Falcons Roddy White to Miss First Game of His

Atlanta Falcons receiver Roddy White will sit out his first game ever in his nine-year career this Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.Placed on the Falcon’s injury report Friday, White was one of the team’s three starters listed as out for Sunday’s game.The four-time Pro Bowler hurt his left hamstring in Week 5, when the Falcons lost to the New York Jets and he hasn’t participated in practice since. Before the hamstring troubles, the Falcons’ career-leading receiver played the first five games with a ankle injury, and only caught 14 passes for 129 yards.Atlanta (1-4) will also play against Tampa Bay (0-5) without running back Steven Jackson (hamstring) and left tackle Sam Baker (knee). Whether starting middle linebacker Akeem Dent (knee) will play is also questionable. read more

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Suspended Josh Gordons Behavior Impacts More Than Just Him

In general, NFL receivers are known as “divas,” high-maintenance players who need the ball and attention—and are quick to let it be known.Josh Gordon of the Cleveland Browns is more that a “diva.” He’s a diva with issues, and that’s why he finds himself suspended and seeking to become a free agent, although his contract with the team is not up until 2016.For a player who has been suspended by the league for substance abuse violations and DUI arrests but is still in the league, it would stand to reason that he would be the poster child for showing up on time or anything else that depicts he appreciates his status in the league.And yet yesterday, Gordon missed a team meeting the day before the final game of the season. The Browns, who covet his immense talents, are frustrated by the uncertainty Gordon brings, and put him on the reserve/suspended list.This is significant because Gordon’s behavior impacts others who come behind him, young receivers with a controversial past that teams might back away from with Gordon in mind. Is that young player worth the potential trouble?That’s how it is—in the NFL and in business: The Black employee before you sets the standards, creates the opportunities or blows the opportunities for the Blacks that come behind you. It goes without saying that white employees don’t carry the same burden. Someone like former Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Richie Incognito gets in trouble for being a bullying a teammate, but his misdeeds have no burden on others who come behind him because his actions are not a barometer for young white offensive lineman. That’s just how it is.Gordon, meanwhile, is on a self-destructive, selfish path, unable to see beyond his needs and into a bigger picture of leading.Dez Bryant of the Dallas Cowboys came off originally as a “diva” who would be an issue for the team. He had legal issues and was bashed for acting out on the sideline when he did not get the ball. Bryant righted himself, however. He has had no troubles off the field and has been among the best, most lethal receivers in the NFL.Bryant’s success is being offset by Gordon’s mess. The Brown receiver is talented as all get out: He led the league in receiving last year. He’s big and fast and has sure hands. But he is unsure of his future.Gordon, who has missed 12 games due to suspensions in the last two years, was set to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2015 season but needed to play six games—or be paid for six game weeks—to get the accrued season in 2014. Now he won’t become an unrestricted free agent until after the 2016 season, since players must have four NFL seasons to reach such status, unless he is successful in his efforts to get paid for his Week 17 absence.If he does not get paid for this week, he will be a restricted free agent after the 2015 season, meaning the Browns would have the right to match an offer sheet if he signed one with another team.By then, depending on what he does, the Browns might not want Gordon on their squad, which would be a shame considering his youth (23) and talent. Between then and now, maybe someone will impress upon Gordon that his behavior impacts more than just himself. Maybe if he understood that he’s influencing the impressions of others behind him he will straighten up and be a leader and abandon the nonsense. It would serve a lot of people, including himself, well. read more

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Black Hockey Star Joel Ward Says He Wont Protest

San Jose Sharks right wing Joel Ward lines up against the Arizona Coyotes during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — San Jose Sharks forward Joel Ward says he has decided not to protest by kneeling during the national anthem.Ward had said he was considering a protest to raise awareness to the issues of racial inequality and excessive force by police against minorities in the United States. But he said Thursday that he doesn’t want the focus to be on the anthem and wants to work on bringing minorities and law enforcement together.Ward says he wants to spend more time talking about these issues in the locker room, at kitchen tables and in the community.The 36-year-old Ward, one of about 30 black players in the league, is from Canada. read more

