Author: Nick Bromberg

Pac-12 Media Days: UCLA's Jim Mora sees OC turnover as a plus for Josh Rosen

UCLA QB Josh Rosen missed much of the 2016 season because of a shoulder injury. (Getty)

UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen is on his third offensive coordinator in his three seasons with the Bruins.

As a freshman, Rosen’s offensive coordinator was Noel Mazzone, who left to become Texas A&M’s offensive coordinator before the 2016 season. Kenedy Polamalu, the team’s running backs coach in 2015, took over as offensive coordinator in 2016.

Now, former Michigan passing game coordinator Jedd Fisch is UCLA’s OC. And UCLA coach Jim Mora said he feels the changeover has been a benefit for Rosen because of the way the quarterback can take in information.

“think he’s been asked a couple times is it helpful or hurtful that he’s on his third coordinator, quarterback coach,” Mora said “For some it might be hurtful. For Josh I think it’s helpful because he loves information. He loves to absorb information.

“… Now to have a person like Jedd with his pedigree and his background and the people he’s coached for and the players that he’s coached. It’s all building this very strong platform for Josh that I really think he has embraced,” Mora said. “I see a very strong relationship there.”

One of the reasons UCLA made a change at coordinator after the 2016 season was the running game’s utter lack of success. The Bruins barely broke the 1,000-yard mark as a team and averaged just three yards a carry.

“Our running game was awful, and I’m hopeful that it will be improved and get back to where it was the first few years we were together as a staff,” Mora said. “I feel good about the direction it’s headed. I think we’ve got good backs. We’ve got a good scheme. It’s well coached. And the players understand and we understand that it needs to be better.”

Washington’s Chris Petersen a big fan of Pac-12’s test initiative

You can count Chris Petersen as someone who despises the average game time of a college football game.

The Pac-12 will experiment during the non-conference schedule with a shorter halftime period and fewer commercials for a few games on Pac-12 Network. Based off Petersen’s comments, we’re guessing Washington will be involved in one of the games.

“I love it,” Petersen said. “I can’t stand how long the college football game is. I don’t like the games at all. You do a drive, you’ve got to wait. You do a first down, you’ve got to wait for another commercial. That’s painful.”

“As painful as it is to everybody watching the game maybe at home, that’s why people can just press pause, go get something to eat, and fast forward through all the stuff that’s paying the bills. But the shorter we can make it in terms of — we want to play and just keep playing. We don’t want to sit in the locker room a long time. We don’t need a bunch of time to warm up. And however we can shorten the game, I’m all for it.”

Petersen also said he saw “good flashes” of talent from his secondary in spring practice. The Huskies return six starters on defense but need to replace defensive backs Budda Baker, Sidney Jones and Kevin King.

“I think they all got better,” Petersen said of his new defensive secondary. “I hope they got better since then. And they’ll get better in this fall camp process, and we’ll see where we are from there.

“This is kind of one of the exciting things I think about college football; that you lose these players and you’ve got to replace them. I think what’s exciting is when you’ve got some guys that are talented, that care, you’ve seen them do some really good things, and now it’s a matter of building that consistency.”

Oregon State transfer RB Thomas Tyner’s shoulder “100 percent”

Could Oregon State get some immediate contributions from former Oregon running back Thomas Tyner?

Tyner medically retired from football after the 2015 season and sat out the 2016 season because of two shoulder injuries. But the itch to play football returned and he transferred to Oregon State over the spring.

According to head coach Gary Andersen, Tyner has been a full-go in workouts.

“Thomas’ shoulder is 100 percent from what our people have told us,” Andersen said. “He went through the summer conditioning and he’s been great, so I don’t think — injury is a non-factor in my mind to that point with Thomas. Everywhere we’ve been, and we’ve had successful running games, we’ve had three really good backs. We have the ability, I think, to have three or four really good backs this year, and two young backs that are really good.”

The Beavers also return leading rushers Ryan Nall and Artavis Pierce. If Oregon State is to get to a bowl game for the first time since 2013, it’s going to be on the strength of the ground game.

Oh, and Oregon State has already started fall practice for the 2017 season. Yes, it’s getting closer and closer.

“I would say this … watching our old kids and our young kids mesh on the practice field was really fun to see yesterday,” Andersen said. “There’s just not egos. There is a care factor to push each other, compete, practice the right way.”

