Sports news from around the great state of Texas.
Sports Morning Headlines-Wednesday, 11/3/10
Chandler provides big upgrade over Dampier - Since celebrating a Rangers World Series is off the table and it just seems that it will never be the Cowboys' year again, there is something worth popping a bottle of champagne over. And there is a better than 100 percent chance you missed this opportunity, too. Erick Dampier is gone. Lost in all of the Rangers hubbub and Cowboys crying is something really worth throwing a party over: Erick Dampier's teasing, thieving days in North Texas are finally done.
Dallas Mavericks keeping players on good pace - Brendan Haywood scoffed at the notion that the altitude at Denver's Pepsi Center is overrated. "It's not overrated," the Dallas Mavericks' center said Tuesday. "My lungs were burning at practice like I just finished smoking a pack of Newports. It takes some time to get used to it, especially in the first quarter." In deference to the mile-high surroundings, coach Rick Carlisle said the Mavericks probably will cycle players in and out of the game a little quicker than normal when they play the Nuggets tonight. And giving their top guns enough rest hasn't been a problem, so far.
Carlisle Couldn't Have Changed...Could He? - Rick Carlisle has had a rough journey, no doubt. In Detroit, he went from being the Coach of the Year to being fired the next, despite winning 50 games both seasons and getting all the way to the Conference Finals. In Indiana, he was forced to work through the Ron Artest debacle (also losing his best player, O'Neal, for much of the season), among other adversities, yet still managed to go to the playoffs that year. In fact, his final season in Indiana was the only season one of the team's he head-coached for missed the postseason.
An end-of-game identity crisis - The Rockets still are searching for what plan works best down the stretch. The Rockets know what is coming. First-year New Orleans Hornets coach Monty Williams might as well invite them into his huddle. As with each team on the Rockets' schedule so far this season, the Hornets provide no mystery to what is going to happen in the closing minutes. With the game on the line in the fourth quarter, when every possession counts, the ball will be in Chris Paul's hands. He will run the pick-and-roll, and he will make the key decisions down the stretch. Asked to describe the Hornets' game plan, Rockets center Yao Ming listed New Orleans' favorite plays in order. "Pick-and-roll," he said. "Pick-and-roll. Pick-and-roll." No mystery there.
Rockets notes: Brooks puts in extra work on jumper - After hitting on three of nine shots against Denver on Saturday, Rockets guard Aaron Brooks took to the Toyota Center practice court for extra shooting drills. His shooting could be especially important tonight against Chris Paul and the Hornets. "I just wanted to get some shots up," Brooks said. "I didn't play too much the last game (26 minutes). I wanted to take extra shots. It's something I do from time to time ."
SBNation.com NBA Power Rankings: Rockets Fall To 11th In West - Let's face it, preseason NBA power rankings are a complete crapshoot. SB Nation's Week 1 rankings provide quite a bit of market correction .... except at the top.
Pop casts lot with rookies - The last time the Spurs walked into the US Airways Center, in the midst of a four-game playoff sweep at the hands of the Phoenix Suns last May, James Anderson was less than two months removed from an All-American career at Oklahoma State. Tiago Splitter was leading a championship run with Caja Laboral in Spain. Gary Neal was firing up jumpers for Italian League power Benetton Treviso. When the Spurs return to Phoenix tonight for the fourth game of a new season, they do so with three prominent rookies in tow, all poised for a rowdy induction into the bloody rivalry with the Suns.
Hill may miss game against Suns - The Spurs squeezed in an extra practice before leaving Los Angeles on Tuesday, running through a brief workout at Santa Monica College before hopping a plane to Phoenix. Still sore from his run-in with Clippers forward Craig Smith less than 24 hours earlier, guard George Hill did not join them. For Hill, the after-effects of Smith’s takedown — which teammate Tony Parker called “a dirty play” — were akin to dealing with the aftermath of a car accident. He basically has a case of whiplash and is considered questionable for tonight’s game in Phoenix.
