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Sports Today: An old voice provides familiar message in Bengals locker room

Published: Thursday, November 09, 2017 @ 11:03 AM

Special teams have been an issue at times recently for Marvin Lewis’ Bengals, and he got a little animated talking about how to fix them.

If you want to know how things are going for the Cincinnati Bengals these days, the most interesting guy in the locker room Wednesday was a newly signed backup offensive lineman. 

Veteran Eric Winston, re-signed after Jake Fisher went on Injured Reserve, is a reputed good talker and the president of the players association, but still… 

A lot of us gathered around him to ask about the state of the team, and he was diplomatic in regards to how ready he might be to actually play on Sunday against the Titans while also declining to speculate why the team is 3-5. 

RELATED: 5 things the Titans’ coach said about the Bengals

Winston had some interesting things to say about the value of veteran leadership, which isn’t surprising since he’s a veteran leader. 

But, again, the fact he became an immediate go-to guy for that type of question says a lot about the composition of the locker room and the state of the team. 

There are plenty of exciting young talents in Cincinnati, but who is going to give them direction? 

Head coach Marvin Lewis said unlike Dick LeBeau, he won’t be coaching until he is 80 years old, but he did get excited when someone brought up Pittsburgh’s pass out of the punting formation that provided a key first down three weeks ago. 

RELATED: Who is on this week’s injury report?

Lewis mostly maintained the party line about the key to playing better is, well, playing better, but he got excited when special teams mistakes became a topic of conversation

One got the impression those could be a symbol of the big picture with the team. Not enough guys doing their job to add up to winning football. 

Maybe he feels like the special teams mistakes broke the damn that was being held together by the defense while everyone waited for the offense to come around. 

A lot of football games can be won by playing good defense and special teams if an offense can be opportunistic, but the Bengals have not even managed that. 

Why expect it to change? 

Speaking of Fisher, Lewis told a national radio show this morning an irregular heartbeat is what ended his season. 

How that went from a private matter he wouldn’t discuss with local media Wednesday to something fit to be shared with a larger audience Thursday is a little puzzling. 

Maybe it’s as simple as Fisher giving his permission in the intervening time. Maybe Lewis just likes to stick it to the local media when he gets a chance. 

At any rate, hopefully Fisher is able to make a full recovery and next year’s coach is more willing to talk to the people who cover his team about his team… 

As expected, Wednesday was a big day for Dayton Flyers basketball as four-star point guard Dwayne Cohill signed his national letter of intent. 

Indications from the players are new coach Anthony Grant wants to get out an run, to play a free-flowing NBA-style game. 

That is going to require strong ball-handling, so point guards are at a premium. 

PHOTOS: 21 fantastic old images of UD Arena

I see that position as a pretty fascinating one on this year’s team as the Flyers return veteran John Crosby and bring in freshman Jalen Crutcher

Tom Archdeacon wrote this week about Crutcher’s recruitment. Check it out! 

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson had a rough time recovering from jaw injury he received against Cardinals

Published: Friday, November 17, 2017 @ 5:10 PM

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson had to admit that the shot he took in Week 1o from Arizona Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby set him back for a few days.

There was some controversy after that hit, when Wilson was forced off of the field to be examined for concussion symptoms. He went into the injury tent, and emerged from it instantly to miss only one play.

Wilson was diagnosed with a nearly broken jaw, and had to wear a splint that looked like a mouthguard for some days after the game to reset it. He admitted that the injury was painful and restrictive.

“Really for the first two and a half to three days I couldn’t really eat anything,” Wilson said, via The News Tribune’s Gregg Bell. “Just doing smoothies and all that kind of stuff.”

While Wilson was injured, he posted a video of himself with the splint on accompanied by the hashtags #Brutal, #Jaws, #MyFaceHurts.

My Jaw is hurt and Dr. is making me wear this to fix and realign my disc in my jaw. #Brutal #Jaws #MyFaceHurts

A post shared by Russell Wilson (@dangerusswilson) on

While Wilson tried to have fun with the pain, the Seahawks had some questions to answer about their handling of Wilson once he was sent off of the field. The NFL investigated their handling of the injury, and on Sunday ruled that the Seahawks did indeed violate the league’s concussion protocol, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The NFL has not yet decided on a penalty.

 

Tennessee SEC Country picks: No one believes in Vols or Vanderbilt

Published: Friday, November 17, 2017 @ 5:08 PM

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The close of college football’s regular season is fast approaching, and the reality for Tennessee is there likely won’t be any more opportunities for the Vols.

Tennessee (4-6, 0-6 SEC) is a two-touchdown underdog to LSU (7-3, 4-2) at 7 p.m. Saturday under the lights at Neyland Stadium.

The Vols’ seniors say they are motivated to try to become the first Tennessee football team to win a bowl game four straight seasons. But the Vols would need to pull off an upset this week, and then finish with a home win over Vanderbilt next week to make that happen.

It has been a rough season for Tennessee football leading up to Coach Butch Jones being fired with two games remaining in his fifth season at the helm.

Injuries have plagued the Vols the last two seasons and continue to play a factor entering into the matchup with the Bayou Bengals.

Tennessee has yet to announce if starting offensive tackles Brett Kendrick and Drew Richmond, who have missed the last two games after suffering concussions at Kentucky, will be available for the game.

Here’s a look at how SEC Country’s media team of beat writers Mike Griffith and Blake Morgan, along with special contributor Dustin Dopirak and podcast host Josh Ward, see the action shaking out in the SEC.

