Month: September 2019

On Deck A Sabermetric Broadcast

Although sabermetrics has substantially reshaped baseball’s on-field product over the past few decades, its progress in the broadcast booth has been slower. It’s not hard to see why the two trends haven’t moved in lockstep: While teams adopted the analytics model out of the need to win games, the same market pressures didn’t apply to commentators. For teams, integrating sabermetrics meant they were more likely to win; for commentators, it meant they were more likely to confuse. But now a younger generation is steeped in analytics, and statistically minded fans obsessively check sites such as Fangraphs, Baseball-Reference and Brooks Baseball to get what broadcasts and talk radio aren’t providing.Broadcasters have taken note. In the past few years, we’ve seen some geeky milestones: Sun Sports produced a special sabermetric broadcast of a Tampa Bay Rays game, and WGN flashed a run expectancy matrix on screen during a Cubs broadcast. And Joe Morgan and Tim McCarver, not exactly standard-bearers for the analytics movement, are off the air.On Saturday, Fox Sports 1 is hoping to facilitate the next breakthrough for on-air stat-geekery. During Game 1 of the National League Championship Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants, the channel, working in conjunction with its Just A Bit Outside blog, is mounting a broadcast that promises to focus on “statistics, sabermetrics, and graphics, with plenty of debate and conversation while the action plays out on the field.” The show will feature a split-screen, with the game in one window and in the other a panel that includes longtime sabermetric proselytizer Rob Neyer and ex-players turned stat-friendly broadcasters Gabe Kapler and C.J. Nitkowski, not to mention current San Diego Padres manager Bud Black. It’s an experiment in whether mainstream America — or at least the America that watches Fox Sports 1 on a Saturday night — is finally ready for metrics to invade Morgan and McCarver’s former province.Kapler certainly seems to think it is, noting that plenty of numbers now widely used on TV (like WHIP and OPS) were once just as foreign to viewers as xFIP and Ultimate Zone Rating. “Baseball fans are ready to absorb metrics they can use to predict what’s coming,” he said.Along similar lines, Neyer hopes the JABO broadcast can put numbers to the baseball fundamentals that fans are used to. “We’ll be talking about the same things that everybody else talks about, just on a somewhat different — and ideally, higher — level,” he said.Neyer’s pet example is pitch framing. While most serious fans know that Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina is an expert in what Neyer calls “stealing” strikes on borderline pitches, the NLCS coverage will highlight the fact that Molina’s counterpart on the Giants, Buster Posey, is just as good at that dark art according to the numbers.But it won’t be all numbers. The coverage also aspires to effectively blend advanced statistics with the experience of the former players on hand, as well as Black’s managerial mindset. (For instance, in addition to a studio area, the set will also feature one of those whimsical mini-fields upon which Kapler and Nitkowski can perform hands-on demos.) Host Kevin Burkhardt will guide a running conversation that Kapler hopes will appeal to fans seeking hardcore analysis — statistical or otherwise.There’s a tension in any sabermetric treatment of baseball between the cool empiricism of numbers and the gauzy comfort of narrative. In the post-season that’s even more pronounced, because it’s so difficult to make sense of the randomness that short series bring. Neyer thinks the Fox broadcast can straddle that line.“We’re lucky, given the mix of the people who will be on the set, to do both things,” he said. “Gabe Kapler and C.J. Nitkowski are both quite well-versed in sabermetrics. … We can a cite a number, but [when an event] doesn’t fit the statistical narrative, Gabe Kapler can literally jump out of his chair … and demonstrate what happened, and why.”Everyone I talked to — including Kapler, Neyer and producer Matt Schnider — also emphasized that the broadcast will have room for debate between the sabermetric outlook and the conventional wisdom. “Those things do come up,” Neyer said. “One of the tricky things for us will be [when] somebody says something that maybe isn’t supported by the data, we’ve got to be able to jump in (on my laptop or with one of our researchers) quickly and find out if that’s true, and then get it out there and see if we can hash it out.”Perhaps the telecast, then, is better thought of as an update to the way baseball broadcasts are done, rather than a groundbreaking exercise in sabermetric programming. It will be the first televised, in-game manifestation of what Baseball Prospectus’s Dayn Perry famously described as the ideal marriage between sabermetrics and traditional thinking:“A question that’s sometimes posed goes something like this: ‘Should you run an organization with scouts or statistics?’ My answer is the same it would be if someone asked me: ‘Beer or tacos?’ Both, you fool. Why construct an either-or scenario where none need exist?”In a field where traditional broadcasts have clung to more or less the same format for half a century, the beer-and-tacos approach is a refreshing change of direction. read more

