Thursday, November 20, 2008

Coldplay Rocked Dallas

Thursday! And I would be lying if I told you I did not love the concert last night. I have always told that the only band that can put on a show the caliber of U2 is Coldplay, and while that is a bold claim, the show was very solid.

I must tell you that I cannot choose who’s singing was more compelling to view: Chris Martin or Tony Romo? More on that during today’s show.

But below, find a picture someone emailed me of Romo singing in Witten's ear...

The Star Telegram’s review

DALLAS — Coldplay’s ambitions are finally being matched by its sound.
While the British quartet has always aimed to be among the top arena-dominating rock acts, its sensitive, occasionally maudlin and delicate ballads hadn’t made the strongest case.

That said, the group’s live shows have been raved about for years. Goopy tunes or not, Coldplay is nothing if not audience-pleasing. Yet Wednesday night at American Airlines Center, there was a different air about the Grammy-winning act, almost as if Chris Martin and his bandmates were making a thrilling declaration: If another band would like to wrest away their crown as one of the most vital acts in music, let’s have at it.

Emboldened by its new album, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends, with its rich, vivid and muscular songs, Coldplay raced through its set list, attacking staples such as In My Place and Clocks with as much verve as newer tracks Violet Hill or Viva la Vida’s staggering title cut.

What was most impressive about the Viva la Vida tracks was their considerable punch — drummer Will Champion was tireless from first song to last — and Martin’s willingness to dispense with his trademark falsetto and sing with more authority. It helps give Coldplay a much needed dose of gravitas.

Not that the band has become dour. Several instances of goofiness included Martin’s encouraging the crowd to buy copies of the new Guns N’ Roses album so they could get free Dr Peppers.

The packed arena greeted nearly every song and gesture with a lusty roar and near-constant flashbulbs. Martin was a reliable bundle of boundless energy, whirling from mike to guitar to piano.

And it’s that energy that now feels properly channeled. For its first three albums, Martin and Coldplay made well-intended stabs at greatness, frequently coming close but not quite clinching it.

On record as in Wednesday’s performance, the British rockers, who still humbly thank their screaming fans for bothering to come out, have secured a place as an undeniably great band, one of heft, talent and substance.

Can the Sooners defense stand up?

When told that Texas Tech's 323-pound-per-man offensive line is the biggest in college football, Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy didn't seem overly worried or concerned.

The challenge of checking the mammoth Red Raider offensive front prompted a matter-of-fact response brimming with confidence from McCoy.

"They've got a big line, so what?" McCoy said. "We've got to go out and play. We're not worried about their size. They are good, but we're not intimidated by that."

Later, McCoy threw out some free-association terms of what he feels that would best describe the Oklahoma defense, including descriptions such as tough, brutal, hard and strong.

Another adjective could have been thrown out as well, although McCoy probably would never do it. How about "unSoonerlike?"

Perhaps their struggles are understandable because of the overall offensive nature in the Big 12. But the Sooners are struggling through their worst statistical season with Bob Stoops in charge.

Earlier this season, the Sooners were blistered for 111 points during a three-game period that included games against Texas, Kansas and Kansas State. That total was the most since 1997.

Those struggles have been obvious when comparing this season's statistics with those of previous seasons in Stoops' tenure. The Sooners are allowing more yards (345.60, 55th nationally) and more points (23.6 points per game, 57th nationally) than any of Stoops' previous nine teams.

It's worth noting that Oklahoma ranked among the top 16 teams in an eight-season stretch in total defense and in the top 19 teams in scoring defense in all seasons but one since Stoops arrived in 1999. Now the Sooners are barely middle-of-the-pack in the national rankings.

"We're embarrassed for ourselves," Oklahoma linebacker Travis Lewis told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram two weeks ago. "We're not used to having 35 put on us. That's just not us."

Injuries have played a part. The Sooners lost their rudder when middle linebacker Ryan Reynolds went out with a season-ending knee injury in the Texas game. His loss in that game turned the course of the contest and allowed the Longhorns to charge back for a 45-35 victory that remains Oklahoma's only blemish this season.

