Redskins

After dominating Texas, Sooners surge into top 10

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After dominating Texas, Sooners surge into top 10

DALLAS (AP) The wide grins came naturally for Oklahoma's players as they passed around the Golden Hat trophy, celebrating a third straight victory over rival Texas.

Their heads filled with fresh memories of a dominating 63-21 victory against a Longhorns team thought to be better than the mediocre squads of the past two seasons, the Sooners couldn't help but think the grandest thoughts for a season that hit a bump three weeks ago with a loss to Kansas State.

``If we can just harness this game and build on this momentum, take it into practice and realize what we're capable of,'' quarterback Landry Jones said, ``we can go however far we want to go.''

Indeed, the Sooners (4-1, 2-1 Big 12) were at their very best on Saturday at the Cotton Bowl. The defense forced three-and-out after three-and-out as the Texas offense went nowhere for the better part of the day. Jones and the offense clicked, too, unleashing Damien Williams and a potent running game that was all but forgotten in the loss to the Wildcats and piling up 677 yards.

Since that surprising loss at Owen Field, the change is crystal clear. Last week, the Sooners wiped away nearly a decade of frustrations by winning at Texas Tech - a victory that seems even more impressive after the Red Raiders' upset of then-No. 5 West Virginia on Saturday - and doubled down on domination against the Longhorns.

The early season question marks are fading away rapidly, even in the minds of the Sooners' players.

Jones said this game felt different than facing K-State in part because of positive thinking. Instead of worrying about what could go wrong, he thought Oklahoma was able to just play.

``It's as simple as that,'' he said. ``That's what this game is supposed to be played like. No mind, just going out there and cutting loose.''

The Sooners were rewarded for their victory on Sunday, jumping up three spots to No. 10 in The Associated Press Top 25 heading into this week's game against last-place Kansas (1-5, 0-3). Oklahoma is situated third among teams with one loss, behind No. 6 LSU and No. 9 South Carolina.

``There's still a lot of things available for us. Unfortunately we do have one loss and there's a lot of different undefeated teams, so we've got to have something happen for us,'' Jones said. ``But every year something is going to happen. Something's going to go.''

Cornerback Aaron Colvin, who nabbed an interception for the second straight week, said he's viewing ``every game as an elimination game'' at this point because the ultimate prize is the national championship.

That means taking no game lightly.

``It's great. Any time you can beat Texas, and especially in the fashion that we beat them in, it's only an energy-booster,'' Colvin said. ``But it all stops on Monday. Just like Texas Tech, we came back Monday and we forgot about that game. I honestly felt like all our focus was on Texas. That's the same thing we're going to do about Kansas.

``Regardless of who we're playing, we're going out there Monday ready to go into battle.''

Just as he was eager to tamp down criticism after the 24-19 loss to Kansas State last month, coach Bob Stoops doesn't want anyone getting too carried away by how impressive the Sooners were in their latest game. He refuses to put any greater meaning into one victory.

``We're a team that's 4-1 right now. We beat Texas, we beat Texas Tech in the league. That's it,'' Stoops said. ``We've got a long road to travel. This game, for my 14 years, has never been the end-all on our season. It's a part of it, but we've got a long road still in front of us. We've got to keep getting better. I think we will.''

One driving force will be the memory of what can go wrong. Three turnovers played a role in the Kansas State loss, and a sturdy defense couldn't come up with third-down stops when it mattered most in the fourth quarter.

``It's not miles, it's inches of building blocks on top of each game,'' Jones said. ``We're capable of doing, I think, whatever we want to do. We're capable of being this type of offense and being dominant and then we're also capable of a Kansas State-type of offense and not playing very well.''

Going forward, the Sooners will try to duplicate the approach that proved so successful against the Longhorns. Not every game will be a rivalry game but there are a slew of challenges, including a visit by No. 5 Notre Dame on Oct. 27, a trip to No. 17 West Virginia on Nov. 17 and the Bedlam showdown against Oklahoma State.

``We're going to attack,'' Jones said. ``We're going to be the people that are going to push the pace and we're going to set the tempo. We're not going to wait around for anybody to tell us what we're going to do.

``We're going to go out there and we're going to play hard, we're going to play tough and we're going to play Sooner football.''

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Injuries to Marshall and Perine will open the door for Kapri Bibbs to make the Redskins

Injuries to Marshall and Perine will open the door for Kapri Bibbs to make the Redskins

Following the Redskins' Week 2 preseason win over the Jets on Thursday, Jay Gruden said both Byron Marshall and Samaje Perine were "OK" after the two running backs each left the game with injuries. Marshall's was labeled a lower-leg issue, while Perine's injury was called a twisted ankle.