That Raptors Meltdown Was MindBoggling

Just when the Toronto Raptors finally looked like they’d exorcised their playoff demons against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Cavs once again found a way to haunt them. Despite not leading for a single second during regulation time, LeBron James and the Cavaliers beat Toronto 113-112 in overtime of Tuesday night’s Eastern Conference semifinal Game 1, handing the Raptors their ninth loss in 11 playoff games against Cleveland over the past three seasons.Much of the focus in the wake of Game 1 will be on Toronto’s blown opportunities to put the Cavs away — and rightly so. The Raptors led by as many as 14 points early in the game, and according to ESPN’s NBA win probability model, they had a 94 percent chance of winning when they held a 10-point edge with 9:58 to go in the fourth quarter. It was a prime moment for Toronto to prove that its Game 1 issues were really a thing of the past. (Before beating Washington in their first-round opener, the Raptors had lost 10 consecutive postseason Game 1s.) But the Raptors’ fourth-quarter meltdown only renewed doubts about Toronto’s true playoff potential.Toronto shot 5-for-25 (20 percent) from the field during the final period of regulation, including an agonizing 3-for-17 on shots in the restricted area. According to ESPN’s Stats & Information Group, those 14 restricted-area misses were the most by any team in any quarter in the last 20 postseasons. The Raptors had eight second-chance opportunities during the last five minutes of regulation and failed to score on any of them, including missing four shots in the final seconds. After that, they needed James to miss a buzzer-beater just to force overtime.One of the saddest parts for Toronto was that it had spent the game’s first three quarters playing the type of offensive basketball that had made it look like a contender all season. The Raptors were the league’s third-best offensive team during the regular season (according to NBA Advanced Stats), averaging 111.0 points per 100 possessions. Through three quarters Tuesday night, they’d scorched Cleveland for 120.6 points per 100 possessions, with DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry and even a renewed Jonas Valanciunas generating high-quality chances. But in the fourth quarter and overtime, Toronto’s offense cratered to 79.3 points per 100 possessions, time and again preventing them from putting the game away.And on the Cleveland side of the ball, there were signs that the Cavs are starting to rediscover the shooting touch that’s led to so much postseason success against the Raptors over the years. After knocking down only 32 percent of their three-pointers1Making 10 threes per game. in the first round against Indiana, Cleveland shooters hit 14, at a 40 percent clip, against Toronto on Tuesday. And that was with James going a paltry 1-for-8 from beyond the arc; Cavs not named LeBron made 48 percent of their threes. It was a big reversal from the first round, when we were wondering if James’s teammates would ever step up and make some of the shots he was creating for them. It was also a long-awaited return to the form that saw Cleveland hit 42 percent of its threes while burying the Raptors in the 2016 and 2017 playoffs.No doubt the Cavs looked bad against Indiana — at times, really bad. Outscored by a total of 40, they had the third-worst point margin for any postseason series winner in NBA history. But maybe Cleveland’s shooting just needed to reawaken itself: According to Second Spectrum’s quantified shot quality metric, on passes from James in Round 1, his teammates collectively shot for an effective field goal percentage that was 10.3 points below what we would expect based on their track records. That couldn’t last. (Although it should also be noted that, in Game 1 against Toronto, the Cavs shot 11.1 percentage points above expectations on that metric.)Of course, by the same token, the Raptors are probably not going to miss so, so many chippies around the basket again after Game 1. According to Second Spectrum, they “should” have shot for an effective field goal percentage 35.5 points higher than they actually did during the fourth quarter Tuesday night. Second Spectrum’s numbers also indicate that, on Toronto’s three missed tip-in chances near the end of regulation, there was a 95 percent chance at least one of them would go in — any of which would likely have been enough to secure the victory.Maybe that means these teams should settle in for a long series, once the luck evens out on each side. But Toronto has to be kicking itself about the missed opportunity to take early control of the series in Game 1. After working all season to get home-court advantage in a hypothetical series against Cleveland, Toronto threw it away in an astonishing flurry of fourth-quarter misses. Bad luck or not, that could end up helping the Cavs haunt the Raptors’ postseason dreams yet again.Check out our latest NBA predictions. read more

