, Port Arthur, Texas


January 4, 2014

West column: Here's vote for Texans drafting Manziel

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Here's vote for Texans drafting Manziel

  Now that the Houston Texans have a new head coach, the hottest question

surrounding them the next few months will be what they do with the No. 1 pick

in the draft. Some will advocate trading down to get more picks, which is

almost always good strategy. Others will push for Louisville QB Teddy

or South Carolina defensive end Jadevon Clowney. My thought is to

take Johnny Manziel, which for sure goes against conventional wisdom. But,

after watching Manziel twice destroy Nick Saban's Alabama defenses, after

seeing what he did for a Texas A&M team that would have been mediocre without

him and after seeing what Duke coach David Cutcliffe said, I'm all for

rolling the dice on Manziel. Cutcliffe, who was Peyton Manning's QB coach at

Tennessee and Eli Manning's head coach at Ole Miss, called Manziel, "Maybe the


college football player of the past 25 years, if not more." That was before

Manziel's second-half magic against Duke that drew the highest TV rating for

a non-BCS bowl since at least 2000. For sure, there are reasons why Manziel


a risk. In this estimation, they are more than offset by Johnny Football's

amazing ability to make plays, by his leadership qualities, by his

fearlessness and by the exciting upside for a franchise that plays a poor

second fiddle to the Cowboys in Texas and nationally. Do I think the Texans

will take Manziel? Probably not. I'm guessing he's not new coach Bill

's kind of QB. Among other things, he's too much of a maverick for

ultra conservative Texans' owner Bob McNair.   

   While I'm going out on a limb, here's a prediction that will make you

wonder what I'm smoking or drinking while writing this. With Bill O'Brien

giving no thought to retaining Wade Phillips as the Texans' defensive

coordinator, I could see Wade winding up back in Dallas as the Cowboys DC.

Yes, it's far out, but here's the reasoning. Dallas is desperate defensively,

Jerry Jones still likes Wade even though he fired him, Wade's son Wesley is


Cowboys tight ends coach, Wade still has a home in Dallas he hasn't sold and,

most important, Wade's ego isn't so big he couldn't handle going back. From

Jones' standpoint, there won't be a better coordinator available to fix one

of the three worst defenses in the NFL. For a precedent, think George

Steinbrenner and Billy Martin
. . . This column, by the way, is being written

from Washington D.C., where I'm hanging out with 21-month old grandson

Hudson. Being in D.C. gave me a chance to read a rant in the Washington Post


Redskins owner Daniel Snyder. The author of the following quote -- former

Redskins radio broadcaster Frank Herzog -- could just as easily have been

going off on the owner of the Cowboys. See if you can't visualize Jethro

while reading some of Herzog's words about Snyder. "First and foremost, you

have to

remember one thing. This is Dan Snyder's train set, and if he wants to run

the locomotive off that round curve, he can do that. Because he owns it. The


is obviously a jock sniffer. All he wants to do is be buddy buddy with

football players, which automatically makes his coach half of what he could

be because players go around the coach to the owner." There was much more,


you get the gist and should be able to draw one simple conclusion. Jones and

Snyder are two peas in a pod.

   Finishing third in Pro Bowl voting, behind high-profile QBs Peyton Manning

and Drew Brees
, suggests Jamaal Charles' skills are starting to finally

become apparent to the pro football world outside Kansas City. Here's another


more impressive indicator. USA Today columnist Jarrett Bell handed out his

NFL individual awards Thursday and picked Jamaal over the Eagles LeSean McCoy


his Jim Brown Offensive Player of the Year Award. Here's Bell's rationale.

"Consider where the Chiefs would be without Jamaal Charles. Not in the

playoffs. Charles ranked second to McCoy with 1,980 yards from scrimmage and

led the league with 19 TDs. And no player had a larger share of his team's

yards from scrimmage this season than Charles, who accounted for 36.7 percent

of the Chiefs total, which is what ultimately separates him in this case." .

