Morning State Sports Roundup: McCarthy promises changes for Finley, if he's around in 2013Wisconsin Sports
-- Green Bay Packers’ coach Mike McCarthy says he some new plans for tight end Jermichael Finley – even though it’s not certain yet that he’ll be around this fall.
GREEN BAY - Green Bay Packers’ coach Mike McCarthy says he some new plans for tight end Jermichael Finley – even though it’s not certain yet that he’ll be around this fall.
Finley is scheduled to get a three-million-dollar roster bonus nine days from now. And if the Packers pay it, then his presence will be considered a lock for 2013. McCarthy talked about the 25-year-old Finley yesterday, at the first day of the NFL owners’ meetings in Phoenix. The coach said he wants to simplify Finley’s role – and focus on what he does best, instead of playing all over the field. Finley is entering the final season of a two-year, 14-million-dollar contract. McCarthy said the contract might have put too much pressure on Finley at the start of last year – but he loosened up about halfway through the season, and his numbers improved. Finley caught 37-of-49 passes after last year’s bye week for 441 yards and a touchdown. McCarthy says Finley has grown up a lot – but he still needs to mature some more. Over the weekend, the Packers lost their second-best tight end, Tom Crabtree, to Tampa Bay.
Matt Kenseth of Cambridge led for a short time in yesterday’s NASCAR Food City-500 in Bristol Tennessee. But he ended up 35th, after he got into a crash with Jeff Gordon with just over 100 laps to go. Gordon was leading on Lap-391 when he blew a right front tire. Gordon climbed the track with his tire going down. And Kenseth had nowhere to go as he slammed into Gordon’s rear. Afterward, Kenseth said there was not much either driver could do about it. Kenseth is now 13th in the Sprint Cup standings, down from seventh a week ago. Paul Menard of Eau Claire placed ninth. He jumped three spots in the point totals to No. 9. Beloit-born Danica Patrick was 28th yesterday, and she rose two places to 28th for the year. Travis Kvapil of Janesville placed 38th at Bristol, and he dropped four spots to 36th in the point standings. Kasey Kahne won the race. Brad Keselowski remains the Sprint Cup leader.
Madison golfer Jerry Kelly tied for 21st at the PGA’s Tampa Bay Championship. Kelly shot a two-under-par 69 in his final round yesterday. He finished two-under for the weekend at 281 – seven strokes behind the winner, Kevin Streelman.
On the PGA Champions’ Tour, Rhinelander native Dan Forsman tied for eighth at the Toshiba Classic in Newport Beach, California. Forsman shot a two-under-69 in his third-and-final round yesterday, and finished at eight-under-205. David Frost won the tournament at 19-under.
The University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team will open against Minnesota State on Thursday in the quarter-finals of the WCHA’s Final Five in Saint Paul. The winner will face top-seeded Saint Cloud State in the semi-finals on Friday. The Badgers were given the No. 4 seed, after a two-game sweep of Minnesota-Duluth in the opening round of the playoffs this past weekend. Minnesota State has the Number-five seed after eliminating Nebraska-Omaha yesterday, two games to one. After a slow start, Mike Eaves’ Badgers are 18-5-5 since November 30th. Wisconsin is in its first WCHA Final Five since 2010. It will be their last before starting a new Big Ten hockey conference this fall.