Timetables for their recoveries were then reported on Friday, and while the two members of the backfield escaped anything too severe, they will each be sidelined for decent chunks of time.

Perine will miss a week, according to Mike Garafolo. Marshall, meanwhile, is looking at a longer two-to-four week recovery, per Tom Pelissero. Those pieces of news hurt them in more ways than one.

Derrius Guice's torn ACL in Week 1 of the team's exhibition schedule meant that Marshall and Perine both had a big-time opportunity to step up and earn a spot on Washington's 53-man roster, spots that were harder to envision for them when Guice was healthy.

Overall, the two were slated to compete with Kapri Bibbs for what will likely be two spaces on the depth chart behind the absolutely safe Chris Thompson and Rob Kelley. Now, though, they'll be forced to sit until they're healed up, giving Bibbs more chances in practice and the two remaining August contests to earn Jay Gruden's trust.

Against New York, Bibbs struggled on the ground but led the offense with seven grabs, including a 29-yard gain off a screen play. That performance absolutely brought him closer in the race with Marshall, who scored vs. the Patriots a week earlier. Next, he'll need to prove he can run effectively between the tackles vs. the Broncos in Week 3, which will put some heat on Perine as well.

The 'Skins have 15 days left until they have to finalize their regular season roster. As things stand now amongst the running backs, Bibbs presently has a real shot at stealing a job from the two shelved RBs. But with the way this race has unfolded thus far, that can all change in a split second. 

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Familiarity for coach and GM should allow Capital City Go-Go to hit ground running

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Associated Press

Familiarity for coach and GM should allow Capital City Go-Go to hit ground running

Despite being a brand new franchise with a new roster and new facilities, the Capital City Go-Go will carry into their inaugural season a level of continuity. Both their general manager and head coach are familiar with what they are getting into and the people they will be working with.

GM Pops Mensah-Bonsu is no stranger to the D.C. community and the Wizards franchise. He made a name for himself starring at George Washington University, spent time with the Wizards as a player in their 2013 training camp and remained a frequent visitor to Wizards games as a scout for the Spurs in recent years.

"To be back in the community and the first general manager of the G-League team is special," Mensah-Bonsu said. "This is D.C.’s team. I want them to embrace us."

Head coach Jarell Christian played college ball in Virginia and goes back several years with Wizards coach Scott Brooks. Christian joined the Oklahoma City's G-League staff when Brooks was in his final year as head coach of the Thunder.

Christian began his coaching journey with an eye trained on how Brooks goes about his job.

"My introduction to pro basketball was under Coach Brooks and his philosophies. A lot of that stuff, I believe in wholeheartedly. That’s my foundation," Christian said. "I got a chance to know him through training camp and throughout that season. He and I developed a bond and a relationship that stood the test of time. To this day, we still talk often. It’s just another chance for me to reconnect with him and to continue to grow our relationship."

The Go-Go intend to make what they do as similar to the Wizards as possible. When guys like Devin Robinson, one of their two-way players, is called up he can step right in without a learning curve of the playbook or how they practice.

Having Christian in place will help that process in particular.

"There won’t be any issue or any slippage with guys going up and down to know what’s in store for them," Christian said. "A lot of the stuff that the Wizards will do, we will implement with the Go-Go. Just some offensive and defensive concepts. Some of the playcalls and the terminology will be the same."

"Whatever you see the Wizards doing, you will probably see the Capital City Go-Go doing, too," Mensah-Bonsu said.

The symmetry between the G-League and the NBA teams will also be helped by the fact they will share the same practice facility. Their proximity will come with many advantages from the Go-Go perspective.

"I think it’s going to help motivate these guys. We’re going to be practicing in the same place that the Wizards do and the Mystics do," Mensah-Bonsu said. "I think if these guys can see Dwight Howard and John Wall and Bradley Beal walking around every day, it will help motivate them to get to that next level."

"The exposure our players get with the Wizards [front office], the Wizards personnel, being able to watch them practice daily, watching their practice habits and what their routines may be, is really big," Christian said.

That element will also apply beyond the players. Christian, who is just 32 years old, will get to watch how an NBA coaching staff operates on a daily basis.

Christian has yet to take a tour of the new building in Ward 8, but he has seen blueprints. Among the amenities the Go-Go will enjoy that other G-League teams do not usually have is a dedicated dining area.

Many G-League teams do not go to that length.

"A lot of organizations do not provide food for their players on a daily basis, but we will. That’s the No. 1 thing in my opinion that’s gonna set us apart from our competitors," he said.

The Go-Go won't take the floor for their first game until November, but it seems like a good foundation is starting to take place.

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