Nationals

NFL hopefuls try to impress in All-Star Classic

NFL hopefuls try to impress in All-Star Classic

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) Former Purdue quarterback Robert Marve remembers watching Montgomery's Blue-Gray game when he was a kid and hoping to play in it someday.

That old Christmas day tradition has been defunct for a decade, but Marve and other college seniors hoping for pro football careers are playing in Saturday's first Raycom College Football All-Star Classic in the same stadium.

``You're always kind of looking at it as, that's where you're going to be when you grow up,'' Marve said of the Blue-Gray game that ran for six-plus decades.

The game, and newly renovated Cramton Bowl, has had a makeover since the last one was played in Montgomery in 2002 before moving an hour away to Troy University's stadium for one year.

It features players from BCS national championship game opponents Notre Dame and Alabama and an assortment of other big-name schools, along with prospects from smaller programs also trying to catch the attention of NFL teams.

Former Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Reeves will coach the Stripes and Jim Bates, who was a longtime NFL assistant, heads the Stars team. Reeves said he wants to help the players ``put on a good show'' and that he watches enough college football during the season to appreciate the talent level at schools big and small.

``There's just an awful lot of talent out there,'' he said. ``When you only have 32 NFL teams and there's just a small number when you think about the United States and how many great players there are out there. All they need is an opportunity and a chance. There's a lot of talent here.''

Marve, Iowa's James Vanderberg and Mars Hills' Jon Richt - son of Georgia coach Mark Richt - will quarterback the Stripes team.

That squad also features Georgia linebackers Michael Gilliard and Christian Robinson and defensive linemen Isaac Remington (Oregon) and Jamarkus McFarland (Oklahoma).

Pittsburgh's Tino Sunseri, California's Zach Maynard and Murray State's Casey Brockman are the Stars quarterbacks.

While LSU kicker Drew Alleman is on the opposite side, four of his former teammates will line up for the Stars - wide receiver Russell Shepard, offensive lineman Josh Dworaczyk and defensive linemen Chancey Aghayere and Josh Downs.

Notre Dame offensive lineman Mike Golic Jr. and wide receiver Robby Toma get one more crack at several Alabama counterparts, this time as part of the Stars team. Alabama kicker Jeremy Shelley, longsnapper Carson Tinker and backup defensive lineman Quinton Dial are on the Stripes.

The Crimson Tide beat the Fighting Irish 42-14 on Jan. 7 in the national title game in Miami. So moving right on to job auditions isn't so bad for Golic.

``You're obviously never going to forget something like that,'' he said. ``It's going to stick around forever but to get back out here and be able to get back to work and what we all love doing, it helps take your mind off it a little bit and just get back to playing football.''

Among the quarterbacks, Brockman had an adjustment early in the week after estimating he took 10 snaps from under center in Murray State's Oregon-style no-huddle spread offense, mostly for sneaks.

Brockman ranked third in Football Championship Subdivision with 339 passing yards per game and completed a nation's-leading 32.6 passes a game. He's embracing the chance to compete against players from higher-division schools.

``It's a huge opportunity for me and some other small-school guys just because we want to prove we can play at the level and speed of the guys from LSU and Alabama,'' he said. ``It's a good opportunity and it's a neat experience.''

Sunseri is well-acquainted with the state. His brother, Vinnie, is a safety for Alabama and his father, Sal, is a former Tide assistant. Plus, Sunseri and the Panthers have played in Birmingham's Compass Bowl for three straight years.

He might have a leg up among QBs trying to quickly grasp a new system. Sunseri played for three head coaches and four offensive coordinators at Pitt but finished with his best season.

``It's a huge benefit,'' said Sunseri, who threw for 21 touchdowns and was intercepted just four times as a senior. ``You already learned different ways of understanding terminology and different ways of being able to ride out plays and find the easiest way to pick it up as fast as you can, because you want to be one of those guys that's out there on the field helping people direct traffic, make sure that you can help people line up.

``That's what your position is when you're playing quarterback.''

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Nationals calling up Adrian Sanchez, corresponding roster move pending

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Nationals calling up Adrian Sanchez, corresponding roster move pending

WASHINGTON -- Manager Davey Martinez wasn’t sure postgame Saturday what’s wrong with reliever Kyle Barraclough.