Mike MacIntyre doesn’t blame Jim Leavitt for leaving

When former Colorado defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt told Mike MacIntyre what Oregon had offered him to be the Ducks’ defensive coordinator, MacIntyre didn’t attempt to pressure him to stay.

“When he told me he was going to make $1.4 million a year at Oregon, I said ‘Why are you standing here talking to me? You better take the job.’ With a guaranteed four-year contract,” MacIntyre said. “We couldn’t match that. And I’m happy for him. He’s earned the right to get that. And that’s good.”

MacIntyre said the Buffaloes hired former Kentucky defensive coordinator D.J. Elliott to replace Leavitt because he ran the same defense with the Wildcats. Colorado’s defense was a big part of the Buffs’ turnaround in 2016, and MacIntyre hopes the defense can improve on its pass rush in 2017 with a unit that returns six starters.

“We have [LB] Derek McCartney in the back who is a good pass-rusher,” MacIntyre said. “We feel like [DE] Tim Coleman is another young man on our team that’s played well for us. So we’ll be able to attack the back field. Hopefully we can get to the quarterback a little more than we did last year.”

Rodriguez: Baseball player-turned-QB Donavan Tate an “interesting guy.”

Could Arizona be starting a 26-year-old at quarterback this fall? One of the players vying for the starting job is Donavan Tate, who was drafted No. 3 overall in the 2009 MLB draft and will turn 27 in September.

Tate was released by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2016, and has turned his attention to football, where he was a highly-rated recruit in high school. His presence, Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said, has brought some “maturity” to the Arizona QB room.

“Donavan Tate, we recruited him,” Rodriguez said. “I remembered him from — I’m dating myself here — about eight or nine years ago when I was at Michigan. He was the third pick in the draft. Took the signing bonus and went and played baseball. Found out through a friend he’s not playing baseball anymore. He’s got four years of college eligibility, baseball has paid his way.

“So does he really want to do this? After talking to the guy, he paid for his own visit to come visit campus, and he’s worked his tail off. He’s bringing — I don’t know what kind of player he’s going to be right now. But I know this: The maturity in that quarterback room has changed already. Here’s a 26-, 27-year-old grown man, married with three kids, and then you have my son who is 19 going on 39 in the room, too, so the maturity level in that quarterback room has changed already. And that’s going to help us.”

Cal’s Wilcox thinks there’s more conversation to be had about new practice rules

Numerous college football teams are adjusting their preseason practice schedules after the NCAA barred two-a-day practices.

For Cal coach Justin Wilcox, the 2017 preseason is his first as a head coach and therefore his first time in charge of a fall camp schedule. Wilcox was asked twice about the ban Wednesday and said he believed there was a middle ground to be had regarding two-a-day practices.

“I think there is probably some more conversation to be had on that, honestly,” Wilcox said. “I think there’s a way you can operate two-a-days and still, you know, be mindful of the student-athlete and the demand you’re putting on them physically, but also not maybe stretch it out quite as long.

“We’re totally comfortable with our schedule that we put together for fall camp. We had to tweak it a little bit because of rule changes, and we’re fine with that. But I think there is probably something more there you could discuss.”

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of Dr. Saturday and From the Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Nick Saban suggests a Power-Five only schedule for big schools

Would you support a college football schedule where Power Five programs only played each other? (Getty)

Alabama coach Nick Saban has another idea to improve college football.

Saban told ESPN Wednesday that he believes Power Five programs should only play amongst themselves. And that a big reason for teams scheduling smaller programs is because of the six wins required for a team to secure a bowl berth.

And in addition to scheduling only Power Five teams, Saban suggested the bowl system could be overhauled to resemble the NCAA basketball tournament and teams could be seeded within an expanded playoff-style structure based off rankings from similar schedules.

From ESPN:

“You eliminate the six wins to get in a bowl game, and now you can have a different kind of scheduling that is more fan interest, more good games, bring out the better quality team,” he said, “and whether you expand the playoff or have a system where it’s like now – we take the top 12 teams and decide what bowl game they go to – just take them all.

“In this scenario, there would be more opportunity to play more teams in your league, as well as to have more games that people would be interested in,” he said. “We all play three or four games a year now that nobody’s really interested in. We’d have more good games, more public interest, more fan interest, better TV.”