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Heres Why the Rangers Will Face Their Toughest Test in the Stanley

Erasing the doubts cast by their shaky 7-4 loss on Tuesday, the New York Rangers stifled the Montreal Canadiens at every turn Thursday night, winning 1-0 and closing out the NHL’s Eastern Conference finals. New York is now four wins away from the Stanley Cup. The Rangers dominated the flow of play in Game 6, particularly on defense, where they yielded just 18 shots (all of which were turned aside by goaltender Henrik Lundqvist).It was a master class in shutting a team down, but it’s also somewhat uncharacteristic of this Rangers team. During the regular season, New York was an excellent offensive team in terms of creating chances (it ranked fourth in Fenwick events — that is, shots directed at the net, excluding blocks — per 60 minutes of 5-on-5 action), but were merely average (14th) at preventing those same types of chances on defense. Yes, part of the Rangers’ blueprint has always been to rely on Lundqvist to make saves, but their defense usually makes him work more than it did Thursday.In the playoffs, the Rangers’ offense-first tendencies have only been amplified. The following table lists how New York has done at generating and preventing Fenwick events per 60 minutes of 5-on-5 ice time, relative to the playoff-wide average rates (stats courtesy of the fantastic ExtraSkater.com). In addition, it lists how we’d expect them to perform against each opponent, based on those opponents’ regular-season numbers relative to the league average.For example, the Rangers’ rate of Fenwick events per 60 minutes of 5-on-5 play against the Philadelphia Flyers was 10.3 greater than the playoff-wide average. But the Flyers also allowed two more events per 60 minutes than the average team during the regular season, so the Rangers’ performance was more like 8.3 Fenwick events per 60 minutes better than an average team.The difference between the actual and expected rates is, theoretically, how the Rangers have performed relative to average after accounting for their strength of schedule. By that measure, New York’s offense has played above average (if below its regular-season standards), while its defense has been worse than the norm, even after effectively shutting down Montreal for most of the Eastern Conference finals. This is consistent with the Rangers’ regular-season profile of a good offense and middling defense, despite the deep playoff run.Of course, in the end, it doesn’t matter whether a team generates chances on offense or prevents them on defense, as long as it manages to control possession of the puck. But that’s why the Rangers might be in for an uphill battle in this Stanley Cup Final, regardless of whether the Los Angeles Kings or Chicago Blackhawks prevail. Those teams finished the regular season No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in close-score Fenwick percentage, which measures a team’s share of all unblocked shots directed at either net during its games. The Rangers finished sixth, and they haven’t really done much to suggest they’ve improved in that area since the postseason commenced. (In fact, their 50.5 Fenwick percentage in the playoffs is below what we’d expect an average team to have done against their slate of opponents.)Fenwick isn’t the be-all and end-all, but it has a good track record when it comes to postseason success. And that, coupled with the West winner’s home-ice advantage, suggests the Rangers are unlikely to be favored when the Final starts Wednesday. read more

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This Down Year Could Be Good For Anthony Davis After All

