Capitals

No. 21 Cincinnati wants improvement from QB Legaux

No. 21 Cincinnati wants improvement from QB Legaux

CINCINNATI (AP) Playing as a ranked team for the first time this season, No. 21 Cincinnati wants to see its junior quarterback make everything look routine.

Cincinnati (4-0) has two chances to fix its biggest problems before getting back into Big East play. The Bearcats' most glaring shortcoming: Munchie Legaux is missing the easy throws. He often winds up and puts too much on his passes when he sees an open receiver.

Legaux overshot one in the corner of the end zone, then severely overthrew another down the sideline during the first half of a 52-14 win over southwest Ohio rival Miami on Saturday. The wasted chances didn't matter against Miami, and Legaux could probably get away with it again on Saturday against Fordham (4-2).

Next, though, come games at Toledo and at Big East favorite Louisville, where every missed chance could make the difference.

``I can't come out and miss those deep balls like I did and those `gimme' throws,'' Legaux said. ``That's the mark of a good quarterback, being consistent.''

The Bearcats are pleased with Legaux's development in his first year as the starter, running an offense with seven new starters in all. He has completed 55 percent of his throws for 946 yards with nine touchdowns and three interceptions, one of them on a throw he forced into coverage in the end zone.

The dual-threat quarterback also has run 31 times with a touchdown.

His finest moment came during a 27-24 win over Virginia Tech two weeks ago. Legaux led the first game-winning drive of his career, throwing a 39-yard touchdown pass with 13 seconds left.

He's been good in the biggest moments. It's the routine ones that have been the problem.

``Munchie has to become much more consistent,'' coach Butch Jones said. ``I thought he played a very good second half (against Miami). I was not pleased with the first half. We are leaving way too many yards out there. We have to be able to play pitch-and-catch.''

Expect to see Legaux airing it out against Fordham, a late addition to the schedule. The Bearcats needed another game after TCU backed out of the Big East realignment, and the Rams, of the FCS, were available. It'll be the first time they've played.

The Bearcats are trying to get Legaux out of some bad habits before they get back into Big East play. He sometimes drops his elbow when he throws, releasing the ball head-high. As a result, his passes tend to be flat, hurting his accuracy. He'll also step into his throws too much, making them sail.

It's tough to change a quarterback's throwing motion in the middle of a season.

``You can change it a lot,'' Legaux said. ``It's just repeating it over and over. It's just becoming second-nature to you. You've got to work on those types of situations in practice so they come easy to you during the game. So this week I have to do a better job of doing the little small, mechanical things.''

Legaux also got a lesson in coping with national attention last week after his winning touchdown pass against Virginia Tech. It's the first time he's had to juggle a lot of interview demands with everything else during a week leading up to a game.

``You talk the maturation of a football team, the maturation of a quarterback - it's understanding the scrutiny,'' Jones said. ``Last week he was under much scrutiny. He was having all different interviews. He was being loved up around the country.

``Well, that's part of the scrutiny. Praise and blame, it's all the same. Understanding how you manage those expectations, how you manage that, but also the way you work.''

---

AP freelance writer Paul Dehner contributed to this report.

Quick Links

Ovi named top dog of NHL's Three Stars of the Week

ovistar.png
USA TODAY SPORTS

Ovi named top dog of NHL's Three Stars of the Week

The red hot Alex Ovechkin is clicking on all cylinders in season 14 and not showing any signs of slowing down. 

The 33-year-old leads the NHL with 29 goals, including one during Saturday's shootout victory over the Sabres, making it six consecutive games he's found the back of the net. 

Not only has Ovechkin scored, but he's scored in droves. Back-to-back hat tricks (Detroit, Carolina) are a big reason why the Great Eight has popped off for nine goals over the last five Capital games. 

Oh, and when he isn't notching hat tricks...catch him sitting courtside for Wizards games. 

For Ovi's efforts, he was named top dog of the National Hockey League's Three Stars of the Week. 

MORE CAPITALS NEWS:

Quick Links

Wizards' trade for Trevor Ariza, sending Kelly Oubre to Suns, now official

arizaofficial.png
USA TODAY SPORTS

Wizards' trade for Trevor Ariza, sending Kelly Oubre to Suns, now official

For the second time in his career, Trevor Ariza is a member of the Washington Wizards. The trade to send Kelly Oubre Jr. and Austin Rivers to Phoenix in exchange for Ariza was made official on Monday, two days after the teams reached an agreement in principle.

The Wizards played a game during that time, a win over the Lakers on Sunday. Because the deal was not official, head coach Scott Brooks could not comment when addressing the media. 

Up next are the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday, with Ariza eligible to make his season debut with the team.

Ariza, 33, comes to Washington in his 15th NBA season. He is averaging 9.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game while shooting 36 percent from three. He is also shooting just 37.9 percent from the field, the lowest mark of his career.

The Wizards hope Ariza can help shore up their perimeter defense and provide a change to their locker room chemistry. He had two of the best seasons in his career with the Wizards back in 2012-13 and 2013-14. The Wizards were one of the best defensive teams in basketball at the time.

While Ariza will likely debut against the Hawks on Tuesday, it will not be long until the Wizards see Oubre and Rivers again. They return to Washington this Saturday, as the Wizards host the Suns in their first meeting with the team of this season.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS: