Saturday, August 27, 2005

dragons start season right were they left off

It’s a new season with some new faces, but the results are the same. Defending Class 5A state champion and national champion Southlake Carroll opened its season with an impressive 48-25 victory Saturday afternoon over Midland Lee in the Champions Classic at Shotwell Stadium in Abilene.

Led by quarterback Greg McElroy, making his first varsity start, the Dragons rolled up 536 yards of offense in winning the 48th game in their last 49 outings over four seasons. McElroy completed 20 of 33 passes for 325 yards and three touchdowns. McKay Jacobson caught eight passes for 148 yards and two scores.

Midland Lee led, 3-0, after one quarter, thanks to Aaron Esikhati's 39-yard field goal and two key miscues by the Dragons after getting to the Raider’s one-yard line on consecutive drives without putting a single point on the board. But Southlake Carroll responded with 28 second-quarter points before putting it on cruise control.

McElroy started the scoring with a 1-yard sneak with 8:41 to go. He then hit Jacobson with a 29-yard touchdown pass on their next possession. The Dragons recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, and McElroy and Jacobson hooked up on a 17-yard touchdown strike on the next play to make it 21-3. Corbin Smiter caught a 22-yard touchdown pass from McElroy with 49 seconds to go before halftime to stretch the lead to 28-10.

Matt Moorefield had a 33-yard touchdown run and Tre Newton an 88-yard scoring scamper in the second half for Carroll who played mostly reserves after the opening drive.

Monday, August 22, 2005

ags lose a wr

Aggies lose WR Riley for season By RACHEL COHEN / The Dallas Morning News

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Senior WR L’Tydrick Riley will miss the season after tearing his left ACL Saturday, coach Dennis Franchione said. Riley did not redshirt as a freshman, so he will have another season of eligibility. Riley was A&M’s fourth-leading receiver last year with 20 catches for 285 yards and a touchdown. At 6-2, 238 pounds with excellent hands, Riley was especially effective at converting third downs.

Riley is the second Aggies WR to suffer a season-ending knee injury this month. Redshirt freshman Keith Dickerson tore his ACL Aug. 11. The position, though, is still one of the Aggies’ deepest.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

college football preview

The Best
1. USC - They've won 33 of 34. They're favored to three-peat. Matt Leinart remained at USC rather than become the 49ers starting QB as their #1 draft pick because he wanted to stay with the better team. The biggest potholes in the USC road come in the first half of the schedule. Five of their first seven are away from home including tests at Oregon, Arizona St. and Notre Dame. Danger lurks in all three spots, especially the latter pair. If they're unbeaten after six games, it's downhill to the title game.
2. LSU - Tigers return 18 starters from a 9-3 club. Their three toughest opponents--Tennessee, Florida and Auburn--all must visit Baton Rouge. Their schedule is rough enough and the SEC is so respected that if they're one of a handful of one-loss teams they could still get in the title game.
3. Ohio State - 18 lettermen return from a club that roared down the stretch winning five of six. Unlike a lot of their Big (slow) Ten brethren this club has real speed. Huge early season tests with Iowa and Texas both come at home in Columbus.

The Next
4. Florida - Were Gator boo-birds correct that this talented group was "coached down" by Ron Zook. Wonderkid Urban Meyer has immediately upgraded the two previous programs he's taken over. A mid-season date at LSU looms as their toughest test. In QB Chris Leak, Coach Meyer inherits perhaps the perfect triggerman for his spread offense.
5. Texas - Horns suffered sizable losses to the NFL but there seems to be huge faith in athletic QB Vince Young. Young dazzled versus lead-footed Michigan in the Rose Bowl. But will rugged foes on the UT schedule focus on him daring inexperience runners and wide receivers to beat them. Texas seems to be the "public" go-with club. That's always dangerous given that the public is usually wrong. One huge problem-the schedule. Games against Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M all come away from home.
6. Iowa - Kirk Ferentz may be the best coach in college football. This once struggling program is 31-7 the last three years. If...that's IF...this club could win at Ohio State, the rest of the schedule's not all that rugged. Tons of injuries last season means more experienced depth this year. Look out.
7. Louisville - Who's gonna beat them? They'll be favored in every game. Unlike last season they'll begin '05 in the Top 15 and maybe in the Top 10 by the time the first polls are released. And if they're one of only two unbeatens at season's end, what keeps them out of the title game?

