Six months after an inferno blazed between the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt, and Slovakian fashion designer Lubica Slovak, the relationship has sputtered.Those who expected the two to make it to the finish line, may be disappointed to learn that the former sizzling affair has made it a mere six metres, if measured.The record holder has opted to focus his energies on creating new records on the track, sources in his camp confirmed. Bolt is competing at the 2012 Olympics in the United Kingdom this summer and cannot afford any distraction at this time, his team added.Bolt and Slovak dominated social networks last month, after a photo, which was taken on a sponsored shoot, was leaked. The two parted more than ‘lips’ two weeks ago, an unexpected birthday gift.Research by The Star reveals that Slovak was introduced to the fastest man on the planet, just before Christmas 2011, by female reggae artiste Tami Chynn.Bolt, one of the most sought after bachelors worldwide, was rumored to have been involved with former VH1 Show contestant Tanisha Lava Simpson as well as former British triple-jumper 23-year-old Rebeckah Passley, who claimed he broke her heart in an article in the SUN tabloid in 2010.It is not clear whether the triple-Olympic champion plans to re-ignite the sparks with his first flame, Mizicann Evans, who was seen with his parents at the Jamaica National (JN) Invitational meet at the National Stadium last Saturday in Kingston.“She remains a close friend of the family, and they (Usain and Mizicann) are in constant touch,” said a friend of Bolt.Read the rest of this story on the Jamaica-star.com
Denver Broncos’ Von Miller has to sit out the first six games of the season after he was suspended for violating the NFL’s policy on substance abuse. Now the football star finds himself in more trouble with the law that may cause him to miss more games.The third-year linebacker was arrested back in August for failing to appear in court on traffic charges, including careless driving, driving without a license and without proof of insurance. Last week he was cited again for driving with a suspended license and speeding, according to CBS4 in Denver.While he was not jailed for his second driving offense in less than two months, it certainly raises questions about the maturity of the all-pro linebacker.The NFL does not typically involve itself in disciplining players who have traffic violations. There have been exceptions, like that of New Orleans Saints wide receiver Donte Stallworth. In 2009, Stallworth killed a pedestrian while driving under the influence in Florida. He received a 30-day jail sentence and was suspended for the entire 2009 season.In Miller’s case, the NFL probably will not take action, but that does not mean that the Broncos organization won’t. However, it is likely that Miller will skate by, which is unfortunate because it doesn’t appear he is learning from all his mistakes.
Despite a destructive offseason, Lamar Odom may get back on the court in the near future. According to sources close to the situation, The Los Angeles Clippers and Odem met for two hours on Friday at team facilities.Odom has struggled with drugs, a possible divorce from wife Khloe Kardashian, a DUI arrest in August, and was captured on tape destroying a camera man’s equipment. He also struggled on the court last season for the Clippers scoring only 4 points in 19 minutes and 5.9 rebounds.However, sources have stated that Odem looked healthy and was in good spirits during the meeting. There’s no word whether Odem actually signed a contract, but the Clippers do have room on the roster for him.According to Yardbarker, former Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro gave current head coach Doc Rivers a positive review of Odem as a player prior to his issues going public.Reports have shown that the Lakers also might want in on Odom following his recovery. More details will be posted in the coming week as this story develops but one thing is for sure, Odom seems to have regained his focus and could be back on the court this season.
As the NFL playoffs approach, teams will be competing hard down the stretch to secure home-field advantage for at least one postseason game. It’s also the reason teams like the Rams and Saints, who have comfortably locked up a playoff spot and even home field for their first playoff game, will risk injury to their starters as they chase home field for a potential conference championship game. This all makes good sense: Over 57 percent of games are won by home teams in the NFL, putting the road team at a distinct disadvantage.The benefits of playing at home in the NFL are clear. Statistician and FiveThirtyEight contributor Michael Lopez, along with Gregory J. Matthews and Benjamin S. Baumer, found that the effect of home field-advantage in American football is second only to the NBA among the major sports. But what is less clear is why.Michael Lombardi, NFL analyst and former front-office executive, believes that much of the disadvantage stems from players being unable to hear the snap count. According to Lombardi, losing the ability to hear the count takes away the offensive line’s inherent advantage of knowing when the play will start. This allows linemen and skill players to burst off the line and get a small early advantage on the defense. This loss of first-mover advantage on the offensive line — I’ll call it the Lombardi hypothesis — then manifests itself as road teams being less effective running the ball.The Lombardi hypothesis is intuitive. Most fans who have watched an NFL game in Denver or Seattle have seen the effects crowd noise can have on an offensive line’s ability to communicate. It’s not a huge leap to think that lower rushing efficiency might be the natural result of a loud crowd. But is it true? Are teams less effective running on the road? And if teams are less effective rushing on the road, how confident can we be that crowd noise is the cause?To find out, I took play-by-play data generated by Elias Sports Bureau from 2009 through Week 15 of 2018 and broke out all rushing plays by home and away team. I then plotted the distributions of yards gained per rushing play for both groups to see if there was a difference between rushing effectiveness for home and away teams.It turns out that road teams are indeed slightly less efficient rushing. Home teams average 4.37 yards per carry while road teams average 4.27, a tenth of a yard less. The distributions of yardage gained on rushing plays are extremely similar, however, and the disadvantage road teams face when rushing the ball is quite small. Assuming both teams ran 30 times in a game, we would expect the road team to rush for just 3 less yards than the home team.The relative benefits to the home team are magnified if we look at rushing expected points added, which account for game context like