September 16

Football: Badgers practices ahead of spring game at McClain Center

first_imgMoral was high Tuesday morning at the McClain Center as the Wisconsin football team lined up for practice at 8 a.m. sharp. Warming up and performing drills, the Badgers are preparing for the upcoming spring game approaching in a couple of weeks.Once the team finished their warm up, they split into different groups over the field to focus on their positions. Kickers set out to hone their craft with the aide of automated ball machines, the offensive lineman paired off to perform tackling drills with dummies, and receivers looked to improve their skills in pass and catch drills.Later in the practice, special teams lined up in the center of the field to practice kickoffs and kick returns. Last season, the Badgers fell in the middle of the pack when it came to special teams. Of 129 ranked FBS teams, Wisconsin placed 48th in punt return yardage and 68th in punt return defense, which is interesting as special teams are generally a strong suit of the Wisconsin football brand.Football: After first spring practice, Badgers ready to make serious run this yearThe University of Wisconsin football team is looking to follow up on one of the most successful seasons in program Read…Then, the starters and backup teams began a light scrimmage. Sophomore receiver A.J. Taylor had several amazing collaborations with redshirt sophomore quarterback Alex Hornibrook.Taylor dominated the majority of the plays as he completed passes from Hornibrook and escaped from defenders with ease as he sprinted into the end zone. Last season the versatile receiver and return-man played in all 14 games, starting three. He managed 31 receptions for 475 yards and collected five touchdownsRunning back Jonathan Taylor, who was named the Thompson-Randle El Big Ten Freshman of the Year last season, looked like the same player Badger fans came to love in his first year in the cardinal and white, effortlessly avoiding defenders and bolting down field with blazing speed.Future appears bright for Wisconsin’s NFL prospectsThe University of Wisconsin has a history of sending players off to successful careers in the NFL. Let’s take a Read…After speaking with a few of the players after practice, they all mentioned that they are looking forward to the upcoming season and are excited to preview the new team as a unit during the Spring game. Clearly, the team has high hopes and the Badger Nation is anxious to see this team in action during the fall.The game will be hosted at the one and only Camp Randall Stadium on April 13. Tickets will be $5, with proceeds benefiting the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine.last_img read more

September 16

No. 10 Virginia Tech steamrolls Syracuse, 78-56, in SU’s worst loss since 2016

first_imgBLACKSBURG, Va. — The Virginia Tech fanbase, clad in Hokies maroon and burnt orange, packed into the bleachers of a sold-out Cassell Coliseum, where they’re now 11-0 this season. They rallied around the Hokies with every basket. Every forced turnover. Every forced shot clock violation. They looked for any reason to cheer, growing louder as the game wore on, and the Hokies lead extended further and further out of Syracuse’s reach.A collective gasp followed every near-takeaway. The Hokies’ high-pressure man-to-man defense forced four shot-clock violations. Guard Justin Robinson freed himself up to go 9-for-13 from deep — shattering a program record for single-game made 3-pointers. They carved into the 2-3 zone with a mix of lights-out 3-point shooting, inside-out ball movement and a bevy of cuts to the rim.The Orange entered Saturday night winners of three-straight, but they played maybe their worst basketball against one of the conference’s best teams. The 10th-ranked Hokies (16-3, 5-2 Atlantic Coast) handled Syracuse (14-6, 5-2), 78-56, by moving the ball with ease and creating chaos on the SU perimeter. It’s the Orange’s worst defeat since they lost to St. John’s at the Carrier Dome in 2016.“Their defense was really, really good,” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said. “We did a very poor job of finding Robinson. Our offensive struggles bled over into our defense, and we don’t do a very good job of locating him. They passed it out more than most teams, and we didn’t react to it.”The loss slows a surging SU team that came to Blacksburg in pursuit of a second top-10 road win in a 12-day span. Syracuse had altered the trajectory of its season. The Orange hobbled to four nonconference losses, then lost by 14 at home to one of the ACC’s weakest teams in Georgia Tech. Road games at Duke and Virginia Tech loomed. Yet SU put up 95 points in an overtime victory over the then-No. 1 Blue Devils on national TV, and all of a sudden every game on the schedule became winnable.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThen came Virginia Tech. On numerous possessions, the Hokies left Syracuse with no room. They doubled pick-and-rolls. They were all over SU junior shooting guard Tyus Battle when he touched the ball, largely cutting off any room for him to run. He finished with just 10 points on 10 shot attempts. With the perimeter in gridlock, Syracuse didn’t find much offensive rhythm.Ideally, when a team doubles the ball handler in high-screen situations, the big bumps toward the basket. A dump-off pass is the desired outcome, Boeheim said, but that puts the onus on senior center Paschal Chukwu, who finished with two points and didn’t alter shots defensively.“Some nights, he has nothing,” Boeheim said. “Tonight, he had nothing.”The 43-24 halftime deficit seemed to jolt the Orange. For as much as Virginia Tech pressured the ball on the perimeter, gaps opened inside. The backdoor was there. The high post, mainly sophomore forward Oshae Brissett’s territory, had points written all over it. He finished with a team-high 16 points. The Orange exploded out of the half to an 11-0 run. The arena went quiet, and Virginia Tech head coach Buzz Williams called a timeout.The Hokies shot back with a 14-1 run: In time, a Virginia Tech 3-pointer pushed the SU deficit to 15. Assistant coach Allen Griffin leaned back in his chair. After Brissett missed a layup near the left block, the Hokies marched back and connected on an alley-oop to push the lead to 18. Rapid ball movement inside and out left an open Ty Outlaw on the perimeter. His shot swished. SU senior point guard Frank Howard stood still. The arena got loud, and the Hokies never looked back, pushing the lead to as much as 25.When Robinson drilled 3 after 3, the Orange could not respond. When the Hokies stripped the ball loose and pushed the ball up court for a transition score, they could not respond then either.“We knew that we had to get the ball to the high post and let the high-post guy operate,” said Robinson, who also broke the program’s career assists record. “We made great decisions in the high post, and everything just opened up. In a zone like that, they converge in the middle. So, who are you going to guard on the outside?”The options VT had on the perimeter — always at least three shooters on the floor at once — haunted SU. Boeheim said he didn’t elect to counter their 3-point approach by inserting freshman sharpshooter Buddy Boeheim because VT’s defense was perimeter oriented. Boeheim also said it didn’t help that the Orange had only one day to prepare for the Hokies, while the Hokies had four days. Their preparation time allowed them to develop a plan against the SU 2-3 zone, he said. Generally, Boeheim wants at least two days to prepare for an opponent.Over the past week, the Orange handled Pittsburgh and Miami with ease. With a second top-10 road win, Syracuse had a chance to propel itself near the top of arguably college basketball’s top conference. But the Orange ran into a wall of a Hokies defense that combined with a relentless offensive attack to keep SU at bay.“They made it tough,” said Battle, who added two rebounds and a pair of assists. “They were swarming the pick-and-rolls, clogging passing and driving lanes.”At the under-eight timeout, Syracuse trailed by 15. At the under-four timeout, the VT lead had swelled to 25. “Let’s go Hokies” boomed through the arena as dozens of Syracuse fans filed for the exits. When the final buzzer sounded Saturday night, the Orange filed into the locker room, their minds trying to make sense of the program’s worst loss in two-plus years. Facebook Twitter Google+ Commentscenter_img Published on January 26, 2019 at 10:23 pm Contact Matthew: | @MatthewGut21last_img read more

