The 23rd is the final day of play before the holiday break and since their inception, the Nashville Predators have played 12 games on this date, posting a record of 6-3-(3)-0 during that span. The Preds have faced off against 10 different teams on the 23rd – Columbus (twice), Dallas, Detroit, Florida (twice), Los Angeles, Minnesota, the New York Rangers, Ottawa, St. Louis and San Jose. «Read the rest of this article»
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Chris Johnson is confident he will be ready for the Titans’ season finale against the Jaguars on Sunday even though he missed practice the second day in a row because of an ankle injury.
Johnson said finishing his fifth NFL season on the field is incredibly important to him. The running back has played in every game of his NFL career except when Tennessee opted to rest him for the playoffs in Week 17 of 2008. «Read the rest of this article»
By Teresa M. Walker, The Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars insist they have plenty on the line Sunday in their season finale.
Pride. A victory and a sense of accomplishment heading into the offseason. Playing well enough to have a job in 2013.
“We’re not lacking any type of motivation,” Titans cornerback Alterraun Verner said. “I wouldn’t say that’s a tipping point or a boiling point. We just need a win.”
Titans coach Mike Munchak calls this a must-win to reach the goal of finishing 6-10 after an ugly 55-7 loss in Green Bay last weekend. «Read the rest of this article»
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans on Sunday welcome three-time Grammy Award winning blues musician, Keb Mo to perform pregame on the Titans party stage at LP Field.
A singer, guitarist and songwriter, Keb Mo has been making critically acclaimed albums since 1994 and worked with notable talent such as the India.Arie, Amy Grant, Vince Gill, James Taylor, The Dixie Chicks, Natalie Cole, Willie Nelson, Robert Cray and Herbie Hancock, to name a few. In addition, his songs have been covered by greats like Buddy Guy, Joe Cocker, Robert Palmer, BB King and Wynonna. «Read the rest of this article»
Following an eight-day break for Christmas, Austin Peay women’s basketball team returns to action at 3 p.m. Saturday at Alabama A&M at Elmore Gymnasium. It will be the final non-conference test for the Lady Govs, who are still seeking their first road win this season. Austin Peay head coach Carrie Daniels also will be coaching her 200th career game. Alabama A&M enters the contest looking to end an eight-game losing streak dating back to its season-opening win against Division II Miles.
DANIELS REACHES 200-GAME MILESTONE
With the tip-off of Saturday’s contest, head coach Carrie Daniels, who is in her seventh season, will become only the second head coach to lead the Lady Govs in 200 contests. She joins former head coach Susie Gardner who coached 205 games during her seven-year career (1996-03).
LADY GOVS LEDGER
All of Austin Peay’s four wins have come in the friendly confines of the Dunn Center (3-1) as it has not posted a win away from home this season (0-6)… the Lady Govs haven’t shot the ball well this season, making just 39.3 percent of their shots during the season, but have topped 40 percent six times… rebounding also has been a concern in the early going, with the team racking up a minus-7.3 rebounding margin… nine APSU players have played in every contest… Austin Peay has won the turnover battle in seven games and owns a plus-2.4 turnover margin… seven players are averaging five or more points per game, with two players averaging double figures (Meghan Bussabarger and Leslie Martinez at 11.5 and 10.5 points per game, respectively).
Alabama A&M brings an eight-game losing streak into Friday’s contest… the Bulldogs won a season-opening contest against Division II Miles, Nov. 9… AAMU recently traveled to Las Vegas where they dropped three contests, opening with a loss to nationally-ranked Notre Dame before losses to host UNLV and Old Dominion… the Bulldogs are 0-1 against OVC opponents this season, dropping a 69-54 decision at Murray State, Dec. 16… junior forward Jasmine Sanders has been the team’s leading scorer in four of the last five contests and is averaging 12.2 points per game during that span, bringing her season average up to a team-best 9.6 points per game… junior guard Alyssa Strickland (8.4 ppg) and senior center NaDra Robertson (8.3 ppg) are the team’s next two leading scorers, Robertson also averaging a team best 7.4 rebounds per game.
