Notre Dame’s Kelly calls out the long-snapper
After losing to 21-point underdog Duke on Sept. 24, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said everyone on his team could lose his job, except that “maybe the long-snapper’s OK.” But after Saturday’s 10-3 loss at North Carolina State, Kelly took aim at the long snapper, Sam Mustipher, for misfiring on a punt attempt. “I’m extremely disappointed,” he said, “in the lack of ability to manage the snapping of the football.” He called it “atrocious.” QB DeShone Kizer thought that was unfair, being that the game was played in driving rain, with Hurricane Matthew just two miles away. Kizer pointed out that the ball was “sitting in a pool of water out there.”
Dear Coach: The real problem was your preference for throwing the ball in hurricane conditions. You kept your running QB, Malik Zaire, on the bench for most of the game while Kizer completed 9 of 26 for 54 yards. The winning team passed 14 times.
Harbaugh runs up score, gets bigger discount for his steak
Ruth’s Chris steak house in Ann Arbor announced a “Score Big” promotion in which customers for the following week would receive a percentage discount equal to the margin of victory by the Michigan Wolverines. “Example: Michigan beats Rutgers by 20 points, your discount will be 20 percent off your food.” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh was aware of the promotion and promised his wife he’d take her out for dinner at Ruth’s Chris. Harbaugh did everything he could to run up the score, trying trick plays in the fourth quarter, as his team trounced Rutgers 78-0. Which did not mean a 78% discount on steak dinners, as the restaurant announced the discount would be capped at 50%. That still brought capacity crowds. Harbaugh on his radio show thanked the restaurant’s general manager, Buzz Goebel, for finding room for him and his wife.
Martellus Bennett slams ex-teammate Jason Witten
New England Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett began his pro career with the Dallas Cowboys, backing up Jason Witten. He does not have fond memories of Witten, whom he disses in an ESPN show, E:60, which airs this Wednesday at 7 p.m. CST. “When I was in Dallas, Witten didn’t talk to me,” Bennett said. “I hated him. I hated Witten.”
Astros prospect objects to female announcer
Brooks Marlow, a farmhand for the Houston Astros, tweeted his objection to Jessica Mendoza serving as an ESPN analyst in the baseball playoffs: “No lady needs to be on ESPN.” Marlow, who this year played for Class A Lancaster (Calif.), quickly deleted the tweet, but not before the major-league club noticed. “We have communicated with the player, who agreed that this tweet was inappropriate and insensitive,” the Astros said. “We also apologize to Ms. Mendoza, who is an outstanding broadcaster that we have had the pleasure of working with this season.” Indeed, Mendoza has been widely praised for her knowledge of baseball and especially for her insights on pitching mechanics.
Woods cancels plans for Safeway Open
The Tiger Woods Comeback took another setback when the 40-year-old golfer withdrew from this week’s Safeway Open, which would have been his first tournament in 14 months. Woods said his surgically repaired back “feels fine” but that his game “is vulnerable and not where it needs to be.” He also withdrew from the Turkish Airlines Open, Nov. 3-6. These two tournaments seemed like the perfect stepping stones for a return to golfing prominence, as they are part of the so-called “wraparound season,” the anticlimactic months that follow the last of the major championships, the PGA in mid-August.
LeBron picks up his teammates’ laundry – and doesn’t like it
After a preseason game Saturday night, LeBron James did not like the way the Cleveland Cavaliers’ locker room looked, with dirty laundry strewn about. So he picked it all up and then offered some criticism of his teammates’ housecleaning habits. “Hopefully I only have to say something once,” he said. “Can’t leave the locker room like that.”