PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

February 23, 2013

West column: Reid understands Charles is unique talent

Bob West
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR —  



    It took a while but new Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid finally got around to offering an assessment of Jamaal Charles and how he fits into Reid’s offense during a press conference at the NFL combine. Here’s what the pass-minded former Eagles coach had  to say about the PA Memorial ex. “I think you can probably put him in any offense and he’s going to do a heck of a job. He’s a very good running back and there are probably a lot of coaches in this league who would love to have him. He’s a heck of a player. I’m not going to change that. I’m going to give him an opportunity to do his thing and do what he does best.” Hopefully, that starts with plugging in a quarterback who can keep defenses from ganging up on Charles . . . Good news on the health of 1950s era TJ standout Goose Gonsoulin, who is battling prostate cancer that spread into his bones, and is rehabbing from quadruple bypass surgery that followed a November heart attack. “I’m feeling pretty good,” he reports. “The heart thing really threw me, but the rehab is coming along well. I’ve been working out, doing a lot of walking, can do some light lifting and am looking forward to being able to play golf again.”  A member of the Denver Broncos Ring of Honor, Goose says he knew his heart was OK when he didn’t collapse after Baltimore QB Joe Flacco’s desperation 72-yard touchdown heave took out his beloved Broncos in the second round of the NFL playoffs. “I still can’t believe that happened. I don’t understand how the receiver got behind our defense.”

    Although Bum Phillips told the Houston Chronicle he’s fine, after being in and out of the hospital this month, and taking a nasty face-first fall, the fact that Wade Phillips was at his 89-year-old father’s ranch in Goliad, rather than with the Texans’ coaching staff at the NFL combine this week, is reason for some concern. Typical Bum, he told the Chronicle, “I’m going to die sometime but it ain’t now.” . . . I would strongly encourage anyone reading this column to go to www.panews.com and check out the story headlined “Seahawks’ Sims overcomes stroke to play again.” Written by Lamar State College-Port Arthur public information director Gerry Dickert, it’s a beautifully done piece on how the Seahawks’ Evan Sims has come all the way back from a major stroke after his senior year in high school. Sims’ courage and determination are remarkable, and the fact that LSC-PA coach Lance Madison offered him an opportunity to realize his dream of playing college basketball is pretty special. Dickert tied it all together in a truly heart-warming story . . . Congratulations are in order for Vidor’s Montana Quirante for his truly improbable sweep of the Willie Ray Smith offensive and defensive awards. I didn’t vote that way, and would debate whether Quirante was the best player in Southeast Texas on either side of the ball, but I have tremendous respect for what he accomplished as a rare two-way player. To play two such demanding positions at the 4A level as quarterback and linebacker, and play them as well as Quirante did, iis amazing. He was probably more valuable to his team that any player in the state.

    Nice to see Lamar University’s first basketball coach Jack Martin, and two of his stars — Don Bryson and Earl Dow — saluted on the Southland Conference’s 1960s All-Decade team. All three were certainly deserving. I was not in this area in when Bryson played at Lamar, but I did see Dow and consider him to be the most exciting player of all the Cardinal players I’ve written about in covering some 45 LU teams. Mike Olliver was Lamar’s best as a college player but Dow was the most exciting. The SLC will be releasing more all-decade teams leading into the March 14-17 conference tourney. It’s going to be very interesting to see how many Cardinals make the 1980s team . . . Put me down for a resounding AMEN on the contention that says college basketball is close to becoming unwatchable. Coaches who are over-the-top control freaks, leading to games with scores in the 40s, 50s and low 60s, and rules and officiating that have turned inside play into a form of wrestling, are taking a serious toll. Too many teams work the shot clock and too few want to play up tempo. Billy Tubbs, who got a lot of credit for speeding the game up when he coached at Oklahoma, has been preaching for years that this is where college basketball is headed. He couldn’t have been more on target . . .  Roger Clemens,  as you would expect, drew a lot of media attention while working with Astros pitchers in spring training last week. Among the nuggets that surfaced was that Clemens is planning to write a book that he says will cut some of his critics “off at the knees.” Somebody better tell him about people who live in glass houses. And especially arrogant people with skeletons rattling around. I can’t wait for the chapter about The Rocket and singer Mindy McCready.

    Lincoln ex Stephen Jackson will be playing the rest of the NBA season and beyond with a heavy heart. Jackson, who had been on leave from the San Antonio Spurs for a “family matter” since Feb. 11, returned Thursday and told the San Antonio Express-News he and his wife were grieving over losing a baby 6 1/2 months into pregnancy. Jackson, who had been told by the Spurs to take as much time away as he deemed necessary, said he needed to rejoin the team to help himself and his wife . . . The Spurs, incidentally, continue to be the most amazing on-going success story in the NBA. Despite the advanced age of stars Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli, they just keep winning. A 116-90 rout of the Clippers on the night Jackson returned was their 16th win in 17 games, boosted their record to a league best 44-12 and made them 6-1 on a brutal nine-game road trip. If a team playing in Boston, Chicago, New York or Los Angeles had accomplished what the Spurs have over the last decade, you’d never stop hearing about it. Amazingly, San Antonio just keeps flying under the radar . . . Former PA News sportswriter Russ DeVillier, who sometimes still authors a piece for us, was singing the praises of James Harden, after watching him pour in 46 points in the Rockets 123-120 shocker over Oklahoma City Wednesday night. DeVillier took his sons, Mark and Craig, his grandson, Nick, and Nederland basketball players Zach English and Colton Kimler to a game he’d picked out early in the year, in part because he wanted to see Ozen ex Kendrick Perkins play for the Thunder. Ironically, Perkins was a last-minute scratch with a knee problem. No matter, DeVillier and crew got to see one of the Rockets best and most exciting games in years.

    Either Ricky Williams smoked too much loco weed, which is certainly a possibility, or, as a former Longhorn, he couldn’t bring himself to support an Aggie. It’s difficult to come to any other conclusion after Williams’ revelation on a Dallas sports talk show that he voted for Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o over A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel for the Heisman Trophy. Williams, who gets a vote because he’s a former Heisman winner, said he had Manziel second on his ballot . . . Speaking of Manziel, you have to wonder about the news that he’s taking all online courses this semester. Reportedly, it’s because of all the chaos that breaks loose when he shows up in a classroom. That, however, seems more than a little lame. For a college athlete to not be taking classes on campus seems troubling on several levels, not the least of which are the abuses that could take place if it becomes a trend. I’d say the odds just went way up that Manziel will be headed to the NFL after next season . . . Congratulations are in order for one of Orange’s greatest success stories — R.C. Slocum. The winningest football coach in Texas A&M history has been named a recipient of the Horatio Alger Award presented annually to individuals whose determination and hard work have enabled them to overcome obstacles and become successful entrepreneurs or community leaders. R.C., a special adviser to the president at A&M, is one of 10 winners for 2013. He’ll be inducted at the 66th annual Horatio Alger Award ceremonies April 4-6 in Washington D.C.

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