Avery locked up for 5 years …
"We found something that is a win-win situation for everybody."
Considered by many as the brightest young coach in the league, Johnson led the Mavericks to the NBA Finals in his first full season. His original contract was for four years and paid him $2.5 million his rookie season.
After the Miami Heat's 4-2 win in the Finals, Johnson and Cuban opened dialogue on a new contract. While things were contentious at times, there was never a doubt in Cuban's mind that the coach would be fairly compensated.
"Of course, I'm thrilled to get the deal done and get everyone focused on the new season," Cuban said. "A.J. is an amazing partner and coach. I can't speak highly enough about him."
Added Johnson: "It's a great sign of the partnership that Mark and I have. I'm happy."
The new contract contains some of the same incentives that were rolled into Johnson's original deal. The total worth of the contract could be much higher than $20 million if the Mavericks achieve such goals as winning the NBA title or Johnson receives coach of the year honors again.
The contract seems appropriate for a coach in his second full season, given the success the Mavericks enjoyed in 2005-06. The best-paid coaches in the league, such as Phil Jackson with the Lakers, Pat Riley with the Heat and Gregg Popovich with the Spurs, earn between $7 million and $10 million annually. But they all have substantially more experience than Johnson.
For Johnson, this is another highlight in an NBA career that began with a $90,000 salary as a non-guaranteed rookie in 1988. He played 16 seasons before retiring in 2004.
CJ Wilson brings swagger to Austin …
A former star at Terrell High — the same school that produced quarterback/musician Eric Bishop, who now goes by the name of Jamie Foxx — Wilson displays bravado that is as refreshing as it is comical. He actually mentioned himself as a Heisman Trophy candidate in the past month, and calls his mother, Sandra, the most physical football player he's ever faced.
He hopes his latest prognostication, "The I-35 Surprise" will come to fruition and vault Baylor into sole possession of first place in the Big 12 South Division.
So what in the name of Mike Singletary makes Wilson think the Bears stand a chance when the oddsmakers have installed Texas as a 29-point favorite? A 29-point favorite over a team that just beat winless Colorado in triple overtime and lost at home to Army.
"If you beat Texas, the rest of the Big 12 will be scared,'' Wilson said. "People won't know what to do. You'll have Sports Illustrated down here trying to see what's going on. Dr. Phil will be down here asking questions."
Wilson is not just another pretty quote. He is tied for the Big 12 lead with four interceptions and is one of the players head coach Guy Morriss has entrusted with being a leader in the locker room. The 21-year-old is a mainstay on a Bears' defense that has forced a national-best 48 turnovers since the start of the 2005 season.
While he is never at a loss for words, the 6-foot-1-inch, 195-pound Wilson has been bored lately. He isn't getting as many balls thrown his way, something he expects to change Saturday when he expects to line up against 6-5 Limas Sweed, who has six touchdown catches this season.
No stranger to trash talk, Wilson grew excited when told the normally docile Sweed has been doing a little jawing of his own with rival cornerbacks this season.
Not one to make a habit of handing out compliments to opposing receivers, Wilson referred to Sweed as "a cool, classy guy" but would like nothing better than to cover him Saturday.
"I've been praying, 'Lord, please, I haven't been getting much action, but if you grant me this shot,' " Wilson said. "I hope Limas comes out talking a little bit. You may see my helmet moving a little, but I can't say if any words are going to come out."
Here is a big feature from the Fort Worth Weekly on TCU coach Gary Patterson …With an assist from the Hammer…
And not all the faithful are on board with Patterson. Radio talk show host Greg “the Hammer” Williams of KTCK “The Ticket” is a TCU grad. “Patterson is all smoke and mirrors,” he said. “Check out his record after big games and against ranked teams, and he’s not that good.”
The stepchild comments “were one of the most embarrassing moments in the history of TCU football,” Williams said. “They just beat a team they were supposed to beat. You don’t use that as a forum to piss and moan about respect. You get respect by going 12-and-0. But they haven’t played the same since.”
Nick Bakay on celebrities in the booth …
All right. I hate to do this. But, let’s all look back at September 8, 2002 …It was a dark day for the Dallas Cowboys that we have pretty much just pretended it never happened…
The Houston Texans won more than their opener. They won their Super Bowl.
Rookie quarterback David Carr came out heaving, throwing a touchdown for his first completion. He also hit Corey Bradford for a 65-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter to beat the state rival Dallas Cowboys 19-10 in the first game in franchise history.
"I wouldn't say we ambushed them," Houston nose guard Seth Payne said, "but I don't think they expected what they got."
The Texans became only the second expansion team to start 1-0, reaching a goal coach Dom Capers mentioned off this week. They joined the Minnesota Vikings, who did it in 1961 against the Chicago Bears in a battle of division rivals.
