged in value from roughly $150,000 to around $500,000.
“I love the way (the players) handled it,” Clawson said during the final day of the Atlantic Coast Conference’s preseason media days. “They didn’t try to leverage, negotiate. They just wanted me to know as the head coach that these things are now going on in college football, which I knew.
“But when you get the firsthand examples of it, of ‘This school offered me this much to go there at this time,’ those are very real things.”
Coaches have talked broadly about tampering by schools trying to poach their rosters as the transfer portal allows for free player movement while players can also cash in with name, image and likeness (NIL) endorsement opportunities. Yet coaches rarely go into details beyond alleging it’s happening.
“You add (NIL) and transfer portal and the collision of the two and tampering, those are things that make it more difficult to be a head coach,” North Carolina coach Mack Brown said earlier Thursday.
Clawson didn’t identify the schools he said approached his players, saying only that none are in the ACC.
“One school did it with three different players,” Clawson said with a chuckle. “It was great: ‘No, no, no.’ And the money offers kept getting better.”
Tampering would seem to be a particular concern for a program like Wake Forest, which doesn’t load and reload with five-star recruits. Instead, Clawson’s program is about long-term development and retention of players who have gotten stronger and honed their skills over time — typically with a redshirt year — while building up game reps before assuming a waited-their-turn larger role.
The formula helped the Demon Deacons reach the ACC championship game in 2021.
“I give our players credit,” Clawson said. “They let us know after the fact. None of them came to me and said, ‘Coach, I have this offer to go here. What can the collective do?’
“They didn’t do that. … All those guys stayed because they want to get Wake Forest degrees and they have a good relationship with their teammates. And you know, I would like the narrative to be a positive one.”
UNC QB DRAKE MAYE HAS A GOOD RESOURCE FOR ADVICE. IT’S HIS PREDECESSOR NOW IN THE NFL
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina star quarterback Drake Maye figures he has the perfect resource to help him navigate the challenges ahead in a season of high expectations.
Speaking during the Atlantic Coast Conference’s preseason football media days, Maye said he has been in contact with current NFL quarterback Sam Howell as a sounding board.
“Just trying to soak up all I can from him because he’s lived it and I want to be in the position he’s at,” Maye said.
Maye is being mentioned as a Heisman Trophy candidate and future pro passer for a team aiming to contend for an ACC title.
Two years ago, Maye was a true freshman while Howell was in a similar position. That ended up being a bumpier-than-expected season for UNC, which started ranked No. 10 in the AP Top 25 but finished just 6-7.
Maye said he asked Howell — now set to be the starter in Washington — what he would’ve liked to have done better in that final year. Howell suggested making sure to take care of non-football demands early in a time with college athletes able to profit with endorsement deals using their name, image and likeness (NIL).
“The best thing that I got … was taking care of all the off-field stuff like NIL,” Maye said. “Obviously agents are in the world now. It’s taking care of that stuff before the season, getting that done and not worrying about that during the season — kind of having that not on your mind as you’re going out there for a snap against Duke or something.”
Clemson has brought back past offensive coordinator Chad Morris to its staff, though at a discount.
Morris is working as an analyst this fall after being the Tigers’ first million-dollar assistant before leaving to become SMU’s coach after the 2014 season. He first came to Clemson in 2011 and directed the high-speed attack that helped the Tigers reach the national elite.
Head coach Dabo Swinney called Morris “a very cheap, high qualified guy that’s hanging around.” Swinney said Morris will work with the offense and defense and “really just add a lot of value from another lens.”
Boston College coach Jeff Hafley admits his team’s rash of injuries put players out of the field way ahead of schedule last year. Hafley said 37 of 44 players of the Eagles’ two-deep depth chart were first or second-year players.
“Were some ready to play? Maybe not,” Hafley said after a three-win season that included calling on multiple true freshmen.
Hafley is hoping the reward comes this season.
“There’s excitement and there’s energy and our guys are getting older,” Hafley said. “That’s how we have to win at BC.”
North Carolina State linebacker Payton Wilson is eager to hit the field again — and stay healthy after injury concerns the past two years.
The 6-foot-4 redshirt junior was an all-conference performer in 2020 after leading the league with 108 tackles. But, already coming off shoulder surgery, Wilson hurt his other shoulder in the second game of 2021 and missed the rest of the year.
Wilson also missed time early last season before finishing with 83 tackles. He said battling through those issues have given him a more mature mindset.
“That mentality that comes with that and just understanding that nothing is guaranteed in this life and you got to give your 100% every percent of the time,” he said.
While the “ACC Kickoff” event concluded Thursday, the league will release voting results for the preseason team picks on Tuesday followed by the preseason all-ACC team a day later.
OREGON COACH DAN LANNING AGREES TO AN EXTENSION THROUGH THE 2028 SEASON
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Oregon and head coach Dan Lanning have agreed to a contract extension that will extend his deal through the 2028 season.
The Oregon Board of Trustees unanimously approved the terms of the contract Thursday. Lanning’s new deal will pay him a total of $45 million in base salary over six years. There are incentives in the contract that will add an additional year if Oregon wins 10 games at any point of the contract with a max of three years added on.
Lanning, 37, led Oregon to a 10-3 record, including a victory in the Holiday Bowl, in his first season in charge of the Ducks in 2022.
Lanning would have to pay a $20 million buyout if he leaves for another job prior to the completion of the contract.
“Dan has exhibited tremendous leadership and an unwavering commitment to providing the best possible experience for our football student-athletes,” Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens said. “This joint commitment is one component of a bold vision for the future of Oregon football that will allow our program to continue to compete at the highest level and on the cutting edge of innovation and excellence.”
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW: TEXAS LONGHORNS
2022 Record: 8-5 overall, 6-3 in Big 12
Head Coach: Steve Sarkisian, 3rd year: 13-12,
Texas is back … for one more year.
Understand what it means – beyond the derisive snark – when the “Texas is back” thing kicks in every time the team comes up with a decent win. Also understand that Texas wouldn’t necessarily be “back” yet even if it pulls a 2022 TCU and gets to the national title game.
Under Mack Brown, Texas won ten games or more from 2001 until 2009, and nine games or more from 1999 to until ’09. It was a major player for every top recruit, it was in every championship, and it had a freakish way of coming as close as you can to playing for a ton of national titles without actually doing it, outside of an all-time performance by 10 in the Rose Bowl to close out the 2005 season.
For you kids out there, think current Ohio State over the 2000s. That’s what Texas being “back” would look and feel like.
For now, though, the program has to finally snap out of this funk. This is when Texas needs to realize that it’s Texas and it’s supposed to be awesome at college football – and it needs to do it this year when coming up with something massive is more attainable.
Not to conference shame, but Baylor and TCU are the last two Big 12 champions. Georgia and Alabama are the last two SEC champions.
So if Texas is really going to do this – it can win the SEC Championship next year with orange and white confetti raining down and I still won’t 100% buy that 1) it’s in the SEC, and 2) didn’t figure out a deal with the Big Ten – the definition of “back” has to change.
Texas isn’t winning ten games or more for nine straight seasons in the SEC. Bless my heart if it does – and there’s zero excuse for it not to – but no, that’s not happening on a regular basis. But it has to hit get to double-digits once in a while.
Going forward in an expanded College Football Playoff with 12 teams, the goal is to finish in the top 11. Winning a conference championship might be cute and all, and we’ll see how much the byes really matter, but SEC teams that go 10-2 will almost always get in.
That means Texas has to win ten regular season games with the training wheels still on.
Texas hasn’t had a pre-bowl ten-win campaign – the 2018 team went 10-4 with a Sugar Bowl win over Georgia – since the 2009 season when it got to the BCS Championship. (By the way, Iowa State, Kansas, and Texas Tech are the only other Big 12 teams – including the four newbies – to not have a ten-win regular season since 2009.)
Now for the start of the positives – this team has the makeup and talent to finally break the unforgivably mediocre streak. Talent-wise, momentum-wise, vibe-wise, this should be the best Longhorn team in a long, long time – and not just because it signed Arch.
8-5 – what it went last year – isn’t good enough for this program, but it lost in the final moments in a fight against Alabama, lost by three at Texas Tech, by seven in a firefight with Oklahoma State, 17-10 to TCU, and 27-20 in a good bowl game against Washington. The team was 2-5 in one score games, it has as many if not more high-end playmakers on both sides of the ball than anyone in the Big 12, and …
2024? Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, and of course, Oklahoma – those are the teams on the new SEC-Texas schedule. Oh yeah, and there’s a trip to Michigan, too.
However it needs to be considered, Texas, be back this year.
Texas Longhorns Preview: Offense
The offense should be more explosive and even more dangerous down the field with a loaded group of receivers, three potential superstar quarterbacks, and everyone of note expected to be back up front. The O should be relatively injury-proof as long as there isn’t a rash of problems on the line, and there’s no reason to finish fifth in the Big 12 in total offense and third in scoring. There’s too much pop to be so inconsistent, but …
There’s no replacing Bijan Robinson. More on this in the Key to the Season section, but when Texas runs, Texas wins, and it doesn’t have the Atlanta Falcon starting running back and his 1,580 yards and 18 touchdowns around anymore. Jonathan Brooks, Jaydon Blue, and Keilan Robinson should form a strong rotation with Brooks about to explode partly because …
The starting five up front should be the best – at least most experienced – in the Big 12. Tackles Kelvin Banks and Christian Jones lead the way, but there’s potential All-Big 12-caliber seasons coming from all five spots on a line that was the second best in the Big 12 in sacks allowed. The depth is a tad thin, but there’s young talent waiting in the wings.
The receiving corps will be devastating. Xavier Worthy caught 60 passes for 760 yards and nine scores, Jordan Whittingham made 50 grabs, and TE Ja’Tavion Sanders is in the Mackey Award mix coming off a 54-catch, five-grab season. But it gets better.
Georgia’s Adonai Mitchell is coming in to be a part of the fun, and returning from a torn ACL that cost him all of last season is former Wyoming transfer Isaiah Neyor, a flash of lightning who average 20 yards per grab with 12 scores in 2021 with the Cowboys. And so it comes down to …
There’s no wrong answer here in the quarterback battle. Quinn Ewers is likely the main man to start the season, but he has to be more consistent. The NFL tools are there – he hit Washington for 369 yards in the bowl loss, and he was picking apart Alabama before he got hurt – but his struggles against Oklahoma State and TCU were costly in the losses.
Arch Manning should get a year to be around the system, but yeah, he’s for real beyond the last name. And then there’s the wild-card in all of this. Maalik Murphy is a 6-5, 235-pound rock with the size, arm, and upside to be deep in the hunt for time.
Texas Longhorns Preview: Defense
The defense doesn’t have quite the same level of talent as the offense, but it’s full of veterans from a group that finished second in the Big 12 in total and scoring defense and was great at getting into the backfield. There were a few blown tires in losses to Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, and Washington, and there needs to be more of a pass rush to go along with the tackles for loss, but it was the first time since 2014 the defense allowed fewer than five yards per play.
The secondary might be the most interesting position group on the team other than quarterback. It has returning veterans in safeties Jerrin Thompson and Jahdae Barron – he’s always all over the field – and corner Ryan Watts is great, but there need to be more big plays. Those three combined for four of the team’s ten interceptions. Wake Forest transfer Gavin Holmes will be thrown into one corner spot to handle the speed receivers, and big-hitting Arkansas transfer Jalen Catalon steps in at safety.
If the new guy is really that good, this linebacking corps will be strong. Jaylan Ford is an All-Big 12-caliber tackling machine with a team high 119 stops in the middle, and David Gbenda is around for his fifth year of work, but the spotlight is on Anthony Hill, a superstar recruit who might not have received the national hype of Arch, but should make more of a Year One impact.
The line has enough experience to be more of a rock. The tackle combination of T’Vondre Sweat and Byron Murphy will soon be in the NFL, Barryn Sorrell should be a more dangerous pass rusher, and a slew of underclassmen should play big roles around a slew of big older parts.
Texas Longhorns College Football Preview 2023: What Will Happen
Good things happen when Texas runs the ball well. The team was 2-4 when it threw for over 250 yards, but 8-2 when averaging over three yards per carry. It was 0-3 when it didn’t get to three a pop. More to the point about control, Texas was 5-0 when running for 205 yards or more and 3-5 when it didn’t. How much does this matter?
