Month: September 2019

Despite RGIIIs Pleas Redskins Will Not Rush QB On

Photo by The Washington PostRobert Griffin III, perhaps the most recognizable personality in the NFL, wants to do more than 7-on-7 drills. The Washington Redskins’ second-year quarterback said he feels great after major knee surgery in January. He’s ready to go.The Redskins are not so ready for him to go.No matter how strong and stable Griffin says his knee feels, the team will not succumb to his desires. That’s what got him in this position in the first place.“We do have a plan for him,” coach Mike Shanahan said. “He may not always like that plan, but that’s my job sometimes not to be liked. My job is to do the best thing for him. That’s what I’ll do.” Shanahan added:“You always want them a little bit antsy. I don’t want to put him in there too quick for the obvious reasons, but I like what I’ve seen. He’s had no swelling. He’s making a lot of progress. We’re getting a lot of quality work done.“If he continues this with no setback, we’ll keep on giving him more freedom, a little bit more reps and hopefully get him ready. When you slow a guy down, that’s the job of a head coach to hopefully put him in a position where he’s going to be healthy and ready to play by the first game.” read more

Like It or Not ESPN Resigns the Provocative Stephen

Stephen A. Smith signed a new deal with ESPN to continue providing commentary that enrages, excites, illuminates and generates conversation. And for that, it’s a good thing he will be on sports television’s largest platform at least for a few more years.Smith is good for TV.There are a lot of talking heads on the “idiot box,” a lot of people offering bluster and shallow views or perspectives that are right down the middle, with no edge. Unmemorable.And then there is Stephen A.Love him or dislike him, he provides the kind of perspective that comes from a place of authenticity and always with his heritage in mind.What Smith shares on First Take or SportsCenter are views and arguments you might hear in the barbershop, only more sophisticated because he has access to information and sources most people, including other journalists, do not have.When he pontificates on social issues and on racial concerns, you might not agree with him, but he’s always worth a listen.“Stephen A. is one of the strongest and most distinct voices in sports commentary today, and he will continue to enliven a wide variety of ESPN television and audio offerings with his thought-provoking takes on the news of the day and topical issues where sports and culture intersect,” said John Wildhack, EVP Programming and Production at ESPN.In other words, the network needs him.Several years ago, Smith spoke to a group of young men at Morehouse College. It was interesting to watch because at breakfast before the talk, Smith never mentioned the hour-long meeting.Rather, he talked about life and family and sports and travel. And when he walked into the room on campus, the dynamics of the room changed. The young men sat up, grateful to be in Smith’s presence, and he basked in it.Smith embraced the unique experience of an HBCU as a student at Winston Salem State and was infused with the cultural pride that comes with it. Being back on a Black college campus mattered to him, and he let his bright-eyed audience know it.Speaking with no notes, he gave the students what they wanted: humor, insight, inspiration, hope. Smith recounted his road to ESPN, from the Winston Salem Journal to high-school sports reporter at the New York Daily News to covering the Philadelphia 76ers to long-defunct CNN/SI to ESPN.“I told Spike Lee I was coming to speak to you all and he told me to get on your butts,” Smith started that day. “I told him, ‘I got you.’ So I will start by saying everything I got, I earned. And trust me, it’s going to be harder for you than it was for me, and it was hard for me. You can’t expect anything to be handed to you. You’re young and Black. So, you can’t be average. You can’t be good. You have to be great.“Remember that you don’t just represent yourself. In everything you do, you’re representing your family, this prestigious college, people who love you. When you see me on TV,  you can believe I am aware that I represent my mother and family, my friends and Black people. If you don’t have that mindset, you’ll be selling yourself short.”Smith has gotten the most of his career, with more to get. The springboard to his ascension might have occurred about 18 years ago, when he covered the 76ers. Superstar guard Allen Iverson did not like something Smith wrote and they did not speak for several days. Finally, Iverson arranged to talk to Smith and they hashed out their difference because Smith had earned Iverson’s respect by not caving in to him. Smith has displayed that kind of strength ever since.You can find a Smith detractor—many of them, actually—who disagree with his opinions and take his confidence for arrogance or are just rubbed the wrong way by him. Some simply consider him offensive. Ultra-sensitive, Smith continues to learn to listen to the detractors but to not digest their hate.The reality is that Stephen A. Smith is good for TV.  There is no phony in him, no compromising, which has gotten him into some dicey situations. He is provocative, even during these times of extreme political correctness. read more

