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Here’s how Ohio State wants youth football coaches to teach tackling

Published: Thursday, May 24, 2018 @ 5:34 PM

Ohio State football assistant coach Alex Grinch explains how the Buckeyes are taught to tackle without using their heads and notes using the head is inefficient anyway.

Alex Grinch had two big selling points as he laid out the tackling method Ohio State football has adopted in recent years. 

Not only is the Buckeyes’ system safer, it is effective. 

The latter is important, he noted to an audience of roughly 170 youth and high school coaches, because otherwise it won’t be used. 

The former – safety – is key at a time when youth participation has fallen across the country. 

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“Our game is changing,” Grinch said. “If we don’t do something about it, then we’re at the mercy of the powers that be. Who are they? They’re the moms and dads that don’t let their kids play sports, specifically ours. So we can’t bury our heads in the sand.” 

Here are the key teaching points from Grinch, Ohio State’s co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach: 

1. The Ohio State’s “deductive tackling system” relies on three core principles. 

Use the hip as an aiming point, keep the eyes up and keep those feet moving. 

The low aiming point helps prevent helmet-to-helmet contact. Eyes up prevents using the crown of the helmet and moving the feet basically brings it all together by providing the force needed to complete the tackle. 

2. Out is the old “head across the bow” approach. 

Coaches used to teach players to cut off a runner’s path head first. That didn’t mean leading with the helmet, per se, but it did tend to put a player's head in the path of a pending collision. 

Instead, Ohio State teaches players that while aiming for the offensive player’s hip, the head will go behind the ball-carrier — and that’s OK. 

3. In is the “wrap and roll” tackle. 

Going behind the ball-carrier necessitates bringing him down with both arms and using a player’s momentum to bring him down. 

The upshot of this: Since we’re usually tackling a moving target, this ended up happening anyway no matter how many straight-on tackling drills a team might have held in the summer heat. 

By encouraging what was often a by-product of the old tackling method, Ohio State coaches have found the new method more effective and easier to adopt. 

4. They still stress the “athletic position” and “see what you hit.” 

These are two things I can say coaches have been stressing for at least 25 years. It’s probably longer than that, but 25 years ago marks the first time I was taught to tackle so that’s as far back as I can go. 

A player in the “athletic position” will be on his toes with knees bent, chest forward and butt down. If players are taught to maintain that posture, they are less likely to bend forward naturally and lead with the head. 

“See what you hit” is also an old mantra intended to make sure players keep their eyes up at all times because if they are looking down at the ground, they will lead with the top of their helmet. 

That is dangerous for both the ball-carrier and the tackler because it causes the spinal column to line up, increasing the potential for fractured vertebrae and spinal injuries such as the one Ryan Shazier suffered against the Bengals last season when he delivered a hit with the crown of his helmet. 

5. Arms are the new chest.

Grinch demonstrated a way to reduce helmet-to-helmet contact is to stress leading with the arms instead of the upper body. 

That goes for players on both sides of the ball. Whether they are making a block, disengaging from a block or attempting a tackle, by establishing contact with the arms and using the body as a counterbalance, players can be physical and effective without involving their heads in direct contact. 

6. Use bags as tackling dummies as much as possible. 

Throughout his presentation, Grinch showed the Buckeyes hitting different types of bags instead of players smashing into each other. 

This obviously reduces the number of collisions players have overall, which cuts down on injury and prevents overall wear and tear. 

Another added benefit of doing more reps with bags than a live ball-carrier: Players will develop muscle memory of the right technique rather than doing anything necessary to get a player on the ground, which is what tends to happen in old-fashioned mano-a-mano tackling drills.  

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Recruiting for 2020 picks up for Dayton Flyers

Published: Sunday, June 17, 2018 @ 4:22 PM

Dayton Flyers: A look at 2018-19 roster

College basketball coaches could make direct contact with recruits from the 2020 class for the first time Friday. That meant they could talk to the players on the phone or via text and direct messages.