Since 2017, Texas is 22-0 when running for 205 yards or more.
Texas Longhorns Top Transfer, Biggest Loss
WR Adonai Mitchell in from Georgia, EDGE Ovie Oghoufo gone to LSU. Texas brought in a slew of dangerous transfers – S Jalen Catalon probably should be the one to highlight here – but Mitchell has the upside to be the best target in a loaded receiving corps. A great recruit for Georgia, the 6-4, 195-pounder caught 38 passes with seven scores in his two seasons – he was hurt for a chunk of last year – but the ability is there to do a whole lot more if he can stay healthy.
The Longhorn defensive line is fine, but it would’ve been nice to have around a sixth-year veteran who made 95 stops with 13 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks after transferring in from Notre Dame. Now Oghoufo is off playing for his former coach Brian Kelly as part of the LSU rotation.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL NEWS
DUKE HIRING OKLAHOMA’S EMANUEL DILDY AS MEN’S BASKETBALL ASSISTANT COACH, AP SOURCE SAYS
Duke is hiring Oklahoma’s Emanuel Dildy as an assistant coach after Amile Jefferson’s departure to the NBA, a person with knowledge of the situation said Thursday.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the school hasn’t officially discussed its search.
The 42-year-old Dildy has spent the past two seasons with the Sooners and has a reputation as a strong recruiter. Before that, he spent three seasons with another power-conference program at Northwestern.
Dildy also had stints at Valparaiso, Missouri, Loyola Chicago — working there under current Sooners coach Porter Moser — and his alma mater Eastern Illinois. He was all-Ohio Valley Conference performer as a senior with the Redbirds and had a brief professional playing career, including two seasons in Germany.
Duke head coach Jon Scheyer had maintained a strong program presence in his first staff with Jefferson joining former Blue Devils player Chris Carrawell. But he also went outside the Duke family to bring in another strong recruiter in Jai Lucas from Kentucky as an assistant, and is doing so again.
The 30-year-old Jefferson had worked as an assistant during Scheyer’s first season facing the daunting task of following retired Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski. The former player was a member of the Blue Devils’ 2015 NCAA title winner. He left earlier this summer to become an assistant coach under Joe Mazzulla with the Boston Celtics.
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
MLB ROUNDUP: SHOHEI OHTANI SHINES AS ANGELS SWEEP TIGERS
Shohei Ohtani tossed the first complete-game shutout of his career, Taylor Ward hit two homers and the visiting Los Angeles Angels blanked the Detroit Tigers 6-0 in the opener of a doubleheader on Thursday afternoon.
Ohtani (9-5) allowed only one hit — a Kerry Carpenter single in the fifth. He walked three and struck out eight. Ohtani had never previously pitched more than eight innings.
Ohtani’s scheduled start was moved up from Friday after the second game of the series was postponed due to inclement weather. He was reportedly taken off the trade market on Wednesday.
Ward drove in three runs, as did Trey Cabbage. Mike Moustakas scored a pair of runs for Los Angeles, which has won seven of its last eight games.
Detroit starter Michael Lorenzen (5-7) gave up three runs and five hits while striking out seven in five innings.
Angels 11, Tigers 4 (Game 2)
Shohei Ohtani hit a pair of homers and drove in three runs before departing with cramping as Los Angeles completed a doubleheader sweep with a victory over host Detroit.
Ohtani hit his major league leading 37th and 38th home runs but grabbed his side after the latter homer. Ohtani tossed the first complete game shutout of his career in the Angels’ 6-0 victory earlier in the day. He allowed only one hit and struck out eight.
Hunter Renfroe had three hits, including a homer, and drove in two runs in the nightcap for the Angels, who have won eight of their last nine games. Matt Thaiss and Luis Rengifo drove in two runs apiece and Eduardo Escobar added a solo home run. Angels starter Patrick Sandoval (6-7) gave up two runs and five hits in five innings.
Cubs 10, Cardinals 3
Justin Steele earned his fourth victory over St. Louis this season as visiting Chicago extended its winning streak to six games.
Steele (11-3) allowed one run on five hits and three walks in six innings. He struck out four. Yan Gomes drove in three runs, while Mike Tauchman had a homer, two singles and two RBIs for the Cubs.
Andrew Knizner hit two homers and drove in three runs for the Cardinals, whose starting pitcher, Miles Mikolas (6-6), was ejected in the first inning after throwing one pitch up and in to the Cubs’ Ian Happ, then hitting him on the hip on the next pitch. Happ had earlier connected with catcher Willson Contreras’ head on an errant backswing, causing a scalp laceration and the catcher’s exit.
Guardians 6, White Sox 3
Josh Naylor doubled twice and drove in three and five teammates had two hits each as visiting Cleveland defeated skidding Chicago.
The Guardians won for the fifth time in seven games to move over the .500 mark. The White Sox took their sixth straight loss despite getting two homers from Jake Burger.
Cleveland rookie Tanner Bibee (7-2) scattered three runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings. Emmanuel Clase worked around consecutive two-out singles in the ninth for his 28th save.
Mets 2, Nationals 1
Daniel Vogelbach and Mark Canha each had an RBI during a rain-delayed eighth inning for host New York, which beat Washington in the opener of a four-game series.
With Washington up 1-0, Jeff McNeil and Pete Alonso singled with one out off Mason Thompson before Vogelbach hit the game-tying single, after which DJ Stewart was hit by a pitch to load the bases. A rain delay of 1 hour, 37 minutes followed. When play resumed, Canha greeted reliever Kyle Finnegan by hitting a sacrifice fly, scoring Alonso.
David Peterson (3-7) tossed two scoreless innings of relief for the Mets, who are 6-6 since the All-Star break. Brooks Raley earned his second save by working around a two-out walk in the ninth. Keibert Ruiz lofted a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning for the Nationals, who lost for just the second time in seven games.
METS TRADE CLOSER DAVID ROBERTSON TO MARLINS FOR TWO MINOR LEAGUERS
NEW YORK (AP) The New York Mets began the process of dismantling the team with the largest payroll of all-time late Thursday night, trading closer David Robertson to the Miami Marlins for two teenage minor leaguers.
The Mets, who began the season with a $353 million payroll, beat the Washington Nationals 2-1 to improve to 48-54. They are seven games behind the Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds, who are in a virtual tie for the last two NL wild-card spots.
The trade results in a savings of nearly $6.75 million for the Mets. The Marlins pay the $3,548,387 remaining of Robertson’s $10 million salary. New York’s luxury tax bill is reduced by $3.19 million.
“We didn’t have visions of this at the start of the season,” Mets general manager Billy Eppler said.
The Marlins, with the seventh-lowest payroll in the majors at a little more than $91 million, are a half-game behind the Phillies and Reds after going 7-13 this month.
Robertson warmed up in the eighth inning of a tie game before a 97-minute rain delay gave Eppler and Marlins general manager Kim Ng time to complete the trade. Brooks Raley pitched the ninth and earned his second save.
“That was unique,” Eppler said. “But the rain delay provided an opportunity for us to kind of get a final offer from Miami.”
Miami sent a pair of players from its rookie-level Florida Complex League affiliate, Marco Vargas and catcher Ronald Hernandez, to the Mets in exchange for Robertson, who signed a one-year deal in December with the expectations he’d help serve as a late-inning bridge to closer Edwin Diaz.
But Diaz suffered a torn patella tendon during the World Baseball Classic, vaulting the 38-year-old Robertson into the ninth-inning role. Robertson has been the Mets’ most reliable reliever, getting 14 saves and posting a 2.05 ERA for a team that entered Thursday with a 4.22 bullpen ERA – the 10th-worst in the majors.
“I’ve said (it) I don’t know how many times – there’s a ton of talent in this clubhouse, we just weren’t able to put it together,” Robertson said. “When you can’t put it together in time, GMs and owners have to make decisions. And I was one of those decisions and I got moved.”
Eppler said the Mets remain in listening mode. Mark Canha, Tommy Pham and Carlos Carrasco are all due to hit free agency after the season while Omar Narváez, in the first year of a two-year deal, lost the everyday starting catching job to rookie Francisco Álvarez.
Max Scherzer has a $43.3 million player option for next season while fellow former Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander is guaranteed $43.3 million in 2024, the final season of his two-year deal.
“It’s a little different than just declaring it and calling everybody and saying we’re sellers,” Eppler said. “It’s more just looking at it on a case-by-case basis, hearing who clubs kind of covet and hearing what their kind of price point is on players.”
PITTSBURGH PIRATES SEND 1B CARLOS SANTANA TO THE BREWERS
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Veteran first baseman/designated hitter Carlos Santana has grown accustomed to changing teams quite a bit during his productive major league career, yet his latest move caught him a little off guard.
The Milwaukee Brewers acquired Santana in a Thursday trade that sent minor league infielder Jhonny Severino to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The move takes Santana from last place to first place in the NL Central.
“A little bit surprised,” Santana said on a conference call. “Most of the time, a team doesn’t try to trade a player to the same division.”
The 37-year-old Santana hit .235 with 12 home runs and 53 RBIs in 94 games for the Pirates, who have fallen off significantly after a fast start. He also leads all major league first basemen with six defensive runs saved, according to FanGraphs.
His career also has included stops in Cleveland, Philadelphia, Kansas City and Seattle.
“We value what he does on both sides of the ball,” Brewers president of baseball operations Matt Arnold said. “That’s kind of been our DNA all year. We talk about adding offense. I think all of us want to try adding a bat, but I think we also don’t want to do it at the expense of our defense. I think that has been a strength of ours. With somebody like Carlos, we feel like we were able to check a lot of boxes there.”
The Brewers lead the NL Central despite ranking just 25th in runs scored, thanks in large part to a lack of production from the first base and designated hitter spots all season.
First baseman Rowdy Tellez is batting .213 with 12 homers – down from 35 last season – and has been on the injured list for the last three weeks. Tellez had 17 stitches removed this week from his left ring finger, which suffered a tuft fracture when it got stuck in the outfield wall while he was shagging fly balls in Cincinnati. Tellez already was on the injured list with right forearm inflammation when he hurt his finger.
The Brewers acquired Jesse Winker from Seattle this offseason with the intention of making him their main designated hitter, but he is batting .199 with only six extra-base hits (five doubles and one homer) in 197 plate appearances. Winker’s prolonged slump has caused his playing time to drop significantly.
Milwaukee’s acquisition of Santana indicates the Brewers’ intention to upgrade their roster this summer as an attempt to atone for last year’s fade.
The Brewers owned a 57-45 record and a three-game lead in the NL Central race last year when they traded four-time All-Star closer Josh Hader to the San Diego Padres, a move that stunned the clubhouse as well as the fan base. The Brewers went 29-31 the rest of the way and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2017.
The Pirates signed Santana to a one-year deal in the offseason, hoping his veteran presence could provide stability to a young roster trying to learn to win. Pittsburgh got off to a 20-8 start, but has stumbled for most of the last three months.
Santana could be the first of several Pirates who could be on the move with a shot at the postseason unlikely. Pitcher Rich Hill, who like Santana signed a one-year deal in the offseason, could be attractive to a contender. The Pirates also have a pair of young All-Stars on the roster in closer David Bednar and pitcher Mitch Keller, both of whom are affordable and under team control, making them a potentially attractive target for teams in the thick of the playoff chase.
The 18-year-old Severino has played 12 games this season in the Brewers’ Rookie-level Arizona Complex League. He has batted .250 with a .289 on-base percentage, four homers, 10 RBIs and five steals while playing both shortstop and third base. The Brewers signed Severino out of the Dominican Republic last year.
“He walks in the door and he looks like somebody who would be a free safety at the University of Alabama,” Arnold said. “He’s that kind of athletic physical specimen. He’s big. Big shoulders. Can barely fit through the door. He runs well. Has a chance to play on the dirt. Has power. All the ingredients of a guy you would hope to get. Honestly, they should be happy with his player. He’s a really interesting prospect. We know he’s far away, but again, we know we have to give up something of quality to access a player like Carlos Santana.”