Serena Williams Voted AP Female Athlete of the Year

She showed up in Paris wearing a black catsuit, a reminder that nobody can command the Grand Slam stage quite like Serena Williams.She reached the finals at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, proving again how well she can play no matter how little she practices.Williams didn’t win those or any other tournaments, which in every other situation might have made for a forgettable year.In 2018, it was a remarkable one.FILE – In this May 29, 2018, file photo, Serena Williams returns a shot against Krystyna Pliskova during their first-round match of the French Open tennis tournament in Paris, France. The women’s tennis tour has approved rule changes that involve seedings after a return from pregnancy. Former No. 1 players Williams and Victoria Azarenka are recent mothers on the tour. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, File)Her rapid return to tennis after a health scare following childbirth was a victory in itself, and for that, Williams was voted The Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year for the fifth time.Williams received 93 points in balloting by U.S. editors and news directors announced Wednesday, while gymnast Simone Biles was second with 68. Notre Dame basketball player Arike Ogunbowale was third, while Olympic snowboarder Chloe Kim and swimmer Katie Ledecky, the 2017 winner, rounded out the top five.All of those players won a title or titles in 2018, while Williams had to settle for just coming close a couple of times.Now 37 and a new mother facing some players who weren’t even born when she turned pro in 1995, Williams isn’t the same person who ruthlessly ran her way to 23 Grand Slam singles titles — the last of which came at the 2017 Australian Open when she was pregnant.“I’m still waiting to get to be the Serena that I was, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be that, physically, emotionally, mentally. But I’m on my way,” Williams said on the eve of the U.S. Open final. “I feel like I still have a ways to go. Once I get there, I’ll be able to play even hopefully better.”The Male Athlete of the Year will be announced Thursday.The women’s award has been won more only by Babe Didrikson Zaharias, whose six wins included one for track and five for golf.Williams’ previous times winning the AP honor, in 2002, 2009, 2013 and 2015, were because of her dominance.This one was about her perseverance.Williams developed blood clots after giving birth to daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. on Sept. 1, 2017, and four surgeries would follow. She returned to the WTA Tour in March and played in just a pair of events before the French Open, where she competed in a skin-tight, full-length black catsuit.She said the outfit — worn partly for health reasons because of the clots — made her feel like a superhero, but her game was rarely in superstar shape. She had to withdraw in Paris because of a right pectoral injury and didn’t play again until Wimbledon, where she lost to Angelique Kerber in the final.Williams came up short again in New York, where her loss to Naomi Osaka in the final will be remembered best for her outburst toward chair umpire Carlos Ramos, who had penalized Williams for receiving coaching and later penalized her an entire game for calling him a “thief” while arguing.That loss leaves her one major title shy of Margaret Court’s record as she starts play next year in a WTA Tour that will look different in part because of new rules coming about after issues involving Williams. Players returning to the tour may use a “special ranking” for up to three years from the birth of a child, and the exemption can be used for seedings at big events. Also, the tour says players can wear leggings or compression shorts at its tournaments without a skirt over them.Williams insists she is still driven to play and win as much if not more than before she was a mother. That drive is the focus of a Nike ad showing her in action.“Getting this far, crazy,” it says. “Stopping now, crazier.”Williams won’t.“I’m still on the way up,” she said. “There’s still much more that I plan on doing.”The rest of the top five:Simone Biles, gymnastics. The American won four golds and six medals overall in the world championships in Qatar, giving her 20 in her career to tie Russia’s Svetlana Khorkina for the most by a female gymnast.Arike Ogunbowale, women’s basketball. She hit one jumper to knock off previously unbeaten Connecticut in the Final Four, then a 3-pointer in the championship game to lift Notre Dame over Mississippi State.Chloe Kim, snowboarding. At 17, the Californian won the halfpipe Olympic gold medal in South Korea, where her parents were from before they immigrated to the United States.Katie Ledecky, swimming. The 21-year-old U.S. Olympian tuned up for the 2020 Games in Tokyo by winning five medals in the city at the Pan Pacific Championships. read more

