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Dayton Flyers Tournament Special Coverage on WHIO-TV, WHIO Radio

Published: Tuesday, March 14, 2017 @ 4:30 PM

NewsCenter 7 Sports Director Mike Hartsock unveils his NCAA bracket

The national spotlight will be on the Dayton Flyers Friday night as they take on Wichita State in Indianapolis. WHIO-TV and WHIO radio will be airing the game. Coverage of the game on WHIO-TV Channel 7 begins at 7p.m. Friday, with pre-game coverage beginning at 6 p.m. on AM 1290 and News 95.7 WHIO.

Due to restrictions, WHIO Radio is unable to stream the game Friday night online. “Since we are unable to air the game online Friday night, folks can hear regular programming on our web stream during the game,” said WHIO Radio Program Director Jeremy Ratliff. “We are excited to be able to air Friday night’s game, and we are hoping UD wins, so we have the opportunity to air a Flyers game on Sunday as well,” said Ratliff.

Sports Today: Marvin Lewis puts Bengals on notice for a change

Published: Thursday, September 21, 2017 @ 10:12 AM

The Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis watches his team during their 20-0 loss to the Baltimore Ravens Sunday, Sept. 10 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Nick Graham
The Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis watches his team during their 20-0 loss to the Baltimore Ravens Sunday, Sept. 10 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF(Nick Graham)

Something interesting happened Wednesday at Paul Brown Stadium: Marvin Lewis told us he let his players know it was their fault Ken Zampese was fired

Lewis, who didn’t want to talk about Zampese anymore than he had to but tolerated more questions than I thought he would, also warned the players they could be next if things don’t turn around. 

This is noteworthy because Lewis and the organization are often accused of not holding players accountable for their actions. 

This was a little stronger than the “Do your job” mantra. 

It also seems pretty accurate. 

Lewis talks about Zampese firing

While Zampese’s game plans and play calling left something to be desired, the team had plenty of opportunities to execute things and failed to do so. 

Tyler Eifert cost the team a touchdown when he stepped out of bounds for no reason against Houston, but Andy Dalton had A.J. Green open on that play and didn’t throw it to him. 

RELATED: 5 things Mike McCarthy had to say about the Bengals

Dalton hasn’t been sharp in his throwing or decision making so far, and that has cost the team badly. 

So did John Ross’ fumble, but the list goes on, including an offensive line unable to protect the edges and too prone to allowing inside penetration. 

Meanwhile, sometimes the jokes just write themselves. 

RELATED: Looking beyond Bengals’ 0-2 startWho wants to be a QB anyway? 

Rookie Davis toed the Great American Ball Park rubber for the Cincinnati Reds against the Cardinals on Wednesday night and turned the clock back to April and May. 

That is, he didn't pitch very well as St. Louis won 9-2. 

After Matt Carpenter hit a middle-of-the-plate fastball into the moondeck, Davis retired six batters in a row. 

He needed quite a few pitches to do so, and ran into trouble immediately in the third inning with a leadoff double by Stephen Piscotty. 

After outdueling the pitcher, who was trying to bunt, and getting a groundout from Carpenter, the roof fell in. 

Tommy Pham rocked a double to left field Adam Duvall nearly caught, then Dexter Fowler and Paul DeJong hit back-to-back home runs. 

A master class in damage control this was not. 

On the other hand, St. Louis starter Luke Weaver was very impressive, though he lasted only five innings. 

RELATED: Joey Votto reveals the secret to his latest long run of success 

Meanwhile, Keury Mella replaced Davis in the fourth inning and retired the Cardinals in order while making his major-league debut. 

The righty had a lively fastball that was clocked in the high 90s, but he had more trouble in his second inning of work when they started to zero in on that pitch and touched him for two more runs. 

Mella was acquired in the Mike Leake trade (which also brought Adam Duvall). Perhaps the Reds should think about re-signing Leake so they can trade him again. 

They should definitely not do that with Aroldis Chapman… 

I missed Ohio State interviews Wednesday night because I was in Cincinnati for the Reds and Bengals, but here’s an interesting nugget from Urban Meyer’s Wednesday night presser (via Elevenwarriors): 

Meyer would like to eventually implement a two-back offensive package with Dobbins and Mike Weber

HOWEVER… 

Weber "hasn't been released to go play like he needs to go play."

They report Antonio Williams has also impressed Meyer and is a candidate for increased playing time, but how often do we hear that and never see it? 

Anyway, I am a big proponent of more two-back sets, and not just one type

We saw a glimpse of how it can benefit the offense Saturday when Parris Campbell (who is as much a running back as a receiver anyway) joined J.T. Barrett and Dobbins in the backfield a couple of times (including for a long TD run by Campbell that was called back on a sketchy downfield holding penalty). 

Related: How ‘pumpin bubs’ could save Ohio State’s season

This is extra nice because it means the defense isn’t sure if it should treat that personnel grouping as three receivers, a tight end and a running back (“11” personnel) or two receivers, a tight end and two running backs (“21” personnel), but I’d like to see them also develop a package that has two receivers, a back and an H-back who can be a lead blocker or catch the ball out of the backfield. That’s an area many other spread offenses have expanded into but Ohio State hasn’t explored much… 

Lastly, big things keep going on over at the University of Dayton. 

The renovation of UD Arena continues, and coach Anthony Grant is swinging for another highly regarded recruit after getting a huge commit from 2018 four-star prospect Dwayne Cohill of Cleveland. 

This one, guard Kira Lewis, lives in Alabama, where Grant was the head coach from 2009-15. 