This one, though, was for bragging rights in a state where football is king.
"Now they can go back to Dallas and have a hard-knock life," said Texans defensive end Gary Walker, the only former Oiler on the squad. "We ruined their season."
NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue called it "the Texas Super Bowl," and it felt that way to the 69,604 fans who'd been waiting since the Oilers left for Tennessee after the 1996 season. They started arriving 4½ hours early, many with their faces painted and carrying anti-Dallas signs.
Looking at the Dallas defense from a Houston perspective …
"If you play the 3-4 and have good personnel, it's a great defense," right tackle Zach Wiegert said. "They are all very gap sound. They are all smart players. They don't do a ton of stuff, but they just do what they do really well."
With Marcus Spears, Jason Ferguson and Chris Canty manning the front, and linebackers Greg Ellis, DeMarcus Ware, Akin Ayodele and Bradie James on the second level, the Cowboys' front seven is daunting.
"They have some big, talented players out there, and they create mismatches for your backs and even for your tackles," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. "(Cowboys coach Bill Parcells) built a heck of a crew over there. And their back end, starting with the safety (Roy Williams) and the corner (Terence Newman), they're as good as there is in this business."
The Cowboys, who often play Williams near the line of scrimmage to bolster their run defense, make stopping the run their top priority.
"You always have to look for (Williams) because he's like another linebacker on the field," Wiegert said. "Usually they'll play seven guys and then if you start hurting them on the run, they'll bring him up to shut the run down."
It figures to be a task unlike any the Texans have faced this season. Only four teams have allowed fewer rushing yards per game than the Cowboys.
Texans center Mike Flanagan said: "They're lining up, saying, 'You can't beat us. We're not disguising anything. We're going to be right here. If you're going to beat us, you're going to have to physically dominate us, man-on-man.' "
Dallas' defense is not without flaws. After watching the Cowboys allow an 87-yard touchdown pass and a 40-yard flea flicker in last week's loss at Philadelphia, the Texans are hoping there are plays to be made against the Cowboys.
Julius Jones is running well …
The Cowboys rank seventh in the NFL in rushing yards and third in rushing yards per game because Jones is in good shape.
Unlike his first two years when he fought a bum shoulder and a severely sprained ankle that limited him to 21 games, he is healthy. He's coming off consecutive 100-yard rushing games, averages 4.5 yards per rush and ranks fifth in the league in rushing.
This is the production he always expected of himself and the Cowboys expected of him when they passed on Steven Jackson and selected Jones in the second round of the 2004 draft.
But some of Jones' teammates said he was irritated by speculation that he couldn't do it, that he's injury prone, and the team's best option was for Jones to be part of a two-back system. And that his silence is for those who doubted him.
"He's doing good. He's focused on what he needs to do," said Julius' brother, Chicago Bears running back Thomas Jones. "He's happy. He's healthy. He's having a good year right now. He's really focused."
Check out this Crazy stat from Gil Brandt …
Dallas Cowboys third-year running back Julius Jones has rushed for 2,200 yards after 25 games. Tony Dorsett had 1,875 after 25 games, and Emmitt Smith had 1,766.
Bodog sent me this:
I thought this Drew Bledsoe odd may be of interest to you…It’s courtesy of Bodog.
How many INTS + Fumbles will Drew Bledsoe have during week 6?
Over 2 -110
Under 2 -130
Baseball fans: Here is a handy look at the Rangers off-season …
If the 2007 payroll is to include the money for A-Rod and raises for Otsuka and others, the team has between $40MM and $45MM committed. They entered 2006 with a $68MM payroll. This is a team with tons of free agents; the Rangers will look very different in 2007. Forget all this manager talk though: let's get down to the important stuff.
At catcher: do you bring Rod Barajas back, or just let Laird start and find a backup for him? Laird looked lost at the plate as a full-timer in September, but otherwise hit quite well for his position. I think you let Barajas go and use Laird as the starter. This team has needs, and the need for a catcher isn't at the top of the list. That said, perhaps a flexible solution like Mike Piazza would help. Piazza could catch 70 or 80 games and spend the rest of the time at DH.
The Rangers are set with Mark Teixeira, who proved his first half an anomaly with a .291/.394/.604 line after the break. The second half surge means Tex's trade value should remain huge. As a Scott Boras client, he makes quite a bit of money for someone with his service time. Here's an idea: trade Teixeira to the Pirates for pitching. The Paul Maholm/Mike Gonzalez proposal seems a little weak; substitute Ian Snell for Maholm and you might have something.
The Pirates wouldn't be the only team coveting Teixeira entering his age 27 season. How about the Orioles, Tigers, Astros, Dodgers, or Giants? If Tex really does hit the market, you have to figure some top shelf young talent would be offered from some of these clubs.