Pre-season Big 12 defensive player of the year Auston English had his appendix removed before training camp started and struggled to regain his shape earlier in the season. Later, English sustained a sprained knee that will likely keep him out until Oklahoma's bowl game.

Defensive end Alan Davis also is hobbling with a sprained knee and won't play against the Red Raiders. It will mean the Sooners will likely go with a three-man rotation of Jeremy Beal, Frank Alexander and the relatively inexperienced Price Macon to provide outside pressure. Converted linebacker J.R. Bryant could also be used in plays off the edge to harass Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell.

"It's going to be the guys we have," Stoops said. "We don't get to go out and claim people through free agency."

They don't. But the Sooners clearly will be hampered as they try to contain a sizzling Tech offense that leads the nation in passing, is second nationally in total offense and third in points scored.

In what amounts to a 6 game suspension, Pac Returns

Dallas Cowboys cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones has been cleared to return to the team Monday, but won’t play in a game for another two weeks, owner Jerry Jones said this afternoon.

“I think he has done what he has been asked to do,” Jerry Jones said after a news conference in Arlington to announce the new Cowboys stadium as host site for the 2014 NCAA Men’s Final Four. “If anybody understands the kinds of things you deal with to get better, it’s probably going to be an ongoing thing. I do know that he has a good sense of where he is and how he got there.”

However, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league has “nothing to report on it at this time.”

Pacman Jones, who will return to practice Monday, will be eligible to play on Dec. 7 when the Cowboys play at Pittsburgh, Jerry Jones said.

“I have been working this week on the procedure of having him back. It’s just a matter of the commissioner’s decision and the commissioner has made his decision,” Jerry Jones said. “He [Pacman] will be at our complex this week under some circumstances, but he won’t be practicing or conditioning with the team the next two or three days.”

Pacman Jones was suspended by commissioner Roger Goodell on Oct. 14 for at least four games after another violation of the league’s personal conduct policy. Goodell said at the time that he would review Adam Jones' case after the Washington game on Nov. 16.

After review, Goodell has essentially tacked on two more games to the suspension, making it a total of six games. Jerry Jones said there is still some conjecture about what Adam Jones will be allowed to do this week before returning to practice on Monday. However, he said Adam Jones will continue to be on a short leash as far as the league is concerned. The Cowboys are just hoping he truly gets it this time.
The latest suspension came a week after he was involved in an alcohol-related altercation with one of his bodyguards at the Joule Hotel in Dallas. The incident came six weeks after he was reinstated from a 17-month suspension for repeated violations of the NFL's personal conduct policy.

Jerry Jones also said that Pacman Jones, who completed an alcohol rehabilitation program in Boston last week, will no longer have the services of the club’s bodyguards.

"I have had a bite of that," Jerry Jones said. "My own man [let me down]. I am going to try something different."

Break up the Mavericks! 3 in a row!

They finished off a 3-0 road trip Wednesday night with a 96-86 thumping of the Yao Ming-less Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center. The Mavericks are 5-3 on the road, 0-4 at home.

Alas, they will have no choice but to embrace the cozy environs of their American Airlines Center, where nine of the next 11 games will be played.

On Wednesday, they took advantage of Yao's absence by beating the Rockets badly on the boards. They also got great shooting from Jason Terry (31 points). When the game got dicey, Jason Kidd and Terry combined for six quick points and an 83-73 advantage with under five minutes to go. Later, Terry's layup made it 90-84 with a minute to go, and the Mavericks were in.

The Rockets, besides missing Yao, also had Tracy McGrady and Ron Artest coming off minor injuries from Monday's game in Oklahoma City. They simply didn't have enough punch to make a serious run down the stretch.

Lately, the Mavericks have been making a living off unlikely contributors. At least, on paper they are unlikely.

Coach Rick Carlisle was missing Josh Howard to a left ankle injury, which meant some creative lineups were called for.

