Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger admits criticizing Antonio Brown ‘ruined a friendship’

first_img Raiders’ Antonio Brown loses second grievance hearing regarding helmet, report says Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger opened up about his relationship with Antonio Brown, admitting he regrets criticizing his former teammate because it “ruined a friendship.”The two had a falling out during the 2018 season when Roethlisberger publicly criticized Brown in late November for how he ran routes after a loss to the Broncos. “I wish I wouldn’t have done it,” Roethlisberger told NBC. “We saw what happened, and it ruined a friendship. … Just got caught up in the emotion, the heat of the battle.”Roethlisberger also criticized then-rookie receiver James Washington after the same game, but Roethlisberger explained Washington had an opposite reaction.  Related News “James Washington texted me, called me and talked to me in person, thanking for me that,” he said. “So [while] the outside world was killing me for it, he thanked me and that’s all that matters.”When asked why Washington could handle the criticism, but Brown couldn’t, Roethlisberger said: “You’ll have to ask him. I’m not sure.”Brown eventually was traded to the Raiders. Despite the fractured relationship, Roethlisberger said he hopes his former teammate “has a good, healthy season.”The drama, however, has continued in Oakland as Brown opened training camp on the non-football injury list with a “minor injury,” and it was later reported that he got frostbite on his feet from a cryotherapy machine after using it “without the proper footwear.” Antonio Brown reacts to Pittsburgh’s high ‘Hard Knocks’ ratings: ‘My ex still thinks of me’ Le’Veon Bell disagrees with how Antonio Brown handled his helmet issue While most of the coverage of his absence was focused on the foot issue, it was later reported that he was sitting out training camp over a helmet grievance with the NFL. He also reportedly threatened to quit because he wouldn’t be allowed to wear his old helmet under NFL rules.He filed a second grievance with the league, asking to use the old helmet for a year as an in-between period while he searched for a new helmet. That request was denied, as well.Brown has since returned to Raiders’ training camp, and Raiders coach Jon Gruden has said Brown is “all in.”last_img read more

Canucks sign Brock Boeser to three-year, $17.625 million extension

first_imgA similar story played out for Boeser last season, as he finished third in team scoring even though he missed 13 games with a groin injury.Regardless, Boeser’s re-signing provides a boost for the Canucks on the day they open their eight-game preseason schedule. When news of the deal broke Monday, reaction on Twitter from those within the organization was swift, including from the player himself.Excited to be back, can’t wait to get going! See you soon #cominghome— Brock Boeser (@BBoeser16) September 17, 2019Really pleased to have @BBoeser16 back in the fold. Big part of the @Canucks future.— Francesco Aquilini (@fr_aquilini) September 17, 2019— Elias Pettersson (@_EPettersson) September 17, 2019The earliest the Canucks could have Boeser in uniform is against the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday. Boeser, 22, scored 55 and 56 points, respectively, in each of the past two seasons despite not having played more than 69 games in either campaign, and is seen as a big part of Vancouver’s promising young core alongside Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes. The Burnsville, Minn., native was reportedly looking for a longer deal with a higher AAV, so Monday’s announcement can be seen as a win for the rebuilding Canucks team. MORE: Complete list of all 31 NHL teams’ UFA, RFA players”We’re very pleased to have Brock re-sign,” Canucks general manager Jim Benning said in a team statement. “He’s a talented player, a key contributor to our offence and an important part of our team’s future. We look forward to having Brock join the team in preparation for the upcoming season.”Newly re-signed @Canucks forward @BBoeser16 has 59 career goals, with his last coming in his 136th game on March 28 vs. LAK.The only Vancouver player to record that many goals in fewer games is Pavel Bure (59 G in 93 GP).#NHLStats— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) September 17, 2019Selected 23rd overall in the 2015 draft, Boeser made an immediate impact after signing his entry-level contract on March 25, 2017, and scoring later that same day in his NHL debut. He netted four goals in nine games in 2016-17 before starting his first full season the following fall. Boeser’s 2017-18 campaign was shortened by injury, but the right wing still made enough of an impression to be named as a finalist for the Calder Trophy despite only appearing in 62 games. Brock’s back in Vancouver.The Canucks and restricted free agent Brock Boeser agreed to a three-year, $17.625 million contract extension, the team announced Monday. The deal, which carries a $5.875 million average annual value (AAV), comes after the Canucks re-signed several players over the summer, leaving Boeser as the biggest question mark heading into training camp this month.last_img read more

