Besta FC makes NSL final

first_imgBESTA United PNG FC have proven bookies wrong after earning their first National Soccer League grand final while defending premiers Lae City Toti FC scaled a tight-rope finish in a penalty shootout for their third grand final appearance. Toti FC defeated Madang FC 5-4 in a penalty shootout of the other semi-final against Madang on Sunday. Crowd favourites FC Morobe Wawens missed out in a place for the grand final but it would be a sweet finish to their inaugural NSL 2018 season. The PNG Besta United FC will now take on Toti FC who are chasing their fourth consecutive title in the grand final in Lae on Saturday. Toti FC goalkeeper and Solomon Islands bound Ronald Warisan made up for miscalculated runoff from his goal mouth and sealed the 11-man penalty shootout with the winning goal for the 5-4 win against Madang FC. The scores were tied 2-2 at fulltime with Madang having a better luck throughout the match but didn’t have the capacity to hold off the sleek comeback by Toti FC, even if it was the dying seconds to full-time. Despite Madang dominance, Toti FC never let down their guards with captain Raymond Gunemba leading their charge for their comeback to eventually win. Madang FC striker Emmanuel Airem found the net early to lead 1-0 after Warisan left the goal mouth unattended in the first half and 15 minutes into the second half, Gunemba beat two defenders before setting Jacob Sabua for the equaliser. With the scores at 1-1 at full time, the game was forced into 20 minutes extra time and Madang’s supremacy mustered the tie breaker to midfielder Samuel Kini to lead 2-1. From there, Madang would just have to hold on but it was too much as they gave away a penalty through a hand ball. Gunemba found the target to see the scores level 2-2 at the end of extra time. And the fanfare continued to the third option of penalty shootout with scores again tied 3-all after the first five shots from both sides. The call for the next six to the penalty shootout weighed in on Madang FC claiming four out of six while Toti clipped one ahead for five out of six to win 5-4 in the end. Lae City Toti FC meet Besta PNG United in the 2018 NSL grand final on Saturday.last_img read more

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HUNTERS KUKIM with Howard Lahari

first_imgHi everyone n welcome to the 40th edition of Kukim. Game 1- PNG Kumuls Vs England Knights (Lae, October 27) Much has been said about the Kumuls’ woeful performance in their 12-16 loss, last Saturday to the visitors in front of a very poor crowd in attendance. Lae has always been renounced for their huge spectator base, but fell short in producing the expected bumper crowd. This is probably due to the high cost of gate fees at K50 per head or because of the Lae show which was held on the same weekend. Like the Prime Minister’s XIII game, we expected the Kumuls to win against a second string/development England team, but were beaten by the visitors who were more hungry and determined to win. The Kumuls had more opportunities to score in the second half but took wrong options, plus handling errors and giving away silly penalties were their own worst enemies. At the end of the game both sides scored 3 tries a piece, Watson Boas failed to convert (even one next to the goal posts) all tries, while the Knights converted 2/3 tries scored to win. The Kumuls uniforms too were terrible; I would urge PNG Rugby Football League to use the designated PNG colours for all Test matches by the Kumuls, while other colours like the one displayed last Saturday, can be used when playing on test matches n named “Emerging or development PNG team.” Game 2- PNG Kumuls Vs England Knights (Port Moresby, Saturday November 3) The Kumuls can win this game if they can; Cut down on errors and not to give away silly penalties; Their spine 6, 7 and 9 must control/coordinate and manage the game by spreading the ball out to the wings; Cut down on too many individual hit-ups; Quick play the ball; Convert all tries scored n option to kick for goal when close to the goal posts; And maintain strong and aggressive defence in gang tackles, apply similar one-on-one tackles displayed by Justin Olam last Saturday. EX PX RL Reunion November 24 The working committee had their first meeting last Saturday and all preparations are on target; PX polo shirts have been collected and will be printed accordingly 1X 15-seater bus has been organised and all will meet at Unagi oval and convoy to Sea Park, Gaire. we are expecting 30-40 former players and officials to attend so we urge everyone to make contact ASAP….Closing date is November 10. Good luck Kumuls! Kukim ol!last_img read more

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McLean ready to unleash for Cowboys

