The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on October 4, 1996 · Page 18
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 18

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Friday, October 4, 1996
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Page 18
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C4 FRIDAY, OCTOBER 4, 1996 SPORTS THE SALINA JOURNAL V COLLEGE FOOTBALL Suspension humbled Farley NU linebacker is back after sitting out for drunk-driving arrest By ED HOWARD The Associated Press LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska linebacker Terrell Farley had more than the usual pre-game butterflies as he waited to run onto the field in his first game back with the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Farley returned to the lineup Saturday after a two-game suspension that followed his arrest for drunken driving. ; The preseason mistake humiliated one of the nation's premiere linebackers and dredged up im',ages of the 1995 season when some 'Nebraska players had serious ^problems with the law. ', "I was a little nervous going out ;in the tunnel because I thought '.there might be some booing, but instead some of the fans were shouting support to me," Farley said. "I thank them for that. I don't plan to be letting anybody down." Call it a rude awakening or a reality check. Farley said the entire experience changed him. Farley has pleaded guilty to the drunken driving charge. Coach Tom Osborne said the 61, 205-pound senior from Columbus, Ga., has attended counseling sessions and "has done 100 percent of everything he has been told he has to do to remain a part of this team." "Sometimes I still can't believe it happened, but it did," Farley said of his arrest. "It was my mistake, I paid for it, I apologized to coach and my teammates. It isn't FARLEY going to happen again. I'm getting back to business." Business this week includes a return to his starting spot when No. 7 Nebraska (2-1) takes on No. 16 Kansas State (4-0) in Manhattan. It will be Nebraska's first Big 12 Conference game. "Everyone knows how important this game is ... the start of the Big 12 for us, K-State being unbeaten and looking to knock us off," Farley said. "I'm just glad I'm back." During Farley's absence Nebraska suffered its first defeat? in 27 starts, a 19-0 loss at Arizona State on Sept. 14, and was knocked from the No. 1 spot in The Associated Press college football poll. "It was terrible watching the game at Arizona State," Farley said. "It was like watching a horror movie. And ... yeah, I wished I was there. It was like a part of me, and I couldn't do anything about it." A second team Ail-American in 1995, he led Nebraska with 62 tackles, including 27 solo stops, snagged two interceptions for touchdowns, blocked two punts and had five sacks. He was touted this year as a candidate for the Butkus Award, recognizing college football's best linebacker. "I'm not thinking of any awards," he said. "I just want to do my best for this team, this season. That's all. That's where my mind is. I'm not going to be distracted." Farley had four tackles against Colorado State in his return last Saturday. "I was in for about 25 snaps and I was a little rusty, but it's coming back to me," he said. "Everybody makes mistakes and I'm responsible for the one I made," Farley said. "I've got things to prove. I'm going to be working at it." No clear answer for Sooners' Swoon BLAKE Blake's plan to bring ; OU back to prominence :likely to take some time •By OWEN CANFIELD • The Associated Press '. NORMAN, Okla. —Like any ;coach at a struggling program, •Oklahoma's John Blake believes ihe has the plan that will bring the [Sooners back. ;What no one has I is a clear answer [as to how the f Sooners got in this fix. ! Oklahoma, with six national championships, is 0-3 entering Saturday's game against Kansas. Counting the final three games of last year, the Sooners have lost a school-record six in a row. And now the fun really begins because the winless start came iagainst the easiest part of Oklahoma's schedule. It's a safe bet 'the Sooners will lose more than iseven games for the first time. | "We haven't had a losing season here in 30 years," said athlet- iic director Steve Owens, one of the school's three Heisman Trophy winners. "It's painful for all of us, it's very painful. But it's just a pain we're going to have to go through." He and Blake have preached that time is the only cure, and apparently the fans agree. There has been no groundswell of discontent from a populace that used to gripe in the mid-'80s when Ok- T BASEBALL PLAYOFFS "You recognize why the program is in this situation. We've identified it. Let's go to work and get it back where it belongs." John Blake Oklahoma head football coach lahoma would go 11-1 but couldn't beat Miami. Has the Sooner swoon been the result of poor recruiting? Are three head coaches in the past three years to blame? Are too many inexperienced players in the lineup? It's likely a combination of that and more, although the cause doesn't matter to Blake. "That's really irrelevant right now because right now we've got to do nothing but look to the front, look to the future," said the 34-year-old head coach. "You recognize why the program is in this situation. We've