Patriots

Texas Tech hires familiar face as new coach

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Texas Tech hires familiar face as new coach

From Comcast SportsNetLUBBOCK, Texas (AP) -- New Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury has wanted to be back in Lubbock since he left a decade ago.Late last week the former Red Raiders quarterback was watching film to prepare for Texas A&M's game against Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl and getting ready to accompany Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel to New York, where he became the first freshman ever to win the Heisman Trophy.On Saturday, the Texas Tech job came open when Tommy Tuberville left after three seasons to take the Cincinnati job.The next day Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt talked to Kingsbury about the job twice."It's just been a whirlwind but I couldn't be happier, beyond ecstatic to be back. It feels like home," Kingsbury said after landing in Lubbock on Wednesday night. "This is where I wanted to be, it's where I've wanted to be."Kingsbury and Hocutt met in Austin yesterday and the deal was sealed there Wednesday afternoon. Hocutt announced the news with a video posted on Twitter not long after."Wreck em Tech," Kingsbury said in the video, giving the school's Guns Up sign when the camera panned to him.Hocutt and Kingsbury agreed to a four-year deal, the terms of which have not been settled. Kingsbury will be formally introduced at a news conference Friday.Kingsbury was the Aggies offensive coordinator this year. If it was any other school, Kingsbury said, he would have stayed at A&M."He understands," Kingsbury said of Manziel. "He knows how I feel about him. He's as good a player as I've ever seen and probably the fiercest competitor I've ever been around, so it was definitely hard with that. But this is where I belong."Kingbury was the first in a string of record-setting quarterbacks for the Red Raiders under former coach Mike Leach. Kingsbury passed for more than 12,000 yards at Tech.He has never been a head coach and at 33, he'll be one of the youngest in major college football.Hocutt called him the "right fit" for Texas Tech."He's prepared his whole life for this," said Hocutt, who was the same age as Kingsbury when he got his first athletic director job at Ohio University. "He's ready and I had no hesitation."Not long after Kingsbury was hired former Texas Tech receiver Danny Amendola, now with the St. Louis Rams, tweeted: "We jus got our swagger back. Wreck em TECH. Lets ride."Kingsbury flew back from Austin with Hocutt and other school administrators, who all were meeting with the university's regents late Wednesday.Red Raiders fans never warmed to Tuberville. Texas Tech still emphasized the passing game and the spread offense under Tuberville, but many Tech fans had a hard time getting past the firing of the popular Leach.There's no doubt about what kind of offense the Red Raiders will run now. Kingsbury has been part of some of the most prolific offenses in the country the past few years. His offenses spread the field and move quickly, favoring the up-tempo that is all the rage. Texas A&M is third in the nation in total offense at 552 yards per game heading into the Cotton Bowl against Oklahoma.Before Tuberville came to West Texas, the Red Raiders had two coaches in 24 years -- Spike Dykes and Leach. Kingsbury becomes their second coach in four years.Kingsbury will work with sophomore quarterback Michael Brewer, this season's backup to Seth Doege. Brewer played high school football under Chad Morris, who Hocutt interviewed for the Red Raiders coaching job Tuesday in South Carolina. Hocutt later flew to Nashville, Tenn., to meet with Titans defensive coordinator Jerry Gray.Kingsbury knows Brewer's talent, calling him a "winner" and a "heck of a player.""I just got through coaching one of those up that was pretty decent, so hopefully we can get him going," he said of Brewer.Kingsbury followed Kevin Sumlin to A&M from Houston, where he mentored quarterback Case Keenum and the 2011 Cougars led the nation in total offense, passing offense and scoring.He is a Texas native from New Braunfels, not far from Austin.During his years as Texas Tech's quarterback Kingsbury put together some monster passing games passing. He still holds the school record for most completions in a game. Against Missouri in 2002 he completed 49 of 70 passes for five touchdowns and 510 yards.Drafted by the New England Patriots in 2003, Kingsbury played for five NFL teams. He also played in the Canadian and All-American football leagues.The past two seasons have seen the Red Raiders slide down the stretch. This year they lost four of their last five games and in 2011 they dropped five straight to close the season for the program's first losing season since 1992. Under Tuberville, Texas Tech did not have a winning Big 12 season.The Red Raiders play Minnesota in the Meineke Car Care Bowl on Dec. 28 in Houston.Chris Thomsen, who led the offensive line under Tuberville, will coach the bowl game.