The Sleepers
1. Arizona State - Went 9-3 last season with two losses coming to USC and top 5 rated Cal. Their defense improved nearly 50 yards per game last year while the offense was +58 yards per game. Early season games against LSU and USC could be their only losses. But what if they should pull an upset in one of them?
2. Alabama - Nine defensive starters return from a unit that permitted a miniscule 245 yards per game in the rugged SEC last year. If their staggering offense can be jacked up a bit that "D" gives them a chance to win any Saturday. They catch Florida, Tennessee and LSU at home. Count on it-they'll upset at least one of them.
3. Fresno State - Does anyone realize Pat Hill's Bulldogs have won 38 games the last four years including three bowl victories? Since 2001 they've pulled upsets over Colorado, Oregon St., Wisconsin, Georgia Tech, UCLA, Kansas St and Virginia. WHEW! Sixteen starters return. And they'll again take their best shots at higher profile opponents like Oregon, Boise State and USC.
4. Texas A&M - Could be 8-0 entering November. Enough said. Whoop!

road to the rose bowl...

Top Games That Will Help Decide the National Championship Match-up
September 3
* Texas A&M at Clemson
September 10
* Arizona State at LSU
* Texas at Ohio State
September 17
* Tennessee at Florida
September 24
* Tennessee at LSU
* Iowa at Ohio State
October 1
* USC at Arizona St
October 8
* Oklahoma/Texas
October 15
* Florida at LSU
* Louisville at West Virginia
* USC at Notre Dame
October 29
* Texas at Oklahoma St
November 12
* Texas A&M at Oklahoma
* LSU at Alabama
November 19
* Ohio State at Michigan
November 25
* Texas at Texas A&M

Monday, August 15, 2005

thanks for the memories

The Mavs released Michael Finley just before the amnesty deadline tonight, formally ending his 9 year career as a Maverick. The luxury tax saved by waiving Fin makes smart business sense but was a hard thing for the Mavs to pull the trigger on. Finley became a cornerstone as the Mavericks improved from 19 wins in 1998-99 to 60 wins and a berth in the Western Conference finals in 2002-03. Doug Christie is expected to be signed next week to take Finley's place.

The Kansas City Royals lost their 16th game in a row on Monday, making it the third longest losing streak ever in MLB behind only the 75 Tigers who dropped 19 straight, and the 88 Orioles who lost an amazing 21 games in a row.

The Dallas Stars signed C Jason Arnott to a one-year qualifying offer on Monday. Arnott will man the Stars second line. Just 30 years old, he
appeared in 73 games with the Stars in 2003-04, registering 21 goals and 36 assists.

an aggie update

Aggies kicking bad habits - To reduce mistakes, A&M using starters on special teams

By RACHEL COHEN / The Dallas Morning News / Sunday, August 14, 2005

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas A&M coaches would have been happy two years ago to see a punt returner field the ball cleanly and fall forward. That's not far off from what happened last season. The Aggies reduced the special teams mistakes that plagued them in 2003 but rarely helped themselves in the battle for field position.

A&M ranked in the bottom four of the Big 12 in punt and kickoff returns, net punting and kickoff coverage a year ago. So it's no surprise coaches have made improving special-teams play a priority this preseason. Senior receiver Jason Carter has noticed the emphasis reflected in their intensity level.

"They've made it a point," said Carter, who has added punt-blocking duties to his kickoff returning. "In meetings, they've said they put it on themselves that we were ranked so low."

Coach Dennis Franchione would like to see those numbers improve, but his greatest concern is minimizing major mistakes. Despite the progress the Aggies made last season, they committed significant special-teams miscues in each of their four late-season losses.

Still, even a slight improvement in net yardage can yield significant results. Special teams coach Mark Tommerdahl said that if a team gets the ball past its 20-yard line, its chances of scoring double. Past the 40-yard line, they quadruple.

Franchione plans to use more starters on special-teams units. He wants excellent athletes who can play physical and take their duties seriously. Veterans Jaxson Appel and Justin Warren are among the starters seeing more action on special teams.

"Three years ago when we started, there was a little bit of an attitude here that, well, that was for the backups," Franchione said, adding, "It's taken awhile to get that message into their heads."

Here's how A&M looks to improve in key areas:


The Aggies need a new punter after Jacob Young graduated. Coaches are pleased with the progress of redshirt freshman Richie Bean, whose inconsistency kept him off the field last year. His main competition, Justin Brantly, is an impressive athlete at 6-3, 218 pounds, but just a freshman. Franchione doesn't expect to pick a starter for a while.