AN AUSTIN PEAY WIN WOULD…
Be its first back-to-back wins this season… be its first win away from the Dunn Center this season… end its six-game losing streak in true road games and seven-game losing streak away from the Dunn Center… make it 1-6 away from the Dunn Center… be its second straight win at Alabama A&M… be its fifth non-conference win, the most during the Daniels era… make it 4-2 in December… improve Daniels’ record to 77-123 overall… make the Lady Govs 430-596 overall since 1976-77.
AN AUSTIN PEAY LOSS WOULD…
Keep it winless away from the Dunn Center this season (0-7)… be its seventh straight loss in true road games and eighth straight loss away from Clarksville… be its second straight loss to Alabama A&M, leveling the series record at 2-2… make it 3-3 in December… drop Daniels’ record to 76-124 overall… make the Lady Govs 429-597 overall since 1976-77.
CHRISTMAS BREAK LEFTOVERS?
The first game following the Christmas holiday has been a tough one for the Lady Govs who are 2-4 in the previous six games that wrapped up the pre-Christmas schedule. Friday’s contest will be the third straight road game following the Christmas break and they are 0-2 in the two previous affairs – falling at Pittsburgh in 2010-11 before dropping its conference opener at Tennessee State last season.
70 FOR THE WIN?
Austin Peay has breached the 70-point barrier four times this season, posting a 3-1 record in those contests. The Lady Govs lone loss came in an 88-76 loss to William & Mary while they posted wins against Ball State, Binghamton and St. Catharine. Conversely, Austin Peay has been held below the 70-point mark five times this season and is winless in those contests.
HOME SWEET TO LADY GOVS
The Lady Govs have enjoyed more success at home, winning four consecutive games and posting a 4-1 record this season at the Dunn Center. During the Daniels era, the Lady Govs are 43-41 (.512) at home with a winning mark in four of Daniels six previous seasons.
W’s SPARSE IN NON-CONFERENCE ACTION
Austin Peay has found wins hard to come by in non-conference play during the Daniels era, posting a 16-60 (.211) record all time when stepping out of league play. The Lady Govs 3-7 record this season is one win shy of the best non-conference win total during the Daniels era (4-7 in 2008-09).
AUSTIN PEAY LADY GOVS (4-7, 0-0 OVC) vs. ALABAMA A&M (1-8, 0-0 SWAC)
Date: Saturday, Dec. 28, 2012 | Tipoff: 3 p.m. (CT)
Location: Huntsville, Ala. | Arena: T.M. Elmore Gymnasium (6,000)
Radio: WAPX 91.9 FM (Josh Stephenson, play-by-play, Ethan Schmidt, analysis)
Live Stats: www.AAMUSports.com
Live Audio: www.LetsGoPeay.com
ipTV: Not Available
Head Coaches: Austin Peay – Carrie Daniels (Austin Peay, 1996) is 76-123 (.382) in her seventh season as a head coach at Austin Peay. Alabama A&M – Altherias Warmley (UAB, 1991) is 110-128 (.462) in her 10th season at the school and as a head coach.
Series: APSU leads, 2-1 (APSU 1-0 in Huntsville) | Streak: AAMU, one win | Daniels vs. AAMU: 0-1
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Jake Locker has seen a different test each game he’s started this season but will have increased familiarity with Jacksonville’s defense on Sunday.
For the first time this season, the Titans’ second-year quarterback and first-year starter will have the benefit of having played a full game against the upcoming opponent.
“You have an idea of who they are, personnel-wise and scheme-wise a little bit and you can really focus in on some of the finer details of what they’re doing and try and prepare yourself that much more,” Locker said.
Locker completed 23 of 40 passes (57.5 percent) for 261 yards the first time against the Jaguars on Nov. 25 and will look to build on those numbers this week in the season finale.