. . Best thing going for new Texans' coach Bill O'Brien might be the schedule

he'll face in 2014 as a result of Houston's last place finish. Home games, in

addition to division rivals Indy, Tennessee and Jacksonville, are Baltimore,

Cincinnati, Washington, Philadelphia and Buffalo. Outside the division on the

road, Houston plays at Dallas, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, the NY Jets and

Oakland. For openers, getting four games against the NFC East is a nice bonus


should be worth two to three victories . . . Dallas' 2014 lineup, by the way,

includes the NFC East trio of Philly, Washington and the Giants, plus home

games against the Texans, Atlanta, San Francisco, Indianapolis and New

Orleans. The non NFC road stops are at St. Louis, Seattle, Jacksonville,

Tennessee and Chicago. Can you say 6-10?

  Louisville's Charlie Strong may or may not be the new coach at Texas. Either

way, it's clear he was the choice of UT athletic director Steve Patterson. It

was an interesting, intriguing and defiant decision on Patterson's part and

one that could end up biting him. By opting for Strong,  Patterson has made it

clear he's his own man and won't be intimidated by the big money

donors who turned replacing Mack Brown into a political football. My sources

say Strong was not the first, second or even third choice of the fat cats. As

late as Friday, some of the heaviest hitters reportedly still thought they


buy Alabama's Nick Saban. If the Strong deal blows up, as appears possible,

Patterson could find himself in a world of hurt . . . I've been a fan of

Baylor coach Art Briles since I watched

his Stephenville team play Port Neches-Groves in the 1999 4A state

championship game in the Astrodome. What Briles has accomplished at Baylor is

as impressive as any coaching job I've ever seen in college football.

However, I'm thinking Briles should be embarrassed by how poorly prepared his

team was

in losing to Central Florida in the Fiesta Bowl. For Baylor to win the Big 12

and earn a first BCS bid, then deliver such an uninspired, penalty-marred

performance against a second-tier foe reflects badly on Briles. Makes you

wonder if he wasn't seriously distracted by all the talk about the Texas job

. . . Second worst coaching job in a bowl games has to go to Alabama's Saban.


"best coach in college football" never got his team back after its crushing

loss to Auburn. Oklahoma's Bob Stoops clearly earned vindication for his

remarks about Southeastern Conference defenses being overrated with the way


inexperienced, redshirt-freshman QB shredded Bama. The Sugar Bowl win may

finally get the Boise State monkey off Stoops' back.

  It was noted in this space last week that the UIL should put an asterisk by

its new all-time attendance record of 54,347 for the Allen-Pearland 5A

Division I championship game at JerryWorld because the number was swelled by

fans awaiting the 5A, Division II title game between Katy and Cedar Hill.

When PN-G's 1977 4A title game against Plano set a record of 49,953 at Texas

Stadium, it was the only game. The fallen-record column note drew a response

from former PN-G player Scott Hall, who now lives in Garland. Hall, then a

member of PN-G's JV, was at Texas Stadium for the 1977 title game and in

JerryWorld for Allen-Pearland. He's betting there are few others in

attendance for both games. I'm thinking he may be the only one . . . Sounds

like Dave

Barnett's "Southwest Icons of Coaching" show Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. on Fox

Sports Southwest will be must-see TV. Barnett's guest is Jimmy Johnson and,

according to Barry Horn of the Dallas Morning News, JJ tells Barnett that

Jerry Jones informed him three years ago he'd be inducted into the Cowboys

Ring of Honor. Color me still skeptical. I'll believe it when it actually

happens . . .  As if 2013 wasn't dismal enough for the Texans, Dan Patrick

stuck the knife in and twisted it on his national talk show after the team

lost its 13th consecutive game. "And you thought the Astros were bad,"



   Sports editor Bob West can be e-mailed at

Text Only
  • Nederland 13U Babe Ruth loses 9-0

    The Nederland 13U Babe Ruth team lost 9-0 Friday to Bryant.