Who plays on ‘Thursday Night Football’ tonight? Time, TV channel, schedule for Week 3

first_imgWhat channel is Thursday Night Football on?Start time: 8:20 p.m. ETTV channel: NFL NetworkLive stream: fuboTVThursday night broadcast rights are shared between Fox, NFL Network and Amazon Prime in 2019, so you’ll be able to find games on those channels every week (with the exception of Weeks 2-3, which are exclusively NFL Network). You can also stream TNF games on fuboTV, which offers a seven-day free trial.Thursday night games on Fox will be called by its lead broadcast team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, sideline reporter Erin Andrews, Kristina Pink and rules analyst Mike Pereira. Andrea Kramer and Hannah Storm are the voices for Amazon Prime’s broadcasts.Thursday Night Football TV schedule for 2019All “Thursday Night Football” games start at 8:20 p.m. ET.WeekDateMatchupTV channel3Sept. 19Titans at JaguarsNFLN, fuboTV4Sept. 26Eagles at PackersFox, NFLN, Prime, fuboTV5Oct. 3Rams at SeahawksFox, NFLN, Prime, fuboTV6Oct. 10Giants at PatriotsFox, NFLN, Prime, fuboTV7Oct. 17Chiefs at BroncosFox, NFLN, Prime, fuboTV8Oct. 24Redskins at VikingsFox, NFLN, Prime, fuboTV9Oct. 3149ers at CardinalsFox, NFLN, Prime, fuboTV10Nov. 7Chargers at RaidersFox, NFLN, Prime, fuboTV11Nov. 14Steelers at BrownsFox, NFLN, Prime, fuboTV12Nov. 21Colts at TexansFox, NFLN, Prime, fuboTV14Dec. 5Cowboys at BearsFox, NFLN, Prime, fuboTV15Dec. 12Jets at RavensFox, NFLN, Prime, fuboTV Below is all the info you need to watch “Thursday Night Football” in Week 3, including the kickoff time, TV channel and a full TNF schedule for 2019.MORE: Watch Titans vs. Jaguars live with fuboTV (7-day free trial)Who plays on Thursday Night Football tonight?Still, there’s reason to believe this Week 3 matchup between the Titans and Jaguars could be the week for some offensive numbers to be posted. Though the Jags’ defense was one of the best in the league last year, the unit has allowed an average of 119.5 rushing yards per game to running backs this season, and the Titans’ Derrick Henry has hit pay dirt in both games this season and rushed for at least 80 yards in both matchups.The Titans have also struggled to contain the run, having surrendered 134.5 rushing yards per game. And matched up against Leonard Fournette — who has struggled in 2019 so far, but has the potential to be a dynamic back when he is able to get going for Jacksonville.One thing to keep an eye on before the game will be the status of Jacksonville cornerback Jalen Ramsey. The two-time Pro Bowler openly feuded with coach Doug Marrone on the sideline and has requested to be traded. If he does not play Thursday, that could give Marcus Mariota a chance for a second big game this season after putting up three touchdowns against Cleveland in Week 1. According to Sportsbook Review, Tennessee will enter the game as 1.5-point favorites against the hosting Jacksonville Jaguars.MORE TITANS VS. JAGUARS:• Full betting preview & trends• Why Gardner Minshew might be the NFL’s most interesting QB• Derrick Henry finally realizing potential for Titans with inexplicable power-speed combo No team has scored more than 20 points on a “Thursday Night Football” game so far this season. Week 3 does not on paper appear to be the week that plateau will be surpassed when Tennessee travels to Jacksonville to face off against the Jaguars. The Titans offense appeared to be explosive Week 1 when they dropped a 43 spot on a respectable Browns defense in Cleveland, but they scored only 17 at home the next week in a 19-17 loss to Indianapolis. The Jaguars, on the other hand, were dealt a blow from the onset when they lost starting quarterback Nick Foles until at least Week 11 with a broken clavicle. Gardner Minshew has probably been better than expected, but he only managed 12 points against Houston in his first game as a starter.last_img read more

Pacers’ Victor Oladipo in ‘a good position mentally,’ Nate McMillan says

first_imgDespite losing their lone All-Star in January, the Pacers rallied to finish fifth in the Eastern Conference last year.But it became evident they needed a go-to guy in the playoffs, as they were swept by the Celtics in the first round of the postseason. They didn’t add stars this offseason, but did improve depth.Indiana acquired one of last season’s most efficient shooters in Malcolm Brogdon this summer, signing him to a four-year, $85 million deal. The 2017 Rookie of the Year joined the illustrious 50-40-90 club last year while averaging 15.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game.Indiana also traded with the Suns for versatile wing TJ Warren. But regardless of what their roster looks like in 2019-20, the Pacers expect big things from Oladipo, who averaged 18.8 points per game last year and led the team in scoring for a second consecutive season.”It was a very unique injury, a very rare injury, so we’ll be patient with it,” Indiana general manager Chad Buchanan said of Oladipo. “You guys know Vic; he’s an ideal worker, so we feel confident that he’s going to get back to what he was before.” NBA to vote on stiffer tampering rules, reports say Kawhi Leonard would sign with Clippers only if they got Paul George, Doc Rivers revealscenter_img Victor Oladipo is recovering from a leg injury that brought his breakout 2018-19 season to a premature end, but he’s making great progress toward a comeback.Pacers coach Nate McMillan says the star guard’s mind is right where it needs to be. His body might need some time to catch up though. “He’s not playing live but he’s moving. He’s in a good position mentally,” McMillan told the Indianapolis Star. “He feels that everything is going well. I like what I see with him. … He’s doing great. He’s not doing any live contact, still in that rehab stage of working with the trainers.”I just know (opening night on Oct. 23) he probably won’t be there. The time frame, we have no idea of when he will return.” Related Newslast_img read more

Cam Newton injury update: Panthers QB (foot) officially ruled out vs. Cardinals

first_img“He felt pretty good at the end of the week,” coach Ron Rivera told reporters Friday. “But we don’t want another setback. Want to make sure he’s ready to roll.”Newton’s absence comes after he struggled against the Buccaneers in Week 2, completing just 25 of 51 passes for 333 yards and no touchdowns in a 20-14 loss.Allen has taken the first-team snaps all week to prepare for the possibility of Newton being sidelined.  Injury Report: Cam Newton ruled out— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) September 20, 2019Newton re-aggravated a left foot sprain in Week 2 against the Buccaneers and has not practiced this week. He initially injured his foot during the preseason, forcing him to miss nearly a week of practice. The veteran was in a walking boot in the locker room Thursday, but his prognosis beyond this week is not clear.  Related News Cam Newton has been ruled out of the Panthers’ Week 3 game against the Cardinals as he recovers from a foot injury, the team announced Friday. Kyle Allen, a second-year quarterback who went undrafted in 2018, will start in Newton’s place. Sterling Shepard injury update: Giants wideout (concussion) cleared for Bucs game NFL temporarily douses on-field pyrotechnics after Titans fire Jalen Ramsey rumors: Jaguars ‘willing’ to make him NFL’s highest-paid cornerback “I think Kyle’s more than ready,” Rivera said earlier this week (via The Athletic). “… I think he’s got a really good arm, makes good decisions. He just needs to speed himself up a bit.”Allen, 23, played in the final two games last season, earning the start in the Panthers’ season finale against the Saints where he led the team to a 33-14 win. Carolina will travel to Arizona on Sunday with kickoff set for 4:05 p.m. ET.last_img read more

