, Port Arthur, Texas

Bob West

August 18, 2012

West column: LU roster reflects recruiting efforts in Southeast Texas

PORT ARTHUR —     One of the most consistent criticisms of Lamar University’s football program in its first incantation was that the coaches did not do a good-enough job recruiting players from Southeast Texas. Current numbers suggest that certainly isn’t an issue for Ray Woodard and his staff. Of the 88 players on the Cardinals roster for the 2012 season, 33 (37.5 percent) are from the Golden Triangle. West Brook (6), Lumberton (5), Silsbee (4) and Central (3) are the leaders. Mid-County Cardinals include RB Caleb Harmon and WR Jayce Nelson from PN-G and DL Corbin Carr from Nederland. There could have been five more, but things didn’t work out for PN-G’s Harrison Tatum and Ryan McLin and Nederland’s Wareall Grogran, Asa Cardenas and Dionte Forney. LU is yet to sign anyone from Memorial . . . In January of 2000, Lamar’s current defensive coordinator Bill Bradley was Wade Phillips’ defensive backfield coach for the Buffalo Bills. Byron Boston, who is now the Southland Conference Coordinator of Football Officials, was working the Buffalo-Tennessee playoff game that would be decided by the highly controversial play known as the Music City Miracle. Boston, in fact, made the ruling that an across-the-field heave on a kickoff, resulting in a game-winning 75-yard touchdown with 16 seconds left, was a lateral, not an illegal forward pass. Tennessee went on to the Super Bowl. Phillips, Bradley and the rest of Buffalo’s staff got fired a year later. So what did Bradley have to say to Boston when he visited Lamar last week. “I told him he cost 13 coaches their job.” Boston replied by saying he made the right call.  Bradley, who is going to be a huge asset at Lamar, insists there are no hard feelings.

    Stephen Jackson is hosting a Celebrity Youth Basketball Camp this week, followed up by a concert at Memorial High School. The obvious purpose is to give back to a community he sincerely cares about. Here’s hoping when the Beaumont Enterprise shows up, acting like nothing happened, that Jackson remembers how a muck-raking newspaper took his remarks from an on-line publication out of context and tried to get community leaders to trash him. Jackson is not a turn-the-other check kind of guy, so it will be disappointing if he doesn’t tell those folks to take it and shove it when they come around asking questions or pretending like they want to help with his projects . . . Based on all I’ve been able to gather, a must-read look into the life of University of Texas coaching legend Darrell Royal is on the way. Due out Sept. 1 is DKR: The Royal Scrapbook. Written by UT alumna Jenna McEachern, with hands-on help from Royal’s wife Edith, it’s billed as an “extraordinary collection of never-before-published photographs, letters, newspaper clippings, football ephemera and recollections and ‘Royalisms’ revealing the private man behind the legend.” Royal, as most of you know, is being ravaged by Alzheimer’s . . . Even though the NFL regular season doesn’t begin for three more weeks, Las Vegas oddsmakers have already established a betting line on the Super Bowl. Whatever team represents the NFC is favored by 1.5 points over the AFC team. The over/under is 52. Some of the other interesting numbers that have been posted include Jamaal Charles at 15-1 to lead the NFL in rushing, the Texans at 1-6 (you have  to bet $6 to win $1) to win the AFC South, the Cowboys at 2-1 in the NFC East, Houston’s over/under on wins at 10 (I’d take the over), Dallas’ over/under at 8.5 (I’d stay away from that), Texas’ over/under at 8.5 (I’d take the over) and A&M’s over/under at 7.5 (I’d take the under).

