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Sports Today: Happy birthday, Woody Hayes!

Published: Wednesday, February 14, 2018 @ 10:01 AM

FILE - In this Nov. 16, 1957, file photo, Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes, center, gets a clothes-on dunking in the Ohio State dressing room shortly after Ohio State University won the Big Ten championship and clinched a Rose Bowl bid by defeating Iowa 17-13, in Columbus, Ohio. The Associated Press has been ranking the best teams in college football for the last 80 seasons. (AP Photo/File)
FILE - In this Nov. 16, 1957, file photo, Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes, center, gets a clothes-on dunking in the Ohio State dressing room shortly after Ohio State University won the Big Ten championship and clinched a Rose Bowl bid by defeating Iowa 17-13, in Columbus, Ohio. The Associated Press has been ranking the best teams in college football for the last 80 seasons. (AP Photo/File)

On this day 105 years ago, the patron saint of Ohio State football was born in Greene or Clark County. 

Wayne Woodrow “Woody” Hayes famously liked to say folks from one claimed he was from the other, but as a Greene County native I will say we will gladly take him. 

RELATED: 5 things to know about Ohio State football for 2018

A fiery, proud and accomplished man known almost as much for his faults as his strengths, Hayes is a fitting representative for his home state and his favorite sport as much now as ever. 

He preached hard work and perseverance even if patience wasn’t among his most-practice virtues. 

Hayes was known for his “three yards and a cloud of dust” offensive mentality, but in reality he was more innovative than most know. 

He ushered in the first and the second golden ages of Ohio State football, first steamrolling opponents with his beloved T formation in the 1950s then scorching teams with the I formation and option football in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. 

Both strategies were still dominant when I was learning the game in (or adjacent to) his native county nearly two decades after he coached his last game. 

RELATED: Assessing Ohio State’s Big Ten title chances as Reds head to spring training

Hayes overcame the devastating setback of 1961, when he was told by the Ohio State faculty council he could not take his team to the Rose Bowl, by expanding Ohio State recruiting beyond the Midwest and building his best team. 

In 28 years as the coach of the Buckeyes, Hayes elevated the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry in a way only someone of his immense personality could. 

<<< 7 things to know about the Ohio State-Michigan series

When the Wolverines couldn’t beat Hayes consistently in the first half of his tenure, they turned to his spitting image to re-invigorate their program. 

Bo Schembechler, who like Hayes is part of Miami University’s Cradle of Coaches, upset the best Ohio State team ever assembled to kick off the famed “10-year War” that made OSU-Michigan the nation’s premier game every season, a legacy that endures today. 

And on this Valentine’s Day, it’s probably safe to say Jim Tressel and Urban Meyer developed their love of Ohio State football in no small part thanks to Woody Hayes, who served as an idol to both men as they grew up in Northeast Ohio… 

Speaking of Ohio State-Michiganhere’s a weird story from the relatively new realm grad transfer recruiting

Calvin Anderson, a three-year starter at Rice who is looking to finish his career at a Power 5 school, told 247Sports “the thing that sets Michigan apart” from other schools he is considering is the opportunity to face Nick Bosa and Ohio State.

“I’ve never spoken to him," Anderson said. "I’ve only watched him from afar, but I know his brother is outstanding in the NFL. I know he’s a great player and wouldn’t know me, but I’d be honored to play against a guy of that caliber. He would be a great example of playing against someone at the next level. That would be very appealing to me because I want to be an elite play. You can’t be elite until you play against elite players.”

I’ve covered college football and recruiting for a while, and I can’t remember ever hearing a story quite like that one. 

But you have to admire Anderson’s desire for a challenge, and he gets bonus points for singling out Bosa without calling him out, per se. 

The quarterback competition (and eligibility of Shea Patterson) will dominate offseason talk about the Wolverines, but the key to their success will be finally developing a strong offensive line. 

Michigan already has elite running backs, so merely competent quarterback play could make for a pretty good offense — if they can control the line of scrimmage… 

Speaking of Urban Meyer, he has taken that whole “recruit beyond Ohio” thing to a much higher level over the past couple of years, but he did something this week that could bolster in-state efforts. 

New cornerbacks coach Taver Johnson is a Cincinnati native who recruited Northeast Ohio for Tressel during his first stint as an assistant at Ohio State. 

He is a member of the Wittenberg Athletics Hall of Honor… 

Finally, spring training is officially up and running for the Cincinnati Reds, who reported yesterday and begin workouts today. 

The first day already included some interesting news from Bryan Price, who wasted no time reducing the field of candidates for his starting rotation. 

We’ll see if this approach works. Apparently the idea is to give Robert Stephenson and Sal Romano a chance to not only prove themselves but get into a regular groove without guaranteeing either of them a spot in the big-league rotation. 

