Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Report: O'Brien to Penn State

Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien interviewed with Penn State officials Thursday in Pennsylvania, and ESPN reported he agreed to be the successor to Joe Paterno.

The Nittany Lions plan to make the move official Saturday, ESPN reported.

New England coach Bill Belichick declined to elaborate on O'Brien's future. ESPN said O'Brien will stay with the Patriots, who have a playoff bye this week, for the rest of the season.

The Penn State search has continued for nearly eight weeks since Paterno was fired in the wake of sexual-abuse charges against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.

O'Brien, 42, is not a household name to college football fans. He has spent extensive time as a college assistant. He was at Georgia Tech, Maryland and Duke for 12 seasons before joining the Patriots in 2007.

O'Brien's biggest challenge will be that he has never served as a head coach. The Penn State job will be about much more than coaching. He will have to re-engage the fan base and rebuild trust.

Other than orchestrating the offense and serving as Tom Brady's quarterbacks coach, O'Brien may be best known for a sideline screaming match with Brady last month. That gave a window into the fire of the Massachusetts native, who is known to have a strong presence in the Patriots' locker room and meeting rooms.

USF's Sanchez done

TAMPA — Linebacker Armando Sanchez, who was USF's top special teams tackler in 2009 and 2010 and one of the Bulls' most decorated players academically, has decided not to play his final season, having graduated last summer with a communications degree.

"I'm indebted to him for what he did for our program, the attitude he had, the way that he worked," said coach Skip Holtz, who said Sanchez has a full-time job lined up and will be honored as a senior at the postseason banquet Jan. 13.

Sanchez, a Northeast High graduate, had 13 tackles in '09 and 20 in 2010, when he returned a blocked punt for a touchdown in USF's win against Florida Atlantic. He had nine tackles this season and missed the final five games with an ankle injury.

Jenkins stays at FSU

Defensive end/linebacker Brandon Jenkins said he will return to FSU for his senior season. Thought by some to be a late first-round NFL draft possibility, he hopes to improve his stock. He had 42 tackles (12 for a loss) and eight sacks this season.

More draft decisions: Alshon Jeffery, who holds South Carolina's career record with 3,042 yards receiving, will skip his senior season for the NFL. He isn't considered fast, but at 6 feet 4, 229 pounds and with sure hands, Jeffery could be a first-round pick. Cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who started all 40 games at South Carolina, also is giving up his final season. … Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones will return for his senior season, saying "there is still a lot more to do." Sooners defensive end Ronnell Lewis will skip his senior season. … Wisconsin running back Montee Ball will return for his senior season, saying he wants to improve his NFL stock after learning he would likely be a third-round pick. … Michigan State defensive tackle Jerel Worthy, a three-year starter and first-team All-American this season, will skip his senior season. He said he wants to help his father, Bobby Smith, get the care he needs as he recovers from a stroke suffered in 2010. … Georgia Tech receiver Stephen Hill, who set a school record and led the nation with an average of 29.3 yards per catch this season, will skip his senior year.

BCS changes? SEC commissioner Mike Slive expects "meaningful discussions about possible changes to the BCS" in the coming months, including making it a four-team playoff.

ARkansas state: Pittsburgh interim coach Keith Patterson was named defensive coordinator. He will leave after Saturday's BBVA Compass Bowl.

Michigan: Coach Brady Hoke said receiver Darryl Stonum is still on the team despite violating probation in a drunken-driving case.

Times staff writer Greg Auman contributed to this report.

Andrei Vasilevskiy, Lightning shut out Blackhawks

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CHICAGO — Turns out, Andrei Vasilevskiy is all right.And, believe it or not, so is the Lightning’s penalty kill, which was the unlikely hero in Monday’s streak-snapping 2-0 win over the Blackhawks at the United Center.Vasilevskiy, 23, played like the...
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Lightning angered by slash that has Ondrej Palat out 6-8 weeks

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CHICAGO — The Lightning got more bad news Monday with wing Ondrej Palat out 6-8 weeks with a lower-body injury. It’s a big blow to a struggling Tampa Bay team, which is now without its top defense­man (Victor Hedman) and now arguably its best defensi...
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Bucks fire Kidd in midst of slump

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Updated: 2 hours ago

Mrazek strong in goal again as Red Wings blank Devils

NEWARK, N.J. — Petr Mrazek had 37 saves in posting his second straight shutout and third of the season as the Red Wings beat the slumping Devils 3-0 on Monday night. Tyler Bertuzzi, David Booth and Dylan Larkin scored for the Red Wings, who snapped a...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Tuesday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballArkansas at Georgia6:30 p.m.SECProvidence at Villanova6:30 p.m.FS1Kansas at Oklahoma7 p.m.ESPNWisconsin at Iowa7 p.m.ESPN2Oklahoma State at Texas Tech7 p.m.ESPNewsVanderbilt at Tennessee7 p.m.ESPNUDavidson at Dayton7 p.m.CBSSNW...
Updated: 3 hours ago

MELBOURNE, Australia — Back-to-back shockers resulted in a most unexpected Australian Open men’s quarterfinal. Six-time champion Novak Djokovic and fifth-ranked Dominic Thiem lost within a few hours Monday, leaving Hyeon Chung and Tennys Sandgren pla...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Joe Smith’s takeaways from Lightning-Blackhawks

Matt Peca and Michael Bournival likely won’t be the last callups by the Lightning the next month or so. There are plenty of other deserving candidates at AHL Syracuse, with Adam Erne likely getting a shot had he not been injured. With Ondrej Palat ou...
Updated: 3 hours ago

High school scoreboard for Jan. 22

Monday’s scoreboardBoys soccerPalm Harbor U. 3, Clearwater 0Boca Ciega 3, Indian Rocks Christian 1Girls soccerClass 4A, District 10: Countryside 7, Clearwater 0; Dixie Hollins 2, East Lake 0Class 3A, District 10: Osceola 14, Gibbs 0...
Updated: 4 hours ago

NHL All-Star Game Skills Competition gets some changes

Skills Competition gets a new lookThe NHL switched up its format for Saturday’s All-Star Game Skills Competition (7 p.m, NBSCN). There will be six events, including the traditional hardest shot, accuracy shooting, plus a passing challenge, puck contr...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Vikes’ Shurmur to lead Giants

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur was hired as the Giants head coach Monday afternoon. The Giants announced the hiring less than 24 hours after Shurmur and the Vikings were beaten by the Eagles in the NFC title game. S...
Updated: 5 hours ago