first_imgJOEL GOULD NRL.com Reporter Jordan McLean’s six super weeks of form to finish last season has North Queensland Cowboys powerbrokers convinced that the Kangaroos prop is set to start 2019 on fire as the club targets a return to finals football. Cowboys assistant coach Josh Hannay has also noted how McLean, now fully recovered from an ankle injury that led to him missing 14 games last year, is talking more at training and taking on more of a leadership role as he settles in to life in Townsville after five seasons at the Melbourne Storm. McLean averaged 155 metres per game in the final six rounds of 2018 and was key in four Cowboys wins. McLean, in cahoots with Jason Taumalolo and a revitalised Matt Scott, played a major role in steamrolling the opposition when coach Paul Green was able to bring him back on for the final quarter of the game. His performance in the team’s 34-30 win over the Broncos, where he was unstoppable on his way to running for 195 metres, was his best. “I thought Jordan was really strong for us at the start of last year before he got hurt, but at the back end of the year, in tandem with Matt Scott, he went to another level,” Hannay told NRL.com. “I just feel as though he is going to start the year off the way he finished last year where he was in phenomenal touch for us, and I think that is all about settling in. “No matter how good a player you are it still takes times to feel comfortable and fit in with your new surroundings and I just feel that 12 months on Jordan looks like Townsville is home for him now and he is speaking up a lot more on the training field. “He’s come to us from a really strong club obviously and already had all the good habits you hope for in an NRL player. He prepares himself really well and sets really high standards for himself. That is always a good thing when you get a new player who you don’t have to coach that into.” The Cowboys played the last two seasons with virtually one hand tied behind their backs. There were the lengthy absences of Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott in 2017 and then last year Michael Morgan and McLean both missed significant slabs of the season. They were notably a better outfit when McLean returned for the final six rounds. “He complemented Jason Taumalolo and all the other forwards by adding a different dimension to our pack,” Hannay said. “A lot of our middles are quite stocky in build but Jordan is that big, tall athletic front-rower and gets around the park really well. “It is no fluke he is an Australian front-rower and I’d say he is a really strong chance of getting his first taste of Origin footy this year. He is still relatively young and has his best football in front of him.” McLean won a World Cup with the Kangaroos but is yet to represent the NSW Blues, a scenario he hopes to rectify this year. Getting in a full season with the Cowboys will help towards that end. “It would be nice to play a few more than 10 games and hopefully the rest will take care of itself after that,” McLean said. “We had an emerging camp and (Brad Fittler) let everyone know what was expected of them if they want a (Blues) jumper. Hopefully throughout the year I can do my job, and if it leads to that I’ll be very happy.” McLean is one of several experienced Cowboys keen to take on more of a leadership role in the wake of Johnathan Thurston’s retirement.last_img read more

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Tumbe names train on squad

first_imgBy KEVIN TEME Last year’s semi finalist of the Digicel Cup rugby league competition Waghi Tumbe has announced its 45 men extended squad. The team mostly selected from the Jiwaka Governor’s Cup and the Coca Cola Ipatas are mostly new faces in the Digicel Cup arena however team manager Joe McConner believes the team can do well if the players can understand the coach and know what the coach is expecting them to do. “The coach is looking forward to a big year and in the next two weeks will be crucial week for all these new faces in the team to vie for a spot in the final 25 men squad that will be announced later next month,” Tumbe’s team Manager Joe McConner said. Tumbe has recalled head coach Francis Ray to lead the team for another season. Ray who was out of contract for this year after Tumbe’s pioneer sponsor Guru Construction Company stepped down from sponsoring the team due to infighting of the naming rights sponsorship between Jiwaka Development Corporation (JDC), the business arm of the Jiwaka Provincial Government and Guru Construction Ltd. It is however revealed in this week’s press conference that the Tumbe’s Patron and Governor of Jiwaka Province Dr. William Tongap has recalled Ray to lead the team again in this year’s Digicel Cup challenge. Ray, a former Kumuls and Mt Hagen Eagles premiership winning captain thanked Jiwaka Governor and his board to receive him back into the team. “Thank you Governor William Tongap for giving me this opportunity to coach the team again this year,” Ray said. Ray said last year the team went all the way into the semi final and this year he is banking his hopes on finishing also in the top five spot. Ray also confirmed that this year, bulk of his players from last year have been contracted overseas and some have moved to other Digicel Cup cup franchise but he believes in building the home grown talents and admits he want to finish this season again in the top five. Tumbe’s team manager Joe McConner and his coach Ray sincerely thanked the Chairman of Selection headed by Ezikiel Ben for job well done in selecting the players for this year. “All the players are home grown talents and under the leadership of board chairman Paul Tumun, we fielded two teams from the train on squad in the Coca Cola Ipatas Cup which they did well by making the grand final and one won the title which is a positive sign for the new team that we’ve named today,” McConner said. Meanwhile the 45 extended men train on squad is Elijah Roltinga, John Onglo, Fedilis Sakipo, Presley Komble, Saki Peter, Francis Sam, Koso Badi, Jr Kale Menau, Ray Patrick, Micah Tom, Brian Kiripe, TJ Talu,  Sipa Korken, Wari Molu, Korken ABBA, Sam Tei, Frank Kagai, Samuel Bob, David Lapua, Emmanuel Waine, David Wena, Nelson Kumba, Job Kar, Jessie Mek, Best Dani, Daniel Tolie, Bruce Kawage, Moses Yora, Sam Ngend, Steven Billy, Havy Tull, Charley Kaipel, Salika Mathew, Joe Frank, Leo Malyie, Saki Lesley, Jim Frank, Joshua Nani, Levai Andrew, Daniel Pai, Israel Balio, Stanley Bob, Milex Winis, Adam Wek and Layton Lipu.last_img read more

