NCAA

Texans prepare for talented rookie Luck

201212091258467378404-p2.jpeg

Texans prepare for talented rookie Luck

HOUSTON (AP) The last time the Houston Texans faced an inexperienced quarterback they forced second-year pro Jake Locker into five turnovers and sacked him six times in a win over the Titans.

Two weeks later, they get a shot at Andrew Luck, the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft last April, and they can clinch the AFC South title with a win.

Luck has thrown for 3,792 yards for the Colts, but leads the AFC in interceptions with 18, and has lost five fumbles. He's also been sacked 32 times, and will now have to deal with AFC sacks leader J.J. Watt.

``We need more sacks,'' said Watt, who has a single-season franchise record with 16 1/2. ``I need to rush the passer better. As a defensive line, we need more pressure and we need to bat some more balls. We'll put it on us up front.''

Coach Gary Kubiak noted that Luck is challenging because even if the defense gets to him for a sack, his size (6-foot 4, 234 pounds) makes him difficult to bring down.

``It's got to be a big conscious effort for us to keep him contained, and then when we do have our opportunities you got to really work to bring him down,'' Kubiak said. ``You can make just an incredible highlight reel of people just hanging on to him and him still making plays.''

Kubiak likened Luck to Ben Roethlisberger because of his size, and said that when he was studying the draft last year he thought he was the best quarterback to come out since his predecessor Peyton Manning.

``He's sure as heck hasn't disappointed,'' Kubiak said. ``He's been excellent this year. I told the team he's playing like an eight-, nine-year football player. He's handling a ton of offense.''

Despite his development, Luck hasn't found a way to limit his turnovers. He's had three games this season with three interceptions, and two of them have come in the last four games. He has nine interceptions in the last four games.

The Texans, who are experts at batting down passes, definitely noticed those numbers.

``It's our goal always to create turnovers,'' Watt said. ``We know what that does for momentum. We know how good our offense is, so we want to get them the ball as many times as possible, so we're always looking to create turnovers.''

Watt has batted down 15 passes this season. He's the only player since the league began tracking passes defensed in 1991 to have at least 15 sacks and 15 passes defensed in a single season.

Some teams have used brooms or other sticks in practice to try and replicate what it's like to throw against Watt when preparing for the Texans. But Indianapolis interim coach Bruce Arians said he just used his tallest players and had them put their hands up in front of Luck this week in practice.

``I've seen ladders, brooms, everything, and balls still get batted in games,'' Arians said. ``They're so good at disengaging when they're not going to get to the quarterback and getting in that throwing lane that it's really hard to replicate.''

The Texans plan to use a variety of tactics to try and make Luck uncomfortable on Sunday. But from what they've seen from him so far, they know that will be difficult.

``You always want to try to rattle the quarterback,'' nose tackle Shaun Cody said. ``(But) his progression has been so fast where he started the year and where he is now. He's obviously better. We want to rattle him and get to him, but I think he's learned from the mistakes he's made in the past so It'll definitely be a challenge for us.''

---

Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Reports: Big Ten to cancel fall football season, hopes to play in spring

Reports: Big Ten to cancel fall football season, hopes to play in spring

The Big Ten is canceling the 2020 fall football season and will attempt to play in the spring, according to multiple reports. Pete Thamel of Yahoo! Sports was first to break the news.

The decision does not come as much of a surprise.

On Sunday, the commissioners of the Power Five conferences had an emergency meeting to discuss the outlook of playing this fall, and the large majority of Big Ten presidents want to postpone the season due to concerns amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Big Ten is the first Power Five conference to postpone its season. The league had postponed padded practices earlier this week until more protocols were put in place. Earlier this month, the Big Ten announced it would conduct a revised, conference-only schedule in 2020.

Several college football stars, including Clemson's Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State's Justin Fields, have advocated for playing this fall. Players across the country have attempted to unionize in one last effort to save the season, too.

President Donald Trump has also sided with the players, saying the players have worked too hard for their season to be canceled.

Stay connected with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE NCAA NEWS:

Quick Links

Washington Football radio broadcast to feature DeAngelo Hall, Bram Weinstein

Washington Football radio broadcast to feature DeAngelo Hall, Bram Weinstein

The revamped Washington Football Team radio broadcast will feature Julie Donaldson as the host and anchor working alongside DeAngelo Hall as analyst and Bram Weinstein working play-by-play, sources informed NBC Sports Washington and the team later announced.

Donaldson's role as the lead voice in the new broadcast had already been announced but there was some mystery regarding the play-by-play and analyst roles. The new crew replaces long-time voice of the team Larry Michael as well as analysts Chris Cooley and Rick "Doc" Walker from last season. Michael abruptly resigned last month amid allegations in a Washington Post story of inappropriate behavior

Hall played in Washington for 10 seasons from 2008 until he retired after the 2017 season. He made the Pro Bowl in 2010. For multiple seasons he served as defensive captain and was a fan favorite. Always a playmaker, he logged 23 career interceptions for the Burgundy and Gold and six defensive touchdowns. Hall has done television work with NBC Sports Washington and NFL Network since he retired from playing.

Weinstein is a long-time D.C.-area radio broadcaster who has previously worked at The Team 980 and currently hosts an afternoon show on ESPN630. Weinstein also served as a SportsCenter host at ESPN for a stint and has done local television work for Fox 5. 

Donaldson took over as the team's lead broadcaster and head of media last month. She will be the first woman to run an NFL radio broadcast this fall. Donaldson previously worked at NBC Sports Washington before taking the job with the Washington Football Team. 

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TALK PODCAST

Stay connected to the team with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM NEWS: