Young players are stepping up in spring football practice

first_imgJunior wide receiver Michael Pittman runs down the field during spring practice. (Josh Dunst/Daily Trojan) There are a handful of players who seem to have made strides from where they were last year and look poised to step up for the Trojans. Freshman defensive back Britton Allen has shown promise, offering impressive tenacity in the secondary with a penchant for stripping out the ball. Sophomore Devon Williams has been putting together his unique combination of top-end speed and incredible length at 6-foot-4 to become a dangerous receiving weapon. Besides tangible changes to the team’s offensive strategy, there’s been a concerted effort to change elements of the team philosophy as a whole with toughness and discipline at its core. The team as realized it needs to work on accountability after a 2018 season that saw them average almost 14 penalties per game, and the coaching staff is determined not to let that happen again. Former offensive coordinator Tee Martin has been replaced by former University of North Texas head coach Graham Harrell. Harrell brings with him the dynamic air-raid offense; a system that’s spread quickly across the college football landscape in recent years, yet has never appearing at USC until now. The Trojans have long maintained a traditional pro-style offense, built on deep drops from under center, long developing routes and multi-level reads. The air-raid, on the other hand, emphasizes stretching the field both horizontally and vertically, generally putting the quarterback in a shotgun alignment and allowing him to make quick and often simple reads. There are now live referees  throwing flags on any penalties at every practice. It’s already seemed to have paid rapid dividends, as there’s been a noticeable drop in violations since the first day of practice. Whether or not it carries over to real games will remain to be seen, but it’s a promising start. Two weeks into Spring Football, it’s already clear that the Trojans will be doing things very differently this year. Looking to bounce back from their worst season in 19 years, head coach Clay Helton and his staff have are shaking things up across the board. The system encourages simplicity from players across the formation, allowing them to focus more directly on executing  individual tasks without needing to process the entirety of the play. Multiple players have mentioned that the simplicity of the air raid allows them to “play fast,” relieving them of the weight of processing too many moving parts during each play. That difference has shown on the field, with the offense running a surprisingly high number of offensive plays in practice for this early in the offseason. Although a two-week sample size isn’t much to work with, a number of players already seem to be ready to serve as key contributors for the upcoming season. Some are unsurprising — veteran receivers Tyler Vaughns and Michael Pittman, linebacker John Houston and defensive tackle Jay Tufele have all shown up to work, picking up from where they left off. The shift to the air raid has been evident in almost every aspect of practice so far. There’s been an emphasis on letting the offense just run, even this early into training without the absorption of an entire pro-style playbook. Redshirt junior receiver Tyler Vaughns, now one of the team’s upperclassmen, commented on the benefits of that fact. Some of last year’s impact freshman also seem to be in their stride — linebacker Palaie Gaoteote has remained a standout and receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown has been as consistent as ever. Talanoa Hufanga had been looking even better at safety than he did last year, though an injury in Saturday’s practice makes his future status unclear. Hufanga had a fantastic freshman season until a collarbone injury took him out for the year. The same injury that seems to have been re-aggravated despite his non-contact designation in practice. “We’re getting more live reps which I like,” Vaughns said. “We’re getting more team reps and everything like that, so it’s really helping us as an offense.” Two sophomores who played a very limited role last year have stepped up in these two weeks. Running back Markese Stepp, buried on the depth chart for most of last year, has been a force on the practice field. Stepp is a runaway freight train at 235 pounds, bulldozing defenders with regularity. With the sidelining of Stephen Carr and Vavae Malepeai to the flu, Stepp has received many first team reps and shown showing ability to catch the ball out of the backfield along with being a punishing runner. On the other side of the ball, sophomore cornerback Isaac Taylor-Stuart missed most of last season due to injury after playing mostly special teams early in the year, never receiving an opportunity to play real game snaps on defense. Taylor-Stuart is tremendously gifted as an athlete, with blazing speed to go with his impressive frame of 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, but his lack of refined technique held him back in the early stages of his freshman year. However, he’s become one of the first-string corners and his continued improvement could be one of the most important factors in the success of the Trojan defense come fall.last_img read more

Barcelona Aim For German Star In January – Spanish Reports

first_imgReports in Spain claim league leaders Barcelona are interested in a January transfer for highly-rated German international Leon Goretzka.The 22-year old Schalke 04 midfielder produced series of impressive performances for Germany as they won the FIFA Confederations Cup this summer and that has alerted clubs like Bayern Munich, Juventus and AC Milan to his immense qualities.His contract at the Gelsenkirchen Arena expires in June 2018 and the club is ready to cash in on him in January with the added incentive of him moving away from other Bundlesliga rivals through the move to Barcelona, according to El Mundo Deportivo.The report added that the Spanish giants would be willing to include midfielders like Rafinha, Andre Gomes and Arda Turan in any deal.Goretzka joined Schalke 04 from VfL Bochum in 2013 for €3.25m (£2.9m) and has developed to be one of the most sought after players in the German Bundlesliga.The tall midfielder, presently rated at over €25m (£22.3m), contributed eight goals and six assists in 41 competitive games for Schalke 04 last season.Relatedlast_img read more