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Smith, Archer hypnotise to leave second Test tantalisingly poised

first_imgCricket A mid-afternoon duel between two contrasting, charismatic characters eclipsed the match situation at Lord’s for a while. For once the back-page headlines were trustworthy. The critical contest was between Jofra Archer, England’s newest and fastest paceman, and Steve Smith, the indomitable former Test captain of Australia returning to his cherished natural habitat in the middle order, and it had a full house spellbound. True pace bowling has always been a compelling spectacle and on the sort of balmy day when a post-prandial nap had its attractions Archer and Smith commanded the absolute attention of everyone. The rhythmic clapping of spectators in time with Archer’s cruise to the crease kept even the well-lubricated awake. Sometimes the ball flew way over the outstretched gloves of Jonny Bairstow behind the stumps. It was a flamboyant cover drive from Smith that seemed to trigger Archer to press his accelerator to the limit. Australia’s finest was hit on the arm, which prompted him to flap at a couple short deliveries as the radar traced a cricket ball travelling in excess of 95mph. Then, on 80, Smith was felled by a short ball that struck his neck just below the helmet. He sank to the ground and stayed there for a while; eventually he was helped to his feet; the medics examined him. Smith wanted to stay but he was persuaded by the experts to go back to the pavilion. He must have been a bit disorientated since he set off without his precious bat, which was still lying at the crease. Out came Peter Siddle as we tried to gauge the significance of what we had just witnessed. Before long Siddle was dismissed by Chris Woakes and peering into the distance there was the sight of the new batsman fidgeting elaborately as he entered the playing surface. This was a new routine for Nathan Lyon; then, to general consternation, came the realisation that this was not Lyon but Smith. He proceeded to strike three boundaries from various parts of his bat, whereupon he padded up to a straight ball from Woakes. He reviewed the lbw and yet immediately set off for the pavilion. For once Smith was not in absolute control of the situation – and he had just missed out on his third consecutive century. Archer had bowled eight overs and taken 1-31 in that mid-afternoon spell, mundane-looking figures that disguised the significance of his spell. This was manna from heaven for any captain, pace on a different plane to ordinary mortals and for the first time in the series he had made Smith, the titan of Edgbaston, look like an ordinary mortal. Stuart Broad and Woakes took more wickets as Australia were bowled out for 250 but this was the day that Archer announced himself as a cricketer likely to adorn the Test scene for a long time provided he stays fit.last_img read more

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Milford ready to ‘pull trigger’ for Broncos at NRL Nines

first_imgRugby League The Broncos have high expectations that Anthony Milford is ready to “pull the trigger” at the NRL Nines in combination with new halves partner Brodie Croft as they set their sights on winning the title in Perth. Milford (pictured) trained with the Broncos squad yesterday and looked sharp as he targets a return to the form that led the Broncos to the 2015 grand final. Broncos assistant coach Kurt Richards will take charge of the team in Perth and he said the format of the Nines, combined with his new role, had Milford ready to unleash. “He is certainly the fittest he has been at the club but he will obviously be judged on what he does out on the park,” Richards said. “I am pretty excited to see that combination blossom between him and Crofty. “There’s plenty to expect from Anthony and being with someone like Brodie Croft will suit him well. “Anthony isn’t one to game manage a team and get them around the park and focus on his sets on the last play. He has Crofty who can do that job and he can sit back and keep his eyes on the opposition and pull the trigger when he needs to.” Milford last played a full pre-season at five-eighth in 2018 which was a year his kicking game went ahead in leaps and bounds. That season Richards worked closely with Milford at the Brisbane Lions indoor training facility in extra sessions which fine-tuned his accuracy. Last season Milford also played fullback but back in the playmaking role this year he has upped the ante with his kicking. “My role with him is working on his kicking game and I have noticed a big change in him. He has put a lot of time and effort into it like he did back in 2018 and I think he will reap the rewards at the back end of the season,” Richards said. “He has put the same, if not more, effort into it. We have Crofty there as well who is a natural kicker of the ball as well so I am pretty excited about it.” Club legend Corey Parker has come out of retirement to play for the Broncos and Richards said his game sense had already made an impact at training. Fans will see a more streamlined version of Parker than when he last played with the 37-year-old weighing in at 94kg, eight kilos less than his former playing weight. “Cozza trained with the team yesterday and he was quite good, he directed the young middles around the park and he was a real asset to us,” Richards said. “He’s pretty keen to get over there and give the Nines a crack. He’s still in good shape.” All confirmed NRL Nines squads The Broncos will play the Cowboys and the Storm in the pool stages at the Nines and have named a team brimming with speed and explosiveness. – nrllast_img read more

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Hardwork, commitment pays off for Ura

first_imgCricket It has been through hard work and commitment that has taken PNG Barramundis wicket keeper Tony Ura places he had never thought of travelling to. Also it would not have been possible if he was not for competing in the sport of cricket. And while Tony may agree that cricket is in the blood with his father and brother also playing the game, he is content of his achievement – furthering his career overseas after he was offered a contract to play in Australia. He took the opportunity both hands, packing his bags and leaving the shores of Papua New Guinea (Port Moresby) in 2011 to take up a six-month stint with the Rox-burg Park-Broadmeadows Cricket Club (now defunct) in Melbourne. While there, Tony ensured that he made use of the time going through probably theory lessons, drills, skills, techniques and practical exercises to equip himself and also taking part in competitions against other teams. Tony, who is described as an impact and an aggressive wicket keeper batsman, says he as a player has to stay focus and concentrate on the job ahead. “Yes, the first thing that comes to mind when heading to the crease is to watch the ball hard and play straight,” he contends. With the state-of-emergency extended for another two months due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, he says it has hampered his training and the opportunity to train with his team-mates for the T20 World Cup in Australia in October. However, one of the areas he will be concentrating on during training is his fitness. However, he utilizes the PNG Barramundis training program to do morning and afternoon sessions daily. “In the morning, I follow the Barramundis training program and in the afternoon, I spend some time doing some extras,” he said. Tony was also part of the Barramundis side that created history in Scotland last year at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup League from August 14-21. Reflecting back to that moment after the Barramundis qualified for the T20 World Cup, he said it was the best moment of his life. “I was happy with my performance, but I couldn’t continue in my batting performance to finish it off. It was the best moment of my life qualifying for T20 World Cup,” Tony added.last_img read more