The NCAA Tournament Has Turned Into A Dunk Contest

Texas Southern10.5 The dunkers are thrivingDivision I men’s college basketball teams for whom at least 10 percent of their 2-point field-goal attempts in 2018-19 were dunk attempts Mississippi St.12.3✓ Marshall10.1 Northeastern10.4✓ Virginia10.7✓✓ LSU14.2✓✓ Gonzaga11.4✓✓ UCF14.0✓ UCLA13.5 Auburn13.4✓✓ Florida St.16.0✓✓ TeamShare of offense from DunksMade Tournament?Made Sweet 16? Texas12.8 Source: Barttovik.com Arkansas12.5 To be sure, some of this is intuitive. Advances in science and technology make comparing today’s college athlete to those of yesteryear a comical examination. Perhaps more than ever, basketball rewards height — and, increasingly, arm length — and athleticism. Nowadays, warm-up lines seem to be as much for the fans as for the players. Tennessee is credited for starting a choreographed dunk during warm-ups that involves the entire team. It spread around the country and even reached the NBA.The digital market is saturated with looped clips of diminutive high-flyers, players leapfrogging multiple humans and guards audaciously double-pumping in transition. The NCAA’s official website ran a listicle of players it wants to see in a dunk contest.2Some posit that college already boasts the better contest. Because of his dunking prowess, Williamson eclipsed 1 million Instagram followers before he even got to college.As the number of dunk attempts has spiked, so too has their importance. Dunks accounted for 5.4 percent of all 2-point field goal attempts this season, the highest portion since 2014-15, and the fourth consecutive season that the national dunk share has risen.In fact, according to Bart Torvik’s website, three3Duke, Florida State and LSU. of the 12 teams with the most single-season dunks since 2010 can be found in this weekend’s regional semifinals. Little Rock10.6 Vanderbilt10.3 Murray St.13.8✓ Duke14.4✓✓ Georgia10.9 William & Mary10.4 In one of the most intoxicating games of this year’s NCAA Tournament, the UCF Knights went toe-to-toe with the top-seeded Duke Blue Devils. Leading up to and throughout the game, considerable bandwidth was spent debating whether the soon-to-be top pick in this year’s NBA draft, Zion Williamson, would add another body to his posterized graveyard. UCF center Tacko Fall, the would-be victim, chipped in 15 points on seven made shots, each of which came in eerily similar fashion. They were all dunks. At 7-foot-6, Fall is genetically predisposed to excel above the rim, as evidenced by his ability to jam it, flat-footed.Nobody this season dunked on Mike Krzyzewski’s squad more than Fall and the Knights. But the Blue Devils, which ultimately moved on with a win, are even more dunk crazy. And they aren’t the only team still playing in this tournament with eyes trained on the rim.This season’s Sweet 16 features a number of teams that relish slamming the ball through the cylinder. The teams have combined to produce 1,866 dunks this season. Three of the four dunk-happiest teams this season — Florida State, Duke, and LSU — are still in the field. Another contender, Gonzaga, ranks in the top 10 while Auburn, Virginia, Tennessee and Michigan rank in the top 30 by this measure. In all, six of this year’s Sweet 16 entries have a dunk share1The percentage of 2-point field-goal attempts that were dunks. exceeding 10 percent. Four years ago, only one did. Texas A&M10.2 Alabama10.6 Stanford14.9 Maryland10.7✓ Villanova12.8✓ Creighton10.3 Nevada11.3✓ Arizona St.12.0✓ Eastern Michigan12.6 Dayton12.2 Washington10.3✓ Xavier13.2 This is less about a few dunk-crazed teams and more a reflection of the nationwide trend in college basketball. As of Tuesday, there had been 19,550 dunks this season, the highest total of any season since at least 2010. Five years ago, for comparison, there were 17,687. Individually, the 2010 season featured 23 players who had at least 45 dunks. This season there are 36, seven of whom remain in the tournament. “We’re seeing more dunks,” Jay Bilas told The New York Times, “because there are more spectacular athletes out there.” Of course, there are outliers. Most noticeably, Loyola-Chicago made a surprise run into and past the Sweet 16 a season ago. The Ramblers had just 15 dunks, accumulating a 1.6 percent dunk share. Duke squares off with Virginia Tech on Friday and has a clear edge on dunking; the Hokies (62 dunks) have fewer than a third as many dunks as the Blue Devils (188). But far more often, it seems that the high-flyers are moving on.Dunks have held a special place in the NCAA Tournament for decades. It’s how many came to know the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels. It’s where Florida Gulf Coast, a plucky No. 15-seed in 2013, became known Dunk City. They have been everywhere this season and will continue to be, particularly with the regional semifinals featuring Florida State, Duke and LSU, three teams that have already skied for at least 177 dunks. The play has elevated the entertainment of the sport by a considerable measure.While the rise of the 3-pointer has justifiably garnered much attention, the dunk is the sport’s most marketable shot. The feat of athleticism is frequent fodder for highlight reels and commercials. And, since nearly 90 percent of all dunk attempts since 2010 have been converted into points, it’s likely the most efficient shot in basketball. What was once banned is now propelling the sport forward. So keep your eye on the rim this weekend as the Sweet 16 takes flight. read more