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Here’s a quick glance at players Dayton has contacted, according to reports:

• Max Amadasun, 6-foot-10, center, Bronx, N.Y.: Jacob Polachek, of D1Vision, reported Dayton, Holy Cross, Tulane and Colorado reached out to Amadasun, who attends Our Saviour Lutheran School.

• Posh Alexander, 5-10 guard, Bronx, N.Y.: Alexander also attends Our Saviour Lutheran. He’s a four-star prospect who ranks 93rd in the class of 2020, according to Andrew Slater reported Dayton, Pittsburgh, La Salle and West Virginia were among the schools to contact Alexander on Friday. Alexander received a scholarship offer from Dayton last summer.

• Luke Kasubke, 6-6, shooting guard, St. Louis, Mo.: In addition to Dayton, numerous schools contacted Kasubke on Friday, according to Jake Weingarten, of, including Iowa, Xavier and Stanford.

• Wendell Green Jr., 5-10 point guard, Detroit Country Day School: Michigan, Xavier and Butler were among the other schools to contact Green, according to Scott Hankamp.

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According to previous reports, Dayton has already offered scholarhips to these 2020 recruits:

Symir Torrence, 6-3 guard, Vermont Academy.

• Andre Curbelo, 6-0 guard, Long Island Lutheran.

• Zeb Jackson, 5-10 point guard, Maumee Country Day School.

• Devontae Blanton, a 6-4 guard, Lakewood St. Edward.

In other recruiting news, a 2019 recruit, Tyler Bertram, visited Dayton last week.

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Suarez, Votto power Reds past Pirates

Published: Sunday, June 17, 2018 @ 5:10 PM

            PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 17: Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds stands on second base during a pitching change in the fifth inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on June 17, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 17: Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds stands on second base during a pitching change in the fifth inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on June 17, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

Eugenio Suarez homered in the second straight game and Joey Votto celebrated his 1,500th major league contest by going 2 for 4 with two RBIs as the Cincinnati Reds held off the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-6 on Sunday.

Suarez turned on a Joe Musgrove (2-2) offering and sent it into the bleachers in left field for a two-run shot in the fourth. Votto hit a drive to deep right-center the fifth to chase Musgrove and give the Reds the cushion they would need to beat the Pirates for just the second time in seven tries at PNC Park this season.

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Scott Schebler added three RBIs for Cincinnati, including a two-run home run in the ninth to provide Cincinnati a little extra breathing room after Pittsburgh had trimmed a four-run deficit to one.

Anthony DeSclafani (2-1) surrendered solo home runs to Colin Moran and Gregory Polanco but otherwise kept the Pirates in check to pick up his second victory since his return after missing the entire 2017 season with right elbow issues.

Raisel Iglesias allowed an inherited runner to score in the eighth and an RBI-single to Austin Meadows in the ninth but managed to record the final four outs for his 10th save, receiving a bit of help in the process.

Iglesias entered with two on and two outs in the eighth and immediately surrendered a double in the gap to Gregory Polanco. David Freese scored to pull the Pirates within one but Josh Bell was out at home trying to score all the way from first

The call stood upon review after the Pirates challenged that catcher Curt Casali illegally blocked the plate.

Cincinnati scored two runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth and finished 4 for 7 with runners in scoring position after going 0 for 19 in the same situation over the first two games of the series, both losses.

Musgrove was charged with six runs in 4 1/3 innings with a walk and six strikeouts as his ERA jumped from 2.16 to 3.68.


Struggling Reds centerfielder Billy Hamilton went 3 for 4 to pick up his first multi-hit game in three weeks to lift his average to .197, stole two bases and scored three times. He also made a spectacular grab on a shot to the gap in right-center by Pittsburgh’s Francisco Cervelli in the first.