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Taurama Aquatic Centre closure affects swimming activities

first_imgSwimming The sport of swimming in PNG has always been the quiet pride of this dynamic nation, having enjoyed great success at the national and International level both in competing and hosting events at the Taurama Aquatic Centre. It is a sport that provides club programs which include ‘Learn to swim’ (with the goal to teach children how to swim and to promote physical activity through swimming to protect people’s lives from the dangers of drowning), junior, intermediate and senior programs, said PNG Swimming Inc Secretary Carly Pini said in a statement yesterday. “Our elite programs are in place to prepare our PNG senior swimmers for the 2021 Oceania Championships in Fiji and the deferred 2021 Tokyo Olympics in Japan.” However, with the closure of the Taurama Aquatic Centre under the direction of the Government and Controller’s office, Club swimming in the National Capital District has come to a standstill. Pini said the events scheduled for later in the year have now been postponed including the Theodist National Championships and the FINA On Line technical official clinic. “We have already seen the devastating effects to our only other amateur swimming club based in Lae with the Sir Ignatius Kilage public 50m pool being closed since March, and will work closely with PNG Sports Foundation and National Sports Trust Limited in the hope, in the not too distant future, the pool facilities will be made available to the clubs again. As a responsible sporting organisation, PNG Swimming Inc remains obligated to the health and welfare of its athletes and will continue to keep abreast of all updated information it receives on COVID-19 risk assessment and how to protect yourself checklist provided by the Government and PNG National Pandemic Controllers office, WHO and FINA. The predicament we are now faced with is that the sport of swimming will close for an indefinite period of time which will amount to a long journey to recovery the longer it stays closed. The World Health Organization, South East Asia, has said, “Swimming in a well-maintained and chlorinated pool is safe,” and FINA having received confirmation of this through a recent study conducted by the University Medical Centre of Utrecht (NED) providing evidence that Covid-19 inactivation occurs in chlorinated water at conditions that are acceptable to swimmers. But with the closure of the pool facility, it is important our athletes stay fit and healthy (walk, run, gym) as exercise is a proven attribute to maintaining a healthy existence especially during this Covid-19 pandemic period, Pini said in the statement. PNG Swimming Inc has reached out to the PNG Sports Foundation, with a request to use the back entrance of the facility into the pool area and use the four lanes furthest away from the indoor facility to allow BASC to continue their training programs from 3pm to 5.30pm. “As an organization, we are completely aware and in agreement that the safety of our swimmers and the community at large is our number one priority,” Pini said. “We appeal to the PNGSF, NSTL and PNG Covid-19 Task Force to discuss how we can figure out a way to open up swimming for the clubs in Papua New Guinea that is Covid-19 safe and secure in the safest possible environment for all.”last_img read more

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Misery Index Week 4: Eviscerated in Eugene

