NCAA

Rex, Woody excited for Jets' new 'beginning'

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Rex, Woody excited for Jets' new 'beginning'

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) Rex Ryan and Woody Johnson met the media Tuesday, wearing Jets-green ties and presenting an unusually united front for a coach and owner coming off an abysmal season that produced far more in the way of turbulence than touchdowns.

The general manager is gone, along with the offensive, defensive and special teams coordinators.

Ryan isn't going anywhere because Johnson really likes him.

More than that, ``I trust him,'' Johnson said.

``I think Rex is perfect for the New York Jets,'' he said. ``He is 100 percent this team.''

So, basking in that comfort zone, Ryan laid out his plans for the future of the 6-10 New York Jets, speaking mostly in generalities and giving few, if any, specifics about two guys named Sanchez and Tebow.

Ryan made big, bold pronouncements - the kind he made when he was hired four years ago:

- ``We are going to be a dangerous football team. I can promise you that. I'm going to tell you, you're not going to want to play the Jets.''

- ``We're not going to be bullied. Fans don't like for their team to be embarrassed. We were embarrassed at times last year. That's not going to happen. We might not win every game, and no team does. But you've got to stand for something. We're going to be the team you don't want to play.''

He managed to stop short of guaranteeing a Super Bowl trip.

Ryan told the packed press conference room at the training facility that, yes, he thought he might get fired after the season because he ``failed'' to leave his imprint on all aspects of the team, particularly on offense. That, and perhaps the fact the Jets haven't made the playoffs in two straight seasons.

``I don't think I've done as good a job of implementing who I am throughout this team,'' Ryan said. ``I want a physical, aggressive, attack style.''

To get it, he's wiping the slate clean, zoning out all the bad vibes tied to Mark Sanchez being an ineffective starting quarterback and leader, and Tim Tebow being his invisible backup.

``I'm approaching this day like it's the first day. Period,'' Ryan said. ``Like my first day as a head coach. This is a new chance for me. This is a beginning, certainly not an end.''

It was the end for general manager Mike Tannenbaum and offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, who were both fired, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, whose contract was not renewed, and special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff, who retired.

Johnson said Ryan will have a say in hiring the new GM. San Francisco director of player personnel Tom Gamble has been considered by many to be the front-runner, but he has attracted interest from several teams. So has Atlanta director of player personnel David Caldwell, who was hired Tuesday by Jacksonville.

The team also met with Marc Ross, the Giants' director of college scouting, and in-house candidate Scott Cohen, the Jets' assistant GM. Johnson acknowledged that the team has told candidates they will have to be willing to work with Ryan, who brushed off any talk that he could be considered a lame-duck coach.

``I'm pretty sure I'll have the exact same agenda as the general manager,'' Ryan said. ``We want to win.''

Sparano was fired Tuesday after one season in which the offense ranked among the league's worst, and quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh is also out after four seasons.

``I have failed in that area,'' Ryan said.

Neither Sparano nor Cavanaugh could get Sanchez to make the next step in his development, and the quarterback actually regressed this season - culminating in the first benching of his career. Sanchez's 52 turnovers the last two seasons are the most in the NFL. Ryan and Johnson insisted money wouldn't factor into any decisions on personnel - despite the fact Sanchez is owed $8.25 million in guarantees and would cost the Jets a $17.1 million salary cap hit if they cut him.

``We'll play the player that fits what we do best,'' Ryan said, refusing to commit to Sanchez.

The Jets also couldn't figure out a way to effectively use Tebow, who failed to get into the end zone all season and stood mostly on the sideline, though he was supposed to be a major part of Sparano's offense. Tebow is expected to be traded or released - but personnel moves will largely depend on the next general manager.

``It is way too early to say what any of our players' futures are,'' Ryan said.

Ryan hinted that Pettine's replacement would come from within the franchise, likely secondary coach Dennis Thurman. Westhoff will be replaced by his assistant, Ben Kotwica.

Ryan's much-discussed tattoo of his wife wearing a Sanchez jersey - photographed while he was vacationing in the Bahamas - also came up. The coach laughed at the question, saying he's had it on his right arm for nearly three years.