Patriots cut ties with Cassius Marsh, sign Eric Lee to help front-seven

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Patriots cut ties with Cassius Marsh, sign Eric Lee to help front-seven

Cassius Marsh was brought to New England to help a depleted defensive end group and play in the kicking game. The Patriots wanted him badly enough that they parted with two draft picks -- a fifth and a seventh -- to acquire him in a trade with the Seahawks just before the start of the season. 

Less than three months later, they've decided to part ways with the 6-foot-4, 245-pounder. 

Marsh played in nine games for the Patriots this season, providing the team with an edge defender and someone with special-teams experience. He blocked a kick in Week 7 against the Falcons that earned him an enthusiastic attaboy from coach Bill Belichick. 

Coming off the edge, Marsh recorded one sack and 13 hurries. Against the run, he was used more sparingly, and he was one of the Patriots on the scene for Marshawn Lynch's 25-yard run in the second quarter on Sunday. He played in just two snaps in Mexico City after missing the previous week's game in Denver due to a shoulder injury. 

Without Marsh the Patriots remain thin at defensive end. In order to help bolster that spot, the corresponding move the Patriots made to fill the open spot on their 53-man roster was to sign defensive lineman Eric Lee off of the Bills practice squad. 

Lee entered the league with the Texans last season as an undrafted rookie out of South Florida. Listed at 6-foot-3, 260 pounds, Lee has bounced on and off of the Bills practice squad this season since being released by the Texans before this season.

The Patriots got a good look at Lee during joint practices last summer with the Texans at The Greenbrier in West Virginia. In the preseason game with the Texans that week, Lee played 40 snaps and according to Pro Football Focus he had two quarterback hurries. The Patriots have a history of snagging players they've practiced against, and with Lee, that trend continues

Bruins still holding out on a goalie decision for Devils game

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Bruins still holding out on a goalie decision for Devils game

BRIGHTON -- Coming off a pair of back-to-back wins from backup goaltender Anton Khudobin, the Bruins are still undecided about what they’re going to do between the pipes Wednesday night against the New Jersey Devils.

On the one hand, the Bruins are very tempted to ride the hot goaltending hand with Khudobin a strong 5-0-2 record on the season and a .935 save percentage that currently leads all goaltenders across the league. There’s a school of thought that the B’s should simply keep plugging Khudobin into the lineup until he actually loses a game, and begins to cool down a little bit between the pipes after stopping 63-of-65 shots against LA and San Jose.

At the same time it will be over a week since Tuukka Rask has played in a game if the Bruins go with Khudobin on Wednesday night against the Devils, and Bruce Cassidy was clear to stress that Rask is still their No. 1 guy. So that’s the dilemma the Bruins are facing with Cassidy calling it “a good problem to have” based on Khudobin’s strong play from the backup spot.

That is a far cry from what the Bruins experienced a year ago with the same goalie, and a reason for optimism that their goaltending situation will be better off throughout a long season.

“Do you go with the hot hand and leave your No. 1 sitting where he’s beginning to wonder what the hell is going on? That’s the decision,” said Bruce Cassidy. “We need to keep them both in a good place, and not lose out on [Khudobin’s] good run while keeping Tuukka focused and confident in his game. That’s what we’re battling and I talk to Goalie Bob [Essensa] about it every day. We’ll make our decision [on Wednesday] and we hope it’s the right one.

“It’s a long year so no matter who we use there are a lot of starts. I don’t think Khudobin is going to go ice cold if he use Tuukka tomorrow, and I don’t think Tuukka is going to blow a gasket if we go with the hot hand. For me I don’t think it’s that big of a decision.”

Perhaps Rask blowing a gasket wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world given the way he’s played this season.

The one underlying concern for Rask beyond the .897 save percentage this season is that his game has really been in a different place for the last three seasons. While his .922 career save percentage mark is among the best in the NHL, he has been below that mark in each of the last three seasons while struggling to maintain consistently behind a changing roster that’s turning over to youth and inexperience.

It certainly seems like the Bruins feel it’s premature to label Rask as anything but their No. 1 goaltender, but the pause they’re giving on Wednesday night’s starter speaks volumes about their current confidence level in each of their puck-stoppers.

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