down, distance and field position. EPA per rush play is negative for both home and away teams, -.073 away vs. -.058 for home teams, but it is slightly less negative of a proposition for the home team. Over those same 30 rushing plays, we would expect the home team to lose 1.7 points, while the away team would be expected to lose 2.2 points, good for a half-point differential.So the first part of the Lombardi hypothesis appears to be correct: It is slightly harder to run on the road than at home. But is crowd noise the most likely cause? As a first approximation for a loud crowd, I broke out the rate at which both home and road teams were penalized for false starts1Using the same Elias data from 2009-2018.. We might expect more false start penalties to be called on the away team in a hostile, loud environment than the home team. Yet this not what we find. From 2009 through Week 15 of 2018, false start penalties were called on 1.4 percent of all home team plays and 1.34 percent of road team plays.This is a strange result if crowd noise is the driver of road teams’ lower rushing efficiency. To validate the finding, I drilled down into situations where teams were either backed up inside their own 10 yard line or in their opponent’s red zone. We’d expect the home crowd to be especially boisterous in those high-leverage situations, leading to more false starts for the road teams. But again that isn’t the case. Road teams were penalized for a false start on 1.44 percent of such plays, while home teams were penalized at a nearly identical — but still higher — rate of 1.47 percent. There’s other research that suggests crowd noise is not a factor in NFL team performance as well. Economist Tobias Moskowitz and Sports Illustrated writer L. Jon Wertheim were also unable to find evidence that crowd noise affects player performance. In the NFL specifically, they found that kickers and punters appear to be unaffected by crowd noise — undermining another common perception.But if crowd noise can’t explain home-field advantage, then what does? Unfortunately, the answer to this rather fundamental question remains elusive. Probably the best evidence for a true home-field advantage comes in the form of the sports teams in Denver. It may be the case that Denver’s high win percentage at home, especially early in the season, is dragging up the home league-wide home-field advantage. Each mile-high team in the major sports enjoys a home-field advantage far above those of their peers. The reason for it can be traced back to temperature and altitude. Playing at a high altitude without properly acclimating to it, especially in warmer temperatures, is a legitimate physiological disadvantage.I asked Lopez, who is now director of analytics for the NFL, his opinion on what drives home-field advantage, and he was circumspect. “It really is unclear,” he said. Lopez identified a few areas that might account for at least some of advantage, including referee bias in high-leverage situations.“If you look at the 15 most impactful, controversial calls in games over the past few years I think you’d find that maybe 14 of the calls went for the home team,” Lopez said. Next Gen Stats data might hold promise in this regard, however. “Using the ball-tracking data we have available, there are probably incremental ways we can help make official’s lives easier while increasing fairness in the game,” Lopez said.Lopez also noted that some recent studies have shown a drop in the size of the effect of home-field advantage. The drop could perhaps be explained by more comfortable travel, or better institutional controls on referee bias. How much these factors explain the 57 percent win rate home teams enjoy is difficult to say. Blaming crowd noise and its hypothesized effect on home-team rushing efficiency, however, appears to be unfounded.
It wasn’t pretty basketball, by any stretch. UNC and Gonzaga combined for a putrid 34.8 percent field goal percentage, 20 missed free throws and 44 total fouls in Monday’s men’s NCAA Tournament final. Legitimate comparisons were being made to the infamously bad 2011 title game in terms of unwatchability. But none of that mattered to North Carolina when the confetti rained down upon its sixth national championship after a 71-65 victory.Much was made of the size matchup between the twin gargantuan frontcourts of the Tar Heels and Bulldogs, and neither team shied away from banging away on the interior despite the game grinding to an ugly, defensive stalemate for long stretches of the clock. But UNC’s bigs — particularly Isaiah Hicks, who followed a rough performance in the national semifinal with 13 points vs. the Zags — badly outplayed Gonzaga’s, powering a 40-18 scoring edge in the paint and an 18-percentage-point edge on 2-pointers.Overall, both teams were equally (in)efficient shooting the ball; the winning Tar Heels actually put up an inferior effective field goal (eFG) percentage (38.4 percent) compared to the Bulldogs’ (40.7). But UNC also gave itself more chances to score on the margins, grabbing three more offensive rebounds and winning the turnover battle in a landslide, 14-4. In combination with one of North Carolina’s best defensive games of the season at the other end — and Gonzaga’s absolute worst offensive showing all year — the Tar Heels offense eked out just enough points to win.It helped that Carolina also won the battle of the star players. UNC’s top two scorers during the season (Joel Berry II and Justin Jackson) combined for 38 points on a 39.5 percent eFG% Monday night, while Gonzaga’s top pair (Nigel Williams-Goss and Przemek Karnowski) tallied only 24 points on a horrid 26 percent eFG%. And any help those two could have received from the likes of Zach Collins or Johnathan Williams was disrupted by the foul trouble each found himself in throughout the second half.Speaking of which, the game was marred by sloppy play and plenty of fouls — more of the latter, in fact, than any of the previous six title games1The 2011 NCAA Tournament is as far back as Sports-Reference.com’s game finder tool goes. (including the whistle-heavy 2013 final between Louisville and Michigan). Fans on both sides spent most of the second half griping about the officials’ aggressive whistles.But winning ugly is still, well, winning. On Monday night, North Carolina did what it had to do to beat Gonzaga — just like it did all tournament long, against a difficult slate of opponents that included teams who eventually ranked Nos. 35 (Arkansas), 25 (Butler), 10 (Oregon), 4 (Kentucky) and 1 (Gonzaga) according to the ratings of college stats guru Ken Pomeroy. That’s an impressive stretch of victories, one befitting a team that was hell-bent on avenging last season’s buzzer-beating defeat on the championship stage.So who cares if the final game wasn’t pretty? North Carolina is your very deserving 2017 NCAA men’s basketball champion.