Seems to me the mentality of competition is one of the biggest topics in all of sports these days. 

Coaches in various sports talk frequently about players needing to be self-starters more than ever, and as we get better and better at identifying and cultivating raw talent, the difference more and more is confidence. 

Nick Senzel headlines a group that includes a couple of players recently added to the 40-man roster

Stephenson and Romano both finished last season strong when they started attacking the strike zone more without giving in and delivering too many cookies.

Can they pick up where they left off? 

Price also took some time to praise Luis Castillo, the young fireballer who is penciled in as part of the rotation and has the look of a future ace. 

“His velocity sets him apart,” Price said. “You don’t see a lot of guys throw 95-97 for seven innings and the stuff to pitch in the big leagues, but it is rare for a young pitcher to have the presence and the comfortability that he showed last year. He fields his position, and he’s quick to the plate to control the running game. There is a lot to like.”

Indeed. 

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What’s next for former Penn State RB Saquon Barkley; updated weights, positions for some Nittany Lions

Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 1:00 AM

Penn State football is the No. 1 topic in We are… Awake every day — but we cover news, notes and analysis from across Nittany Lions sports. Join us each morning to get caught up on everything you missed in the world of Penn State football, recruiting, basketball and more.

Greats weigh in on Saquon Barkley

Saquon Barkley has a lot to live up to when he signs his first NFL contract. And while Penn State’s recent running back history in the league hasn’t been great, its overall history is.

Frank Bodani of the York Daily Record writes that Barkley must carry the Penn State legacy to the next level like greats Dave Robinson and Lenny Moore did before him.

Bodani caught up with both at the recent York Sports Night, and both have left a lasting legacy on Penn State.

From Bodani:

“I don’t care what your job is, you’ve got to know what happened in the past. You’ve got to know what your career is built on,” Robinson, 76, said before meeting fans at the recent York Area Sports Night.

Barkley is expected to go in the top three of the NFL draft this spring. The NFL scouting combine will begin later in February in Indianapolis.

Transformation time

A couple of position swaps have already drawn attention as Penn State begins getting ready for the spring football practice session.

But a couple of other moves and notable weight drops are also raising some eyebrows.

As Greg Pickel of Pennlive writes, most notable, the move of defensive end Damion Barber to inside, and a drop in weight for defensive tackle Kevin Givens.

So what to make of it all?

Writes Pickel:

Another guy who did that, Ryan Buchholz, is checking in at 264 these days, 11 pounds lighter than he was on the last roster, so perhaps the program is aiming to get both near the 270-pound mark, thus giving them the opportunity to move inside to the three-tech spot on running downs and to end on passing downs.

Keep in mind, too, that Brent Pry dialed up a four-end package a couple of times, and not every guy on the field was a prototypical end.

A leaner, faster Penn State defensive tackle, one that is relatively deep too, could be a problem for the rest of the Big  Ten.

Land of 10’s Tyler Donohue recently took his best guess at Penn State’s defensive depth chart for the upcoming season, Givens figures to be in the mix right away, while Barber could take some time to get adjusted to his new position.

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Ranking the best

One of the reasons why Penn State will stick around in the national title conversation for a third straight season is quarterback Trace McSorley. Where Penn State does have to break in new starters at some key positions, McSorley is as sure as it gets at the quarterback spot.

Bob Flounders of Pennlive.com ranked the 10 best players in the Big Ten’s East Division, and to no one’s surprise, Flounders thinks McSorley is the top returning player in the division for the 2018 season.

Writes Flounders:

Nick Bosa is the better NFL prospect but the college game is about quarterback play and Penn State dual-threat Trace McSorley should be a Heisman Trophy contender if he can build on his success in 2016 and 2017. McSorley, entering his final season, has put up terrific numbers during his first two seasons as starter and he should still flourish in a Penn State offense replacing Saquon Barkley, Mike Gesicki, DaeSean Hamilton and offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead.

For some other perspective on McSorley, WalterFootball has McSorley listed as the 16th-best quarterback available in the 2019 draft.

Elsewhere in the top 10

Mel Kiper released his positional rankings for the upcoming NFL draft, and former Penn State wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton made Kiper’s top 10 wide receivers available, writes OnwardState.com’s Matt Fox, by way of ESPN.com.

Kiper has Barkley as his top overall prospect.

Writes Fox:

Barkley is listed as the No. 1 ranked running back in Kiper’s rankings, in addition to still owning the title of Kiper’s No. 1 overall prospect for the draft. Kiper called Barkley “a lights-out athlete,” in addition to noting that the back is “a stellar runner.”

