Seniors get a chance to shine one last time

first_imgSomewhere in the world, a 6-foot-4, 300-pound man is probably smiling.At the same time, dozens of people much smaller are smiling as well.The cause for joy is the same, but the reasoning is completely different.Why? Tomorrow is the Senior Bowl, the Super Bowl of scouting (until the NFL Combine next month).The larger man is smiling because he’s not there. The smaller people are smiling because of everyone who is.It’s a tale of two smiles — or something like that.If you haven’t guessed by now, the defensive tackle-sized man is, in fact, a defensive tackle. He’s Ndamukong Suh, the former Nebraska defensive tackle and can’t-miss prospect. Suh is probably smiling because he has to do little more than show up in New York City on Thursday, April 22, for the NFL Draft. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has probably already written these words on a note card somewhere to practice: “With the first pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the St. Louis Rams select Ndamukong Suh, defensive tackle, Nebraska.”And barring incredibly unforeseen circumstances, months of practicing those words should pay off.Suh is probably smiling because he hasn’t had to endure the stress of this past week of practices, which culminates in tomorrow’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. He hasn’t had to worry about footwork, arm strength, explosion off the ball or coverage skills.No, Suh just has to make sure his suit is tailored, his tie is properly tied and his shirt isn’t wrinkled.While he plans his wardrobe, dozens of his peers are busting their butts in Mobile to prove to scouts and experts that they can play at the professional level.And that’s where the other group of smiling people comes in.For the countless draft gurus who report back to teams, news outlets and their own personal blogs, the Senior Bowl is a weeklong party. It’s time to dust off the big boards, sharpen the mock drafts and brush up on trade value charts.It’s the start of the best three months of the year.They’re smiling because the NFL Draft is one of the greatest spectacles in sports, and the march towards Radio City Music Hall began in earnest this week.People finally get a chance to see former college standouts prove their worth in a pro-style system. They get to see if these guys are NFL material.Sure, it’s just a college all-star game. And one week of practices culminating in an otherwise meaningless game isn’t the be-all, end-all for these players. But for the gurus, it’s a chance to scrutinize every move. It’s the first step toward piecing together the draft puzzle.For them, it’s fun.But as Suh smiles, what about those who are not as fortunate to be in his position?Take Tim Tebow for example. For four years, we watched in awe as he developed into arguably the greatest college football player of all time. Now, we watch in horror as a week’s worth of bad snaps from center and an elongated throwing motion unravel everything he’s worked for.What about former Central Michigan quarterback Dan LeFevour? He must prove to scouts that his NCAA-record 150 touchdowns were more than a product of the system he played in.Former Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount must show he can be a viable NFL runner, despite missing most of his senior season after an opening night haymaker.And a few former Trojans are trying to make an impact.Safety Taylor Mays spent four years as one of the most feared defenders in the game. Now, he has spent a week trying to ready himself for the next level. His ability to prove his worth this week, and over the next three months, is equally as important as the work he put in to reach the pinnacle of the sport — if not more so.Stafon Johnson has a chance to prove he can still play football at the highest level, despite a weightlifting injury in September that could have ended his life.Offensive lineman Jeff Byers has seen reps at guard and center. Tight end Anthony McCoy is proving he’s an NFL-level blocker and pass catcher.For 100 seniors hoping to make it at the next level, this game starts a grueling stretch. Who will be smiling along with Suh and the gurus?We’ll find out soon enough.“Thrilla on Manilla Paper” runs every other Friday. To comment on this article, visit or e-mail Grant at read more