COYOTES SIGN PRIZED PROSPECT COOLEY; 3RD PICK IN 2022 DRAFT PLAYED 1 COLLEGE SEASON AT MINNESOTA
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The Arizona Coyotes signed 2022 first-round draft pick Logan Cooley on Thursday to a three-year, entry-level contract, after the center changed his mind about returning to Minnesota for another college season.
The 19-yeaer-old Cooley was the third overall pick last year. The Pittsburgh native led Minnesota in scoring as a freshman with 22 goals and 38 assists in 39 games, helping the Gophers reach the NCAA championship game. The 5-foot-10, 181-pound Cooley was second in the country with 60 points and had at least one point in 32 games.
Cooley played for the bronze-winning U.S. team at the World Junior Championship in Canada earlier this year, finishing second in the tournament in scoring.
Cooley initially announced he would return to the Gophers for the 2023-24 season. He said on his Instagram account that he realized “deep down” he was ready to move up.
“I want to fulfill my lifelong dream of becoming an NHL player,” Cooley said. “The hardest part of coming to this decision was feeling like I was letting people down, but I have to be true to myself and do what’s in my heart. I’m so grateful for my time as a Gopher.”
AUTO RACING NEWS
WEEKEND PREVIEW: RICHMOND RACEWAY & ROAD AMERICA
RICHMOND, Va. — Richmond (Va.) Raceway has long been called the “Action Track.”
When the NASCAR Cup Series visits for Sunday’s Cook Out 400 (3 p.m. ET on USA Network, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), it may also be the “Re-action Track” — with emotions still high from a drama-filled day at Pocono, Pa., last week and Playoff positions on the line with only five races remaining in the regular season.
Hendrick Motorsports driver Kyle Larson, who finished 21st after battling Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin in a door-to-door feud for the Pocono checkered flag, won at the three-quarter mile Richmond track in April.
The normally mild-mannered 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion Larson — who is close friends with Hamlin off the track — was visibly upset with the aggressive move Hamlin used to take the lead from him — and cruise to victory — in the closing laps at Pocono. Larson suggested afterward he would start racing drivers in the same manner as they race him; more aggressively if warranted.
Whatever method he uses, a win on Sunday would make Larson only the 12th driver to win consecutive races at Richmond.
“All of our wins this year have been on short tracks; Richmond, Martinsville (Va.) and (the All-Star Race) North Wilkesboro (N.C.),” Larson said. “We were good at Loudon (N.H.) — even compared to the teammates. Honestly, we have been pretty good everywhere this year.
“I’m excited about going to Richmond this weekend and going back to a track that we won at earlier this year,” the driver of the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet continued. “As the season progresses, set-ups change, and the weather is going to be different than it was earlier in the year. It’s not going to be the same, but I’m confident because we have been good at all the short tracks.”
Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick — the 2014 series champion who is retiring at the end of the season — is the defending winner of Sunday’s race. He’s still looking for his first victory of 2023, although he is the highest-ranked driver in the points standings without a win. His 18 top-five and 30 top-10 finishes are best among active drivers.
Primed to rally after a disappointing showing at Pocono last week is two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch, whose six Richmond wins are most among drivers. He has been running at the finish in all 35 NASCAR Cup Series races he’s competed in at the track and completed all but a single lap in that span — 14,208 of 14,209 laps possible. That equals 10,521 miles or 21 round trips from his Richard Childress Racing shop in Welcome, N.C., to Richmond Raceway.
Hendrick Motorsports’ Chase Elliott is still competing for his first trophy of the year, however, after missing six races (five recovering from injury and one for a NASCAR penalty), the 2020 series champ is still 56 points from the 16-driver cutoff line (21st place in the standings) and will most likely need to win a race to extend his perfect career Playoff record to eight years.
Elliott’s Hendrick teammate Alex Bowman also finds himself in a need-to-win situation after missing three races while recovering from an accident he suffered in a mid-week sprint car race back in April. He has qualified for the Playoffs all five of his preceding years with the Hendrick team, winning races in each of the last four seasons.
And then there is the more obvious drama for those surrounding that all-important 16th-place points position in the championship standings. Going into Richmond 23XI Racing’s Bubba Wallace is 15th in points, 27 points above postseason cutoff, and Front Row Motorsports’ Michael McDowell is in 16th — just 17 points up on the cutoff.
There are three others within reasonable striking distance. Kaulig Racing’s A.J. Allmendinger has moved into that 17th place slot — only 17 points behind McDowell. Trackhouse Racing’s Daniel Suarez is 23 points behind Front Row Motorsports’ McDowell. Joe Gibbs Racing rookie Ty Gibbs is now 28 points out of earning a Playoff bid in his first full NASCAR Cup Series season.
Among these five drivers, Suarez (16.1) has the best average finish at Richmond, followed by Allmendinger (22.1), Gibbs (22.5), Wallace (23.6) and McDowell (30.4).
Of note, Allmendinger is making a rare competitive double. He’s also racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Elkhart Lake, Wis., on Saturday so will have Derek Kraus practice and qualify his No. 16 Kaulig Chevrolet on Saturday before returning to race it in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race.
Of the six previous short track races, current NASCAR Cup Series driver standings leader Martin Truex Jr. (Dover, Del. and New Hampshire) and Larson (Martinsville, Va., and Richmond, Va.) are multi-time short track winners already in 2023, joining William Byron (Phoenix) and Christopher Bell (Bristol, Tenn., dirt track) on the list. All four of these drivers ranked among the top-10 in the Cup Series driver standings.
Truex, who leads the championship by 30 points over Byron, boasts the best average short-track finishing position (6.6) this season and Byron holds the best average start (6.5) at the previous short-track stops.
Six different drivers have won the last six races at Richmond. Among those still needing to race into the Playoffs, Bowman (2021) is the only one with a former Richmond trophy.
Practice and Busch Light Pole Qualifying take place Saturday and will air on USA network from 12:35-2:30 p.m. ET.
XFINITY Series different winners are the norm at Road America.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to the Midwest for Saturday afternoon’s Road America 180 (3 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at the historic Elkhart Lake, Wisc., road course where there has never been a repeat winner to date — 13 race winners in as many Xfinity Series races.
It’s the longest active streak among series’ tracks to go without a repeat champ, but there are three drivers that could change that this weekend. Allmendinger (2012), Jeremy Clements (2017) and Justin Allgaier (2018) are all former Road America winners competing this weekend.
Allgaier, who will be making his 450th NASCAR Xfinity series start this weekend, currently boasts the best road-course record of the season among series regulars with four finishes of seventh or better, including a runner-up showing at Portland, Ore., and a third-place at the Chicago Street Course.
Fans — and competitors — can typically expect excitement on the series’ road course venues and it comes after a dramatic weekend in Pocono, Pa., where Austin Hill took the lead on an overtime restart to beat the day’s most dominant driver JR Motorsports’ Josh Berry for the victory. Hill is now tied with his closest championship rival, John Hunter Nemechek, with four wins each.
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver Nemechek holds a 13-point advantage over Richard Childress Racing’s Hill atop the championship standings — the pair having separated themselves from the field. Allgaier is 55 points behind Nemechek.
It’s reasonable to expect some movement in the championship standings with seven regular-season races remaining and only seven race winners with a lock on a Playoff berth.
Currently challenging for that 12th and final Playoff transfer position, 13th-ranked Parker Kligerman is only 26 points behind 12th-place Riley Herbst. Kligerman is 2-for-2 in Top-10s at Road America scoring a third-place (2013) and a 10th-place (2017) in his only starts there. Herbst also has a pair of Top-10s at Elkhart Lake, including back-to-back seventh-place finishes in the past two seasons.
Practice (5 p.m. ET) followed by qualifying for the Road America 180 is set for Friday and will be televised on USA Network and streamed on the NBC Sports App.
–NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series to Decide Regular Season Champion, Playoff Field at Richmond
This is it. After 15 races, the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Regular Season Champion will be crowned and the 10-driver Playoff field formalized following Saturday’s Worldwide Express 250 at Richmond Raceway (7:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Six drivers have already earned their Playoff position by virtue of wins and a seventh, Ty Majeski has clinched a spot based on points. That leaves three Playoff openings to be decided. A regular-season champion will also be crowned this weekend, TRICON Garage driver Corey Heim, 20, is currently the points leader and will need to collect 19 points to clinch the title and the additional 15-point Playoff bonus awarded the Regular Season Champion.
Reigning series champ Zane Smith, Grant Enfinger, Ben Rhodes, Christian Eckes and Carson Hocevar have also already secured their positions in the Playoffs with a win.
Matt DiBenedetto, Nick Sanchez and Matt Crafton currently hold the remaining Playoff-eligible positions based on points. The three-time series champion Crafton holds a nine-point advantage over 11th-place Stewart Friesen. Sanchez is 21 points up on Friesen.
Of course, there is the very real chance that a driver below the cutoff line wins a race and bypasses a competitor currently in the Playoffs on points. Enfinger, however, is the only full-time driver competing this weekend to have a previous Richmond victory (2020).
Not only is Sanchez hoping to secure that Playoff position, but he also goes into Saturday night’s race with an impressive lead on the rookie standings — more than 100 points up on Jake Garcia. Last week at Pocono, the two young talents started alongside one another on the front row. Should Sanchez qualify for the Playoffs he would automatically earn the series’ Sunoco Rookie of the Year award.
The 2023 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoffs will begin Aug. 8 at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park.
LEE HODGES TAKES ONE-STROKE LEAD AT 3M OPEN
Lee Hodges, after missing the cut in three of his last four events, leads the 3M Open after the first round with a bogey-free, 8-under-par 63 on Thursday in Blaine, Minn.
Hodges, 28, is seeking his first win on the PGA Tour since joining full-time in 2022.
He started on the back nine at TPC Twin Cities with three straight birdies en route to a 4-under 32, then added birdies at Nos. 1, 2, 6 and 7 for eight total.
A four-way tie for second at 7-under 64 features Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, Brandt Snedeker, Tyler Duncan and Kevin Streelman.
Matsuyama also went bogey-free with seven birdies. Snedeker and Duncan also steered clear of bogeys. Streelman bogeyed No. 10 and carded an eagle in closing at the par-5 18th hole.
Defending champion Tony Finau is in a large group tied for eighth at 5-under 66. Finau began on the back nine and went birdie, birdie, eagle, birdie, par, birdie to get to 6 under in five holes. The eagle on the par-5, 583-yard 12th hole came on a 49-foot putt.
But Finau bogeyed the par-4 second and seventh holes before making a birdie on No. 8 to get back to 5 under.
BREANNA STEWART, LIBERTY KEEP ROLLING, HANDLE DREAM
Breanna Stewart scored 25 of her 33 points before halftime and the host New York Liberty never trailed in a 95-84 victory over the Atlanta Dream on Thursday night.
Stewart notched her fourth 30-point game of the season and grabbed 12 rebounds. It was her 12th double-double of the season.
Stewart made 8 of 17 shots and sank 14 of 16 free throw attempts as the Liberty (18-5) won their fourth straight and continued the best start in team history two nights after overcoming an 18-point deficit to beat Seattle.
Jonquel Jones added 19 points and 13 rebounds and Betnijah Laney contributed 14 points for New York, which shot 48.5 percent and sank 11 3-pointers. Sabrina Ionescu chipped in 12 and nine assists after throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at Yankee Stadium Wednesday.
Allisha Gray scored 25 points to lead Atlanta (13-11), which was unable to match its win total from last year’s 14-22 mark. Aari McDonald added 18, as the Dream fell to 8-3 in their past 11 contests by shooting 42.5 percent and misfiring on 18 of 26 3-point tries.
New York scored the first nine points and held a 23-9 lead on a putback by Nyara Sabally with 2:28 left before taking a 26-16 lead through the opening quarter. Gray’s jumper moved Atlanta within 29-22 about two minutes into the second, and New York countered with a 15-4 burst for a 44-26 edge on Stewart’s 18-footer with 4:27 left before opening a 57-42 halftime lead.
Atlanta outscored New York 24-16 during the third, when the Liberty shot 3-of-14, and cut the lead to 73-66 entering the fourth. New York pushed the lead back to 15 on two free throws by Jones with 7:22 remaining and clinched the win when consecutive 3s by Stewart and Ionescu opened a 92-78 edge with 3:09 left.