``I know what you're thinking. Obviously, if Sanchez doesn't play better that number is changing,'' Ryan said with a laugh. ``I've been married 25 years and, in my eyes, my wife is the most beautiful woman in the world.''

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The 6 craziest things that happened in Week 7 of the college football season

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USA TODAY Sports

The 6 craziest things that happened in Week 7 of the college football season

Four teams dropped from the ranks of the unbeaten, Louisville's coaching staff is way too intense, everyone from the state of Michigan is an embarrassment and yeah, Oklahoma and Texas still don't like each other.

Here are the six craziest things that happened in Week 6.

Unbeatens beware

Four undefeated teams suffered their first losses of the season this week as the College Football Playoff Grim Reaper began to rear his ugly head.

The most significant loss was that of Georgia at home to division rival South Carolina and it became evident at the end of the game that neither team wanted to win. I mean, why else would Will Muschamp call for a 57-yard field goal attempt in a tie game with 40 seconds left on the clock and with Georgia having all their timeous left? Why else would Georgia take itself out of field goal range with an illegal shift right before the end of regulation? The Gamecocks had a chance to win after recovering a fumble on the first overtime, but a botched field goal kept the game alive. South Carolina would kick a field goal in the second overtime and a missed field goal by Georgia would give the Gamecocks the win.

Florida also dropped from the ranks of the unbeaten, but that game was going to knock someone off as both the Gators and LSU were undefeated heading into Death Valley on Saturday.

Temple handed Memphis its first loss of the season in an afternoon tilt on Saturday and Wake Forest was also upset at the hands of Louisville who marched into the Demon Deacons’ home field and put up 62 points.

On a related note, the Orange Bowl has to be rooting so hard for Clemson to not make the playoff this year, or the ACC is going to send a mediocre team into one of the best bowl games in the country.

Only 12 undefeated teams remain at the FBS level after this week's action.

Louisville’s defensive line coach needs to chill

Mark Ivey is the defensive line coach at Louisville. To say he is intense would be putting it mildly.

The commentators laugh at how “fired up” the coaches are, but there are several moments in there where it is hard to tell if they are just super pumped or if people players are trying break up a legitimate fight.

Maybe trying to relive the glory days of your playing career during warmups is a bad idea.

Every player from both Oklahoma and Texas was given an unsportsmanlike penalty during the pregame

Oklahoma and Texas is one of the most storied rivalries in college football, even if we have no idea what it’s supposed to be called anymore. The Red River Shootout? The Red River Rivalry? The Red River Hootenanny? The Red River Hullabaloo?

Tensions were high for this game which led to a scuffle during pregame.

More than one.

Realizing that they were losing control of the game before it even started, the referees assessed every player on both teams an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Fun fact, in college football a player is ejected after their second unsportsmanlike penalty in a game so every player was one flag away from getting the boot.

In the end, only one player was ejected and that was for targeting. No one else received a second unsportsmanlike penalty and Oklahoma went on to beat Texas 34-27.

This season could not get any more embarrassing for Michigan

Jim Harbaugh: “Hold my beer.”

The Wolverines won on the road at Illinois on Saturday by a comfortable-looking margin of 42-25. That score, however, does not reflect the nearly epic collapse Michigan faced in the second half.

Jim Harbaugh and Co. jumped out to a 28-0 lead on the Illini before Illinois could even get on the board. Illinois, led by a backup quarterback, managed to score the next 25 points, trimming the lead down to just three early in the fourth quarter. From there, seeing their season was about to collapse in such an epic way woke Michigan back up. The Wolverines went on to add two extra touchdowns to their score while Illinois was shutout the remainder of the game.

Michigan’s quest to prove why they do not deserve to be a ranked team continues next week at Happy Valley where the Wolverines will take on Penn State.

Mark Dantonio answers a “dumbass” question with a dumbass answer

Speaking of disappointing football teams in the state of Michigan, let’s now move on to Michigan State. The Spartans stink on offense as was evident in their 38-0 loss to Wisconsin. In three losses this season, Michigan State has a combined 17 points. That’s bad. What’s worse is the fact that they were bad on offense last year as well, but virtually nothing was done to improve the offense as head coach Mark Dantonio returned the entire offensive coaching staff, but with changed titles and duties.

So now after a humiliating blowout loss in which the offense was made to look as inept as ever, it is fair to wonder if perhaps not making any changes on offense was a mistake. At least most people would think it was fair.

