Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel


Embed this content in your HTML

Search

Report adult content:

click to rate:

Account: (login)

More Channels


Channel Catalog


Channel Description:

A feed of articles for Sports

older | 1 | .... | 863 | 864 | (Page 865) | 866 | 867 | .... | 929 | newer

    0 0

    By Greg Auman, Times Staff Writer
    Monday, December 3, 2012

    TAMPA — USF athletic director Doug Woolard was in New York on Monday for a meeting of the Big East's football athletic directors, and while his preferences for a new football coach remain shrouded in secrecy, many top candidates — including Western Kentucky head coach Willie Taggart — are also in Manhattan for tonight's National Football Foundation Awards Dinner.

    The NFF event at the Waldorf-Astoria is an annual hub for coaching-search interviews, and the 36-year-old Taggart is a Palmetto native who played and coached against the Bulls and has helped coach WKU to both a I-AA national title in 2002 and the school's first bowl this year. Taggart may represent the best intersection of upside, interest, affordability and local ties out of a long list of coaches linked to USF's opening.

    "I don't know who South Florida's AD is truly interested in; but goodness I've heard of a lot of coaches that want that job," read a tweet from Footballscoop.com, a site that specializes in coaching search news, later adding that "a lot of quality coaches" had expressed interest.

    A familiar name for Bulls fans that resurfaced Monday: Calvin Magee, 49, the former Bucs tight end and USF assistant from 1996-2000, who has helped Rich Rodriguez with prolific offenses at West Virginia, Michigan and now Arizona. The USF graduate interviewed for the job when Skip Holtz was hired and has been contacted again, with a strong interest in returning to Tampa. He has worked with quarterbacks such as West Virginia's Pat White and Michigan's Denard Robinson, and his Arizona offense averaged 521 yards this season while piling up 58 touchdowns.

    The Bulls have also had initial contact with former Marshall coach and USF defensive coordinator Mark Snyder, who left the Bulls after last season to take the same job at Texas A&M. Two other former Bulls assistants — North Texas coach Dan McCarney and his offensive coordinator, Mike Canales — are also interested in returning to Tampa.

    Woolard, who is not commenting on the coaching search, announced Sunday the firing of Holtz after three seasons and a 5-16 record in Big East play. This year's team lost nine of its final 10 teams for a 3-9 record, the worst in the Bulls' 16 seasons. Holtz will be paid $500,000 in each of the five seasons remaining on a contract extension Woolard gave him in June.

    The initial names floated by media outlets for USF's opening run the gamut from out-of-work veteran coaches (ex-Arkansas coach Houston Nutt, ex-Florida coach Ron Zook) to smaller conference head coaches (Florida International's Mario Cristobal, Middle Tennessee's Rick Stockstill) and up-and-coming assistants from top programs (Florida defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris).


    0 0
  • 12/03/12--20:20: Victim's family speaks
  • Times wires
    Monday, December 3, 2012

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Breaking their silence, the family of the woman shot and killed by Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher said Monday their "hearts are truly broken" and asked for privacy while they grieve the loss of two loved ones.

    Belcher killed his 22-year-old girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, at their Kansas City home Saturday before driving to Arrowhead Stadium, where Belcher, 25, committed suicide in the practice facility's parking lot, police said. The couple had a 3-month-old daughter, Zoey.

    "Our hearts are truly broken for Kasi was a beloved daughter, granddaughter, sister, mother, cousin and friend," the family said in an emailed statement. The family also asked that the media "respect our privacy during this difficult time."

    Kansas City police Sgt. Marisa Barnes said authorities hope to deliver an investigative report to prosecutors today.

    Nobody from the Chiefs said Belcher showed any signs of depression or other personal problems.

    Barnes said firearms found at the couple's home were legally registered to Belcher. It is unknown how many guns were found. Police spokesman Darin Snapp also said Belcher's mother, who had been staying with the couple, was given temporary custody of Zoey.

    Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles and his wife, Whitney, also released a statement asking for privacy. Perkins and Whitney Charles were cousins.

    Around the league

    CARDINALS: Profootballtalk.com reported that defensive lineman Darnell Dockett spit in the face of teammate Kerry Rhodes late in Sunday's loss to the Jets. According to the report, Dockett resisted the idea of letting the Jets score a touchdown late so that Arizona might have enough time for a comeback in a 7-6 loss.

    DOLPHINS: Tackle Jake Long (left triceps), hurt Sunday, could be out for the season. Long can become an unrestricted free agent this winter.

    EAGLES: Coach Andy Reid said Nick Foles will stay the starting quarterback, even when Michael Vick returns from a concussion. … Defensive line coach Jim Washburn was fired and will be replaced by Tommy Brasher.

    JETS: Coach Rex Ryan said he is undecided on whether Mark Sanchez, Greg McElroy or Tim Tebow (if healthy) will start at quarterback Sunday at Jacksonville. McElroy replaced Sanchez against Arizona and led New York's lone touchdown drive.

    LIONS: Wide receiver Ryan Broyles needs surgery after tearing his right ACL Sunday against Indianapolis.

    RAVENS: Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs said he has a torn right biceps, but emphasized he is seeking a second opinion on the extent of the injury.

    VIKINGS: Coach Leslie Frazier said he never considered pulling struggling quarterback Christian Ponder on Sunday and that the former FSU star will start next week.

    BOUNTY HEARINGS: Hearings in the bounty probe resumed with appearances by former Vikings coach Brad Childress, Saints assistant head coach Joe Vitt and linebacker Jonathan Vilma. Former commissioner Paul Tagliabue is overseeing the hearings, which are scheduled to end today in New Orleans.


    Associated PressAssociated Press

    0 0
  • 12/03/12--20:47: Redskins 17, Giants 16
  • Times wires
    Monday, December 3, 2012

    LANDOVER, Md. — Robert Griffin III went down, the ball popped out, and the Redskins scored a touchdown.

    Look out, New York Giants and the rest of the NFC East. If the rookie quarterback keeps getting those kinds of breaks, it'll be hard to keep him out of the title hunt for years to come.

    As it is, RG3 has the Redskins within a game of first place, leading a fourth-quarter rally in a 17-16 Monday night victory over the Giants, giving Washington a three-game winning streak in which it has dispatched division rivals — Philadelphia, Dallas and now New York — one by one.