Ravens vs. Chiefs: Kansas City uses second quarter surge to down Baltimore

first_imgKansas City’s big second quarter was too much for the Ravens, as the Chiefs picked up a 33-28 win in a battle of 2-0 teams.In a game that featured a pair of red-hot quarterbacks in Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes, it was the Chiefs offense that prevailed. 1:05 p.m.: Patrick Mahomes hits Sammy Watkins on a slant, but Watkins puts the ball on the ground after being hit. Chiefs recover.1:03 p.m.: Underway at Arrowhead. Chiefs will start with the ball first.12:59 p.m.: It’s quarterback showdown in Kansas City.In the Super Bowl Era, only two QBs have started a season with 7 passing TDs, 0 INTs, and completed at least 70% of their passes in their first two games:Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson.They face off today in Kansas City.— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) September 22, 2019 MORE: Watch Ravens vs. Chiefs live on fuboTV (7-day free trial)Baltimore struck first with a Mark Ingram punch-in at the goal line in the first quarter, but the second period was all Chiefs. Kansas City recorded each of their 28 points in Week 2 against Oakland in the second quarter, and it tallied a 23-0 pop in the second quarter against Baltimore.After Kansas City’s scoring barrage, the Ravens were forced to play catch-up against a Chiefs offense that had everything working. The high-powered offenses combined for a total of 955 yards and 56 first downs.Jackson tried to work as much magic as possible after falling behind 30-19, including a number of downfield prayers and effective scrambles out of the pocket. In the end, though, it was the second quarter that again allowed the Chiefs to coast in the second half to another victory. Sporting News tracked live scoring updates and highlights from Ravens vs. Chiefs in their Week 3 showdown. Follow along below.Ravens vs. Chiefs live score, updates, highlights 1Q2Q3Q4QFBaltimore6071528Kansas City0237333Final: Chiefs 33, Ravens 28(All times Eastern)4:14 p.m.: Mahomes dumps it off to Williams and he carves out a first down which should wrap up the win for the Chiefs.4:09 p.m.: Justin Tucker spins the ball and boots the onside kick into the sky but the Chiefs snag the kick and take over with the two-minute warning coming up.4:06 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, BALTIMORE. Jackson scrambles, jukes and spins his way into the end zone for the score. His two-point conversion scramble attempt is short of the pylon. Chiefs 33, Ravens 28.More jukes.More spins. @lj_era8 pulls the @Ravens within 5! #BALvsKC📺: CBS📱: NFL app // Yahoo Sports appWatch on mobile:— NFL (@NFL) September 22, 20194:00 p.m.: FIELD GOAL, KANSAS CITY. Butker connects on a 36-yard attempt to push the Kansas City lead back to double digits. Chiefs 33, Ravens 22.3:54 p.m.: Darrel Williams goes down the sideline for a 41-yard gain and the Chiefs are already in field goal territory.3:51 p.m.: FIELD GOAL, BALTIMORE. Justin Tucker converts a 39-yard field goal attempt. Frank Clark gets a coverage sack on third down, which set up the kicking unit. Ravens are back within one possession. Chiefs 30, Ravens 22.3:50 p.m.: Jackson scrambles and unloads a pass downfield which Willie Snead IV reels in for the jump-ball catch. Ravens in the red zone with seven and a half minutes to play.Willie Snead with the leap and grab! 👏— Sporting News (@sportingnews) September 22, 20193:42 p.m.: Baltimore gets a much-needed stop and the Chiefs are set to boot it back to the Ravens with just under 11 minutes to play.3:35 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, BALTIMORE. Ingram punches it in from a yard out to put another touchdown on the board. Ravens go for two but Jackson’s pass is incomplete. Chiefs 30, Ravens 19.3:30 p.m.: Seth Roberts comes back to pick up Jackson’s heave under duress to give Baltimore a first-and-goal opportunity.Third quarter: Chiefs 30, Ravens 133:24 p.m.: Baltimore reaches Kansas City territory with a Jackson pass to Marquise