The right-hander’s velocity is down, his slider flat and too true, his results poor. Barraclough left the mound Saturday at dusk with a 6.39 ERA. He’s allowed seven home runs in 25 ⅓ innings this season. Little he has tried has worked. And his time on the team may be short.

Utility infielder Adrian Sanchez will join the team Sunday, according to a source. Sanchez’s likely departure from Double-A Harrisburg was reported Saturday night by Mick Reinhard, who covers the Senators, and noted Sanchez’s early removal from the game.

The question is who will be leaving to make room for him

Barraclough seems the logical choice. He has options remaining, so the Nationals could send him to Triple-A Fresno to try and work things out. They could also place him on the 10-day injured list, then send him on an extended rehabilitation in the minor leagues, as they did with Trevor Rosenthal. At a minimum, Washington will go from an eight-man bullpen to a five-man bench, finally delivering Martinez more versatility at the plate and in the field.

Barraclough and left-hander Tony Sipp were rarely used in the last three weeks. A week passed between appearances for Barraclough from the end of May to the start of June. Sipp pitched Sunday for just the fifth time since May 24.

If the Nationals do remove Barraclough from the roster -- in whatever fashion -- it will be another layer of indictment for their offseason bullpen plan. They acquired Barraclough via trade with Miami for international slot money. He was supposed to pitch the seventh inning on a regular basis, Rosenthal the eighth and Sean Doolittle the ninth. That lineup has been disastrous outside of Doolittle, compromising the entire season.

Rosenthal’s travails are well-documented. He pitched again Saturday, walked the first batter on four pitches, walked the second batter, then allowing a single to load the bases with no outs. He eventually allowed just a run. His ERA is 19.50 following the outing. It’s the first time this season Rosenthal’s ERA is under 20.00.

While trying to fix Rosenthal, and trying to hang on with Barraclough, the Nationals have turned to Wander Suero and Tanner Rainey to handle the seventh and eighth innings ahead of Doolittle. Few would have predicted that combination before the season began. Despite the relative concern, no one would have predicted the Nationals’ bullpen to be among the worst in the league for much of the season, but has turned out to be just that.

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Anthony Davis trade to Lakers gives Silver Spring's Josh Hart fresh start with Pelicans

Anthony Davis trade to Lakers gives Silver Spring's Josh Hart fresh start with Pelicans

The Anthony Davis trade will have ripple effects across the NBA, not only on teams, but also on the players involved.

Josh Hart, who was traded from the Lakers to the Pelicans as part of the package for Davis on Saturday, could stand to benefit from the move.

First, here's a look at all of the assets reportedly swapped in the deal, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Now, where does the Silver Spring, Md., native figure in the proceedings?

Hart spent his first two NBA seasons with the Lakers. He averaged 7.9 points in 24.4 minutes per game in his two years in Los Angeles. 

Still, Hart was often the Lakers' third or fourth option at shooting guard behind starter Brandon Ingram and shared minutes with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Reggie Bullock and Lance Stephenson. 

LeBron James and the Lakers' win-now strategy left little room to develop Hart last season.

Now in New Orleans, he is part of a franchise rebuilding around presumptive No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson. The trade gave the Pelicans both a younger roster and a long enough timeline for success to develop players.

That can only be good news for Hart, giving him the chance to start fresh and impress Pelicans general manager David Griffin and head coach Alvin Gentry with his potential. 

Where the Sidwell Friends alum fits into the lineup depends on several factors.

At first glance, the new-look Pelicans could start Lonzo Ball at point guard, move Jrue Holiday to shooting guard, then complete the lineup with Ingram at small forward, Williamson at power forward and Julius Randle at center. 

If both Ingram and Holiday remain healthy, Hart would compete with Stanley Johnson to be the first wing off the bench for New Orleans.

But if Ingram does suffer recurring issues related to blood clots, Hart could press his case to start. 

The only issue complicating his place in New Orleans' plans is the No. 4 pick that was traded from the Lakers.

If the Pelicans keep that pick and draft a wing player like Jarrett Culver, Hart could find himself on the outside looking in again. 

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