    Griffin completed 13 of 21 passes for 163 yards and ran five times for 72 yards, breaking Cam Newton's NFL record for yards rushing by a rookie quarterback. He has 712 yards rushing; Newton had 706 last season.

    His top target again was Pierre Garcon, who had eight receptions for 106 yards and a touchdown, showing no signs of the toe injury that forced him to miss six of the first nine games.

    Alfred Morris ran for 124 yards on 22 carries, becoming the second Redskins rookie to run for 1,000 yards. Reggie Brooks had 1,063 in 1993.

    Washington also ended a 10-game home losing streak on Monday nights.

    The Redskins appeared out of the running at 3-6 a month ago, but now Washington and Dallas trail New York for the division lead by one game with four to play.

    Eli Manning completed 20-of-33 for 280 yards and a touchdown for the Giants, who had won 26 in a row on the road when leading at halftime. They led 13-10 but failed to finish the job for the first time since squandering a 21-0 halftime lead in a 24-21 loss to Tennessee in 2006.

    Ahmad Bradshaw ran for 103 yards on 24 carries, and Victor Cruz had five catches for 104 yards for the Giants.

    The Giants moved the ball well, but the drives produced three field goals by Lawrence Tynes and only one touchdown — Manning's 4-yard pass to Martellus Bennett late in the first half.

    The game's final score was Griffin's 8-yard pass to Garcon early in the fourth quarter, but the Redskins' first touchdown was one of the evening's crazy moments.

    On second and 2 from the New York 28, Griffin ran to his left and was being tackled by Stevie Brown after what would have been a 12-yard gain. But as Griffin fell with his back to the ground, the football popped out and went right on the fly to Washington receiver Joshua Morgan 3 yards farther upfield. Morgan then ran 13 yards for the score.


    0 0

    Times wires
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012

    NEW YORK — The NHL labor talks are set to resume Tuesday with six owners and players scheduled to meet without a couple of the key figures from each side. Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr will not be present.

    The NHL announced Sunday that the Tampa Bay Lightning's Jeff Vinik would be one of the six owners attending.

    Lightning star Marty St. Louis told the Tampa Bay Times that he would be in New York but was not sure if he would be in the room for the meetings. "I have no hope or expectations at this point," he said.

    The union will announce its representatives on Tuesday. Canadian Press News Agency reported Monday that Penguins star Sidney Crosby, Sabres goalie Ryan Miller and Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews are among the players expected to be in New York and could be selected for the meeting.

    After a few days of wrangling, following the conclusion of talks between the sides and a pair of federal mediators, the NHL and the union agreed on parameters for talks that will keep the respective leaders on the outside.

    Bettman proposed such a meeting on Wednesday when talks broke down and the mediators left the process. Originally, the thought was that only owners and players would get together for the next round of discussions, but the roster was expanded Sunday to include staff members and counsel on each side.

    "Ultimately, we are just trying to find some meeting format that can gain some traction," deputy commissioner Bill Daly said.

    All games through Dec. 14 have already been wiped off the schedule, along with the outdoor Winter Classic on New Year's Day and All-Star Weekend that was slated for January in Columbus, Ohio.

    Times staff writer Damian Cristodero contributed to this report.


    0 0

    By Bob Ferrante, Times Correspondent
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012

    TALLAHASSEE

    Okaro White is 6 feet 8, athletic and defends well. To some, he's a small forward, agile and able to drive or shoot from the outside. To others, he's a power forward, quick in the low post and with moves to get easy baskets inside.

    The former Clearwater High standout sees the versatility of his game and embraces the fact that he's a lot of both.

    "I just call myself a forward without any name in front of it right now," White said. "Eventually, if I'm allowed to take that next step to the NBA, I might be a 3 (small forward). But I still might be a 4 (power forward). It doesn't matter. Wherever I can be used and have the best opportunity to produce for my team."

    White has been asked to start and contribute more in his junior season at Florida State. And he is producing.

    He is making 60 percent of his shots, averaging 13.4 points (second on the team) and 5.3 rebounds (third). What's remarkable is that he's playing just four minutes more per game but has raised his scoring average 5.7 points.

    "I think he's been playing very good," FSU assistant coach Corey Williams said. "His level of play has increased. He continues to give us the effort that we thought he could give when we recruited him. We knew it would get to this point."

    White is at this point because of his hard work over the summer. After starting 25 of 69 games in his first two seasons, White knew he would be counted on after FSU lost six seniors from a team that won the ACC tournament.

    So White spent more time than ever at FSU's basketball training complex this offseason, taking 400-450 shots per workout. And he has been more consistent after shooting 47 percent from the floor last season.

    His improvement has helped an FSU team that has struggled after seeing half of its roster turn over. The Seminoles (4-3) have lost consecutive games, at home to Minnesota and Mercer, going into tonight's showdown in Tallahassee with No. 6 Florida.

    White has been a bright spot, but he realizes there is plenty left for him to improve, including his rebounding skills. He's just 205 pounds, so he's often battling inside for rebounds against bigger forwards.

    White spent much of the offseason working out with two of FSU's biggest players — Terrance Shannon (6-8, 240) and Michael Ojo (7-1, 290). Though his rebound totals are up slightly, it has been a challenge.

    "I never realized how tough rebounding was," White said. "It's just something you have to have a knack for, especially on the offensive rebounding side. You can't stop on first contact. … Definitely lacking in the rebounding aspect, and I'm trying to get back to that."

    While his rebounding is a work in progress, there is no doubting his improved shooting. White has hit double figures in all but one game this season, and he had a combined 33 points in wins over BYU and St. Joseph's as the Seminoles won the Coaches vs. Cancer tournament in Brooklyn in November.

    He has shown his post moves but also a more consistent jumper, and White has already made seven 3-pointers after hitting 11 all of last season.

    "I think Okaro has improved all of his skills," FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. "He's really, really worked hard."

    White says his game compares to former FSU standout Al Thornton, another versatile forward who spent four seasons in the NBA and is now playing in China.

    "He sees me when he sees himself," White said. "He says I have a better offensive skill set than he did."