SpursWarriors Is The Best DefenseOffense Clash In NBA History

1995-96✓Bulls1819Sonics17081763Bulls 1997-98✓Jazz1742Bulls17811761Bulls SEASONPLAYOFFNAMEELONAMEELOAVG. ELOWINNER The best opportunity we had to witness No. 1s face off in recent years came in 2005-06, when the Dallas Mavericks offense faced the Spurs defense 11 times. Offense prevailed in that case — Dallas won 55 percent of the time, scoring 11.4 more points per game than San Antonio usually gave up that season — but that’s an exception to the general trend since 1951.In 414 meetings over the past 65 NBA seasons,2Today’s Warriors-Spurs matchup will be the first No. 1-versus-No. 1 clash of the 2015-16 season, though it isn’t set in stone that these squads will finish the year No. 1 in their respective categories. the top-ranked defense has beat the top-ranked offense 55.3 percent of the time. In those games, 3Excluding the game in question if it’s a regular-season contest. the No. 1 defense gave up 4.1 more points than their average, but the No. 1 offense scored 5.3 fewer points than their average. Some of that is because the defensive teams have more often been better overall clubs — hello, Bill Russell-era Celtics! — but we can account for this using FiveThirtyEight’s Elo ratings, which set pregame odds based on the relative qualities of the teams. Elo would have expected the No. 1 defenses to beat the No. 1 offenses 54.9 percent of the time, so the defensive teams are winning slightly more than expected when they face their offensive doppelgängers.That’s the aggregate of matchups between No. 1s since 1951, though. What about since the mid-2000s, when the league finished a nearly decade-long project to overhaul its defensive rules and cut down on hand-checking? The trend is inconclusive: In the relatively small sample of 38 matchups since 2004-05, top offenses are winning less than Elo would predict — yet, they’re also taking more of a bite out of top-ranked defenses than those defenses are doing to them at the opposite end. Those recent rule changes certainly are having the intended effect at a leaguewide level (pace and offensive efficiency are up since the early 2000s); stay tuned to see if it translates to these kinds of strength-on-strength matchups as well.Those are all broader trends, though. What makes Monday’s Spurs-Warriors game historically unique is the sheer quality of each team’s dominant unit. Only four games in NBA history have ever seen an offense 8 points better than the league’s efficiency face a defense 8 points better than that same league standard, and all of those were between the Spurs and Mavericks during the 2003-04 season.4Somewhat under the radar, those Mavs had the best offense — relative to the league average — of all time, although this year’s Warriors might top them. This game will do those one better by pitting a plus-9 offense against a plus-9 defense, an NBA first. It’s practically unheard of for a matchup of this caliber to take place outside the NBA Finals, where both teams’ ratings are necessarily sky-high because they’ve made it through the notorious gauntlet that is the NBA playoffs. For it to happen during the regular season, you’d need two teams flirting with a 70-win pace — and that’s exactly what San Antonio and Golden State are doing this year.It’s fair to ask whether there’s also something bigger going on here: Three of the 10 best combined-Elo games in NBA history1After removing duplicate games from the same playoff series. have taken place in the last 10 months, and two in the last 32 days. Does the NBA suffer from an epic lack of parity these days? Is Elo itself miscalibrated? Those questions are beyond the scope of this post, but know that, by any metric, the Warriors’ and Spurs’ first meeting of the 2015-16 season makes for a titanic matchup.(Yes, we also know that ageless time lord Tim Duncan will be out tonight. Luckily, the Spurs are deep enough to cover for that.)Tonight’s game also poses a more specific question: What happens when historically great offensive and defensive units meet? The short answer is that the Spurs and Warriors are playing at such a high level that we don’t really have a good historical precedent.Here’s what we do know: Defense-oriented teams have a higher probability of winning the NBA title at a given level of (regular-season) performance than their offensive counterparts. This gap only widens as a defense (or correspondingly good offense) becomes more dominant. And great defenses also have a slight edge in head-to-head clashes against great offenses.In preparation for Monday’s tilt, we did some digging into historical battles between the league’s best teams on each side of the ball. It’s a phenomenon that occurred upward of a dozen times per season in the NBA’s first few decades, but it’s getting rarer and rarer in recent years because of expansion, scheduling constraints and a larger playoff field. 1996-97✓Bulls1798Jazz17521775Bulls HOME TEAMROAD TEAM 2011-12✓Thunder1731Spurs17401735Thunder 1995-96✓Magic1647Bulls18271737Bulls 2014-15Spurs1702Warriors17881745Spurs 2015-16Warriors1814Cavaliers16601737Warriors 2015-16Warriors1809Spurs17821796— Tonight, the unstoppable Golden State Warriors meet the immovable San Antonio Spurs in a showdown between the NBA’s No. 1 offense and its No. 1 defense, two units that aren’t merely at the top of the league, but rank among the best we’ve ever seen. It’s the game of the season — no, check that, it’s the loftiest NBA game ever played according to our in-house Elo ratings. 2014-15✓Warriors1802Cavaliers17121757Warriors 1996-97Bulls1792Sonics16781735Bulls Under such extreme circumstances, it’s tough to say which side of the ball has the advantage — we simply don’t have enough of a sample of comparable matchups. And our other bits of evidence from history are mixed; defenses hold a slight all-time edge, but that may have eroded with recent seasons. (Or not.) Monday’s matchup won’t serve as a referendum in either direction, but it should be a spectacular clash of styles featuring basketball at perhaps the highest level it’s ever been played. read more