Fast reaction: 3 quick takeaways from Syracuse’s 90-46 win over Holy Cross

first_imgSyracuse jumped out to another early lead and cruised to its second win in as many games. The No. 18 Orange (2-0) beat Holy Cross (0-2), 90-46, Tuesday night in the Carrier Dome. Tyler Lydon improved around the basket, SU head coach Jim Boeheim went to his bench early and Andrew White flashed the shooting ability he displayed at Nebraska last season.Lydon attacks at the rimAfter scoring just two points in Syracuse’s season opener against Colgate, Boeheim said Lydon had to do a better job getting near the basket. Boeheim mentioned that once Lydon gets offensive boards, he has to finish the easy layups. Lydon’s first four baskets were all near the rim. He racked up three offensive boards in the first half.He continued his strong play early in the second half with a sequence in which he saved a loose ball from going out of bounds along the baseline. After whipping the ball back onto the court and to Tyler Roberson without looking, he tumbled into the folding chairs adjacent to the court. The offensive board led to a Frank Howard layup. SU’s student section began chanting his name and on the Orange’s next possession, Lydon hit his first 3 of the season.After struggling in Syracuse’s two exhibition games and against Colgate, the player who was named to the Wooden Award watch list on Tuesday proved why against the Crusaders. He finished with 17 points and six rebounds.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textShort leashOn Holy Cross’ first possession of the game, Robert Champion received a pass at the top of the 3-point arc on Howard’s side of the zone. Champion, with time and space, stepped into the shot and knocked it down to give the Crusaders a 3-0 lead. SU head coach Jim Boeheim immediately spun around and told backup point guard John Gillon to check in.Gillon checked in at the next stoppage, three minutes into the game. He subbed in alongside backup center Paschal Chukwu, who replaced Dajuan Coleman. The possession before subbing out, Coleman allowed Champion to slip behind him and Champion had an easy path to the hoop along the baseline to tie the game, 5-5.Both substitutions were made as a result of Syracuse’s defense, something that Boeheim said needs work with new players being added to the mix this season. In the early going on Tuesday, it was two more experienced players who were taken out early.White hot againAndrew White impressed again with a game-high 19 points on 5-of-10 from 3. He got off to a hot start with 12 of Syracuse’s first 31 points in the first 12 minutes of the game. He helped spark the Orange’s 18-3 run to put SU up, 36-14.White scored 17 in the season opener but made only two 3s against Colgate.Early on, White answered Holy Cross when the score was still tight. White tied the game up at 3-3 and knocked down another triple after the Crusaders cut the deficit to 13-8. He flashed his highly-touted shooting skills that had SU fans salivating in the offseason. As a junior at Nebraska, White made 41 percent of the 3s he took. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on November 15, 2016 at 9:22 pm Contact Paul: | @pschwedslast_img read more


Swanson’s walk-off homer gives Braves 7-6 win over Nationals

first_imgLast Updated: 18th August, 2020 08:52 IST Swanson’s Walk-off Homer Gives Braves 7-6 Win Over Nationals Dansby Swanson hit a two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to cap a four-run rally that gave the Atlanta Braves a stunning 7-6 victory over the Washington Nationals on Monday night Written By Associated Press Television News SUBSCRIBE TO US Dansby Swanson hit a two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to cap a four-run rally that gave the Atlanta Braves a stunning 7-6 victory over the Washington Nationals on Monday night.With the Braves trailing 6-3 against Washington closer Daniel Hudson (1-2), Adam Duvall made it close by hitting a two-run shot that just cleared the wall in left field. Johan Camargo followed with a single, but Hudson retired the next two hitters to put the Braves down to their final out.It never came.Swanson drove one over the wall in right-center for the game winner. When he got to home plate, his teammates toasted him from afar, jumping up and down with their hands in the air.The rally ruined a memorable night for Washington rookie Luis Garcia, who became the first player born in the 2000s to hit a big league homer.The youngest player in the majors at age 20, Garcia hit a two-run shot off Touki Toussaint in the second inning. Asdrubal Cabrera, Juan Soto and Eric Thames also homered for the defending World Series champs, but it wasn’t enough.Garcia, who was born on May 16, 2000, came into the shortened season as one of Washington’s top prospects. He got his chance when Starlin Castro went on the injured list with a broken right wrist and doesn’t look over-matched in the least.Two batters later, Thames delivered an even longer drive over the center-field wall to give the Nationals a 3-0 lead.The Braves responded with two runs in the bottom half against Anibal Sanchez, but Toussaint surrendered another run in the fourth without giving up a hit. The right-hander hit a batter and walked three more, including Kurt Suzuki with the bases loaded.When Toussaint started the fourth with another walk — his sixth of the game — Braves manager Brian Snitker had seen enough. It was another blow to Atlanta’s beleaguered rotation, which lost ace Mike Soroka to a season-ending injury and demoted two other starters, Mike Foltynewicz and Sean Newcomb.Toussaint’s spot in the rotation now appears in jeopardy after another shaky start. He gave up four runs in three-plus innings and threw only 34 of 73 pitches for strikes, his ERA climbing to 7.97.Cabrera went deep off Grant Dayton for his fifth homer of the season in the fifth. Soto, on the day he was announced as NL player of the week, led off the ninth with seventh homer against Will Smith (2-0).TRAINER’S ROOMWashington’s Howie Kendrick did not start for the third game in a row because of a sore hamstring. Manager Dave Martinez said the team is taking no chances with the oft-injured veteran, though the injury does not appear to be serious. “We’ve just got to be smart,” Martinez said. “We don’t want to lose him for three weeks. If we lose him for three weeks, that’s pretty much game over.”UP NEXTNationals: RHP Austin Voth (0-2, 3.21 ERA) gets the nod for Washington on Tuesday in the second game of the series at Truist Park. He is hoping to bounce back from a rough outing at New York, where he gave up six hits, three runs and two homers in four innings against the Mets.Braves: For the second time in three games, Atlanta’s beleaguered rotation will go to the bullpen for a starter. RH Josh Tomlin (1-0, 1.59) makes his first start of the season, hoping to duplicate the performance of Robbie Erlin on Sunday. Erlin went four innings in a 4-0 victory over the Marlins, giving the Atlanta staff a much-needed boost. While Tomlin has been used mostly as a reliever during his two seasons with the Braves, this is hardly a new role. He made 144 starts over nine seasons with Cleveland.Image credits: AP First Published: 18th August, 2020 08:52 ISTcenter_img COMMENT WATCH US LIVE LIVE TV FOLLOW USlast_img read more


