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Brown giving more attention to Longhorns defense

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Brown giving more attention to Longhorns defense

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) Mack Brown is doing double duty these days.

On top of his head coaching responsibilities, he also is attending meetings of his underachieving Texas defense and watching the unit more closely at practice.

The defense needs the help, and it's a safe bet Brown will be alongside defensive coordinator Manny Diaz in preparing for a stiff test Saturday when Texas plays at No. 20 Texas Tech, which is averaging 507 yards of offense a game.

``We have to play better on defense,'' said Brown, who acknowledged he's been frustrated by the unit's poor play and is working to help simplify its schemes. ``We know that. The staff's not stupid.''

For the first time since at least 1950, the Texas defense has allowed more than 600 yards in back-to-back games (Oklahoma and Baylor). It could end up setting unenviable school records for average yards given up and total points allowed.

Texas is No. 108 in the nation in stopping the rush and 56th in stopping the pass. The Longhorns are 96th in total defense, a far cry from finishing last season 11th .

If last week is an indication, the defense might finally be coming around. Texas gave up only 273 total yards, its second-best performance this season, in a 21-17 win at Kansas.

``Defensively, I thought there was a shot of confidence on Saturday, maybe for the first time in a long time,'' said Brown, who has never been a defensive coordinator. ``They haven't had a lot to be proud of. They haven't had a lot to build on. This gives them something to build on.''

The improvement in the comeback win at Kansas came against a team that isn't a passing threat behind redshirt freshman quarterback Michael Cummings, making the 234 rushing yards Texas allowed look a bit less impressive.

Three weeks ago, Texas senior safety Kenny Vaccaro called out his teammates, suggesting some on defense weren't playing very hard. After Texas got drubbed 63-21 by Oklahoma, he cited a ``blooper reel'' of missed tackles and muffed assignments.

But Red Raiders quarterback Seth Doege isn't paying attention to numbers from the Texas defense.

``I think there are times where Texas looks like world beaters on defense,'' said Doege, who's thrown for 30 touchdowns and 2,580 yards. ``And there are times that they're not so good on defense. But I expect them to come in here, get geared up and ready to roll since it's a rival game.''

Injuries have played a part. Jordan Hicks, the defense's best and most experienced linebacker, went out in the third game with a hip flexor injury. He won't play against the Red Raiders (6-2, 3-2). Next went defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat, who had a season-ending chest muscle tear.

Longhorns cornerback Quandre Diggs said things ``clicked'' at Kansas and the defense found a groove. He's hoping that carries over when they travel to Lubbock.

``Go out, play tough, physical. That's the main thing,'' he said.

When asked to rate his job performance, Diaz settled on ``incomplete'' because there are still four games remaining - a third of the regular season.

``For whatever we've come through, we've managed to win six games and only lose two,'' he said. ``The players still believe in what we're doing and believe in each other. I think we're poised to finish the season on a very high note and if we do, then we can evaluate where it stands.''

Red Raiders coach Tommy Tuberville has watched Texas (6-2, 3-2) struggle against the run. In four of its five Big 12 games, the Longhorns defense has allowed 234 rushing yards or more.

Texas Tech's third-year coach said he's sure Texas will continue to work on stopping the rush.

But, he said, ``there is no secret to what we do. We throw it. We won't change anything for who we play.''

4.19.19: Minor league baseball makes big improvements to fan stadium experience

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USA TODAY Sports

4.19.19: Minor league baseball makes big improvements to fan stadium experience

By Rick Horrow

Podcast edited by Tanner Simkins

 

TO LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST, CLICK HERE

 

  • Heads up! This year, Minor League Baseball fans might notice new digital screens and displays at their favorite stadiums. Together with ISM Connect, over 25 MiLB teams will be adding new smart displays to their ballparks. But beyond delivering unique stories and creative ads to fans during each game, these displays are also equipped with smart cameras to measure audience engagement. These smart cameras will help keep ads and content fresh. The cameras record anonymous interactions – how long someone watches the screen or their age range – not individual images of specific people. By measuring foot traffic and engagement, MiLB teams and ad sponsors can better understand who their fans are, what resonates with them, and how they’re experiencing each game. The result is a better, more engaging experience for fans, and a better way for teams and partners to learn how to best serve their loyal audience.
  • The Boston Marathon passes $200 million in economic impact, and welcomes seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson to its field. This year’s Boston Marathon, held Monday April 15 and carried on NBCSports Network, will be the 123rd running of the race that winds its way 26.2 miles from the town of Hopkinton to the finish line at Copley Square. It is the world’s oldest annual marathon, starting in 1897 after the successful debut of the marathon at the first modern Olympics in 1896. The Boston Marathon is traditionally held on Patriots Day, the third Monday in April. The Boston Red Sox also have a traditional home game on Patriots Day with an 11:05 a.m. first pitch against the Orioles this year. Boston is among the six largest marathons, along with Tokyo, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York City. A special prize purse is given to runners who accumulate the most points in the majors. Here’s a bit of trivia: Just five national sporting events were held during the two World Wars, and the Boston Marathon was one. The others? The Kentucky Derby, Penn Relays, Rose Parade, and Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
  • La Liga, Spanish soccer’s top-flight league, has been named the eighth biggest brand domestically, according to a report by valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance. The report places La Liga above major Spanish brands such as the insurance provider Mapfre and telecommunications company Movistar. Using its brand strength score metric, a figure based on calculations regarding emotional connection, financial performance and sustainability, Brand Finance gave La Liga a score of 80.7 out of 100. Fashion retailer Zara topped the Brand Finance list overall, with the likes of Santander and Iberdrola also featuring inside its top ten. The new 2019 report marks the first time a sports league has appeared in Brand Finance’s top ten, highlighting the continued growth of La Liga. Brand Finance values the league body at $548 million. Based on monetary value along it occupies 50th place on the list, a considerable drop. However, taking into account the value of participating league clubs – which includes the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid – La Liga’s overall value jumps to $4.5 billion, which would place it sixth on that list.

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Amidst Jags controversy, Landon Collins goes full Suge Knight to recruit Jalen Ramsey to Redskins

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Amidst Jags controversy, Landon Collins goes full Suge Knight to recruit Jalen Ramsey to Redskins

Even during this relatively quiet period of the NFL calendar, there's still plenty of controversy around the league.

Take Jacksonville for example, where Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey has been firing back at executive vice president Tom Coughlin for saying he wants every player to attend the team's voluntary offseason workouts. Ramsey, as you may have already guessed, has elected to skip these workouts. 

Seeing an opportunity, new Redskins safety Landon Collins invited Ramsey to Washington via Twitter, going into full Suge Knight "Come to Death Row" mode to make his pitch. 

Ramsey seemed quite amused by the prospect, but also didn't seem totally opposed to the idea of teaming up with Collins in D.C. 

While it's unlikely Washington trades for Ramsey, nothing's stopping you from firing up the NFL Roster Builder and putting the two-time Pro Bowler in burgundy and gold, Redskins fans! 

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