Saban did admit that his idea of a potential 10-game SEC schedule with two non-conference games was “so far out” that it wasn’t likely to be taken seriously. But we do have an idea on how it could get some traction.

As the head coach of Alabama and the most influential coach in the country, Saban could start to lead by example and only schedule Power Five programs. It’s by no means mandatory to play an FCS team the week before the Auburn game like Alabama has every year since 2009.

At the very least, Alabama could start to schedule an FBS team outside the Power Five conferences.

Those FCS games are much easier to schedule than games with bigger programs, however. Lower-tier programs play Alabama for the payday, which is vital to their athletic budgets. And Alabama doesn’t ever have to travel to its opponent’s place in the future. A Power Five program would likely be warier of visiting Alabama, and it’s doubtful the Tide would want to give up a guaranteed home game every other year in a home-and-home format.

Alabama does get credit for scheduling big games to open the season. The Tide open 2017 vs. Florida State in what’s could be the biggest game of the season and played Wisconsin to kick off 2015 and USC to start 2016. Saban’s program’s scheduling is far better than the likes of, say, Baylor, which routinely scheduled three guaranteed non-conference wins under former coach Art Briles.

Scheduling only Power Five programs would also disrupt the college football ecosystem. Group of Five teams routinely take pay-to-play games from big schools and would be left to play amongst themselves in an even more outcast fashion.

Would there really be more fan interest in college football if it was segregated even more between the haves and have-nots? We don’t think so, simply because of how much college football thrives on upsets.

But we’re definitely on board with discussing realistic ways to expand the playoff. An eight-team or 16-team playoff inside of the traditional bowl structure sounds pretty tantalizing.

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For more Alabama news, visit BamaInsider.com. 

 

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of Dr. Saturday and From the Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Pac-12 to try out shorter halftimes, fewer commercial breaks

(Getty Images)

Is the Pac-12 going to be at the forefront of increased college football efficiency?

Commissioner Larry Scott said Wednesday the conference would try out 15-minute halftimes and would be “implementing some other production techniques aimed at reducing the TV timeouts and having shorter breaks.”

Halftimes are currently 20 minutes. The experiment will happen during non-conference games televised on the Pac-12 Network.

“There are some things that happen in college sports that lengthen our football games that don’t happen in, for example, the NFL,” Scott said. “Notably, the clock stoppages that happen, incomplete passes, first downs that slow our game down. So our average game length in the Pac-12 was almost three and a half hours over the last few years. I think you’ll find that NFL games are closer to three hours.

“So I think there are things we can do through possible rules changes, the presentation of our game, game management, dealing with commercial inventory that could bring us closer to three hours than three and a half hours, and over time I think that will be a good thing for our fans.”

The experiment is notable, if only for the potential reduction in television ad time. Since commercials help pay for game broadcasts, cutting commercials isn’t an easy financial sell even if it makes a ton of sense on the surface.

College football games have gotten longer as more and more teams attempt to run as many plays as possible in them. Oh, and because there are lots of commercials. The NFL has said it’s going to make an effort in 2017 to reduce the number of commercial-kickoff-commercial sequences that can plague broadcasts.

Scott also said that the Pac-12 believed that having late-night games (for folks on the East Coast, anyway) was better for the conference than having a majority of games being late kickoffs.

“There’s a perception that all of our games are at night, two-thirds of them are what you would consider during day,” Scott said. “But of the third of our games that are at night, while there is less East Coast viewership, we dominate it. We’ve got the most market share.

“While somewhat counterintuitive, the research actually shows some of our best-rated games are 7 p.m., 7:30 p.m. kickoff times. If it’s a compelling game, there are a lot of fans still watching TV, and we dominate the market share at that hour. Oftentimes more eyeballs than if we’ve got a game kicking off at 12:30 or 1:00 up against 15 other games on all the myriad of media channels that exist.”

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of Dr. Saturday and From the Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Ryan Blaney to drive third Penske car in 2018, Paul Menard to No. 21

Menard (L) will drive the No. 21 in 2018 as Blaney (R) moves to the No. 12. (Getty)

Team Penske is expanding to three cars in 2018 and the Wood Brothers are getting a driver from Richard Childress Racing.

