PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Bob West

October 27, 2012

West column: Truth stranger than fiction on Dodge's latest QB

PORT ARTHUR — It’s not surprising that former TJ All-America Todd Dodge’s latest schoolboy passing whiz, Mike Richardson, is shattering records at Marble Falls. But what is mind-blowing is how the 6-1 senior wound up playing for Todd. The story is too long to relate in full here, but those who are interested punch up SI.com, click on the high school icon and go to the story titled “Richardson’s coach, not the record, is QB’s Dream Realized.” By way of a teaser, Richardson started clipping out newspaper stories about Dodge, his son Riley’s passing  accomplishments and their state championship runs at Southlake Carroll when he was an 11-year-old living in Boerne. Over the years, he built up a massive Dodge file he kept in an accordion binder. That Todd, who was the QB coach at Pittsburgh this time a year ago, and Richardson, who was the quarterback at Salado in 2011, could end up together in Marble Falls is downright spooky. Making it spookier is that Riley Dodge, now a Texas A&M assistant, was the coach of Richardson’s 7-on-7 team this past summer . . . What’s up with Mack Brown whining about the demands of the Longhorn Network on his time, and claiming opponents gain a competitive advantage from watching brief snippets of practice on it. That’s like Mitt Romney trying to elicit sympathy because the car elevator transporting his Cadillacs to the main level of his mansion occasionally stalls. Since the Longhorn Network is AD Deloss Dodds’ pride and joy, I’d love to have been a fly on the wall when they discussed Mack’s comments. After avoiding a major embarrassment by squeaking past winless Kansas Saturday, Mack’s main concern should be the big cigars  deciding two Big 12 championships in 15 seasons is not acceptable. Not when Oklahoma, during the same period, has won seven. Not when Texas hasn’t beaten a top 25 team in what seems like forever. Not when the Longhorns  are so much deeper in quality talent than everybody they play.

    Speculation has begun on the coach Jerry Jones will go after, if he pulls the plug on Jason Garrett at the end of the 2012 season. Mike Holmgren, who took Green Bay to two Super Bowls and Seattle to one, made it known as soon as he was fired as the Cleveland Browns president last week that the right opportunity would lure him back to coaching. That couldn’t have been too comforting to Garrett, who is well aware that Jones has long been enamored with Holmgren. Whether Holmgren would be willing to put up with Jethro’s meddling is no doubt the X factor in all this. Meanwhile, Garrett’s chances of surviving took a huge hit with the announcement that Dallas’ defensive leader — linebacker Sean Lee — is done for the season. That’s maybe a bigger blow to the Cowboys than losing Brian Cushing was to the Texans . . . Speaking of Garrett, how happy do you think Baltimore Ravens management is over winding up with Jim Harbaugh instead of Jones’ boy genius as their head coach in 2008? Garrett interviewed for the Ravens job and reportedly had the inside track, but opted to remain in Dallas as Wade Phillips’ offensive coordinator. You don’t have to be a genius to figure out why he would do that. Baltimore turned to Harbaugh, then an assistant with the Philadelphia Eagles, and has to feel very good about its choice. Although the Ravens got routed last week in Houston, they are 47-22 under the brother of San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, have reached the AFC Championship game twice and been to the playoffs all four years. Garrett, on the other hand, is 16-14 as Dallas head coach, and is still trying to get a handle on clock management at the end of a game.