Russell Westbrook Should Be Mad At Kevin Durant — Durant Stuck Him

The uphill battle that Westbrook faces now doesn’t take away from the fact that Durant will have his fair share of pressure in the months to come. While this season has been a breeze so far for him and the Warriors, who own the NBA’s best record, the noise will be deafening if Golden State stumbles even the slightest bit this postseason. And Durant, fair or not, would likely be the clear target of that criticism, since his high-profile signing was supposed to make the Warriors invincible.But for now, and until the playoffs — the Warriors and Thunder currently have about a 21 percent chance of meeting, according to FiveThirtyEight’s NBA forecast — the focus remains on Durant and Westbrook, and whether their strained, icy relationship shows any signs of thawing.Check out our latest NBA predictions. KEVIN DURANTRUSSELL WESTBROOK Who’s Going Where As The NBA Trade Deadline Approaches? Usage rate30.6%27.6%31.6%41.8% 2016-17 stats are through Feb. 8Sources: Basketball-Reference.com, Synergy Sports Technology Related: Hot Takedown 2015-16 SEASON2016-17 SEASON2015-16 SEASON2016-17 SEASON Turnovers/game3.52.34.35.4 Much like the first two times they played each other this season, cameras and storylines will follow Kevin Durant’s and Russell Westbrook’s every move on Saturday, when the ex-teammates square off in Oklahoma City for the first time since Durant signed with the Warriors last summer.For months, the running question for each player has been: When was the last time you two spoke with the other? And as they confirm that they haven’t spoken, the narrative becomes even icier with every matchup.Durant largely dismissed the tension between them as “fake drama” and a media creation. But on a basic level, Westbrook has reason to be upset with his one-time teammate. Though Durant had every right to leave, his departure has made every aspect of Westbrook’s job harder than it’s ever been, while Durant has had to do less than ever before.Westbrook, averaging a triple-double for the season, has been undeniably incredible in Durant’s absence. But a chiropractor is usually necessary when a player puts this much of his team on his back.Westbrook, in trying to make up for Durant, is on pace to log the highest usage rate (the percentage of a team’s possessions that end with a certain player while he’s on the court) in NBA history, by far. By contrast, Durant is posting the lowest usage rate of his career. Westbrook, handling the ball far more often, is turning it over more than ever. Durant has fewer turnovers than ever before. Durant has a career-low isolation rate; Westbrook is going one-on-one more than he has since 2011-12 (just 14.7 percent of his 2-pointers have been assisted this season).1All stats in this article are current through Wednesday. And Durant, part of Golden State’s more free-flowing offense, is cutting and moving without the ball more than ever before, while Oklahoma City still throws fewer passes than any team in the association.We’ve seen Westbrook change his game this way before: He put up similar per-100-possession stats in 2014-15, when Durant missed most of the season because of a fractured foot. Then, as now, Westbrook’s true-shooting and effective field-goal rates declined while he was tasked with so much more ballhandling responsibility. (The Thunder, currently in seventh place in the West, finished the 2014-15 season tied for eighth and missed the playoffs.) Russell Westbrook’s workload increased when Durant left True shooting63.4%65.0%55.4%54.2% Isolation rate14.9%11.4%12.5%19.1% read more