    And White is just a junior with plenty of room to grow. FSU's coaches love his defensive skills and say they are comfortable having him defend almost anyone, from point guards to power forwards. And he now has the outside shooting accuracy to complement his post moves.

    "I think that's a big asset for him because he's not one-dimensional," Williams said. "You have a 4-man that can play a little 3, shoot from the perimeter, can post you up or use his quickness. I think that makes it difficult for people to guard. As he gets stronger, understands the game a little bit clearer, he has made leaps and jumps."


    Getty ImagesGetty Images

    0 0

    By Greg Auman, Times Staff Writer
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012

    TAMPA — As USF continues its search for a new football coach, Western Kentucky coach Willie Taggart picked up endorsements from a pair of locals in ESPN basketball guru Dick Vitale and longtime Bradenton Manatee coach Joe Kinnan.

    "He played HS football in my area at MANATEE HS # 1 in USA - Would be a great hire 4 USF-WILLIE TAGGART is a natural . Willie is a WINNER!" Vitale wrote on Twitter.com, where he has more than 400,000 followers.

    Kinnan, who was a finalist for USF's original coaching job in 1995, coached Taggart at Manatee and has kept in touch with him throughout his coaching career.

    "I think he would be a great fit," said Kinnan, who has Manatee in the state semifinals this weekend. "He has a tremendous demeanor, a very charismatic person. I've never heard anybody say a negative word ever about Willie Taggart. (In an interview) he'll blow it away. He is a class act, about as humble as they come. Just a wonderful, wonderful person and would be a great role model for the University of South Florida."

    USF is seeking a successor to Skip Holtz, fired Sunday after three seasons and a 5-16 record in Big East play. Kinnan said Taggart's recruiting success at Western Kentucky would translate well to a USF program in his old backyard — Taggart signed Manatee running back Leon Allen this past year over a scholarship offer from Miami, Kinnan said.

    Kinnan said he recently got a call from USF, confirming his contact information for follow-up calls as a reference for Taggart.

    NOT NUTT YET: Foxsports.com reported that former Arkansas and Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt was interviewing for USF's opening, but Nutt, reached by phone on Tuesday afternoon, said he has only had a preliminary conversation with USF and has not lined up an interview yet.

    "I think it's a really super program and I have a lot of interest, but right now I'm kind of waiting to see," said Nutt, who has worked as a studio analyst for CBS Sports this season and is eager to return to the sidelines. Asked if he expected to interview for the job, Nutt said that would be "premature" to speculate.

    TO BE MISSED: Stan Heath's memories of the late Rick Majerus go back to when he was in high school in Michigan and attended a Marquette basketball camp when Majerus was an assistant. The two met again when Heath was an assistant at Michigan State in 2000, as the Spartans beat Majerus' Utah team on the way to a national title.

    Heath remembers Majerus working an Arkansas game as an ESPN analyst, and his first question during a pregame scouting conversation was, "What's the best burger joint in town?"

    "He was a tremendous coach. Basketball is going to miss Rick," Heath said. "Not just a great coach, but a great personality. He'll be missed."

    THIS AND THAT: Following news of the departure of associate athletic director Vicki Mitchell next month, USF has a second key fundraising staffer leaving the athletic department. Bulls Varsity Club director Kemel Thompson, a former USF hurdler who competed in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics, is leaving for new job outside college athletics. ... LB Sam Barrington and CB Kayvon Webster will represent USF in the East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field on Jan. 19.

    Greg Auman can be reached at auman@tampabay.com and at (813) 226-3346. Check out his blog at tampabay.com/blogs/bulls and follow him at Twitter.com/gregauman.


    0 0

    By Gary Shelton, Times Sports Columnist
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012

    Imagine being Doug Woolard.

    Imagine you will be late for dinner. For the next month or so.

    Imagine the clutter on your desk as the guy from FedEx keeps dumping resumes upon it. Imagine a day-planner that doesn't have enough room for entries. Imagine boosters sending you flowers, steaks and poster-sized photos of Jim Leavitt.

    This is what it is like to be an athletic director who has a job to give to somebody. There is always a coach on the phone, and an agent on hold, and someone at the door to tell you about the latest Internet guesswork. It is like holding up a $100 bill at the marketplace and bracing yourself for the rush of the vendors.

    Ah, power.

    If you are Woolard, where do you start this quest for a new football coach? At the young-and-hungry line? At the recycled coach store? At the table of those rejected by Tennessee? Do you want old school? New energy? An offensive guru? A defensive genius? Do you conduct a nationwide search? And if so, can it at least be this nation?

    Where do you start? If you follow the noise, you start with this: Who has Willie Taggart's telephone number?

    Let's be honest. Most of us have no idea if Taggart is the proper fit. Not yet. But he's the hot name, and he has the local recruiting connections that former coach Skip Holtz never seemed to establish. So why not start with him? He's worth a conversation.

    Just a thought, but USF might want to be quick about it. Taggart's name has been floated at Purdue. Soon, I suspect, it will be mentioned at Cincinnati.

    So why would Taggart come? One, it's near home for the Palmetto native. Two, USF is a job where a coach can build a resume. The team is bad enough to make you look good if you turn things around, and the schedule in the faded Big East isn't exactly imposing. Four good years can give a good coach 38 victories and a world of options.

    After that, the second phone call is easy. You don't even have to dial an area code.

    At some point, Woolard would be wise to gather as much information as he could about Bucs adviser Butch Davis.

    The Bulls would be lucky to have a chance to hire a coach with as good a resume as that of Davis, who won two Super Bowl rings as the defensive coordinator at Dallas. Davis was 51-20 at the University of Miami, and his 2000 team should have had a shot at the national title. Best of all, Davis has said he wants another shot at coaching.

    Of course, there is always a risk to hiring a coach whose school had a scandal while he was there. That's true of Bobby Petrino, and of Mike Leach and, frankly, of Davis.

    It's worth repeating. Davis was not implicated by the school, the NCAA or the North Carolina attorney general. So should the academic scandal at North Carolina prevent Davis from getting the job? No.

    What it should require is that Woolard — who cares deeply about academics — do research as to what happened and why. If he can find a way to be comfortable with what happened there, then Davis should be near the top of candidates. At this point, USF and Davis might be each other's best chance at a clean slate.

