1 The ReplacementsNot the football movie, though LSU might be willing to plug Keanu Reeves into a nickel back slot out of desperation. We’re talking about the replacements filling key roles for both teams. For LSU it’s Kary Vincent and Terrence Alexander at cornerback and Tyler Shelvin at nose tackle. For UCF it’s Derriel Mack’s play at quarterback. The team that gets the better play from its replacements filling key roles will likely be the team that wins.2 Run for the sunUCF may be 12-0, but if it had to depend solely on its rushing defense the Knights would be far from unbeaten. UCF is simply bad against the run, ranking 117th nationally allowing 227.4 yards per game. LSU needs its 1-2-3 combination of running backs Nick Brossette (922 yards) and Clyde Edwards-Helaire (626) along with quarterback Joe Burrow (375) to be on point. Keeping the ball away from UCF’s explosive offense with the run is key.3 Bring the houseMack carved up Memphis in the AAC … [Read more...] about Four Downs: Scott Rabalais rings in the new year with this Fiesta Bowl breakdown
Treachery in the yard
A. Stacy Long Montgomery Advertiser Published 1:11 PM EST Dec 18, 2018 TROY — Deondre Douglas and a roommate made the stereotypical college choice for dinner and went with one of their favorite meals. Pizza, complete with pepperoni and a soft, cheesy crust, was always atop Douglas’ wish list, but this time it ended so much differently for the Troy receiver. He crumbled to the floor gasping for air, and roomie/fellow receiver Johnathan Ortner raced him to a hospital where Douglas, in his words, got “stabbed” in the leg with an EpiPen. It took just a few days before Douglas learned a diagnosis that both stunned him and explained to him so much about his life. Douglas has food allergies. “The first 21 years of my life, I was eating stuff I wasn’t supposed to be eating,” Douglas said. In the months that have followed, Douglas has obviously reconfigured his diet, often to his own consternation. Football, of course, has remained. The senior … [Read more...] about Pizza in his past: Troy’s Deondre Douglas adjusts to life-threatening allergies
Say New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees starts the game Sunday (Sept. 23) against the Falcons with an incompletion, then follows that up by misfiring on his next 136 attempts in a row. Brees is so far out in front of the pack that even if that most improbable scenario played out, he would still own the highest career completion percentage in league history. If completion percentage is at all a signifier of a quarterback's accuracy, Brees is far and away the most accurate passer that has ever thrown a pass in the NFL. He is responsible for one five of the 15 highest single-season completion percentages in NFL history, and three of the top four. And he appears to be getting even more precise with age. Brees will carry an NFL-best 81.3 percent completion rate into the Falcons game. He is the first quarterback in NFL history to complete 80 percent of his passes in consecutive games where he attempted 35 or more passes. While it is unlikely he sustains this pace -- the … [Read more...] about Is Drew Brees becoming more accurate as his career progresses?
The young would-be franchise quarterback brings renewed hope. The hype and the hyperventilation that engulfs him, from fans, from media, know no bounds. He is hailed as The Next (fill in the name of a long-lost icon). He is The Man Who Would Be King, Prince Charming, The Savior of a woe-begotten franchise desperate to be saved. But as a romance blossoms between a bright-eyed California kid, too good to be true in every way, and a long-suffering fan base so susceptible to love at first sight, a warning light should be blinking and a caution flag must be raised: Don’t expect miracles from Sam Darnold. When the regular season begins, defensive coordinators will have a jolting treachery and chicanery waiting for Darnold. Back when then-Dolphins coach Jimmy Johnson was preparing for Peyton Manning’s losing three-interception debut in 1998, he said, “We’ll welcome him to the NFL. I imagine he’ll see a few things he hasn’t seen before.” They all do. … [Read more...] about Jets fans need to control their Sam Darnold expectations
My granddaughter, the adorable Rosalie, is almost 16 months old and was being fed breakfast in the screened porch area of the cabin we rent each summer in the woods on an island in Lake Superior when she pointed her little hand and said “Da!” In Rosie’s language this can mean many things: There! What’s that? Dog. Airplane. School bus. This time it meant “bear.” A young black bear was climbing up the steps to the unscreened area of the porch, about 10 feet from us. It looked around, sniffed a few times, then turned, strolled through the front yard and disappeared over the edge of a cliff. A few minutes later it returned, this time from behind the porch. It shuffled around in the daisies and lupine, then again went down to the big lake, this time taking the stairs. Despite Rosalie’s presence and the proximity of the bear, it didn’t feel threatening. It was about 6 feet long, maybe 3 feet high, and looked to be just under 200 pounds. A … [Read more...] about Encounters with wildlife: For better or worse, we’re all in this world together