RELATED: A look at 2019 recruiting; Dayton lands prized 2018 recruit

That’s all for this morning, but be sure to keep an eye out later this afternoon for our weekly Facebook Lives. 

Mike Hartsock and I will be talking Bengals at 1 o’clock and Ohio State football at 1:30. 

Have a great one! 

John Ross, Joe Mixon still getting up to speed as Bengals offense makes changes

Published: Thursday, September 21, 2017 @ 11:26 AM

Highly touted rookies John Ross and Joe Mixon are dealing with a new challenge this week after the Bengals changed offensive coordinators.

As reporters asked John Ross and Joe Mixon what kinds of changes they anticipate in the Bengals offense with Bill Lazor taking over, a realization soon emerged. 

Cincinnati’s first two draft picks from last spring haven’t even been around long enough to feel like they know what to expect regardless of who is the team’s offensive coordinator. 

That’s a bit ironic since one of the complaints about Ken Zampese, who was fired last week and replaced by Lazor, was that his game plans weren’t using those two potential playmakers correctly. 

SPORTS TODAY: Marvin Lewis puts Bengals on notice after staff change

Regardless, the move from Zampese to Lazor is just add one more mystery for the new guys to unlock. 

“Everything is new to me,” said Ross, the first-round pick from Washington who missed much of the offseason program and the Week 1 loss to Baltimore with injuries. “I’m still learning so I’m just trying to get everything down.

“The way I simplify things is different from how they’re thinking. I just know what I can control. I’m still in the playbook and I simplify things in a different way.” 

He only had one touch in Week 2, and it ended in disaster: A fumble recovered by the Texans. 

Meanwhile, Mixon carried the ball 17 times for 45 yards and caught four passes for 20 yards in the first two games. 

He is part of a three-man running back rotation that also includes veterans Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard, who have 12 carries apiece this season. 

Mixon, too, sounded ready for anything when asked about his role as the team prepares to face the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. 

“We’re coming in, trying to attack practice,” Mixon said. “Coaches have changed a few things. Not too much. As players we’re just taking responsibility when we’re not in practice or mandatory meetings, we’re actually taking that extra step of studying with more of our guys trying to break things down.” 

RELATED: Packers coach talks about what he sees in Bengals

For Ross, the change at the top might not make his acclimatization to the offense any more difficult. 

“You’ve got to be like a playbook junky as a young guy who doesn’t know anything,” Ross said. “You’ve got to sit there and look at it even when you don’t want to, just spend extra time.

“It’s all starting to slow down for me, which is a good thing. When I first got here it was like a race car. Now it’s much slower.”  

Meanwhile, the Bengals hope Lazor can rev up the offense after a plodding start.

How much Ross and Mixon are part of that may be on them as much as him. 

Joey Votto reveals the secret to his latest long run of success for the Reds

Published: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 @ 8:54 PM

Who is Joey Votto: Ten facts about Reds first baseman

Cincinnati Reds star slugger Joey Votto admitted to himself he wasn’t swinging at enough good pitches. 

And now he’s nearly better than ever. 

That was revealed by a fascinating MLB.com story published this week

Turns out when Votto was struggling in the first half of last season, it was because he had become obsessed with notching a .500 on-base percentage (.474 is his career high in 2012). 

"It ended up being an unrealistic goal for this day and age, and at least for my skillset," Votto said. "I ended up making it too hard on myself. 

“I'd get far too deep into at-bats, complicating things, and taking good pitches I probably should've swung at.” 

This is noteworthy for a few reasons: 

1. Everything Votto does is noteworthy. 

2. This sounds a lot like an actual complaint of some observers that was brushed aside by the numbers nerds. 

3. Nobody can get Votto out since. 

As you probably know, he hit over .400 in the second half last season. 

This year he’s putting up numbers similar to his MVP season of 2010, and swinging at more good pitches is part of the reason why.  

5 things Packers coach Mike McCarthy had to say about the Cincinnati Bengals

Published: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 @ 6:53 PM

Mike Hartsock and Jay Morrison talk about 0-2 Cincinnati at Green Bay this week.

The Cincinnati Bengals are set travel to Green Bay on Sunday. 

Here are the major things Packers coach Mike McCarthy shared on a conference call with Bengals beat writers on Wednesday: 

1. Changing offensive coordinators might not make the Bengals much more of a mystery than they would have been anyway on that side of the ball. 

McCarthy said typically 20-35 percent of the things a team shows in a game in the first four weeks of the season won’t have been on the scouting report. 

2. The defense might be more familiar to the Packers, who share the NFC North division with a Minnesota Vikings team coached by former Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. 

McCarthy said defenses share some structural similarities, but how they use the various players on each roster makes them distinct. 

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 17: Head coach Mike McCarthy of the Green Bay Packers looks on before the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on September 17, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)(Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

3. Even though the teams have not played since 2009, the Packers are well aware of Geno Atkins. 

“He’s just a stud player,” McCarthy said of the defensive tackles. “He’s been a stud player in this league for so long. We have so much respect for him. He just plays at such a high level and dominant level.” 

4. McCarthy is more impressed with Aaron Rodgers’ mind than his arm. 

The coach said his quarterback has an incredible ability to absorb and apply information while maintaining a high level of play mentally and physically. 

RELATED: Looking beyond Bengals’ 0-2 startWho wants to be a QB anyway? 

5. Hamilton graduate Adam Pankey is being cross-trained at guard and tackle, something that is essential for a reserve offensive lineman in the NFL. 

“It’s about giving a young man an opportunity to increase his value to be on your football team,” McCarthy said.