When head coach Mark Dantonio was asked whether his decision on the offensive staff in the offseason was a mistake, here was his response:

Dantonio is absolutely right. That is a “dumbass” question because we all know the answer is yes, it was a mistake, it is going to cost Michigant State its season and not doing anything about it makes him look bad. But go ahead, keep turning your frustrations on the media. That ought to help the offense.

Tennessee becomes the last Power 5 team to earn an FBS win

If you had to guess who the last Power 5 team to earn an FBS win this season was, who would you guess? Kansas? Oregon State? Illinois? One of the other perennial cellar-dwellers?

Nope, you’re all wrong. The answer is Tennessee.

The Volunteers actually won a game against a team with a pulse on Saturday, earning the ugly 20-10 win over Mississippi State. It still counts though proving that there really is no such thing as an ugly win, just an ugly season.

Tennesse improved its record to an impressive 2-4, a fact that right now is prompting every football fan in the south to stand up and spontaneously chant “S-E-C! S-E-C!”

Prior to Saturday, Tennessee’s only win of the season was against FCS Chattanooga. Yes, the Volunteers have losses to Florida and Georgia, both impressive teams. They also have losses against Georgia State and BYU so no, Tennessee is not simply a victim of the brutal SEC schedule.

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Lamar Jackson makes history with career day in win over the Bengals

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Lamar Jackson makes history with career day in win over the Bengals

BALTIMORE — Lamar Jackson set the tone for Sunday’s game on the Ravens' first drive of the afternoon. 

He rushed just twice, one of which went for a touchdown, but had 57 yards on the game-tying opening drive. 

Jackson finished with 152 yards on the ground — a career high — to carry the Ravens to a 23-17 win over the Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium. 

“I take advantage, like I said before, and I’m trying to win at the end of the day,” Jackson said after the game. “If I’ve got to run, I’ve got to do it and today that’s what it was. Sometimes I had to pass. Sometimes I had to run.”

He did throw for 236 yards and completed 21 of 33 passes, too. But the story was his legs, which kept the Bengals off-balance all day.

“Lamar was able to get out and run because of the way they were playing,” coach John Harbaugh said. “They were playing kind of spill defense. They really didn’t want us to run the ball up inside with our running backs, and that opened up some other things."

Jackson now has 460 rushing yards on the season and is on pace for over 1,200. He’s also on pace for just over 4,000 passing yards.

His dual-threat ability has flummoxed nearly every team the Ravens have played this season. Jackson has had over 300 scrimmage yards in all but one (last week in against the Steelers) of the Ravens' games. 

“That’s the most frustrating thing for a defense,” Bengals coach Zac Taylor said. “You have a play covered, and he’s an elite athlete. We’ve played a couple of good athletes. He’s one of the rarest I’ve seen in person. Just one little crease and he’s got 30 yards on you.”

Cincinnati sold out to stop the interior run, and Jackson and the rest of the Baltimore running attack burned the Bengals on the outside. 

Jackson’s elusiveness was never more evident than on the Ravens' last full drive of the game. The Ravens received the ball with 13:32 left in the fourth quarter and a 20-10 lead. They didn’t give the ball back to the Bengals until there was just over three minutes to play.

“I catch myself on the sideline stretching because, you know, they’ll be holding the ball for a minute and we’ve got to stay warm,” Matthew Judon said. “He picks us up in crucial times and keeps getting first downs. It’s hard, man. You can’t cover everybody and keep a spy on him [at] all times.”

The nine minute, 46 second drive, highlighted by a 16-yard Jackson scramble on 3rd and 14, put away any realistic chance the Bengals had of pulling off an upset.

It capped off a historic day for Jackson and his place in the NFL record books. He became the first player in NFL history to rush for more than 150 yards and register at least 200 yards passing in a regular season game.

The Bengals sold out to stop interior rushes and mostly took away big passing plays from the Ravens. Jackson just made the Bengals pick their poison when it came to choosing what to stop. 

And Jackson made Cincinnati realized that whatever it chose was still poison.

“He was cutting it back, throwing outside and running around,” Bengals linebacker Preston Brown said. “He was just having fun on us, and that’s what you never want to have done.”

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