Well-braced Hornets back in West mix - The latest experiment in altering the culture of an NBA franchise in hopes of emulating what has worked for the Spurs for nearly two decades is off to a quick start. The 3-0 Hornets last summer hired a former Spurs player to coach a team that fell out of the playoffs, then snatched a valuable member of the Spurs’ front office to overhaul the team’s roster. Dell Demps’ smartest move since becoming the Hornets’ general manager? It wasn’t trading for Trevor Ariza, Willie Green, Jason Smith and Jerryd Bayless or signing free agent Marco Bellinelli. It was insisting that All-Star point guard Chris Paul wear a Tim Duncan-style brace on his surgically repaired left knee whenever he stepped on the court, whether he liked it or not.
Fans can celebrate Rangers at free victory rally - To celebrate an historic season, fans are invited to join manager Ron Washington, players and members of the front office at Wednesday's rally at 6 p.m. CT at Rangers Ballpark.
Place a deposit on 2011 Rangers season tickets - Place a deposit on 2011 season tickets and secure your seats for another exciting season. Don't miss any action as the Rangers look to repeat as American League champions.
Lee headlines Rangers' free-agent wish list - For the first time in several years, the Rangers will have money to spend. They are not sure how much, but without recent financial constraints, the club can try to retain pitcher Cliff Lee.
First rodeo for Rangers likely won't be their last - A number of offseason issues await, including the impending free agency of Cliff Lee, but with their nucleus intact, the Rangers see no reason why they can't return to the Series.
Though disappointed, Rangers prep for rally - Fans invited to join players, brass at Wednesday's free event. There will be no victory parade in Arlington this year. That possibility was squelched when the Giants defeated the Rangers in the World Series with a 3-1 decision in Game 5 on Monday night. But there will be a victory rally on Wednesday evening at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Presented by the City of Arlington and FOX Sports Southwest, the rally will start at 6 p.m. CT and be held in Parking Lot J on the west side of the Ballpark. Admission is free. Rangers CEO Chuck Greenberg, club president Nolan Ryan, general manager Jon Daniels and manager Ron Washington are among those who will speak. A number of players are also expected to attend.
Bucs get permission to interview Hurdle - The Pittsburgh Pirates have asked for and received permission to interview Clint Hurdle for their managerial vacancy, according to industry sources. The Pirates have been looking for a manager to replace John Russell, who was let go at the end of the season. They finished with a record of 57-105, the worst in the Major Leagues. Hurdle was the Rockies' manager from 2002-09, with a record of 534-625. He guided the club to the 2007 World Series against the Red Sox before losing in four games. Hurdle is in his first year as the Rangers' hitting coach.
Astros to get creative in creating more offense - The Astros will have some payroll flexibility this winter, and they certainly want to address a lineup that scuffled in 2010, but they're unlikely to be big players in the free-agent market. READ MORE
Reserve your 2011 Astros season tickets now - Astros season tickets are the best way to catch all the excitement at Minute Maid Park in 2011. Place your deposit now and enjoy another season of action-packed baseball.
How will Astros address offseason needs? - What is Carlos Lee's future with the Astros? Will they address left field and shortstop? How about a starting pitcher? Beat reporter Brian McTaggart answers these and more in the Inbox.
Bourn, Myers need fans' support in TYIB vote - Astros outfielder Michael Bourn and pitcher Brett Myers are among the nominees for the 2010 This Year in Baseball Awards. Fans can vote for the awards through Dec. 3.
Support Bourn for the Heart & Hustle Award - Vote Michael Bourn for the 2010 Heart & Hustle Award through Nov. 4. The award is given by the MLBPAA to the player who best embodies the game's values, spirit and traditions.
Astros unlikely to be active in free-agent market - GM Wade focusing on getting younger via trades, Draft. Even with Houston natives Carl Crawford and Adam Dunn among the big catches in this year's free-agent market, the hometown Astros aren't likely to be rolling out the red carpet to try to lure them to Minute Maid Park. The Astros will have some payroll flexibility to address some, if not all, of their needs this winter, but they're not in position to be a player in the high-rent free-agent market. Houston, which has made a recent commitment to get younger through trades and the Draft, will stick with that approach in 2011. Last winter proved to be a hit-or-miss offseason for the Astros, who struck gold when they signed starting pitcher Brett Myers to a one-year deal worth a guaranteed $5.1 million and struck out when they signed third baseman Pedro Feliz to a one-year, $4.5-million contract.
