Heisman Watch: Status quo at top


Heisman Watch: Status quo at top

Week four of the college football season provided the following: LSU is the best team in the country right now with wins over 3 Oregon, at 25 Mississippi State and at 16 West Virginia. Clemson's win over Florida State all but solidified The ACC Atlantic Division and their tilt at Virginia Tech this week could very well be an ACC Championship Game preview. Finally, Arizona State's win over USC means that the winner of the ASU-Utah matchup on October 8 is in the driver seat to win the Pac-12 South.

Without further ado, here is your latest Heisman Watch...

Rank PlayerPositionSchool Recent Game Stats Next Game Comment 1a Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford Idle UCLA A bye week can't knock him off from top spot. Inferior competition just might 1b Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State 23-29, 279 yards, 4 TD in win over Tulsa Nevada Needs to continue to throw four and five touchdowns a game. No indication he won't any time soon. 3 Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama 17 rush, 126 yards, 85 receiving yards, receiving TD in 38-14 win over 14 Arkansas At 12 Florida The Crimson Tide will rely on him as they invade The Swamp in a possible SEC Title Game preview 4 Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State 47-60, 437 yards, 2 TD in 30-29 win at 8 Texas A&M Idle, then Kansas Biggest win of the weekend as OSU became a national title contender, and he became a legitimate Heisman hopeful 5 Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin 19-25, 345 yards, 3 TD in 59-10 win over South Dakota. 8 Nebraska A win over Nebraska and the Badgers should be BCS bound, and in a good position to sneak into BCS title game. 6 Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina 20 rush, 77 yards, TD, 73 receiving yards, receiving TD in 21-3 win over Vanderbilt Auburn Didn't put up the video game numbers from previous weeks, but 150 total yards and 2 TDs ain't bad, right? 7 Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor 29-33, 338 yards, 5 TD, 51 rush yards, rush TD in 56-31 win over Rice at Kansas State I want to put him higher but can't until he faces Texas A&M and Oklahoma State. Tough road test in Manhattan this week 8 Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
35-48, 448 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT in win over Missouri. Ball State His numbers are good, don't get me wrong, but not as strong as others and his team "slipped" to 2 in AP Poll 9 LaMichael James, RB, Oregon 23 rush, 288 yards, 2 TD in 56-31 win over Arizona Idle, then Cal Was that loss to LSU this season? 17 yards per rush last week, and 12.5 per rush this week can't be ignored. 10 Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State 11 catches, 121 yards, TD in 30-29 win at 8 Texas A&M Idle, then Kansas Like Ryan Broyles at Oklahoma, won't be able to surpass his own QB. But he is sure fun to watch in that OSU offense.

Shanahan showed patience with Beathard; Will now have to show more

Shanahan showed patience with Beathard; Will now have to show more

Kyle Shanahan is, self admittedly, not a patient person. As he watched quarterback C.J. Beathard run the scout team over the last couple of weeks -- how he visualized an unfamiliar play, went through his progressions and handled the defensive coverages -- the head coach saw rapid improvement every day. But he suppressed any urge to play the rookie before he was ready.

“I tried to wait for the right time for him and the right time for the team,” Shanahan explained.

Down 14-0 to Washington halfway through the second quarter with starter Brian Hoyer struggling, Shanahan knew Beathard’s time had come.

“I felt the team needed it right then,” Shanahan said. “It also made me more confident to do it because I thought he was ready for it, also.”

Moments after the game was over, Shanahan named Beathard the starter. Watching the game tape on the flight home only bolstered his decision.

“By no means was he perfect, missed a couple of things, but that always happens,” Shanahan said. “I thought he came in there, didn’t hesitate, competed. The moment was not too big for him. Made a few plays in rhythm, made a few off schedule plays and was a big reason we got back in that game.”

Beathard led the 49ers on two scoring drives and finished 19-of-36 with 245 passing yards, a touchdown and an interception, though it came on fourth-and-20 on his final pass attempt of the game. On his 45-yard touchdown pass to Aldrick Robinson, Beathard extended the play when the fifth year receiver wasn’t where he expected him to be.

“He was supposed to go to the post for a certain coverage, and they had a busted coverage, so he just hung out there which is why C.J. didn’t see it right away,” Shanahan explained. “We had enough protection where he could take a couple more hitches. He drove the pocket and saw where Aldrick was, and he didn’t hesitate. Made that throw with that arm strength.”

Shanahan smirked at his not-so-subtle dig at those who questioned Beathard’s arm strength during the draft process. He sees a quarterback who can make all the throws, and make them from the pocket, and scramble when he needs to. All he needs now, Shanahan contends, is experience.

“It’s about playing in the game and reacting to defenses, reacting to coverages, reacting to adjustments. He’s going to see a lot of things he hasn’t seen before, and that will change each week. It will probably change each quarter.”

Helping Beathard continue to grow through those experiences will require patience, but in this situation, it’s the kind the head coach can handle.

“You’re never going to get a quick answer. You see over time, but he’s got the ability to do it. He’s got the mental toughness to do it. I think he will get better the more he plays.”

Kings look to get healthy with opener just days away


Kings look to get healthy with opener just days away

SACRAMENTO - All hands on deck. The Sacramento Kings open the 2017-18 schedule Wednesday night against the Houston Rockets at Golden 1 Center and it looks like they might do so with a full arsenal of players at their disposal.

Point guard De’Aaron Fox returned to practice on Sunday and then participated in the team’s annual Fanfest. If his dance moves are any indication, the 19-year-old’s back is feeling just fine.

Veteran George Hill tweaked his groin Friday against the Golden State Warriors, leaving his availability for opening night in question. Hill, 31, who has a history of groin injuries, was on the court Monday practicing and said he is ready to play.

“Everything is feeling good right now,” Hill said Monday following practice.

The only player who didn’t practice on Monday is rookie Bogdan Bogdanovic, who sprained his right ankle against the Warriors. According to head coach Dave Joerger,  the team is hopeful that the Serbian sharpshooter will return in time for Game 1.

“We’re still shooting for Wednesday for both of them,” Joerger said of Hill and Bogdanovic.

New look Rockets

The Rockets went 55-27 last season under head coach Mike D’Antoni, but that didn’t stop them from going all in during the offseason. With MVP runner-up James Harden already manning the backcourt, Houston added nine-time All-Star Chris Paul as their new starting point guard.

“Leadership, he’s a floor general,” Hill said about Paul. “Anywhere he goes, he’ll make a team better. We know they were already a good team without him, coming in with him is going to be a bigger task.”

It’s a new look roster and the expectations are huge for the Rockets. Houston averaged 115.3 points per game last season and led the league in both 3-point attempts and makes. This season, they also added two strong perimeter defenders in P.J. Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute.

It’s a huge test coming out of the gate for Sacramento. Following the contest against the Rockets, the Kings hit the road for three straight before returning to Golden 1 next Thursday to face DeMarcus Cousins and the New Orleans Pelicans.

Camp notes

With the season just around the corner, the Sacramento Kings made their final roster cuts on Sunday afternoon. David Stockton, Matt Jones and Reggie Hearn were waived, leaving the Kings with 15 rostered players and two two-way players in Jack Cooley and JaKarr Sampson.

Stockton, Jones and Hearn are all expected to join the Reno Bighorns of the NBA’s G-League.