Virginia RB Parks heading home to play Duke


Virginia RB Parks heading home to play Duke

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) Kevin Parks flashes a sly smile hoping it will answer the question.

The Virginia tailback and North Carolina native is going home with a bit of an attitude this weekend when the struggling Cavaliers face a surprising Duke team.

The 5-foot-8 Parks played high school ball less than two hours from the Research Triangle, and said coaches in his home state told him he was too small to play football at the major college level.

``I see Carolina games or N.C. State and I circle those games because there's a little more motivation on my back,'' the sophomore said this week. ``Everybody said I'm too small so, motivation.''

Parks leads the Cavaliers (2-3, 0-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) in rushing with 272 yards, including a 49-yard burst, and has scored two touchdowns, giving him 11 in 18 college games. He's also caught 12 passes for 95 yards.

The Cavaliers will take a boost anywhere they can get it. They have lost three straight and also are likely to make a change at quarterback with Alabama transfer Phillip Sims taking over as the starter.

Sims has thrown five touchdown passes without being intercepted playing behind Michael Rocco, and nearly led Virginia back from a 20-point deficit last weekend in a 44-38 loss to Louisiana Tech.

Virginia's chance at getting the ball back in the closing minutes was scuttled by a penalty that gave the Bulldogs a first down - the last of 16 penalties that led to 145 yards.

Parks was responsible for one of several personal foul calls, and was disappointed in himself.

``We just got to be a little bit more smarter about what we do. I hold myself accountable because I was one of those persons to get a flag late,'' he said. ``I just made a bonehead decision at that time because I was a little frustrated. We still got points out of it. It was three points, but maybe could have been a touchdown. It may have been the difference in the ballgame.''

The Cavaliers lost despite piling up 625 yards of offense, and showed signs of getting their running game untracked with 145 yards. Starter Perry Jones ran for 82, and Parks picked up another 60.

He'd like nothing better than to help the ground game take off this weekend.

``We still believe there's nothing wrong with our running game,'' he said. ``We've just got to be a little bit more decisive, make more great reads, make great blocks when we have to so the quarterback can throw, help out the blocking game, catch the ball when we need to and do all those little things right.''

Getting enough tickets for all the family and friends that will make the trip to Durham, N.C., ``can be a little bit stressful,'' Parks said, ``but I don't look at it like that. It's all fun for me.''

Teammate Adrian Gamble, who caught his first touchdown pass against the Bulldogs in the Sims-led rally, also is going home, and hopes the scoring grab was the start of an increased role in the offense.

The freshman from Charlotte is known for spectacular catches in practice, and wants to bring that to the games.

Duke (4-1, 1-0) has won three straight led by quarterback Sean Renfree, who is completing 72 percent of his passes with nine touchdowns. He's listed as questionable this week with a right elbow injury, so both teams may have new faces taking the opening snaps at quarterback. For Duke, that would be Anthony Boone, who finished the game last weekend.

No worries, coach David Cutcliffe said, comparing Boone's situation to what Sims faces.

``We have an offensive system. Anthony Boone has been taking the number two reps all fall camp, all during the season to this point,'' Cutcliffe said. ``We're running the same offense.''


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With Caps in Vancouver, Jay Beagle receives his ring

With Caps in Vancouver, Jay Beagle receives his ring

On June 7 in Las Vegas, Jay Beagle was in a Capitals uniform as they hoisted their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. Three weeks later, the 33-year-old signed a four-year, $12-million contract with the Vancouver Canucks

The Capitals begin a four-game, Canadian road trip this evening in Vancouver. Beagle did not attend the Capitals ring ceremony at the Palm three weeks ago so the Caps awarded Beagle with his ring today.

Each ring contains 252 diamonds, 35 rubies and one sapphire. Beagle was impressed but isn't sure how much use the ring will get.

“Not sure I’ll wear it again. It’s like wearing my truck.”

Jay Beagle will not be on the ice tonight against his former team. Beagle broke his forearm when he blocked a shot against the Florida Panthers on October 13th. Beagle is expected to be sidelined for another five weeks.

Despite the injury, it has still been a great week for Beagle. 

A shiny, new ring AND a baby girl. Not too shabby.


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As injuries linger at WR, Jay Gruden believes a trade might help Redskins

As injuries linger at WR, Jay Gruden believes a trade might help Redskins

The Dallas Cowboys traded for Amari Cooper on Monday, and with that, alarms go off around the NFL that it's wheeling and dealing season. The trade deadline hits in one week, and for teams looking to bolster their squad before the second half of the year, it's time to see what areas could improve. 

For Redskins head coach Jay Gruden, the injury situation at wide receiver means that his team could use help at the position. 

"We could probably use one more there if we could," Gruden said Monday on the Redskins Talk podcast. 

Asked if there was one area the team could bolster via trade, the coach explained that if wideouts Jamison Crowder or Paul Richardson could come back from injury right away, the Redskins would have no need to trade for another receiver. Unfortunately for the Redskins, neither injury situation is very clear, and some reports show that Crowder could miss a few more weeks working back from an ankle injury. 

"I think if you look at our team right now with the injuries to Crowder and obviously the uncertainty with Richardson you might want to add another receiver, but I like what [Michael] Floyd’s done coming in here," Gruden said. 

Floyd had one catch for 20 yards in the Redskins win on Sunday over the Cowboys, but he's a physical veteran that has the coach excited. Gruden also complimented what Maurice Harris and Brian Quick have done in the absence of Richardson and Crowder.

While the Cowboys struck first in the receiver trade market, more players remain reportedly available, including Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas and Dolphins WR DeVante Parker. 

Thomas is a five-time Pro Bowler in Denver, but at 30 years old and with some trade value, it makes sense for John Elway to consider his market. The Broncos are 3-4 and have an underperforming offense. 

Parker was a first-round pick in 2015 but has not had a 1,000-yard season in Miami. Making matters more complicated, Parker's agent Jimmy Gould called Dolphins head coach Adam Gase "incompetent" to a host of different media outlets. Parker has only been active twice this season though he contends health is not an issue. 

Gruden remains confident that 2016 first-round pick Josh Doctson will get going, and he is a similar big target as Thomas and Parker. Should Richardson miss significant time, the Redskins would lack a true speed threat.

There's certainly no clear indication that Washington will make a move before the NFL trade deadline, but as things stand now with injuries, there is a need. Remember, too, the Redskins are long on 2019 draft picks with 10 selections in seven rounds.