Locker envisioned a smoother ride in his first 10 starts in the NFL. He is 3-7 so far and suffered injuries to his left, non-throwing shoulder twice in the first four games, knocking him out against New England in the opener and early at Houston, causing him to miss more than three quarters of that game and the following five contests.
The Titans are 2-4 since Locker’s return. He said he views the challenges the Titans have faced this season — from a long list of injuries to mistakes that they need to and can clean up — as a test of their character that will lead to positives in the future.
“I think people’s true character gets tested when your back is against the wall and you’ve got people criticizing you and doubting what you’re doing, so I think the best part about that is it allows you to come together as a group as a unit and gives you something to rally around,” Locker said. “As bad as it may seem, it can be really good in the locker room. It can be good for a young group of guys that, that’s all you have to count on, the guys in that locker room. Sometimes you don’t see that right away, but that’s something you can build, and it becomes real useful down the road.”
Titans offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, who was promoted from quarterbacks coach Nov. 26, said he thinks Locker is learning fast and a lot about himself and teammates.
“The thing is he’s getting his lumps in right now, and that always helps,” Loggains said. “We’ve got to do a much better job, the staff and the playmakers and the people around him of doing our jobs to help him do his job. I do believe the one thing about quarterback play is the way you’re successful at the position is you get 10 other guys doing their jobs around him.”
Consistently placing the 10 other guys around Locker has been difficult this season. Tennessee (5-10) will start its third different combination of offensive linemen in as many games, and is likely to be without its top two tight ends (Jared Cook’s season ended Dec. 3, and Craig Stevens suffered a concussion last week). Loggains said he thinks Kenny Britt is at “80 percent” as he’s battled all season from last year’s ACL and MCL injuries. Kendall Wright, who leads the team with 62 catches, was also missed last week.
Loggains’ plans often try to create mismatches and exploit them. He said the simultaneous absence of Cook and Wright showed up in Green Bay, particularly on third down.
“(On third down), you don’t have Cook to control the middle of the field, they’re going to over-populate the line of scrimmage, they’re going to put eight people in the box,” Loggains said. “Teams are going to play a lot more press-man until you show you can win outside, and that’s where you lose those type guys, the guys that can do stuff after the catch. Obviously, Jared’s a big body guy, and Kendall is really quick, so they have the ability to separate (from defenders).”
Tennessee went 4-for-15 on third down and 0-for-2 on fourth down, and Locker took seven sacks against Green Bay.
Although the Titans have one remaining starter — Michael Roos — on the offensive line from training camp, Locker said he is not worried about protection this week.
“That kind of apprehension will definitely allow you to get beat,” Locker said. “You’ve got to go in with confidence no matter who you line up with. I believe in all 10 guys in that huddle no matter who they are. They come in here and they work day-in and day-out. They prepare the right way. I know that. I’m in the locker room with them. I’m in games with them, and I trust those guys and I’m proud to play with them.”
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The only game
Chris Johnson has missed in the NFL came when Tennessee sidelined the running back in 2008 to prep for the playoffs.
He isn’t about to let a sore right ankle sideline him now.
Johnson said Thursday he takes pride in showing his durability in a league where nearly every player deals with injuries. He calls himself “a go” for Sunday’s season finale against the Jaguars (2-13) despite missing a second straight practice Thursday after hurting his ankle last week in a 55-7 loss in Green Bay.
“It’s a situation where I know it’s our last game. I know we’re not going to the playoffs or anything like that. I still want to go out and fight with my teammates,” Johnson said.
The running back already has 1,187 yards rushing this season despite an offensive line missing four starters from the preseason. That ranks as his fourth-best season with a game left in a rebound from last year when he had a career-low 1,047 yards after signing a $53.5 million extension.
Johnson would need one of his best games to do it, but he could join Eric Dickerson, LaDainian Tomlinson and Emmitt Smith as the only NFL players to run for 7,000 yards in their first five seasons with 168 yards rushing. He has run for that many yards once in his career with four games better than that. He currently has 6,832 yards rushing.