    After that, who should Woolard pursue? Tommy Bowden? Terry Bowden? Jeff Bowden?

    I know, I know. You are probably a little weary of second-generation coaches. You don't want another Holtz or the best available Bowden or a Shula or any nearby Rockne.

    That said, do you remember that Tommy was a pretty good coach when he was at Clemson? He was 41 games above .500, and he had eight consecutive winning seasons. (Terry, on the other hand, was 1-11 at Akron.) Tommy might be worth a conversation, too.

    Who else? Sonny Dykes? It sounds as if he's headed to Cal. Gene Chizik or Derek Dooley? Their failures are still fresh. Calvin Magee or Mike Canales? Great assistants for USF, but neither has been a head coach. Houston Nutt? Does he sound like a fit?

    Look, these searches don't last long. Arkansas has hired Bret Bielema and Auburn has hired Gus Malzahn and Boston College has hired Steve Addazio and N.C. State has hired Dave Doeren. Doesn't matter. None of those guys seemed to fit here.

    Taggart fits. Davis fits. Tommy Bowden might fit.

    Whoever it is, they need to be hungry, and they need to be driven, and they need to be dedicated to pulling a program out of the mud.

    Imagine being Doug Woolard.

    Imagine the clock ticking.

    Imagine the impatience outside the office. Imagine the pressure of making the right decision … this time. Imagine all of the possibilities … including winning.

    Most of all, imagine touchdowns and titles. After all, isn't that what this is all about?

    Listen to Gary Shelton weekdays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on 98.7-FM the Fan.


    0 0

    By Steve Papen, Times Correspondent
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012

    Best bet: We are at the end of the fall migration of king mackerel. This past week we adapted to weather conditions each day. Winds were strong from the northeast to east early but let up in the afternoon. Fish are moving and the bait situation is spotty. Targeting kingfish can be a challenge. Know what to look for and do a little homework.

    Bait: On the beach you want to see mackerel, threadfin herring or small early pushes of mullet coming out of the passes. This past week the area around the Blind Pass Drop was covered with mackerel. Anglers slow-trolling macks got 25- to 32-pound kings. The bite just before sundown produced the most bites and larger fish. Offshore, good catches occurred from the western side of the Shipping Channel.

    Tips: Looking at the moon phase this past week, we fished a bit later in the afternoon because the Major Solunar was later in the day. Around the stronger moons these solunars are generally spot on.

    Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 and fintasticinc.com.


    0 0

    By Marc Topkin, Times Staff Writer
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012

    NASHVILLE — As the Rays struggled offensively during the season, fans and talk-show callers had all kinds of suggestions for hitting coach Derek Shelton.

    Tuesday, the Rays got him some help.

    Jamie Nelson, a longtime member of the minor-league staff, was promoted to the big leagues, with the primary duty assisting Shelton, and also to work with the catchers.

    "I'm excited about it," Shelton said from Tampa. "I'm excited because of my relationship with Nellie. I think people are starting to realize with this job that a lot of work goes into it. To have two people doing it will be extremely beneficial for the players."

    Nelson, 53, has been a manager and coach in the Rays organization for 13 years, the past five as minor-league catching coordinator. He played briefly in the majors for Seattle in 1983 and 11 other seasons in the minors.

    The addition of an assistant hitting coach is a quickly growing trend, with more than a dozen teams now doing so. Manager Joe Maddon said the key is for both coaches to deliver the same message, in different ways if necessary, to reach players.

    "It's another pair of eyes to watch things and share some of the workload, whether it's looking at data or video, etc., besides just physical work," Maddon said. "And we kind of feel like Jamie and Shelty together is going to be a natural fit."

    Nelson will be part of pre-game workouts — he throws great batting practice — but won't be allowed in the dugout during games, though he can work with hitters in the cages and video room.

    S-ROD A MILLIONAIRE: The benefit of being arbitration eligible for the first time was obvious for INF Sean Rodriguez, who agreed to terms Tuesday on a one-year deal for $1 million, a nice increase from the $492,800 he made last year when hitting .213.

    "I'm just happy I don't have to worry about math throughout the offseason anymore, haha," Rodriguez said in a text message. "I can just focus on getting myself ready for the season, and ready to TRULY contribute this year."

    The Rays have five remaining arbitration eligible players: LHP David Price, RHP Jeff Niemann, OFs Sam Fuld and Matt Joyce and INF Ryan Roberts.

    RAYS MATTER: Principal owner Stuart Sternberg was on scene at Opryland Monday and Tuesday, checking out the winter meetings for the first time. … New 1B James Loney should complete his physical exam by today, and his one-year, $2 million deal will be official then. … The Rays maintain some level of interest in several of their own free agents, including LHP J.P. Howell (who could be of interest in Washington), RHP Kyle Farnsworth, DH Luke Scott and OF Ben Francisco (who talked with the Giants). Not so much in INF Jeff Keppinger who, according to CBSSports.com, is now looking for $12 million over three years. … RHP Fernando Rodney won the mlb.com GIBBY (Greatness in Baseball Yearly Awards) as the game's top closer.

    VICTORINO, OTHER MOVES: The Red Sox agreed to a deal with OF Shane Victorino for the same $39 million over three years they gave C/1B Mike Napoli. Victorino will play right. … The Giants re-signed INF Marco Scutaro to a three-year, $20 million contract. … Washington, which had been rumored to have interest in Rays RHP James Shields, instead signed free agent RHP Dan Haren for one year, $13 million.


    0 0

    By Antonya English, Times Staff Writer
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012

    . TONIGHT

    No. 6 Florida at Florida State

    When/where: 7; Tucker Center, Tallahassee

    TV/radio: ESPNU; 620-AM, 1040-AM

    Records: Florida 6-0, FSU 4-3

    Notable: Florida has its highest ranking since 2007 (No. 5 in coaches poll) and is fresh off a win over Marquette in which six players scored in double figures. Florida State is unranked and coming off a loss to Mercer on Sunday. … Florida F Erik Murphy is questionable with a hip pointer. … This is Florida's first true road test, and coach Billy Donovan said he's eager to see how the Gators respond. The Gators have allowed fewer than 50 points four times and have held opponents to 26 points or fewer in 10 of 12 halves, but they will face an FSU defense that has held six opponents under 50 percent shooting and held its first seven to a combined 41.1 percent.

