Category Archives: Sports

Suspended LB claims Oklahoma made him a ‘scapegoat’

Oklahoma linebacker Frank Shannon isn’t pulling any punches after being suspended by the university for a year due to an accusation of sexual assault.

Shannon’s attorney, Aletia Timmons, spoke with the media Friday. Timmons painted a completely different picture than the one that was originally given regarding Shannon’s status.

The most pertinent statement made to the media was Shannon’s claim of innocence.

 

Shannon and his representation took the linebacker’s claims a step further. The university reportedly conducted an internal investigation before it handed down it’s punishment. In doing so, Shannon claims the school “failed” him and made him into a “scapegoat.” Shannon even submitted to a polygraph test to clear his name.  


Shannon never considered the possibility of transferring from the University of Oklahoma.

“I’m not running,” Shannon told Timmons during their initial meeting, according to The Oklahoman. “I’m not going to be branded as a rapist.”

Instead, Shannon plans to publicly protest the university’s decision to have him suspended.

Shannon’s adamant views make this a compelling case. The university and its football team have to err on the side of caution. Whereas, Shannon obviously feels like his name is being dragged through the mud.

The only thing that bring some finality to this case is the results of the ongoing investigation by the police department. The university can’t budge on its current stance after stating it “takes very seriously its obligation in cases like this.” And Shannon shouldn’t back down if he’s innocent.

Shannon, who was Oklahoma’s leading tackler a year ago, still has the “ability to appeal any decision reached by the University to a district court.” Until then, he’ll have to wait on the sidelines until some type of decision is made.

Access denied: FIU doesn’t provide credential for only beat writer

 Exposure is everything in today’s college football landscape. Unfortunately for the players at Florida International University, the school’s decision makers don’t feel the same way.

FIU and the Miami Herald are caught in a little tiff.

The Herald is the only news agency in the area which employs a beat writer to cover FIU athletics. In the infinite wisdom of those making decisions at FIU, they denied access to the Herald’s beat writer, David J. Neal, for the Panthers’ season-opener against Bethune-Cookman.

“It’s unprecedented for any local team to refuse to credential our beat reporter without reason,” Miami Herald Executive Editor Aminda Marqués Gonzalez said. “The team does not get to choose who covers the program.”

The newspaper decided not cover the game at all after FIU denied the credential.

“We’re very disappointed the Herald has decided on this course,” Sandra Gonzalez-Levy, FIU’s senior vice president for external relations, said. “Credentials were given to other reporters. We regret that this is the Herald’s choice.”

FIU never provided a reason why Neal’s credential was denied.

It’s simply another misstep for a football program has been in a downward spiral since it fired Mario Cristobal. During Cristobal’s tenure the coach led the Panthers to two bowl games before he was unceremoniously dismissed. The team then struggled to find any coaching candidates that were interested in the vacant position. The team eventually hired Ron Turner, who finished with an 1-11 record during his first season.

Furthermore, the people hurt by this decision are the players. They don’t get the exposure they deserve for the work they’ve done. And the community doesn’t have the opportunity to read about a program the newspaper is willing to support.

 

This sort of reminds me of when I tried to get media credentials at TCU. I guess some schools just think they are “too good” to report on. SMH.

Houston falls to in-state underdog

Saturday may be the first full day of college football, but quality games were being played into the wee hours Friday night.

The biggest surprise on the night came from UTSA’s stunning 27-7 upset of the Houston Cougars. The Roadrunners are in their fourth season as a program and are led by head coach Larry Coker (remember him?). The program enters its first season as a full-fledged FBS member. Yet, UTSA dominated a Cougars squad that was expected to compete for an American Athletic Conference championship this year and features one of the best young quarterbacks in the nation in John O’Korn.

O’Korn and the Cougars couldn’t get on track on offense. Houston only managed 206 total yards. The Cougars were held to minus-26 yards rushing. The Roadrunners also intercepted O’Korn four times.

The Roadrunners, meanwhile, relied on a strong running game. UTSA accumulated 146 yards on the ground and three rushing touchdowns.

Coker is now 20-15 overall as he continues to build the Roadrunners program. Despite being 60-15 during his six seasons as the head coach of the Miami Hurricanes and a national championship, Coker couldn’t be happier than he is today.

“It’s probably the most rewarding thing I’ve been involved with as far as coaching is concerned,” Coker told SI.com’s Pete Thamel.

Report: Kyle Orton reaches deal with Bills

He’s back.

Veteran quarterback Kyle Orton has reached a one-year deal with the Bills, ESPN.com’s James Walker reported Friday night.

In July, the Cowboys released Orton, who was said to be considering retirement. At the time, Dallas owner Jerry Jones indicated the 31-year-old quarterback wasn’t done playing just yet.

Jones was apparently right.

With 70 NFL starts to his credit, Orton is likely to displace Jeff Tuel as the top backup to Bills starter EJ Manuel. The more interesting discussion point, though, is whether Orton could eventually push Manuel, who had an up-and-down summer.

Before joining Dallas in 2012, Orton had stints with Chicago (2005-2008), Denver (2009-2011) and Kansas City (2011). He has completed 1,326-of-2,265 passes for 15,019 yards with 83 TDs and 59 interceptions in his NFL career.

The Bills’ reported addition of Orton is their latest attempt to solidify their depth behind Manuel, who missed six games a season ago as a rookie. Tuel, Dennis Dixon and Thad Lewis were the backups to begin the summer, but only Tuel remains of that trio. The Bills also parted ways with ex-Bears quarterback Jordan Palmer on Friday.