Wrestling team prepares for NCAA Tournament

Senior captain Colt Sponseller has had many goals since he joined the Ohio State wrestling team, none bigger than winning a National Championship. Entering his final NCAA Tournament, Sponseller has one opportunity left to make his dream a reality. “It’s my ultimate goal. It’s the goal I have had in mind since I came here to OSU,” Sponseller said. “To come out there and … go to nationals and win would be the icing on the cake.” In his two previous attempts in the NCAA Tournament, Sponseller has not lived up to his goals. In his final season as a Buckeye, the 2011 tournament is Sponseller’s final chance to reach the pinnacle of college wrestling. “It’s the last chance I have,” Sponseller said. “It’s one of the most important things in my life, and you’ve got to make it all count when it comes down to it.” Sponseller has been wrestling at OSU for the past four years. He has made two NCAA Tournament appearances and has failed to finish as an All-American or better. Coach Tom Ryan said helping Sponseller reach his goal is one of the most important things for his team at the NCAA Tournament. “We have one senior; it’s very important that he reaches his goals, which is to be a National Champion,” Ryan said. “It’s important that our senior goes out the right way.” Sponseller will compete as the No. 5 seed in the 165-pound bracket. Sponseller is not the only Buckeye going to the national tournament. Sophomore captains C.J. Magrum and Ian Paddock, and freshman Nick Heflin will also wrestle for a National Championship. They all qualified because of their finishes at the Big Ten Tournament. Freshman Peter Capone, 197 pounds, received an at-large bid into the tournament field. “I think it would be very good experience, and I definitely think I could win some matches,” Capone said. “(An All-American finish) would be the goal and I would just wrestle as hard as I can.” Magrum, who is unseeded, is coming off an impressive showing at the Big Ten Tournament, finishing fourth in the 184-pound weight class. After wrestling six matches during the weekend, Magrum, as well as the other Buckeyes, will return to the gym and begin preparing for the final tournament. “The first thing I need to do is heal up and get some rest,” Magrum said. “Then we’ll come back for a few days, then tapper down and get ready for NCAAs.” Magrum said the tournament is more about a mindset than physicality. “I think the NCAA Tournament is more mental than anything,” Magrum said. “Anyone could show up on any given day an All-American.” Heflin, who was disappointed with the runner-up finish at the Big Ten Tournament, said he will focus on the little things to have a better performance at the NCAA Tournament. “I need to keep just working hard, come in for morning practices, watch some tape on (Edward) Ruth’s match,” Heflin said. “Do all the little right things. Sleep right, eat right, just prepare perfectly.” Heflin will be the No. 10 seed at 174 pounds. After a disappointing regular season, Ryan said he still expects his team to perform well in the NCAA Tournament and expects to bring home a group of All-Americans. “I’d say a top-10 team performance would be good for us, with the season we’ve had,” Ryan said. “And we’ve got some of these underclassmen to step up, because they’re the leaders of the future and the leaders of next year’s team. It’d be nice to come home with a bunch of All-Americans and guys that are some underclassmen, ready to lead.” To accomplish this goal, Ryan said he expects his athletes to go after their opponents, while sporting a strong defense as well. “We need to wrestle tough. We need to be ready prepared mentally and physically and go after people,” Ryan said. “You need incredible defense and you got to pressure your opponent. So, if you do those things … we have a good shot at placing some people on the podium.” The 2011 NCAA Division I Championships will take place March 17-19 in Philadelphia. read more