    Antonya English, Times staff writer


    0 0

    By Greg Auman, Times Staff Writer
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012

    . TONIGHT

    USF women vs. Florida Gulf Coast

    When/where: 7; Sun Dome, Tampa

    Radio: 1010-AM

    Records: FGCU 4-3, USF 6-0

    Notable: These teams met in the Women's NIT in 2008 and 2009, splitting two close meetings, and now open a home-and-home series. … USF has three double-digit scorers in Andrea Smith (16.5 ppg), Andrell Smith (14) and Inga Orekhova (11), who have combined for 38 of USF's 41 3-pointers. Freshman guard Courtney Williams made the Big East weekly honor roll after a 16-point game in USF's win at UNC-Asheville. … FGCU, which lost to DePaul 60-58, holds opponents to 55.4 ppg and has a strong scorer in 5-10 guard Sarah Hansen (18.3 ppg, 8.7 rpg).

    Greg Auman, Times staff writer


    0 0

    By Greg Auman, Times Staff Writer
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012

    . TONIGHT

    USF at No. 23 Oklahoma State

    When/where: 9; Gallagher-Iba Arena, Stillwater, Okla.

    TV/radio: ESPNU, 98.7-FM

    Records: USF 5-2, Oklahoma State 5-1

    Notable: The Bulls get the toughest test of their nonconference schedule, going to an arena that Stan Heath calls an "orange, orange place." … USF has stepped up its play after a 2-2 start, and point guard Anthony Collins has 10 or more assists in three straight games, raising his average to 8.5, tied for No. 2 in the nation. Senior forward Toarlyn Fitzpatrick remains the Bulls' top scorer at 13 ppg. … Travis Ford's team is coming off its first loss at Virginia Tech, but watch out for 6-7 guard Le'Bryan Nash, who averages a team-best 19 ppg. … After tonight, USF's next game is Dec. 18 against visiting Youngstown State.

    Greg Auman, Times staff writer


    0 0

    By Damian Cristodero, Times Staff Writer
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012

    If ever you are in Kazakhstan, Victor Hedman said, better not to order horse in a restaurant.

    Yes, it is a delicacy there. But, really, "It's disgusting," Hedman said. "It was chewy. It's tough to explain what it tastes like."

    It is a minor demerit.

    The ultra-modern capital city of Astana, where the Lightning defenseman is playing during the NHL lockout, has plenty of top-notch restaurants that offer his favorite sushi.

    Add that Hedman's team, Barys, is in the playoff hunt and he has blossomed into one of the top blue-liners in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League, and the experience already has been worthwhile.

    "A great experience," Hedman said by phone. "I've been playing a lot and developing my game. I'm very happy I chose to come here, and I'm very eager to get back to Tampa and prove I've gotten better as a player."

    Hedman's 18 assists are tied for second among league defensemen and his 18 points in 21 games are sixth. He is averaging 21:51 of ice time and is plus-12.

    But Hedman, 21, said he is most excited about his work on offense, especially on the power play where he wants to expand his role with Tampa Bay.

    The big Swede last season had only four assists on the power play and averaged just 1:08 of ice time. Overall, he had five goals, 23 points in 61 games with an average 23:05 of ice time.

    But Hedman said he now better understands how to meld offensive creativity with defensive positioning. His reaction time also has improved.

    "The more time he can spend on (the power play) the more comfortable he will be," Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said. "I know he has the ability to play on it, so it's a matter of getting the opportunity and he's getting that over there."

    "You can definitely get better playing there," said Tampa Bay captain Vinny Lecavalier, who during the 2004-05 lockout played in Russia for Kazan. "It's a little different style of play, a little more free on the ice. It's not as structured. But it's not like you're playing 16-year-olds. It's the second-best league in the world."

    As easily as it seems Hedman fit in, there were adjustments.

    His coach speaks only Russian, which Hedman said requires the goaltenders coach, who was born in Russia but lives in Michigan, to translate into English. The 54-game regular season also allows for more practice time than the NHL's 82-game schedule.

    "We might get one day off every three weeks," Hedman said. "I want to work hard every day. That's why it's good. Sometimes you wish there was more flow to the practices, but coach works a lot on the system. You just have to get used to it and accept it."

    Much like accepting one will spend a lot of time indoors in Astana, considered one of the world's coldest capitals with winter temperatures as low as minus-50.

    So, Hedman turns on his tablet to keep up with Homeland, his favorite television show, and emails from the Players' Association about the lockout.

    As for his meals, he's "playing it safe," staying away from anything with horse meat.

    "You have to try it once," Hedman said, "but never again."

    Damian Cristodero can be reached at cristodero@tampabay.com.


    0 0

    By Greg Auman, Times Staff Writer
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012

    TAMPA — As USF continues its search for a football coach, Western Kentucky coach Willie Taggart picked up endorsements from a pair of locals in ESPN basketball guru Dick Vitale and longtime Bradenton Manatee coach Joe Kinnan.

    "He played HS football in my area at MANATEE HS # 1 in USA — Would be a great hire 4 USF-WILLIE TAGGART is a natural. Willie is a WINNER!" Vitale wrote on Twitter.com, where he has more than 400,000 followers.

    Kinnan, who was a finalist for USF's original coaching job in 1995, coached Taggart at Manatee and has kept in touch with him throughout his coaching career.

    "I think he would be a great fit," said Kinnan, who has Manatee in the state semifinals this weekend. "He has a tremendous demeanor, a very charismatic person. I've never heard anybody say a negative word ever about Willie Taggart. (In an interview) he'll blow it away. He is a class act, about as humble as they come. Just a wonderful, wonderful person and would be a great role model for the University of South Florida."

    USF is seeking a successor to Skip Holtz, fired Sunday after three seasons and a 5-16 record in Big East play. Kinnan said Taggart's recruiting success at Western Kentucky would translate well to a USF program in his old back yard. Taggart signed Manatee running back Leon Allen this past year over a scholarship offer from Miami, Kinnan said.

    Kinnan said he recently got a call from USF, confirming his contact information for follow-up calls as a reference for Taggart.