Rangers tie a major league record, use their 59th player of the season

The Rangers called up 1B/OF Ryan Rua from Triple-A Round Rock earlier today to take the spot of the injured Jim Adduci on the 25-man roster. In doing so, Rua became the 59th player to don a Rangers uniform this season, tying a major league record according to ESPN’s Calvin Watkins. The record has been attained three other times: by the Padres twice in 2002 and 2008, and the Indians in 2002.

The Rangers have been ravaged by injuries all season long to many key players including Prince Fielder, Matt Harrison, Shin-Soo Choo, Derek Holland, Mitch Moreland, Jurickson Profar, and Tanner Scheppers.

It’s likely the record will be broken by the Rangers as starter Derek Holland is close to returning after missing the first five months of the season due to a knee injury suffered in January.

Texas A&M’s New Locker Room Is Futuristic, Totally Sick (Video)

by Rick Chandler

Is it possible for a college team’s football facilities to be too much … even a little decadent? Texas A&M’s Bright Football Complex, which recently underwent a $450 million renovation, includes a locker room that more resembles a Las Vegas club where LeBron James would hold his next birthday party than a place to dress for a game. You van take a full tour of the facility below in this video released by Populous, which is the company in charge of the renovation.

ADVERTISEMENT

It’s really kind of a marvel.

Housing the locker room, athletic training room, rehabilitation complex, meeting rooms, coaches offices, players’ lounge, nutrition center and academics under one roof, A&M football players are conveniently located close to all kinds of student-athlete support at the south end of Kyle Field.

But that description doesn’t do it justice. As one can see above, players have little light-up marquees with their photo above their lockers. There are TVs in the restrooms. There’s an “Adidas fitting room”, and some sort of futuristic pool/spa/water thing. You really have to see this. Video tour, engage!

 

 
Not sure how any recruit could walk through this locker room and not want to go here. Which I suppose is the point.

Kevin Sumlin looks like he’s worth the money for Texas A&M

Kevin Sumlin is one of a handful of college football coaches being paid a $5 million annual salary — and based on Thursday night’s thrashing of South Carolina he’s worth the money.

Texas A&M ran 99 plays — 99! — in its 52-28 win, and did so with a first-time starter in Kenny Hill at quarterback. But, as Yahoo’s Pat Forde argues, maybe last night’s win was just as much about Hill as it was about Sumlin’s system:

Clearly, the pony has plenty of tricks. Sumlin acknowledged a “chip on the shoulder” after reading media predictions calling for the Aggies’ demise.

“Let’s see if they can coach now that the best player in college football is gone,” he said. “… Probably had some coaches, including myself, who took some comments personal in the offseason.”

Sumlin knew what his offense had done before Manziel – when Case Keenum became the NCAA’s all-time leader in passing yards, touchdowns and completions at Houston. So he knew what his offense could do after Manziel as well.

Namely, churn out yards and put up points with spectacular ease. And speed. The Aggies clicked off a staggering 99 plays Thursday, exhausting and bewildering the Gamecocks.

This isn’t to say Texas A&M can win with any quarterback in there. But Sumlin has found three quarterbacks in Case Keenum, Johnny Manziel and Hill who can run his offense to perfection.

Armed with the right quarterback, Sumlin’s offense is incredibly difficult to stop. And make no mistake, Hill deserves a ton of credit for going into Columbia and playing as well as he did in his first career start. He completed 44 of 60 passes for 511 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.

But if Sumlin can get that kind of game out of a first-time starter in a hostile environment…then yeah, maybe that $5 million price tag is worth it.

It’s the same $5 million price tag Spurrier poked fun at over the summer.

“A&M has recruited well, I know that. I read those rankings every year,” Spurrier said. “Kevin Sumlin has an excellent record as a coach. He’s a good negotiator, we know that also.”

High on Hill: Texas A&M dominates South Carolina in SEC opener


.

THE FALLOUT: The post-Johnny Manziel era at Texas A&M got off to a perfect start, while the post-Jadeveon Clowney era at South Carolina looks like it may need a major expectations adjustment. The Gamecocks’ front seven simply looked lost, their tackling in the secondary wasn’t much better, and the SEC East favorites put forth their worst defensive performance since a 56-17 loss to eventual national champion Auburn in the 2010 conference championship game.

Who knows if this means Texas A&M is a legitimate contender, but the Aggies are going to be fun to watch and score a lot of points this year. They have plenty to clean up on defense – South Carolina scored two early touchdowns on coverage busts – but Kevin Sumlin’s offense still works.

BOX SCORE: Aggies 52, Gamecocks 28

WATCH: Enraged Steve Spurrier throws off headset 

WHAT WE’LL BE TALKING ABOUT: Johnny Who? Sophomore quarterback Kenny Hill, who only played in a handful of mop-up situations last season, could hardly have been more impressive in his starting debut. Hill and freshman Kyle Allen were basically neck-and-neck from the start of camp, but the Aggies went with Hill, and it looks like he may keep the job for awhile after passing for 511 yards and three touchdowns. That’s more yards than Manziel threw for in any game as an Aggie and a single-game school record.

 

.

BREAKOUT PLAYER: Safety Armani Watts was an early commitment to Texas A&M, making the pledge as a high school junior. It appears he’ll also have an early impact on the Aggies’ defense. The freshman made some big plays in his college debut, including a touchdown-saving hit to break up a pass in the second quarter and an interception late in the third quarter when the Gamecocks were threatening to get within 10 points.

KEY STAT: South Carolina is successful when it runs the ball effectively, but the Gamecocks fell behind early and completely got taken out of their gameplan. Star running back Mike Davis was a no-show (he has battled injuries in camp and only carried six times for 15 yards), and South Carolina managed just 67 rushing yards as a team.