Capitals

Texas Tech WR depth getting tested

201210131723626165113-p2.jpeg

Texas Tech WR depth getting tested

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) Not since Michael Crabtree left for the NFL has Texas Tech had a receiver average 100 yards a game.

These days, the Red Raiders' passing attack is done with a stable of mostly unknown receivers, none of whom get gargantuan receiving yards as did Crabtree, who's most remembered around here for his clutch catch with seconds remaining to beat No. 1 Texas in 2008. None is ranked highly nationally.

Recent injuries could hamper the receiving corps, however, and coach Tommy Tuberville said there will be a drop in production Saturday when the 18th-ranked Red Raiders play at TCU (5-1, 2-1), the schools' first meeting in the Big 12.

``This year we've got some depth, but we're going to start running out of it,'' he said. ``We run so many routes in practice, we run so many routes in games and we block and do all those things. Then all of a sudden you lose a couple guys and it kind of puts you in a tailspin.''

Two of the team's top four receivers are out with injuries. Tuberville said tight end Jace Amaro, at 6-foot-5 and 257 pounds, is questionable for Saturday's game. He got ``mashed'' during Texas Tech's 49-14 win over then-No. 5 West Virginia last weekend and spent two nights in the hospital for observation, he said.

Amaro on Sunday, though, indicated on Twitter he probably won't play in Fort Worth: ``I know my team will hold it down for me this week!''

Javon Bell, the leader this season in receiving yards per game (67.2) fractured his foot in practice leading up to the Mountaineers game and is out for the season. Another receiver, Bradley Marquez, went out Saturday with a season-ending knee injury. Both will have surgery this week, Tuberville said.

No receivers were made available to the media this week.

Quarterback Seth Doege said he's not concerned about being without Amaro, Marquez and Bell.

``We still have guys that can get the job done, that will step up and play well for us,'' said Doege, who threw for six touchdowns and a career-high 499 yards in the West Virginia game. ``We have all the confidence in the world in each guy that is going to play.''

The top four receivers, Darrin Moore, Eric Ward, Amaro and Bell, are each averaging 59 yards or more per game and have 17 of the team's 23 passing touchdowns. None are ranked in the top 75 nationally in receiving yards.

Moore has seven touchdowns in 29 receptions this season - he had three TDs in the win over the Mountaineers - to lead the Red Raiders (5-1, 2-1).

Doege will also go to Alex Torres and Austin Zouzalik. But he'll miss his biggest target, Amaro, who had a touchdown and a 61-yard reception that led to another score against the Mountaineers before his injury.

``He's a big time player,'' Doege said. ``We for sure are going to miss him.''

Last season, injuries hurt the Red Raiders, especially during their five-game skid to close Texas Tech's worst season in 19 years. As many as 18 players had surgeries because of those injuries.

Players and Tuberville are mindful of last year's meltdown that followed a big win at Oklahoma as they move on from the victory over West Virginia.

``We did something nobody else thought we could do and we didn't win another game,'' Tuberville said of last season. ``We're a better team than we were last year, but we're also a target. When you're ranked as high as we are now and people see what you've done, you're going to get their `A' game.''

Quick Links

Caps push Lightning around in Game 6 with physical game plan

Caps push Lightning around in Game 6 with physical game plan

As the NHL continues to focus more on speed and skill, the Capitals took a very old-school approach to Game 6 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. From the moment the puck dropped until the clock hit zero, it was clear Washington came into Monday with a very physical game plan.

"It made a big difference," T.J. Oshie said. "I think in these games, everyone’s bringing energy and you kind of want to control that and direct it towards some positive play, some momentum building for your team, and tonight I think we handled that and did that pretty well."

"We just wanted to throw everything we had at them," Stephenson said. "It was a do or die game and we don't want our season to end."

It worked.

The scoresheet officially credited the Caps with 39 hits for the game. The Lightning had only 19. The physical play seemed to wear down Tampa Bay as the game went on.

After an even first period, Washington took a 1-0 lead in the second. Then, very fittingly, a physical fourth line extended that lead to 2-0 in the third to finish the Lightning off.

"All of a sudden now we turn a puck over, you’re back in your end, they’re feeling it, they’re being physical, crowd’s behind them and we’re spending way too much time in our D zone," Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper said. "That’s what hurt us."

What made it so effective was the fact that the entire team bought into it. Alex Ovechkin was certainly the most noticeable player as he threw himself around like a wrecking ball against everyone wearing a white jersey. But it was not just his line. Tom Wilson and Brooks Orpik each led the team with six hits, Devante Smith-Pelly recorded five of his own while Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom both had four.

The Lightning faced a constant barrage from the Caps from every line and defensive pair. There was no respite.

The hits also gave the fans plenty to cheer for.

The Caps were playing an elimination game at home and Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy was standing on his head. Even with the score locked at 0-0 through the first period, the crowd was still very much into the game. There was no apprehension, there was no quiet tension. There was just a loud crowd cheering on its team.

"[The fans] were loud right from the start, which I think we fed off of and wanted to give them something back," Brooks Orpik said. "We didn't get a goal early. I think some of the physical play kind of helped carry that. They were great for us."

Now in the third round of the playoffs after six intense games between the Caps and Lightning, the hope is that Game 6's physical play will continue to take its toll on Tampa Bay heading into Game 7.

"We need to do that every game," Nicklas Backstrom said. "That's our forecheck. Hopefully, we can keep it going here in Game 7."

MORE CAPITALS STORIES:

Quick Links

2018 NBA Mock Draft: What's changed after the combine

porter-bamba-bridges-draft-split-usat.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

2018 NBA Mock Draft: What's changed after the combine

Something that used to be a rare occurrence has now happened four years in a row.

The Phoenix Suns had the best odds of winning the NBA lottery, and they did, landing the number one pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. 

Over the last four years, the team with the NBA's worst record has landed that top spot each year. Before this stretch though, dating back to 1985, only four teams that had the worst record still won the lottery.

Nine teams have also jumped at least five spots to get to No. 1 during that period as well.

Now the order is set (until any trades of course) and teams have had a chance to check out many of the top players at the combine.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST 2018 NBA MOCK DRAFT 

This draft is loaded with big man prospects too, from DeAndre Ayton, Jaren Jackson Jr., Marvin Bagley, and Mohamed Bamba, along with countless others likely going in the top-14. 

There's also the very intriguing Luka Doncic, who most still believe won't go back to Real Madrid, even with him leaving the door open. 

A few names jumped into the first round since the last mock draft, which is something we always see after the combine. 

As for the Wizards, we know they need an athletic big man, and sitting at pick No. 15, they may just get one, although he brings a lot of mystery. 

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST 2018 NBA MOCK DRAFT