“That’d be very nice,” Johnson said. “Anytime you can set a record and have your name up there with Hall of Famer type of guys, it’s always a great accomplishment to have under your belt.”
He’ll be running against a Jacksonville defense that ranks 31st against the run allowing 145.1 yards per game. The Jaguars have given up more than 200 yards rushing three times this season, though they did get back linebacker Daryl Smith last week against New England where they allowed only 103 yards total.
If Johnson starts Sunday as he expects, this will be his fourth straight season starting all 16 games. That dependability is why coach Mike Munchak expects Johnson to play against Jacksonville. Munchak called Johnson’s streak amazing considering his size at 5-foot-11 and 191 pounds to go along with 1,442 rushing attempts and 229 career catches.
“That’s a credit to him and the way he takes care of himself, that he can withstand that kind of punishment in the NFL that he takes, like any running back takes when they’re running the football, catching it, and on the field as much as he is …,” Munchak said. “Hopefully he’ll be able to finish up this season with a big game.
With all the offensive line injuries and the Titans (5-10) losing six of their last eight games, Johnson’s future with the franchise has been the topic of heavy speculation. A clause in his contract allows the Titans to release him within the first five days of the new league year after the Super Bowl or $9 million of his $10 million salary for 2013 will be guaranteed.
Johnson’s contract goes through 2016, and the Titans still see him as one of their best players.
“He’s our playmaker,” Munchak said last week. “He’s the guy everyone knows when you travel around. He’s the first guy people want to know about, so you want the running game to do well.”
That hasn’t stopped Johnson from being asked about his future repeatedly, and the 27-year-old running back has deflected questions on whether he wanted to be traded and what team he wanted to play for. Even Thursday, Johnson said he’s focusing only on Sunday’s game and not worrying about any changes that might happen on the roster or the coaching staff after such a turbulent season.
He noted offensive coordinator Chris Palmer was fired, Jake Locker was named the starter at quarterback only to get hurt and replaced by Matt Hasselbeck. Locker’s return also was mixed in with the constant changes on the offensive line due to injuries.
“It’s a situation I can’t worry about,” Johnson said. “All I can worry about is the team and try to get a victory.”
NOTES: Munchak said TE Craig Stevens (concussion) is highly questionable for the finale with LB Colin McCarthy (concussion) likely out again too. WR Kendall Wright (rib) practiced fully and expects to play. RB Jamie Harper (ankle) did not practice along with LB Will Witherspoon (chest), WR Damian Williams (foot) and C Kevin Matthews (right ankle). Munchak expects Witherspoon, Johnson, Harper and possibly Williams to practice Friday.
#13/15 Tennessee (7-3/0-0 SEC) and Davidson (4-6/1-0 Southern) will meet for the first time, facing off on Friday at 7 p.m. Eastern time in a game that will be streamed live on UTSports.com.
After forging a 2-2 record playing four-straight games against ranked teams, the Lady Vols will battle the unranked Wildcats in UT’s first contest after a five-day holiday break from competition.
UT is in the midst of a three-game homestand and will conclude it by playing host to Rutgers (8-3) on Sunday at 1 p.m.
The Lady Vols are 43-21 vs. Southern Conference opponents through the years. Tennessee dropped its 2012-13 opener to Chattanooga, 80-71, and is 0-1 vs. the SoCon this season.The Lady Vols are coming off a 73-60 home setback to No. 1/1 Stanford on Dec. 22, while Davidson lost at Charlotte in its last outing, 69-54, on Dec. 21.
Davidson is 0-2 vs. teams Tennessee has defeated this season and lost to another squad the Lady Vols will soon play. The Wildcats lost at North Carolina (70-59) on Nov. 9, at Rutgers (55-49) on Nov. 25 and at Miami (67-35) on Dec. 8.
UT won at Miami (79-67) on Nov. 18 and vs. North Carolina (102-57) on Dec. 2. The Lady Vols play Rutgers on Dec. 30.