Scoring is up across the board in the WNBA this year, and one player, Dallas Wings center Liz Cambage, aimed to keep it that way Tuesday when she scored 53 points — the highest individual total in league history — during a 104-87 victory over the New York Liberty.And given the other elements of her game, which included 10 rebounds, five blocks and two assists, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Cambage’s display in 37 minutes of playing time was one of the finer all-around showings the league has ever seen. It’s worth keeping in mind that the WNBA plays 40-minute games as opposed to the NBA’s 48-minute ones. That difference is a key reason that the NBA, which has experienced a spike in triple-doubles in recent years, sees that statistical rarity so much more often than does the WNBA, where it has happened only seven times in league history.Cambage, 26, shot 17-of-22 from the field and 15-of-16 at the free-throw line, all while outscoring New York’s starting five by 10 points. She torched nearly every look the Liberty threw at her, alternating between either side of the floor, and made mincemeat out of double-teams as if she were still being covered by a single defender. She logged 11 points in the first quarter, 17 in the second and five in the third before going off for 20 in the final period to seal the game.Yet a handful of her buckets in the first half came with no one near her at all — largely because she doesn’t hold the reputation of a sharpshooter and had only made five triples in 74 career WNBA games heading into Tuesday’s contest. So one can only imagine the initial shock New York players felt when Cambage calmly drained four threes on five attempts.The 6-foot-8 Cambage isn’t known as a jump shooter. More generally, she isn’t widely known in this country at all despite having long been a basketball star in Australia, where she grew up — perhaps because of her disjointed time in the league. She was the No. 2 pick in the 2011 WNBA draft but made it clear upon being selected by the Tulsa Shock that she didn’t want to play there. As such, she has never played two consecutive seasons in the U.S., and she spent the past four years playing overseas, where many of the best players routinely sign to earn higher salaries.In any case, Cambage — who entered Tuesday averaging nearly 20 points and more than nine boards — has pieced together an impressive season, having been named an all-star for a second time. She ranks in the league’s 95th percentile in post-up situations this year, according to Synergy Sports Technology.1She is tied for the WNBA lead in technical fouls. In games like Tuesday’s, in which Cambage is fully in sync with point guard and fellow all-star Skylar Diggins-Smith, there aren’t a ton of good options defensively to contain her. (New York wasn’t all that successful in denying Cambage during the first meeting between the teams, either, when Cambage scored 28 points on just 17 shots in that game, albeit in a Liberty win)Just minutes into Tuesday’s game, the Liberty tried forcing the ball out of her hands with a double-team, and Cambage simply kicked the ball out to the arc, where Allisha Gray was prepared to knock down an open triple. Then, on her next scoring chance, Cambage — having just illustrated the risk in sending a double-team her way — aggressively sealed her defender inside the restricted area, allowing Diggins-Smith to loft a pass from the arc into her for an easy lay-in. Beyond that, she kept defenders off balance by occasionally putting the ball on the floor and inviting contact, like she did against Amanda Zahui B a pair of times during the final period.Cambage surpassed the WNBA record of 51 points, set in 2013 by Riquna Williams. Cambage’s game Tuesday, with those 10 rebounds and five blocks, was far more complete than that of Williams, who finished hers with just one rebound and three assists. (Williams and Cambage were teammates during that 2013 season.) The next-highest showings are held by names that are far more well known throughout the sport: Maya Moore (48 points in 2014), Diana Taurasi (47 in 2006) and Lauren Jackson (47 in 2007), an Australian ex-player with whom Cambage has drawn comparisons.But a performance like this one only figures to boost her profile. “I’ve had big numbers in China, I’ve had big numbers in Australia, and I’ve heard a lot of people say I could never have big numbers here in the WNBA,” she told reporters afterward. “So I guess this game is for y’all.”CORRECTION (July 18, 2018, 12:15 p.m.): A previous version of this article included an incorrect quarter-by-quarter breakdown of the 53 points that Liz Cambage scored in Tuesday’s game between the Dallas Wings and the New York Liberty. Cambage scored 11 points in the first quarter, 17 in the second, five in the third and 20 in the fourth. (The WNBA originally reported Cambage as having scored 13 points in the first and 15 in the second.)
The Columbus Blue Jackets expect to win each game, but that wasn’t the case during their second road trip of the season. After its best start in franchise history, Columbus (6-4-0) dropped three of four West Coast games in six days. During the trip, the Jackets allowed a combined 22 goals. The Jackets lost 6-2 Sunday night in Los Angeles, and now return home.“The minute we stop being aggressive and give up the middle of the ice, we are going to get burnt every time,” coach Ken Hitchcock said.Columbus now faces Phoenix 7 p.m. Wednesday at Nationwide Arena. On Friday they face the Penguins, the defending Stanley Cup Champions, in the same setting at 7 p.m.Before the Anaheim game last Saturday, Hitchcock switched up each of the four lines to look for a change in the team’s late letdown. On the top line, center R.J. Umberger and left wing Jason Chimera joined team captain Rick Nash. Kristian Huselius moved down to the second line with Antoine Vermette and Jakub Voracek.The strategy worked. Columbus won 6-4 against the Ducks and Hitchcock spoke with the media following Columbus’ third road win of the year.“It’s early in the season and guys are learning,” Hitchcock said. “I thought we really stayed with it tonight, and I liked a lot of things we did. We looked more like the team we needed to be to win on the road.”The second line and Nash were the highlight of the night against the Ducks. Nash and Voracek each scored twice, while Vermette scored a goal with two assists. Columbus outshot Anaheim 18-10 in the second period and outscored the Ducks 4-1.Vermette tied the game after a score from the low slot with a backhander. The Ducks responded with a power play goal, but the Jackets came flying back putting up three goals in the final 6:06 of the period.Nash scored at 13:54 after spinning away from a Ducks’ defenseman at the right of the net and shooting it through the slot before a deflection sent it in.Nash is showing why he is considered one of the best in the NHL. He has collected 15 points this year, including six goals and nine assists.“That’s the difference about our team this year,” Nash said. “A couple years ago, we’d get down a goal on the road and fold our cards. But now we don’t let it discourage us. We stick with it.”Pittsburgh (9-2-0) is one of the hottest teams to begin the 2009-10 campaign. The Penguins have a league-high 18 points and are led by forwards Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. The two Penguins top the team in points to begin the season. Malkin has 13 points and nine assists, while Crosby follows with 11 points, including six goals.The Jackets’ defense has only allowed one goal each of three home games this season. Top defenseman Mike Commodore will make his 2009-10 home debut after missing the beginning of the season with an injury.A home environment could be exactly what the Jackets need right now.“We can’t hold up,” Hitchcock said. “When we pull back in this league and decide to play a counter-attack game, we aren’t going to be successful. We are just trying to get our players to understand that — don’t play the score, play the game.”
