Redskins

Texas coach Mack Brown says no plans to retire

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Texas coach Mack Brown says no plans to retire

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Two days after another whipping at the hands of rival Oklahoma, Texas coach Mack Brown dismissed any suggestions he may be ready to retire, saying he's still got energy and the backing of the school and its big boosters.

Brown said Monday that several prominent boosters told him keep his head up and keep fighting after the 63-21 blowout, the third time in Brown's tenure the Sooners have hung more than 60 points on the Longhorns.

Texas' second consecutive loss dropped the Longhorns (4-2, 0-2 Big 12) to 17-14 overall under Brown since 2010, and raised new speculation that the 61-year-old who led Texas to the 2005 national championship may consider retiring.

Brown is under contract under 2020. At more than $5 million per year, he is one of the highest-paid coaches in the country.

``I have my energy. I'm moving forward,'' Brown said. ``I know I've got time to fix it and I know I can.''

Brown would not say which boosters reached out to him, but added that he heard the same positive message from many former Texas players.

``I'm way too competitive and (have) way too much pride to leave something bad,'' Brown said, adding he still thinks Texas can win 10 games this season

Brown has heard rumblings about his job before but nothing truly serious. From 2000-2004, his teams lost five in a row to Oklahoma, but those teams still won at least nine games every year. Texas ended the losing streak the season the Longhorns won the national title and the dissension melted away.

The strongest speculation about his possible retirement came in 2009-2010.

Texas had a coach-in-waiting in defensive coordinator Will Muschamp in 2009, the season Texas lost in the BCS title game. Some thought had Texas won that game, Brown would retire with his second championship.

Texas fell hard to 5-7 the following season and Muschamp bolted for the head coaching job at Florida. Brown said he met with school President Bill Powers and athletic director DeLoss Dodds after that season.

``When I decided to come back, I told them it was going to take some time,'' Brown said. ``We sat down and had hard discussions. They were 100 percent in their support. They said, `We want you to stay and we'll give you the time and money to do it.' That's not an issue.''

Brown said he doesn't face the constant pressure coaches do at other schools.

``I've got great bosses. This job isn't like the others,'' Brown said. ``I'm the luckiest guy in the world.''

Texas gave Brown his initial $5 million-per year deal in December 2009 after a 12-0 regular season but before the BCS game loss. The contract was extended it four years in January 2012 after Texas rebounded from the losing season to go 8-5 in 2011.

After Saturday's loss to Oklahoma, when the television cameras often caught Brown looking frustrated on the sideline, the coach clearly expected his team to hear speculation about his future. He told his players he wasn't going anywhere.

``He told us he wasn't going to quit and didn't want to see any quit in us, either,'' offensive lineman Mason Walters said.

Brown also had a message on Monday for his top assistant coaches, offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin and defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, whose unit is on pace to be statistically the worst in school history. The Longhorns surrendered nearly 700 yards against Oklahoma and have given up at least 31 points in four consecutive games.

``At this school you will be really criticized for not doing well in a ball game. You take it and man up to it it's the reason you get paid a lot. It's part of the deal here,'' Brown said. ``You guys want to be head coaches, learn now, because you are going to get some questions later.''

Brown got a bit of good news after the loss when quarterback David Ash was cleared to return to practice despite an injured wrist on his left, non-throwing arm.

Ash left the game in the fourth quarter after taking a hit and team doctors initially worried the arm was broken because of the severe swelling. X-rays showed no fractures and Ash was taking snaps from center on Sunday.

Ash said Monday he'll play this week against Baylor (3-2, 0-2).

Any criticism of Brown and speculation about his job should ``stop,'' Ash said.

``He's a winner. He's a competitor. He wants to stay positive,'' Ash said.

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Redskins Talk hosts "Redskins On the Clock" special: How to watch, live stream, listen

Redskins Talk hosts "Redskins On the Clock" special: How to watch, live stream, listen

It's the moment we've all been waiting for: finding out who the Redskins are going to take as their No. 15 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

After much anticipation and countless mock drafts, Redskins fans will finally find out what's to come for the Burgundy and Gold in the upcoming NFL season. 

And we couldn't let you handle this news alone: So we've got the Redskins Talk crew hosting a special "Redskins on the Clock" live stream to address, analyze and hopefully rejoice over the 'Skins decision. 

<<CHECK OUT NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON'S LATEST NFL MOCK DRAFT>>

On Thursday, Apr. 25th, JP Finlay, Peter Hailey and Mitchell Tischler from the Redskins Talk Podcast, along with guests Travis Thomas and Trevor Matich, will be offering a live look into their thoughts and concerns surrounding both the Redskins' pick and all of Round 1. The live stream will be available on the MyTeams by NBC Sports App from approximately 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. 

And if you haven't already downloaded the MyTeams App, you can do so right now, RIGHT HERE.

Redskins Talk Podcast "Redskins on the Clock" Special

CLICK HERE to watch the daily live stream of the Redskins Talk Podcast

When: 8 p.m. - (approximately) 11 p.m. ET, Thursday, Apr. 25th 

Live Stream: Click to stream Redskins Talk Podcast Live every day this week

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How the Capitals went from 'chokers' to 'closers' in Game 6s

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USA TODAY Sports

How the Capitals went from 'chokers' to 'closers' in Game 6s

RALEIGH — There was a time when a Stanley Cup Playoff series lead of any kind produced nothing but stress and anxiety for the Capitals and their tortured fan base.