TOP INDIANA NEWS/RELEASES FROM ORGANIZATIONS
COLTS SIGN CB CHRIS LAMMONS
Westfield, Ind. – The Indianapolis Colts today signed free agent cornerback Chris Lammons.
Lammons, 5-10, 190 pounds, has played in 42 career games in his time with the Kansas City Chiefs (2019-22), Miami Dolphins (2018-19), New Orleans Saints (2018) and Atlanta Falcons (2018). He has compiled 18 tackles (nine solo), three passes defensed, one interception, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and eight special teams stops. Lammons has also appeared in three postseason contests and has registered two special teams tackles.
In 2022, he played in 16 regular season games with the Chiefs and tallied three tackles (two solo), one forced fumble and four special teams stops. Lammons also saw action in one postseason contest and had one special teams tackle.
OGWUMIKE SCORES 25, SPARKS GET SECOND WIN OVER THE FEVER IN TWO DAYS
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Nneka Ogwumike had 25 points and nine rebounds, Jordin Canada added 21 points and seven assists, and the Los Angeles Sparks beat the Indiana Fever 81-68 on Thursday for their second series victory in two days.
Ogwumike made two free throws with 4:07 remaining in the third quarter for a 58-46 lead and the Sparks led by double figures the rest of the way. Jasmine Thomas sank a wide open 3-pointer from the corner for a 73-60 lead and Canada added a jumper from the free-throw line on their next possession for a 15-point lead.
Thomas finished with eight points off the bench for Los Angeles (9-15). Dearica Hamby grabbed seven rebounds to reach 1,500 for her career. The Sparks made 20 of 23 free throws compared to Indiana’s three attempts.
Ogwumike was coming off a 30-point performance in a 79-78 victory over Indiana on Tuesday. Canada has scored 20-plus in back-to-back games, including a game-winning 3-pointer with 3.2 seconds left on Tuesday.
Erica Wheeler had 17 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for Indiana (6-18). Kristy Wallace scored 13 points, Aliyah Boston added 12 and Grace Berger added 11. NaLyssa Smith (foot) did not play for the fifth straight game.
Wheeler and Boston each had 10 points at halftime as Indiana trailed 45-39.
ANDÚJAR GOES YARD AS INDIANS FALL TO BATS
INDIANAPOLIS – The Louisville Bats put up three runs in consecutive frames to break a 2-2 tie and defeat the Indianapolis Indians on Thursday night at Victory Field, 9-6.
With the game knotted entering the sixth inning, the Bats (52-45, 12-12) used extra-base hits to their advantage to take a big lead. Matt Reynolds broke the tie with a solo home run to right field off Kent Emanuel (L, 7-4), and a one-out double and single plated an additional pair in the frame. The eventual three winning runs then came around to score in the seventh via a Henry Ramos double and Noelvi Marte two-run single.
Chris Owings and Miguel Andújar continued the scoring in the bottom of the seventh and plated three runs with two outs to cut the Indians (46-52, 13-11) deficit to three. After an RBI single by Owings, Andújar launched the first pitch thrown to him for his 12th Triple-A home run of the season.
Louisville struck first in the contest, with Ramos driving in Reynolds after a two-out double in the opening frame. The Indians quickly countered with two outs in the bottom half when Ryan Vilade tied the game on an RBI single. Domingo Leyba then gave the home team its only lead of the contest on a double to short left field, scoring Vilade. TJ Hopkins tied the game with a solo homer in the top of the second.
Andre Jackson, making his second start with the Indians, tossed 4.0 two-run innings without allowing a hit beyond the second inning.
Andújar continued his dominance over International League pitching, going 3-for-5 with a run and two RBI to lead the Indians offense. Vilade, Jason Delay and Leyba – playing in his second game since being promoted from Double-A Altoona – followed with two hits apiece.
Brett Kennedy (W, 4-2) tossed 5.0 two-run innings with just one walk and one strikeout. Tony Santillan was the final Bats pitcher of the contest and stranded the tying run at the plate by inducing a game-ending double play.
The Indians will look to secure at least a series split on Friday in a 7:05 PM ET first pitch at Victory Field. RHP Lyon Richardson will make his Triple-A debut for Louisville against RHP Jared Jones (2-1, 5.08).
MEDIA DAY: TOM ALLEN
COACH ALLEN: I would like to welcome Commissioner Petitti to the Big Ten. The short time we’ve worked together, I’ve been very impressed and looking forward to his leadership in the conference.
I’m honored and blessed to be representing Indiana University here today, and I’m very, very proud to be an Indiana Hoosier.
I’d like to begin by honoring the memory of Vi Taliaferro. Last month we lost a very special member of our Bloomington community. In 2001 the Big Ten created the George and Vi Taliaferro Fellowship in honor of this amazing couple.
One of the players we brought here today his name is Aaron Casey, a linebacker. He wears No. 44 in honor of George Taliaferro. We decided to come up with a new tradition of selecting a player each year that will wear that number that best represents the work ethic, dedication, integrity and perseverance that George Taliaferro displayed.
And Aaron Casey is a perfect representation of this honor. Aaron’s a graduate with a degree in financial management. All-Big Ten linebacker. One of the best returning players in that position in our conference and has become one of our best players and one of our best leaders. So excited to have him here today.
Also Noah Pierre, a very versatile defensive back is with us. Noah is a special, special young man. Came to Indiana, had to earn his stripes the hard way. Took a few years to play on special teams and probably not play as much as he wanted on defense, but, man, he stayed the course. Tremendous perseverance and grit, and was rewarded a couple seasons ago to have that opportunity. He’s been a starter ever since.
Also a graduate with a degree in kinesiology, awesome, awesome young man.
And also running back Jaylin Lucas is here with us today. As a true freshman he became an All-American, first team, as a kick returner. As was also mentioned, the Big Ten Return Specialist of the Year. As special as he is on the football field he’s even better off. A 3.2 GPA, a tremendous worker, leader, humble and a great representation for our program.
I’m extremely excited for the upcoming season. Our word for 2023 is “toughness.” We define that as a mental and physical strength to persevere.
We had eight games last season that were decided in the fourth quarter. So for the past seven months we’ve been building our toughness and developing this football team to be able to finish in those opportunities.
We have a strong nucleus returning, and we had great success in the portal. We’ve been very focused on identifying young men across this country that were the best football players that fit our culture, that wanted to be at Indiana.
Obviously a compressed window to figure that out. So therefore we focused a lot on guys we already knew, had recruited previously or coached — may have coached at a previous school or had a chance to be able to get to know a coach on that staff that was with them every single day. I think that’s very, very important.
Also really excited about the three new staff members we have on the field. Bob Bostad, our new offensive line coach, brings tremendous experience in identifying and developing offensive linemen in the Big Ten Conference, as well as Matt Guerrieri who will be coaching our safeties and co-defensive coordinator who will be calling our defense.
And finally Anthony Tucker, our new wide receivers coach that brings tremendous experience, once again focused on identifying and developing players at his position.
So excited about this program. Obviously have a challenging schedule ahead of us. Very excited about the future. Gotta build it, keep growing every single day.
Q. Is it difficult to build confidence with such a young team when your first game of the season is against a powerhouse like Ohio State?
COACH ALLEN: You know what, I’ve been blessed here. I’ve been head coach for seven years. Five of those seven years we’ve opened with a Big Ten opponent. Very familiar with this process. My first season was the Ohio State Buckeyes back in 2017. So, challenging, yes, but I would say it forces you to grow up real fast.
So the urgency that the offseason is impacted by this reality of who you play September 2nd to open the season, I think it helps you. It helps you grow. It helps you have that attention to detail at a high level.
Everybody’s excited about the start of the season, but I think when it’s that kind of opponent it all gets raised to another level. Our team knows that. We understand that. There’s an urgency that our staff has because of it, and fall camp is affected by that in a very positive way.
So it’s a challenge we embrace, without question.
Q. The wide receiver group seems to be more diverse in body types and skill set and stuff like that. Is that something that Coach Tucker brought in? Is it something that you discussed with the coaching staff to change the room to make it a little bit more dynamic?
COACH ALLEN: I think that it was something that we as a staff collectively identified trying to create explosive plays. You go and you think about the game of football, and there’s two real — stats are stats, but there are two that really matter, and that to me is can you protect the football on offense, can you create takeaways on defense, so that turnover ratio is one; and then explosive play ratio, how many can you create on offense, how many can you prevent on defense.
We’re not creating enough on offense, and it’s hard to drive a football 75 yards on the defenses in the Big Ten. So wanted to get some more receiver body types to help create more explosive plays. That was by design, and even in the portal mindset, to go after that as well even as we’re recruiting guys in our current roster.
So definitely by design as the staff to be able to try to create more explosion by our offense.
Q. Regarding Ohio State and opening with a Big Ten opponent as often as you have, I guess what have you learned from those experiences in terms of how you build week one prep when you’ve done this so many times before, having to start with not just a Power Five opponent but a conference opponent?
COACH ALLEN: I think that, like I said, just fast-forwards everything. It just causes you — I get it, certain opportunities you have a chance to slowly build up to a game like that.
We don’t have that luxury, and so everything is geared around that. So I think once you get through that process and you have a chance to prepare for that type of an opponent and that situation and knowing it’s going to happen, because you know you think about this, our sport, we don’t have any preseason games and you have two scrimmages that you have against your own teammates, and then you have — we do a mock game the week before. So that’s just simulating situations, but you’re not playing somebody else.
So to be able to have it where you go from that to having to play such a high-level opponent immediately, it’s challenging. When you have some young guys, you have new guys, you’ve got to mold them together because the best team wins on game day.
So just trying to build that best team. So as we go through you’ve got more probably focused on game-lag situations than ever before and that window of time.
But like I said, once you get through that and you have that opportunity, man, it really allows you, I think, to have an advantage weeks two, three and four.
Q. In terms of the quarterback position, when you eventually do name a starter, how important is it to you and your coaches that the starter is a dual-threat quarterback? We saw how Dexter Williams opened up the offense with his ability to run last year towards the end of the season. When you name a starter, how important is it that they can also threaten in the ground game?
COACH ALLEN: Well, I just think, I’m a defensive coach by trade, and I just know what gives us trouble — anytime a quarterback can extend plays. It’s usually those when it’s not scripted, when they can be able to create, elongate, put pressure on your secondary, be able to beat you with his legs. You have to account for him in your pressure, whether you’ve got a spy, or whatever you need to do.
Moving forward that’s what we want to have at that position to be able to extend those plays. I think it’s a variable for sure.
But at the same time once you pick who that individual is, you’ve got to make sure you’re building everything around them so they can be at their best and be able to be comfortable. Obviously whoever is going to be is going to be a younger guy that’s going to have to grow up really fast.
But I think that ability to extend plays, I think, we’ve seen that at the NFL level how valuable that can be. You keep that guy healthy, it’s obviously an extra weapon that’s very effective.
Q. I’m curious, you mentioned with your defensive background, now you’re bringing in a new position coach that’s going to call the defense for you. What goes into that decision for you?
COACH ALLEN: For me, I chose to call it a year ago because I felt that was best for our program at that time, but I’ve not called it obviously with all the different things that are going on and with the portal and the NIL and just the complexities you now deal with, even at a high level in that position.
I felt very strongly as we went through that process — and I’m glad I did it — but obviously feel like in order for us to get better and move forward, I wanted to bring somebody in to be able to call that. I’m really excited about Matt. I’ve known him for a long time. And Coach Kets (phonetic) is the one that brought him up from a GA to position coach to his coordinator there in their program for many years. Very close with them. And that was a big influence on me.
But I feel like it’s important for me to become the best head coach I can be, the best game-day manager of the entire game, both sides of the football and special teams, for me not to be focused on calling the defense.
I’m excited about that. I think it makes us better. I’m excited about what he’s brought to our program. But this is a situation where he came to learn what we do. We have a system we believe in and we’ll make sure we stick with that, which we will, because our players believe in it. It fits our personnel, what we do.
I think he was a great complement to that. Brought some ideas, for sure. But I also want the ability and flexibility to be in that offensive meeting time as well, making sure all three phases is being where we need to be to be our best on game day.
Q. You mentioned hiring Bob Bostad this offseason. How confident are you that he can bring significant change to that group this upcoming season? And with having so many guys that similar personnel as last year, what do you think it will take for those guys to kind of improve in the upcoming season?
COACH ALLEN: It was a huge focus, for sure. Bob has been a tremendous track record in our conference. I already feel like we’ve gotten better, certain things that he’s brought.
And getting Matt Bedford back is huge. Losing him week one was a big blow to us; he was our best offensive lineman. He’s back now 100 percent which is exciting. I’m very excited for him. I think the whole group needs to be able to mesh with them. He’s been with them all spring, being able to bring in his thoughts and ideas, the toughness he brings, the attention to detail, the way he coaches them, and just the relentlessness of the way he approaches offensive line play.
It’s a huge part of our team. I know that. We know that. We understand that. It’s been something we addressed obviously and those guys have to step up. Got several guys that play a lot of football at that position for us. I’m excited for that group to lead us on our way on offense.
Q. Another year where the starting quarterback for week one is kind of up in the air, but regardless, you have guys like Jaylin Lucas who kind of broke out at the end of the year. How do you see yourself implementing more plays and getting those guys more touches?
COACH ALLEN: It’s going to be by design without question. Getting Cam Camper back, losing him last year was the big blow as well. Having him back healthy will be huge to take some pressure off a young quarterback.
And the backfield as well. Josh Henderson, excited about him; Christian Turner, another player we brought in through the portal; that I think we have a very, very strong running back room and have flexibility, some different body types there, different body types at receiver, as was already mentioned, to be able to create those explosive plays and take some pressure off us having to drive the football.
But we want to do a good job of having a system where our guys feel comfortable and, whoever that quarterback is, that they can maximize their strengths.
At the end of the day, it’s being able to take your roster, maximizing those guys’ skill sets where they can play their best football and be very, very productive.
At the end of the day, we’ve got to score points, score touchdowns in the score zone. We’ve got to do a great job of staying on the field and playing team football.
Q. Landscape of college football seems to be changing hourly, but one of the big things was the elimination of divisions in the Big Ten. How does that, one, give you the opportunity to play new opponents, and, two, what was your first reaction to that news?
COACH ALLEN: I think when you look at bringing in UCLA and USC, that’s exciting, that’s awesome. 2024, UCLA comes to us; 2025, we go out to California and play USC. Last time we played the Trojans, O.J. Simpson was the tailback.
Bottom line is new opportunities, great time to be in this conference. You’re going to see equitable schedules where teams are going to be playing teams more equally across the conference, which I think is a great thing, that excites me as well, and playing some different teams on a more consistent basis.
But you look at it, though, there’s a lot of great football teams in this conference. Everybody’s schedule is going to be tough, and I’m excited for the future of the Big Ten Conference. Have an awesome day.
MEDIA DAY: RYAN WALTERS
COACH WALTERS: This is awesome to be able to sit in front of you guys as head coach at Purdue. Humbling experience.
I’ve known for a long time I wanted to be a head coach one day. I remember sitting in a staff meeting as a student assistant in 2009 at the University of Colorado, and Dan Hawkins is running the show there.
I just remember that first staff meeting saying, man, this is what I want to do, this is who I want to be. So to be here before you today is awesome.
We’ve got a saying at Purdue. It was coined by our corners coach. His name is Sam Carter. He said, at Purdue we’re trying to bless you, not stress you. I definitely feel blessed today.
Blessed to have a community and a career path that has put me in contact with people that have tremendously influenced my life, not only as a coach but as a man. Blessed to be at such an unbelievable institution as a first-time head coach with tremendous leadership, administratively, that supports you and that encourage you and treat you first class and are competitive. Blessed to be here with three young men that will accurately depict what it is like to be a member of the Purdue football team and blessed to be part of a conference that is the best in the country, that I have familiarity with.
Every coach this time of the year, they’re excited. And I think the thing that is interesting is every coach is excited for different reasons. And so for me I’m excited for this season, first and foremost, because of the guys we have in the locker room. They have embraced us with open arms, the new staff, the change in culture.
They have attacked what we put in front of them, every challenge we put in front of them on a daily basis with great attitude and effort.
I’m excited because of the staff that we have in our facility that attacked their daily duties with passion and intent.
Those guys do their jobs on a consistent basis and always approach their work with no ego and understand that it is the players’ experience that is at the forefront of our jobs.
I’m excited to show Purdue faithful what we’ve been working on since January. We’ve got 39,000 season ticket sales up to this point, which is the most since 2008. Ross-Ade is going through renovations right now where we’ll be able to run through the Tiller Tunnel — in honor of the late Joe Tiller who set the standard for what it means to be a successful football coach at Purdue University — and to be able to do that in its 100th year as a stadium will be awesome when we play Fresno State.
I’m excited just to start this new journey, to figure out what it is like to be a head coach in this great conference that is filled with tradition and history and excellence. I’m excited to be the head coach at Purdue. I’m excited for the season.
Q. Ryan, I know you’re still relatively new to West Lafayette. Got to ask you, have you been to Triple XXX and tried the peanut butter burger?
COACH WALTERS: I have. It was for breakfast. The peanut butter burger doesn’t sound appealing, but I’ll try it. I’ve lots of great things about it. And there’s definitely some great food joints in West Lafayette.
Q. Obviously when you first came in you gave Devin Mockobee a scholarship right away. Talk about how you plan to use him and how good of a back and how big of a weapon he can be for you this fall?
COACH WALTERS: Kudos to Coach Ro and our strength staff. Devin Mockobee looks like a different player. He’s transformed his body. He obviously has talent and skill set to have success in this conference. That’s proven.
We’re excited about his growth and maturation with the scheme and his ability to run the football and break tackles. Obviously he can be a huge asset for us on the ground.
Q. Purdue ranked sixth last year in offensive efficiency in the Big Ten. With players like Aidan O’Connell, Devin Mockobee, Charlie Jones and Payne Durham to lead that charge, how do you plan to fill those gaps with players that aren’t inside your system right now?
COACH WALTERS: That’s a great question. Obviously they had a lot of success last year, lost a lot of production from last season. It was awesome for us to go through the winter workouts and spring ball to evaluate who we have on the roster and where we need to go attack the transfer portal.
We had guys that stepped up that were currently on the roster that we feel really good about being able to fill those production numbers.
We also attacked the transfer portal and gained guys to our locker room now that have had some experience and played at a high level in collegiate football that we feel really good about heading into the season.
Q. Ryan, when you spoke with your players, when you first arrived at Purdue, what was your message in terms of establishing a culture that you wanted to lay down with them?
COACH WALTERS: When I first arrived, my message to them was that I need to learn what it’s like to be a Purdue Boilermaker. They’ve obviously had success at Purdue. They played in the Big Ten Championship game a year ago. It’s my job to get to know them and build trust with them.
I think in turn they recognize the authenticity. They recognize the approach and as a result they’ve embraced us and have done everything we’ve asked them to do with maximum effort.
Q. Obviously you created a very unique defense. How will that unique defense help both offense and defense in conference play?
COACH WALTERS: Hopefully that’s a huge advantage. That’s the goal, that’s the plan. Obviously we’re going to air it out and be creative in the run game on offense.
We’ll be aggressive and strategic and try to create chaos for the quarterback on defense to try to eliminate explosive plays and keep points off the board. Hopefully it will be a formula for winning football.
Q. You’ve been coaching around the Midwest for a while. I wanted to ask, how important is it for you in your first year at Purdue to get the in-state recruits, establish your culture with them, make sure you’re getting them while you’re getting this current roster (indiscernible) the culture?
COACH WALTERS: In-state, the blueprint for success in any program, you’ve got to take care of your home state. That is the makeup, the general core of the locker room that those guys will take pride in, in being from their home state and playing in front of their home crowd. That’s definitely priority number one.
So that was our main operative when we hit the recruiting trail, is to take care of home state first and then venture out to our footprint where we have connection to fill our roster that way as well.
Q. You and the rest of the defensive coaching staff spoke glowingly about Nic Scourton, formerly Nic Caraway, this whole spring. You made posts about him and talked about him. What about him did you guys see this spring that excites you so much?
COACH WALTERS: One, Nic loves ball. He eats, breathes, sleeps football. The way he practices is hopefully going to be the way he plays. Obviously going against him and watching his production and his profile tape when I arrived at Purdue, you saw flashes, you saw the skill set.
But I think what we do defensively sort of heightens what he’s good at, and it will showcase what he’s able to do from an athletic standpoint and really allow him to flourish as a defensive player and hopefully a dominant one in this conference.
Q. You mentioned coming through the Tiller Tunnel. Are there concerns that’s not going to be completed before the Fresno State game? If so, what are some alternatives for entrance into the stadium for the team?
COACH WALTERS: I’ve been in constant communication with administration who has been in constant communication with construction. All is going according to plan right now. There is no plan B for the Tiller Tunnel.
I think the only thing that won’t be ready by Game 1 is the elevator in the south end zone. They haven’t had an elevator in there in 100 years. We’ll be fine without the elevator. But we’re looking forward to the experience and starting a new era with new toys in Ross-Ade.
Q. You’re a defensive guy. I’m wondering, philosophically, given that the last few Big Ten have been won by Michigan State and Ohio State playing two different styles, how do you construct a defense that can defend both?
COACH WALTERS: You’ve got to be creative and game plan and be specific and intentional with when you’re aggressive, when you’re conservative, and really you’ve got to put your roster in the best possible positions to have success.
And I think a large part of that is evaluating your roster and adapting and changing as a coach to who you have in the locker room. It’s not the players’ job to adapt to us, it’s our job to adapt to them and give them tools to be in positions to make plays on game day.
Q. You were hired on your defensive work, brought in Graham Harrell on the offensive side. He’s obviously a big piece to get. What’s it been like working with him so far, and what do you anticipate that relationship to be in season from a game-to-game perspective?
COACH WALTERS: Graham has been awesome. I knew being a defensive coach and having my background the way it is and the history that Purdue has had offensively, I knew it was important for me to hire an offensive coordinator that would be able to attract quarterbacks and offensive skill guys.
Graham was a no-brainer. He’s been a home run thus far. Obviously, we haven’t played a down of competitive football, but I’ve been really impressed with his approach to teaching and to motivating and holding everybody accountable on the offensive side.
We’ve got great rapport. I played against him when I was in college. He won’t like to hear this, but I did intercept him twice in one game. Won both of those competitions, by the way.
We’re competitive at Purdue. But we’ve developed a great chemistry and rapport. We work out together all the time, every day. And he and Kane have that good back-and-forth going through spring ball.
Q. With so many new roster additions these last few months, how are you making sure the team chemistry is good at camp and making sure these guys are meshing together ahead of the first game?
COACH WALTERS: That was definitely a concern when we figured out how many pieces we would have to add post spring ball. The thing that I think we did a good job of was finding the right type of guys that not only had the right requirements from an athletic skill set point but the right type of people.
When you have a locker room that might not have a lot of experience together but they have a common ground in that they love football for football, we’ve got a bunch of guys that love the game for the game. It’s not for Instagram followers or Twitter “likes.” They love the game for the game.
When you have that common ground, you can organically develop chemistry and have real relationships. That has shown throughout the spring and through summer workouts, and I’m excited to see what that looks like when we face adversity coming this fall.
PURPLE ACES VOLLEYBALL ANNOUNCES 2023 SCHEDULE
EVANSVILLE, Ind. – With the program gaining momentum each season, the University of Evansville volleyball squad looks ahead to an exciting 2023 campaign. Facing six postseason teams from last season, the Purple Aces are set for a balanced schedule that includes multiple non-conference challenges before the Missouri Valley Conference slate opens.
Opening day will see the Aces travel to the SEMO Invitational on August 25-26. Evansville opens against Southeast Missouri State, who won 17 matches last season, before facing Central Michigan in the second day of action. Last year, the Chippewas went 20-12 en route to a berth in the National Invitational Volleyball Championship.
August 29 marks the home opener, which will see UE welcome crosstown squad USI to Meeks Family Fieldhouse. September starts off with a trip to the Samford Invite where the Aces open against the host Bulldogs. Going 19-13 in 2022, Samford won the Southern Conference Tournament Championship to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament. After facing the Bulldogs on Sept. 1, UE takes on North Alabama one day later.
