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By Joe Kazmar
For the Record 

Kaz's Korner

Football news sneaking onto the sports pages


Last updated 5/18/2021 at 9:03pm

Although major league baseball is well into its second month of play and high and college teams are focused on their respective playoffs and the NBA also is set for its long playoff run, there has been plenty of attention by the sports media given to football.

Last week the National Football League announced its 17-game schedule for all teams, and closer to home Sam Houston State was successful in its FCS national championship game against No. 1 South Dakota State while the Houston Texans new head coach David Culley is impressed with his players at the rookie minicamp that began last week.

The Texans will open their 2021 season Sept. 12 against No. 1 draft pick Trevor Lawrence and his Jacksonville Jaguars while the Dallas Cowboys will see what they can do opening the NFL season Sept. 9 at Tampa Bay against Tom Brady and his world championship Buccaneers teammates.

The rebuilding process the Texans have begun this season has Culley liking what he's been seeing at the rookie minicamp.

He has been indoctrinating his new players and new coaches into the Texans' way of doing business on and off the field-a way that has changed considerably since Culley and general manager Nick Caserio were hired in January, according to Sunday's edition of the Houston Chronicle.

Most of Culley's meetings were of the virtual variety with his players and coaches, so he was happy to oversee on the field the three-day minicamp that began last Thursday.

A majority of the time was spent laying the groundwork, getting the players familiar with their new coaches and teammates, teaching them the basics of their new systems on both sides of the ball and introducing them to the new terminology they will have to learn, the article pointed out.

Besides getting their first look at their five draft choices, undrafted free agents and players who weren't on the roster long enough last season to get credit for a season were also at the minicamp.

Monday Culley took the field to coach the second phase of the off-season program-a five-day period in which veterans get on-field instruction from the coaches for the first time, the article added.

The final college game of last season's split schedule featured the Southland Conference's undefeated champion Sam Houston Bearkats against the South Dakota State Jackrabbits Sunday at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, TX.

And in true form, the Bearkats fell behind in the first half and then came roaring back after the intermission to take over the lead and then hang on for dear life, winning the title game 23-21.

Sam Houston head coach K.C. Keeler, who has turned down several opportunities to coach at the next level, told his team before the game, "You're chasing immortality."

Keeler used as an example a program like Michigan's which won multiple national titles in the early 1900's. "Those flags are flying 120 years later in that stadium," Keeler stated. "It's immortality for the rest of our lives and beyond that. Sam Houston is the national champion...and that's going to be celebrated in the stadium and at the institution."

Sam Houston played for an NAIA national championship in 1964, and wound up splitting the title with Concordia College of Moorhead, Minn. after a tie game.

The Bearkats, under then coach Willie Fritz in 2011 and 2012, lost consecutive championship games to perennial power North Dakota State also in Frisco.

KWICKIES...It's good to hear that the major league's leading active home run hitter Albert Pujols didn't stay unemployed very long after getting released by the LA Angels last week. He moves over to the other side of town and will play with the mighty LA Dodgers.

And while on the subject of career reincarnations, Tim Tebow, who has played in both the NFL and major league baseball, will join his old college coach Urban Meyer at Jacksonville and will try to become a tight end with the Jaguars. The two reunite after a decade when the twosome was the hottest combination in college football.

After waiting out a rain delay of more than two hours, K.H. Lee played in an off-and-on downpour Sunday to fire a 6 -under par 66 and win the AT&T Byron Nelson by three strokes to become the second consecutive South Korean golfer to win this tournament, finishing three strokes ahead of third-round leader Sam Burns. With the victory--Lee's first on the PGA Tour-- he earned the final spot in this week's PGA Championship on the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island in South Carolina that begins tomorrow.

It's not a great surprise that Golden State sharpshooter Stephen Curry became the oldest NBA scoring champion since Michael Jordan at age 35 as the Warriors open the NBA playoffs tonight at the Los Angeles Lakers. At 33, Curry and Jordan are the only scoring champions age 33 or older.

The red-hot Houston Astros traveled to Oakland and opened their series last night for first-place dominance in the AL West Division which the A's lead by ½ game. The Astros, who have won six games in a row, hope to continue their dominance over the A's in Oakland when they opened the season by sweeping the four-game series.

JUST BETWEEN US...The Tennessee Volunteers lost only their second series of the season to No. 1-ranked Arkansas last weekend, losing Friday 6-5, winning Saturday 8-6 on a walk-off, three-run homer by shortstop Max Ferguson and then lost 3-2 Sunday when the Razorbacks scored all three runs in the final three innings. Orange's Chad Dallas started Friday's game and was taken out in the fifth inning with the score tied at 5-5. Closer Sean Hunley surrendered a late-inning home run and was the losing pitcher for the Vols. Tennessee (39-13, 18-9 SEC), which still leads the SEC East by ½ game over Vanderbilt, closes out the regular season with a three-game series at South Carolina with Dallas expected to pitch the opener tomorrow. Arkansas and Vanderbilt are the only teams to win a series from the Vols this season.


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