Astros, Rockets reach deal on new network - The Astros and the NBA's Houston Rockets announced Friday they had reached an agreement with cable network provider Comcast to launch a regional sports network that will begin airing Astros games in 2013 and Rockets games beginning with the 2012 preseason. The Houston Chronicle reported Friday the teams, who have been television partners since 2003, will own slightly less than 80 percent of the new network, which will be called Comcast SportsNet Houston. The Astros are the latest in a growing line of Major League teams to launch their own network as they try to increase revenue. Financial details were not disclosed.
Jerry Jones: Fans should be expecting a lot more than I've delivered - Owner and general manger of the Dallas Cowboys Jerry Jones was interviewed on KRLD-FM (105.3) on Tuesday to discuss the Cowboys and the issues they’re having. Here are some highlights: When you were apologizing to fans after the game, how bad were you feeling? Yea, I feel that way today. You should, and every fan should, be expecting a lot more than I’ve delivered. Not that that means anything either. The apology, I just want everyone to be aware that I know that this team has let our fans down. If anything, it would be some type of verbal expression that I’m well aware of it. I care more than you could ever imagine that we’ve had this kind of season and feel bad about it and I will, I really have a feeling that I can say this, but I will do everything that we can do to change it.
Jerry Jones: Short-term, feel-good coaching changes rarely work out - Owner and general manger of the Dallas Cowboys Jerry Jones was interviewed on KRLD-FM (105.3) on Tuesday to discuss the Cowboys and the issues they’re having. Here are some highlights: You can’t really change too much midway during the season, can you? You can’t completely overhaul the roster; you can only change what you’re doing, right? Well, you can do a lot of things. The real question is, short and long term, will it do any good? And I know that’s implied in your question. The key is will it do any good. The history of football and in the NFL shows that it rarely can do any good other than a momentary ‘feel good’. The other thing that happens is if you do consider a change and don’t have success, then that ‘feel good’ doesn’t last very long. That’s the reality of it.
Where was Week 1 game plan? - "Arian Foster woke up Monday morning and posted a message on Twitter: "You ever see something as a child and say one day that will be me? Tonight dreams will become reality, what a stage!" Gary Kubiak and Rick Dennison probably were not in Little Arian's Monday Night Football dreams, but they were key figures in Big Arian's Monday Night Football reality. They stood off in the wings and basically refused to open the curtain on what should have been the Texans running back's biggest-stage moment. Talk about not-ready-for-prime-time play callers. Oh, Foster had a good night.
Another Indy .500 - "The Texans had two weeks to prepare for Monday night's game at Lucas Oil Stadium, but as bad as their offense was in the first half, it looked as if the game plan had been put in overnight. Quarterback Matt Schaub played what might have been the worst half of his Texans career, and they trailed Indianapolis by 14 points at halftime before losing 30-17 to the Colts and falling out of first place in the AFC South for the first time this season. The Texans (4-3) melted under the lights of Monday Night Football and dropped to 2-16 against the Colts, including 0-9 in Indianapolis. The Colts (5-2) avoided the sweep and staked their claim for sole possession of first place in the division.
Schaub's game half-empty, half-full against Colts - "In the Texans' Week 1 meeting with Indianapolis, Matt Schaub was practically an afterthought. He completed nine of 17 passes for 107 yards, but his team won, riding a franchise-best effort from running back Arian Foster. Looking back, the Texans didn't need their quarterback at his best in Reliant Stadium against the Colts. But with a chance to sweep the class of the AFC South on Monday - and on the road at Lucas Oil Stadium? Schaub, the NFL's passing leader in 2009, would have to be better. He wasn't. Under duress from the start, Schaub seemed rattled by the Colts' pressure during a 30-17 loss.
