No. 18 Texas Tech more than ready for TCU now

No. 18 Texas Tech more than ready for TCU now

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) Texas Tech is more than ready to play TCU this time.

Conference foes again with TCU in its first Big 12 season, the 18th-ranked Red Raiders couldn't again delay a meeting with their former Southwest Conference rival.

Two years ago, Texas Tech moved up the date of its game with Texas for a television network broadcast and pushed back to another season its scheduled game against TCU. When a ninth Big 12 game was added last year, before the Horned Frogs were part of the league, TCU was the non-conference game dropped by the Red Raiders.

``It wasn't that their team didn't want to play us,'' Frogs coach Gary Patterson said this week. ``Their coach said because they were new and they were young that they would be better to schedule a different way, and that's how I took it. ... I didn't take it any sense (other) than he was trying to build his program and trying to get himself in a situation to get six wins.''

Now the Red Raiders (5-1, 2-1 Big 12) are downright defensive - on the field.

Texas Tech has the Big 12's top defense and is coming off a 49-14 victory over then-No. 5 West Virginia and big-play quarterback Geno Smith, a Heisman Trophy front-runner.

Saturday's game will be the first time since 1995 that TCU (5-1, 2-1) play as conference rivals in a series that dates back to 1926. They have played only twice since that last SWC season, both winning at home - Tech 70-35 in 2004 after overcoming a 21-0 deficit, and TCU 12-3 two years later.

After being one of the nation's worst defenses a year ago, the Red Raiders are fourth among FBS teams allowing only 243 total yards a game.

They are also trying to avoid the kind of letdown they had after last year's big upset at third-ranked Oklahoma. They followed that win with five consecutive losses and had their first losing season since 1992.

``I hope we learn from last year because we pretty much around the same part of the season did the same thing,'' Tuberville said. ``We did something nobody else thought we could do and we didn't win another game. ... We're a better team than we were last year, but we're also a target.''

Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege said he and his teammates aren't caught up in whatever schedule changes were made in the past that pushed back any games against TCU.

``Maybe for like the administrators and people that put stuff together for that, but for us players, I think it's just the fact that they're another Texas school,'' Doege said. ``We have a lot of guys that are from Texas, that it's just one of those pride things that you want to be the best team in Texas.''

As for avoiding a repeat for what happened at the end of last season after beating Oklahoma, Doege remembers ``being on such a high and going to such a low'' and how that makes the Red Raiders realize this game is bigger than the last one.

TCU, a longtime defensive stalwart, leads the nation with 14 interceptions and 20 takeaways. The Frogs top the Big 12 allowing only 14.5 points and 96 yards rushing a game, categories in which Texas Tech is second.

The Horned Frogs are coming off a 49-21 win at Baylor, which had six turnovers but did have two touchdown passes longer than 70 yards.

TCU redshirt freshman quarterback Trevone Boykin completed 22 of 30 passes for 261 yards and four touchdowns, plus ran for a score in a turnover-free performance against Baylor. That came after his hurried starting debut replacing Casey Pachall a week earlier, when Boykin had three interceptions in a home loss to Iowa State.

But Boykin and the Frogs are going from facing the Big 12's worst defense to the best one.

``It's apples and oranges, there's a big difference between the schematics of Tech's offense and defense, and Baylor's offense and defense,'' Patterson said. ``Obviously, they put a lot of pressure on quarterbacks. We have our hands full, but it's not just on Trevone's shoulders.''

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Roster competition, Brown vs. Pryor

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Roster competition, Brown vs. Pryor

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, June 23, 33 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins  and NBC Sports Washington.

Post-minicamp Redskins 53-man roster projection—Defense—NFL coaches and others like to tell you that competition determines who wins roster spots in the league. And that may be true to an extent. But many roster spots are predetermined by a player’s contract situation and/or draft status. It is unlikely that an undrafted player like Fish Smithson will win a roster spot over Troy Apke even if the former outperforms the latter in every way during training camp. Apke was a fourth-round pick and they aren’t going to give up on him in favor of an undrafted player. It would cost $3.2 million in dead cap to cut Stacy McGee and only $150,000 to move on from Ziggy Hood so McGee will win a “competition” that is even remotely close. (Offensive projection here)

Redskins will 'have it out' for Terrelle Pryor at training camp—While this is something that could add a little spice to the Jets’ visit to Richmond, don’t look for much of anything to happen. Zach Brown might give a little extra shove to Pryor here and there but he’s not going to do anything that will draw blood or even cause a deep bruise. If nothing else, a big hit on Pryor would invite retaliation by the Jets on Josh Doctson or Paul Richardson. And that might lead to more retaliation and you end up with a brawl like the Redskins and Texans had a couple of years ago.

Trent Williams very much of approves of Smith and Guice—Williams is going into his ninth NFL season and he has yet to be on the winning side of a playoff game. He thinks that Alex Smith and Derrius Guice can help change that. 

The curious case of Alex Smith and the NFL Top 100 list—I normally greet this list with a big yawn and this year was no exception. But I do find the omission of Smith, who led the NFL in passer rating and was third in adjusted net yards per attempt, odd. In an update to this post, the NFL released the names of the top 10 players and Smith is not on it. He shouldn’t be, but he should be somewhere on the 100, perhaps in the middle of the pack. The only Redskins player to appear on the list was Trent Williams at No. 57.

The Redskins' best players who are 25 or younger—It’s likely that nine players who are 25 or younger will line up as starters for the Redskins this year. I don’t have a rundown of how that compares to the rest of the league but it’s notable that in the last two years six of them have replaced players who were either approaching age 30 or over it. I’ll engage in some speculation here and say that five of the young players—Daron Payne, Derrius Guice, Preston Smith, Jonathan Allen, and Montae Nicholson—are good enough to potentially make a Pro Bowl at some point in their careers. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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Former Redskins defensive tackle Dave Butz was born on this date in 1950. 

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 33
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 47
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 70

The Redskins last played a game 174 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 78 days. 

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GM Brian MacLellan: Capitals are close to re-signing John Carlson


GM Brian MacLellan: Capitals are close to re-signing John Carlson

DALLAS—The Caps are “really close” to signing star defenseman John Carlson to a long-term extension, GM Brian MacLellan said Friday night.

“We’re getting closer,” MacLellan said following the first round of the NHL Draft. “Hopefully we can get it done here over the next few days. We’re really close.”

Earlier in the day, the Caps cleared significant space under the salary cap ceiling by trading Philipp Grubauer and Brooks Orpik to Colorado for a second round draft pick (47th overall). 

That space will now be used to lock up Carlson, who could become the best defenseman on the open market if he were to reach it.

MacLellan met with Carlson’s agent, Rick Curran, here on Thursday night.

MacLellan did not divulge any figures, but it’s expected that Carlson’s new contract could come in at eight years and $8 million per—or perhaps a bit more. 

He earned $4 million last season.

Carlson had a career year in 2017-18 and was critical during the Caps' run to the Stanley Cup. He led all defensemen in the regular season with 68 points (15 goals, 53 assists). The 28-year-old also skated a career-high 24:47 per game.

MacLellan has long said that re-signing Carlson was the Caps’ top priority this offseason. And now it looks like that could happen within days, assuming the talks do not hit any snags.

“We’re going to do our best to sign John,” MacLellan said. “We’ve said it all along. We waited until the end of the year. We’ve had discussions. We’re close and hopefully we can close the deal here over the next 24 hours.”