first_imgUSA TODAYUCLA sees Josh Rosen as a help, not a hindrance, to its long-term plans That is not the résumé of a coach who is long for his current job, even given all the caveats of taking over a plummeting program and needing time to fix certain roster deficiencies. It’s not even necessarily all about Hazell, who went 12-5 against Mid-American Conference competition when he was at Kent State but is 1-3 against the same level of competition at Purdue.That’s a program problem as much as a coach problem. Of course, Hazell was hired to fix that particular problem and so far he has not done it. Even more than the results, however, is the sheer hopelessness of the situation. Is Purdue getting better? Is it recruiting well? Fans can take losses like Saturday — when Purdue missed two short field goals, then gave up the winning touchdown to a pretty good Bowling Green team with nine seconds left — if there’s a better future in sight. But what’s the better future for Purdue?4. Maryland: The best thing about Maryland football at the moment is that it has a verbal commitment from a high school senior named Dwayne Haskins. As these things go, Haskins was pretty much a must-get prospect for Randy Edsall.From just down the road in Potomac, Md., Haskins is rated as the No. 6 pro-style quarterback recruit in the country by 247Sports.com, and he is slated to be on campus next year. Saturday, Haskins Tweeted the following: “Strong in my commitment. I see the vision, it’s just not clear to those who are blind.”That’s good news for Edsall, who absorbed a 45-6 loss to West Virginia on Saturday just two weeks after Bowling Green came into College Park and won 48-27. That puts Maryland at 2-2 heading into a Big Ten gantlet of Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan State in the next seven weeks, which means a high probability the Terps will be 2-8 in mid-November.Regardless of what you think about Edsall (he worked miracles at UConn but has been decidedly average at Maryland) or what Maryland should be, that’s the kind of record that will get people talking about job security and whether it’s time for the school (and more specifically, Under Armour founder and chief booster Kevin Plank) to make a big move.Follow the road to the 2015 College Football Playoff at The Football Four, our home to rate and debate the nation’s best. .oembed-asset-link { background: #fff; border-bottom: 1px solid #e1e1e1; }.oembed-link-anchor { display: block; clear: both; }.oembed-link-thumbnail{ float: left; padding: 14px; }.oembed-link-thumbnail img { max-width: 78px; max-height: 60px; display: block; }p.oembed-link-title { font-size: 75%; color: #009BFF; margin: 0 14px; padding-top: 12px; font-weight:normal; text-align: left; line-height: 120%; }p.oembed-link-desc { font-size: 100%; color: #666; font-weight: normal; margin: 0 14px 14px 14px; font-family: ‘Futura Today Light’; text-align: left; line-height: 120%; } USA TODAYDefense helps Duke top No. 20 Georgia Tech 34-20 That doesn’t mean Helfrich is incapable of overseeing an operation the magnitude of Oregon football. Being in the right place at the right time is part of any successful career. But if the Oregon job opened tomorrow and you started over with a coaching search, where would he rank on the list of candidates? Would he even be on it?That’s the narrative Helfrich will have to deal with in recruiting and with a fan base that has gotten used to college football’s luxury life. Oregon bullied its way to the front of the line with creativity and swagger; now it will have to fight even harder to stay there.(Disclaimer: This isn’t a ranking of worst teams, worst losses or coaches whose jobs are in the most jeopardy. This is simply a measurement of a fan base’s knee-jerk reaction to what they last saw. The way in which a team won or lost, expectations vis-à-vis program trajectory and traditional inferiority complex of fan base all factor into this ranking.) 1. Oregon: Besides the fact Utah did literally whatever it wanted on Saturday and exposed the Ducks as pretenders, there’s a larger problem for Oregon. Its defense continues to be really, really bad, which means its offense will have to win shootouts to make any headway in the Pac 12. Oregon has given up 42 points to Eastern Washington, 31 to Michigan State, 28 to lowly Georgia State and now 62 to a Utah team that has never been described as explosive.Meanwhile, Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams was pulled in favor of Jeff Lockie, which exposes another problem for the Ducks. They essentially recruited Adams off Eastern Washington’s campus as a graduate transfer, thinking he would be a one-year bandage to bridge the gap between Mariota and whomever they anoint for 2016. But Adams has struggled, which isn’t surprising when you consider he couldn’t practice with the team all summer because of academic work he had yet to finish at EWU. It looks like a miscalculation all around for the Oregon coaching staff, which finds itself one-third of the way through the season still trying to get its arms around the most important position on the field. Without a functional quarterback, Oregon’s offense dies. This year, without a good defense to bail them out, that means Oregon dies. 2. Tennessee: He constantly cites analytics. He monitors his players’ sleep patterns. He pumps out recruiting videos and scours the rulebook for loopholes that allow him to create additional scholarship space every year. Butch Jones is the coaching king of little things that add up to a whole bunch of nothing when you’re standing on the sidelines in the heat of an SEC game and you’re judged not on what you know but what you do and how much nerve you’ve got.You can look for every edge, but unless you can process what’s happening right in front of you and prove to your players that you’re coaching to win, all the other stuff doesn’t matter. And now Tennessee fans are hip to the scam. This is not a dumb or entitled fan base. This is a group that has spent their passion and money trying to make up for the mistakes made by their administration when Phillip Fulmer was fired in 2008, only to get dumped on pretty much every day since.In an alternate universe, Tennessee would have swallowed its pride after the Lane Kiffin experiment and brought David Cutcliffe home. Stability. Class. Coaching acumen with no need for gimmicks. Those are the things Tennessee football should be about and could have been about under Cutcliffe. Now we’re sitting here and the Vols are 1-21 post-Fulmer against their primary rivals Alabama, Georgia and Florida. USA TODAYStock watch: Ohio State, Michigan State make it 1-2 for Big Ten USA TODAYCollege football’s Week 4 winners and losers USA TODAYTennessee’s Butch Jones should coach with common sense, not off a card .oembed-asset-link { background: #fff; border-bottom: 1px solid #e1e1e1; }.oembed-link-anchor { display: block; clear: both; }.oembed-link-thumbnail{ float: left; padding: 14px; }.oembed-link-thumbnail img { max-width: 78px; max-height: 60px; display: block; }p.oembed-link-title { font-size: 75%; color: #009BFF; margin: 0 14px; padding-top: 12px; font-weight:normal; text-align: left; line-height: 120%; }p.oembed-link-desc { font-size: 100%; color: #666; font-weight: normal; margin: 0 14px 14px 14px; font-family: ‘Futura Today Light’; text-align: left; line-height: 120%; } .oembed-asset-link { background: #fff; border-bottom: 1px solid #e1e1e1; }.oembed-link-anchor { display: block; clear: both; }.oembed-link-thumbnail{ float: left; padding: 14px; }.oembed-link-thumbnail img { max-width: 78px; max-height: 60px; display: block; }p.oembed-link-title { font-size: 75%; color: #009BFF; margin: 0 14px; padding-top: 12px; font-weight:normal; text-align: left; line-height: 120%; }p.oembed-link-desc { font-size: 100%; color: #666; font-weight: normal; margin: 0 14px 14px 14px; font-family: ‘Futura Today Light’; text-align: left; line-height: 120%; } It was such an improbable and amazing college football story. A plucky program in the Pacific Northwest that had no built-in reason to be a national power captured the imagination of fans, recruits and a multibillion-dollar shoe company and made them believe that anything was possible.For a solid half-decade, Oregon of all schools was going toe-to-toe with the best in the country; not just as a regional program that would need the stars to align for a Rose Bowl bid but as a legitimate national force and a mega-brand in college athletics that was cooler than Alabama and Notre Dame, more reliable than Texas and Michigan.But the question has lingered ever since Mark Helfrich became head coach a couple years ago: How much of the magic was Chip Kelly and Marcus Mariota, and how much was everything else?Today, the scales seem tipped in the direction of the two men who are now in the NFL.center_img .oembed-asset-link { background: #fff; border-bottom: 1px solid #e1e1e1; }.oembed-link-anchor { display: block; clear: both; }.oembed-link-thumbnail{ float: left; padding: 14px; }.oembed-link-thumbnail img { max-width: 78px; max-height: 60px; display: block; }p.oembed-link-title { font-size: 75%; color: #009BFF; margin: 0 14px; padding-top: 12px; font-weight:normal; text-align: left; line-height: 120%; }p.oembed-link-desc { font-size: 100%; color: #666; font-weight: normal; margin: 0 14px 14px 14px; font-family: ‘Futura Today Light’; text-align: left; line-height: 120%; } There are risks, though. What if better jobs open and the top-tier candidates go elsewhere, forcing Maryland to make a hire that doesn’t move the needle? What if a recruiting class that looks pretty good on paper and has a potential star quarterback in the fold falls apart amidst coaching changes? It’s a tough spot for Maryland, but a schedule that was set up for Edsall to get off to a fast start this year has turned into a nightmare.5. Arizona State: Todd Graham is the rare coach who does not mind pumping up preseason expectations. Every summer, he will gleefully tell reporters and fans that his team is the strongest, fastest, most well-conditioned, toughest and talented he’s ever coached. Even at Arizona State, a program with just three conference titles since joining the then-Pac 10 in 1978, Graham unabashedly talks about how close the Sun Devils are to winning national championships.It’s unusual for a coach to do that, especially at a non-blueblood program, but Arizona State has performed at least well enough under Graham’s watch for his claims not to be dismissed. Prior to this season, in fact, a number of national media types figured the Sun Devils were primed to make a run at the College Football Playoff — and Graham did nothing to dissuade them. But what happens when those expectations get thrown in the trash before the end of September? Well, you end up with a stadium that empties out by the third quarter (the nearby Mill Avenue bar scene can cheer up anyone) and a fan base that is questioning today whether Graham had a grip on his team’s strengths and weaknesses coming into the season.For some reason, Arizona State just isn’t a very good offensive team this year. In its two games against quality competition, Arizona State couldn’t move the ball against Texas A&M and got boat raced by USC, falling behind 35-0 at halftime before losing 42-14. Though on paper Arizona State should have plenty of firepower with players like Demario Richard, D.J. Foster and Kalen Ballage, it just isn’t working.The offensive line has been disappointing and quarterback Mike Bercovici has underperformed based his play last season when Taylor Kelly was injured. Maybe Bercovici has regressed, or maybe too much was made of a small sample size. Either way, Arizona State is one of the most disappointing teams in the country and seems headed for something like 7-5, if that.6. Arkansas: Mark this down. Arkansas is going to ruin someone’s season. For all the underperformance we’ve seen in September, the essence of what the Hogs were supposed to be is still hiding in there somewhere. We saw a glimpse of it Saturday when the Razorbacks ran for 232 yards against Texas A&M but collapsed at the end, losing 28-21 in overtime.The bad news is they are now 1-3 and their season is essentially over from the standpoint of fulfilling expectations. That’s done. Based on the remaining schedule it’s going to be a real struggle for Bret Bielema to make a bowl game. And though fans may be calling for his head, you can go ahead and forget about that. Based on the extension he signed after last season, Bielema would be owed $15.4 million if he’s fired before Dec. 31, 2017. That number is reduced to $11.7 the following year.In other words, unless Jerry Jones, the Tyson chicken people or the Wal-Mart folks are in the mood to write some really big checks, Arkansas and Bielema are tied to each other for a while. Pretty good for a guy who is 2-15 in the SEC. And when Arkansas inevitably knocks off Alabama or Ole Miss or LSU and delivers a big hit to the SEC’s national championship hopes, it’s only going to hurt that much worse because Arkansas fans will know it could have been so much better. .oembed-asset-link { background: #fff; border-bottom: 1px solid #e1e1e1; }.oembed-link-anchor { display: block; clear: both; }.oembed-link-thumbnail{ float: left; padding: 14px; }.oembed-link-thumbnail img { max-width: 78px; max-height: 60px; display: block; }p.oembed-link-title { font-size: 75%; color: #009BFF; margin: 0 14px; padding-top: 12px; font-weight:normal; text-align: left; line-height: 120%; }p.oembed-link-desc { font-size: 100%; color: #666; font-weight: normal; margin: 0 14px 14px 14px; font-family: ‘Futura Today Light’; text-align: left; line-height: 120%; } .oembed-asset-link { background: #fff; border-bottom: 1px solid #e1e1e1; }.oembed-link-anchor { display: block; clear: both; }.oembed-link-thumbnail{ float: left; padding: 14px; }.oembed-link-thumbnail img { max-width: 78px; max-height: 60px; display: block; }p.oembed-link-title { font-size: 75%; color: #009BFF; margin: 0 14px; padding-top: 12px; font-weight:normal; text-align: left; line-height: 120%; }p.oembed-link-desc { font-size: 100%; color: #666; font-weight: normal; margin: 0 14px 14px 14px; font-family: ‘Futura Today Light’; text-align: left; line-height: 120%; } USA TODAYSnap judgments from Week 4 in college football Meanwhile, Jones has played not to lose against Oklahoma and Florida this season and cost the Vols two huge victories. Even worse, he refuses to admit his mistakes and instead cites charts and analytics for baffling decisions any ninth grader with an XBox wouldn’t make. With Arkansas, Georgia and Alabama coming up, Tennessee’s season is suddenly teetering. 