Non-conference action continues with a trip to the DePaul Invitational on Sept. 8-9. Evansville faces St. Thomas, Northern Illinois and the Blue Demons in the event. On Friday, Sept. 15, the Aces will be in Knoxville, Tennessee where they face Chicago State and Tennessee. In 2021, Chicago State earned a spot in the NIVC while the Volunteers were an at-large selection to the 2022 NCAA Tournament.
Road matches at Murray State and Belmont open the MVC schedule on Sept. 22 and 23. Following a home game versus Chicago State on the 25th, UE is back on the road for league matches at Southern Illinois and Missouri State.
The month of October begins with a huge home weekend. On Oct. 6, the Aces welcome defending MVC Tournament Champion Northern Iowa to Meeks Family Fieldhouse. Evansville gave the Panthers all they could handle in last year’s conference championship match-up. Defending NIVC runner-up Drake comes to Evansville on Oct. 7. The Bulldogs won a league-best 30 matches a season ago. On the 9th, the Aces play host to Indiana State.
Home action continues against UIC (10/13) and Valparaiso (10/14) before a 3-match road trip to Illinois State, Bradley and the season’s third contest against Chicago State. Following home matches against Missouri State (10/27) and Southern Illinois (10/28), UE embarks on a road swing through Iowa to face Drake on November 2 and UNI on the 3rd. The final two home contests follow with Belmont coming to town on Nov. 10 and Murray State following on the 11th. Regular season play comes to a conclusion on Nov. 13 at Indiana State.
Springfield, Missouri will be the host of the 2022 MVC Championship, which runs from Nov. 19 through the 22nd.
SMALL COLLEGE ATHLETIC SITES:
INDIANA WESLEYAN ATHLETICS: https://iwuwildcats.com/
EARLHAM ATHLETICS: https://goearlham.com/
WABASH ATHLETICS: https://sports.wabash.edu/
FRANKLIN ATHLETICS: https://franklingrizzlies.com/
ROSE-HULMAN ATHLETICS: https://athletics.rose-hulman.edu/
ANDERSON ATHLETICS: https://athletics.anderson.edu/landing/index
TRINE ATHLETICS: https://trinethunder.com/landing/index
BETHEL ATHLETICS: https://bupilots.com/
DEPAUW ATHLETICS: https://depauwtigers.com/
HANOVER ATHLETICS: https://athletics.hanover.edu/
MANCHESTER ATHLETICS: https://muspartans.com/
HUNTINGTON ATHLETICS: https://www.huathletics.com/
OAKLAND CITY ATHLETICS: https://gomightyoaks.com/index.aspx
ST. FRANCIS ATHLETICS: https://www.saintfranciscougars.com/landing/index
IU KOKOMO ATHLETICS: https://iukcougars.com/
IU EAST ATHLETICS: https://www.iueredwolves.com/
IU SOUTH BEND ATHLETICS: https://iusbtitans.com/
PURDUE NORTHWEST ATHLETICS: https://pnwathletics.com/
INDIANA TECH ATHLETICS: https://indianatechwarriors.com/index.aspx
GRACE COLLEGE ATHLETICS: https://gclancers.com/
ST. MARY OF THE WOODS ATHLETICS: https://smwcathletics.com/
GOSHEN COLLEGE ATHLETICS: https://goleafs.net/
HOLY CROSS ATHLETICS: https://www.hcsaints.com/index.php
TAYLOR ATHLETICS: https://www.taylortrojans.com/
VINCENNES ATHLETICS: https://govutrailblazers.com/landing/index
|Baltimore||62||40||.608||–||30 – 20||32 – 20||19 – 12||18 – 7||10 – 7||5 – 5||L 2|
|Tampa Bay||62||43||.590||1.5||37 – 19||25 – 24||18 – 13||16 – 4||9 – 10||2 – 8||L 1|
|Toronto||57||46||.553||5.5||27 – 20||30 – 26||7 – 20||16 – 6||12 – 10||5 – 5||W 1|
|Boston||55||47||.539||7||30 – 23||25 – 24||16 – 11||11 – 8||11 – 8||6 – 4||W 4|
|NY Yankees||54||48||.529||8||32 – 24||22 – 24||13 – 17||11 – 8||14 – 11||5 – 5||W 1|
|Minnesota||54||50||.519||–||30 – 24||24 – 26||12 – 17||21 – 12||11 – 8||6 – 4||L 2|
|Cleveland||52||51||.505||1.5||28 – 24||24 – 27||7 – 8||16 – 14||13 – 9||7 – 3||W 3|
|Detroit||46||57||.447||7.5||22 – 30||24 – 27||3 – 16||18 – 12||9 – 13||4 – 6||L 3|
|Chi White Sox||41||63||.394||13||21 – 28||20 – 35||6 – 16||15 – 15||9 – 14||2 – 8||L 6|
|Kansas City||29||75||.279||25||15 – 36||14 – 39||5 – 15||10 – 27||4 – 11||2 – 8||L 2|
|Texas||60||43||.583||–||34 – 20||26 – 23||14 – 11||14 – 5||17 – 13||6 – 4||W 1|
|Houston||58||45||.563||2||27 – 23||31 – 22||5 – 5||8 – 11||24 – 13||7 – 3||L 1|
|LA Angels||54||49||.524||6||29 – 23||25 – 26||11 – 9||14 – 8||16 – 14||8 – 2||W 4|
|Seattle||52||50||.510||7.5||29 – 25||23 – 25||9 – 12||12 – 11||15 – 11||6 – 4||W 2|
|Oakland||28||76||.269||32.5||15 – 39||13 – 37||7 – 19||7 – 11||5 – 26||3 – 7||L 3|
|Atlanta||64||36||.640||–||32 – 19||32 – 17||22 – 6||10 – 2||11 – 9||3 – 7||L 2|
|Philadelphia||55||47||.539||10||28 – 20||27 – 27||9 – 15||10 – 6||14 – 13||5 – 5||W 2|
|Miami||55||48||.534||10.5||31 – 20||24 – 28||13 – 16||11 – 9||10 – 12||2 – 8||W 1|
|NY Mets||48||54||.471||17||24 – 22||24 – 32||14 – 13||5 – 14||15 – 13||6 – 4||W 1|
|Washington||43||60||.417||22.5||20 – 33||23 – 27||9 – 17||7 – 13||14 – 14||6 – 4||L 1|
|Milwaukee||57||46||.553||–||29 – 24||28 – 22||9 – 4||22 – 10||8 – 15||6 – 4||W 1|
|Cincinnati||56||48||.538||1.5||28 – 26||28 – 22||12 – 11||13 – 19||14 – 8||6 – 4||L 1|
|Chi Cubs||51||51||.500||5.5||27 – 26||24 – 25||8 – 14||16 – 12||9 – 8||8 – 2||W 6|
|St. Louis||46||58||.442||11.5||22 – 27||24 – 31||10 – 9||12 – 18||9 – 14||5 – 5||L 1|
|Pittsburgh||45||57||.441||11.5||23 – 26||22 – 31||5 – 5||11 – 15||16 – 15||4 – 6||W 1|
|LA Dodgers||58||43||.574||–||30 – 18||28 – 25||11 – 7||15 – 12||14 – 11||5 – 5||L 1|
|San Francisco||56||47||.544||3||28 – 22||28 – 25||10 – 12||18 – 9||15 – 10||4 – 6||W 2|
|Arizona||55||48||.534||4||27 – 26||28 – 22||13 – 15||11 – 10||17 – 11||3 – 7||L 1|
|San Diego||49||54||.476||10||26 – 25||23 – 29||13 – 13||8 – 15||12 – 13||5 – 5||L 1|
|Colorado||40||62||.392||18.5||23 – 26||17 – 36||14 – 17||8 – 10||6 – 19||5 – 5||L 2|
TODAY IN BASEBALL HISTORY
1908 Rube Waddell fans sixteen of his former teammates when the Browns defeat the A’s at Sportsman’s Park, 5-4. During the off-season, a frustrated Connie Mack, Philadelphia’s owner/ manager, traded his talented but free-spirit hurler to St. Louis.
1911 In the first game of a twin bill at Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds, Red Sox right-hander Joe Wood whiffs twelve Browns en route to a 5-0 no-hitter. ‘Smokey,’ a nickname coined due to his blazing fastball, throws the fifth hitless game in franchise history and the last accomplished in the Boston ballpark.
1911 The Giants establish a franchise mark with nine stolen bases in the team’s 8-0 rout of the Redbirds at Robison Field in St. Louis. Eight different New York players contribute to the record, with seven of the nine bags pilfered off Cardinals backstop Jack Bliss.
1915 Pirates’ third baseman Honus Wagner reaches Robins hurler Jeff Pfeffer for a grand slam in the eighth inning, helping Pittsburgh beat Brooklyn at Forbes Field, 8-2. The inside-the-park round-tripper makes the 41-year-old infielder the oldest player to hit a home run with the bases full, a record that will last until 1985.
1919 At Navin Field, Dutch Leonard decides to pitch around Bob Roth with two outs in the ninth inning to face Babe Ruth. Although the Boston slugger, who has already reached the Detroit southpaw with two doubles, responds by tying an American League record with his ninth homer of the month and sixteenth of the season, the Tigers prevail, 10-8.
1928 The Indians follow up their eight-run first inning with nine more tallies in the next frame of their 24-6 rout of the Yankees at Dunn Field. The Tribe’s third baseman Johnny Hodapp collects two singles in both the second and sixth frames.
1938 On the WGN’s White Sox pregame radio show, Yankee outfielder Jake Powel responds to a Bob Elson question concerning his offseason employment as a Dayton, Ohio policeman, quips, “I crack n*****s on the head.” Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis downplays the incident, describing the ballplayer’s comments as acting not “intentionally, but carelessly,” and will suspend the reserve flychaser for ten days.
1944 Annabelle Lee, the aunt of future major leaguer Bill Lee, pitches the first of five perfect games in the 12-year history of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. The Minneapolis Millerettes southpaw knuckleballer, who will toss a no-hitter for the Fort Wayne Daisies precisely one year from this date, doesn’t allow any batters to reach first base in the 18-0 rout of the Kenosha (WI) Comets.
1955 Smoky Burgess hits three home runs and drives in nine runs in the Reds’ 16-5 rout of Pittsburgh at Crosley Field. In addition to his grand slam and pair of two-run round-trippers, the Cincinnati catcher also collects a run-scoring single.
1968 At Connie Mack Stadium, Reds’ right-hander George Culver faces 34 batters, throws a no-hitter, and beats the Phillies, 6-1. Philadelphia tallies an unearned run in the second inning when Dick Allen reaches base on a throwing error by the third baseman, goes to second on another miscue on the same play, and gets to third base on a groundout before scoring on a sacrifice fly.
1969 Major League Baseball proclaims Joe DiMaggio as its greatest living player, a title the Yankee Clipper would proudly embrace until he died in 1999. Sportswriters determined in a poll to coincide with professional baseball’s centennial.
1978 The Yankee Stadium crowd is pleasantly surprised as recently resigned manager Billy Martin returns to join in on the Old Timers’ Day festivities. Much to their delight, the fans respond with a seven-minute standing ovation when informed ‘Billy the Kid’ will return as the team’s skipper in 1980.
1983 Due to a dislocated thumb suffered in a collision at home plate in an attempt to score in the first game of the Padres’ doubleheader against Atlanta, first baseman Steve Garvey’s consecutive game streak ends in the nightcap at 1,207. At the time, the span is the third-longest in major league history without missing a game.
1986 Sparky Anderson, the first manager to win the World Series in each league, also becomes the first to win 600 games in both the National and American Leagues when Detroit beats the Brewers, 9-5. The future Hall of Fame skipper finishes with a 2194-1834 (.545) record during his 26 years with Reds and Tigers, capturing five Pennants and three World Series.
1988 The Orioles deal pitcher Mike Boddicker to the Red Sox for Brady Anderson and Curt Schilling. Boddicker will have two successful years with Boston, and Anderson will become a productive leadoff hitter for Baltimore, with Schilling becoming one of baseball’s most dominant pitchers of his era.