Brown as the clock expires in the third quarter.3:17 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, KANSAS CITY. Mahomes hits LeSean McCoy on a screen pass and McCoy deposits it for a touchdown. Chiefs answer. Chiefs 30, Ravens 13.ANOTHER ONE 👏👏 #BALvsKC 📺: CBS— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) September 22, 20193:14 p.m.: Mahomes’ pass on third down is intercepted by Brandon Carr in the red zone Tony Jefferson is whistled for pass interference, however, and the chains move for Kansas City.3:06 p.m.: A third-down pass attempt is tipped by a Chiefs lineman and it falls incomplete. Ravens will punt it away.3:01 p.m.: Kansas City moves down the field but Baltimore comes up with a stop on 4th down as Mahomes tries to make the most of a bad snap. 2:54 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, BALTIMORE. Mark Ingram rumbles his way into the end zone for the second time today as the Ravens cut into the deficit. Chiefs 23, Ravens 13.Second quarter: Chiefs 23, Ravens 6First half statsFirst downs: Chiefs 17; Ravens 10Third downs: Chiefs 4-5; Ravens 1-6Passing yards: Chiefs 262; Ravens 74Rushing yards: Ravens 84; Chiefs 45Turnovers: NonePenalties: Chiefs 3 for 21; Ravens 4-32Possession: Chiefs 14:35; Ravens 15:252:33 p.m.: FIELD GOAL, KANSAS CITY. Harrison Butker is good from 42 yards out to add to Kansas City’s lead. Chiefs 23, Ravens 6.2:22 p.m.: Baltimore’s offense continues to sputter and the punt unit is back on the field with a minute and change remaining in the first half. 2:12 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, KANSAS CITY. Mahomes bombs it to Mecole Hardman for a wide-open 83-yard touchdown. The extra-point attempt is no good. Chiefs 20, Ravens 6.Mecole Hardman is VERY fast.— NFLonCBS (@NFLonCBS) September 22, 20192:07 p.m.: A long Baltimore run is negated by penalty and the Ravens are unable to salvage their drive, punting it back to Kansas City.1:59 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, KANSAS CITY. Mahomes hits Demarcus Robinson with a one-handed snag and gather for an 18-yard touchdown. Chiefs 14, Ravens 6.. @PatrickMahomes and @Demarcus Robinson with another highlight reel TD 🔥 #BALvsKC #ChiefsKingdom📺: CBS📱: NFL app // Yahoo Sports appWatch on mobile:— NFL (@NFL) September 22, 20191:53 p.m.: John Harbaugh rolls the dice again but it fails this time. Jackson’s pass is nowhere near his target on fourth down and the ball goes back to Kansas City in good field position.1:51 p.m.: Baltimore is short of the first down but goes for it on 4th-and-short on their own 34-yard line. A run up the middle gives the Ravens a fresh set of downs.1:41 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, KANSAS CITY. LeSean McCoy gets it into the end zone on third-and-goal from the one-yard line. Chiefs take the lead on the extra point. Chiefs 7, Ravens 6.First quarter: Ravens 6, Chiefs 01:37 p.m.: Kansas City sets up a first-and-goal after the Ravens record a horse-collar tackle on Mahomes on a third down incompletion.If a quarterback is inside the pocket, there can be no foul for a horse-collar tackle. However, once the QB is outside of the pocket, the horse-collar penalty applies. This is a good call by the refs in #BALvsKC as Mahomes is clearly outside of the pocket.— Gene Steratore (@GeneSteratore) September 22, 20191:24 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, BALTIMORE. Mark Ingram punches it in from two yards out on first down to tally the first points of the day. Baltimore with the 14-play drive. Chiefs are whistled for an illegal formation so the Ravens attempt a two-point conversion, which fails. Ravens 6, Chiefs 0.BIG BOY. NO LITTLE BOY.TOUCHDOWN @markingram21 .— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) September 22, 20191:23 p.m.: Baltimore lines up to go for it on 4th-and-2 at the Kansas City 9. Jackson scrambles for the first down to make it first-and-goal.1:11 p.m.: Ravens bring the heat on 3rd-and-long to sack Mahomes. Chiefs punt in Baltimore territory.last_img read more