3. Purdue: You could make an argument that Purdue should have an emeritus spot on any college football Misery Index dating to, oh, 2004. But this is a particularly miserable era with a head coach in Darrell Hazell who has lost 23 of 28 games at Purdue. The five victories? They came against, in order, Indiana State, Western Michigan, Southern Illinois, Illinois and Indiana State (again!). Oregon’s days as the Pac 12’s dominant program are over after a 62-20 home loss to Utah, dropping the Ducks to 2-2.The Oregon aura didn’t die after losing a once-in-a-generation coach because it had a once-in-a-generation quarterback. Now that both are gone, the program looks pretty ordinary.It means the spotlight will now shift to Helfrich, who was good enough to guide Oregon to the national championship game last season. But with each loss, Helfrich will look more like the Ducks’ version of Larry Coker, who won a national title with overwhelming talent at Miami but was nothing more than a continuity hire who couldn’t keep the dominance going long term.Helfrich does not come from a royal pedigree. He was part of the failed Dirk Koetter regime at Arizona State and the offensive coordinator for three sub-.500 teams in three years under Dan Hawkins at Colorado. Without the good fortune of hooking on with Kelly, he would not have been a candidate for any FBS head coaching jobs. 7. Georgia Tech: Paul Johnson was right. The people who do the picking in the ACC preseason media poll have no clue what they’re talking about. Every year since Johnson has been at Georgia Tech, that has meant outperforming preseason expectations. This year, however, it appears that will mean a massive disappointment.After bullying through a number of quality teams late last season and becoming a trendy pick to win the ACC, the Yellow Jackets find themselves 2-2 and haven’t had much pop offensively in games against Notre Dame and Duke. Quarterback Justin Thomas, who looked unstoppable in the triple option last season, was just 6-for-21 passing against the Blue Devils with an interception and was limited to 58 rushing yards on 24 carries. As a team, Georgia Tech ran for 173 yards on 60 carries, which rarely will the job done.Of course, this kind of performance will bring out the extreme elements of the Georgia Tech fan base who complain about the option and the fact that Johnson doesn’t tend to recruit five-star types. But a more realistic assessment is that the Yellow Jackets lost more on offense from last season than most people wanted to acknowledge (including two very good wide receivers and pretty much all of its running back production) and that the margin for error is always going to be small at a program like Georgia Tech where it’s impossible to overwhelm good teams with talent. You can win big every so often, but you need execution and luck. Right now, it does not appear Georgia Tech will have those elements on its side for a second straight year.8. BYU: If you had told a BYU fan they’d make it through the first month of the season 2-2, most of them would have taken it in a heartbeat. Based on the opponents and locations 0-4 seemed like much more of a possibility than 4-0, and fans legitimately feared 1-3. So 2-2 is pretty good, really.But there are two problems. One, BYU just looked absolutely spent in Saturday’s 31-0 loss at Michigan. That probably shouldn’t have come as a surprise. At a time of year when most top-25 teams have played one or maybe two big games, BYU had faced Nebraska, Boise State, UCLA and Michigan, with the first three coming down to the final play (and doing it without injured starting quarterback Taysom Hill). That, unfortunately, is the price BYU is paying for choosing independence over the Mountain West Conference.Though the schedule gets a bit easier — BYU hosts UConn, East Carolina and Cincinnati in succession — there still isn’t a pushover in that bunch. At the moment BYU badly needs a breather, it will have to push through and lock down some wins just to prevent a major slide.When the Misery Index visited Provo in July, players talked openly about how it was hard to find their motivation last season with no conference title to play for after losing a couple games. That’s a huge challenge. Meanwhile, BYU fans have to watch the hated Utah Utes celebrate a remarkable 4-0 start and soak in all the power conference attention the Cougars have been denied in the realignment carousel.9. Virginia Tech: Even with starting quarterback Michael Brewer injured, Virginia Tech walked into East Carolina on Saturday as a 10-point favorite. But if you’ve ever seen a Virginia Tech-East Carolina game, that line seemed fishy. Though ECU always has been a mid-major and Virginia Tech has long been a top-tier ACC program, they have played a number of times over the last decade and almost all the games have been close. East Carolina even pulled upsets in 2008 and 2014, so it didn’t make much sense to think that this version of the Hokies would fare much better, even if this is considered something of a rebuilding year at ECU.And sure enough, ECU pulled out a 35-28 victory, which sends Virginia Tech into the ACC schedule at 2-2. That’s not even the worst news, though, for Virginia Tech fans who are probably sick of seeing ECU on the schedule. Between 2016 and 2025, the Hokies are scheduled to play ECU every year except for 2021, when the non-conference slate includes Notre Dame, Michigan and West Virginia. By then, of course, it’s unlikely Frank Beamer will still be the Hokies’ coach.The question now is whether Virginia Tech will win enough this year for him to justify coming back in 2016. Saturday’s loss means that unless Virginia Tech can pull off an unthinkable turnaround in ACC play, it will not be nationally relevant for the fourth consecutive year. That’s a bad look for a 68-year old coach who has pushed back against the suggestion he’s slowing down and was banking on this season to prove he’s still got the winning touch.10. Auburn: It barely makes a ripple anymore when Auburn loses, which it did meekly on Saturday 17-9 at home against Mississippi State. In his last 10 games against FBS competition, Auburn coach Gus Malzahn is 3-7. In the 15 before that, he was 13-2. So something has gone terribly wrong, which makes one wonder whether he should recognized history and bounced out of Auburn in 2013 after getting some, um, fortunate bounces on his way to the national title game. Too late now.Auburn has proven to be a hard place to sustain success, but even understanding that, nobody could have predicted the wheels would be flying off the Gus Bus this quickly. Though the defense appears to be getting better under Will Muschamp, the offense — Malzahn’s baby — is broken.After this week’s quarterback change, redshirt freshman Sean White threw for 188 yards while the running game produced a pretty pedestrian 201 yards on 50 carries. Auburn couldn’t finish drives, either, stalling four times inside the red zone. It’s just a mess right now, and the pressure is on Malzahn to fix it. In a state where football means everything and Alabama is still Alabama, you do not get a lot of leeway to absorb bad years. Just ask Gene Chizik.Honorable mention (Miserable, but not miserable enough): Fresno State, Wake Forest, Virginia, Cincinnati, UCF, Kansas, North TexasGALLERY: AMWAY COACHES POLLlast_img read more