Dwyane Wade*2007-08+3.0+8.4-5.40.2 Richard Jefferson*2006-07-1.8+3.0-4.80.3 Ray Williams1982-83-0.4+3.9-4.31.0 Tony Parker*2009-10-1.7+3.1-4.80.4 Bill Cartwright1988-89-4.8+0.9-5.70.1 Kevin Willis1994-95-3.2+1.1-4.32.4 Donyell Marshall2005-06-0.7+3.9-4.62.1 PLAYERYEARBPMPREVIOUS SEASON BPMCHANGELIKELIHOOD OF CHANGE Chris Paul*2009-10+4.9+11.2-6.30.0 Even as Stephen Curry and LeBron James were dueling under the bright lights of the NBA Finals last season, the league’s collective presumption was that both would soon have to make room for Anthony Davis as the face of the NBA’s future. But by the time the postseason rolls around this year, almost certainly without Davis and his New Orleans Pelicans in it, that presumption may be due for a re-examination — and not just because Curry has only gotten more superlative since June.Davis has stalled out this season. The Pelicans are significantly worse than they were a year ago, and Davis’s own numbers have endured a major setback. By Box Plus/Minus, his dip from +7.1 in 2014-15 (sixth in the league) to a mere +2.5 (33rd) this year is tied for the 11th-biggest single-season decline since the NBA introduced the 3-point shot in 1979-80.1Among players who logged at least 1,500 minutes in back-to-back seasons. Bob Sura*2000-01-2.8+2.1-4.90.9 Mookie Blaylock1999-00+0.2+4.9-4.71.2 Kenny Anderson*1997-98-0.6+5.0-5.60.3 Biggest single-season drops in Box Plus/Minus Anthony Davis2015-16+2.5+7.1-4.60.2 Lance Stephenson*2014-15-3.5+2.3-5.80.0 Kevin Love2014-15+1.9+8.4-6.50.1% * = Missed 20 or more games during the seasonSource: Basketball-Reference.com Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf1996-97-3.5+1.1-4.60.7 Based on Davis’s track record going into the season, we’d have predicted there was only a 0.2 percent probability of his numbers slipping as drastically as they have.It’s not all bad or all Davis’s faultSome of these struggles can be explained, however, and some portion of Davis’s offensive drop-off — from a BPM of +4.2 at that end of the floor to +1.0 — may even be in the service of an expanding all-around game. For instance, during his first three NBA seasons, Davis scarcely ever wandered out to the 3-point line — fewer than 1 percent of his field-goal attempts came from beyond the arc those years — but this season 9.2 percent of Davis’s shots have been launched from downtown. He hasn’t been very accurate out there, converting about 32 percent of his 3-point tries (the league average is 35 percent), and it’s an obvious drain on his offensive efficiency when the alternative is making 51 percent of his 2-point attempts (the equivalent of making 34 percent on threes). But the eventual development of a reliable deep jumper would make Davis the most frightful scorer this side of Curry.And many of Davis’s statistical markers are down because he’s being asked to do a little more with a lot less. Before the 2014-15 season, a simple projection of the Pelicans’ roster would have called for their offense to be 0.3 points better than average (per 100 possessions) even if Davis were swapped out for an average player;2With Davis, New Orleans finished 2.6 points above average per 100 possessions. this season, the same process would have predicted an offense 1.3 points below average (again per 100 possessions) without Davis.3With him, the team is 0.6 points below average per 100 possessions. Eric Gordon, Jrue Holiday and Ryan Anderson are a solid (offensive) trio to have on your side, but Davis has also shared the floor often with a steaming pile of Alonzo Gee, Dante Cunningham, Norris Cole and Omer Asik.Downturns in the quality of a player’s teammates aren’t always associated with declines in personal offensive performance, but in Davis’s case, it does help explain some of why his usage rate has risen, his scoring efficiency is down and his turnovers are up. And in addition to Davis’s increased offensive responsibility, New Orleans has focused on getting him more low-post touches; according to Synergy Sports Technology, Davis’s number has been called on the low block about 1.3 more times per game than a year ago, with post-ups now making up over 18 percent of Davis’s total offensive plays. This helps account for why Davis isn’t notching as many helpers (per SportVU data from NBA.com, assists are about 20 percent less common on post touches) and may even explain why his rates of putbacks and other offensive boards are also down. (Anecdotally, Davis spent plenty of time following up on teammate misses last year; that has become less possible this season with the ball in his hands so often.)But what about that defense?With his combination of athleticism, mobility and length — including an albatross-like 7-foot-5.5-inch wingspan — Davis is the prototypical defensive big man for an era that favors speed over mass. It’s hardly unreasonable to expect a player with his off-the-charts attributes to at least anchor a solid defense, and during his first three seasons, Davis was on track to do just that. Over that span, he tied for the seventh-best defensive BPM of any player aged 21 or younger since 1973-74, and his defensive Real Plus-Minus4An even more accurate performance metric than BPM — but only available for recent seasons — that augments box-score stats with play-by-play data to estimate a player’s on-court impact after controlling for the quality of his teammates and opponents. was even better. He was, without question, following the same defensive