With the first and fourth overall picks in the 2011 NBA draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers are closer to fulfilling Dan Gilbert’s prophecy. The Cavs’ owner predicted that the “Cavaliers will win an NBA Championship before the self-titled (former) king wins one.” OK, that’s still insane. They aren’t the Miami Heat, but they are on the right track as they attempt to escape LeBron James’ shadow. In a small market like Cleveland, no rebuilding process is quick and simple. It may not take very long to get back to the playoffs in the Eastern Conference, considering it is the Eastern Conference. The time it will take to get back to a championship level, though, is unpredictable. It always will take a bold move or two — such as the Mavs trading for Jason Kidd and Tyson Chandler — to build a championship-caliber team, but at the core of almost every title team is a superstar it drafted and developed. The Cavaliers were there at one point. Led by James and, uh, Sasha Pavlovic, they reached the NBA Finals in 2007. That was not a championship-level team — and the San Antonio Spurs proved that to them. To get back to the Finals, a series of bold moves ended up creating a team that didn’t have the mental toughness to win a title. That mindset was very reflective of its team leader — ironic, in a sense, considering he embraced the title “chosen one.” Regardless, the upcoming NBA draft signals that it’s time to move on from the past. By the pure luck of ping-pong balls bouncing their way — partially thanks to the Los Angeles Clippers’ eternal incompetence — the Cavaliers have a way to change the direction of the franchise. Despite James’ spoiled and arrogant attitude, he did create a positive culture around the team. The level of success the team reached during his seven years with it — though title-less — is unparalleled in franchise history. Not only did he help build a more passionate fan base, but his departure ended up galvanizing Cleveland fans and establishing a deeper connection to the team. That was most evident at the Cavs-Heat game Dec. 2, when the venomous crowd created a raucous atmosphere eclipsing that of the city’s first NBA Finals game. Gilbert paraded himself and a slew of other Cleveland “celebrities” out in front of the Quicken Loans Arena crowd in James’ return to Cleveland. Apparently, this was supposed to symbolize just how ingrained the Cavaliers are in the fabric of the city — and it’s true. The Cavs have done a better job identifying themselves with the city than the Browns or Indians. Of course, without consistent success, fans will start to lose interest in the team. That’s why striking gold in this year’s NBA lottery is key for the Cavaliers. It offers an opportunity to turn the team around quickly and establish another star to rally around. This time, hopefully, he won’t be thrust onto an undeserved throne.
On the surface, cross-country racing seems like such a simple sport. Go a long distance as fast as you can, and get as many top finishes as possible. But collegiate cross-country is not quite that simple. While the goal is still to run as fast as possible, there are nuances to the scoring and the structure of the events that can leave newcomers to the sport scratching their heads. Races for the men are between five and eight kilometers long (3.1 – five miles), with the majority being eight km. If the race is an NCAA regional or national championship event, it is 10 km (6.2 miles) long. Women’s events are between five and six km. (3.1 and 3.7 miles). At each event, only a team’s five fastest times count. The team is then given points equal to each runner’s overall finishing position. So if a runner finishes second, the team is given two points, three points are given to third place and so on. “It’s scored just like golf in that the lower your score, the better you finish,” said men’s team coach Brice Allen. The best possible score is a 15, which is achieved only if a team takes first through fifth place. The team with the lowest total wins the match. This is the case for all regular season events and the Big Ten Championship meet. Qualifying for the national championship is a bit more complicated. There are nine major regional events. The top two teams from each of those events automatically move on to the NCAA Championships. An additional 13 teams will qualify based on their performance in the regular season. Events prior to the weekend of September 15-16 are considered warm-up events and do not count for national qualifying. Top runners whose teams do not qualify for nationals may qualify to compete as individuals. There are other minor changes that occur during the cross-country postseason. “When you get into the championship races there’s more team tactics,” Allen said. “Sometimes your lead runners will set the pace for your No. 5 guy. There is strength in numbers.” The strategy was echoed by women’s cross-country coach Khadevis Robinson, who said that sticking together is key. “You can get (positions) one, two, three and four and that’s only 10 points, but if your fifth person gets 110th then you gotta add that 110 onto those 10 points and now your score is 120. Whereas someone else can get 15th, 20th, 21st, 23rd and 24th. Add those up and it’s less than 120,” he said. “Even though your first four girls got one, two, three and four, you lose.” However, this is not easy. “Getting five guys to finish an eight-10 km race within a 25-35 second spread is extremely challenging,” OSU redshirt senior runner Chris Fallon said. There are a number of other aspects to the sport that most people are not aware of. Athletes spend a lot of time in the weight room and recuperating from injuries. “I don’t think people know how much time we put into our sport,” said junior runner Meredith Wagner. “We never have an offseason. We train year-round and compete in three seasons. We spend many hours a week in the training room and doing rehab to stay healthy.” Cross-country injuries can range from simple blisters to tendonitis and stress fractures. “I give a lot of credit to our athletic trainers for putting up with us,” Fallon said. Despite the difficult year-round work, the pain and the strategy involved, the essence of cross-country is fairly simple. “At the end of the day it comes down to just racing,” Robinson said.
