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Texas gets short trip, faces Oregon State in Alamo

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Texas gets short trip, faces Oregon State in Alamo

Texas will make a short postseason trip this year to face No. 15 Oregon State in the Alamo Bowl.

The Longhorns (8-4) will need only to zip down Interstate 35 to San Antonio for the Dec. 29 game. It will be Texas' first appearance in the bowl since 2006, when the Alamo Bowl enjoyed its second-best crowd and second-best television ratings in its 20-year history as the Longhorns beat Iowa 26-24.

``You're never sure where you get to go, and we're fortunate to get to go to a city that we love and appreciate but also that the parents of our players and the high school coaches can come and watch,'' coach Mack Brown said.

Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro said he expected it to be ``a home game.''

``I believe the place will be filled up. There are Texas fans all over the country, and since we are right here in Texas, I know the fans are going to be out and are going to be really excited,'' said running back Malcolm Brown, who's from San Antonio.

The bowl presents a little bit of home for some of the Oregon State contingent, too. Coach Mike Riley spent two years there coaching the San Antonio Riders of the World Football League.

``I personally love the city, have been back every year since I coached there back in the early '90s,'' Riley said. ``So, it's just personally a special, special treat for me and my family. All of our players will be truly excited about the chance to play.''

The two coaches also have a personal connection. They met when Riley was with the San Diego Chargers and went to pro days, and they've developed a friendship through Nike events and American Football Coaches Association committees.

Brown called Riley a ``great friend of mine.''

Separate from that, the state of Texas has been an important talent pipeline for Riley, providing ex-Beavers standouts James and Jacquizz Rodgers and current leading rusher Storm Woods, who is from Pflugerville, just outside Austin.

``We're excited to bring Storm back home, and we've got a couple other guys on our team from Texas. It'll be really fun for them,'' Riley said. ``We've done some recruiting down there.

``We actually got started back about six years ago with the Rodgers brothers ... They've really impacted not only our football but all of Oregon State. They kind of became rock stars in our world up here.''

The Beavers (9-3) will be playing in a bowl game for the first time in three years, but will do so without senior running back Jordan Jenkins. Riley said Jenkins broke his ankle in the season finale and won't play.

Texas could also be without a running back. Brown said Joe Bergeron's status is uncertain because of a shoulder injury.

``I think it's just great to be in a bowl game and have that extra time with your team,'' said Riley, who is 5-1 in bowl games. ``I always look at the game as a great reward for the season that you've just been through, and really a good chance to get ready and play.''

``It's a great, great bonus to be in a bowl game,'' he added.

Riley said he's not sure whether Sean Mannion or Cody Vaz will start. Both played as Oregon State set a school scoring record in a 77-3 rout of Nicholls State in its season finale Saturday.

``I don't think we'll decide for a while how we're going to go,'' Riley said.

Texas is coming off back-to-back losses, on Thanksgiving against TCU and Saturday at Fiesta Bowl-bound Kansas State. The Longhorns have won six of their last seven bowl games, including last season's Holiday Bowl.

``I think it worked out perfect for us today and the guys will be excited about it,'' Brown said. ``Unlike Mike, who won yesterday big, our guys lost. So, they'll be down a little bit for a while here, but they'll pick themselves up. This will be a real upper for them to get ready for the challenge of Oregon State.''

Both previous meetings were played in Austin and won by the Longhorns, 35-0 in 1980 and 61-16 in 1987.

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AP Sports Writer Anne M. Peterson contributed to this report from Portland, Ore.

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Trade to Caps potentially offers Jerabek what he never got in Montreal

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USA TODAY Sports

Trade to Caps potentially offers Jerabek what he never got in Montreal

Defenseman Jakub Jerabek is really happy about the opportunity to play with the Washington Capitals, but it could have come at a better time. The trade came with his parents already on their way from the Czech Republic to visit him.

“It was crazy days past three days because I had my parents on the way to Montreal and they didn't know so it was a big surprise for them,” Jerabek told reporters Saturday after his first skate with the team.

A native of the Czech Republic, Jerabek signed his first NHL contract with the Montreal Canadiens in May 2017. After spending some time in the AHL and struggling to consistently earn a spot in the Canadiens’ lineup, he knew a trade was possible.

“My family, maybe we expected some trade. When its come with Caps and it was Washington, I was really happy.”

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Jerabek said he came into the NHL with no expectations and was simply happy for the opportunity, but it is fair to wonder if he was not just the least bit frustrated with how he was utilized by Montreal.

For a player with experience playing for the national team, the Czech league and the KHL, getting only 25 games with a bad Montreal team seems a bit low.

“In first two weeks, I didn't know what's going on because the coaches just told me that I played well, but we just make some competition between the [defensemen] and that I have to wait for my next chance,” Jerabek said. “It was hard, but now I'm happy down here.”

Washington now offers a very different opportunity. In need of help on the blue line, Jeraebek has the chance to earn consistent playing time for a team on pace to reach the postseason.

Jerabek will not play in Saturday’s game against Buffalo, but he was hopeful he would be in the lineup for Monday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

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For now, Jerabek and head coach Barry Trotz are unclear as to what his ultimate role on the team will be. With eight defensemen now on the roster, Trotz cautioned any lineup decision could not be rushed because of the trickle-down effect it will have on the other players.

“You always look at chemistry and all that with your group depending how high that player goes up the lineup, it affects different people,” Trotz said. “In a forward group, if you get a guy that you all of a sudden stick on the first line, there's four other guys that are bumped down and one guy's bumped out.”

The addition of Jerabek, however, offers the Caps another defenseman who can quickly move the puck out of the defensive zone, something the team has struggled with immensely throughout the season. Though he shoots left, he also said he is comfortable playing on the right said and has played there regularly over the past few years. That provides the lineup with some flexibility on the third pair behind Matt Niskanen and John Carlson.

As for Jerabek’s parents, they will be arriving in Washington on Saturday.

“I tried to figure out the situation with them to get them to here and they will come today,” he said. “So I'm really happy.”

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

Instead of visiting the White House when they come to Washington this week to play the Wizards, the defending-champion Golden State Warriors plan to hold an event with D.C.-area kids.

Their invitation was rescinded by president Donald Trump following a back-and-forth between the two sides last year. After the Warriors won the title, they openly questioned whether they should follow the tradition given many of the players and coaches disagree with his policies. Trump took the opportunity away before they came to a final decision.

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The Warriors' event will be closed off to the media and held at an undisclosed location. It is set for Tuesday, the day before they play the Wizards at Capital One Arena. The Warriors had the option of holding a ceremony with other politicians in the Democratic party, but decided that would send the wrong message. 

"It's their championship. They got disinvited to the White House, so it's up to them what they wanted to do. So they made their plans," coach Steve Kerr said. "I want the players to have a good day and to do something positive and to enjoy what they're doing."

The Warriors are the first NBA team to make this choice since Trump was elected president. Last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers held their celebration with president Barack Obama in November. They did so just days after Trump was elected and LeBron James questioned at the time whether he would visit the White House with Trump in office.

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Sports teams visiting the White House goes back to the mid-1800s. The first World Series title team to visit was the 1924 Washington Senators. By the 1960s, NBA teams were going and by the 1980s NFL and NHL teams made it a tradition.

Entire teams snubbing the White House is unusual, but many players have turned down the opportunity. In the NBA, some famous cases include Larry Bird in 1984 and Michael Jordan in 1991, according to Rolling Stone.

Perhaps the Warriors start a trend, or maybe it will be a one-off thing. Regardless, the alternative they chose is a respectable one. 

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