path laid out by Tim Duncan, Dwight Howard and Kevin Garnett early in their careers.This season, though, Davis hasn’t traced the same trajectory. At age 22, Duncan, Howard and Garnett were averaging a defensive BPM of +3.0,5That is, they were 3 points better than an average player for every 100 possessions they played. and their teams averaged a defensive rating 3.3 points better than the NBA average per 100 possessions. By contrast, Davis’s defensive BPM is only +1.5 — his RPM, at +1.9, isn’t much better — and his Pelicans are carrying a defensive rating 2.5 points worse than the NBA mean.It should not come as a surprise to hear that the rest of the Pelicans roster stinks defensively. The guards are mostly sieves (here’s looking at you, Holiday, Gordon and Norris Cole!), Davis’s frontcourt partner Anderson is one of the league’s worst defensive bigs, and the plodding Asik, the only other Pelican capable of defending the paint, has been hobbled by injuries and is logging only 17 minutes a night in Alvin Gentry’s up-tempo scheme anyway (more on this later). But Davis’s teammates were equally putrid on D last year, and the team’s overall defensive rating has only gotten worse since then.Besides, the whole point of a metric like RPM is to filter out the distorting effects of a player’s teammates using a complex, regression-based methodology to isolate individual performance. And those stats say Davis’s defense is trending in the wrong direction: Among big men with as many minutes as Davis this season, only OKC’s Serge Ibaka has seen a bigger drop in defensive RPM since last season.A redefined defensive roleSo clearly something is off with Davis and the Pelicans’ defense. But at the granular level of simply assigning plays to individual defenders and tracking the efficiency they allow, it’s tough to account for the decline. According to Synergy, the distribution of play types that Davis defends against hasn’t changed much from a year ago. More than two-thirds of his defensive tasks still involve either grappling with pick-and-rolls (he switches to the ballhandler around 70 percent of the time) or closing out on a shooter who has inched away from the paint for a spot-up jumper, and he’s improved against both on a per-play basis. And although his post defense has been slightly less efficient this year, Synergy still classifies it as “average.”In other words, Davis’s individual defensive data points haven’t changed much from last season. But that’s also kind of the point — given the seismic shift that Davis’s defensive role has undergone, his numbers should have changed. In a roundabout way, that they haven’t helps explain why New Orleans’s defense has backslid.Simply put, these aren’t the same Pelicans as last season. Led by Gentry, they’re a much smaller, faster team than they were under Monty Williams in Davis’s first three seasons, and that’s required Davis to log far more time at center than he did a year ago. Back then, Davis spent more than half his minutes sharing the floor with Asik, a highly traditional defensive center who ranked among the league’s better rim protectors. Davis himself was below average by SportVU’s rim protection metrics, but he and Asik clicked as New Orleans’s best defensive combo because each made up for the other’s shortcomings.By contrast, less than a third of Davis’s court time this season has been spent alongside Asik, often leaving Davis as the Pelicans’ sole rim-protecting presence inside. It’s a role in which he’s improving — getting close to average this season, in fact, according to Nylon Calculus’s metrics — but still one to which he’s not fully suited. The situation is made worse, of course, by the fact that nearly half of Davis’s minutes have come manning the 5 alongside a grievous defensive liability like Anderson. As APBRmetricians, we still don’t have great ways to account for these kinds of changes to a player’s role, particularly on defense, where with-or-without-you style plus-minus measures are so central to our method of evaluation.Earlier, I mentioned Duncan and Garnett as prototypes for Davis. But their best defensive teams — Duncan’s Spurs in 2003-04 and Garnett’s 2007-08 Celtics — had them playing power forward alongside lumbering behemoths like Rasho Nesterovic and Kendrick Perkins, much like Davis and Asik a year ago. Those combos worked in a league ruled by size, but they couldn’t be used for more than brief stints against, say, the 2015-16 Warriors. To compete in today’s NBA, Davis doesn’t get the luxury of playing power forward alongside a bulky pivot anymore.Instead, perhaps Howard’s 2008-09 Magic offer a template for the type of team that could eventually thrive around Davis, with a single dominant defensive center surrounded by tons of floor-spacing shooters. (Coincidentally, Anderson bridges the gap between Howard’s Magic and Davis’s Pelicans, having played a sort of Rashard Lewis 2.0 role on Howard’s final Magic squad.) Howard at 22 was much more of a rim protector and one-on-one post defender than Davis is now, so Davis still has a bit of work to do in those areas. But if everything goes right, he could blossom into a more versatile offensive player than Howard with a similar level of defensive impact.To do that, though, Davis first has to ride out the growing pains of this season. And if his game successfully adapts, Davis could find himself in the finals limelight like Curry and James sooner than we might think. read more

