Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

From the editor’s notebook …

thumb.aspxIt has been a rough year for the Kent State Golden Flashes in football, which is why it was nice to see the team close out the season with a big win Tuesday night against Ohio University.

The Flashes ripped off 34 consecutive points to close out the 44-13 win over the Bobcats (with the play of the game clearly being Nate Terhune’s touchdown on a fake punt). And while a 4-8 record and fifth place finish in the MAC’s East Division is not the way that first-year coach Paul Haynes wanted to see the season go, finishing the year with consecutive wins should help to ease the sting a bit.

“To send our seniors out the right way on a two-game winning streak is good for our program going into the off-season,” Haynes said. “It’s very important, because we can sit there and break them down a little bit more in the off-season, and then we will build them back up. For them to have the confidence to play so well is huge going into the off-season.”

It’s been a long year, but seniors Dri Archer and Roosevelt Nix closed out their KSU careers in solid fashion.

Archer was hampered by injuries and couldn’t duplicate the success from his junior year – he only rushed for 527 yards after gaining 1,429 as a junior – but he closed out his college career in familiar fashion, rushing for 138 yards and three touchdowns (two of them from more than 20 yards), and adding five receptions for 53 yards. 

He finishes his KSU career with 40 career touchdowns, just one behind Josh Cribbs on the school’s all-time list. Archer is also third in all-purpose yards, ninth in rushing yards and ninth in rushing touchdowns.

It’s going to be interesting to see if an NFL team takes a chance on him next season and if he can translate his game to the next level.

Nix had six tackles, a forced fumble and a tackle for loss against the Bobcats. He finishes with a school record 65 tackles for loss, 12 forced fumbles and 24 sacks, just one sack behind the school’s all-time sack leader, Justin Parrish.

It’s too bad the team couldn’t have put up a strong showing after last year’s dream season, but they are in good hands with Haynes. Archer and Nix are big holes to fill, but we feel better about the program than we have in a long while.

The Cleveland Indians make a move.

The Tribe got busy this week, agreeing to a deal with outfielder David Murphy on a reported two-year, $12 million contract with a team option for the third year.

It seems likely that Murphy will be the right fielder when the Tribe is facing a right-handed starter, with Ryan Raburn taking over against left-handers. The Tribe could also turn to Drew Stubbs as part of the platoon, but he is arbitration eligible and his numbers against left-handed pitching this season (.266 with seven doubles, two home runs and 15 RBI) are not as strong as Raburn’s (.308 with 12 doubles, seven home runs and 21 RBI).

Of course, Raburn is 32 while Stubbs is three years younger, but Raburn did sign a contract extension so it seems like he’s the man.

Murphy is coming off a disappointing season in Texas, where he hit just .220 with 13 home runs, 26 doubles and 45 RBI in 476 plate appearances. He did play for manager Terry Francona in Boston for two seasons, so Murphy has that going for him. Possibly the best part of the signing is that Murphy’s daughter broke the news while at daycare.

We’re not overly thrilled that the Tribe added another player on the other side of 30 (Murphy is 32) to the roster, but we are also realistic about the situation. The Indians don’t have the money for a big-name signing and they still have holes to fill.

Francona is familiar with Murphy and, as he showed last season, if anyone can make a platoon work it’s Francona. And $12 million probably isn’t all that much money when you are talking about free agents.

 Whatever doesn’t kill you …

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes he is a better manager for having put up with the Luis Suarez experience.

“Some of the things (Suarez) has done, he knows was wrong,” Rodgers told ESPN. “Some of them have been really testing situations as a manager … there’s been some challenging moments. Seventeen months on as I sit here, I’m a much better manager for that experience. Luis is a more responsible player since he’s come back onto the field. That won’t stop his desire or his will to win. It’s something that if we have more throughout the squad, we’ll continue to do very well.”

Rodgers is probably right that the experience has taught him some important lessons, but we’re also guessing that he would be just as happy to not have had the opportunity.

Liverpool comes out of the international break in second place and needing a win in Saturday’s derby with Everton to keep pace with Arsenal, who sits two points clear at the top of the table.

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