YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


Players Take Full Notice of Barnett's Head Games

October 08, 2000

Kyle Field in College Station, Texas, didn't figure to be the best place for Colorado Coach Gary Barnett to start playing mind games with his team.

It's the place where Texas A&M--before Saturday--had won 22 games in a row. And an 0-4 Colorado team didn't figure to threaten the Aggies' domain.

That's why eyebrows raised through the Rocky Mountains when Barnett made the radical threat to strip his players of something they hold true to their heart (and head)--the Buffalo decal on their helmets because the players had not played well enough to deserve the right to wear it.

This was on top of the dressing down Barnett gave his players after a 44-21 loss to Kansas State, questioning the team's commitment, its emotion and whether he had been too easy on them to this point.

Four consecutive losses to start the season will do that to a coach. But in the end, Barnett's moves have shown themselves to be inspired after the Buffaloes stunned Texas A&M, 26-19.

"People don't necessarily like to be told they're wrong or what they're doing is wrong. Me included," Barnett told the Denver Post leading up to the game. "That makes for a tough couple of days."

And now it all seems worth it.

The ploy caught the attention of California Coach Tom Holmoe, who told the San Francisco Chronicle he is considering removing the script "Cal" (can we call it de-Cal-ing the helmets in this case?) from his players if they continue losing.


Has sportsmanship taken another turn for the worse or can we attribute what happened after Ohio State's 23-7 victory over Wisconsin to the glee of revenge?

Or maybe the Buckeyes thought they were at Texas Stadium.

About 20 Buckeyes danced on the Badgers' 'W' at midfield in Camp Randall Stadium when it was over.

"We put a whooping on them," said Nate Clements, Ohio State's star cornerback and trash-talker.

As it turns out, it wasn't the only letter-stomping incident of the day, although Auburn made the mistake of doing its dance on the Mississippi State 'M' before the game.

Mississippi State took the slight to heart and handed Auburn a 17-10 loss.

"All those licks that got laid today, they were personal," senior cornerback Fred Smoot said.


Southwest Missouri State is growing fond of its new quarterback.

OK, so it's not the Big Ten, but Austin Moherman probably is as happy as he has been in quite some time.

Saturday was testament to that when the junior completed the first 20 passes he attempted and finished 22 of 24 for 265 yards and two touchdowns in a 24-7 victory over Indiana State at Terre Haute, Ind.

The former Capistrano Valley High standout's performance set school and Gateway Conference records and it comes a little over a year after Moherman was the starter at Ohio State.

Moherman set the record for the most consecutive completions in a game, eclipsing the old Gateway record of 17 set by Eastern Illinois' Sean Payton in a 1986 game against Western Kentucky.

The old school record had been held by Mitch Ware, who equaled that number of completions twice in his career.

Last Nov. 22, Moherman was granted his request to be released from his scholarship by Ohio State Coach John Cooper and the 6-foot-5, 220-pounder set out to find a new school.

Moherman started the first two games of the season but saw little action after being replaced by Steve Bellisari in the second game against UCLA.

"We granted him a release and I wish him well," Cooper said at the time.

All along Moherman's plan was to find a suitable Division I-AA school because transferring to a Division I-A school would have forced him to sit out this season and leave him with only one year of eligibility.

"I want to play," Moherman said before making his choice. "It's not going to happen [at Ohio State] so I want to go somewhere and play college football. I don't consider playing four minutes in a mop-up situation playing."

It doesn't seem like he'll have to worry about that anymore.


Last week Idaho quarterback John Welsh had a record-setting performance against Division I-AA Montana State, but this week he still must have felt like he was in Big Sky Country.

Welsh certainly had a good view since he was flat on his back for most of the game against West Virginia.

The Mountaineers sacked Welsh 12 times in a 28-16 victory over the Vandals at Morgantown, W.Va. It was the most sacks for West Virginia since the team got 10 against Boston College in 1996.

Nonetheless, Welsh still put up big numbers, completing 35 of 50 passes for 365 yards and two touchdowns. Last week against Montana State, Welsh threw for 385 yards and a school-record tying six touchdowns.


David Letterman has been having fun nightly on his late-night show with his alma mater, Ball State, losers of 21 games in a row. On Friday night, Letterman asked guest Magic Johnson if he could deliver a pep talk that might help Ball State.

"If you think like a winner, you're going to be a winner," Johnson said. "You have to tell yourself, 'We're going to win this game.' "

Maybe the Ball State players were listening. Facing 28-point favorite Miami of Ohio on the road, the Cardinals won, 15-10, to end the nation's longest losing streak.


--Compiled by JIM BARRERO

Los Angeles Times Articles