Unit fails to shake ball loose - "At times, Eugene Wilson said, the Texans' defense made progress Monday night. At times, in a 30-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, there were signs of the improvement the unit wanted, the improvement players believe is needed, the Texans' safety said. There were some good moments for a unit that has been maligned much of the season. There just weren't enough. And they didn't come consistently enough. The Texans - who entered the game ranked 32nd in the NFL in overall defense and 32nd against the pass - limited Colts quarterback Peyton Manning early Monday, but Manning and the Colts still pulled away, then held on for a midseason AFC South win.
Freeney gets best of Brown in return - "Defensive end Dwight Freeney almost always gives left tackle Duane Brown fits at Lucas Oil Stadium. Monday night was no different. Freeney beat Brown for a sack in the first quarter and another one in the fourth quarter that caused Matt Schaub to fumble, ending what little hope the Texans had remaining. This was Brown's first game since returning from his four-game suspension. "We came out sort of flat, came back, had a strong comeback, but couldn't finish it off," Brown said. "Me, personally, especially in the first half, I felt like I gave up a lot of pressure. I kind of settled in during the second half."
Back in August, the votes were not in for Baylor - When the Associated Press voters went to the polls back in August to cast their vote for their preseason Top 25 football team, the Baylor Bears were no where to be found on the ballot.
Soccer: Hall aims to add NCAA bid to list of accomplishments - Mandy Hall has pretty much done it all during her time at North Texas. The senior goalkeeper has already set school records in shutouts with 23 and saves with 245, not to mention ranking second in goals against average at 0.95. About the only accomplishment that has eluded Hall is leading her team to the NCAA tournament.
Golf: UNT wins for third time during fall tourney season - North Texas captured the Pat Bradley Invitational by one stroke over Daytona State on Tuesday. UNT won with a score of 876.
UNT notebook: Canales pushing the pace - North Texas will have an opportunity to reach a milestone under interim head coach Mike Canales it never did under Todd Dodge this week.
Free of concerns about family illnesses, SMU's Czerniak making an impact at nose guard - Look up SMU junior Szymon Czerniak's playing history and not much turns up.
Frogs' AD says Big East has not made contact with TCU - Big East presidents unanimously agreed to expand the number of conference football-playing schools to 10 from eight.
Big East will expand football membership; TCU a potential target - The Big East conference is set to expand its football roster.
Staying in BCS title-game contention is big prize for TCU-Utah winner - No one involved saw it coming. Andy Dalton, for one, was glad that TCU stormed out to a big, early lead and coasted past Utah last season in front of the largest crowd in Amon G. Carter Stadium history. But he didn't foresee a 55-28 victory.
Bohls, Golden chatting today - Kirk Bohls is back from the World Series, Cedric Golden is back from a weekend of Longhorns and Cowboys, and both will be here at 11 a.m. today for their weekly chat. Stop by and say hi.
A&M def. coordinator on OU receiver Ryan Broyles: 'He can embarrass you in a hurry' - Oklahoma receiver Ryan Broyles has had an impressive 2010 season thus far. With 78 catches, 1,018 yards and eight touchdowns on the season, he is the unequivocal playmaker on the Sooners' high-powered offense. And because of that, Aggie defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter will have his guys focused on No. 85.
Quarterback controversy brewing at Texas Tech - At his introductory news conference as Texas Tech's head coach in January, Tommy Tuberville said the Red Raiders would not have a quarterback controversy.
QB job up for grabs again, Tech's Tuberville says - After watching his offense sputter again Saturday in a 45-27 loss against Texas A&M, coach Tommy Tuberville announced that the quarterback job is open again.
Stars' Daley's progress a product of coaching lessons learned - Trevor Daley was elevated to the cool kids group Tuesday. The defenseman was allowed to take shootout practice with a handful of teammates, quite the honor when you consider that Daley has not made a shootout attempt in his career. But as the recently-turned 27-year-old is finding out, the Stars like what he is doing.
Pittsburgh Penguins at Dallas Stars preview - Key matchup: Sidney Crosby vs. Kari Lehtonen. Crosby in three career games against the Stars has four goals and three assists for seven points and is plus-5. Lehtonen in 11 career games against Pittsburgh is 6-3-2 with a 2.84 GAA and .913 save percentage. READ MORE AT MVPTEXAS.COM