Saturday Night UFC 64 features the great Rich Franklin versus the very dangerous Anderson Silva. I will take Franklin, but this could be a great test for him. Silva’s destruction of Chris Leben should give any future opponent something to consider.
Meanwhile, The ratings are back for Ortiz/Shamrock …
The highly entertaining UFC-Final Chapter show, headlined by the third fight between Tito Ortiz and Ken Shamrock, was a ratings knockout for Spike TV.
The two-hour live card from Hollywood, Fla., drew a Spike/UFC record of 4.2 million viewers, hitting a peak of 5.7 million viewers from 9:30-9:45 p.m. In another indication that the UFC and mixed martial arts are gaining a strong foothold in mainstream American sports, the show drew a half-million more viewers in the coveted advertising demographic of guys ages 18-34 than the baseball playoff game on FOX (1.6 million vs. 1.1 million).
The show, which was comparable to the production quality and packaging of UFC's pay-
per-view telecasts, helped Spike draw more men 18-34 than any other program on the tube (broadcast or cable) on Tuesday night.
Stars look great in Los Angeles …
Thursday against Los Angeles, Tippett put Brenden Morrow, Mike Modano and Eric Lindros together.
The Stars hoped that line would be a blend of toughness, skill and leadership -- Morrow is the team captain and Modano and Lindros have years of experience with the 'C' -- but, if nothing else, it promised to be a daunting combination in name recognition alone.
It took less than 15 minutes before the three teamed up on their first goal, with Morrow feeding Lindros for a big shot from the right point and Modano flipping in the rebound from close range.
Early in the second period, Morrow scored off a pass from Modano from behind the net with Lindros getting the second assist.
Morrow, Lindros and Modano teaming up on bang-bang plays? That was exactly what Tippett hoped for.
"If they can do things quick with the puck and execute quick, then they'll be dangerous," Tippett said at Thursday's morning skate.
Tippett said he made the decision to use that line, in part, because of the ease with which Lindros and Modano have worked together in practice and in limited game time, mostly on power plays.
However, Tippett said, "It's probably less about them and more about the whole group, going on the road and making sure we have good strong balance throughout our lineup."
Tippett stressed that the Morrow-Modano-Lindros line would need to rely as much on grinding and hard work -- i.e., Morrow -- as its considerable puck skills (Lindros and Modano had 2,024 NHL points between them entering Thursday).
"If it's going to be a pretty line, it's not going to work," Tippett said.
Asked why his coach would stress that point about the new line, Morrow said "that's because I'm on it."
Looking at last year’s amazing NHL rookie class …
OK. Quick story. England played Croatia a few days ago and got their butt beat. Well, in this game, we had an amazing sports blunder By the England Goalkeeper …
England goalkeeper Paul Robinson today admitted he feels saddened by the reaction to his part in Gary Neville's own-goal during the Euro 2008 qualifying defeat in Croatia.
With England trailing 1-0, Neville's backpass bobbled over the Tottenham No1's foot just as he was about to clear the ball and resulted in numerous articles pointing out his error. The Sun's front page ran with the headline "Robbish", while the Daily Mail branded him "a chump".
"I have come in for a lot of criticism. I look at the incident and it was just a ridiculous fluke," declared Robinson. "For it to be reported as a mistake, as my fault ... I can't see what I did that badly wrong. Goalkeepers make mistakes and I've made mistakes as well that have cost goals but nothing like that has ever happened to me. To be treated the way I have been saddens me. I'm very disappointed with the way it's been reported. I was not expecting to wake up to the barrage of abuse I received."
See the Amazing goal and blunder here - 1:19
A few days ago, I wanted to run some stats comparing Stoops and Brown. Well, the P1 responded as amateur research specialists. Here is what they found:
Ok Bob, as promised, here is the Bob Stoops vs. Mack Brown statistical rundown. By the way, the stats are courtesy of soonerstats.com and mackbrown-texasfootball.com. FYI....at Soonerstats it has Bob's record against the top 25 at 22-9, however, that counted teams' rankings as of when they played OU, not end of season ranking. For instance, in 2005 they don't count the TCU loss as a top 25 loss because TCU was unranked at the time, however TCU finished ranked #11. I tried as best as possible to compile stats with the final rankings, not rankings as of game time. So, without further adieu....
Ok, first of all as far as tenure is concerned, Mack has been at UT for 8+ years and Bob at OU for 7+.
In that time against teams in the top 25....
In that time against the top 15....
As far as recent trends....in the last 5 years against the top 25..
Last 5 years against the top 15....
Bowl game records....
Number of times lost to an unranked team....
Mack: 4 in 8 years
Bob: 6 in 7 years
Number of times upset (lost to a lower ranked team)...
