Stanford promotes Mike Bloomgren to OC

Stanford promotes Mike Bloomgren to OC

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) David Shaw only needed to look down the hall from his corner office to find Stanford's new offensive coordinator.

Shaw promoted run-game coordinator Mike Bloomgren to offensive coordinator Tuesday, choosing continuity above all else given the Cardinal's recent run of success. Bloomgren also will continue to coach the offensive line as he has the past two seasons.

``He was the only choice,'' said Shaw, who has won Pac-12 Coach of the Year in each of his first two seasons. ``We didn't interview anybody else, and we didn't want to interview anyone else. Mike has done an outstanding job with our offensive line and run game, though he's more than an offensive line coach. He understands our offense and how diverse we need to be to attack defenses. We hope to continue the success we've had on offense, while also improving in many areas, and Mike is the right guy to lead us to our goals.''

Bloomgren replaces Pep Hamilton, who left earlier this month to be reunited with Andrew Luck as the Indianapolis Colts' offensive coordinator. Bloomgren will take over the official title of ``Andrew Luck Director of Offense.'' Last May, a donor who chose to remain anonymous endowed the position in honor of the school's record-setting quarterback.

Under Bloomgren's guidance, four of Stanford's five starting offensive linemen earned all-conference honors last season. That includes David Yankey, a second-team All-American who won the Pac-12's Morris Trophy for top offensive lineman while shuffling between left tackle and guard.

Stanford outlasted Wisconsin 20-14 to capture the program's first Rose Bowl victory since 1972 this season. The Cardinal finished with a No. 7 ranking and are one of only three teams - Oregon and Wisconsin being the others - that have made a BCS bowl three straight years.

Shaw also announced two other staff changes.

Mike Sanford will take over as quarterbacks and wide receivers coach while continuing his duties as recruiting coordinator, and former quarterback Tavita Pritchard will shift from defensive assistant to running backs coach.

Sanford helped Stepfan Taylor become Stanford's career rushing leader (4,300 yards) and set school marks for career touchdowns (45), 100-yard rushing games (21) and career rushing attempts (843). In 2011, the Cardinal ranked 18th in the country with an average of 210.6 yards per game.

Pritchard has worked under defensive coordinator Derek Mason the past two seasons. He also started 19 games at quarterback for Stanford during the 2007 and 2008 seasons, starting the program's renaissance.

Pritchard is best known for leading the Cardinal's 24-23 upset at No. 2 Southern California in his first career start. Stanford entered that game as a 41-point underdog.

Stanford begins the first half of its split spring practice schedule Feb. 25. The Cardinal & White Spring Game is April 13.


Antonio Gonzalez can be reached at: www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP

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John Wall on what he's learned sitting out due to his Achilles injury

John Wall on what he's learned sitting out due to his Achilles injury

It has been 419 days since John Wall last played in an NBA game. That is nearly 14 months of rehabbing injuries; first from surgery to remove bone spurs in his heel, then surgery to repair a ruptured left Achilles.

That has given Wall plenty of time to take a step back, watch the game of basketball and ponder what it will be like when he finally returns to the court, which right now looks like it will be in October to begin next season. During this time off, Wall has had some realizations about basketball and its role in his life. He shared them in an in-depth conversation with NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller on the 'Wizards Talk podcast.'

"Now you understand how quickly and easily things can be taken away," Wall said.

Wall has also learned the value of patience. Since going viral with a series of dunks before games, he keeps hearing from others that he should be playing in games for the Wizards.

"Everybody was like ‘if he is doing these types of dunks, he can play.’ Well, there’s a lot more to basketball than just dunking," he said. "That’s not playing 38-to-40 minutes and then seeing how your body reacts the next day. You won’t know that until you play in a game. So, that’s why I’m not rushing the process and trying to re-injure anything. I’m just taking my time."

Wall said he has been pleased with his progress and that those videos going viral have been a reward for the time and effort he has put into his rehab. He also said he has been able to do even more behind closed doors, including a practice where he threw down a windmill dunk off his left, surgically-repaired leg.

Wall has long been a left-handed dunker because he would get more lift off his right leg due to injuries to the left. But after surgery, he is feeling better jumping off that leg.

If Wall can jump higher off his left leg, that should help him when he returns. But don't expect too many changes to the way he approaches the game.

Miller asked Wall if he would change the way he plays — if he would deviate from the same aggressive player who attacks the rim consistently.

"Nope," he said. "That’s all I know."

Wall spoke with Miller on a long list of topics including how Bradley Beal's game has changed, his respect for Davis Bertans' shooting ability and how he has dealt with the passing of his mother. You can listen to the full podcast here.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.


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Former Oriole Nick Markakis has rough words for Astros after cheating scandal

Former Oriole Nick Markakis has rough words for Astros after cheating scandal

Since the start of spring training, players all over Major League Baseball have given their thoughts on the Astros' cheating scandal and how commissioner Rob Manfred handled the situation. The consensus has been predominantly negative. 

Former Orioles outfielder Nick Markakis joined in Tuesday morning with some very strongly-worded comments regarding the commissioner's ruling and his feelings toward current Astros players. 

"I feel like every single guy over there needs a beating," Markakis said in a video posted by 680 The Fan. "It's wrong, they're messing with people's careers."

Markakis didn't specify what a "beating" would include, though multiple pitchers, including the Dodgers' Ross Stripling, have said publicly that they would consider throwing at Astros hitters during the season. 

"I know how hard this game is, I know how hard preparing for this game is," Markakis said. "To see something like that, it's damaging to baseball."

After the investigation concluded, the Astros were fined $5 million and were stripped of their first and second-round picks in the 2020 and 2021 draft. General manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch were both suspended from baseball for a year and subsequentially fired for their involvement in the scheme. No Astros player was punished. 

"I think [Astros players] got off pretty easy," he said. "They're going to be able to go out there and compete with no ramifications at all, which is wrong. I think the commissioner handled it the wrong way, but that's the way he did it and that's the way we got to live with it. But I know a lot of people disagree with him and the way he handled the situation, he should be embarrassed of himself."

Houston's new manager, Dusty Baker was informed of Markakis' comments later that day and didn't appear too concerned with what the outfielder had to say. 

However, Baker has taken the threat of pitchers throwing at his players seriously. Last week he told the Houston Chronicle he hopes "the league puts a stop to this before somebody gets hurt."

The Astros will begin their spring training slate of games with a World Series rematch with the Nationals on Saturday. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.