Punt returns

Options include safeties Jordan Chambless and Japhus Brown, receiver L'Tydrick Riley, cornerback Marquis Carpenter and several freshman defensive backs. None returned punts last year. At 238 pounds, Riley is not a prototypical returner, but he has great hands and Franchione figures he'll be tough to tackle.

Kickoff returns

Running back Courtney Lewis, an electric returner in high school, has volunteered his services. But putting an elusive athlete back there hasn't been the problem for A&M. Franchione blames a lack of execution and physical blocking for the Aggies plummeting from 10th to 116th in the nation from 2003 to '04 in this area.

Kickoff coverage

Tommerdahl said incumbent kickoff specialist Layne Neumann has always had good hang time, but coaches asked him to add 5 yards of length. "So far, so good," Tommerdahl said.

Sunday, August 14, 2005


While the Rangers drop below .500 and into oblivion, one has to wonder why Tom Hicks is willing to dip into his pockets to put the best team he can get on the ice, but not on the diamond. The Rangers have now lost 7 straight after a 4 game sweep of the weak pitching spankies.

The 'Boys dropped their first preseason game in Arizona. The loss isn't really a concern, how it happened is. Drew Bledsoe was unimpressive and was greatly out-played by Kurt Warner. The running game was almost non-existent in the first half. And the Cowboy's had more penalties than a typical Raiders team.

The PGA Championship was suspended for only the 3rd time in it's history after tournament officials chose not to move up tee times, deciding TV coverage was more important than actually completing the tournament for the paying fans even though inclement weather was forecasted.

The Sporting News has the Texas A&M Aggies ranked 14th in the nation, their highest pre-season ranking in over 5 years. We'll get a good look at the highly touted Aggies when they open in Death Valley on ESPN.

Sunday, August 7, 2005

hall of fame, what a shame

Dan Marino and Steve Young were inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame today. There was something missing from today's ceremony though, rather someone missing. Michael Irvin should have been inducted today along with Young and Marino. There's an obvious anti-cowboys bias with the hall voters and they're allowed to hide behind the cloak of anonymity that surrounds the voting. But that's the NFL's way. Everything is hush-hush. Rumor is that the bias stems back to the Tex Schramm days back in the 70's when he endorsed the team's nickname as "America's Team". That old "America's Team" arrogance still burns deeply today it appears, and what better way to get even with the organization than to deny its former players enshrinement? Some of those snubbed recently along with Irvin are Bob Hayes, Cliff Harris, Rayfield Wright, Lee Roy Jordan and Chuck Howley. Doesn't it seem a tad odd that the organization that's both played in and won the most Super Bowls has less than half as many members in the hall as the Cleveland Browns? In fact, there are 13 teams with more members than the Cowboys. Something smells in Canton.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005

a dallas sports roundup

So here's a recap of the Dallas sports scene over the past few days:

The Rangers needed help in a big way approaching the trade deadline. Starting pitching, releif pitching, DH, outfield, you name it and they needed it. So instead of trading to upgrade and make a run for the playoffs, all the Rangers managed to do was trade Chan Ho Park for Phil Nevin. Not much help, time to get ready for next year. They've gone 7-13 since the All-Star break.

The Mavs are preparing to release Michael Finley to help save money from the NBA's luxury tax. Several teams are interested in Fin, including Steve Nash's Phoenix Suns who recently lost Joe Johnson to Atlanta. What a disaster that could turn out to be... see Steve Nash last year.

The Cowboys started training camp on Friday and there's much talk of the increased level of talent this year. Here's hoping that corresponds to higher numbers in the win column. Larry Allen got off on the wrong foot by deciding he didn't want to participate in the start of camp timed mile run conditioning. He had TWELVE minutes to run the mile, but chose not to. Parcels then decided to keep Allen off the field the first two days of camp so he could "work" on his conditioning. He's back practicing with the team now but way to go Larry.

The Stars are returning to the ice this fall after a year layoff! It will be a different NHL now with salary caps and an opening up of the ice for the offense. The Stars had until last Friday to re-sign Mike Madano, the face of the franchise, to keep him from becoming a free agent. The Stars decided to wait which turned out to cost them in dollars and in the PR realm. Mike's always been the fan favorite since being drafted in 1988 and hold all the Stars scoring records. By Monday, Mike had received several offers of 5 yrs and around $20M. The Stars were originally hoping to only offer 3yrs... can you say ooops. It still took owner Tom Hicks stepping in to hammer out a deal to keep Madano in Dallas even though Mike's let it be known for a while that he wanted badly to stay here. Mike will now get to end his career in Dallas as he finally agreed to a 5 year deal with the Stars.