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Ohio State versus Tulsa delayed at halftime resumed at 635 pm

A message on the Ohio Stadium video board issuing a delay due to inclement weather. Credit: Nick McWilliams | Sports EditorThe Ohio State Buckeyes led Tulsa at halftime at Ohio Stadium by a score of 20-3, but it took a while before the game began in the second half.The first lightning strike was spotted at 5:25 p.m., the last one detected at 5:45 p.m. There was a 30 minute delay for every lightning strike detected within a 10 mile radius.Fans were told to seek shelter or exit the stadium. If fans chose to exit the stadium, their ticket will be honored for re-entry.The halftime show for the evening was cancelled.Rain began around the two-minute mark of the second quarter and continued through the rest of the game.The teams came back onto the field at 6:17 p.m.The second half got under way at 6:35 p.m. read more

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Ohio State remains at No 2 in AP Top 25 Poll

The Ohio State Buckeyes stayed put at No. 2 in Sunday’s latest Associated Press Top 25 Poll. OSU remained among the undefeated teams in the country following a comeback 30-23 victory over the now-No. 10 Wisconsin Badgers.Alabama claims the top spot by even a greater margin after dispatching Tennessee 49-10 on the road. The Crimson Tide earned 60 out of 61 first-place votes. The other team to earn the only other first place vote was Michigan who moved up to No. 3 after its bye week. The previous third-ranked team, the Clemson Tigers, held on in overtime at home to unranked North Carolina State. The Tigers dropped to No. 4 and Washington was ranked No. 5 for the second straight week. Nebraska jumped to No. 8 after the losses by Wisconsin and Tennessee. The Cornhuskers defeated Indiana 27-22 on the road.This is the second week in a row that four Big Ten teams are ranked in the top 10.OSU battles Penn State on the road on Oct. 22 at Beaver Stadium at 8 p.m. read more

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Ohio State mens soccer team struggles to score in seasonopening draws