Hamilton will be a participant at the NFL scouting combine later in February.

No contest

Senior day at Rec Hall was a big success for the top-ranked Penn State wrestling team. The Nittany Lions dismantled Buffalo 55-0 to close out the 2017-18 dual meet schedule.

Mark Brennan of FightOnState.com writes that it was a great way to end the regular season and head to the Big Ten tournament, which begins March 3, at Michigan State.

Miss previous editions of the Wakeup Call? They can be found here.

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Nebraska legend Dave Rimington on the Huskers; football players as bobsledders

Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 1:00 AM

Nebraska football-Dave Rimington-goal

Nebraska football is the No. 1 topic in Big Red Rising every day — but we cover news, notes and analysis from across Huskers sports. Join us each morning to get caught up on everything you missed in the world of Huskers football, recruiting, basketball and more.

The No. 1 goal

Nebraska legend Dave Rimington spent a little time last fall as the Huskers interim athletic director. During that time, he formulated thoughts on Scott Frost, Mike Riley and making Nebraska’s No. 1 goal beating Wisconsin.

RELATED: Click here to get this roundup in your inbox every Monday-Friday!

A future for football?

Former Huskers linebacker (and Olympic bobsledder) Curt Tomasevicz thinks football players could easily bobsled. All it would take is a little training.

Hashtag clash

Nebraska fans have to share the #GBR hashtag every so often, but it makes the world a little smaller when it happens.

Disappointing loss

Nebraska men’s basketball fell 72-66 to Illinois in what was a much-needed win for the Huskers on Sunday. It doesn’t mean all hope is lost for Nebraska and the NCAA Tournament, but the path got much tougher.

Despite the loss, Nebraska’s bench continued to be great.

Tailgate ambulance

Want to make a splash this next tailgating season? You can with the Nebraska football “tailgating ambulance.”

Stadium experience

When it comes to Memorial Stadium, Nebraska athletic director Bill Moos has some ideas in mind. At the end of the day, it’s all about making the fan experience the best it can be.

What’s being said on Twitter 

Miss anything on Twitter over the weekend? Here’s a quick list of the more notable tweets in the past 48-plus hours:

Oversleep and miss a recent Big Red Rising? No worries. We have all our past editions here.

The post Nebraska legend Dave Rimington on the Huskers; football players as bobsledders appeared first on Land of 10.

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Iowa recruits earn post-signing honors; emotional offer for in-state lineman

Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 1:00 AM

iowa-recruit-Julius Brents

Iowa football is always the main topic in the Iowa Breakfast Club, Land of 10’s daily Hawkeyes notebook — but we cover news, notes and analysis across Hawkeyes sports. Join us each morning to get caught up on everything you missed in the world of Iowa football, recruiting, basketball and more.

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Award season for Iowa recruiting

Even before they don the black and gold in a practice, Iowa’s newcomers pick up some hardware from Land of 10. Among the categories include Best First Year, Most Likely to Make the NFL, and Best Career.

Emotional offer for Noah Fenske

New Hampton offensive lineman Noah Fenske was emotional while receiving a Iowa scholarship offer, writes Hawkeye Nation’s Rob Howe. Fenske’s sister died a few years ago, and Fenske said Iowa was her favorite team.

Iowa juniors take in basketball game

Iowa’s big recruiting weekend for underclassmen included a trip to Carver-Hawkeye Arena during the Hawkeyes’ game with Indiana on Saturday afternoon, writes Land of 10’s Bobby La Gesse.

Iowa’s first-round possibilities

Ourlads general manager and national scout Dan Shonka outlined to Land of 10 how Iowa cornerback Josh Jackson and center James Daniels could become first-round draft picks.

Nelson Brands continues mat dominance

As always, the prep state wrestling tournament commands center stage in Iowa and future Iowa wrestler Nelson Brands won his third straight state championship in dominating fashion for Iowa City West, writes K.J. Pilcher of The Gazette. Brands is the son of Iowa assistant Terry Brands and nephew of Iowa coach Tom Brands.

Tyler Linderbaum concludes wrestling, now on to preparing for Iowa football

Solon wrestler Tyler Linderbaum, who signed to play defensive tackle at Iowa, proves yet again why football and wrestling are a great match for one another, writes Pilcher.

Off target and downward

A pair of Iowa missed shots in the final 9 seconds cost the Hawkeyes in an 84-82 loss to Indiana, writes The Des Moines Register’s Mark Emmert. Here’s the television recap from KCRG’s Josh Christensen.

The defense rests

There’s no defense for Iowa’s defense, writes The Gazette’s Mike Hlas. Iowa basketball has one of the two worst defenses in the last generation.

