Washington Football

Memorial at SLU honors Rick Majerus

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Memorial at SLU honors Rick Majerus

ST. LOUIS (AP) Kwamain Mitchell recalled the first time Rick Majerus visited his home, trying to recruit him to Saint Louis. Mitchell's mother made a big meal and after a plate Mitchell was full.

Majerus wasn't, took a look at Mitchell and said, ``With that body you can eat three or four more plates.''

Hundreds of people turned out at Chaifetz Pavilion on the SLU campus Friday to honor the Billikens basketball coach who died Dec. 1 of heart failure at the age of 64. He was remembered fondly, with speakers describing him as funny but passionate, exacting but caring, and a coaching genius who got the best out of his players both on and off the court.

Large photographs near the front showed the rotund coach surrounded by young men a foot taller, working the sidelines, seated on a stool patiently teaching attentive players. Dozens of plays drawn up by Majerus, scribbled in marker on white paper, encircled the room, a practice gym where Majerus spent countless hours passing on his basketball knowledge.

Interim coach Jim Crews, whose team is 5-3 so far this season, said Majerus has made a mark that has resonated through the sport.

``His fingerprint is all over college basketball,'' Crews said. ``Everywhere you go, there he is.''

Majerus demanded effort both in the classroom and on the court. Two of his SLU players, Brian Conklin and Kevin Lisch, were academic all-Americans.

His success on the court was impressive, too - a 517-216 record in 25 seasons, just one of which had a losing record. He had 15 20-win seasons and two 30-win seasons. He led Utah to the 1998 NCAA finals and took 12 teams to the NCAA tournament, winning at least one game in all but one of those appearances.

Milwaukee-born Majerus played on the freshman team at Marquette and got his coaching start as an assistant under Al McGuire in 1971. He was head coach at Marquette from 1983-86, Ball State from 1987-89, Utah from 1989-2004 and, after a few years working as an ESPN commentator, Saint Louis for the past five seasons.

His biggest success was at Utah: A 323-95 record with 10 conference championships in 13 seasons. Three of his Utah players were first-round NBA draft picks.

At SLU, Majerus turned around a program in a decade-long decline. He brought in players from outside the U.S. and got the most out of overlooked prospects, his teams known for their gritty defense. Majerus was 95-69 and led the Billikens to the third round of the NCAA tourney last season, the team's first appearance in the tournament since 2000.

Majerus had been in ill health on and off for years, battling weight and heart problems. He had a stent inserted in August 2011 and missed some games last season after gashing his leg in a collision with players.

He was undergoing evaluation and treatment in California for ongoing heart trouble and the school announced he was on leave in late August. Then in November came the announcement that he would not return.

Crews said he learned a lot of basketball from Majerus, but he learned a lot more about life.

``Family, friends, food, basketball, players - if that was involved Rick was singing and whistling a happy tune,'' Crews said. ``It was always about people and that was what made Rick so special.''

Majerus' funeral Mass is scheduled for Saturday in his hometown of Milwaukee.

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Redspears or not these uniform designs are a great option for Washington

Redspears or not these uniform designs are a great option for Washington

When looking at the endless amounts of fan concepts and designs out there for the Washington Football Team's next name and logo, it's important to remember that not every idea belongs to the name suggestion of the designer. 

Once Washington makes its final decision, you can bet they'll be looking at a number of different options, and if they want to take a look at the fans' work, they could take a Red Wolves logo and match it up with a Red Tails uniform concept and tweak both to match whatever name they choose. 

In that case, whatever name and logo they choose should have these uniforms, plain and simple. 

 

Mike Joseph created these uniforms as part of his Washington Redspears project and did an exceptional job mocking up a number of different modern uniform designs.

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Redspears isn't a likely name change due to reports saying the franchise plans to stay away from Native American imagery, but that doesn't mean we should ignore these designs.

 

These use the burgundy and gold really well and have a unique number font that has worked for NFL teams like the Ravens, Broncos, Bears, Titans and Steelers in the past. 

The great part about this design is it could be easily rebranded to a different. All the franchise would have to do is lose the spear logo and use whatever logo they settle upon. They could even keep the numbers on the helmet as they have currently. Everything else is versatile. 

Between the sleek design, use of colors and the unique number fonts, this has to be one of, if not the best fan-generated uniform mock-up out there. If the Washington Football team uses these but with a different team name and logo, it'd be hard to complain about that decision. 

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Recent numbers indicate just how hard it could be for Antonio Gandy-Golden to help as a rookie

Recent numbers indicate just how hard it could be for Antonio Gandy-Golden to help as a rookie

There were already some decent expectations placed on Antonio Gandy-Golden for 2020 — and then Kelvin Harmon went down. Now, the Day 3 selection is being labeled as someone who needs to really contribute to the Washington Football Team.

But is that too much to ask for a rookie who went on Saturday in the draft? Recent numbers indicate that answer may be yes.

From 2015 to 2019, 25 wide receivers were chosen in the fourth round, which is where Washington nabbed Gandy-Golden a few months ago. Here are some takeaways from looking back on how all of those guys performed in their first professional seasons:

  • Only one target topped 50 catches and 600 yards, and coincidentally enough, it was Jamison Crowder. Crowder caught 59 passes for 604 yards and two scores as a rookie for the Burgundy and Gold in 2015. The only other guy who came close to either of those marks was Antonio Callaway, who had 43 grabs for 586 yards and five touchdowns for Cleveland in 2018. Those are easily the two best performances by a fourth-round rookie wideout since 2015, so keep that in mind when discussing Gandy-Golden.
  • Out of that group of 25, 15 suited up for double-digit games for their teams during their first taste of the league. The average stat line for those 15 rookies was 17 receptions for 182 yards and one touchdown in about 14 contests. That's meager. 
  • Just nine out of the 25 recorded a touchdown catch as a rookie, and only four (Crowder, Callaway, DaeSean Hamilton and Malcom Mitchell) visited the end zone multiple times.

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So, judging solely off of that data, it would appear that Washington shouldn't be prepared to lean heavily Gandy-Golden. And once you combine that history with other factors, such as the huge transition he's about to make from Libery to the NFL and the very limited offseason he's had thus far, then the outlook for Gandy-Golden becomes even dimmer.

There is a super simple counter argument, however, at least when it comes to comparing him to his past fourth-round peers, and it has to do with his potential playing time.

While the 22-year-old has to fight through a pandemic, something none of the above rookies can relate to and something that could be detrimental to his early career, he also may be in line for a massive share of snaps right away. Most players who go off the board where Gandy-Golden did are usually worried about simply making the team; he, on the other hand, very well could be a starter across from Terry McLaurin in Week 1.

That alone means Gandy-Golden could end up having enough involvement in the offense to come up with a Crowder-like, impactful debut. In 2019, McLaurin far surpassed other third-round rookie receivers due largely to the amount of opportunity he got with Washington (his ridiculous talent was a bonus of course, too). Gandy-Golden is tracking on a similar path. 

A fairly general rule for any franchise is that it's not exactly prudent to need a Day 3 pass catcher to immediately act as one of your primary weapons. Stats from 2015 to 2019 seem to back up that general rule.

Every rule has an exception here or there, though. Maybe Gandy-Golden, with his outstanding physical traits and possibly featured role in 2020, will be that next exception and make all this math and comparing a totally moot issue. 

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