Ryan Blaney will move from the Wood Brothers’ No. 21 car to the Penske No. 12 car in 2018 as a teammate to Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano. Paul Menard will take Blaney’s place in the No. 21 car, as he moves from Richard Childress Racing, where he’s been since 2011.

“For some time now, we have wanted to bring Ryan in to run a third car for us, but things just needed to make sense from a timing and business perspective,” Team Penske owner Roger Penske said in a statement.  “We have been working on making this a reality and 2018 is the right opportunity to make this move and return our organization to a three-car team. The benefits of having three full-time teams under our roof, along with the continued technical partnership with the Wood Bothers, will help us remain competitive in the ever-changing NASCAR landscape.”

Blaney, who has been under contract with Team Penske, has spent the past three seasons with the Wood Brothers, who have a technical affiliation with Penske. The team moved to a full-time schedule in 2017 and Blaney got his first-career win at Pocono in June. Pocono is the site of Sunday’s race.

No sponsor has been named for Blaney’s ride and the team said it would be announced at a later date. Penske has been a two-car team ever since Sam Hornish left the No. 77 car at the end of the 2010 season.

Menard has struggled in 2017 and is the only winless member of RCR. Though, to be fair, Ryan Newman and Austin Dillon scored their wins via strategy plays and not through outright speed.

Menard is 23rd in the points. He was 25th a year ago after making the playoffs in 2015. He brings sponsorship to the No. 21 from his family’s home improvement chain. It’ll be jarring to see the car in fluorescent Menards’ yellow after the crisp red and white Motorcraft paint scheme that Blaney has driven.

While Penske is expanding to three cars, it seems possible RCR could drop to two cars in 2018 without a ready-made driver and sponsor combination to replace Menard.

The moves make a flurry of 2018 contract activity that began Thursday with Alex Bowman’s announcement as Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s successor in the No. 88. Tuesday, Keselowski signed an extension with Team Penske. Don’t be surprised if there’s more driver movement as the fall approaches.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of Dr. Saturday and From the Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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USC picked over Washington in Pac-12 preseason poll

Is USC going to win its first Pac-12 title? The North has won every title game since the game started in 2011. (Getty)

Unsurprisingly, teams with returning quarterbacks are at the top of the Pac-12’s preseason poll.

The annual preseason media poll was released Wednesday with USC as the South division champion and Washington as the North division winner. The Trojans, who have Heisman favorite QB Sam Darnold, were picked to be the overall conference champions as well.

Since the conference instituted a conference title game in 2011, USC has only made one title game appearance, a 2015 loss to Stanford. A USC title would not only be the first since the conference’s expansion to 12 teams but also the first for the South in that span. North division teams Oregon, Stanford and Washington have won the Pac-12 every year since 2011.

The Huskies, who return QB Jake Browning, beat Colorado for the 2016 Pac-12 title.

Here’s how the voting lined up by division. There aren’t too many surprises here, though we are a tad surprised that Utah snuck ahead of UCLA for second in the South. With Josh Rosen returning at UCLA, we figured the Bruins would be preseason darlings despite all the talent coach Jim Mora must need to replenish.

Points via the voting are in parentheses.

North
1. Washington (309)
2. Stanford (247)
3. Washington State (206)
4. Oregon (163)
5. Oregon State (101)
6. Cal (64)

South
1. USC (309)
2. Utah (220)
3. UCLA (209)
4. Colorado (182)
5. Arizona State (109)
6. Arizona (61)

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of Dr. Saturday and From the Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Matt Rhule: AAC deserves auto bid to New Year's Six game

Matt Rhule led Temple to 10 wins and the AAC title in 2016 (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Baylor coach Matt Rhule thinks the conference he used to coach in is worthy of an automatic bid to the prestigious New Year’s Six bowl games.

The former Temple coach said Monday the American Athletic Conference “deserves an automatic bid to the New Year’s Six” and cited recent teams from Houston, Navy and Memphis in addition to his former team. 

New Baylor coach Matt Rhule, formerly at Temple, says he favors @American_FB getting automatic New Year’s Six bowl bid pic.twitter.com/brnQ4b03Ef

— Joseph Duarte (@Joseph_Duarte) July 24, 2017

“We won that league last year, we had a couple games where — we lost to the No. 5 team in the country Penn State by a touchdown and Memphis … I think we should have gone to play in one of those games and I think we would have gone and played at a high level.”