TOUGH NON-CONFERENCE SLATE
¢ As usual, Tennessee has played a challenging non-conference schedule.
¢ The Lady Vols are 7-3 overall, including a 4-2 mark vs. ranked teams.
¢ Three of UT’s wins over ranked teams came on the road.
¢ Tennessee’s RPI is No. 5, and the Lady Vols’ strength of schedule is rated No. 1.
¢ Thus far, the SEC is 8-9 vs. ranked teams, and Tennessee has four of those wins, defeating No. 22/20 Georgia Tech, No. 23/23 Miami, No. 22/RV North Carolina and No. 18/20 Texas.
¢ The losses to ranked teams came to No. 1/1 Stanford, 73-60, and No. 3/3 Baylor, 76-53.
¢ Davidson currently stands 4-6, but the Wildcats were 22-10 a year ago and earned a share of the Southern Conference title.
#13/15 TENNESSEE (7-3) vs. DAVIDSON (4-6)
Dec. 28, 2012 | 7 p.m. ET | Thompson- Boling Arena | Knoxville, Tenn.
WATCH LIVE/UTSPORTS.COM ALL ACCESS: http://bit.ly/ZCnSMK
RADIO: Lady Vol Network (Mickey Dearstone, play-by-play)
LISTEN LIVE: http://bit.ly/ZCnX2Z
TV: Not televised
Tennessee vs. Davidson Gameday Central: http://bit.ly/ZCnz4C
Lady Vol basketball game notes (.PDF) for Friday’s contest can be viewed and downloaded at http://bit.ly/ZCnG02
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Titans rookie Kendall Wright’s official status for Sunday’s season finale is yet to be determined, but in his mind there’s no doubt about it.
“I’m playing. There’s no chance that I’ll sit out this game,” Wright said after Wednesday’s practice.
Wright, who leads the Titans with 62 receptions this season, injured his ribs Dec. 17 when he landed awkwardly after trying to catch a deep pass. The injury forced him to miss this past week’s game at Green Bay.
Tennessee (5-10) returns to action by hosting AFC South rival Jacksonville (2-13) at LP Field, and Wright doesn’t want to watch from the sidelines.
“I’ve never missed a game in my life since I was playing sports until last week, so it was hard for me to sit out there, losing, and know you can’t do anything to help on the offensive side of the ball,” Wright said. “It hurt me, so I just did what I had to do to keep getting my ribs healthy to get back out there soon.”
Wright needs 10 receptions Sunday to tie Bill Groman’s franchise rookie record for receptions in a season. He had five catches for 48 yards in his first game against the Jaguars, as the Titans had 261 yards passing but struggled to finish drives with touchdowns.
Tennessee made six trips inside the Jacksonville 25-yard-line but settled for five field goal attempts (four successful) and one touchdown from Jake Locker to Kenny Britt in the fourth quarter.
“You’ve got to finish drives in every game,” Britt said. “We were moving the ball but got stopped near the red zone. Hopefully we’ve got some players out there to make some plays in the red zone that will get us ahead and keep us ahead.”
Locker and the Titans want to bounce back from Sunday’s struggles against the Packers and finish the season with a win. He said he will try to build on what he gained from his first game against the Jaguars on Nov. 25.
“You have an idea of who they are, personnel-wise and scheme-wise a little bit,” Locker said, “and you can really focus in on some of the finer details of what they’re doing and try and prepare yourself that much more.”
Locker said Wright has “progressed nicely.”
“We’ll see how it goes throughout the rest of the week,” Locker said. “As you guys know, he’s a playmaker for us and he’s come up big in a lot of situations this year. It’s always nice to have him out there.”
CJ, HARPER REST ANKLES
Titans running backs Chris Johnson and Jamie Harper did not practice Wednesday so they could rest ankle injuries they suffered in Green Bay.