1988 After home plate umpire Mike Reilly doesn’t grant his request for a time-out, Bo Jackson recovers in time to hit a home run despite not being set in the batter’s box when the pitch is delivered. The Royals left fielder’s fourth-inning three-run poke off Jeff Ballard contributes to Kansas City’s 6-3 victory over Baltimore at Memorial Stadium.
1989 The White Sox trade left fielder Fred Manrique and franchise home run leader Harold Baines to the Rangers for outfielders Scott Fletcher, Sammy Sosa, and southpaw Wilson Alvarez. Three seasons later, the Pale Hose will send Slammin’ Sammy to the Cubs, where the Dominican slugger will hit 545 home runs during his 13-year stay with their crosstown rivals.
1989 Rickey Henderson steals five bases and scores four runs without getting an official time at-bat. The improbable offensive output occurs when the A’s leadoff hitter is issued four bases-on-balls by Randy Johnson, the winner in the M’s 14-6 victory at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
1996 After a mild heart attack last month, Tommy Lasorda, 68-year-old Dodger manager of twenty years, announces his retirement due to his health. The future Hall of Fame skipper was named the National League Manager of the Year in 1983 and 1988, leading Los Angeles to four pennants and two World Series championships during his 21 seasons at the helm.
1996 Chris Sabo will be suspended for seven games, losing approximately $70,000 in salary, and the Reds will be fined $25,000 due to his use of a doctored bat in today’s 2-1 loss to Houston at Cinergy Field. The Cincinnati third baseman will claim the bat, which was hollowed out and filled with pieces of rubber balls, wasn’t his but one of three offered to him by the batboy after he had broken his bat during a plate appearance in the second inning.
1996 The Mets deal Jeff Kent and Jose Vizcaino to the Indians for Carlos Baerga and Alvaro Espinoza. The trade, one of the worst in franchise history, will be a bust when Baerga hits only .267 in three non-productive seasons in the Big Apple, and Kent goes on to win an MVP award and posts Hall of Fame numbers for a second baseman during his 17-year tenure in the major leagues.
1998 Jon Garland, the Cubs’ first-round draft pick last season, is traded in a deadline deal for White Sox reliever Matt Karchner, who will struggle with a 5.14 ERA in 29 appearances for the crosstown rivals. The Pale Hose’s rookie right-hander will spend the first eight seasons of his career with the South Siders, compiling a 92-81 (.532) record and an ERA of 4.41 for his new team.
2000 The Brewers hold Bob Wickman All-Star Poster Night a day after the team trades him along with Jason Bere and Steve Woodard to the Indians for a player to be named later (Marco Scutaro), Kane Davis, Paul Rigdon, and Richie Sexson. The Brew Crew distributes 30,000 pictures of their former closer, a member of the team for the past five seasons, on a night they are routed by the Rockies, 10-2, with Rigdon, one of the players in the trade, allowing four runs on seven hits over five innings in his Milwaukee debut.
2000 Recently acquired from Baltimore, the new Mets make a good first impression. Mike Bordick goes 2-for-3, including a home run on the first pitch he sees with the team, Rick White pitches a scoreless inning to get the win, and the other newcomer, Bubba Trammell, will homer in his first at-bat in his Met debut tomorrow.
2000 The White Sox trade catcher Brook Fordyce and three minor league pitchers to the Orioles for backstop Charles Johnson and designated hitter Harold Baines. The deal brings Baines, who will retire after playing a part-time role with the team for two seasons, back to Chicago, where he played a dozen of the most productive years of his 22-year tenure in the major leagues.
2000 With two outs in the ninth inning at Olympic Stadium, Eddie Taubensee knots the score at 3-3 with his game-tying home run off Expos starting pitcher Javier Vazquez. The Reds catcher then homers again in the 11th off Julio Santana for the game-winner in Cincinnati’s 4-3 win over Montreal.
2001 Texas rookie Craig Monroe homers in his first major league game, going deep in his second at-bat off Joe Kennedy. The 24-year-old right fielder’s fifth-inning blast contributes to the Rangers’ 2-0 victory over the Devil Rays at The Ballpark in Arlington.
2002 “To protect the game we all love and have given so much to, we suggest you agree to a qualified mediator that will allow you to find the common ground necessary to avoid a work stoppage.” – TEXT FROM 40 HALL OF FAMERS, sent to Bud Selig and Donald Fehr. A letter signed by 40 Hall of Famers and sent to baseball commissioner Bud Selig and union head Donald Fehr urges all sides ‘to protect the game we all love and have given so much to, we suggest you agree to a qualified mediator that will allow you to find the common ground necessary to avoid a work stoppage” is released. The former outstanding players, including Reggie Jackson, Willie Mays, and Warren Spahn, believe another work stoppage in baseball would be a terrible mistake.
2002 After playing the annual Hall of Fame exhibition game in Cooperstown, the White Sox and Rockies announce a trade that sends veteran catcher Sandy Alomar Jr. to Colorado, with class A minor-league right-hander Enemencio Pacheco going to Chicago.
2002 The Phillies trade 27-year-old third baseman Scott Rolen, along with minor league reliever Doug Nickle, to the Cardinals in exchange for infielder Placido Polanco, southpaw Bud Smith, and reliever Mike Timlin. The former Philadelphia third sacker reportedly rejected a ten-year pact estimated to be worth $140 million due to his feud with manager Larry Bowa.
2003 Bill Mueller becomes the first switch-hitter to blast two grand slams in the same game, batting both left and right-handed. Not known for his power, the Red Sox third baseman, batting eighth in the Boston lineup, also goes deep in the third inning, collecting 9 RBIs in the team’s 14-7 victory over the Rangers at The Ballpark in Arlington.
2004 In a 10-1 victory over the Expos, Eric Valent becomes the eighth player in franchise history to complete the cycle. After singling in the second, doubling in the third, and homering in the fifth, the Mets’ utility player triples in the seventh to join Phillies David Bell, Pirates Daryle Ward, and Chad Moeller of the Brewers to accomplish the feat this season.
2006 With a 19-6 rout of the Yankees at the Stadium, the Devil Rays tie a franchise record for runs. Batting last, Tampa Bay third baseman Tomas Perez adds to the barrage with four doubles, equaling the major league mark for two-baggers hit in one game.
2006 Julio Franco becomes the oldest player to pinch run when he takes Carlos Delgado’s place on the basepaths after a pitch hits the Mets’ infielder in the fourth inning. The 47-year-old pinch-runner, who will stay in the game to play first, steals second base and will advance to third on the catcher’s error in the Mets’ 11-4 win over Atlanta at Turner Field.
2008 With a tip of his helmet, Ichiro Suzuki acknowledges the Rangers fans’ ovation for his achievement of reaching 3,000 hits in professional baseball. The 34-year-old Mariners outfielder had collected 1,278 hits with the Orix Blue Wave in Japan’s Pacific League, and his first-inning single off Texas right-hander Luis Mendoza was his 1,722nd hit with Seattle during eight seasons with the team.
2008 In a 4-1 win over the Marlins at Dolphin Stadium, Mets’ third baseman David Wright scores in his 13th consecutive game, establishing a new franchise record. Teammate Carlos Beltran had set the previous team mark in 2006.
2008 In a surprising pre-deadline trade, the banged-up Braves and the first-place Angels exchange first basemen. Atlanta sends switch-hitting slugger Mark Teixeira, acquired from Texas last July in a seven-player deal that included backstop Jarrod Saltalamacchia, to Los Angeles for Casey Kotchman and minor league pitching prospect Steve Marek.
2009 In an attempt to upgrade their starting rotation, the first-place Phillies obtain Cliff Lee from the Indians. The defending World champs also get outfielder Ben Francisco in the deal, trade pitching prospects Carlos Carrasco and Jason Knapp, infielder Jason Donald, and catcher Lou Marson to get last season’s AL Cy Young Award Winner.
2009 The Pirates spend a busy day on the trading block, sending 2006 batting champ Freddy Sanchez to the Giants for 20-year-old former first-round draft pick Tim Alderson, a right-hander with excellent control. The Bucs also deal shortstop Jack Wilson and pitcher Ian Snell to the Mariners for shortstop Ronny Cedeno and four minor leaguers, including triple-A catcher-first baseman Jeff Clement.
2009 The Royals play an entire game without registering a single defensive assist for the first time in franchise history in their 7-3 loss to Baltimore at Camden Yards. During Kansas City’s eight innings in the field, the team records 24 outs via nine strikeouts, 13 fly outs, and two unassisted groundouts handled by first baseman Billy Butler.
2010 After Roy Oswalt approves a trade from the Astros to the Phillies, Philadelphia sends J.A. Happ, outfielder Anthony Gose, and shortstop Jonathan Villar to Houston for the three-time All-Star hurler and a considerable amount of cash. The 32-year-old right-hander compiled a respectable 3.24 ERA but posted only a 6-12 record due to a severe lack of run support.
2010 The front-running Padres trade Double-A right-hander Wynn Pelzer to the Orioles to obtain veteran infielder Miguel Tejada. San Diego hopes the 36-year-old former American League Most Valuable Player can help the potential playoff team, both on the field and at the plate, with his 14 years of experience in the major leagues.
2010 The Orioles hire 54-year-old Buck Showalter to become the club’s 19th skipper. The two-time American League Manager of the Year (1994 Yankees and 2004 Rangers) takes over a team with the worst record in the major leagues at 31-70 but guides Baltimore to play 11 games over .500 in the remaining 57 games of the season, after taking the reins on August 2nd.
2010 The Twins acquire Matt Capps (3-3, 2.74 ERA, 26/30 saves) and $500,000 from the Nationals for highly touted catching prospect Wilson Ramos and southpaw minor leaguer Joe Testa. Minnesota will use Washington’s only All-Star as its closer, filling a void created during spring training when Joe Nathan underwent Tommy John surgery.
2011 The Phillies acquire Hunter Pence from the last-place Astros for a trio of highly-touted minor leaguers, Jarred Cosart, Jon Singleton, and Josh Zeid. The 28-year-old right-fielder joins Philadelphia with a .309 average, 11 homers, and 62 RBIs.
2013 Jason Giambi (42 years, six months, 22 days) becomes the oldest major leaguer to stroke a walk-off homer, pinch-hitting a two-run blast off Ramon Troncoso in the Indians’ 3-2 come-from-behind victory over the White Sox at Progressive Field. Hank Aaron (42 years, five months, seven days) previously held the distinction with his game-winning round-tripper against Texas on July 11th, 1976.
2014 In the longest game (by time) in Cubs’ history, John Baker becomes the first position player to earn a victory since Orioles’ first baseman Chris Davis accomplished the feat in 2012. In the six-hour and 27-minute marathon played at Wrigley Field, the backup catcher tosses a scoreless 16th inning and then scores the winning run in the bottom of the frame, giving Chicago a 4-3 victory over Colorado.
2016 The Nationals accomplish the first 3-3-5 triple play in major league history when, with the bases loaded, Brandon Crawford lines out to first baseman Ryan Zimmerman, who steps on the bag for the second out before throwing to third baseman Anthony Rendon to catch Denard Span for the third out. Washington’s eighth-inning triple killing, the team’s first since moving from Montreal twelve years ago, contributes to the first-place club’s 4-2 victory over the Giants at AT&T Park.
BASEBALL HALL OF FAME
Even in the context of one of the greatest offensive ages in the history of the game, Frank Thomas’ numbers are staggering.
One combination, however, stands out: No other man in baseball history has strung together seven straight seasons of 20-plus homers, 100 RBI, 100 walks and a .300 average. Not Ruth, not Gehrig, not Williams.
Born May 27, 1968 in Columbus, Ga., Thomas starred in both baseball and football in high school but went undrafted in his first year eligible for the MLB Draft in 1986. Thomas then enrolled at Auburn University with the intention of playing football, and the 6-foot-5, 240-pound tight end caught three passes as a freshman that fall.
But Thomas still yearned to play baseball and starred for Auburn in 1987, hitting .359. He played for the United States team in the Pan-Am Games that summer, then was injured playing football in the fall.
From that point on, Thomas was a baseball player.
