Notre Dame trying to find answers vs. S. Florida

Notre Dame trying to find answers vs. S. Florida

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) Notre Dame headed to South Florida looking for answers.

With sixth-year forward Scott Martin out indefinitely with a bad left knee - possibly even for the season - coach Mike Brey is opening competition for who will take his place. The competition will be between Tom Knight, who has seen more playing time lately, Garrick Sherman, who hasn't played the past two games and freshmen Zach Auguste and Austin Burgett.

``There's a lot of games left. If we have to learn on the fly for a while to have what need to have in February, that's what we've got to do,'' Brey said.

Brey points out the 24th-ranked Fighting Irish (15-4, 3-3 Big East) have lost key players during two of the past three seasons and still made the NCAA tournament. When Luke Harangody, that squad's leading scorer, injured his knee in February 2010, Brey scrapped his offense and went to a more deliberate style and won six straight. Last season the Irish lost Tim Abromaitis early in the season and still managed to finish 22-12.

``So it's territory we've been in before,'' Brey said.

The loss of Martin, though, comes at a bad time. Two weeks ago, the Irish were 14-1 overall and a win over Connecticut on Jan. 12 would have given the Irish their best start since opening 24-1 under coach Digger Phelps during the 1973-74 season. Instead they have lost three of four, including two of three at home capped by a 16-point loss against Georgetown on Monday. The Irish will be seeking to turn it around when they play at last-place South Florida (10-8, 1-5) on Saturday.

Brey said the Irish have to play better in all facets. The Irish are averaging 73.1 points a game, but are averaging just 59 points the past four games. Brey said the Irish need to do a better job of screening for each other and getting better shots. The Irish also have been outrebounded in four straight.

Point guard Eric Atkins said believes the Irish need to be better defensively.

``We just have to be a tougher team, grabbing rebounds, getting to the 50-50 balls. Those are just toughness aspects of the game we have to get better at,'' he said.

Jack Cooley, the leading scorer at 14.8 points a game, said the Irish need to better as a unit.

``This team, especially last year, got through funks as a unit and that's what we're going to have to do this year, come together through adversity,'' he said.

The Irish will be looking for someone to step up and replace Martin as the team's vocal leader. Brey said he met with the other four starters and told them he's expecting them all to fill the void.

``That needs to be developed over the next couple of weeks. That's something I really need to keep an eye on,'' he said.

Brey believes part of his team's troubles is that they put so much pressure on themselves to try to win a league title that when things started going wrong the Irish started getting tight. He's telling them to forget all that.

``Let's just play and compete,'' he said. ``Let's not overanalyze this thing.''

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MLB Rumors: Angels have ‘expressed interest’ in Anthony Rendon

MLB Rumors: Angels have ‘expressed interest’ in Anthony Rendon

The Nationals aren’t expected to re-sign third baseman Anthony Rendon after they locked Stephen Strasburg into a seven-year, $245 million deal Monday, but their competition just got stiffer with the news that the Angels are interested in the two-time Silver Slugger.

The Angels’ main target appears to be Gerrit Cole but they could turn to Rendon if they’re outbid by a team like the New York Yankees or Los Angeles Dodgers. Rendon has also been connected to the Dodgers, Texas Rangers and Philadelphia Phillies and is reportedly interested in signing a seven-year deal.

Nationals President Mike Rizzo said at a press conference Monday that “there’s ways to fit players in” when speaking about Rendon. His comments refuted an earlier statement made by principal owner Mark Lerner to NBC Sports Washington, to whom he said the Nationals “can really only afford to have one” of Strasburg or Rendon.

It’d be a surprising move if the Nationals did bring Rendon back, but everything remains possible at this point.


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Dwayne Haskins playing through pain Sunday gave Redskins fans flashbacks to RGIII

Dwayne Haskins playing through pain Sunday gave Redskins fans flashbacks to RGIII

During their Week 14 loss to the Green Bay Packers, the Redskins rookie and potential franchise quarterback played much of the game through a considerable leg injury.

Stop me if you've heard this before.

In the second quarter of Sunday's loss, Dwayne Haskins sprained his ankle after being rolled up on by Packers pass rusher Preston Smith. Haskins has a noticeable limp for the rest of the game, was quite immobile in the pocket, and his throwing mechanics were clearly affected by the injury.

When asked postgame about the injury, both Haskins and interim head coach Bill Callahan insisted that there was never any consideration of removing the rookie signal-caller from the game, as long as he was medically cleared.

This sparked plenty of debate. There was the crowd that believes Haskins did the right thing by playing through pain, something that's inevitable in the violent game of football.

But there's also a large contingent of people that think it was absolute malpractice by not removing the expected future of the franchise from a game that was practically meaningless in terms of the final standings, risking further injury or another, more serious injury by continuing to play.

What they really mean is people who think the latter had flashbacks to 2012 with Robert Griffin III. Griffin led Washington to a 10-6 record in 2012, earning Offensive Rookie of the Year award honors. But that year's No. 2 overall pick injured his right knee against the Ravens late in the season and continued to play through serious pain in a hefty knee brace down the stretch.

The direction fo the franchise completely shifted during the Redskins wild card playoff loss to the Seahawks, where Griffin tore his ACL and MCL in his right knee. Now the Ravens backup QB, Griffin has yet to experience the same success he had in the NFL prior to his major injury.

On the Redskins Talk Podcast following Sunday's loss, JP Finlay, Mitch Tischler, and Pete Hailey discussed whether Callahan made the right move by leaving Haskins in the game.

Finlay and Hailey believe that Haskins probably should have been pulled.

"I was shocked we didn't see Case [Keenum] in the second half," Hailey said. "A sprained ankle on its own isn't that bad. But when it's a sprained ankle on your prized rookie quarterback, and he tells us afterward that it was affected his ability to escape and get away, that sprained ankle could have led to a much more serious injury."

"I think everyone felt for a period of time that it was irresponsible to have Haskins on the field," Finlay said. "He was taking shots, looked incredibly immobile. Early on in the third quarter when the kid can barely move, you got to take him off the field.

"You couldn't help but have RGIII on your mind," Finlay said.

Tischler thinks Callahan made the right call by leaving Haskins in the game.

"I don't know, I never had the feeling that it was irresponsible," he said. "I remember the RGIII days, and I remember feeling like it was irresponsible."

To listen to the full Redskins Talk podcast, click here.