Mens soccer OSU looking to ride momentum against Indiana

Ohio State then-sophomore Marcus McCrary (19) dribbles the ball through a group of Michigan players during a game at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on Nov. 4, 2015. Credit: Lantern File PhotoThe Ohio State men’s soccer team got a decisive 3-0 win over Oakland on Tuesday night, hoping to ride that momentum into Saturday’s matchup versus No. 7 Indiana at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium at 2 p.m.The key for the Buckeyes in their win over Oakland was their aggressive first-period play, something they hope to be able to replicate against the tough Hoosiers.“We have been stressing the importance of coming out strong,” senior midfielder Ben Fitzpatrick said. “Whenever we have come out with intensity in the first half we have been dominant. Indiana is going to be a tough test, but we have nothing to lose. We just have to go out and give it everything we got.”For the Buckeyes, it is the last Big Ten home game of the regular season. With OSU tied for fifth place in the conference, they still have time to make up some ground and finish with a top-four seed that would allow them to host a game in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament.“All Big Ten Conference games are huge for us,” junior defender Niall Logue said. “Especially with Indiana being a top-10 team, to win the last one at home for us would be massive.”The Hoosiers come into the game with an 8-1-4 record (2-0-3 Big Ten). In their last time out, they took down No. 4 Louisville 2-1 on the road.Indiana is led by senior midfielder Tanner Thompson and redshirt senior midfielder Richard Ballard, each tied with 13 points on the season. Thompson and Ballard have each scored four goals while tallying two assists apiece.Indiana is having a very successful season, with its only loss of the season coming in a 4-0 contest at Notre Dame. However, the Hoosiers are not a particularly dominant offense, coming into the contest with 17 goals scored on the season compared to OSU’s 16.The real discrepancy comes in the goals allowed category. Indiana has been very stingy this year, allowing only 10 goals in 13 games. The Buckeyes, meanwhile, have allowed 20 in the same amount of games played.The two schools are meeting for the 60th time, Indiana having a massive all-time series lead at 50-7-2.“The history of the matchup between these two schools doesn’t concern me,” coach John Bluem said. “This is an important game for both teams. They are trying to get into top two teams in the conference and we are trying to get into the top three or four. All conference games are pivotal and we will treat it as such.”The Buckeyes will again be fighting the injury bug on Saturday, as they will be without junior forward Marcus McCrary and leading scorer and senior forward Danny Jensen. Neither of the two played in Tuesday’s win over Oakland.OSU has a tough road ahead. After battling the Hoosiers on Saturday, the Buckeyes will travel to Louisville to take on the No. 4 Cardinals on Tuesday. The team is embracing this challenge, knowing it gives them a chance to show its true colors.“The record doesn’t reflect who we are as a team,” Fitzpatrick said. “I think we are better than that. If we can take Indiana and Louisville and get results, whether it’s a draw or a win, it’ll show the NCAA who we really are.” read more