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Auburn captain says Duke Williams dismissal ‘needed’

first_imgAuburn wide receiver D'haquille Williams (1) high fives fans during Tiger Walk before the NCAA football game between Auburn and Louisville on Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015, in at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga.Auburn wide receiver D’haquille Williams (1) high fives fans during Tiger Walk before the NCAA football game between Auburn and Louisville on Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015, in at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga.AUBURN – Duke Williams’ teammates gave the impression his dismissal was a forgone conclusion.The Auburn players sounded resolute about the decision by Tigers head coach Gus Malzahn Monday night given how many chances the coaching staff gave the senior wide receiver.“Personally, I love him to death,” Auburn senior wide receiver and team captain Jonathan Wallace said. “I’m sad to see this had to take place but it needed to be done so we can move forward and get better as a team.”Auburn dismissed troubled wide receiver D’haquille Williams from the football program permanently Monday evening and Malzahn refused to get into details about what incident led to the decision.“You give people chances, you give opportunities for people to prove themselves and the bottom line it didn’t (work out),” Malzahn said. “It’s not easy and it shouldn’t be easy for a coach, but you’ve got to do what’s best for your team.”Auburnsports.com reported late Monday evening Williams’ dismissal was the result of “an off-the-field incident at a local nightclub” this past weekend but Auburn officials have declined to release any further details to Williams’ situation at this time.Play VideoPlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration Time 0:00Loaded: 0%0:00Progress: 0%0:00 Progress: 0%Stream TypeLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1ChaptersChaptersdescriptions off, selectedDescriptionssubtitles off, selectedSubtitlescaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedCaptionsAudio TrackFullscreenThis is a modal window. 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This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.Malzahn said Tuesday that Williams had “not much” of a reaction when he was informed Monday evening of the decision.“It’s kind of unfortunate it happened, but you got to draw the line somewhere,” Wallace said. “We move forward, everybody is handling it the right way.”Williams was expected to be a top target in the 2015 season after leading the Tigers in catches (45) and touchdown receptions (5) in 10 games during the 2014 campaign. However, like a lot of Auburn offense through the first month, the 6-foot-2, 224-pound receiver failed to get any momentum and ended his final season with just 12 catches for 147 yards and a single touchdown while Auburn down big at LSU.Tuesday marked the first day of position meetings without Williams and the first team practice with the senior wide receiver not a member of the program permanently.Williams missed six preseason practices in August due to what the program was categorizing as a discipline issue but was allowed to return to the team and was starting in the season opener in Atlanta vs. Louisville less than a month later. He was also Williams was suspended from the 2015 Outback Bowl loss to Wisconsin due to what the school would only call a violation of team rules.“I feel good about the process that led us up to this point,” Malzahn said. “The biggest thing is you’re disappointed when you have to get a rid of a player, and you hope that things would be different and you hope that he would’ve responded differently.”Williams has been unavailable to the media since 2015 A-Day spring game in April. Malzahn confirmed Williams, who was the on-campus roommate of Jeremy Johnson, is no longer enrolled in school.Now the focus for Auburn (3-2, 0-2 in Southeastern Conference) is how the rest of the members of the roster react to the loss of a veteran starter to an already inept offense.“All teams are going to have people get in trouble and things happen on and off the field,” Auburn senior defensive back Jonathan Jones said. “It’s up to the team to come together and put that to the side and say, ‘hey, we’re going to focus on football.’ We’ve always been able to do that.”Timeline: Duke Williams era at AuburnAuburn wide receiver D'haquille Williams (1) celebrates with Auburn wide receiver Ricardo Louis (5) after catching a touchdown pass during the Auburn A-Day spring game on Saturday, April 18, 2015, at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala.Auburn wide receiver D’haquille Williams (1) celebrates with Auburn wide receiver Ricardo Louis (5) after catching a touchdown pass during the Auburn A-Day spring game on Saturday, April 18, 2015, at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala. D'haquille WilliamsD’haquille Williamslast_img read more

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