Then-junior midfielder Yianni Sarris dribbles during a game against Cleveland State Oct. 27. OSU won, 1-0.Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editorIf early season matchups are any indication, offense and discipline might be a point of concern for the Ohio State men’s soccer team.OSU started its regular season with two games as part of the Bert and Iris Wolstein Classic this weekend and tied both games while scoring two total goals on top of being shown a total of two yellow cards and one red card. OSU’s opponents were issued a total of eight yellow cards and one red card between the two games.The Buckeyes (0-0-2) battled the University of California-Davis to a scoreless draw in double overtime Friday night, before having almost the same result — albeit with a total of four goals — against Butler University on a rain-soaked Sunday afternoon, resulting in a 2-2 tie.The first half of the Sunday matchup against Butler (1-0-1) ended with OSU failing to register a shot on goal as the two teams entered the half scoreless.The second half, on the other hand, was much more explosive.A frantic stretch began at about the 65th minute, when OSU junior defender Kyle Culbertson dove into the leg of Butler’s junior midfielder Vincent Mitchell. As Mitchell was lying on the ground, Culbertson was issued a red card, knocking OSU down to 10 men for the remainder of the game.Less than a minute later, despite being short-handed, sophomore forward Danny Jensen fought around with the ball in front of the net surrounded by three Butler defenders. His maneuvers were enough to draw a foul, and the referee whistled for a penalty kick.Buckeye junior midfielder Liam Doyle took the kick, and OSU saw a tally on the scoreboard for the first time.Doyle said being able to get that first goal — both of his OSU career and the team’s season — was a big relief and allowed the offense to press the issue less.That lead, however, disappeared before the offense had time to relax.The Bulldogs tied the game just 17 seconds later, when OSU senior goalie Alex Ivanov mishandled a shot from junior forward Jeff Adkins.The shot was hit straight at Ivanov, but the wet conditions appeared to make him fumble it and it rolled past the goal line.“(That goal) is just a blur to me, I try to block that out after it happened,” sophomore defender Tyler Kidwell, who was named to the Classic’s all-tournament team alongside Doyle, said. “I think the ball just got deflected, and somehow snuck in between the pipes. It was unfortunate.”Butler grabbed the lead at about the 74th minute when a connection between preseason All-Big East selections David Goldsmith and Zach Steinberger enabled Goldsmith to launch a shot past Ivanov.But, borrowing Butler’s strategy of answering a goal immediately, the Buckeyes scored less than a minute later. A scramble in front of the Butler net allowed senior midfielder Yianni Sarris to dribble a shot that crept over the line.“I’m extremely happy with our team,” coach John Bluem said. “A man down, we scored twice.”The lineups became even again during the 82nd minute, when Mitchell tackled OSU sophomore forward Christian Soldat with both feet, earning a red card. Soldat was down initially, but rose to his feet within seconds and did not leave the game.No more opportunities came in regulation, and the game again headed to overtime. The offensive opportunities regressed to first-half levels in the 20 minutes of overtime, and OSU had their second-consecutive draw to open the season.“(Butler is) a very, very good team,” Bluem said. “When you get to the end of the season and we look back on this result, I think that we’ll be pretty happy to come away with a 2-2 draw.”The Buckeyes’ season opener on Friday saw yellow cards outnumber total shots on goal seven to six between the two teams.“The game got a little bit chippy, I think, right from the very beginning,” Bluem said. “There (were) some hard challenges right away, so I think both teams got after it a little bit.”Both teams struggled for scoring opportunities in the game as UC-Davis totaled just three shots on goal while the Buckeyes had three shots on goal of their own on 21 total shots.“I think (the offense struggling) was something where, we were doing the right things, it just wasn’t — the final ball or that final pass wasn’t unlocking the defense,” junior midfielder Zach Mason said. “I think we had the right idea. It was just that execution of that final pass, that critical pass.”A scoreless opener was certainly not what Bluem was hoping to see after he said the majority of the offseason was focused on improving the offense. The Buckeyes were shut out nine times in 17 regular season games in 2013.However, Bluem said he wasn’t unhappy with the effort and chances his team created.“It’s a positive result. I think our guys feel like we should’ve won the game,” Bluem said. “Statistically, we dominated the game, dominated possession, corner kicks, shots, and the only thing we didn’t do is score.”The Buckeyes’ next games are set for Friday and Sunday in Wilmington, N.C., against the University of North Carolina-Wilmington and Elon, respectively, before returning home to face Northwestern on Sept. 14. read more

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Football How will Ohio State rotate running backs JK Dobbins and Mike