Junior quarterback Braxton Miller (5) hands the ball off to senior running back Carlos Hyde (34) during a game against Wisconsin Sept. 27 at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 31-24.Credit: Ritika Shah / Asst. photo editor1. Saturday Night Lights, Part 2Coming off the high of taking down Wisconsin in prime time last weekend, the Ohio State Buckeyes are forced to play under the lights again — this time away from the friendly confines of Ohio Stadium. The game against Northwestern is slated to air live on ABC at 8 p.m. and is set to be the host site for ESPN’s College GameDay series, so the pressure will be on OSU to perform again under the spotlight. Northwestern is the highest-ranked team the Buckeyes are scheduled to face this season at No. 16, and it could provide a tough challenge for coach Urban Meyer’s team. If the Buckeyes can handle the pressure for the second straight week, it will go a long way to keeping their potential run to a national championship game appearance alive. 2. The Northwestern OffenseAlthough Wisconsin has a fantastic pair of running backs in redshirt-sophomore Melvin Gordon and senior James White, it is safe to say OSU has yet to face a team with a range of weapons like Northwestern’s. The return of senior running back Venric Mark, who ran for a team-leading 1,366 yards in 2012, from a leg injury is a boost for the Wildcats). Perhaps Northwestern’s biggest threat is senior quarterback Kain Colter. Although he splits time under center with junior Trevor Siemian, Colter is second on the team in both rushing and passing yards and will look to use his dual-threat ability against a young OSU front seven. If Northwestern can get the ball rolling early, it will be hard for the Buckeyes to catch up. 4. Kenny Guiton and Jordan HallRedshirt-seniors quarterback Kenny Guiton and running back Jordan Hall lead OSU in passing yards and rushing yards, respectively. Yet against Wisconsin, the pair combined for zero passing yards and five rushing yards on one carry. The return of junior quarterback Braxton Miller from an MCL sprain and senior running back Carlos Hyde from a three-game suspension have made it difficult for two of the Buckeyes’ early season stars to find time on the field. Meyer and the OSU coaching staff have said consistently they want to keep Guiton and Hall involved, but if another week goes by without either playing a significant role, don’t be surprised if they fall by the wayside completely. It will be interesting to see how often either player sees the field Saturday against the Wildcats. 5. Will Braxton keep it rolling?Coming into the game against Wisconsin, a lot of questions surrounded Miller’s play after he missed almost three whole games with his MCL injury. He came out and answered the call against the Badgers, throwing for 198 yards and four touchdowns to go with 83 rushing yards. Although Miller said otherwise this week, missing 11 full quarters with his injury probably derailed any Heisman trophy hopes he entered 2013 with, but there is no reason to expect any sort of drop-off in production. Against a high-flying Northwestern squad that is 21st in the nation in points per game, Miller will need to be at his finest to pull out the victory and keep Meyer’s record flawless at OSU. 3. Can Roby bounce back?So far in the four games that redshirt-junior cornerback Bradley Roby has played, he has struggled twice — against California and Wisconsin. Last week, Roby was matched up one-on-one for a majority of the game with Wisconsin redshirt-senior wide receiver Jared Abbrederis, who burned Roby consistently for 10 catches, 207 yards and a touchdown. If the Buckeyes hope to contain Northwestern, Roby will need to be on his game, most likely matching up against junior wide receiver Tony Jones. Another week can’t go by with the preseason second-team AP All-American cornerback struggling if OSU plans to keep its undefeated season alive.
OSU linebackers Jerome Baker (17), Dre’Mont Jones (86) and Chase Young (2) prepare for a play during the 2017 season opener vs Indiana. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorFour days before its matchup on the road against Nebraska (3-3, 2-1 Big Ten), No. 9 Ohio State (5-1, 3-0 Big Ten) released its depth chart, revealing several changes due to injuries on the lines and a few others due to recent performances.Following the season-ending broken leg injury suffered by redshirt sophomore right guard Branden Bowen, redshirt sophomore Matt Burrell and redshirt junior Demetrius Knox were listed as co-starters at right guard. Redshirt junior Malcolm Pridgeon is now the backup at left guard, a spot previously held by Burrell.During a teleconference Tuesday, head coach Urban Meyer said the right guard position was still an open battle between Burrell, Knox and Pridgeon. Burrell took over at right guard Saturday after Bowen’s injury.Redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones was listed as the starter at defensive tackle. Jones missed the last two games with an injury after cutting his leg on a locker a couple days before the team’s game against Rutgers.The kickoff specialist for the game is listed as redshirt junior Sean Nuernberger. He started at the position for the first time this season during the Maryland game. Nuernberger was replaced during the third quarter by freshman Blake Haubeil, who held the position for the first five games of the season.Senior safety Erick Smith made an appearance on the depth chart after not playing the last two weeks. He is listed as sophomore Jordan Fuller’s backup at free safety. Meyer said Smith had to “handle his business” the Monday following the team’s 56-0 victory against Rutgers.The depth chart can be found here.
