Coach Fran not sure about his own player’s performance …
Texas A&M coach Dennis Franchione tried again Tuesday to defend his decision not to give the ball to 278-pound running back Jorvorskie Lane on third-and-goal from the 2-yard line in the fourth quarter of Saturday's 17-16 loss to Oklahoma.
The Aggies attempted to pass into the end zone for the tying score but were turned away when quarterback Stephen McGee couldn't find an open receiver and pressure forced him to throw the ball away. A&M settled for a 19-yard Layne Neumann field goal that pulled the Aggies within 17-13.
"Hindsight is always easy, and you certainly rethink everything that you do in situations," Franchione said. "We wouldn't have called the play on third down that we called if we didn't think it was going to work."
For Lane, converting third downs has been almost automatic this season. He has converted 15 consecutive third- or fourth-down plays for a first down or touchdown and is 24-of-27 on the season. All eight of his touchdowns in Big 12 Conference play this season have come from 1 or 2 yards out.
Franchione was obviously unaware of this fact when answering questions Tuesday.
Stars – afraid to score 2 goals in a game – lose again …
Bogged down by a largely ineffective power play and facing two of the NHL's top goalies on back-to-back nights, the Stars veered into their first losing streak of the season Tuesday.
A day after managing just one goal against Vancouver, the Stars again found the net only once against the Flames in a 3-1 loss. Dallas had its share of scoring chances again, but converted just 1-of-7 power plays and couldn’t break through against goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, who made 25 saves for the win.
"We had our opportunities," Stars coach Dave Tippett said. "But that's a game where it's a tight game, you're looking for somebody to make a difference, you're looking for a great play, you're looking for somebody to push you over the top. That's two games in a row now where we did things to lose the game rather than win the game.
It's not like we got outplayed, but to win in this league, you've got to do a little extra."
For the Flames, Tony Amonte did just that, scoring their first two goals and narrowly missing a chance at an insurance goal when he hit the post early in the third period.
Calgary talks about the big win …
The team strung together consecutive wins for the first time this season thanks to an up-tempo start, gritty work in the corners, a fight, a first-period goal and some great goaltending from Miikka Kiprusoff.
"I think everybody looked at this like a playoff game for us," said Amonte.
"We needed the points bad. We haven't strung two wins together all season. Coming in against one of the better teams in the West in Dallas. It's a great measuring stick. If we're gonna get there, we've got to do it against the best teams.
"We had an all-around great effort tonight. We got it from everybody and that's the
only way we can win."
But Amonte deserves a lot of credit for his inspired play -- admittedly his best game as a Flame.
"Tony's a very skilled guy," said sophomore defenceman Dion Phaneuf. "He's done a lot in the league, year after year. He's got over 400 goals in the league and that doesn't come by fluke.
"It was nice to see him pot a couple more tonight."
Weekly Buccigross …
The Cowboys are great at penalties …
The Cowboys were penalized 11 times for 153 yards Sunday at Washington. Their last penalty – a 15-yarder facemask on Kyle Kosier, which Parcells thought was iffy – put the Redskins in position for the game-winning field goal.
This season, the Cowboys have been penalized 60 times, second to Detroit (63). Arizona, Minnesota and Washington have also had 60 penalties accepted.
Tight end Jason Witten is the biggest culprit with six penalties, and safety Roy Williams has the most penalty yardage with 63 on two penalties. The offensive line leads the team with 14 penalties.
The Cowboys top the NFL with 610 penalty yards. The Redskins are next at 551 yards.
Last season through eight games, the Cowboys has been penalized 47 times for 357 yards and were 5-3 at the break.
"I've never had a heavily penalized team my whole life that I can remember," Parcells said. "Maybe one out of 18."
Parcells' 1983 New York Giants team committed 113 penalties for 1,020 yards, the most in his head coaching career, and finished 3-12-1. The 2004 Cowboys committed 105 penalties for 867 yards, the second-most, and finished 6-10.
His first two teams in New England had fewer penalty yards in 16 games (468, 597) than the Cowboys have through eight games this season.
"It's just exasperating," Parcells said.
Parcells prides himself on having smart teams.
In 13 of his 18 seasons, opponents were penalized more than his team. One season his team and the opponent were even, and the Giants won the Super Bowl in 1990. Of the four times his teams had more penalties, Parcells' team made the playoffs once (2003 Cowboys).
Baseball is not big in the African-American community anymore …
Fifty-nine years after the color barrier was broken, 32 years after Hank Aaron became the all-time home run king and 31 years after Frank Robinson got a managing job, African-American players comprise only 8 percent of major-league rosters.
That's the lowest percentage since the 1950s, and a huge drop from the peak in the 1970s, when one out of every four big-leaguers was black.