This is an organization, after all, that has blown a 3-1 playoff series lead five times – often in horrifying, heartbreaking fashion. That has only happened 28 times in NHL history, and Washington owns 18 percent of those epic collapses. But the league’s biggest chokers have put those demons to rest. And that trend started well before winning the Stanley Cup last year. 

Tonight, the Capitals have a chance to close out the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 6 of a first-round playoff series at PNC Arena. They lead 3-2. They know they always have another chance, if necessary, on Wednesday for Game 7 at Capital One Arena back home. 

But if ending a series on the road once seemed like a daunting task, it hasn’t fazed the franchise for a while now. Washington has won four Game 6s in a row when up 3-2 in a series.  

“When we play to our identity and force other teams to make mistakes and they’re in an elimination situation, then those mistakes become magnified,” Capitals coach Todd Reirden said. “That team is already feeling the pressure of that being their last game. And if we play to our identity then it really seems to match up nicely for those elimination games.”

The Capitals were ahead 3-2 with road Game 6s in Philadelphia (2016), Toronto (2017), Columbus (2018) and Pittsburgh (2018) and won them all. They also put Vegas away last June up 3-1 in the series with Game 5 on the road and won the Stanley Cup that night. If the recent version of the Capitals has a chance to put a team away, the team has done it.

The last time they blew a lead with a chance to eliminate the opposition was 2015 when they coughed up a 3-1 advantage in a second-round exit to the New York Rangers. 

There are theories why.

A big, physical team with elite skill, Washington has been able to wear teams out the later a series goes. In 2017, the Maple Leafs put up a great fight against the Presidents’ Trophy winners in the first round. They won two overtime games. They took a 2-1 series lead and had a chance to go up 3-1 on the Capitals with Game 4 at home in Toronto. 

Washington, instead, won Game 4 by a 5-4 score and allowed just two goals in Games 5 and 6 to end the series.

The offense went dry in 2016 against Philadelphia in the first round and a 3-0 series lead suddenly was cut to 3-2 with the Flyers hosting Game 6. They had life. The old Capitals might have panicked. But they won that game 1-0. Philadelphia managed just four goals over the final three games of the series and had nothing left in Game 6. 

There is a mentality that goes into playing a game where the other team’s season is on the line and yours is not.   

"To ourselves, I think, to show that when we play that way, we're going to be real tough to beat,” goalie Braden Holtby said. “I don't think we put much emphasis on [Carolina]. We know they're going to prepare and play as if it's an elimination game for them. We know they're going to come hard, we know they're a good young team and they never shy away from anything. It's on us to play like that and take everything else out of it."

Last year against Columbus in the first round, Washington overcame a 2-0 deficit to tie the series. Game 4 on the road was a clinic with the frustrated Blue Jackets hardly able to get the puck through the neutral zone in a 4-1 Capitals win. Washington broke Columbus’ will with its relentless, physical play. It scored 10 goals in Games 5 and 6 to end the series.  

The same thing played out the next round against Pittsburgh. A dominating 6-3 win in Game 5 at home – much like the 6-0 win over Carolina on Saturday – set the stage for a classic road Game 6. Washington scored first. The Penguins tied it. But the Capitals were the team with enough juice left in overtime to take the series on Evgeny Kuznetsov’s game-winning goal. 

The best example of how the Capitals have worn down one opponent after another actually came last season in the Eastern Conference Final when they were down 3-2 to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Washington didn’t allow a goal in Games 6 and 7 and advanced. 

“Our team likes being on the road, plays well on the road, enjoys spending that time with each other,” Reirden said. “When you want to have success on the road you have to have contributions from everybody throughout your lineup. That makes you a very difficult team to match up as the home coach. So by us having the seven 20-goal scorers, we were a difficult match.

"And now, we started to see a little bit more of our depth scoring [Saturday]. … It certainly becomes an easier road assignment for the coach -- I can tell you. That’s an advantage for us.”

The Lightning last May looked like a boxer that had taken too many blows to the head after the Capitals blitzed them in Game 6.

If you looked closely on Saturday, you saw elements of that when Carolina defenseman Dougie Hamilton raced back for a puck, knew Alex Ovechkin was steaming right behind him, and gave up on the play. Hamilton didn’t appear to want to pay the price for winning that race and instead Ovechkin took the puck away and fed Brett Connolly in front for the goal that put Washington up 3-0. 

Maybe Carolina regroups tonight. The Hurricanes are a young team, but with grizzled veterans like Jordan Staal and Justin Williams who have won multiple Stanley Cups between them. They won’t play scared. The crowd at PNC Arena will be a factor. They do not want their season to end.

But these Capitals are a different breed. Time and again the past three years they have grinded their opponents into dust so by the time the series reaches this point there isn’t enough fight left to them.     

“We’ve just got to regroup here and move forward,” center Nicklas Backstrom said. “That was just a 3-2 lead. Toughest one is the last one. We haven’t been happy with the way we’ve played in Carolina so far. Let’s change that.”

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