Mack: 9 in 8 years
Bob: 10 in 7 years
I think it is time to put the "Big Game Bob" nickname to bed. In light of recent events, I also think it is time to get rid of the "No Excuses" mantra he used to beat down everyone's throats. Bob's new mantra should be "Know Excuses".
Conversely, it is also time to get rid of the "Coach February" nickname for Mack.
Good mornin' to ya....
Eric in Keller
I'm sure you got some response on your call for Mack and Stoops numbers, but check this out:
Mack Brown is 50-7 since 2002.
Bob Stoops is 11-7 since the final game of the 2004 season (loss to USC in BCS title game)
Mack Brown in last 11 vs. top 25 teams: 10-1
Bob Stoops in last 11 vs. top 25 teams: 4-7
I have some very hot opinions about the state of Oklahoma Sooners football. I am an OU alumn (Dec 1989), so I know there is much emotion in this email.
DISCLOSURE: I love Bob Stoops and hope he can stay with OU for a long time.
Now my reasons why OU isn't doing so well.
(1) Dare I say it? Stoops ran out of John Blake recruits.
Before anyone dare blast me, I knew that Blake had to go as a head coach. That’s HEAD COACH.
Stoops had some good recruits in his own right -> Heupel, Griffin, Savage, Duncan, Skinner(WO), Burcham(WO), Heinecke(WO), Marshall, Steffen(WO), Thompson, & Strait (and I believe Tommie Harris, who left early).
But let the truth be the truth, folks: Blake was a good, not great, position coach. He was a terrible head coach. But, he was, and still is, one of the best recruiters in the country (see below).
Some of the OU 1998 Class as listed the day after signing day, rated #4 in the Big 12 by PrepStar:
LB Rocky Calmus, 6-4, 215, Jenks, OK
LB Joey Crawford, 6-3, 215, Bristow, OK
OL Brad Davis, 6-4, 304, Baton Rouge-Bellaire, LA
DB Curtis Fagan, 5-11, 183, Katy Mayde Crk, TX
DB Dam. Mackey, 5-11, 180, Union City-Logan, CA
OL Stockar McDougle, 6-6, 340, Navarro Col., TX
RB Josh Norman, 6-3, 205, Midland-Lee, TX
OL Mike Skinner, 6-5, 305, Tahlequah, OK
TE Trent Smith, 6-6, 225, Clinton, OK
DB Roy Williams, 6-2, 190, Union City-Logan, CA
DB Andre Woolfork, 6-2, 185, Denver-Jeff, CO
I wish OU could have given him $$$$ to rejoin the Sooner Nation to maintain "the NFL caliber pipeline".
(2) Stoops maintains his high moral ground.
Stoops will not hesitate to kick ANYBODY off the team no matter who they are.
• Rhett Bomar - Sophomore QB
• J.D. Quinn - Sophomore G
• Dusty Dvoracek - Senior DT (what if he and Tommie Harris were in the Orange Bowl against USC instead of loudmouth underachiever Birdine?)
• 2 starting offensive linemen before the 2005 season opener against TCU.
(3) Mike Stoops
Arizona couldn't wait until after the 2004 season. O no. They had to interfere with one of the greatest seasons ever by an Oklahoma Sooner football team and snatch Mike Stoops away - as if that added month will save their beloved Arizona U football team.
Bob Stoops has his hands full managing the game. Mike Stoops would provide SPONTANEOUS FEEDBACK (i.e. get in player's faces when they make BONEHEAD plays) immediately!!!!! The assistant coaches appear too nice on the sideline. There was only one game that I can remember where Mike Stoops' defense got torched and that was the famous "double move" game when Oklahoma State's WR kept putting on "the double move" on our DBs and we never recovered from the deficit.
Look it up. As soon as Mike leaves what happens? That KSU rb Skoles runs 200+ yards on us. Big plays from LSU in the 1st qtr. Every team seemed to put big plays on our defense! We were just good enough to overcome the broken plays. We are no longer that good now.
Is it the players or the defensive scheme? I don't know. These coaches have forgotten more football than I'll ever know.
Furthermore, when you give up big plays from weaker teams...you give up big leads...when you give up big leads. you give up PRECIOUS PLAYING TIME to the backups....then the backups come into the next season raw. USC and Ohio State has backups getting plenty of playing time because they took care of business against weaker teams. How many times did OU get that big blowout? And when they did, how many times did White get pulled from the game? Backups need time.
Of course, had we executed our plays (offense and defense) 90% successful, we probably would be undefeated and in the top 5. I know we are not that far away from being a title contender. It is just a shame that AD is running with a team full of young players.
I still have confidence in Stoops maintaining the program.
Dave from Arlington
Finally, the Youtube of the day:
Owens in Philly 2:05
Weather Roach - :45 (The best clip of the week as voted by me)