    It hardly seems possible but the NBA regular season begins Tuesday night. One guy who appears to be ready is Lincoln ex Stephen Jackson of the San Antonio Spurs.  Jackson, in six pre-season games, took up where he left off in the playoffs with sizzling three-point shooting, making 8-of-17 treys and averaging 9.8 points while playing a little over 18 minutes a game. He shot 53.1 percent from the field and 81 percent at the foul line. If the aging Spurs have another run in them, it looks like the 34-year-old Port Arthuran still has enough in the tank to be a factor off the bench . . . More and more it appears that the 2012-13 NBA season is the absolute perfect time for Southeast Texans to be without television coverage of Houston Rockets games. With GM Daryl Morey having struck out in attempts to trade for Dwight Howard, the Rockets seem a good bet to give the city of Houston two teams with the worst record in their sport. Only team that might prevent that is the Charlotte Hornets. On board with that thought is ESPN The Magazine, which projects Charlotte to win 17 games (actually 16.5) and the Rockets to win 18 . . .  Picturing 7-6 former Houston Rocket Yao Ming as a golfer isn’t easy, but there’s plenty of YouTube video to document his recent participation in the Mission Hills World Celebrity Pro-Am in China.  Yao was swinging an iron in the video I saw, and it looked like had a toothpick in his hands. Based on the description of his game, it sounded like he might be somebody Charles Barkley needs to challenge .

    It was mentioned in this space recently that former TJ and Baylor star Austin (Goose) Gonsoulin was going to get a nice tribute in an upcoming book about the Denver Broncos — 100 Things Broncos Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die. The book is out and author Brian Howell did indeed do right by Gonsoulin, making him No. 36 on the list in a chapter appropriately titled “The Goose”  that goes into great detail about him being one of the Broncos’ all-time greats during the early days of the American Football League. The book is so up to date it even has a chapter on how Peyton Manning killed Tebowmania . . . Gonsoulin, incidentally, has some terrific stories on the late Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis. Davis, of course, was famous for his “Just Win, Baby” motto, his win at all cost mentality and how, as AFL commissioner, he helped force the NFL into a merger. Early in Goose’s career, Davis, then a Raiders assistant, brazenly came into the Denver locker room after a Raiders-Broncos came, approached Gonsoulin with a piece of chalk in hand and asked him to diagram the toughest pass route for him to cover. Goose wasn’t sure who Davis was but was smart enough to draw up what was his easiest route to cover. While he was doing it, Denver’s GM spotted Davis, came running over and said, “Al, get your butt out of here.” Goose, who wound up playing for Davis in some AFC All-Star games, came to be big a big admirer of his . . . I’m not sure who to attribute this to, but it’s the funniest thing I’ve read in some time. After 52-foot tall Big Tex burned to the ground at the State Fair this past week, a suicide note was found next to the ashes. It was addressed to Jerry Jones. “I’ve been a Cowboy fan all of my life. I just can’t take it any more,” said the note. It was simply signed Big Tex.

    PN-G ex Lew Ford, whose return to the major leagues with the Baltimore Orioles was one of the game’s best and most amazing stories of 2012, came up just short in his bid to help the long-shot Orioles win a championship. But he did wind up getting a championship ring. It was voted to him by the Independent League champion Long Island Ducks for his contributions — four home runs, 14 RBI, a .333 batting average — in 19 early-season games before the Orioles purchased his contact. It’s going to be interesting to see if Baltimore give’s Lew a shot next spring at age 37 . . . Nederlander Twyman Ash had a memorable football viewing experience a couple of weeks ago. Ash, who was a schoolboy All-Stater in the 1950s at Abilene High, and later a star at Rice, was back visiting in West Texas and decided to attend a game between Windthorst and Throckmorton. Unbeknownst to Ash, it had been scheduled as an experimental game matching a Class A school (Windthorst) and a school with a six-man program (Throckmorton). They played the first half with each side having 11 players on the field and Windthorst won, 7-0. In the second half, with each team playing six players, Throckmorton prevailed 46-14. Twyman could accurately say he saw two games in one . . . The Cowboys Tony Romo should have plenty of extra incentive to deliver a lights-out performance against the defending Super Bowl champions NY Giants today. In an NFL Players Poll published in the latest Sports Illustrated, Romo tied for second with NY Jets QB Mark Sanchez as the most overrated player in the league. With each getting 8 percent of the overall vote, they finished far behind Jets backup QB Tim Tebow (34 percent). Rounding out the top five were Eagles QB Michael Vick (4 percent) and Ravens MLB Ray Lewis (3 percent).

    Sports editor Bob West can be e-mailed at rdwest@usa.net

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Bob West