Dodgers’ offense goes missing in loss to Pirates

first_imgA bigger inning was thwarted in the sixth when Ellis was trapped off second base after Maeda pulled back on a sacrifice bunt attempt. The Dodgers stranded runners at first and third in the seventh inning. Then they put runners at second and third with no outs in the eighth only to have the next three hitters (Kiké Hernandez, Justin Turner and Seager) strike out against reliever Tony Watson.“Can’t strand them,” Seager said, shaking his head. “We had enough opportunities.”Most of those opportunities came after the Pirates had taken control of the game with a five-run sixth inning.McCutchen’s first home run came on a full-count curveball from Maeda in the fourth inning. It was the first hit allowed by Maeda and the game was tied, 1-1, going into the bottom of the sixth.But Maeda walked the leadoff hitter, John Jaso, on four pitches and gave up a single to Starling Marte that brought McCutchen up again with no outs.Despite the warning signs — including a significant jump in the offensive numbers of opposing hitters in Maeda’s third time through a lineup — Roberts stuck with the right-hander, hoping to get some kind of length out of a starting pitcher other than Clayton Kershaw.“I thought Kenta was throwing the ball well,” Roberts said. “You’ve gotta let each game develop itself, and something like that, there’s nothing else we can do. We’ve got to let our starters try to get outs.”Maeda got none in the sixth inning. He fell behind McCutchen again and allowed a three-run home run on a 3-1 fastball this time.“They were both situations where I fell behind in the count and he took advantage of a mistake,” Maeda said through his interpreter. “Ideally, I should have been ahead in the count but I wasn’t able to execute my gameplan.”His night was done at that point. It was the 30th time in 76 games this season a Dodgers starting pitcher left without retiring a batter in the sixth inning.“My job is to go deep into games and give my team a chance to win the game,” Maeda said. “So, yes, it is frustrating to not be able to do the job.”Joe Blanton replaced Maeda and gave up a two-run home run to Jordy Mercer later in the sixth. After the inning, Blanton took out his frustrations with an assault on the water cooler in the Dodgers’ dugout, doing more damage than the Dodgers’ hitters could on the field.“It’s hard to go out there and put up five runs every single night,” Roberts said. “But I do see us coming out of it. I really do.” PITTSBURGH >> If it’s not one thing, it’s another.Just when the gaping hole in their starting rotation threatened to take all of the Dodgers’ attention, their offense tossed in the kind of unproductive night that has been distressingly common throughout the first three months of the season.For five innings against Pirates starter Jeff Locke, the Dodgers had no baserunners. Then they stranded six in scoring position over the final four innings of a 6-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates Saturday night.When the Dodgers came to town, they had won a season-high six consecutive games while the Pirates had lost 13 of their previous 15 with a pair of five-game losing streaks. Those fortunes have reversed in the first half of a four-game series. Andrew McCutchen was also suffering through the worst offensive season of his career and had not hit a home run at PNC Park since May 2. He hit two off Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda on Saturday, driving in four runs.“He’s one of the elite players in the game,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “You know he’s going to come out of it at some point in time. You just hope we’re out of town when that happens.”Roberts has been saying much the same thing about his offense for most of this season, vowing that experienced players would play to their histories and the production would be there. There have been signs of that recently, with the Dodgers scoring enough to support a six-game winning streak.But they were held in Locke-down for the first five innings Saturday as the Pirates left-hander with an ERA north of 5.00 retired the first 15 Dodgers batters he faced, taking a perfect game into the sixth inning. Back-to-back doubles by Scott Van Slyke and A.J. Ellis put an end to that and produced the Dodgers’ only run of the game.“He was locating, keeping you off balance,” Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager said. “He didn’t give in on hitter’s counts and we didn’t make him work hard enough the first five innings, that’s for sure.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more