Temple also lost to Army to open the season.

The current structure of the College Football Playoff means seven at-large teams from the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC make the other four games that don’t include the four teams in the College Football Playoff. The last spot in the other four goes to the highest-ranked Group of Five team — a conference pool that includes the AAC, Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West Conference and Sun Belt.

In the three years of the CFP, Houston is the only team from the AAC to make it as the G5 representative. Boise State was the highest-ranked team after the 2014 season — and beat Arizona in the Fiesta Bowl, while Western Michigan went from the MAC after the 2016 season.

Temple finished the 2016 season 10-3. WMU, meanwhile, was 13-0 and beat two Big Ten teams in Northwestern and Illinois. There was little dispute that Western Michigan was the most deserving of the Group of Five to head to the New Years’ Six.

You can’t blame Rhule for talking up his former team and conference though. After all, it’s part of a push by the AAC that’s been happening for a while.

Since regrouping after being left in the dust as the former Big East when the college realignment carousel stopped spinning five years ago, the AAC has been trying to change the label of Power Five to Power Six with the conference’s inclusion.

But here’s the thing; if the AAC was to get an automatic bid to the New Year’s Six, what happens to the four remaining conferences from the Group of Five? You can’t just eliminate them from the NY6 altogether. And the world doesn’t need another bowl game. Rhule’s coming from a supportive place, it’s just not a feasible one without significant remodeling to the CFP structure.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of Dr. Saturday and From the Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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NASCAR Power Rankings: When 4 of last week's top 5 crash, who gets No. 1?

Welcome to Power Rankings. As always, Power Rankings are far from a scientific formula. In fact, it’s the perfect blend of analytics and bias against your favorite driver. Direct all your complaints to us at nickbromberg@yahoo.com and we’ll try to have some fun.

1. Kyle Busch (LW: 5): Yeah, we admit this looks really weird on the surface. Moving Busch up four spots after he crashed out at Indianapolis does seem a bit crazy.

But this is how we’re justifying it. Busch had, by far, the best car during Sunday’s race. He would sprint away from the field on every restart and won the first two stages.

And the wreck wasn’t his fault. OK, the circumstances that precipitated it might have been (more on that in a second), but Busch had control of his car. It was Martin Truex Jr. who got loose — understandably so — and slid into Busch, causing Busch’s car to spin into the wall.

Without that crash, we think it’s a safe assumption the Brickyard 400 doesn’t unfold the way it did. Are there still some crazy crashes? Likely. But the battle for the lead isn’t nearly as compelling with Busch and Truex still in the field.

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2. Kevin Harvick (LW: 4): Harvick is the only one of last week’s top five to make it through Sunday’s race unscathed. He solidly had one of the race’s best cars, and finished the first stage in fourth and the second stage in fifth.

He was one of the guys poised to strike after the wreck with Busch and Truex, but a late caution for a crash involving teammates Clint Bowyer and Kurt Busch did him in. As Harvick had pitted from the lead group — and wasn’t one of the drivers attempting to stretch his fuel at the end of the race — he wound up back in traffic and finished sixth.

“We were on the lead strategy and unfortunately the strategy that wound up taking over was the strategy that was halfway through the middle of the pack,” Harvick said. “And then when the caution comes out, you know it’s gonna happen when everything gets mixed up and then we were just stuck in a hornet’s net and wound up getting beat up a little bit.”

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3. Martin Truex Jr. (LW: 1): Busch and Truex had kept their positions at the front of the field through the first 100 laps of the race because they worked very well together on restarts. While Busch had the better car — and led 87 of the 110 laps he completed — the two drivers had an agreement on restarts to not race each other hard into turn 1.

The Toyota teams of Joe Gibbs Racing and Furniture Row Racing have been the best in NASCAR at working together on various arrangements and strategies since Truex’s team shifted to Toyota. The manufacturer-first approach (most of the time, anyway) is commendable from an organizational standpoint. And it’s been highlighted because the Toyota cars have been so fast since 2015.

The crash between Truex and Busch was a product of cooperation going away. Before the restart on lap 111, the agreement to work together disappeared because the race could have been decided with just one more pit stop.