SEC football picks

Mercer at Alabama (-51)

Blake’s pick: Alabama 45, Mercer 0

Dustin’s pick: Alabama 77, Mercer 0

Josh’s pick: Alabama 45, Mercer 3

Mike’s pick: Alabama 63, Mercer 3

Louisiana-Monroe at Auburn (-37)

Blake’s pick: Auburn 42, Louisiana-Monroe 3

Dustin’s pick: Auburn 56, Louisiana-Monroe 7

Josh’s pick: Auburn 42, Louisiana-Monroe 10

Mike’s pick: Auburn 50, Louisiana-Monroe 10

Mississippi State (-11) at Arkansas

Blake’s pick: Mississippi State 35, Arkansas 21

Dustin’s pick: Mississippi State 38, Arkansas 17

Josh’s pick: Mississippi Staset 35, Arkansas 27

Mike’s pick: Arkansas 30, Mississippi State 24

Kentucky at Georgia (-22)

Blake’s pick: Georgia 38, Kentucky 21

Dustin’s pick: Georgia 45, Kentucky 17

Josh’s pick: Georgia 31, Kentucky 17

Mike’s pick: Georgia 35, Kentucky 10

Wofford at South Carolina (-28.5)

Blake’s pick: South Carolina 35, Wofford 7

Dustin’s pick: South Carolina 55, Wofford 10

Josh’s pick: South Carolina 35, Wofford 6

Mike’s pick: South Carolina 42, Wofford 10

UAB at Florida (-10.5)

Blake’s pick: Florida 21, UAB 14

Dustin’s pick: Florida 28, UAB 14

Josh’s pick: UAB 28, Florida 24

Mike’s pick: Florida 31, UAB 20

Missouri (-7.5) at Vanderbilt

Blake’s pick: Missouri 42, Vanderbilt 21

Dustin’s pick: Missouri 42, Vanderbilt 21

Josh’s pick: Missouri 36, Vanderbilt 21

Mike’s pick: Missouri 27, Vanderbilt 20

Texas A&M at Ole Miss (-2.5)

Blake’s pick: Texas A&M 35, Ole Miss 32

Dustin’s pick: Texas A&M 35, Ole Miss 27

Josh’s pick: Texas A&M 31, Ole Miss 30

Mike’s pick: Ole Miss 29, Texas A&M 23

LSU (-14) at Tennessee

Blake’s pick: LSU 35, Tennessee 14

“The Vols lose the chance to play and win a fourth straight bowl game when a more talented LSU team comes to town.”

Dustin’s pick: LSU 45, Tennessee 21

“If Missouri can run all over Tennessee’s defense, so can LSU.”

Josh’s pick: LSU 35, Tennessee 17

“Tennessee will give its best effort, but it won’t be enough against a team with far more firepower on both sides of the ball.”

Mike’s pick: LSU 27, Tennessee 13

“LSU is better at the line of scrimmage, and the Tigers are playing with more continuity against a banged-up Vols team.”

Louisville football: Former Georgia coach Jim Donnan thinks Tennessee should hire Bobby Petrino

Published: Friday, November 17, 2017 @ 5:07 PM

The college football regular season hasn’t even ended yet, and already the coaching carousel is in full swing.

The most talked-about current openings are at Tennessee and Florida. Friday, ESPN college football analyst Paul Finebaum and former Georgia football coach Jim Donnan discussed who they believe the Volunteers will hire.

Donnan turned heads by saying the school should make Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino its top choice.

“If I was going to hire the guy at Tennessee tomorrow, I’d go straight up and try to hire Bobby Petrino,” Donnan said.

Petrino’s name has been speculated about in conjunction with the Tennessee opening before, when Oliver Connelly of the Read Optional speculated that Petrino would be a likely candidate to replace fired head coach Butch Jones. Petrino, however, has not alluded to having any interest in the position.

Prior to this season, Petrino signed a new 7-year, $31.7 million contract and said he wanted to finish his career at Louisville,  according to a Louisville Courier-Journal story. However, if Tennessee — or any other school — is interested, it might be able to lure Petrino away from Louisville.

Due to the firing Louisville athletics director Tom Jurich as a result of allegations of a college basketball recruiting scandal,  Petrino’s buyout has been cut from $8 million to $4 million.

Charleston Classic bracket update: Temple advances to final

Published: Thursday, November 16, 2017 @ 5:19 PM

Highlights: Dayton vs. Hofstra

Temple advanced to the championship game of the Charleston Classic, beating Auburn 88-74 on Friday at TD Arena.

UD NOTES: Antetokounmpo plays well in his second game

The Owls (2-0) will play Clemson (2-0) or Hofstra (3-0), who meet in the second semifinal at 9:30 p.m. Friday (ESPNU).

Old Dominion beat Indiana State 62-44 in the consolation bracket Friday. Dayton (1-1) plays Ohio (1-1) at 7 p.m. (ESPNEWS) in the second game of the consolation round.

Dayton will play Old Dominion (3-1) at 3:30 p.m. Sunday (ESPN3) in the fifth-place game if it beats Ohio or Indiana State (1-2) at 1 p.m. (ESPN3) if it loses to Ohio.

RELATED: Five takeaways from Dayton’s loss

Dayton’s 72-69 loss to Hofstra in the first round eliminated the possibility of it playing Auburn, which visits UD Arena on Nov. 29. 

Auburn made 8 of 33 3-pointers (24.2) percent in its loss to Temple. Desean Murray, who scored 11, was the only Auburn player in double figures.