Hurricanes find new team captain in Jordan Staal

first_imgMORE: Who are the 31 NHL teams’ captains for 2019-20?Since being traded to the Hurricanes by the Penguins, the 31-year-old Staal has been involved in a variety of captaincy roles with the team. From 2012-17, he was an alternate captain before serving as a co-captain with Justin Faulk for the 2017-18 campaign. He again wore the “A’ after Justin Williams took over the role last season. However, with Williams taking a break from the NHL this season, Staal will fill that vacancy. Jordan Staal will once again serve in a leadership capacity for the Hurricanes this season — with a “C” on his chest.Staal will serve as the franchise’s eighth captain since moving to Carolina, coach Rod Brind’Amour announced on Sunday. Jaccob Slavin and Jordan Martinook will serve as the alternates this season. Staal was also an alternate captain for four seasons with Pittsburgh. His brother, Eric, served as Carolina’s captain from 2009 until he was traded to the Rangers in 2016. In 50 games last season, the Thunder Bay, Ontario, native registered 11 goals, 28 points, 122 hits and 40 takeaways for the Hurricanes while posting 10 points in 15 playoff games en route to the Eastern Conference Final.And that’s the game! Jordan Staal scores the overtime winner.— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) April 27, 2019Staal has registered 97 goals and 262 points in 462 total games with Carolina and has 510 points in 893 career NHL games. A strong two-way forward, Staal plays a physical, complete 200-foot game and has been considered for the Selke in 11 of his 13 NHL seasons. He’s also a proven leader on and off the ice.This year, Staal will look to pick up where Williams left off and lead the Canes to another playoff berth — and potentially a deeper run this time around.last_img read more

Cricket chiefs still planning for 2020 T20 World Cup in Australia

first_imgThe tournament is scheduled to take place from October 18 to November 15 but is under threat due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions.“The International Cricket Council board today agreed to continue exploring a number of contingency plans regarding the future of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2020 and the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2021 (in New Zealand) until next month whilst planning for delivery of the events in the scheduled window is ongoing,” the ICC said in a statement.The ICC said it was assessing and evaluating the rapidly changing public health situation caused by COVID-19.ICC chief executive Manu Sawhney added: “The situation surrounding the global pandemic is evolving rapidly and we want to give ourselves the best possible opportunity to make the right decision for the whole sport.“The health and well-being of everyone involved is our priority and other considerations fall out from that.“We will only get one chance to make this decision and it needs to be the right one and as such we will continue to consult with our members, broadcasters, partners, governments and players and to ensure that we make a well-informed decision.”last_img read more

Ozil tells Arsenal ‘I’ll decide when I go’

first_imgOzil has not played for Arsenal since the coronavirus hiatus amid reports the club are keen to get his huge salary off the wage bill.The 31-year-old earns a reported £350,000-per-week ($458,000), but has rarely provided good value since his 2013 move from Real Madrid.Ozil was absent as Arsenal beat Chelsea in the FA Cup final on August 1, but he will not allow the club to force him out before his contract expires in June 2021.AdChoices广告Ads by TeadsHolding out hope of winning back his place next season, Ozil told the Athletic: “Things have been difficult but I love Arsenal. I’ll decide when I go, not other people.“I’ll give everything I have for this club. Situations like these will never break me, they only make me stronger.“I showed in the past that I can come back into the team and I will show it again.”Ozil fell out of favour with Arteta’s predecessor Unai Emery, but started all 10 of Arsenal’s Premier League games after the former Gunners midfielder took charge in December.However, he has not featured in their past 13 matches in all competitions, with Arteta saying his exile was down to “football reasons”.Ozil believes he deserves another chance and he said: “You don’t play 10 games in a row if you’re unfit, not good enough or don’t behave well.”Arteta and many Arsenal players accepted a 12.5 percent pay cut in April as a result of the financial fall-out from the coronavirus.But Ozil did not vote for the cut and he is concerned that “possibly the decision affected my chances on the pitch.“As players, we all wanted to contribute. But we needed more information and many questions were unanswered.”Ozil fears there is now an agenda against him that will make the rest of his time at Arsenal uncomfortable.“I guess that’s because it is me and people have been trying for two years to destroy me, to make me unhappy, to push an agenda they hope will turn the supporters against me and pain a picture that is not true,” he said.last_img read more