So he started James Singleton and used Shawne Williams extensively in the first half. Both played admirably and were a big part of the Mavericks busting out to a double-figure lead that ended up being a 53-46 halftime margin.

The third quarter slogged along without much of anything to get excited about. The Rockets made two field goals in the period and still only lost three points on the scoreboard. The Rockets were 2-of-17 in the quarter.

Part of it was salty Mavericks defense, but a lot of it was bad offense by the Rockets.

Still, the Mavericks had a 72-61 lead and felt good about their chances.

Then came the first two minutes of the final period, when the Rockets equaled their number of third-quarter field goals with a pair of 3-pointers.

Suddenly, the Mavericks were up by just five, and knew they had a fight on their hands.

Tonight, can the Stars win 2 in a row? Sydor is back; Lehts in hurt again

Defenseman Darryl Sydor prepared for his first game since a trade from the Penguins on Sunday, and rookie winger James Neal returned from a month in the minors.
Meanwhile, winger Jere Lehtinen is out 7-10 days with an upper body injury.

And as the waves of player movement continued to bounce the 6-8-3 Stars around, they
tried to find the calm that would produce consecutive wins for the first time this season.

As Dallas prepares to face the Chicago Blackhawks tonight, it will welcome its 27th player this season. And yet the players say if they find consistency in their performance, then consistency on the roster will probably follow.

"We just need to focus on doing things right, shift to shift," defenseman Stephane Robidas said. "If we can do that, then the wins will come."

Robidas said the players really weren't aware of the fact that they had yet to string back-to-back wins together. However, they were well aware of the inconsistency of their performance from period to period and game to game.

A study of their victories shows a disturbing trend. A 6-4 win against Nashville was followed by a 6-1 loss to St. Louis. A 2-1 win against the New York Rangers was followed by a 5-0 loss to the New Jersey Devils. A 4-2 win over Minnesota was followed by a 5-2 loss to the Blackhawks.

The following is an email I got from a Tech fan. I honestly don’t care who wins Saturday, as I have enjoyed my travels to Norman and Lubbock and enjoy being a neutral observer that just wants to see a great game. That being said, as you will see in the email below, one important distinction is evident:

This game is the biggest game Texas Tech has ever played.

This game may not be one of the 50 most important games Oklahoma has ever played.

What does that mean? Not sure, but it gets you emails like this:

I got this off a TTU message board. Love it!!!

Life gives you stories that resonant within. Stories like a young shepherd boy picking up five smooth stones and slaying a giant with a simple sling and a faith in God. Stories like a band of brothers completely encircled by German troops in WWII and when rescued by Gen. Patton claiming that they didn’t need rescuing, they were holding their own just fine. Stories about a rag tag bunch of colonies winning a war against the greatest world power of their time because they believed they could. Stories about a 6 seed Villanova defeating Georgetown for the NCAA championship, not because anyone else thought they could but because they thought they could. A runner survives 26 miles to warn his countrymen. A black woman refuses to move to the back of the bus. Stories like these inspire and bring hope because everyone of us is weaker than someone, smaller than someone and faces obstacles of our own.

Remember the advice Coach Switzer gave Coach Leach when he was offered this job? Don’t do it, you can’t win there. That in a nutshell is the world’s belief about our school. You can’t win there. Tech is too remote, too small and too inconsequential to compete. Tech faces too many giants, from storied programs such as OU, UT and Nebraska to programs that are better funded. All but Tech and Baylor in the Big 12 are land grant universities within their state. They have celebrated their 100th year of this and that. We weren’t even around 100 years ago. They are big. We are not.

But did Coach Leach listen to his mentor? No, he thought it could be done. He saw the promise. He believed in himself. He went to work. In many ways, success at Tech becomes Coach Leach. The pirates that Coach Leach is fascinated with battled world dominating empires such as the British, French and Spanish. As the pirates are to the British, French and Spanish, so Tech is to OU, UT and Nebraska. I think Leach recognized this when he started with the pirate theme. All the talk of Leach taking this job or that job seems silly to me. Can you see a Pirate becoming a British Commodore? This misfit who never played college football who is still viewed as a nutcase by traditional football powers fits here like a sword in a scabbard. West Texas is the outpost colony where only a pirate can thrive.