Ohio State womens basketball wins season opener

For the 17th consecutive year, the Ohio State women’s basketball team opened its season with a victory as the Buckeyes knocked off Tennessee State, 78-51, Sunday at the Schottenstein Center. Ten players scored for the Buckeyes, with senior guard Samantha Prahalis and junior guard Tayler Hill leading the way with 17 points each. Freshman forward Kalpana Beach, in her first-ever game for OSU, contributed 10 points and six rebounds. Beach said she found out just before the game that she was starting. “I knew it was going to be a lot different than high school,” Beach said. “So I just was going to go out and play as hard as I could and try not to make too many mistakes.” “(Beach) was nervous before the game,” Hill said with a smile following the victory. OSU surged out to a 48-21 halftime lead, holding TSU to 30 percent shooting in the first half and not allowing any second-chance or fast-break points. The Tigers kept pace with the Buckeyes during the second half with both teams notching 30 points. Coach Jim Foster attributed the drop in production in the second half to inconsistent offensive play. “I thought we started the game very aggressively,” Foster said. “I think it’s difficult to play 12 people and continue with continuity on offense. I think that’s probably what showed in the second half.” With Prahalis as the lone senior to go along with three juniors on the roster, OSU is the youngest team in the Big Ten, according to NCAA data. Foster said the early games in the season are vital in the development of the younger players. “I think one of the things that a young team needs to learn is that when you come in at halftime and sit down you’ve got to continue to be engaged when you go out there for the second half, regardless of what the score is,” Foster said. For the game, the Buckeyes shot 48 percent from the field to go along with a 23-for-29 clip from the free-throw line. OSU held a decisive advantage in free-throw attempts, with TSU only generating nine attempts from the line. OSU suffered a bit of a scare late in the second half when Prahalis, voted co-Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year by the conference’s coaches, was helped off the court by trainers when she fell and cramped up. Prahalis returned to action a few minutes later to finish the contest and assured reporters following the game that she was fine. The Buckeyes take to the Schottenstein Center court again to play Temple at 6 p.m. on Friday. OSU defeated the Owls, 84-75, on the road last season. read more

Urban Meyer Buckeye seniors address halftime basketball crowd

The Ohio State men’s basketball team received plenty of applause during its route of UMKC Friday night, but the Schottenstein Center reached a different decibel level for the football team. On the eve of The Game, coach Urban Meyer and the team’s senior class were met with applause and a standing ovation at a halftime break turned pep rally. “This group of seniors did give us everything they had,” said Meyer as he briefly addressed the crowd. “They are one game away from going down as one of the great senior classes in the history of Ohio State.” Meyer then handed the microphone to senior linebackers Etienne Sabino and Zach Boren. Sabino’s message to Buckeye Nation was short but clear. “We love you guys,” Sabino said. “Go Bucks, beat Blue.” Ohio State hosts Michigan on Saturday at Ohio Stadium. The Buckeyes fell to the Wolverines in Ann Arbor last year, 40-34. “We’ve been waiting a year to have a rematch with these guys from the Team Up North,” Boren said. “We need your help to go out as champions.” OSU is set to face Michigan at noon Saturday at Ohio Stadium. read more