Mike Sorensen: Whittingham should get Utah head coaching job

first_imgWithout hesitation, University of Utah athletic director Chris Hill should name Kyle Whittingham to replace Urban Meyer.It’s the best move for the Utah football program, which is in a state of instability even if Urban Meyer is promising to stay and coach through the Fiesta Bowl game.It isn’t that Whittingham deserves it because of his 11 years of service in the program. It’s not just because he’s a good guy, who is well-liked by his players, by boosters and the media. It’s not because the Utes need a new coach NOW and Whittingham is available. He’s the best man for the job for a variety of reasons. COACHING — Whittingham has built a strong defense, which has been the rock of the program during many years when the offense floundered. Last year his defense was a main reason, much more than the offense, that the Utes finished 10-2 and shut out Southern Miss in the Liberty Bowl. As for not being a ticket-selling offensive coach, well, uh, ever heard of LaVell Edwards? He was a defensive coach before becoming a head coach, and it seems like his offenses did pretty well over the years. CONTINUITY — Right now the Ute football program is at the highest high it’s ever been. Well, maybe it was a bit higher a couple of weeks ago before Meyer decided to skip town. But why mess with a good thing? The Utes have an excellent program in place, and it’s not the time to bring in another outsider who will have to start over in many regards.Whittingham has already proven he is a good coach and he’s certainly learned a few extra things from Meyer over the past two years that he can carry on. Neither quarterback coach Dan Mullen nor defensive line coach Gary Andersen has yet committed to going with Meyer or to any other job. Whittingham could promote the two to offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator, respectively, and the Utes may hardly miss a beat. DISCIPLINE — Whittingham is well-respected by the players. They like him but also know that he can be a tough guy and bring the hammer down when needed. Meyer brought a certain discipline to the team that was lacking, and Whittingham can keep it going. ALEX SMITH — The Ute quarterback is considering putting his name in for the NFL Draft. After all, he’s already graduated from college and is a hot commodity as one of the nation’s leading quarterbacks for an undefeated team. He likes Whittingham, and if several current coaches are in place for next year, he’ll be more inclined to return. WINNING THE FIESTA BOWL — Some folks have lost their enthusiasm for the BCS bowl game because the Utes are playing Pittsburgh in the Fiesta Bowl instead of a bigger-name school. But it won’t be an automatic victory against the Big East champions, who have won five of their last six.It’s imperative that the Utes do everything they can to win this game. Having Whittingham on the sidelines as the next Ute coach should make the team happier and give them the motivation necessary to play like they have all season. If Whittingham is gone, along with offensive coordinator Mike Sanford, and Urban Meyer has his mind on Florida, whether he wants to admit it or not, the Utes are going to have a difficult time escaping with a victory. This would not be a good time for the Utah program to lay an egg in their biggest game in history. STAYING AHEAD OF THE RIVALS — BYU is showing considerable interest in Whittingham and some have suggested that the Y. can pull a double whammy by hiring Whittingham away from Utah to hurt the Ute program, while helping their own.The same can be said for Utah. By keeping Whittingham away from his alma mater, the Utes help themselves and make the Cougars look elsewhere. Whittingham is playing the middle and saying both jobs are great, but the guess from here is that he would rather stay at Utah than move back to Provo. LONG TERM — Sure the Utes want the best coach possible, but do they really want the possibility of becoming another Wyoming or Bowling Green, where coaches land for a year or two on their way to bigger and better things?Whittingham is a born-and-bred Utahn, who has lived here nearly his whole life. Even if he wins 10 games the next couple of years, he won’t be as anxious as some coaches to put Utah in his rear-view mirror and move across the country. He’ll be able to teach his boys to throw curve balls right here in little ol’ Utah.Sure Dr. Hill could look elsewhere and bring in a successful head coach from the Mid-American Conference or some hot-shot offensive coordinator from a high-scoring program. But why look elsewhere when the best choice is right under your nose? E-mail: sor@desnews.comlast_img read more