Byrne breaks leg in Memphis opener after landing QB job
By By Bruce Hixon – Sports Editor
While Patrick Byrne achieved one dream when he got the starting quarterback nod for the University of Memphis Monday, that dream quickly turned into a nightmare.
The former T.R. Miller standout broke his right leg on the game's third play in Memphis' 10-6 loss to Mississippi.
Byrne, who has handled kickoff duties for the Tigers the last two seasons, had beaten out freshman Will Hudgens for the quarterback position.
Byrne is the second T.R. Miller football alumnus to go down to injury this fall. Former Tiger and current Alabama tight end Trent Davidson is still recovering from surgery last month for a foot fracture.
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Former T.R. Miller Lady Tigers basketball standout Deanna Jackson and her Indiana Fever teammates will be competing in the WNBA's Eastern Conference finals this week against Connecticut.
Indiana swept the New York Liberty two games to none in last week's Eastern Conference semifinals.
Jackson, a 1998 graduate of T.R. Miller, played a key role in last Tuesday's 63-51 Game One victory at New York.
Jackson tallied nine points in that game and hit two free throws that snapped a 49-49 with just over three minutes left and sparked the Fever to a decisive 14-2 run down the stretch. Jackson scored two points in 10 minutes of work in Thursday's win.
Indiana's series against Connecticut getsunderway Thursday. Game two will be Saturday followed by a decisive, ifnecessary, Game Three Sunday. Connecticut is the top seed in the east.
This is Jackson's second season with Indiana and fourth overall in the WNBA. Jackson spent the first two years of her professional career with the Cleveland Rockers, but that franchise folded after the 2003 season. Jackson was then picked fifth overall by Indiana in a supplemental draft of the former Cleveland players prior to the 2004 season.
Jackson's role this season has changed dramatically with the Fever. A year ago the 6-2 Jackson started 32 of Indiana's 34 games. This season all 34 of her game appearances came from the bench.
Jackson's playing minutes have been nearly cut in half this season and her production has dropped from 6.9 points last year to 4.8 points this season. Her minutes were reduced significantly despite the fact she has improved her field goal percentage from 36.7 percent last year to 40.3 percent this season and her free throw percentage from 71.2 percent last year to 73.5 percent this season. Jackson's season high this season was a 14-point outing against Connecticut.
Jackson, who played collegiate ball at Alabama-Birmingham, is the daughter of T.R. Miller Lady Tigers coach Ron Jackson and wife Gwinn Jackson of Brewton. Her brother, Wade, is a junior member of the Tigers basketball. Deanna Jackson and older sister Felicia Jackson led the Lady Tigers to Class 4A state championships in the 1994-95 and 1995-96 seasons.
For the second time in a week, the T.R. Miller Tigers had a "B" football game against Escambia County called off.
Tuesday's game at Atmore was called off because Escambia County's varsity team had to play a makeup game against UMS-Wright. Last week's "B" game at Brewton was cancelled due to the arrival of Hurricane Katrina.