USA Gymnastics files for bankruptcy after sex-abuse scandal

first_imgLights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew USA Gymnastics filed the petition in Indianapolis, where it is based. It faces 100 lawsuits representing over 350 athletes in various courts across the country who blame the group for failing to supervise Larry Nassar, a team doctor accused of molesting them. Nassar, 55, worked at USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University for decades. He is serving effective life sentences for child porn possession and molesting young women and girls under the guise of medical treatment.Kathryn Carson, the recently elected chairwoman of USA Gymnastics’ board of directors, said the organization’s goal is to speed things up after mediation attempts failed to gain traction.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSJapeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for GinebraSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back Chriss“Those discussions were not moving at any pace,” Carson said. “We as a board felt this was a critical imperative and decided to take this action.”The filing does not affect the amount of money available to victims, which would come from previously purchased insurance coverage, she said. Carson said the insurance companies “are aware we’re taking this action and our expectation is they will come to the table and pay on our coverage.” Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award MOST READ ‘Mia’: Rom-com with a cause a career-boosting showcase for Coleen Garcia LATEST STORIES No.13 lucky for Orlando Bloom Japeth Aguilar embraces role, gets rewarded with Finals MVP plum FILE – In this Feb. 26, 2014, file photo, the USA Gymnastics logo is displayed at AT&T Stadium during an news conference announcing in Arlington, Texas. USA Gymnastics has filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, as it attempts to reach settlements in the dozens of sex-abuse lawsuits it faces and to forestall its potential demise at the hands of the U.S. Olympic Committee.(Ron Jenkins/Star-Telegram via AP)USA Gymnastics is turning to bankruptcy in an attempt to ensure its survival.The embattled organization filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition on Wednesday in an effort to reach settlements in the dozens of sex-abuse lawsuits it faces and to avoid its potential demise at the hands of the U.S. Olympic Committee.ADVERTISEMENT Nicholas Georgakopoulos, a bankruptcy expert and law professor at the Indiana University’s Indianapolis campus, said USA Gymnastics is “hoping for a miracle” with its legal maneuvering.“The USOC says you violated this relationship, here are the consequences and USA Gymnastics is saying it filed for bankruptcy, there are no consequences,” Georgakopoulos said. “This is like a gambling addict who goes to the casino and gambles every day and one day the casino says you can’t come anymore, you’ve lost too much, and addict says, I filed for bankruptcy, you can’t stop me from coming to the casino.”If the USOC wants to go forward with decertification, it must now go to court.USA Gymnastics has no timetable on how long the bankruptcy process will take and did not offer a ballpark on how much it expects to pay in settlements. Its doors, however, remain open for business.“We are continuing to pursue all aspects of our current operating model,” Carson said. “This affords us an opportunity to reorganize as well as resolve the claims with the survivors.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Nextcenter_img After winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folk Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college Flying high View comments Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil Carson added: “This is not a liquidation. This is a reorganization.”John Manly, an attorney representing dozens of women who have pending lawsuits against USA Gymnastics, chastised the organization for continuing to “inflict unimaginable pain on survivors” and encouraged law enforcement officials to “redouble” their investigative efforts.“Today’s bankruptcy filing by USA Gymnastics was the inevitable result of the inability of this organization to meet its core responsibility of protecting its athlete members from abuse,” Manly said in a statement. “The leadership of USA Gymnastics has proven itself to be both morally and financially bankrupt.”USA Gymnastics insists that’s not the case, stressing that the filing is based on legal expediency, not fiscal distress.While Carson acknowledged that sponsorship is down since the first women came forward against Nassar in the fall of 2016, she described the financial condition of USA Gymnastics as “stable.”ADVERTISEMENT Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup title Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. USA Gymnastics reported assets in a range of $50 million to $100 million and a similar range of liabilities, with 1,000 to 5,000 creditors. The organization said its largest unsecured creditor is former president and CEO Steve Penny, who is owed $339,999.96. USA Gymnastics is disputing Penny’s claim, though attorney Cathy Steege declined to get into the specific nature of the dispute.Penny resigned under pressure from the USOC in March 2017. Two other presidents — Kerry Perry and former U.S. Rep. Mary Bono — have followed in what has become a revolving door amid the organization’s hierarchy.It’s that chaos at the top that led the USOC to initiate the process of removing USA Gymnastics as the sport’s national governing body at the Olympic level — a step that’s taken only under the most extreme circumstances.In an open letter to the gymnastics community in November, USOC CEO Sarah Hirshland said “you deserve better,” and that the challenges facing USA Gymnastics were more than it was capable of overcoming as currently constructed.Carson said the legal maneuvering Wednesday delays the USOC’s efforts to strip its designation as a national governing body.“We always have a dialogue going with them and intend to make it clear with them we have a lot to talk about and we want to keep that going,” she said.USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky said the committee is reviewing the filing’s potential effect on decertification. “Financial stability and viability are essential for a national governing body to operate in the best interests of the athletes,” Sandusky said.USA Gymnastics believes bankruptcy protects it from having opportunities or assets taken away by a debtor. Carson acknowledged that being a national governing body “is a big part of how we raise our revenue.”Carson, who replaced Karen Golz as chairwoman last week, said she accepted the position because she believes in the direction of USA Gymnastics, which she said doesn’t need money but rather time.“We think we’re changing the dynamic and we certainly believe that we will try to remain the NGB,” Carson said. “To be clear, it is our lawyers’ firm belief that the bankruptcy will automatically stay (decertification) … and we will work with the USOC to regain credibility.”last_img read more