Ohio State sophomore safety Brendon White (25) intercepts a pass in the second half of the game against Michigan on Nov. 24. Ohio State won 62-39. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorPASADENA, Calif. — Coming into the season opener against Oregon State, Ohio State did not have a definitive answer for the pair of safeties it was going to roll with.While junior team captain Jordan Fuller was the clear No. 1 at free safety, both sophomore Isaiah Pryor and redshirt sophomore Jahsen Wint were labeled as co-starters at strong safety.By the midway point of the season, neither Pryor nor Wint had established themselves as the reliable No. 2 to Fuller, and Fuller said it affected his ability to find a rhythm.It took a targeting penalty by Pryor to change that.After Pryor was ejected for targeting and Wint going down with injury against Nebraska, sophomore safety Brendon White filled in, and almost immediately, his impact was felt.“All season I couldn’t really get too too comfortable because I was switching sides and all that kind of stuff,” Fuller said. “Now I’m solidified in my position and I’m just happy to see [White] blossoming to the player he is now and I can’t wait to see him play on Tuesday.”White recorded 13 tackles in a little more than a half of play against the Cornhuskers, and has recorded five tackles in each game since then as the starter alongside Fuller.For White, it was all about waiting for his opportunity.“Just patience. I had patience,” White said. “When my opportunity came I tried to take advantage of it, and then from here, with all that momentum I have, I just gotta keep the momentum going.”While White proved to be the guy to take over at strong safety, it put Wint and Pryor basically out of the game plan. After having three or more tackles in each of the first six games, Wint has three tackles combined over the past five games.Wint said the safety room as a whole has grown a lot together, but he feels there is a need for some personal improvement.“I feel like I could have done better. There’s a lot of plays that I want back, but I can’t turn back and get those plays back,” Wint said. “My brothers just kept me up, a lot of my teammates kept me pushing, I do it for them, I just try to continue to improve and work on the things I need to work on.”Wint, who played linebacker and wide receiver in high school, said he still needs to adapt to his new position. But for now, the position that gave the Buckeyes some of their largest issues early on — giving up big plays off bad angles from the secondary — have a potential solution.A lot of this has to do with Fuller, who has maintained himself as the rock to a safety position that could have otherwise been a revolving door of players.Co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Alex Grinch knows this. He said Fuller is the leader the safety room needed him to be this season.“You just have complete confidence he’s gonna be where he needs to be when he needs to be there, and he’s gonna help that individual next to him, the guys in front of him,” Grinch said. “He’s that calming influence on the back end, which is nice to have, and he’s held up very, very well for us.”Fuller and White have at least one more game together as the starting duo: a matchup against Washington in the Rose Bowl. This will be the fifth game the pair will line up together as starters.White will be back for another season, but Fuller’s future remains up in the air. He said he won’t have a decision until after the Rose Bowl.But regardless of Fuller’s decision, a safety room that once was seen as one of the major flaws of the defense has shown consistency to finish the season, showing signs of growth for the future. Fuller sees this as well.“I think as a safety room, we’ve grown tremendously, throughout the whole season,” Fuller said. “I know we’ve had different guys next to me all season, but we finally found somebody in Brendon White and, just everybody in their roles have contributed tremendously … I couldn’t be more proud.”
The Great South Window from inside Chunks of carved medieval masonry from the cathedral’s Great South Window, removed as part of one of the biggest restoration projects of its kind ever undertaken in Europe, are being sold off to raise funds for future repairs.The world famous 52ft window, which depicts the Biblical ancestors of Christ, had to be almost completely rebuilt at a cost of £2.5 million after serious structural problems were identified following a fall of stone seven years ago. We are about to reach that time when we can see again the stone which has the appearance of being weightless and will again let light flood back into the buildingHeather Newton, the cathedral’s Head of Conservation In situ: the window seen from the south Work is finally nearing completion, with the new stone structure in place and the medieval glass being painstakingly reinserted. The original stonework, most of it dating from the early 15th Century, is being sold in 140 separate lots. Because they are so unusual, auctioneers have not set a guide price. Restoration work is nearing completion “It is very exciting to know that we are about to reach that time when we can see again the stone which has the appearance of being weightless and will again let light flood back into the building,” said Heather Newton, the cathedral’s Head of Conservation.“The rebuilding has been an incredible experience to be part of. We have learned so much and we have been able to share that learning with other cathedrals.” As far as unlikely garden features or talking points for the new conservatory go, it is one purchase the Joneses will never be able to keep up with.Members of the public are being offered the chance to buy pieces of Canterbury Cathedral in a unique auction this weekend. The sale has organised by Canterbury Cathedral Trust, the independent charity which supports the cathedral.David Parker, general manager of Canterbury Auction Galleries, said: “This sale is such an historic venture and we are extremely pleased to have the opportunity to be involved.” Much of the carved masonry on sake dates from the 15th Century The sale, run by Canterbury Auction Galleries, is taking place at the Cathedral Stonemasonry Yard in the city from 2pm on Saturday but potential bidders can also join online through the site www.the-saleroom.com. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
The typical UK woman starts to feel anxious undressing in front of their partner upon reaching 50.More than 40 per cent of women said they feel self-conscious when their partner sees them naked, but nine in 10 men said they are not put off by what their partner looks like when undressed.In comparison, eight in 10 men said their other half sees them naked most days and 86 per cent also said they never suffer any anxieties with their partner seeing them nude.Despite concerns over appearance, 91 per cent of people polled described their relationship as loving and trusting.Half of women said they have become less confident with their body as they have grown older -and three quarter of men have either become more or no less confident with age. Eight in 10 would like to be more confident with their body. Many women have anxieties when it comes to discuss intimate health issues with professionals and their partner tooDr Rosemary Leonard Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. As many as 27 per cent of women feel ashamed discussing personal health problems with their partner – including those associated with the menopause, the study found.The research of 1,023 women and 977 men aged 54 or over and in a relationship was commissioned by Relpens MD, the intimate skincare company.Dr Rosemary Leonard, speaking on behalf of Replens MD, said: “The research shows that many women have anxieties when it comes to discuss intimate health issues with professionals and their partner too.”Although they may perceive the problems as embarrassing, are the discomfort many women are experiencing may be preventing them from enjoying their sex life as they get older.”Yet these conditions often can be easily treated with a visit to the GP or pharmacist. Hopefully the results of our poll will help to encourage people to seek expert help so that they don’t have to suffer in silence and can get back to enjoying life to the fullest.”Half of respondents said their drop in sexual desire was down to getting older, while more than a third put it down to the menopause.A quarter said their reduced interest in sex was due to a lack of energy. The fall in sex drive also coincides with the age people start to feel uncomfortable with their partner seeing them undressed. Millions of women experience a reduced sex drive after reaching 50, according to new research.Around three-quarters of female respondents said their libido has decreased since they reached the age.But half of women aged 54 or over said they are too embarrassed to talk to medical experts about intimate health issues and just two per cent have sought treatment for a less active sex drive.Reduced sex drive is the health issue women feel most uncomfortable discussing with GPs and pharmacists, followed by discomfort during sex.