    NOT NUTT YET: Foxsports.com reported that former Arkansas and Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt was interviewing for USF's opening, but Nutt, reached by phone Tuesday afternoon, said he has only had a preliminary conversation with USF and has not lined up an interview yet.

    "I think it's a really super program and I have a lot of interest, but right now I'm kind of waiting to see," said Nutt, who has worked as a studio analyst for CBS Sports this season and is eager to return to the sideline. Asked if he expected to interview for the job, Nutt said that would be "premature" to speculate.

    TO BE MISSED: Stan Heath's memories of the late Rick Majerus go back to when he was in high school in Michigan and attended a Marquette basketball camp when Majerus was an assistant. The two met again when Heath was an assistant at Michigan State in 2000, and the Spartans beat Majerus' Utah team on the way to a national title.

    Heath remembers Majerus working an Arkansas game as an ESPN analyst, and his first question during a pregame scouting conversation was, "What's the best burger joint in town?"

    "He was a tremendous coach. Basketball is going to miss Rick," Heath said. "Not just a great coach, but a great personality. He'll be missed."

    THIS AND THAT: Following news of the departure of associate athletic director Vicki Mitchell next month, USF has a second key fundraising staffer leaving the athletic department. Bulls Varsity Club director Kemel Thompson, a former USF hurdler who competed in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics, is leaving for a job outside college athletics. … LB Sam Barrington and CB Kayvon Webster will represent USF in the East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field on Jan. 19.

    Greg Auman can be reached at auman@tampabay.com and at (813) 226-3346. Check out his blog at tampabay.com/blogs/bulls and follow him at Twitter.com/gregauman.


    0 0

    Times wires
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012

    FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Bret Bielema is taking his brand of power football to Arkansas, leaving Wisconsin after seven seasons.

    Arkansas released a statement Tuesday night saying Bielema has agreed to a deal to take over the program reeling following the firing of former coach Bobby Petrino. The the deal is for six years and $3.2 million annually, the Associated Press reported.

    Bielema, 42, Barry Alvarez's hand-picked successor at Wisconsin, was 68-24 with the Badgers, with four double-digit win seasons.

    "His tough, aggressive style of play has been successful and will be appealing to student-athletes and Razorback fans," Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long said in a statement. "He not only shares the vision and values for the future of Arkansas football, he embraces them."

    Bielema is leaving the Big Ten for the SEC and a Razorbacks program that opened the year with hopes of challenging for a national championship only to get mired in the Petrino scandal before stumbling to a 4-8 finish.

    Malzahn to Auburn

    AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn has turned to Gus Malzahn to restore a program that made an unprecedented fall two years after winning the national title with Cam Newton operating his high-powered offense to perfection.

    Malzahn was the Tigers' offensive coordinator during their 2010 national championship run before heading to Arkansas State for his first college head coaching position. He received a five-year deal worth $2.3 million annually.

    "I recruited a lot of them and have very good relationships," said Malzahn, 47. "I just told them our expectations are to win championships. Whatever happened last year happened last year. It's a new day."

    BC HIRES OWLS COACH: Boston College hired Steve Addazio away from Temple to be its coach. Addazio, a Connecticut native, went 13-11 in two seasons with the Owls since taking over for Al Golden, including 9-4 and a New Mexico Bowl victory in his first season.

    EXTENSION FOR FISHER: Florida State is close to giving coach Jimbo Fisher his second contract extension in a year. The Tallahassee Democrat reported that FSU has been in talks for a few days with Fisher's representatives about a one-year extension.

    GATORS HONORED: Senior running back Mike Gillislee, the Gators' first 1,000-yard rusher since 2004, is among five Florida players selected first-team All-SEC by league coaches. Joining him are junior defensive lineman Sharrif Floyd, junior defensive back Matt Elam, kicker Caleb Sturgis and punter Kyle Christy. Junior tight end Jordan Reed was a second team selection on offense, and senior linebacker Jon Bostic was second team on defense.

    PONDERING FUTURE: Cincinnati coach Butch Jones was weighing his options after returning to campus following two days of interviews at Purdue and Colorado. Jones declined to talk about his interviews or his future at a news conference about the Dec. 27 Belk Bowl against Duke.

    IDAHO: New head coach Paul Petrino will be paid at least $390,000 annually in a three-year contract approved by the Idaho State Board of Education.

    MINNESOTA: Quarterback Max Shortell has decided to transfer after losing his job to freshman Philip Nelson.

    NOTRE DAME: Defensive coordinator Bob Diaco won the Broyles Award as the nation's top assistant coach. The defense under Diaco has allowed the fewest touchdowns in the country and is sixth overall in total defense.

    OHIO STATE: Heisman Trophy winner and former Titans star running back Eddie George is returning to his alma mater as assistant vice president for business advancement.

    PENN STATE: The Maxwell Football Club plans to honor the team's seniors for their commitment and leadership during a challenging season. The 31 seniors will receive the Thomas Brookshier Spirit Award.

    Times staff writer Antonya English contributed to this report.


    Getty ImagesGetty Images

    0 0

    Damian Cristodero, Times Staff Writer
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012

    With the two biggest egos in the negotiations to end the NHL lockout out of the room, the league and Players' Association apparently made their first progress in weeks toward ending the 81-day labor war.

    Face-to-face talks between owners and players — without commissioner Gary Bettman or union executive director Don Fehr — went late into Tuesday night at a New York hotel.

    Reports called the talks substantive and said players were cautiously optimistic that progress was made toward a new collective bargaining agreement.

    Union counsel Steve Fehr and NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly even held a joint news conference.

    "It was maybe the best day we've had," Steve Fehr told reporters, "but lots of work to be done."

    Meetings will continue today, again without Bettman and Don Fehr. The Board of Governors also is to meet.

    The Lightning was well-represented at the meetings with Jeff Vinik among six owners who attended, and wings Marty St. Louis and B.J. Crombeen among 18 players, who also included Penguins star Sidney Crosby and Rangers and former Lightning center Brad Richards.

    The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Penguins co-owner Ron Burkle and Vinik were voices of reason. It is believed Vinik, while wanting the best financial deal possible for owners, wants a season to be played.

