Redskins

Bears-Bruins expected to be high-scoring

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Bears-Bruins expected to be high-scoring

SAN DIEGO (AP) Now, this could be a Holiday Bowl.

The Baylor Bears (7-5), whose offense ranks first nationally after piling up an average of 578.8 yards, face the UCLA Bruins (9-4) on Thursday night in the game that calls itself ``America's Most Exciting Bowl Game.''

This game should more than ooze offense.

``When people predict a shootout and the head coach is standing up here talking about a shootout, if you're a defensive guy, you bow up a little bit,'' UCLA coach Jim Mora said Wednesday. ``It'll be a great night to be at Qualcomm watching football, because you're going to see some quality football and some exciting football.''

Suffice it to say that the defensive coordinators have been busy.

Baylor senior quarterback Nick Florence, who replaced Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III, leads the nation in total offense with 387.7 yards per game. Senior Terrance Williams is first in yards receiving at 147 per game.

The Bruins, who won the Pac-12 South, are hardly slouches.

Senior running back Johnathan Franklin is UCLA's career leading rusher, with his 1,700 yards this season propelling him to a four-year total of 4,369 yards. He ran for 13 touchdowns and caught two scoring passes.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Brett Hundley is a dual threat, having thrown for 3,411 yards and 26 touchdowns, plus he was the team's second-leading rusher with 365 yards and nine touchdowns.

The over-under for combined points is 81 1/2.

Baylor rebounded from a four-game losing streak in the middle of the season to win four of its last five, including its final three games. Among them was a 52-24 upset of then-No. 2 Kansas State, derailing the Wildcats' hopes for a national championship.

The Bears rank fifth nationally in scoring, averaging 44.1 points per game.

Baylor proved last year that it can be potent in the postseason. It piled up 777 yards in a 67-56 victory against Washington in the Alamo Bowl, which got Huskies defensive coordinator Nick Holt fired two days later.

While Washington did a decent job on Griffin, the Huskies had no answers to stopping a Bears running game that finished with 482 yards rushing - including three backs topping 100 yards - and eight touchdowns rushing.

The Bruins are coming off consecutive losses to Stanford, a 35-17 defeat in the regular-season finale, and then a 27-24 defeat in the Pac-12 championship game.

Including victories against Washington State and USC, the Bruins allowed at least 27 points in each of their last four games.

``I don't think I'm concerned about what happened in the last couple games, but I'm concerned about Baylor, certainly,'' Mora said. ``They put up points at a very fast pace. We'll have our hands full on defense. Offensively, it will be exciting going up against this team to see if we can stay up with them a little bit.''

This will be the first meeting between the teams.

``The funny thing is that we really don't cross paths with them video-wise or even TV, because I go to bed pretty early on Saturday nights and by the time we get the games out that way, it's pretty late our time,'' Baylor coach Art Briles. ``But I've kept up with them. I know they had a real good run and beat some really good people, soundly. That always concerns you as a coach.''

Mora, a two-time NFL head coach and a former assistant with the Chargers, was asked about his possible interest in returning to pro football since San Diego is expected to fire Norv Turner at the end of the season.

``I have an interest right now in beating the Baylor Bears,'' Mora said.

``I'm not going to talk about the Chargers,'' he added. ``The Chargers have a head coach who is a very good friend of mine. I'm not going to disrespect him by saying anything about that job.''

Mora called Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano ``one of my best friends and I've known Norv forever. I wish them the best.''

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Joe Gibbs told Ron Rivera that Dan Snyder was never 'an interference' while he coached the Redskins

Joe Gibbs told Ron Rivera that Dan Snyder was never 'an interference' while he coached the Redskins

New Redskins head coach Ron Rivera did plenty of research before accepting the job earlier this month.

Rivera spent 30-35 hours with Redskins owner Dan Snyder before agreeing to be the ninth head coach of the owner's tenure. Additionally, he reached out to legendary Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs, and ended up spending several hours talking with him prior to accepting the job. The two originally spoke on the phone, before the three-time Super Bowl-winning head coach invited Rivera over to his home in Charlotte last month to discuss even further.

On Tuesday, Gibbs spoke on the Carol Maloney show, where he revealed some of the topics he spoke with Rivera about. One of those included the involvement of Snyder, who Gibbs spoke glowingly about.

"Where I felt like I could help the most was telling [Rivera] what it was like working with Dan," Gibbs said. "When I was there, Dan did every single thing he could do to help us win and was never, in any way, an interference. He was always trying to help in every single way he could."

Additionally, Gibbs raved about the Redskins fanbase. He explained to Rivera that fans in D.C. understand football, have been following the team forever, and are some of the most passionate in the sport.

"The other thing I could do, I felt like, was tell him about what it's like coaching in the greatest city in the world with the greatest fans in the world," Gibbs said. "I did tell him I thought it was the greatest job in the NFL."

Gibbs told Maloney that he hates making predictions, but had a strong one about the future of the Redskins fanbase.

"I think our fan base will come roaring back," Gibbs said. "I think [FedEx Field] will be full of Burgundy and Gold. They're going to be cheering their guts out."

When asked if he believed Rivera was the right man to lead the Redskins, Gibbs explained he was thrilled by the hire.

"He was certainly a great choice," Gibbs said. "[He was] Coach of the Year twice, put a team into the Super Bowl. And I think he's kind of a man's man. I think he can talk to the players. And I think he's proven that he can get the job done."

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Gerardo Parra promises the Nationals will return to the postseason

Gerardo Parra promises the Nationals will return to the postseason

Gerardo Parra will be in Japan for the 2020 baseball season, but that hasn't stopped him from promising big things from his former team. 

In an exclusive interview with the Nationals Talk podcast Parra promised that the Nationals will make a playoff run this season.

"I promise you these guys go to the playoffs this year too because these guys have a great heart. I know Rendon is not there but this is baseball and this is a great team."

His message for his former teammates is simple, "don’t lose the emotion, don’t lose the goofy we have right now in the clubhouse… we worked a lot to do that."

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Parra told Nationals Talk that he is so grateful for his time with the team and in the city. 

As the interview wrapped up, he asked if he could have a moment to say something directly to fans. 

He thanked D.C. and everyone who supported the team during this unforgettable season. He hopes fans do not forget how a children's song brought a whole city together, sports fan or not.  
 
 "Enjoy the moment," said Parra. "And baby shark never forget." 

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