Opinion Ohio States JT Barrett could spark memories of Craig Krenzel

OSU redshirt-freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett scans the field during practice at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center Aug. 9.Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editorLooking back at the past 15 years, the Ohio State football program fielded a string of incredibly athletic and highly talented quarterbacks — and then there is Craig Krenzel.Krenzel was certainly a very good quarterback for the Buckeyes, but it’s easy to call him the fourth-best quarterback to play for OSU since the turn of the century. While he is one of the smartest players ever to don the Scarlet and Gray, Krenzel will never be grouped together with Troy Smith as an all-time great, or Terrelle Pryor as an otherworldly athlete.Even as a decorated player at Henry Ford II High School in Sterling Heights, Mich., it’s unlikely anyone expected Krenzel to step on the field at OSU and leave with the massive success he had.In his best season, Krenzel never threw more than 15 touchdowns or more than 2,110 yards, and he never rushed for more than 368 yards=. He didn’t win a Heisman Trophy like Smith and he didn’t win back-to-back Chicago Tribune Big Ten MVP awards like current senior Braxton Miller.But he did something else none of them did: win a National Championship.After completing just five passes on nine attempts as a freshman in 2000, Krenzel found himself thrust into a starting role as a sophomore when starter Steve Bellisari was suspended after being arrested for drunk driving. Krenzel’s first start came against then-No. 11 Michigan, when the Buckeyes were unranked, and he led the team to a 26-20 victory on Nov. 24, 2001.It wasn’t pretty — Krenzel threw for just 118 yards and no touchdowns with one interception — but he got the job done. He then went on to lead the Buckeyes to an undefeated 14-0 record in 2002, capped off with a 31-24 double-overtime win against Miami in the BCS National Championship Game.Former OSU quarterback Craig Krenzel speaks to students in the Archie Griffin Ballroom at the Ohio Union Oct. 17, 2013. Credit: Katie Riccardella / Ohio UnionKrenzel went on to play six games for the Chicago Bears, including five starts, during the 2004 NFL season. He is now a motivational speaker and part-time commentator on WBNS 97.1 The Fan in Columbus.While it’s unknown where his career will go, a certain redshirt-freshman quarterback for the 2014 Buckeyes is seeing his time as a starter begin similarly to how Krenzel’s did.J.T. Barrett will certainly have bigger shoes to fill than Krenzel did after Miller went down with a torn labrum in fall camp, but he’s still an untested player filling in for a team that had championship aspirations.Just like Krenzel, Barrett won’t overwhelm you with his athleticism, but he has the ability to take off and run if that’s what the play needs. He’s even been dubbed “the distributor” by teammates, which is more or less the only thing Krenzel was really asked to do. Both have been praised for their leadership ability, and both were thrust into the starting lineup before their time had truly come.Barrett even wears Krenzel’s old No. 16.While there’s no telling where Barrett’s career will end up — and it could very well never live up to the success Krenzel had — the parallels are undeniable as he starts to build his legacy.While Krenzel’s first true test came against archrival Michigan, Barrett’s first start is set to come against Navy Saturday in Baltimore. But he’ll certainly be hoping for the same result the former Buckeye signal caller had back in November 2001. read more

Football Ohio State defensive line setting the bar high

Ohio State defensive linemen look on during the second half of the Buckeyes game against Nebraska on Nov. 5. The Buckeyes won 62-3. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo EditorThe Ohio State football team has a fully loaded defensive line ready to not only control the line of scrimmage, but also dominate it.“We’ll be as good as anybody in America at defensive end,” Coach Urban Meyer said.Meyer referenced Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year, redshirt senior Tyquan Lewis, redshirt junior Sam Hubbard, sophomore Nick Bosa, senior Jalyn Holmes and redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones as the five premier defensive linemen on the team. With such high-profile players returning who have already played significant snaps, a concern is the possibility of complacency. However, that doesn’t seem to be the case for this unit. Lewis said the goal is to be the best defensive line all-time. “We’re all elite players, so we continue to push one another to the next level,” he said. “That’s what helps us become better and better — it’s a lot of competition between all of us.”Defensive line coach Larry Johnson said this unit is the best collective group he has had in a long time. He emphasized the closeness of this group by citing the collective bond and love that they share. He said Lewis and Holmes demonstrated this bond by forgoing the NFL Draft to return for their senior seasons. “The most important thing about these guys (is) they’re unselfish — they’re very unselfish players,” Johnson said. “They don’t care who starts, they don’t care who plays, as long as they play.”Honorable mention All-Big Ten defensive end Holmes said that the guys on the defensive line do not want to let each other down. He continually emphasized that winning is much more important than playing time. “We have that bond and we got that chemistry, Holmes said. “And we (are) playing for something bigger than ourselves.”Johnson referred to the depth of the defensive line and mentioned the improvements he has seen in redshirt sophomore defensive end Rashod Berry, sophomore defensive tackle Robert Landers, redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Jashon Cornell, redshirt freshman defensive tackle Malik Barrow, sophomore defensive end Jonathon Cooper and Honorable Mention All-Big Ten, redshirt senior Michael Hill. Honorable Mention All-Big Ten defensive end Hubbard played with former Buckeye defensive linemen Joey Bosa and Adolphus Washington, who both started as rookies in the NFL this past season. He said that this current defensive line could be even better as a whole.“I’ve played with a lot of great individuals. I don’t think, collectively, there’s been this much talent at his position since I’ve been here,” Hubbard said. “We have four guys who could start on any team in the country and we’re all playing together.”Along with Jones, Meyer said the staff has been thinking of ways of putting the five premier linemen on the field at one time, which would move a defensive end to linebacker. Per Johnson and multiple players, Hubbard has been practicing at the position during spring practice. Nick Bosa also emphasized the importance of getting all of the talent involved.“We have so many good players,” Bosa said. “It’s criminal to not have them on the field.” read more