“You hope the two of them will be able to practice tomorrow, (Johnson) and (Harper), and see where they’re at,” Titans coach Mike Munchak said. “CJ hasn’t missed a game, so you can’t imagine him missing a football game. I would assume he’ll be back on Sunday.”
Johnson is 168 rushing yards — a number he’s exceeded in five separate games in his career — away from becoming the fourth player in NFL history to rush for 7,000 yards in his first five seasons.
Johnson is currently in third place in franchise history behind Earl Campbell (6,995 yards from 1978-82) and Eddie George (6,874 yards from 1996-2000).
PLAY IT SAFE
Craig Stevens and Colin McCarthy did not practice Wednesday because of concussions.
Stevens suffered his during the game against the Packers, and McCarthy suffered his in Tennessee’s first game against Jacksonville. McCarthy has not played since that game, and Munchak said he expects the second-year linebacker to be “very questionable” against the Jaguars.
The Titans are more in wait-and-see mode on Stevens. Although they are already without Jared Cook at the position, Munchak said the Titans will be just as cautious with Stevens as they have been with McCarthy.
“The concern with concussions is that guys won’t admit that they don’t feel normal and they keep playing with it,” Munchak said. “That’s what has gone on with the history of the game, guys don’t want to say anything because they want to play. I think (McCarthy’s) gotten to where his is the fact that he is letting us know. (McCarthy) tried to get back, and I think he’s realizing that trying to get on the field, he’s not getting better right now. We just have to be real careful there. There’s no reason not to be. We haven’t played him for that reason.”
TITANS ADD TWO
The Tennessee Titans added running back Alvester Alexander to the practice squad and placed linebacker Mike Mohamed on the practice squad/injured list.
Alexander (5-11, 204) signed with the Chicago Bears this year as an undrafted free agent from the University of Wyoming. He also spent time with the Colts on their practice squad this year. In his college career at Wyoming, Alexander rushed for 2,127 yards and 27 yards in 38 games.
Clarksville Tn – Current Dallas Cowboy defensive lineman Josh Brent and former Major League Baseball catcher, and Hall of Famer, Carlton Fisk are the latest of a series of professional athletes who have run-ins with the law after driving and drinking.
Which bring this question to my mind every time it happens – what were they thinking?
For that matter, what does anyone think when they drink and drive?
Now no one should drive after drinking alcohol, but especially athletes who for one have the money to hire drivers, or use services that teams/leagues use to keep this from happening, or some other means other than getting behind the wheel of a car. This past Thursday, Fisk pleaded guilty to misdemeanor DUI Thursday in Will County (Ill.), while Brent was arrested and indicted on Wednesday on one count of intoxication manslaughter after driving with a suspended license and had a blood-alcohol content more than twice the legal limit at the time of the car crash that killed teammate and friend Jerry Brown. And the shame of it all is that neither incident had to happen, but if you think they were isolated acts you would be wrong.
Just in 2012, there have been 15 National Football League players – including big names like Michael Turner (Falcons), Marshawn Lynch (Seahawks), Darrius Heyward-Bey (Raiders) and the Tennessee Titans own Kenny Britt have been arrested on DUI charges. You can also add the NBA’s Jason Kidd and MLB’s Bobby Jenks and Alex Wright among more than a several athletes in their respective sports that were charged with DUIs.
The NFL does provide a no-questions-asked transportation services for players who had too much to drink. It a service that all current and former players can use on a 24-hour-per-day basis and it’s a confidential program, with no connection to the league or any teams, and available to any location in the 50 states or Canada by calling the appropriate 800 number.
The cost … $90 an hour.
Major League Baseball players union has also talked about a service similar to the NFL’s, but as of right now no service is officially in place.
So for $90 an hour there shouldn’t be a problem right?
Plenty of folks, both in football and elsewhere, who earn a lot of money are too cheap to pay $90 per hour for the service. There needs to be more pressure put of professional athletes, and people in general for that matter, to not drink and drive. Until then you will have more players in trouble with the law or in case of Brown – in a funeral.