That’s why Truex raced Busch so hard into turn 1. Because he was trying to take the lead — and get the benefit of clean air — he got loose underneath Busch. You know the rest.

“I guess we could have continued to play the teammate game and try to settle it on a green flag pit stop, but he could be that much faster than me and yard me by three seconds on a run with the clean air then I would never be able to get the opportunity to pass him back even if we had to settle it on a pit stop,” Busch said.

Truex too took the hindsight is 20/20 approach.

“We worked well together and that’s the hard part about this stuff is when it’s time to go,” Truex said. “I feel awful and just made a mistake. Definitely should have picked the outside and it would have been fine I guess … We had an awesome car today and we got out front, I don’t think they were going to be able to beat us.”

It’s fair to wonder just how the accident is going to help the Toyota cooperation going forward, especially given what Busch’s crew chief Adam Stevens had to say to members of Truex’s team after the accident. Because you know there’s going to be a point where Toyota teams are up front and racing each other for vital points in the playoffs.

Kyle Busch’s crew chief Adam Stevens was involved in a heated verbal exchange with the No. 78 team Sunday at @IMS. https://t.co/OgZNUEPr1M

— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) July 25, 2017

4. Kyle Larson (LW: 2): It’s a moment lost in the shuffle of what happened over the final laps of the race, but had the Brickyard 400 operated like a typical affair, the way Larson raced Jimmie Johnson down the backstretch in the middle portion of the race would be a big moment.

Johnson didn’t want to cede the position to Larson and blocked the driver of the No. 42. Larson responded by bumping Johnson down the straightaway into turn 3.

The contact meant Larson had to come to pit road on the next caution for tape and repairs. And it also meant he lost a lot of track position.

His late-race wreck came as a product of blocking on the frontstretch from Ty Dillon.

“He just kept running me down and running me down,” Larson said. “We’re to the end and I’m not going to lift. He just ran me down far enough where I had nowhere to go and I clipped his left rear and it got me loose probably down the speedy dry and I just came across the track.

“A ton of blocking today. It was pretty aggressive. I got blocked a few times and I saw people blocking pretty aggressively. It was pretty annoying. But, I was there the whole time on that one, so it was pretty bad. But it was just Indy.”

5. Denny Hamlin (LW: 3): Hamlin also had damage on the front of his car, though his came from pit road contact. He was also involved in the wreck on the penultimate lap of the race that led to the overtime line finish. Though, as you know, Kasey Kahne was nowhere near the overtime line when Hamlin hit the wall.

6. Kasey Kahne (LW: NR): The only way Sunday’s win makes Kahne’s job status at Hendrick Motorsports secure for 2018 is if it brings sponsorship. With Great Clips and Farmers Insurance leaving at the end of the season, Kahne’s scheduled to have an unsponsored car for two-thirds of the season next year.

It’s entirely possible the win will help in the sponsor hunt. Teams in the playoffs get more exposure than those that don’t. But Kahne probably also needs to be more competitive too. He’s still outside the top 20 in points even after the win.

“We need to keep getting better. I think we really need to figure out how to qualify better, get that track position,” Kahne said. “Today the track position was key. Once I got to the front, I felt great. When I was in clean air in the back, I felt great, too. It was just a matter of getting to where we needed to be …”

“We have a lot to work on, for sure, but we are heading the right direction. We won a big race today. I feel good about it, man. I feel like I can still race these cars. I’ve known that, and I’ve wanted to, and I have the passion to. So to be able to get a win at this track, this stage, was great for our whole team today, for sure.”

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7. Brad Keselowski (LW: 10): Keselowski called the three-wide moment into turn 3 with Kahne and Jimmie Johnson his “Tin Cup” moment, a reference from the 1990s Kevin Costner movie.

Crazily enough, a Keselowski win would’ve been the first Brickyard 400 win for Team Penske. Yeah, the team that’s the best in Indianapolis 500 history hasn’t won a stock car race at the track.

Keselowski took the outside lane on the final restart, likely hoping he could pinch Kahne down into turn 1. It didn’t work, as Kahne’s car rocketed ahead despite the potential aero disadvantage.

“I felt like I hit [the restart] pretty well,” Keselowski said. “Just Kasey, it stuck. He drove through the oil dry. He didn’t just drive through it, he drove it in there, and it stuck. You know, lots of credit to him for getting it to stick. It was impressive.