Hillsborough investigators have passed files relating to 23 suspects to the Crown Prosecution Service, a spokesman for the two criminal investigations into the disaster has said.The inquiries into the tragedy, which happened at the FA Cup semi-final on April 15 1989, were launched by the watchdog Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and Operation Resolve following the publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel report in 2012. A statement released on behalf of the two investigations said 15 of the suspects related to the probe into the causes of the disaster, while eight related to the IPCC inquiry into the alleged police cover-up.The Operation Resolve investigation, looking at the preparation for the match and events of the day, considered offences including gross negligence manslaughter, perverting the course of justice, misconduct in public office and offences under the Safety of Sports Ground Act 1975 and Health and Safety at Work legislation. The IPCC probe examined both South Yorkshire Police and West Midlands Police – the force which investigated the disaster in 1989.Investigators for the watchdog considered offences including perverting the course of justice, conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and misconduct in public office.More than 170 allegations of police misconduct continue to be investigated by both teams. IPCC deputy chair Rachel Cerfontyne said: “These criminal investigations into the circumstances surrounding the Hillsborough disaster are the largest investigations into alleged police wrongdoing ever undertaken in England and Wales.”Conducting an inquiry of this scale and complexity, while supporting the longest running inquests in British legal history, has been a significant undertaking for the IPCC. Our criminal investigation has now substantially concluded.”Ninety-six men, women and children were killed in the disaster at the FA Cup semi-final in Sheffield between Liverpool FC and Nottingham Forest.New inquests which concluded last year found the victims were unlawfully killed and fans were not to blame. Show more Show more Head of CPS Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division Sue Hemming said: “Having received files from both Hillsborough investigations, we will now assess these in order to determine whether we have sufficient material on which to make charging decisions. Charging decisions will be based on the tests set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors.”Assistant Commissioner Robert Beckley, officer in overall command of Operation Resolve, said: “Our task has been to investigate whether any individual or organisation is criminally culpable for their role either in the planning and preparation for the match or on the day of the game itself.”The extensive file we have submitted, which contains over 35 million words, reflects four years of intense work from my teams.” The full list of the victims of the Hillsborough disasterCredit:PA Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
Greg Hands issued a public call inviting Commonwealth trade experts to spend time in BritainCredit:Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg Speaking in Parliament last week, Mr Hands referenced “the kind offers from New Zealand and other countries to help prepare our Department for negotiating free trade agreements”.He added: “We took up New Zealand’s offer, and a senior official from New Zealand was seconded to the Department. I expect that we would look favourably on further such offers, including from Australia and Canada.”Governments sources praised the ability of trade negotiators in Canada – who recently secured a deal with the European Union – as well in New Zealand. Ministers are recruiting the “best” trade negotiators from across the Commonwealth to help train civil servants in securing trade deals ahead of Brexit. Officials from New Zealand, Australia and Canada have been targeted for secondments at the International Trade Department to help with preparations for talks. Greg Hands, the trade minister, issued a public call inviting Commonwealth trade experts to spend time in Britain during a debate in the Commons this week.There is a concern that the UK lacks the expertise for complex trade negotiations after 40 years of relying on Brussels to secure such deals. A New Zealand official has already been seconded to train up Britain’s trade policy unit, while there is a hope more will follow. “It is not just about doing Britain a kind turn. Some of these people will be some of the best in the world at this stuff,” the senior source said. “We are basically very open to our Commonwealth or any other partners wanting to help us. “We are genuinely pleased and impressed with the willingness of our traditional friends and allies with helping us to do something that Britain hasn’t done for 40 years. “What the Prime Minister has been absolutely clear on is in ensuring that trade is at the heart of our Government.”The news will be welcomed by Eurosceptics who argued during the EU referendum that Brexit could help the UK improve relations with the Commonwealth. However it could produce an interesting dynamic when Britain does end up at the other side of the negotiating table with New Zealand, Canada and Australia in trade talks in the coming years. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
It is the first time Britain has been on maximum terrorist alert since 2007, when a blazing car loaded with gas canisters was driven into Glasgow Airport. A 23-year-old man was arrested in Manchester in connection with the attack and was being questioned.Intelligence experts believe the device detonated at a concert by the pop singer Ariana Grande at the Manchester Arena on Monday night was so sophisticated that Abedi must have either been given specialist training abroad or used a bomb made by a technician who has not yet been captured.It emerged that Abedi had travelled to Libya, raising fears he had been trained there and posing questions for the security services on whether he should have been tracked. Police confirmed that an eight-year-old girl was among those killed. President Trump said the bomber and any accomplices were “evil losers in life”. He said: “I won’t call them monsters because they would like that term. I will call them losers.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Up to 5,000 soldiers will be deployed on the streets amid fears that the Manchester suicide bomber had accomplices preparing further attacks, Theresa May has announced.For the first time in 10 years, the Prime Minister said the terror threat had been raised to the highest possible level, from severe to critical, meaning an attack is “expected imminently”. Mrs May also announced that troops would replace police officers at set-piece events including sports venues and concerts.It will be the first time since 2003 – when the Government reacted to a plot to bring down an airliner – that troops are deployed on the streets.With the FA Cup final this weekend, Mrs May acted on the advice of the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre after chairing two meetings of the Cobra emergency committee.Security will also be stepped up at major public events and terrorist targets such as railway stations and airports. Theresa May (L) walks with Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, Ian HopkinsCredit:OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images Georgina Callander (left) with Ariana Grande and Saffie Rose Roussos (right), eightCredit: Abedi is the first terrorist to successfully detonate a suicide bomb in Britain since four al-Qaeda sympathisers killed 52 people in co-ordinated attacks on London in July 2005.The terrorist, the first to specifically target children on British soil, was brought up in Manchester, where he attended a local comprehensive school before studying at Salford University. Explosions at The Manchester Arena on Monday eveningCredit:Eamonn and James Clarke Military bomb disposal experts were already involved in the operation on Tuesday when police stormed the house in the Fallowfield area of Manchester where Abedi is believed to have lived with relations. Mrs May said of the attack: “We struggle to comprehend the warped and twisted mind that sees a room packed with young children not as a scene to cherish, but as an opportunity for carnage.