An Honest
Day’s Word

By Joe Edwards

Wednesday, September 22, 1999

Attitude has paid off
for Jones, ’Bows

THIS and that to chew on over lunch:

Winning sure tastes better than losing, as I'm sure anyone on the Rainbow football team will tell you.

And confidence breeds confidence. So, it is nice to see the Rainbows with a little swagger. A nice change from the past few years.

Coach June Jones seems to accentuate the positive, which seems to be motivating his players. I'm sure they're happy to hear it after three years of being told they are three steps to the left of horse crap.

I liked Fred vonAppen as a man. Heck, he owns a house near my in-laws place. But sooner or later, athletes tend to believe what you tell them. And vonAppen constantly reminded his players that he thought they weren't very good.

It's not coincidence, I don't think, that the players who are making big plays for the Rainbows this season are vonAppen recruits. But sometimes the guy who signs you up isn't the guy who can get you to perform.

That's become obvious.

Jones' lads will get a test Saturday at the Cotton Bowl. Any time you get a hundred kids from Texas on the field, they're going to be good football players. I don't care if they are 0-2.

It sure would be nice to see the Rainbows 3-1 heading into their game against Texas-El Paso. From there, it wouldn't be much of a stretch to believe they could be 5-1 after playing Rice on Oct. 9.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. The Ponies will put up a fight.


Western Illinois doesn't get much play in the local newspapers here, but for those who are curious, Charles Tharp has had two 100-yard-plus games for the Leathernecks, who are 3-0 and ranked No. 13 in Division I-AA.

Last week against Nicholls State, the former Rainbow tailback rushed 31 times for 131 yards.

The one game Tharp didn't rush for more than 100 yards was in a 77-7 whipping of Mississippi Valley State, better known as the alma mater of Jerry Rice. He only carried the ball five times that day for 40 yards.

So far, Tharp has gained 299 yards on 58 carries.


Is it just me, or are you, too, sick of this whole Mark McGwire-Sammy Sosa love fest?

Whatever happened to the Cubs and Cardinals not being able to stand one another. Here we have one of the best rivalries the National League has ever known, and they're all huggy-kissy about the whole thing.

Maybe they'd put a little more into it if either team was worth a plugged nickel.

The Cubs and Cardinals both stink. So Sosa and McGwire will both hit more than 60 homers two years in a row.

I'd be much more impressed if their teams won 90 games two years in a row.

For all of McGwire's homers, the Cardinals are no better with him than they were without him. Meanwhile, the team that traded him away, the Oakland A's, were in the wild-card battle in the American League until fading the past week and a half.

And what can we say of Sosa? Nice guy; can't catch his breath.

I blame the whole stats-over-victories thing on fantasy baseball geeks.

On the other hand, it doesn't get any better than the Braves and the Mets this week. Two teams a game apart, both being chased by the Reds.

These teams play the game right. To win.

Joe Edwards is sports editor of the Star-Bulletin.

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