    July 25, 2014

  • Bassmaster Elites are coming back

    The Bassmaster Elite Series returns to Southeast Texas in March 2015 to fish out of Orange.
    The announcement was made last week, ahead of Bassmaster’s official tournament schedule announcement and the buzz is already strong in Southeast Texas and beyond.
    I was in Orlando, Fla. attending the ICAST (fishing trade) show and talked with a number of top anglers including Kevin VanDam, Mike Iaconelli and Shaw Grigsby who said it was no surprise they would return considering the massive turnout for the weigh-ins and that the area welcomed them in a very special way.
    It’s far too early to speculate anything like who the top contenders will be or how the fishing will be but there are some things to keep in mind and to look for over the next few months and into the event itself.
    • Prefishing-There is a pre-fishing cutoff that usually extends to right before the Bassmaster Classic and I fully expect most of the anglers in the Elites to come back and prefish.
    Last go-round probably 2/3 of the field fished the area but this time I expect that to be just about everyone. Many of the anglers that did not pre-fish told me they expected to have a lot of water to fish but the sheer volume and diversity was almost overwhelming.
    Beginning probably in the early fall we will see many anglers fishing local waters to get a better idea on how to approach the area.
    • East to West Runs-The Elite anglers fished far and wide but I expect even more running next go-round. After launching from the Simmons Drive Boat Ramp in Orange angler Bill Lowen ran down the Intracoastal, across Galveston Bay and fished in the Clear Lake area and placed in the top 12. The more adventurous anglers will try super long runs, in my opinion, even longer than last time to try and score on big fish. The Intracoastal Canal system makes that possible.
    • Sabine River -Very few of the anglers actually fished in the Sabine River despite the event being called the “Sabine River Challenge”. I think that will change with more anglers running as far north as they can to find pockets of fish that receive little pressure and perhaps a four or five-pounder to push them over the top.
    • Bigger Turnout-Last year some 34,000 people attended the event which set a Bassmaster record for an Elite event.
     It was broken a couple of weeks later in New York but I fully expect the 2015 tournament to draw 40,000 plus. The reason they are coming back is not for the stellar fishing because while we have lots of bass, everyone knows our fishery cannot compare to Toledo Bend for example.
    The support from the public however was amazing and that is what is bringing the top anglers on the planet to fish our area.
    We will have the very best coverage of the event beginning now and leading up to it with exclusive interviews with all of the top pros with not only their thoughts on the big event but with unique tips on how you can catch more fish.
    It’s an exciting time and I look forward to bringing you special coverage on a special event.
    (To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at or watch him on “God’ Outdoors with Chester Moore” Saturdays at 10 a.m. on

    July 23, 2014

  • Mid County knocked out of tournament

    The Mid County 16-18 Babe Ruth squad’s run to the World Series is over.

    July 22, 2014

  • West golf notepad: West duo claims title in Texas Father-Son

    July 22, 2014

  • Mid County sets up championship series with Tri County

    The Southwest Regional Babe Ruth championship series is set and yes the hometown Mid County squad will be there to play.

    July 21, 2014

  • MC Babe Ruth goes 2-0

    First things first, give Clint Landry and the rest of the officials credit for making the Southwest Regional Babe Ruth tournament possible this weekend at Nederland High School.

    July 19, 2014

  • Up the odds for solid bank fishing

    There are certain limitations to fishing without a boat.

    July 19, 2014

  • Derek Williams, Summer Money League light up the lanes at Max Bowl

    Thursday nights Summer Money League produced some very impressive scores.

    July 19, 2014

  • West column: Pacers hiring Pat Knight didn't help Lamar

    July 19, 2014

  • Babe Ruth.jpg Mid County Babe Ruth set to host Southwest Regional

    The Mid County Babe Ruth 18U team is once again knocking on the World Series door. Mid County will host the Southwest Regional at Nederland High School starting today. Mid County’s first game of the tournament is slated for 7 p.m. Friday against Pine Bluff, Ark. Thursday was a special day for Mid County Babe Ruth as two locals, Jimmy Collins (shown speaking) and Skip Hopkins (back left) were inducated intot he Southwest Regional Babe Ruth Hall of Fame. Both Hopkins and Collins have been involved in Babe Ruth for over 40 consecutive years either as player, coach or board member. There are nine teams in the tournament with the winner headed to Washington state for the World Series.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

From the Fieldhouse blog