“But we can continue to resolve to thwart such attacks in future, to take on and defeat the ideology that often fuels this violence, and if there turn out to be others responsible for this attack, to seek them out and bring them to justice.” His family fled Libya to escape Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, but his father moved back there after the fall of Gaddafi during the Arab Spring in 2011.The intelligence services are urgently investigating whether Abedi had links to known extremists in Libya. A number of Libyans who have spent time in Manchester before moving back to north Africa are known to have connections with al-Qaeda and Isil.Air Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, the Chief of the Defence Staff, told the Cobra committee he was ready to put armed soldiers on the streets if directed by the Prime Minister. The Russian president Vladimir Putin, China’s President Xi and Germany’s Chancellor Merkel were also among those who sent messages to the Prime Minister.Later this week Mrs May will travel to the G7 summit in Sicily where she will lead discussions on anti-terrorism measures with other leaders. A Downing Street spokesman confirmed the trip will go ahead and that Mrs May will play a major role in sessions about counter-terrorism cooperation. Grande has a huge following among young girls and other children are understood to be among the dead. Twelve children were among 59 taken to hospital after the atrocity, for which Isil has claimed responsibility.Mrs May described the bombing as “one of the worst terrorist incidents we have ever experienced in the United Kingdom” and said it “stands out for its appalling, sickening cowardice – deliberately targeting innocent, defenceless children and young people who should have been enjoying one of the most memorable nights of their lives”. Police raid a house on Elsmore Rd in Fallowfield, South Manchester Credit: Eamonn and James Clarke Investigators fear that the British-born bomber Salman Abedi, a 22-year-old of Libyan descent, was part of a wider network of Isil-inspired terrorists, including a bomb-maker, who may still be at large.Special Forces were deployed to Manchester ready to engage in the hunt for accomplices of Abedi, who killed 22 concert-goers in Britain’s worst terrorist atrocity for 12 years.Outlining the increased risk, Mrs May said: “It is a possibility we cannot ignore that there is a wider group of individuals linked to this attack.” In other developments:The first victims of the attack were named as Saffie Rose Roussos, eight, Georgina Callander, 18, and John Atkinson, 26; Saffie’s mother, Lisa, is reportedly among those seriously injured in hospital and does not yet know her daughter is among the dead; Vigils for the dead and wounded were held in Manchester and other cities across the UK; The Queen described the attack as “barbaric” in a message of support to the people of Manchester;Campaigning for the election was suspended “until further notice”.Sources confirmed to The Daily Telegraph that Special Forces soldiers had been sent to Manchester on standby to support the police in the hunt for other potential bombers.
Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Met Police chief Cressida Dick has praised the “extraordinary courage” of officers after Saturday’s attack.Ms Dick said the Metropolitan Police must “look at the amount of resources the police have” to fight terrorism.She revealed the force has foiled five terrorist plots since the attack in March.She choked up when describing how an unarmed British Transport Police officer was stabbed in the face as he tried to stop the terrorists while holding only a baton.Ms Dick called what he did “astonishing”.She told Sky News: “I think we saw some extraordinary examples of courage by members of the public and indeed by police officers. “You mentioned the British Transport Police unarmed officer, it’s astonishing what he did. We also have a Met Police officer who is in hospital seriously injured.“I met his family, he was off duty and he saw the transport police officers getting attacked and he just dived in and tried to assist them as best he can, and he has been seriously stabbed.“Our hearts go out to those officers and indeed everybody who had to deal with such a terrifying thing but in all that sorrow, there is a great deal of pride in the Met. “We have fantastic people, in policing nationally we have wonderful people.”
Alien species are plants or animals that are non-native (or alien) to an ecosystem and whose introduction is likely to cause harm.International researchers studied data on eight groups of plants and animals across 186 island and 423 mainland regions. We need to be much better at trying to prevent the introduction of species that can be harmful in the first placeDr Wayne Dawson, Durham University The false widow spider is another non-native UK-dwelling speciesCredit:Alamy The survey by Durham University identified islands and mainland coastal countries to be the most likely areas to be colonised by foreign species.The top three locations with the highest numbers of established alien species were the Hawaiian Islands, New Zealand’s North Island, and the Lesser Sunda Islands in Indonesia.However, Britain also appears near the top of the list, due in part to the country’s historically high volume of trade.”We need to be much better at trying to prevent the introduction of species that can be harmful in the first place,” said Dr Wayne Dawson of Durham University, UK. “Prevention is better than cure with invasive species.” A dramatic example of an invasive species that has afflicted North America is the Burmese python, which has made a new home in Florida, the top hotspot among coastal mainland regions.In New Zealand, around half the North Island’s established plant life originated elsewhere.”While species have been moved around the globe throughout history, more and more species will be introduced as the world becomes ever more connected, and the human population continues to grow,” said Dr Dawson.In Britain, feral populations of the parakeet found around major urban centres like London, Manchester and Liverpool and are feared to threaten native species.How the birds established a foothold in Britain is surrounded in myth, with some arguing that Jimmy Hendrix released an “Adam and Eve” couple into the wild from Carnaby Street in the 1960s, to others who say it started with the bombing of London Zoo during the Second World War. The UK is among the worst countries in the world for invasions of alien animals and plants, a new global study has found.Grey squirrels, Indian rose-ringed parakeets, and an abundance Himalayan balsam weeds puts Britain in the top 10 per cent of alien-harbouring areas.Experts have called for tougher import controls amid fears that new invaders could ruin domestic ecosystems. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
The reforms mean around four million calls a year which are currently treated as “life-threatening” will no longer be deemed as requiring the most urgent response. Heart attack and stroke victims could wait 40 minutes for an ambulance under new NHS targets, but health chiefs say the radical change will mean patients will get the right help sooner. Around half of all ambulance calls are classed as life-threatening, with a target for a response within eight minutes. Consequently, ambulance trusts regularly dispatch volunteers and paramedics on motorbikes in an attempt to reach the scene in time, even though they cannot help those who need transporting to hospital. Now NHS chiefs have ordered the…