    The article characterized Vinik as "a favorite" of Burkle, who believes the league may not recover from a second season in eight years lost to a labor dispute.

    The sides met for more than five hours in an initial session, broke for dinner then got back to it, though meetings were characterized more as an exchange of ideas than a negotiation.

    The most interesting news, though, was that the absence of Bettman and Fehr, according to reports, lowered the tension and distrust between the sides that had grown over time.

    While players have said they would agree to a 50-50 split of revenues — they received 57 percent last season — they also want all current contracts honored, something at which the owners have balked.

    There also have been divides on player contract rules and how much to expand revenue sharing between the teams.

    Games through Dec. 14 have been canceled as has the Jan. 1 Winter Classic and the All-Star Game. Daly has said games could be played about 10 days after a deal is reached.

    Damian Cristodero can be reached at cristodero@tampabay.com.


    0 0

    Times wires
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012

    LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky's 88-56 rout of Samford Tuesday night should have provided a bright spot for the Wildcats considering it ended a two-game losing streak.

    How Kentucky finished it bothered coach John Calipari, who plans to reward his team with three weeks at Camp Cal. And it's not the kind of holiday vacation they might envision.

    "We're going to condition in the morning for the next three weeks and then practice in the afternoon," Calipari said, "because I can't think of any other reason why you wouldn't come out in the second half and play. Especially with what we've been going through.

    "You need to learn how to play a full game. They had that opportunity (Tuesday). So we have to chalk it up to they're not in shape. They will be."

    Calipari liked many aspects of the Wildcats' victory. Archie Goodwin scored 18, Alex Poythress added 16 and all five Kentucky starters scored in double figures. The Wildcats (5-3) shot 34-of-61 from the field (56 percent) against the Bulldogs after going 40-of-118 in losses to Notre Dame and Baylor.

    But after rolling to a 45-14 halftime lead, Kentucky outscored Samford by just a point in the second half, and Calipari believes that suggested a lack of fitness or commitment.

    "Some of it may be mentally, you're not strong enough, you're soft," he said. "So conditioning is good. It makes you stronger mentally."

    NO. 3 MICHIGAN 73, W. MICH. 41: Trey Burke had 20 points and seven assists for the host Wolverines (8-0), who had lost their previous two games against the Broncos more than a decade ago.

    NO. 5 LOUISVILLE 80, CHARLESTON 38: Wayne Blackshear had 18 points and the visiting Cardinals (7-1) used their stifling defense to take control early.

    NO. 8 ARIZONA 63, SOUTHERN MISS. 55: Nick Johnson scored 23, Kevin Parrom had 13 of his 14 in the second half and the host Wildcats (6-0) overcame a season-high 27 turnovers.

    NO. 12 MISSOURI 81, SE MISSOURI ST. 65: Laurence Bowers scored a career-high 26 to help the host Tigers (7-1) rally from 10 points down at halftime.

    NO. 13 ILLINOIS 72, W. CAROLINA 64: Brandon Paul scored 14, and D.J. Richardson hit 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions late in the game as the host Illini (9-0) pulled away.

    NO. 14 MINNESOTA 88, SOUTH DAKOTA ST. 64: Andre Hollins scored 20 of his 22 before halftime for the host Gophers (9-1), who reached their highest ranking in the AP poll this week in six years under coach Tubby Smith.

    NO. 15 G'TOWN 64, TEXAS 41: Otto Porter had 14 points and eight rebounds for the Hoyas (6-1), who opened with a 9-0 run and cruised at the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden.

    NO. 25 N.C. ST. 69, UCONN 55: Richard Howell had 13 points and grabbed all 10 of his rebounds in the second half for the Wolfpack (5-2) in the second game of the Jimmy V Classic.

    UMASS: Coach Derek Kellogg indefinitely suspended sophomore center Cady Lalanne after his weekend arrest for allegedly interfering with a police officer at a campus dance.

    OBITUARY: Ken Trickey, a former coach at Iowa State, Oral Roberts and other schools, died in Tulsa, Okla. He was 79.

    Women

    FLORIDA 87, TROY 62: Freshman Carlie Needles and Sydney Moss scored 18 each to lead five in double figures for the host Gators (6-3).

    NO. 6 GEORGIA 80, MERCER 38: Jasmine Hassell, Jasmine James and Erika Ford scored 12 each for the host Bulldogs, 10-0 for the eighth time in program history.


    0 0

    Times wires
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012

    CHICAGO — Brian Urlacher acknowledged he could miss the rest of the regular season because of a hamstring injury, meaning the linebacker might have played his last game with the Bears.

    In an interview Tuesday with FOX Chicago, Urlacher said doctors told him he could be out "two to four weeks, three, could be four." He has a Grade 2 right hamstring strain.

    Urlacher, who has an expiring contract, came up lame on the second-to-last snap of Sunday's overtime loss to Seattle. The eight-time Pro Bowl player said "100 percent, yes," he expects to be ready for the postseason if Chicago makes it.

    Of the possibility that he has played his last down for the Bears, Urlacher told the station, "I do not think that's going to happen. But, if it does, I have had a really good and long career so I would be sad, but I would not be crushed."

    The Bears also signed linebacker Dom DeCicco to a two-year contract.

    FATHER OF RAIDERS COACH DIES: Grady Allen, the father of Raiders coach Dennis Allen and a former NFL linebacker, has died. He was 66. The Raiders said Tuesday that Grady Allen died overnight from cardiac arrest. Dennis Allen left the team Sunday after its loss to Cleveland to be with his father, who was hospitalized last week near Dallas. Dennis Allen is expected to rejoin the team tonight and coach Thursday against Denver. Grady Allen played 59 games in five years as a linebacker with Atlanta.

    PAGANO COMPLETES CHEMO: Colts coach Chuck Pagano, being treated for leukemia, completed a course of chemotherapy and could return to coaching for the regular-season finale, the Indianapolis Star reported.

    BENGALS: Rookie receiver Mohamed Sanu (foot) was placed on injured reserve, profootballtalk.com reported.

    CARDINALS: Safety Kerry Rhodes confirmed he had a run-in with teammate Darnell Dockett at the end of Sunday's game against the Jets but said reports that Dockett had spit in his face were wrong. … Tight end Todd Heap was released after playing just two games for them this season.