No 1 Ohio State keeps winning streak alive with victories over No

OSU redshirt sophomore middle blocker Blake Lesson goes to serve in the set set against No. 4 Long Beach State. OSU won, 3-1. Credit: Aliyyah Jackson | Lantern reporterThe No. 1 Ohio State men’s volleyball team (9-0) inched closer to rewriting the school record books, going 2-0 this weekend against Barton College (3-3) and No. 4 Long Beach State University (7-2) on Friday and Saturday night at St. John Arena. The pair of wins tied the school record of 32 straight victories, a record that dates back 47 years. The last time the Buckeyes lost was Feb. 6, 2016 when they lost to the Ball State at home last season.Barton CollegeThe Buckeyes swept the Barton Bulldogs in three sets (25-21, 25-14, 25-17). Thirteen Buckeyes saw the court on Friday, including sophomore setter Sanil Thomas, who had his first start of the season and led in assists with 37.“My role is usually coming off the bench, coming in for a play or two,” Thomas said. “Coming out it adds a little more pressure to you, but by practices and the coaches’ confidence in you, it kind of alleviates that pressure on you as well.”After trailing 11-8, the Buckeyes went on a 5-0 run to gain the lead in the first set. Senior opposite Miles Johnson lead the team with eight kills while the team combined for five total blocks in the set.Midway through the second set, Johnson had his 123rd career service ace, one that put the Buckeyes up 14-9. With the ace, Johnson tied the school record for career aces which was set by Steve Potter from 1992 to 1995.Junior outside hitter Nicolas Szerszen ripped four straight kills and Thomas closed the second set for the Buckeyes with a service ace. OSU attacked at a rate of 52.6, committing only two attacking errors in the set.Despite having three underclassmen on the court during the third set, OSU managed to go on an 11-point run to put the Buckeyes up 17-7. One final service error from Barton’s sophomore outside hitter Vasilis Mandilaris gave the Buckeyes their final point of the match to win 25-17.Long Beach StateOn Saturday night, the Buckeyes beat the Long Beach State 49ers in four sets (25-22, 24-26, 25-21, 26-24) to tie the school consecutive wins record. OSU had complete control of the first set, leading 22-15. The Buckeyes were able to withstand a 7-2 run before they put the set away, 25-22.Johnson led the Buckeyes with eight kills in the first set, hitting at a rate of .462, while senior setter Christy Blough had 12 assists. The Buckeyes never trailed the 49ers in first set.Johnson, at the beginning of the second set, served his 124th career ace to break the school record and put the Buckeyes on top 6-4. The score remained close throughout the second set, ending in a 49ers’ win in extra points, 26-24.The loss for the Buckeyes ended its 21-set win streak. Hitting was the difference for the 49ers as they attacked at .375 rate.“[Long Beach State] definitely stepped up in the back line. They were serving pretty tough and they were actually pretty good out of system too,” Szerszen said. “In general, they’re a really good team and causes a lot trouble.”After two straight aces during OSU’s six-point run, Szerszen joined his teammate Johnson in history as he tied him in career aces at the beginning of the third set. After being down by as much as seven points, a late surge by the 49ers threatened OSU’s lead, but ultimately, the Buckeyes pulled through to win the set 25-21.Serving errors plagued the 49ers in the third as the team committed seven. The Buckeyes improved their defense, tallying 11 total digs as a team.The final set of the night started off similarly to the second, with the teams going back-and-forth until the 49ers began to pull away to establish a 19-15 lead, OSU’s largest deficit in the set. However, the Buckeyes rallied for six straight points and won the set in extra points, 26-24.OSU combined for 19 kills and attacked at .516 rate in the fourth set.“Nic is such an experienced player that he knows when people are in front of him, how to take a bad set and do something good with it,” Hanson said. “I think you kind of saw that on the last play. It wasn’t a great set, but Nic made a great swing off the hand. The next thing you know, the ball’s in the bleachers and it’s match point, we win.”OSU goes for the record at Ball State on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. The Buckeyes then play Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne on Saturday at 7 p.m. read more