identified it. Let's go to work and get it back where it belongs." Blake replaced Howard Schnel- lenberger, who was forced out after only one year in Norman. Schnellenberger's team started the 1995 season 3-0 and ranked No. 10, then got blown out by Colorado in its first real test. The Sooners have been skidding ever since. Their only victories in the past year have come against Iowa State and Missouri, who were two of the weakest teams in the old Big Eight Conference and aren't on Oklahoma's Big 12 schedule this year. Schnellenberger had replaced Gary Gibbs, who resigned under pressure after six years in charge. When he took over from Barry Switzer in 1989, the program had just been placed on probation and had been scandalized by the arrests of five players on drug, weapons and sex charges. Gibbs restored order while keeping Oklahoma competitive. He took the Sooners to three bowl games and never won fewer than five games. During those years, while Oklahoma was trying to rebuild its numbers, programs such as Kansas and Kansas State were getting better. Oklahoma fans could understand losses to Colorado and Nebraska, the powers of the Big Eight, but losses to Kansas and Kansas State got people grumbling. Five losses to Texas in six years hurt Gibbs as well. So did diminishing revenues in the athletic department — there was only one sellout during his tenure as head coach. Schnellenberger used a springtime tour of the state to stoke fan interest last year, and that continued to build during the 3-0 start. Memorial Stadium was sold out when Colorado visited for the second night game in school history. "Then boom, the bottom fell out," Owens said of the 38-17 loss. "All of a sudden all the air went out of the bubble." And it hasn't returned. Blake, a former Sooner player and assistant coach, was hired in large part because of his ties to the school and his reputation as a good recruiter. The best way to win is with good players, after all. Oklahoma already has some good players. Owens figured on a tough season, but he expected better things after games with Texas Christian, San Diego State and Tulsa. "I didn't think we'd be 0-3, I'll admit," he said. A lineup loaded with freshmen and redshirt freshmen has made costly mistakes. The two biggest concerns were the secondary and offensive line, where most everyone is gone from last year. The Sooners have struggled in those areas, but also haven't been as good in the veteran defensive front, where Blake felt most confident at the start of the year. The coaching changes likely have had an effect. There are only three coaches on this staff who worked under Schnellenberger. The older players have had to learn three systems in the past three years. "Until we can go out and recruit better players or players who can go and handle the situations, we have to play the players we have here," Blake said. "Hopefully those guys will respond and give us a chance to win." Braves grab 2-0 lead on Dodgers ;Two seventh-inning ;home runs power [Atlanta past LA ;By The Associated Press ; LOS ANGELES — Fred Mc;Griff s solo shot barely cleared the fence and Jermaine Dye's was inever in doubt. And just like that, with two seventh-inning homers, the Atlanta Braves moved within one win of sweeping the Dodgers. ; McGriff and Dye had two of Atlanta's three solo homers and Greg Maddux pitched seven .strong innings as the Braves defeated Los Angeles 3-2 to take a ^two-game lead in their best-of-5 |NL playoff series. The defending World Series champions head home with a .chance to close the series with a win in Game 3 on Saturday. The Braves, who won the opener 2-1 on a lOth-inning homer by Javy Lopez, 'got just five hits, but three were homers. Ryan Klesko had the other off Ismael Valdes. Maddux, Greg MTJMULIEAGUE McMichael and Atlanta 3 Mark Wohlers combined on a three-hitter as the Braves finished off the Dodgers in just 2 hours, 8 minutes. Maddux gave up two unearned runs and three hits, struck out seven and walked none. McMichael pitched the eighth, and Wohlers had a perfect ninth for his second save in two days. Atlanta's pitchers retired the final 16 Dodgers following Raul Mondesi's RBI double in the fourth. Los Angeles 2 6AME ft Sabrday The Braves had to overcome two costly errors that led to the Dodgers' runs. Los Angeles has lost six straight games, including its last four of the regular season. Dye, who had 12 homers in the regular season, homered with one out in the seventh for the decisive run off Valdes after McGriff led off , the inning with a homer that tifed it 2-2. "He gave me a curve ball that was hanging inside," Dye said. "I tried to drive it, and it got out of the ballpark." Klesko, whose fielding miscue cost the Braves a run earlier, homered in the second. The Dodgers, who have scored just six runs in their last five games, took an early 2-1 lead — but with both runs unearned. Klesko's fielding error in left led to a Los Angeles run in the first in- ning, and Marquis Grissom's error in center led to another run in the fourth. Mike Piazza's routine single up the middle rolled into center, and Grissom, converging with Klesko, bent over and tried to barehand the ball. But it dribbled under his glove and past Klesko as Piazza alertly took second. Mondesi followed with a double