“I didn’t feel like I could do that if I was on the bottom lane. Maybe I could have, I don’t know. You never know till you’re in that spot.”

8. Jimmie Johnson (LW: 8): We’re confident that a Johnson win would have produced one of the most legendary NASCAR moments of the past 20 years. A seven-time champion with a smoking engine surviving a three-wide moment at Indianapolis to win a record-tying fifth Brickyard 400? Holy crap.

Alas, reality was cruel. Johnson backed his car into the wall, either from the oil leaking from his car, the lack of air pinned on the back of his car or a combination of both. It was still an awesome moment though.

9. Matt Kenseth (LW: 12): Kenseth assumed the race lead after Busch and Truex crashed and sure looked like he was in control of the race for a while. But as the last long green flag run wore on, Kenseth pitted and ceded control of the race to the cars that were trying to stretch their fuel mileage as long as possible. And then when the caution came out for the Bowyer crash, Kenseth was unable to get control of the race back. He finished fifth.

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10. Chase Elliott (LW: 6): Elliott’s day went south in a hurry after the red flag for rain. An engine issue ended his day after 43 laps. So Elliott ran 12 laps before the rain, waited nearly two hours to restart the race, and completed just 31 more before having to retire his car. There’s worse work, but that’s rough.

11. Clint Bowyer (LW: 7): Bowyer has some dramatic wrecks. He slammed hard into the inside wall and then went spinning like a top after his teammate plowed into him. And because of Kahne’s win, Bowyer’s now on the outside of the playoffs with just six races to go in the regular season.

12. Jamie McMurray (LW: 11): McMurray got a piece of the wreck involving Bowyer and had significant damage. But he somehow finished 15th because of the crashfest that ensued.

Lucky Dog: Timmy Hill finished 14th in Carl Long’s No. 66. This is our favorite photo from the weekend.

HOW FREAKING AWESOME! On my 200th @NASCAR start we earn a 14th place finish at Indy! I am so incrediblely happy for our whole team!!! pic.twitter.com/DVDCGpyyoA

— Timmy Hill (@TimmyHillRacer) July 24, 2017

The DNF: Corey LaJoie crashed by himself nine laps into the race.

Dropped Out: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of Dr. Saturday and From the Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Hawaii coach brings Elvis impersonator to Mountain West media day

It was a Blue Hawaii type of day for Hawaii coach Nick Rolovich on Tuesday. (Getty)

The monkey just didn’t work out.

With Mountain West Media Days in Las Vegas this week, Hawaii coach Nick Rolovich decided to bring a companion. And had to settle for an Elvis impersonator.

Rolovich booked an Elvis impersonator to follow him around during his media availability on Tuesday.

.@HawaiiFootball HC @NickRolovich brought the entertainment to MW Football Media Summit #MWFB #Elvis #vivalasvegas pic.twitter.com/KqCffBNntY

— Matt Stanford (@Stanford_Video) July 25, 2017

Unfortunately, he didn’t have the Elvis impersonator with him while doing all of his interviews. That would’ve made for some great stock footage.

After a short break for lunch, @NickRolovich is back at it for TV and print interviews during the afternoon session. #HawaiiFB #MWFB pic.twitter.com/IGlSmfg4il

— Hawaii Football (@HawaiiFootball) July 25, 2017

According to USA Today, the $350 an hour impersonator was the backup plan to a monkey. A Hawaii spokesperson told Yahoo Sports there were “too many hurdles to jump” to get the monkey for media day, so Rolovich instead booked the impersonator online.

Rolovich originally planned to rent a monkey to keep on his shoulder during media day … but cost $2,000 and he couldn’t get the permit.

— Paul Myerberg (@PaulMyerberg) July 25, 2017

Risking monkey poop on your shirt doesn’t seem worth $2,000.

Talkin’ season is great, isn’t it? Hawaii opens the 2017 season on Aug. 26 at UMass. Yes, that’s just 32 days from today.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of Dr. Saturday and From the Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Reports: Former Oregon WR Darren Carrington transfers to Pac-12 rival

Carrington had 112 catches in three seasons at Oregon. (Getty)

Former Oregon wide receiver Darren Carrington didn’t have to go very far to find a new school.