OSU freshman running back J.K. Dobbins (2) runs a play during the 2017 season opener vs Indiana. OSU won 49-21. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorOhio State running back Mike Weber was fully equipped, taped up and ready to play against Indiana in Week 1 if necessary. After the Buckeyes’ 49-21 victory, coach Urban Meyer said last year’s starter could’ve played, but was feeling “80 percent” and was “on call.”Once freshman J.K. Dobbins began taking handoffs, it became clear Weber, who had been dealing with a hamstring injury since the beginning of fall camp, wouldn’t be needed. Dobbins sliced through an Indiana defense that held Ohio State to just 13 first-half points, taking 29 carries for 182 yards. His rushing yardage total is the most of any freshman making his debut for the Buckeyes, and more than Weber rushed in any game last season.At Monday afternoon’s press conference, Meyer said Weber had a good practice, went full speed and will play against the Sooners Saturday night. Given the ascendance of Dobbins, Meyer and co-offensive coordinators Kevin Wilson and Ryan Day must determine how to split snaps and touches in future games.Ohio State redshirt sophomore running back Mike Weber (left) speaks with running backs coach Tony Alford (right) prior to the Buckeyes’ season-opening 49-21 win over Indiana on Aug. 31 in Bloomington, Indiana. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Sports EditorMeyer also said Monday he hadn’t determined how the tandem will rotate in Saturday night’s game against Oklahoma and reiterated the uncertainty the next day. “They’ll both certainly play and I think they’re good complements to each other,” Meyer said on the Big Ten coaches teleconference Tuesday afternoon. “Kind of remains to be seen on how we use it. But they’ll both play.”One possibility is that both Dobbins and Weber, who was just the third freshman to rush for more than 1,000 yard in school history, could share the field at the same time.“It just gives us a lot of options,” redshirt senior quarterback J.T. Barrett said. “Whether it be triple-option or things we have going on, all three of us having the threat to run, or having them getting out of the backfield and having them in routes as well. I think that it just opens a lot of things up for us offensively.”Regardless of how they rotate or whether they’re on the field at the same time, Dobbins’ and Weber’s teammates are acutely aware of how different they are and how that might allow them to complement each other.“[Dobbins is] kind of one of those guys who can get into those creases and be able to kind of just flip things and roll,” redshirt senior center Billy Price said. “Mike kind of is that bruiser. He is that guy that’s able to kind of get in there and if he needs a couple extra yards.”Barrett agreed with Price and mentioned Dobbins could benefit from Weber’s return because it will allow him to rest. Besides, having too much talent in the backfield is a problem most coaches would welcome. In running back coach Tony Alford’s performance self-review of the 2016 season, he wrote that Ohio State needed more production from its backup running backs. With Dobbins and a healthy Weber, that doesn’t seem to be a dire issue this year.Ohio State freshman running back J.K. Dobbins runs out of the tunnel prior to the Buckeyes’ season-opening 49-21 win over Indiana on Aug. 31 in Bloomington, Indiana. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Sports EditorAnd don’t be surprised if a couple other backs earn carries against Oklahoma.Against Indiana, sophomore Antonio Williams carried the ball seven times for 44 yards, finding the end zone twice. He played a similar role, albeit in a lesser capacity, to what Weber might play against Oklahoma. The 5-foot-11, 208-pound Williams had just six carries in 2016, and if Weber doesn’t feel fully healthy, Williams might be called into action in goal-line and short-yardage situations.Demario McCall was also listed as a running back on the first two depth charts of the season, though he said in August he was primarily working with the H-backs. Last year, as a freshman, McCall took 49 rushing attempts for 273 yards, showcasing his athleticism and explosiveness. However, on his call-in show on 97.1 last Wednesday, Meyer said he was still recovering from a sports hernia he suffered in the spring.Considering Ohio State’s seemingly never-ending search for a playmaker and its continued transition to the new coordinators’ style of offense, expect the Buckeyes to test different packages utilizing multiple running backs to confuse Oklahoma’s defense. Ohio State and the Sooners kickoff at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Ohio Stadium. read more

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Womens Basketball Ohio State guard Kelsey Mitchell named preseason AllAmerican

Ohio State then-junior guard Kelsey Mitchell (3) facilitates the offense against Purdue during the Boilermakers’ 71-60 win against the Buckeyes at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on March 4. Credit: Ashley Nelson | Station ManagerFor the third season in a row, Ohio State guard Kelsey Mitchell has been named an Associated Press preseason All-American.The high expectations are warranted for the senior who was a first-team All-American in 2016 and second-team All-American in 2015 and 2014. She has been honored as a first-team All-Big Ten member every season at Ohio State and was named Big Ten Player of the Year in 2015 and 2017.Last season, Mitchell led the Big Ten with 22.6 points per game and paced her team with 137 assists. As a freshman, Mitchell set the program record for most points in a season, then broke her own record the next season with 889 points. Though she has played just three seasons, the guard holds the record for most career 3-pointers (368).In the Buckeyes’ two exhibition games against Ashland and Urbana, Mitchell scored 53 points and 17 assists combined between both matchups. Mitchell’s season starts when the Buckeyes take on Stanford at 6 p.m. Friday at St. John Arena. read more

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