So Leach began to build the base and the persona of a team, a team that could challenge. He took them to war and continually crafted the approach with phases such as “swing your sword” and “do your job.” He defied the traditionalist and rallied Raider Nation with his views that his fans were as good as any and that sometimes a pirate beats a soldier. Sometimes he does indeed, sometimes he does indeed. He drilled his team on execution, execution, execution. Now you hear stories of one of the top QBs in the country spending hours in the summer with the best receiver in the country throwing routes over and over again. Doing their job and swinging their sword during the summer of Texas sweat and heat. Why work so hard boys, don’t you know you can’t win at Tech? Listen and you will hear “yes we can” in the whine of the spirals in the Texas heat. “Yes we can” in the smack of the pads against each other. “Yes we can” in the clink of the weights on the bench.

So how will the story end? I don’t know but I can tell you this. I am looking forward to seeing this team go mano a mano against OU and Stoops, the de facto King of the Big 12 hill at their house. Leach and his marauding band of brothers have already knocked down traditional power Nebraska and current power UT, who between them have over 10 MNC. OU claims 7 MNC and beyond OU is Florida, Alabama or possibly USC. Line’em all up I say, those MNC trophies don’t play a position on the field. They all started with zero trophies just like us. If and when this team wins the MNC they will probably have defeated programs with over 20 MNC between them. This team won’t win a MNC the easy way like BYU or Colorado. Nope, this team is going to have to flat out earn it by beating the hell out of the British, French and Spanish of the world. When you come from Texas Tech you know that respect is fought for and earned and the same will be true of our football team. I wouldn’t have it any other way, would you?
Wreck’em Tech

Toews gets in a fight? Barely

And Jumbo Joe should pick on someone his own size…

Go Raiders – forever a classic



bevo said...

Neutral Observer..Hardly..You have been in the tank for Tech since Bob Knight..

Game of the century..That still gets me..

I will however give you this..It is the biggest game of the week..OK..Saturday..

Hook Em Horns..

BTW..I love your blog..and especially like how easy your word verification is to spell..

Jake said...

I was waiting last night for another 4th Q Mavs meltdown last night, yet, it didn't happen.

I love how Horn gets to play back seat this week yet steal a little light from the game by pubbing Muschamp. Would love to see a OU/Florida MNC matchup.

Coldplay lost me after Rush of Blood to the Head, like U2 with Zooropa. Too 'arena rock-ish' and uninspired sounding. Question is...was Mrs. Martin/Paltrow there?

Josh said...

Great to see the Mavs hold the lead after the Rockets got within 3 points in the 4th quarter.

No Josh? No problem. Now boarding Flight 31. Great game by Jet Terry.

Still, I worry about just how much this Mavs team can accomplish with very little talent behind aging starters. The Kidd trade was designed to keep the window of opportunity open for a little longer. Only problem is there don't seem to be any reinforcements on the way (draft picks went bye bye).

BACM said...

Still bitter much Bevo?

It is the most important game in my lifetime.

Get Your Guns UP!!!!!

Lancerdfw said...

Sure, Longhorn is just trying to steal some pub from a team they've already beaten (OU) and one that is having a once in a century Cinderella season ala Kansas in 2007. Whatever.

Muschamp was about to go to Tennessee so they had to move and do something right now. Nothing more and nothing less.

bevo said...

Yes BACM..and I wish you the best..I have came up with a scenario where the Longhorns and Raiders meet again...
1)Tech wins out..
2)Texas beats A & M..
3)Alabama loses to Auburn
4)Florida loses to Alabama
2)Tech..and..Texas meet in BCS Championshio game..

gun up..hardly..Hook em Horns..