According to multiple reports, including UteZone.com and Rivals’ UteNation.com, Darren Carrington has joined Utah. According to UteZone, while Carrington’s transfer is a done deal, the school won’t make an official announcement. It also means that Carrington will play vs. Oregon on Oct. 28.

Out of respect was waiting for official announcement before breaking on Twitter. Was informed this morning no official announcement coming.

— Michelle Bodkin (@MBodkinScout) July 25, 2017

Carrington was dismissed from the Ducks earlier in July after an arrest for DUI. He allegedly crashed his car in a McDonald’s drive-through.

His Oregon career was tumultuous. While he was a productive receiver on the field, he failed a drug test and missed Oregon’s College Football Playoff National Championship Game loss to Ohio State at the end of the 2014 season. And he was accused of pushing a man and breaking the man’s arm while dressed as the Joker around Halloween in 2016.

In three seasons with the Ducks, Carrington had 112 catches and 1,919 yards. Here’s how he could fit into the Utah offense courtesy of Ute Nation.

Darren Carrington looks on paper like the Utes’ best or second-best receiver right out of the gate. Raelon Singleton is his closest competitor, and both players should benefit from having the other on the other hashmark. If he can keep his priorities straight and if Coach Taylor and Troy Williams can figure out how to get him the ball, he could have a transformative impact on a Utah offense that looked to check every box but wide receiver coming into fall camp.

For more Utah news, visit UteZone.com.

More college football on Yahoo Sports: 

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of Dr. Saturday and From the Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Draymond Green sued by former Michigan State football player

Green allegedly hit Jermaine Edmondson in 2016. (Getty)

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green is facing a civil suit from former Michigan State player Jermaine Edmondson regarding an alleged bar incident in the summer of 2016.

Edmondson and his girlfriend Bianca Williams were accompanied by attorney Lisa Bloom at a press conference Tuesday morning announcing the suit. Edmondson, who transferred from Michigan State after the alleged altercation, said he wakes up in tears sometimes because of the incident.

Man at center of Draymond Green lawsuit speaks out, says “I still feel his hand on my jaw.” https://t.co/JCyDGl6LcI pic.twitter.com/a2rhtD7Myw

— NBC Bay Area (@nbcbayarea) July 25, 2017

“I think about what happened with Draymond every day,” Edmondson said. “I still feel his hand on my jaw. There are nights when I wake up crying. I don’t understand why my name has been turned into this joke. And he gets all the credit for being a superstar and standing up for a woman.”

Bloom previously held a news conference with comedian Kathy Griffin in June after the backlash Griffin received from her faux-bloody skit involving President Donald Trump.

In July of 2016, Edmondson said that Green hit him in the face after an encounter with the NBA player for a second-straight night. He said in his statement to police last year that the first night that two men with Green choked him and another man choked his girlfriend.

The second night, he and his girlfriend were out for his birthday and they returned to the same establishment where the first incident occurred. He said Green came over to the couple and looked over his girlfriend.

He said he then confronted Green and said the previous night “wasn’t cool.” The discussion then allegedly escalated to the point where Green punched him in the face “in front of all my peers and friends.”

The initial police report after the incident said the contact was described as an open-hand slap by others and that Edmondson refused treatment at the scene for injuries sustained in the hit.

In a statement, Green referenced “misinformation” from Tuesday’s press conference.

Statement from Warriors forward @Money23Green lawyers regarding new lawsuit. pic.twitter.com/zJkw7i8XrZ

— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) July 25, 2017

“This lawsuit relates to an incident that occurred in East Lansing, Michigan, over a year ago, for which Draymond paid a noise violation fine. Draymond looks forward to defending himself and clearing up the misinformation put forth today.”

Green told ESPN that he was confident the case would be resolved soon. 

Green was arrested after the second altercation — when he allegedly hit Edmondson — and the police report said he expressed remorse for hitting Edmondson. He ultimately paid a fine of $560 and agreed to have no contact with Edmondson for a year after reaching a plea deal. The deal reduced Green’s charges to a noise violation from misdemeanor assault.

In the days after the incident, the school announced Edmondson’s transfer. He was set to be a redshirt senior in 2016.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of Dr. Saturday and From the Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

Follow @NickBromberg