So now, as Washington gets his chance and joins the New York Mets' Willie Randolph as the only African-American managers in the majors, a nation turns its lonely eyes to those stats and wonders:
Where have you gone, Jackie Robinson?
It's a legitimate worry for a game that is slipping in the national consciousness. TV ratings for the just-completed World Series were horrible, even by baseball's diminishing standards. Baseball has no endorsement machines like LeBron James or Tiger Woods or Michael Vick. And its highest-profile black player, Barry Bonds, has become a poster child for the steroid scandal.
It's not as though baseball lacks diversity. Its stars hail from all over the world, with its biggest inroads coming in Latin America and Asia. But the increase in international flavor has coincided with a sharp decrease in home-grown talent, and much of that dip has come from the African-American community.
Blalock gets new life with change? …
As the Rangers' third baseman for the past 4 1/2 seasons, Hank Blalock has developed passing relationships with third-base coaches all around the major leagues. And he saw a lot of Ron Washington, who was the third-base coach for the American League West division rival Oakland A's.
Blalock liked what he saw and heard of Washington, which led him to be particularly excited when he heard that Washington had been selected as Rangers manager.
"I've told everyone, he's been my favorite [opposing team] third-base coach," Blalock said from California on Monday. "He's a cool guy. He's real easy to talk to. At the same time, he's competitive. He's a winner."
Blalock said Washington's sincerity came across every time they met. Washington would always ask about Blalock's family, how his wife and son were doing, because he really wanted to know. But as game time got closer, Washington always grew more distant, to the point that his competitiveness nearly overwhelmed Blalock.
"Once the game gets close, there's no one that wants to win more than he does," Blalock said.
If you think the riot/fight a few weeks ago was not enough to get a coach fired at Miami, I am guessing A player getting shot and killed will cause house cleaning…
Pata was shot and killed Tuesday night at his apartment complex, the latest shock to a Hurricanes team touched by tragedy and turmoil -- including four deaths in the last decade, a separate gun incident earlier this season and an ugly on-field brawl just last month.
"They just shot him dead," Tonya Casimir, who identified herself as the player's cousin, told ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach by phone from the one of one of Pata's family members. "He's gone."
The 22-year-old senior who grew up in Miami was pronounced dead in the parking lot outside his apartment, and his death was ruled a homicide, Miami-Dade police spokesman Roy Rutland said.
"We're trying to get through a hard time right now and it's going to take time," Miami quarterback Kirby Freeman told The Associated Press after a team meeting at the university's athletic complex. "And that's what being a close football family is all about. We're going to help each other with this."
Cowboys Dark Side correspondent: This week's diatribe…
Meanwhile, in soccer, Manchester United lost a Carling Cup match to Southend United …Manchester may not have cared (Carling Cup is hardly coveted by the Big 4), but I am sure it is a brilliant day in the Southend….
Of the 92 teams in the Football League 81 have played Manchester United, and Southend, having played them once, are the only one to enjoy a 100% record against them. Ferguson, however, tried to downplay the significance of the defeat.
"There will be no suicides, no sackings but maybe a few recriminations. Expectations are high at this club," he said. "We've lost three matches all season and all by 1-0. Cup football can smack you in the face and I'm not impervious to that. We started off slack, which can sometimes happen in a cup tie. But Southend were fantastic and their goalkeeper was magnificent. At the end they closed it down and made it difficult for us.
Random Hockey Note of the Day:
Derian Hatcher has played 14 games.
He was +1 on 2 occasions.
He was even on 3 other occasions.
He was -1 twice.
He was -2 four times.
He was -3 three times.
At -17, he is the worst in the NHL in the +/- category.
And here is some great email:
Now that we have brainwashed you into an A&M fan, kinda, here is my take.
The schedule has been so easy this year even RC Slocum could have won 8 games, but I think Fran has convinced a few of the blind followers as well as Dollar Bill Bryne that he is making progress. However is beating Baylor (4-6), Army (3-7), U-La-La (4-4), Louisiana Tech (3-6), The Citadel (3-6) Div II, Oklahoma St (5-4), Missouri (7-3) win looking less great every week, and Kansas (5-5) really an improvement? The Big12 is down in the minds of many "experts", including Norm.
Teams we have beaten this year have a combined record of (34-41) .453 with only 2 having a winning record.
So what happens next year...
Even if the team improves lets look at the schedule:
Some Louisiana Direction School - W
Miami - L (could be close)
Some Louisiana Direction School - W
Some Div II School - W
Baylor - W
Okla St - L (Toss Up)
@ Tech - L
@ Neb - L
Kansas - W
@ Oklahoma - L
@ Mizzou - L (Toss Up)
Texas - L
That would puts us at 5-5 with 2 Toss up games. If we were to go 5-7, everyone would want Fran gone. So then we are another year behind schedule because we gave Fran another year.
