Strong has Cardinals get physical in scrimmage
New Louisville coach Charlie Strong gathered the Cardinals at midfield moments before the annual Red-White scrimmage on Friday night, but he was in no mood to give his players a pep talk.
Instead, Strong picked two players out and had them face off in a drill sometimes nicknamed "Circle of Death." The two players pounded on each other for a few seconds until one of them gained the upper hand.
Never miss a local story.
When they were done, Strong called two more out. Then two more after that. His message was simple: it's time to get physical.
Louisville kept the energy going during an energetic scrimmage at rain-soaked Cardinals Stadium. The Red team, comprised mostly of first-stringers, easily handled the White team 28-10.
Yet the score hardly mattered. For Strong and a program eager to move on following Steve Kragthorpe's firing last fall, the chance to get out on the field and start taking the first tentative steps forward couldn't come soon enough.
"Right now there's a lot of passion, a lot of excitement, and we need to keep that going," Strong said.
All three quarterbacks — seniors Adam Froman and Justin Burke and sophomore Will Stein — were able to move the ball at times. Burke threw for a touchdown, Stein ran for one and Froman caught another while running the new spread offense installed by offensive coordinator Mike Sanford.
Stewart wins first pole since 2005
Tony Stewart will start his 400th Sprint Cup race from the pole. Stewart won qualifying in NASCAR's top series for the first time in five years Friday, turning a lap of 191.327 mph at Texas Motor Speedway. It's been 155 races since Stewart last won the pole, at Martinsville in October 2005.
"I'm surprised," Stewart said. "I'm really not much of a qualifier."
It's the third time Stewart has won the pole in Texas. He was the top qualifier twice in the IndyCar Series in the 1990s. Former IRL star Sam Hornish Jr., still winless in his third full Sprint Cup season, almost knocked Stewart off the pole. He settled for second with a lap of 191.232.
Martin won't quit racing after 2011
Mark Martin spoke publicly Friday for the first time since Hendrick Motorsports this week signed Kasey Kahne as his replacement in the No. 5 Chevrolet after next season. He ended any speculation that he planned to abandon his Hendrick seat early, or quit driving when he does get out of that car at the end of the 2011 season.
"I'm racing in 2012," the 51-year-old driver said. "There will be an opportunity for me I'm sure that will be exciting and fun."
Where Kahne will race next season is uncertain because Hendrick has drivers under contract for its NASAR limit of four cars — Martin, four-time defending Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Kahne is in the last year of his contract with Richard Petty Motorsports. Martin actually initiated talks with Kahne late last season about replacing him at Hendrick.
"I'm really, really excited. I'm so psyched about it and so relieved that we can go on and work on racing and not worry about Hendrick Motorsports and my team and everything else and what the future is," Martin said. "We know it's set. It's a perfect scenario. Kasey Kahne is a really right fit for this organization."
Penguins tie series at one game apiece
Sidney Crosby scored a goal, prevented one and his deft stickhandling led to Kris Letang's winner late in the third period, and the Pittsburgh Penguins rebounded to beat the visiting Senators 2-1 on Friday night to even the Eastern Conference first-round series at a game apiece. Several minutes after Crosby slid on his stomach across the crease to punch away Anton Volchenkov's shot as it lay inches from the goal line, Crosby began cycling the puck by himself behind the Ottawa net. Looking for an opening to pass or to dart out and take a shot, he crossed the goalie trapezoid three times before finally carrying the puck out and, sliding to the ice, feeding it to Letang at the right point.
Devils 5, Flyers 3: Dainius Zubrus scored on a rebound with 4:04 to play and the New Jersey Devils beat the visiting Flyers 5-3 to even the first-round Eastern Conference playoff series at a game apiece.
Sports in the courts
Leach's attorneys claim Tech conspiracy
Attorneys for Mike Leach claimed in new court filings Friday that a day after signing a new contract last year a top Texas Tech administrator and two members of its board of regents "secretly agreed" to fire him before the school had to pay him an $800,000 bonus. Information in the documents was drawn from depositions and electronic communications between university officials that Leach's attorneys have gathered in his lawsuit against the university. Leach was fired Dec. 30, two days after he was suspended following a claim from the family of receiver Adam James that the coach mistreated the player after he got a concussion.
"Today's action by Mike Leach and his attorneys is another absurd act of desperation," Tech attorney Dicky Grigg said in a statement. "This is the legal strategy one deploys when the facts and the law are irrefutably against him."
Jay-Z sues Red Sox slugger Ortiz
Jay-Z and a business partner are suing slugger David Ortiz, claiming the Red Sox star named his Dominican nightclub after the hip hop mogul's chain of 40/40 nightclubs. The lawsuit, filed Thursday in a federal court in Manhattan, accuses Ortiz and his sister of naming their Santo Domingo club Forty-Forty in the hopes of trading in on the rapper's name. The suit seeks more than $5 million in damages and for Ortiz to forfeit any use of the name. Jay-Z, a Yankees fan who performed at the team's World Series victory parade last year, opened his original 40/40 club in Manhattan with business partner Juan Perez in 2003.
Syracuse RB charged with assault
Syracuse running back Delone Carter has been charged with misdemeanor assault involving a fight that injured a fellow student. Syracuse Deputy Police Chief Joe Cecile said the charge was filed Wednesday after Carter and teammate Ryan Gillum were questioned by detectives. Gillum was not charged. A vehicle carrying Carter, Gillum and other teammates was hit with a snowball just off campus around 1 a.m. on Feb. 27. Cecile said that when the players got out and confronted a group of students, Carter hit William Hotaling, who fell to the ground and hurt his head. He was treated for facial injuries. Carter, a redshirt senior, led the Orange in rushing last season.
Nadal continues Monte Carlo dominance
Rafael Nadal moved into the semifinals of the Monte Carlo Masters with a 6-4, 6-2 victory Friday over Juan Carlos Ferrero, extending his winning streak in the event to 30 matches. Top-seeded Novak Djokovic of Serbia advanced with a 6-2, 6-3 win over David Nalbandian. Second-seeded Nadal dropped only two games in his previous two matches, but was tested by the ninth-seeded Ferrero, a two-time Monte Carlo Masters winner. Ferrero saved two match points before Nadal closed out the contest with a strong serve that Ferrero could only return into the net.
The last word
Orlando Magic Coach Stan Van Gundy when asked whether he'd be heartbroken if Amway Arena is demolished after the playoffs:
"It doesn't have feelings. It's a building. Buildings don't mean a whole lot to me."