Backed-up back court

The Hawkeyes continued their massive slide in Big Ten basketball because of their back-court weakness, The Des Moines Register’s Chad Leistikow writes.

Iowa women continue to surge

Iowa’s women’s basketball team won its fifth straight game in an 88-61 victory against Wisconsin. Junior forward Megan Gustafson scored 25 points and now is just 23 shy of breaking the program’s single-season points record held by Cindy Haugejorde.

Baseball starts season strong

Iowa baseball started the season strong with three wins at the Sunshine State Classic Series, writes Dargan Southard of The Des Moines Register.

Spicy words at the end of the Iowa-Iowa State dual

No. 7-ranked Iowa wrestling dominated Iowa State for the 14th consecutive time, 35-6, at Hilton Coliseum, writes Cody Goodwin of The Des Moines Register. The Hawkeyes averted a clean sweep of the Cyclones by forfeiting at 197 pounds, which led to some strong words by Iowa State coach Kevin Dresser, according to Ben Visser of The Gazette. Here’s a video of Iowa coach Tom Brands discussing the dual, while here are Dresser’s charged-up comments.

No stalling in Dan Gable video

Here’s what legendary Iowa wrestling coach Dan Gable told Land of 10 about his role in voicing a “Fight For Iowa” video that charges up wrestling fans before duals at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Miss a previous edition of Iowa Breakfast Club? Get caught up here.

The post Iowa recruits earn post-signing honors; emotional offer for in-state lineman appeared first on Land of 10.

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Ohio State: Nick Bosa thinks defensive line can be even better in 2018; Buckeyes basketball falls at Michigan

Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 1:00 AM

ohio state-nick bosa defensive line 2018-buckeyes basketball-michigan

Ohio State football is the No. 1 topic in Wake Up  every day — but we cover news, notes and analysis from across Buckeyes sports. Join us each morning to get caught up on everything you missed in the world of Ohio State football, recruiting, basketball and more.

Nick Bosa thinks Ohio State’s defensive line can take ‘step up’ from 2017

If opposing teams didn’t like going against Ohio State’s front four in 2017, Nick Bosa has some bad news for them. The Buckeyes’ star defensive end said he thinks Ohio State’s defensive line “could be a step up” in 2018. The unit loses Sam Hubbard, Tyquan Lewis and Jalyn Holmes, but Land of 10’s Ryan Ginn outlines why Bosa has so much confidence in the group heading into this season.

“I think it could be a step up from last year,” Bosa said. “They set the bar for us, and we’re going to enhance it. There’s just so much talent on this D-line right now. Even though we’re young, it’s some of the best talent I’ve ever seen. It’s going to be really good once we get the chemistry together.”

Ohio State basketball falls at Michigan

Ohio State has lost two games in a row for the first time since late November. The No. 8 Buckeyes fell at No. 22 Michigan 74-62 Sunday afternoon. Chris Holtmann’s squad also lost Thursday night at Penn State and is now 13-3 in the Big Ten, a game behind first-place Michigan State.

Ohio State committed 14 turnovers in the loss. The Buckeyes got 20 points from Jae’Sean Tate and another 17 from Keita Bates-Diop, who was 5 of 17 from the floor. The Buckeyes are back in action on Tuesday night against Rutgers in their final home game of the season. Michigan State must lose to either Illinois or Wisconsin this week for Ohio State to have a chance at a conference title.

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Women’s basketball beats Purdue

The Ohio State women’s basketball team picked up a 73-60 win over Purdue on Sunday. The Buckeyes, who improved to 22-6 overall and 11-3 in the Big Ten, got 26 points from Kelsey Mitchell. Here’s a full box score. No. 16 Ohio State has two regular season games remaining: vs. Northwestern on Wednesday and at Penn State on Sunday.

Kendall Sheffield sets school record in 60-meter dash

It didn’t take Kendall Sheffield to make his mark on the track. The Ohio State cornerback joined the Buckeyes’ track and field team this spring as a sprinter, and he set a program record in one of his first races. Sheffield ran a 6.63 in the 60-meter on Friday.

In other “Ohio State football players making incredibly difficult athletic feats look easy” news, the Buckeyes posted a video of linebacker Malik Harrison showcasing his dunking skills last weekend.

Yeah, Urban Meyer’s roster is filled with some serious athletes.

Let’s keep talking

Want to keep the conversation going? Hop over to our free Ohio State message board to get Buckeyes analysis. Sign up now and join the discussion here.

Oversleep and miss a recent Wake Up Sloopy? No worries. We have all our past editions here.

The post Ohio State: Nick Bosa thinks defensive line can be even better in 2018; Buckeyes basketball falls at Michigan appeared first on Land of 10.

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