Police investigate theory abducted boy was getting scolded by a parent

first_imgOne, he said, is that the incident is “exactly as portrayed and reported and that a child has been abducted from the roadside”.The second, he added, is that the adult seen bundling the child into a black van was a relative or guardian and that they were involved in some kind of row with the boy.Det Supt Edwards said: “The second theory we are operating, again this a heartfelt plea for anyone who may have information in support of it, if you were at that location and involved in an incident on Thursday with your own child or a child that you are connected to, we would urge you to come forward and make contact immediately so we can scale the investigation back and offer messages of reassurance to the public.” Police investigating the suspected kidnapping of a child are exploring a second theory – that the boy was being told off by a parent.Surrey Police launched a massive investigation after receiving reports that a young boy, aged around six or seven, was forced into a black van against his will.But since the alleged incident, in Redhill on Thursday afternoon, they have not received any reports of missing children.Detective Superintendent Chris Edwards admitted they are working on two theories. Det Supt Chris Edwards has said that police are investigating two theories Det Supt Chris Edwards has said that police are investigating two theoriesCredit:PA Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.center_img Det Supt Edwards insisted that he has complete faith in the witness’s account of what they had seen despite the fact that nobody else has come forward to say they also saw the incident.He said the witness was credible and that he had been spoken to more than once, but they have no idea if the ‘abductor’ was male or female.He said that the child was forced against their will into the van but added that there had not been a struggle.Police have had 130 calls from the public about the incident so far and continue to appeal for witnesses to come forward. The bike was found in Redhill, Surrey, but was later said to have been ‘kicking around for a couple of days’ The bike was found in Redhill, Surrey, but was later said to have been ‘kicking around for a couple of days’Credit: Surrey Policelast_img read more

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge present shamrocks to Irish Guards in London