May 26

Waqa set to join NRL’s growing Fiji contingent

first_imgPhoto: NRL (Former Roosters, Storm and Raiders winger Sisa Waqa is eyeing a return to the NRL and the Fiji Bati at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup). Waqa, who was a member of Melbourne’s 2012 premiership-winning team, will take the number of Fijians in the NRL to 23 if he can convince Storm coaching Craig Bellamy to sign him after a stint with French rugby union club, FC Grenoble.The 31-year-old recently returned to Melbourne, where his family had been living, after breaking his jaw and was offered a training contract with the Storm.Melbourne football director Frank Ponissi said a decision would be made on whether to sign Waqa before June 30 so he is eligible to play the remainder of the season.”He got injured just before Christmas and moved back about three weeks ago,” Ponissi said. “We will have a look at him over the next few weeks and if he comes up all right we will sign him for the rest of the season.”He is still a fair way off playing because he has been inactive for a while but he is showing good signs. This is his second week of training and we will probably give it another two weeks before we make a call.”I’m sure he will come into consideration for the Fiji side at the World Cup if he does sign for the rest of the year.”While he played most of his 95 NRL matches for the Roosters, Storm and Raiders on the wing, Waqa would offer the Bati versatility in the backline as he was considered a star five-eighth as a rugby union schoolboy in Fiji and modelled his game on former Wallabies great Stephen Larkham.He played one rugby union Test for Fiji in 2007 before switching codes to join Sydney Roosters in 2009.Waqa has also played centre for the Bati, who he represented at the 2013 Rugby League World Cup and in last year’s Melanesian Cup against Papua New Guinea.The signing of Waqa would take the Storm’s Fiji representation to three, along with star winger Suliasi Vunivalu and prop Tui Kamikamika.In total, there are 25 players eligible for the Bati who are currently playing NRL, including Fiji rugby sevens Olympic gold medallist Masivesi Dakuwaqa, who scored a try for Canberra’s NSWRL feeder team, Mounties, in his first game after joining the Raiders last week.Korbin Sims (Broncos)Masivesi Dakuwaqa (Canberra Raiders)Marcelo Montoya, Tyrone Phillips (Canterbury Bulldogs)Jason Bukuya (Cronulla Sharks)Jarryd Hayne, Ben Nakubuwai (Gold Coast Titans)Apisai Koroisau, Akuila Uate (Manly Sea Eagles)Suliasi Vunivalu, Tui Kamikamika, Sisa Waqa (Melbourne Storm)Daniel Saifiti, Jacob Saifiti (Newcastle Knights)Semi Radradra (Parramatta Eels)Waqa Blake, Campbell Regan-Gillard, Viliame Kikau (Penrith Panthers)Tariq Sims, Taane Milne (St George Illawarra Dragons)John Sutton, Sitiveni Moceidreke (South Sydney Rabbitohs)Kane Evans, Eloni Vunakece (Sydney Roosters)Kevin Naiqama (Wests Tigers)last_img read more