Report: UCLA interviewsUK's Brown for coordinator job
University of Kentucky assistant coach Steve Brown interviewed this week for the defensive coordinator position at UCLA, according to a report on the Los Angeles Times' Web site Thursday. The report on the newspaper's Fabulous Forum blog by reporter Chris Foster cited a person familiar with the search who was not authorized to talk on the subject.
Brown, an assistant at UK since 2003, has spent the past four seasons as the Wildcats' defensive coordinator. Head coach Joker Phillips demoted Brown to a co-coordinator position when he hired Rick Minter to take over the defense in December. Kentucky ranked 45th in total defense and 72nd in scoring defense in 2010.
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UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel has considered numerous defensive coordinator candidates since firing Chuck Bullough on Dec. 18. Neuheisel on Thursday hired Jim Mastro of Nevada to coach the Bruins' tight ends and F-backs, and he fired Todd Howard, who coached the defensive line for five seasons.
Wishbone pioneer Bellard dies at 83
Emory Bellard, a former Texas A&M and Mississippi State coach credited with developing the wishbone offense when he was an assistant at Texas, died Thursday. He was 83. Cathy Capps, director of the Texas A&M Lettermen's Association, said Bellard died at a care facility in Georgetown in Central Texas. She said Bellard had Lou Gehrig's disease. Bellard was on Darrell Royal's staff at Texas in 1968 when the Longhorns developed a formation with three running backs that came to be known as the wishbone. The wishbone was similar to the two-back veer, which Houston was using to become a threat in the Southwest Conference. The Longhorns rode Bellard's modification to a national championship in 1969, and Oklahoma made the offense nearly unstoppable in the 1970s and '80s.
NCAA proposes NFL-like rule changes
College football could look a lot more like the NFL if new rules are approved in April. A batch of new proposals announced Thursday would adopt a 10-second runoff for clock-stopping penalties in the final minute of each half and would experiment with moving the umpire behind the running backs. The NCAA's football rules committee also wants to eliminate having three defensive players line up against one offensive lineman on place-kicks and is recommending tighter restrictions on blocks below the waist.
■ Mike Gundy has completed Oklahoma State's coaching staff by hiring Jemal Singleton away from Indiana before he ever coached in a game with the Hoosiers. Singleton spent the last eight seasons at Air Force, most recently as the running-game coordinator. The Falcons were second in the nation in rushing last season at 306.5 yards per game. Indiana announced Singleton's hire as the running backs coach and recruiting coordinator under new coach Kevin Wilson last Wednesday. He is the fourth assistant to join Wilson's staff and then bolt for another job. The others were Brent Pease (Boise State), Jerry Montgomery (Michigan) and Corey Raymond (Nebraska).
■ Marshall's 2011 football schedule includes a home game with Virginia Tech and road matchups with Big East opponents West Virginia and Louisville, the school announced Thursday. The Thundering Herd open the season Sept. 3 in Morgantown against the Mountaineers. They play the Hokies on Sept. 24 and the Cardinals on Oct. 1. Marshall will play only five of 12 games at home.
Labor negotiating meeting cancelled
All-day meetings between the NFL and the players union scheduled for Thursday were abruptly canceled. With less than three weeks before the deadline, and with the threat of a lockout looming, neither side appears to have made headway in the dispute over how to divide the league's $9 billion in revenue. Wednesday's meeting in Washington broke down well before its scheduled close. The owners came close to walking out after the players rejected their proposal for an additional $1 billion in spending credits. They were also frustrated by one particular proposal by the players to eliminate spending credits and simply split all revenue down the middle.
■ The Broncos' deep wide receiver corps took another hit with word Thursday that last year's top pick, Demaryius Thomas, tore an ACL during an off-season workout in Atlanta. Thomas, the first receiver selected in last year's draft, was working out at his off-season home when he was injured, according to CBS-4 in Denver. The extent wasn't known but, if it's a full tear, his entire 2011 season would be in jeopardy.
■ The snow-damaged roof of the Metrodome will be replaced, the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, which runs the longtime Minneapolis home of the Vikings, said Thursday. Commission officials have estimated that replacement could take as long as six months, meaning pre-season games in mid-August might need to be moved.
Baseball's Meyer makes All-SEC team
Kentucky junior right-handed pitcher Alex Meyer has been named to Baseball America's pre-season All-Southeastern Conference squad, the school announced Thursday. Meyer is one of three starting pitchers in the SEC in the magazine's conference preview. Meyer was joined by Vanderbilt ace Sonny Gray and Florida standout Hudson Randall, and he was also tabbed as the fifth-best prospect available for the 2011 MLB Draft in the league.
■ The Kentucky softball team will kick off 2011 at the Florida International Combat Classic on Friday. UK will face Ohio State, Florida International, DePaul, North Florida and Memphis in Miami during the three-day tournament. First pitch with Ohio State is set for 4 p.m. Friday. The Cats then face host FIU at 8.
Rangers sign Hamilton to 2-year deal
AL MVP Josh Hamilton and the Rangers agreed Thursday to a $24 million, two-year contract that avoids an arbitration hearing next week. The deal was reached four days before a scheduled hearing in Phoenix. He gets a $3 million signing bonus, a $7.25 million salary this year and $13.75 million in 2012. Hamilton can become a free agent after the 2012 World Series.
■ Federal prosecutors cut the number of felony charges Barry Bonds faces from 11 to five Thursday. In the new indictment, they reduced from nine to three the number of charges alleging Bonds lied under oath when he testified that he never knowingly took performance-enhancing drugs. He is still charged with perjury for telling the grand jury that no one other than his doctor ever stuck a needle in his body and a catch-all charge that he obstructed the grand jury's investigation into sports doping with his allegedly misleading testimony. He is scheduled to stand trial March 21
■ The Indians agreed to terms on Thursday with free agent infielder Orlando Cabrera, a full-time shortstop during his major-league career who is expected to compete for the Indians' starting job at second base. Cabrera's deal is contingent on him passing a physical. Cabrera, 36, played last season for the NL Central champion Reds. He has reached the playoffs for the last four years and six of the past seven, including stints with the Twins, White Sox and Angels.
■ The Angels defeated pitcher Jered Weaver in salary arbitration Thursday. He will get a raise from $4,265,000 to $7,365,000 instead of his request for $8.8 million. The 28-year-old right-hander was 13-12 with a 3.01 ERA in 34 starts for the Angels last season and led the major leagues with 233 strikeouts.
The last word
A lot of pundits were raving about Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton's open workout Thursday in San Diego. But Newton couldn't stop raving about the weather.
"I think I'm going to have a surfing party at the house. Everyone's welcome to come."