to deep center over Grissom, who couldn't run the ball down. The Dodgers, who had scored just one run in their last 27 innings, got on the board quickly. Leadoff batter Todd Hollandsworth singled, and Klesko bobbled the ball as he tried to field it. Hollandsworth moved to third on Wayne Kirby's grounder and scored on Piazza's groundout. Defending AL champion faces elimination tonight Cleveland must sweep •Baltimore at home to jkeep its season alive By The Associated Press ; CLEVELAND — The Cleveland •Indians were remodeled and fine- tuned to win the World Series this year. One more loss to the Baltimore Orioles and they're gone in the first round. , It all rests with Jack McDowell 'tonight at Jacobs Field, this long season of trades and turmoil all rolled into one game. Then, if the Indians get past that one, they •have to do it twice more. f "We've got no other choice but ,to win," catcher Sandy Alomar /at Olevefartf, 3;Q7 p,m, It was Alomar's errant throw to first base on a double-play attempt that turned Game 2 in Baltimore's favor and gave the Orioles a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series. The . „„,., Yo/k at Texas. 7:P7 p.m. (^C,Sallnacab!e3,13) . - *V- Indians argued that B.J. Surhoff should have been called out for running inside the baseline. Nice try, but that's about as fruitless as arguing that the Indians shouldn't have made all these changes this year, should have just stayed with the team that brought them to the World Series last fall. Fact is, they're not that team anymore. It's win three times with this one, or go home. "Sure, we can win three," Jose Vizcaino said Thursday before the Indians held a brief workout at Jacobs Field. Vizcaino came over from the New York Mets in the controversial Carlos Baerga trade. "If we won 99, we can win three," he said. McDowell had the worst season of his big league career with a 13-9 record and 5.11 ERA. Instead of resigning Ken Hill, the Indians gave a bunch of money to McDowell because he's a winner, a clutch pitcher, a bulldog if Orel Hershiser did n't already have that nickname. Now's his chance to prove it. "I think anybody who puts on a uniform has that in him, wants to be that guy," McDowell said. "They wouldn't be here if they didn't have that in them." McDowell opposes fellow Stanford Cardinal Mike Mussina, who won 19 games but has been criticized for not winning the big one. "I won 90 games in my career," Mussina said. "I can't believe that all of them were not big. Whoever's opinion that is, fine. I do what I'm supposed to do." At Jacobs Field on Thursday, KSU / Wildcats out to end slide vs. NU FROM PAGE C1 SNYDER Wildcats are unbeaten but still ranked no higher than 16th proves that people still think of them as the sad satks of the Flint Hills, the bunch who were so completely hapless for so many decades. "I don't know what you have to do," said Spike Dykes, whose Texas Tech squad lost to Kansas State in the Big 12 inaugural game. "I guess it's like being asked to join the country club. They just don't hardly do it. I gue'ss perception is everything." One thing that costs Kansas State the respect it craves is it's a schedule that routinely loads up on lesser lights such as Indiana State, Cincinnati and Rice. Plus, as the program has grown from a perennial loser into a perennial winner, K-State still has never beaten a team that was ranked above them on the day they played. Hence, the unremitting frustration at the hands of Nebraska. "It's not a knock on Kansas State. Coach (BiH) Snyder has done a great job. But they haven't played the caliber of opponents that a lot of the teams in the top 10, 12,15 have played," said Colorado coach Rick Neuheisel. "Obviously, they've got a chance to this week playing Nebraska. "Until they show how they're going to hold up against the 't6p teams,' then I think there is going to be some reluctance to give them maybe their due." ' Nebraska coach Tom Osborne, of course, is quick to give tlieih their due. ' '' "We're scratching our heads right now working as hard as we can work. This is a hard game for us," Osborne said. Naturally, his words sound like customary coachspeak. "This is not hype. This is n6t just the usual commentary coaches come out with," Osborne insis}- ed. "They've got a great team, they're one of the better defenses we've played in recent years."-;)' Events of the Day : the Salina Journal Smoky Valley Tree Spade & Nursery 2592 13th Ave. Lindsborg, KS 67456 ~'" 913-227-3111 Jeff Chambers,' Owner The Largeit Tree Spade In Kantai the Indians seemed unconcerned with what got them in this predicament (answer: bad hitting, worse pitching, suspect defense). Instead, they focused on trying to get out of it. "When you go into a situation down two games, if you start looking at Game 4, then Game 3 is gone and you don't get to Game 4," Indians manager Mike Hargrove said. Hargrove was calm and talkative during a news conference. When it was over, he got on a golf cart and played bumper cars with a luggage cart before scooting down the hall toward the clubhouse. The Indians took batting practice for about an hour and a half, rap music and Nirvana filling the stadium on a chilly day. There was no moping, no one awaiting impending doom. 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