Pistol coach made big strides with program

Freshman James Sweeney walked across the Oval numerous times in 1952. Fifty-eight years later, he is still making that same walk.Sweeney’s history at Ohio State is remarkable. In his time, he has seen six football National Championships, five Heisman award winners, four Ohio State structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places, three Pistol National Championships, two pistol athletes win the Big Ten Conference Medal of Honor award, and one ultimate success: educating students.Sweeney is 76 years old and approaching his twelfth season as coach of the Ohio State pistol team.He graduated from Ohio State in 1957 with a degree in physical education. He later pursued a master’s in curriculum design and a doctorate in sport pedagogy (a focus on educating others how to teach sports) from Ohio State.Ever since he got out of college, he has been putting his degree to work. Whether this is college students or collegiate athletes, Sweeney has been educating since 1958.“I would say if there is one way to define him, in general, it is that he is a very wise person,” senior pistol member Tyler Phillips said. “If we are all paying attention, he is not only teaching us about shooting, but life as well.”Three years ago, Sweeney was able to persuade OSU to give out scholarships for pistol recruits. This was a huge accomplishment for a small athletic program, but the recognition of scholarships was a double-edged sword for the educator.“I liked taking walk-on’s and turning them into elite collegiate athletes,” Sweeney said. “I enjoy working with highly skilled individuals who have had previous training for years, but on the other hand, the satisfaction of teaching is not quite the same. I miss that part.”Sweeney’s mixed feelings can be expressed through two of his players.Phillips was a walk-on athlete from the pistol club.“(Sweeney) introduced me to the sport,” he said. “He taught me everything I know. Not only did he talk to me about shooting, but he also taught me a lot about philosophy in the sport as well.”Sophomore Christina Heaton was recruited as a scholar-athlete and has competed in the junior Olympics.“I don’t talk to (Sweeney) that much personally,” Heaton said. “When we are practicing, he will give us an event to work on and we will practice.”Though Heaton is part of a more experienced group of OSU pistol shooters, she still needed to seek advice from the coach during a big slump.“If you have problems, you can go to him,” she said. “He sat down with me and we started from the basics…he really helped me out.”Sweeney has been retired since 1994, but continues to teach with emeritus status.For a man who is 76, he is in top physical shape. He walks to campus everyday, uses a car only when it is necessary and still does small physical workouts.Even at such an old age, he is not worried about leaving Ohio State any time soon.“I am just playing it year-by-year,” he said. “As long as I am healthy, enjoy what I do and can relate with the students, before I get too old, I have no definite retirement plans.”Coach Sweeney has experienced a lot of Ohio State history, but, in the process, has also become a part of it. read more