    DOLPHINS: Left tackle Jake Long was placed on injured reserve because of a left triceps injury, ending his season and perhaps his tenure with the team. The perennial Pro Bowl pick can become an unrestricted free agent this winter.

    LIONS: A municipal judge in Mobile, Ala., dismissed a misdemeanor marijuana charge against defensive tackle Nick Fairley. … Wide receivers Titus Young and Ryan Broyles went on injured reserve. Young was inactive for the past two games after what coach Jim Schwartz called "unacceptable" behavior in a game against Green Bay last month. Broyles needs surgery on his right knee.

    PATRIOTS: Punt returner/receiver Julian Edelman went on injured reserve with a foot injury. The team signed receiver Donte' Stallworth, who was released in training camp after signing in the offseason as a free agent.

    REDSKINS: The league suspended cornerback Cedric Griffin four games without pay for violating policy on performance enhancing substances. He will miss the rest of the regular season.

    SEAHAWKS: They cut receiver Braylon Edwards and placed starting left guard James Carpenter (knee) on the season-ending reserve/non-football illness list.

    STEELERS: Cornerback Ike Taylor will miss at least two weeks with a fractured right ankle, ending his streak of consecutive games at 135.

    TITANS: Starting right tackle David Stewart (broken right leg) is out for the season.


    0 0

    By Marc Topkin, Times Staff Writer
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012

    NASHVILLE — The Rays made another interesting low-cost move that could have a high payoff Tuesday night by acquiring shortstop Yunel Escobar from the Marlins.

    In Escobar, the Rays get a 30-year-old with an intriguing portfolio, enough talent to pair an above-average glove with some solid offensive numbers — a career .282 average and .353 on-base percentage — but a reputation of being flamboyant and somewhat enigmatic, with a controversial incident in his recent past.

    And to get him, the Rays had to give up only infield prospect Derek Dietrich, MVP of one of their Class A teams.

    "We feel comfortable it's a calculated risk on a good player that we feel like can help us and fit in really well in our environment,'' executive vice president Andrew Friedman said early this morning. "We feel like he really helps solidify our infield defense, which should be a real strength next year.''

    With Escobar taking over as the primary shortstop, Ben Zobrist will return to his multi-positional role, splitting time between the outfield and second base, and fill in at shortstop. "This allows us to deploy Zo in more effective ways and really utilize his versatility,'' Friedman said.

    Escobar was acquired by the Marlins in last month's mega-deal with Toronto but didn't really fit — they planned to play him at third base — and was expected to be moved. He hit .253 last season with nine homers and 51 RBIs for the Blue Jays with a career-low .300 on-base percentage in somewhat of a down year, though his .982 fielding percentage ranked fourth among major-league shortstops. Over the previous five seasons with Atlanta and Toronto, he posted a .289 average and .366 on-base percentage.

    He also comes with an appealing contract, $5 million for the 2013 season and team options at $5 million for the next two.

    The Cuban native was involved in a controversy this season while in Toronto, suspended three games after wearing eye-black stickers during a September game with a gay slur written on them. He later apologized, saying it was a joke and that he had no problems with homosexuals.

    "I think he definitely learned a lesson from the eye black incident, that it had a real impact on him and he feels remorse about it,'' Friedman said. "In the digging that we did we believe it was an isolated incident and that nothing of that nature will be a concern going forward or we wouldn't have acquired him.''

    Further, Friedman said: "We did a lot of homework on Yunel and we believe that he's going to fit in really well in our clubhouse. It sounds like he's extremely happy about being here, being a Ray, and he knows that he is going to be welcomed into our clubhouse.''

    Dietrich, 23, was recently ranked the No. 9 prospect in the Rays system. A second-round pick in 2010, he hit .282 with 10 homers and 58 RBIs in 98 games for advanced Class A Charlotte and was named team MVP, then moved to Double-A Montgomery and hit .271 with four homers and 17 RBIs in 34 games. Friedman said he projects to be an offensive second baseman and trading him "caused a lot of angst.''

    The Rays in the last week have added a new shortstop and first baseman, with the deal to sign James Loney set to become official, and retained infielder Ryan Roberts. They still need a DH, potentially another outfielder, a couple relievers and maybe another catcher. Friedman is also talking with several teams interested in the Rays surplus of starters, with most of the attention on James Shields and Jeremy Hellickson.

    "We've got a lot of balls in the air,'' Friedman said. "We've had conversations on every front — with free agents, a number of different scenarios, trades where we're talking about pitching and a decent amount where we're not."

    Marc Topkin can be reached at topkin@tampabay.com.


    Getty ImagesGetty Images

    0 0

    By Capt. Matt Santiago, Times Correspondent
    Wednesday, December 5, 2012

    Grocery Store Fishing: This is a great time of year to put some really great tasting fish on the table for dinner. While many of our normal target species start to slow down and eat less, there are a few that really get going as the water starts to cool. Pompano, sheepshead, and mangrove snapper are three of the best eating fish in our bay, and all of them have invaded our region in force. The great thing about this tasty trio is that they can all be targeted with similar tactics and often in the same spots.

    Pompano: There have been good numbers of these tasty, tough fighting fish moving through our region. They have been responding well to a Doc's goofy jig or shrimp, and I have been seeing them on the range markers and artificial reefs in our region.

    Mangos and Sheepies: We have been catching both from open water to a few miles up river. Oyster bars are a great place to fish for foraging sheepshead, especially on the higher parts of the tide as they move up the bar to feed. A fiddler crab on a tiny hook can be deadly on finicky fish. The mangroves are eating just about anything you put in front of their face, but a live shrimp or whitebait tops the list.

    Tip: Shrimp on a jighead is probably one of the most productive and versatile baits this time of year. I tie a 3-foot piece of 15- to 20-pound fluorocarbon to a 1/16 to ⅛ ounce jighead. You can rig it from the tail, headless, or tip it with a small piece. All three of the above species along with all the other regulars can be caught using this rig.

    Matt Santiago can be reached at (813) 205-2327, Captainmattsantiago@gmail.com and online at fishingguidetampa.com.


older | 1 | .... | 863 | 864 | (Page 865) | 866 | 867 | .... | 929 | newer