first_imgLater, the Duke and Duchess will be received with an official welcome from President Francois Hollande in Paris, before a glittering black tie dinner designed to celebrate the relationship between Britain and France. This time, all eyes will be on the Duke and Duchess and their welcome in France, as Brexit negotiations begin.While they are there on the request of the Foreign Office, a Royal spokesman emphasised the trip was intended in the spirit of celebrating friendship across the Channel. Later this year, they will also travel to Germany and Poland, while the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall embark on a tour of Romania, Italy, Austria and the Vatican, where they will be received by Pope Francis. The Duchess of Cambridge pinning shamrock to Irish Wolfhound Domhnall, the mascot of the 1st Battalion Irish GuardsCredit:James Shaw/REX/Shutterstock The Royal couple then met with members of the regiment and their families, enjoying a toast at the Guardsman’s lunch before making their way to a private charter plane to fly to Paris.Video taken inside the barracks showed that the Duchess was somewhat less enthusiastic about her pint of Guiness than some of the soldiers:  Audrey TautouCredit:AP The Duchess of Cambridge at the annual Irish Guards’ St Patrick’s Day paradeCredit:Dan Kitwood/Getty The Duke and Duchess are leaving their children at home for the short trip, 20 years after the death of the Duke’s mother in the city.They will visit Les Invalides, where victims and first responders from the Bataclan terror attack will share their stories.The historic war hospital has long been working on rehabilitating those affected by the attack, with around 20 victims reported to still be in physical recovery.The Duke and Duchess’ visit has been welcomed by French press, including one magazine which noted with approval that the Royals “hadn’t forgotten” the shooting. A Royal source said the Duke and Duchess were “incredibly honoured” that their trip has been formally recognised by the President.  The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge stand as the  1st Battalion Irish Guardsmen leads the annual Irish Guards’ St Patrick’s Day paradeCredit:Dan Kitwood/Getty Led by their mascot, the Irish Wolfhound Domhnall, the 450 1st Battalion Irish Guards marched onto the Parade Square at Cavalry Barracks.Four-year-old Domhnall prepared for his moment in the spotlight with a breakfast of three boneless chicken thighs for breakfast and a five mile walk, and was wrapped up in a scarlet coat.Handler drummer Adrian Cathcart, 29, from Ballymena, Northern Ireland, said: “He’s taking it all in his stride.” The Duke of Cambridge, Colonel of the Irish GuardsCredit:Sgt Rupert Frere/PA The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have honoured the Irish Guards in London before travelling to France for a two-day visit.Prince William, who is Colonel of the Irish Guards, and Kate visited the 1st Battalion Irish Guards at their base on Friday morning to present them with shamrocks during a parade to mark St Patrick’s Day.The Duke and Duchess, in dark green coat by Catherine Walker decorated with her Irish Guards brooch, were celebrating at the annual parade at the barracks in Hounslow, west London.The Duke stood at his wife’s shoulder on the parade ground as she handed out sprigs of shamrock to the Irish Guards, according to decades of tradition. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. The highlight of the trip for many observers will be Saturday night’s Six Nations rugby match, where Wales will take on France.The Duke has been invited in his role as patron of the Welsh Rugby Union; his first match since he took over the role from the Queen in December.The trip is only the third time the Duke has officially visited France, following two appearances at military commemoration services. It is the first time he has been in Paris on a public engagement since the death of his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, nearly 20 years ago. French television news described the trip as a “charm offensive”, with the Royal couple designated as Britain’s “secret weapon to sweeten the bitter Brexit pill”. The visit will form part of a series of Royal tours to Europe, designed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as a sign of soft power even as the UK extricates itself from the European Union.President Hollande has been among those speaking out against Brexit, warning ” there must be a price” for the UK’s departure.But he will be among the first to meet the Duke and Duchess, welcoming them into the Elysee this evening. (Friday)  The couple will then attend a reception at the British Embassy, at which they will officially launch “Les Voisins”, a programme celebrating UK-French links.Later this evening, they will attend a black tie dinner in the same venue, alongside guests chosen for careers which span the English Channel.Among them will be Kristin Scott-Thomas who played the Queen on Broadway in Peter Morgan’s play The Audience,  and may offer the Duke a welcome talking point among the formalities.Other guests will include actors Jean Reno and Audrey Tautou, Robert Pires, the footballer, several paralympians and business leaders. President Hollande Audrey Tautou On Saturday, the Royal couple are due to attend Les Invalides, where victims and first responders from the Bataclan terror attack will share their stories.The Paris trip comes after a difficult week for the Duke, who has been accused of being “workshy” after missing the Commonwealth Day service in favour of a skiing trip with his friends which inspired a string of lurid tabloid headlines. The Duchess of Cambridge pinning shamrock to Irish Wolfhound Domhnall, the mascot of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards President Hollande is among those speaking out against BrexitCredit:AFP/Getty Images The Duke and Duchess will not be commemorating the anniversary in public while in Paris. The Duke’s father, the Prince of Wales, visited Paris with his late first wife in 1988, with glamorous photographs of their various receptions shared around the world. Duke of Cambridge, Colonel of the Irish Guards The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge stand as the 1st Battalion Irish Guardsmen leads the annual Irish Guards' St Patrick's Day parade The Duchess of Cambridge presents the 1st Battalion Irish Guardsmen with shamrocks during the annual Irish Guards' St Patrick's Day Parade at Household Cavalry Barrackslast_img read more