Thomas was named the Southeastern Conference’s Most Valuable Player in his junior season of 1989, and left school that summer when he was taken with the seventh overall pick by the White Sox. One year later, Thomas made his big league debut as an August call-up, hitting .330 with 31 RBI in 60 games. He would stay ensconced as the White Sox’s first baseman/designated hitter for the next 15 years and quickly earned the nickname “The Big Hurt” for the damage he inflicted on opposing pitchers.
In his first full season in 1991, Thomas batted .318 with 32 homers, 104 runs scored, 109 RBI and an American League-leading 138 walks and a .453 on-base percentage. After leading the league in doubles, walks and on-base percentage in 1992, Thomas won his first Most Valuable Player Award the following year with a .317 average, 41 homers and 128 RBI for a White Sox team that won the AL West title. He was a unanimous choice in the MVP voting, garnering all 28 first-place votes.
The next year, Thomas was even better – hitting .353 with 38 home runs, 101 RBI and a league-best 106 runs scored in just 113 games in that strike-shortened season. He was again named AL MVP, becoming just the American League sixth player (after Jimmie Foxx, Hal Newhouser, Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris) to win back-to-back Most Valuable Player awards.
Thomas continued to pile up the numbers in the 1990s, winning a batting title in 1997 with a .347 average. His streak of seven-straight 100 RBI, 100 walk, 20 homer and .300 average seasons ended the next year, but Thomas posted another one of those seasons in 2000 – leaving him with eight for his career.
Only Babe Ruth (12) and Lou Gehrig (9) ever had more, and only Ted Williams and Barry Bonds had as many.
Thomas battled injuries in 2001, 2004 and 2005 – unable to appear in half Chicago’s games in any of those seasons. Following the 2005 season – where the White Sox won the World Series despite Thomas appearing in just 34 games – the Sox bought out the rest of Thomas’ contract and parted ways with their all-time leader in runs, doubles, home runs, RBI and walks.
Thomas moved on to the A’s and then the Blue Jays, where he totaled 65 home runs and 209 RBI over two seasons from 2006-07. Injuries slowed him in 2008 at the age of 40, and he retired in February of 2010 after sitting out the 2009 season.
His final numbers: 521 home runs with five seasons with at least 40 home runs; 1,704 RBI, a .301 career batting average with a .419 on-base percentage, including four seasons where he led the league in OBP; 1,667 walks with four league-leading seasons in bases on balls; five All-Star Game selections; four Silver Slugger Awards; and nine Top 10 finishes in the AL MVP voting, including his back-to-back wins in 1993 and 1994.
Thomas was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2014.
July 28, 1923 – Duluth Kelleys/Eskimos franchise forms and plays in the League from 1923 through 1927 .
July 28, 1923 – St. Louis All-Stars franchise is recognized by the NFL and plays just in the 1923 season in the League.
July 28, 1929 – According to author Scott Adamson the Chicago Cardinals became the first NFL team to train out of state, holding camp in Michigan.
July 28, 1929 – According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame the NFL announced that they would be adding a fourth official to the field during scheduled regular season games.
July 28, 1933 – The NFL divided into two divisions for the first time per Yahoo.com. Prior to that the team with the best overall record would be declared the League Champions. This caused issues that got sticky on more than one occasion. The year prior though in 1932 the Chicago Bears and the Portsmouth Spartans were neck and neck in the standings each finished the regular season with identical .857 winning percentages. George Halas wanted no part of a shared title so he challenged the Spartans to a final game in Chicago that would settle the score. The winner would be champs and the loser would fall to third place behind Green Bay. The game was moved in doors to a modified field size and the Bears won of course in controversial fashion over Portsmouth who was missing their star player and quarterback Dutch Clark. The Bears won 9-0. The new Eastern Division consisted of the Boston Redskins, Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, and Pittsburgh Pirates. The Western Division consisted of the Chicago Bears, Chicago Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds, Green Bay Packers, and Portsmouth Spartans.
July 28, 1972 – At the Chicago College All-Star game played at Soldier Field, the Dallas Cowboys, the defending Super Bowl Champs, knocked down the college upstarts 20-7 before a crowd of 54,162. The MVP award, always given to the college player team, happened to be Pat Sullivan the quarterback from Auburn University.
July 28, 1995 – Art Modell sends representatives to secretly talk with those in Baltimore about moving his then Cleveland Browns franchise to the Maryland city.
HALL OF FAME BIRTHDAYS FOR JULY 28
July 28, 1893 – John O’Hearn was an end from Cornell University and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. He went on to play in the NFL in 1920 with the Cleveland Tigers and he spent the 1921 season with the Buffalo All-Americans. John’s brother Ed played for Buffalo that season of 1921 as well.
July 28, 1943 – Larry Elkins was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1994 as a WR out of Baylor University. Larry held many of the top receiving records at Baylor. In 1963 he had 70 receptions and in 1962 he returned a punt 92 yards for a score. In 1965 Mr. Elkins was the first round draft pick of the Green Bay Packers as well as the 2nd overall draft pick of the AFL’s Houston Oilers, just after the Jets picked Joe Namath. He ended up accepting the offer from the Oilers and spent four seasons there. Injuries plagued his pro career as he joined the NFL’s Steelers in 1969, earned the starting job and then broke his collar bone in a pre-season game.
July 28, 1957 – Charles Alexander was a halfback out of LSU. In 2012 the College Football Hall of Fame inducted him into their ranks.
Not Yet in the Hall of Fame
July 28, 1978 – Hillcrest Heights, Maryland – Linebacker Julian Peterson from Michigan State form 1998 through 1999 was born. Julian was selected as the 16th overall player taken by San Francisco 49ers in 2000 NFL Draft. He also played for the Seahawks and Lions during his NFL career per Yahoo.com. Julian played in 5 Pro Bowls and earned All-Pro honors three times in this tenure in the League. For his career Peterson had 802 combined tackles with 595 of them being of the solo variety, 51.5 sacks, 8 interceptions, 53 passes defended and 1 defensive touchdown.
July 28, 1988 – Millington, Tennessee – Defensive end Greg Hardy who played at Mississippi from 2006 through the 2009season was born. According to an article on Yahoo.com Hardy was selected as the 175th overall pick by the Carolina Panthers in the 2010 NFL Draft. He also played for the Dallas Cowboys. Greg’s career stats include 241 total tackles with 165 of them being solo, 40 sacks, one pick and eight forced fumbles. Hardy was a Pro Bowl selection and a Second-team All-Pro in 2013. He set a Panthers franchise record for most sacks in a season in 2013 with 15.
NUMBERS IN SPORTS
9 – 1 – 13 – 46 – 11 – 3
July 28, 1940 – New York Yankees Number 9 Charlie Keller hit 3 HRs to beat White Sox 10-9
July 28, 1957 – Chicago White Sox’ James Landis, Number 1 struck out 5 times in a game
July 28, 1976 – Chicago White Sox John Odom Number 13 combined his 5 innings on the mound with those of teammate Francisco Barrios Number 46 and his 4 innings no-hit the Oakland A’s lineup
July 28, 1979 – Dave Kingman, Number 10 of the Chicago Cubs became the 6th player in MLB history to have a 2nd 3 HR game
July 28, 1985 – Lou Brock (Number 24), Enos Slaughter (Number 9) , Arky Vaughan (Number 21), & Hoyt Wilhelm (Number 31) were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame
July 28, 1989 – Atlanta Braves Dale Murphy, Number 3 hit two 3-run HRs in an inning, 14th man to hit 2 HRs in an inning. Also tied record of 6 RBIs in an inning
July 28, 1989 – St Louis Cardinals’ speedster Vince Coleman, Number 29 was finally caught stealing as his record streak at of 50 attempts without an out ends
July 28, 1991 – Dennis Martínez, Number 32 of the Montreal Expos pitched the 13th perfect game in baseball history
July 28, 1993 – Seattle Mariner Number 24, Ken Griffey Jr. became the 3rd player in MLB history to hit HRs in 8 straight games
July 28, 1994 – Texas Rangers pitcher Kenny Rogers, Number 37 threw the only perfect game in franchise history, against the California Angels
July 28, 1996 – NY Yankee Darryl Strawberry, Number 39 hit his 300th career HR
July 28, 1997 – Former New York Ranger center Mark Messier, Number 11 signed with Vancouver for $20M for 3 yrs
FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME
Position: Defensive Back
Place of Birth: Fort Campbell, KY
Date of Birth: June 22, 1978
Jersey Number: 4
High School: Charlton County HS (Folkston, GA)
One of the most versatile players in Georgia history, Champ Bailey played more than 1,000 snaps on offense, defense and special teams during his remarkable 1998 season. The Folkston, Georgia, native becomes the 16th Bulldog player to join the College Football Hall of Fame.
The 1998 consensus First Team All-American took home the Nagurski Trophy as the nation’s top defensive player that season while finishing seventh for the Heisman Trophy. During that standout season, Bailey was a team captain and saw action at defensive back and wide receiver while also returning kickoffs. He was named the SEC Player of the Week against Auburn that season after a performance that included a career-high 119 plays highlighted by a fourth-quarter interception.
A two-time First Team All-SEC selection (1997, 1998), he was also named to the SEC All-Freshman Team in 1996. The inaugural recipient of the UGA Vince Dooley MVP Award, Bailey led the Bulldogs to consecutive postseason wins at the 1998 Outback Bowl and the 1998 Peach Bowl, where he won Defensive MVP honors. He helped UGA to national rankings in 1997 (No. 10) and 1998 (No. 14) while playing for College Football Hall of Fame Coach Jim Donnan and alongside Hall of Famer Matt Stinchcomb. A member of the FWAA’s 75th Anniversary All-America Team, Bailey finished his career at Georgia with 147 tackles, eight interceptions and 27 pass breakups while racking up 978 receiving yards and five touchdowns on offense.
The seventh overall pick by Washington in the 1999 NFL Draft, Bailey played 15 seasons for Washington (1999-2003) and the Denver Broncos (2004-13). The 12-time Pro Bowl selection is a member of the NFL’s 2000s All-Decade Team, and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2019.
While with the Broncos, Bailey donated time and money to the Denver Rescue Mission, and he worked with The Crossing in Park Hill, a transitional housing program in Denver. He also supports the Bailey Brothers Foundation with his brother and fellow Georgia football alum, Boss. The 2018 State of Georgia Sports Hall of Fame inductee was also a record-setting track and field athlete at UGA.
TV SPORTS FRIDAY
|LPGA Tour: Amundi Evian Championship||5:00am||GOLF|
|Senior British Open||7:00am||GOLF|
|PGA Tour: 3M Open||4:00pm||GOLF|
|MLB REGULAR SEASON||TIME ET||TV|
|Detroit at Miami||6:40pm||Bally Sports|
|NY Yankees at Baltimore||7:05pm||MASN/2|
|Philadelphia at Pittsburgh||7:05pm||NBCS-PHI|
|LA Angels at Toronto||7:07pm||Bally Sports|
|Cleveland at Chi. White Sox||7:10pm||Bally Sports|
|Washington at NY Mets||7:10pm||MASN/2|
|Milwaukee at Atlanta||7:20pm||Bally Sports|
|Minnesota at Kansas City||8:10pm||MLBN|
|Tampa Bay at Houston||8:10pm||MLBN|
|Chi. Cubs at St. Louis||8:15pm||Bally Sports|
|Oakland at Colorado||8:40pm||NBCS-CA|
|Seattle at Arizona||9:40pm||Bally Sports|
|Texas at San Diego||9:40pm||Bally Sports|
|Cincinnati at LA Dodgers||10:10pm||Bally Sports|
|Boston at San Francisco||10:15pm||NESN|
|SOCCER MATCHES||TIME ET||TV|
|FIFA Women’s World Cup: England vs Denmark||4:30am||FS1|
|FIFA Women’s World Cup: China vs Haiti||7:00am||FS1|
|NWSL Challenge Cup: Washington Spirit vs NJ/NY Gotham FC||7:00pm||Paramount+|
|Club Friendly: Brighton & Hove Albion vs Newcastle United||7:30pm||Peacock|
|NWSL Challenge Cup: OL Reign vs San Diego Wave||10:00pm||Paramount+|
|Seattle vs Chicago||8:00pm||ION|
|Washington vs Dallas||8:00pm||ION|