    Two thumbs up to Rice football coach David Bailiff for an idea I’d like to see more coaches incorporate into their programs. Bailiff plans to assign incoming freshmen a star player from the past to gather information about and present a report to the entire team. He’s also picking two players a year to wear an honor jersey saluting an impact player from the past. This year’s honorees are King Hill, who recently died after a long struggle with cancer, and O.J. Brigance, who has been battling Lou Gehrig’s disease. Both of the honorees went from Rice to the NFL, with Hill the No. 1 pick in the 1958 draft. In this view, giving current players more than a token link to those who went before them is a huge positive . . . Politics is supposed to be the contact sport that makes for strange bedfellows, but what about college football? For years, Oklahoma State’s Pat Jones and Oklahoma’s Barry Switzer were bitter rivals, with Jones fighting a mostly losing battles in recruiting and on-the-field in 11 seasons as OSU’s head coach. So who does Jones choose as a presenter for his induction two weeks ago into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame? That’s right,  Barry Switzer. Jones, by the way, moved up to OSU’s head coach in 1984 after Jimmy Johnson left for the University of Miami. He also was on JJ’s staff with the Miami Dolphins. Pat’s a great guy with a terrific sense of humor . . . The University of Texas, fueled by its gold mine of a football program, makes more money off athletics than any other school. Yet, for whatever reason, UT has decided it can not afford to send out printed media guides chock full of information on current players, school records, bowl history and anything else relevant to a tradition-rich program. Such information must now be looked up in an online version. Texas A&M, meanwhile, which is nowhere close to UT in athletic revenue, continues to put out a print version. So, for that matter, does Lamar, although it’s considerably scaled down from the past. Texas’ cutback smells like a Deloss Dodds call to me.

    Since this was written before Dallas played San Diego Saturday night, there’s no way to know whether QB Tony Romo survived another two or three series behind an offensive line that was woefully inept a week earlier against the Oakland Raiders. What’s known for sure is that the Cowboys’ line was so bad in its first game, tight end Jason Witten is out until at least the season opener. Witten suffered a lacerated spleen after getting blindsided after catching a desperation pass from an under-siege Romo. It’s hard to see how Romo can possibly avoid the injured reserve list behind such a wall of borderline starters. Not too worry, though, Cowboy fans. The carnival barker who owns the team has offered assurances everything is going to be fine . . . Given all the other negative issues the NFL is dealing with — concussion lawsuits, heavy-handed penalties on Sean Payton, Jonathan Vilma and other New Orleans Saints and the annual backlash on the way season-ticket holders are ripped off on pre-season games — it’s hard to believe another week of games is being played with scab officials. For a trifling amount of money, reportedly about $100,000 per team, the NFL is playing hard ball with a group of people who are extremely important to the credibility of a multi-billion dollar industry. Calling an NFL game is extremely challenging and requires terrific teamwork and knowledge of the rules. To see that responsibility passed along to ill-prepared guys from the lower levels of college football is appalling . . . Miami wide receiver Chad Johnson gets arrested for head butting his wife. Within days, Dolphins management moves decisively, decides they don’t want Johnson around any more and cuts him. Compare and contrast that to the way Jerry Jones has waffled on handing down any punishment to WR Dez Bryant after the altercation with his mother. Poor Jethro is so desperate to win he really can’t bother with discipline.

    Prosper High School head coach Luke Scott came up with a creative way to beat the August heat and also to get some publicity for his program. Scott had Prosper’s players report at midnight to get equipment for their first practice, then hit the field for the opening practice at 1:35 a.m. A 90-minute school pep rally followed the practice . . .  For those who may be wondering, the Port Arthur News’ annual football section, featuring schoolboy, college and Houston and Dallas previews, schedules and predictions, will arrive with your Aug. 31 paper. Nederland’s Larry Neumann, who is entering his 20th season as the Bulldogs head coach, is featured on the cover and in an inside, in-depth piece by David Coleman about his staying power and success at a school which was in the dumps when he took over back in 1993 . . . Another date for football fans to circle is Wednesday, Sept. 5. That day marks the return of a staple that’s been around even longer than Neumann — The PA News’ ever popular I Beat Bob West Contest. This will mark year 31 for fans and readers to try and pick more winners than yours truly. The way Tom Halliburton has been dominating the News’ panel of prognosticators, we may soon have to change the contest to Beat Tom.

    Sports editor Bob West can be e-mailed at

Text Only
Bob West
Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Bodies of Malaysia Jet Victims Leave Ukraine Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel Clinton: "AIDS-Free Generation Within Our Reach" Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights
Sports Tweets