Memorable Memorial for Tiger Woods

Jack Nicklaus, the all-time leader in men’s golf major championship victories with 18, founded the Memorial Tournament in 1976. Thirty-six years later, Tiger Woods won Nicklaus’ tournament for the fifth time, and tied Nicklaus in the record books for the second-most all-time on the PGA Tour.Woods, who previously won the tournament in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2009, finished the tournament with a 72-hole score of 279 (9-under-par), two strokes better than Rory Sabbatini and Andres Romero, who tied for second place at 7-under-par. The tournament, which began Thursday and concluded Sunday at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, was Woods’ second victory of the season.The win was also Woods’ 73rd victory of his PGA Tour career, tying him with Nicklaus. On the all-time wins list, Woods trails only Sam Snead, the all-time leader with 82 victories.Woods said it was “awfully special” to tie Nicklaus on the all-time wins list, with Nicklaus watching him on the 18th hole.“It’s special for me to do it here, to do it with Jack here,” Woods said. “It just makes it that much more special.”After cracking a joke, Nicklaus also praised Woods’ achievement.“Well, he had to rub it in my face right here, didn’t he?” Nicklaus said. “No, if he’s going to do it, which he was obviously going to, I’d like to see it happen here. That was good. That was great.”Woods hit 14 out of 18 greens in regulation on Sunday, but his winning round could be remembered most for one of the four holes that he did not.Woods hit an errant tee shot on the 16th hole in the rough behind and to the right of the green. He recovered by converting his second shot, a 49-foot-10-inch chip, for a birdie. That birdie moved Woods into a tie for the lead at 8-under-par with Sabbatini.Nicklaus gave the shot high praise, while Woods admitted that the shot was challenging.“Under the circumstances, I’ve never seen a better shot,” Nicklaus said.Woods finished Sunday’s fourth and final round with a score of 67 (5-under-par), which tied three other golfers for Sunday’s best score.Woods said his round on Sunday was “fun.”“I had it all today,” Woods said.Rickie Fowler, who was paired with Woods on Sunday, said he was impressed with his playing partner’s performance.“He looked very comfortable and hit a lot of good shots,” Fowler said. “The times where he’s in the moment and in the heat of contention is where he really shines.”Fowler came into Sunday at 5-under-par, but finished the tournament at 7-over-par to finish in a tie for 52nd place.Woods came into the round at 4-under-par, four strokes back of the tournament’s 54-hole leader, Spencer Levin. He birdied four of his first seven holes to move within one stroke of the lead behind Levin, who was 9-under-par at the time. Woods dropped back to 6-under-par, however, after bogeying two of his next three holes, and remained at 6-under-par through the 14th hole.Down the stretch, however, Woods birdied the 15th, 16th and 18th holes. Following Woods’ chip-in, Sabbatini bogeyed the 16th hole to fall to 7-under-par, and Woods held the lead all the way to victory.Levin finished the tournament at 5-under-par to tie for fourth place.Woods said that he feels “comfortable” playing at Muirfield Village Golf Club, where the Memorial Tournament is held annually.“For some reason over the course of my career, I’ve done really well on (Nicklaus’) golf courses, even going back to my amateur days,” Woods said. “I just have a good feeling of how to play the golf course.”Woods will compete next at the second major championship of the year, the 112th U.S. Open, which will be held June 14-17 at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, Calif. Woods, a 14-time major champion, is a three-time U.S. Open winner. Woods tied for 18th at the 1998 U.S. Open, the last time the tournament was held at The Olympic Club.Asked whether he is “back,” and ready to win another major championship, Woods gave a quick response.“I won,” Woods said with a laugh. read more

Urban Meyer fairly optimistic Braxton Miller will play against California

Ohio State’s top two quarterbacks both suffered injuries during the Buckeyes’ most recent football game against San Diego State, but OSU coach Urban Meyer is confident Braxton Miller and Kenny Guiton will be ready to play Saturday against California.Miller, the Buckeyes’ junior starting quarterback, suffered an MCL sprain in his left knee during the first quarter of the SDSU game and did not return. He resumed throwing Tuesday and was scheduled to practice in a “limited capacity,” Meyer said during Tuesday’s Big Ten weekly coaches’ teleconference.“His arm is fine and everything, it’s just can he plant, can he move and all that,” Meyer said. “I’ll know more of that after (Tuesday’s) practice.”Meyer said he will know tomorrow whether Miller will be available to play Saturday.“I’m fairly optimistic (Miller will be able to play),” Meyer said. “The improvement made between day three (since suffering the injury) and day four is very important, and that’s usually substantial.”Miller, the 2012 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, has completed 17 of his first 24 passing attempts this season. He has passed for 208 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. He has also gained 82 yards on 18 rushing attempts.Guiton, a redshirt-senior, was brought off the bench and into action for the second consecutive week to start the season after Miller went down with an injury. Guiton played the rest of the game for OSU, completing 19 of 28 passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns, while also gaining 83 rushing yards on nine attempts, including a 44-yard rushing touchdown.Guiton helped lead the Buckeyes to a 42-7 victory, but in the process may not been fully healthy. Meyer said Guiton hit his hand on a helmet following one of his throws, which caused his hand to be “very swollen” Sunday.“He’s a tough guy that fought through it,” Meyer said of Guiton.Meyer said Guiton is “fine,” and defined the injury as a contusion.“He’s ready to go,” Meyer said.Kickoff for OSU’s first road game of the season is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, Calif. The 2-0 Buckeyes will be looking for their third win of the season against the 1-1 Golden Bears. read more