Why sound we keep Fran after this year again?
Let me congratulate you and your buddy, Dan on your radio broadcasts each day. I look forward to my lunch breaks when I get a chance, to listen to your show.
I was at the game Saturday night with Aggie and Sooner and I don't ever remember seeing and hearing Kyle Field as raucus as it was for a sustained period of time. The entire stadium was exploding with energy and excitement.
The entire weekend, starting with Midnight Yell, College Gameday, Aggie Zone activities, Spirit Walk, Band Step-off was awesome as always. But this weekend was different, it had a feel about it as if to say that Franchione has finally gotten us back like he was supposed to have done. R.C. Slocum was fired because of mediocre seasons. Coach Franchione was to come in here and get it back and rebuild. I don't expect us to win the national championship within 4 seasons, but 4-8, 7-5, 5-6, and 8-2 so far this season with a cupcake schedule is not good.
When zero u converted the fourth down it was as if Franchione single handedly let us down when victory was there for the taking and a chance at something special THIS season. You could just feel the air come out of the building, all of the buildup, the place was absolutely deflated. We are left to look at next season when this was our chance to finish up with a bang and battle the shorthorns for the Big 12 south title.
I'll try and stick with Fran' for the rest of the season and try to view it as we still have a chance for something special this year. I think we can beat the children of the corn this weekend at home, but the 'sips do have a better team this year than we do down in Austin. Coach Fran's track record with big road games is not good. 9-3, not bad, but it sure was a hard pill to swallow when you see how much we wanted that game Saturday knowing what was on the line and Fran' just came up blanks again.
I'm simply writing to let you know that certainly you of all people can understand why Aggies are so upset. Like your Packers, us Aggies support our teams as much as anyone in the country. We all feel there is no reason the Ags can't win a National Championship. Yes, with our in-state rival winning one last year, that has sped up the process a bit, but we have as much money as anyone else, the finest facilities in the nation, what better support than the 12th man, and most importantly one of the nation's best coaches.
That's what we were to believe when we hired him. What is the problem. Is it just Coach Franchione, is it that we don't quite have the players, yet. I don't know, but we are getting impatient and demand a winner.
Flake boy certainly has to feel the same way I do, and if he doesn't he's nuts!!!!
Gig'em ------ WHOOP!!!!
We all know Roy Williams blows in coverage, we’ve known this for years but in my mind he more than makes up for those deficiencies in the running game, he saved 7 pts yesterday on two successive goal line plays and had a huge tackle that lead to the Novak miss, he is what he is; but it’s time for Newman and more importantly Antony Henry to answer for their crimes against this team. These guys are supposed to be shutdown corners and they play the ball worse than Roy on a regular basis, both commit huge interference penalties on a weekly basis on deep pass plays, they have no idea where the ball is, don’t get there head around and basically tackle/run over the reciever every gd game and I’ve had it. Additionally Anthony Henry may have the worst hands in the frieking league, I challenge you to go back and look at the tapes and you will find this guy drops at least one easy INT a week. He could have prevented 10pts yesterday if he could just catch the effing ball. At least Roy will catch the ball occasionally. I’ve had it with those too.
What is that red flower stand for on Razors lapel?
Tom, Here is the answer I found:
The Ribbons are for a Canadian Holiday known as Remembrance Day …
Common British, Canadian, South African and ANZAC traditions include two minutes of silence at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month because that was the time (in Britain and France) when the armistice became effective. The two minutes recall World War I and World War II. Before 1945 the silence was for one minute, and today some ceremonies still only have one minute of silence despite this
In Canada the day is a holiday for federal government employees. However, for private business, provincial governments, and schools, its status varies by province. In Western and Atlantic Canada it is a general holiday. In Ontario and Quebec, it is not a general holiday, although corporations that are federally registered may make the day a full holiday, or instead designate a provincially-recognized holiday on a different day. Schools usually hold assemblies for the first half of the day or on the school day prior with various presentations concerning the remembrance of the war dead. Thousands of people gather near the National War Memorial in Ottawa. Among the crowd, war veterans pay their respects to fallen sailors, soldiers, and airmen. The Act of Remembrance includes the playing of the Last Post, recitation of the Ode of Remembrance, which is a verse of the poem "For the Fallen" by Laurence Binyon, followed by Reveille.
The Royal Canadian Legion recommends that we observe 2 minutes of silence.
There you go.
Here is the Sherdog thread from our Tito Ortiz visit from yesterday as MMA muscle heads debate our performance Link …
And if you really care – I did vote. What a great American.
Grandma kills bird with 3 wood.
Faith Hill doesn’t win!
Sesame Street Helps coach Fran