Hamilton’s full-out extension to rob Cervelli of extra bases earned an ovation from the Pirates catcher, who raised his hands in appreciation of Hamilton’s effort. Hamilton later started the sequence that ended with Bell being thrown out at the plate by getting the ball to shortstop Jose Peraza, who then relayed it to Casali.


Reds: off Monday then host Detroit in a brief two-game interleague series starting Tuesday when Sal Romano (3-7, 5.67 ERA) faces Matthew Boyd (4-4, 3.23).

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Landon Donovan's support for Mexico sparks pitched battle off the pitch

Published: Sunday, June 17, 2018 @ 2:03 PM

Landon Donovan starred for Leon in Mexico this spring.
Hector Vivas/Getty Images
Landon Donovan starred for Leon in Mexico this spring.(Hector Vivas/Getty Images)

Landon Donovan’s support for Mexico at the World Cup has sparked a pitched battle between the most recognizable name in American soccer and his peers, ESPN reported Sunday.

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Donovan has been part of an advertising campaign for Wells Fargo to support Mexico, which opened its World Cup play in Russia with a stunning 1-0 victory against defending champion Germany on Sunday. Critics of the promotion have criticized Landon, calling his cheerleading inappropriate.

Donovan posted a photo on Twitter on Saturday holding a scarf that read “My other team is Mexico.”

Donovan played this spring for León, which is part of Mexico’s Primera Division. Still, some questioned Donovan’s motives.

“Watering it down for beer/banks won’t enrich the rivalry,” ESPN announcer Sebastian Salazar tweeted.

Carlos Bocanegra, the former captain of the U.S. national team, tweeted “Really?” 

Donovan tweeted back that Bocanegra should “remember where you came from.”

“Look around our country, are you happy with how we are treating Mexicans?” Donovan answered. “Open your mind, stand for something and remember where you came from.”

Donovan’s former teammate, Herculez Gomez, an ESPN analyst, criticized that exchange, ESPN reported, tweeting that it was “an incredibly terrible take.”

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A two-time Daytona 500 champion raced in the area this weekend. He’ll leave with these memories.

Published: Sunday, June 17, 2018 @ 11:33 AM

            Two-time Daytona 500 champion Sterling Marlin signs autographs for fans during a pre-race meet and greet at Shady Bowl Speedway on Saturday. Marlin, from Columbia, Tenn., was involved in a three-car accident early in the feature and finished 19th. Contributed / Greg Billing
Two-time Daytona 500 champion Sterling Marlin signs autographs for fans during a pre-race meet and greet at Shady Bowl Speedway on Saturday. Marlin, from Columbia, Tenn., was involved in a three-car accident early in the feature and finished 19th. Contributed / Greg Billing

Former NASCAR Cup driver Sterling Marlin has seen his share of tracks in his racing days.

Shady Bowl Speedway, though, left an impression on Marlin. And his No. 114 late model.

While local driver Josh Smith was holding off the field for his fourth late model feature win, Marlin was trying to hold his car together.

The two-time Daytona 500 champion smacked the wall during a Friday practice session. Then on Saturday, Marlin got together with two other cars 10 laps into the 72-lap Bobby Korn and Lil’ Bobby Korn Memorial.

“(Shady Bowl is) different from anywhere I’ve been at,” Marlin said of the Bowl’s unique 3/10-mile paved oval with a backstretch that dips coming out of turn two and rises into turn three. “You can’t use all the motor. The car skates and slides. We just missed on the (set up).”


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Marlin finished 19th in the 20-car feature. While his night was done early on the track in front of the packed Shady Bowl stands, he continued to pose with fans for photos and sign autographs at his hauler in the pits.

“I had a lot fans come out and I signed a lot of stuff,” said Marlin, who made the nearly seven-hour drive from Columbia, Tenn., to Shady Bowl. “It’s pretty neat to see people from 25 years ago. … I had a good time and I thank everybody for having us up here. I’ll come back sometime.”

Smith, meanwhile, stalked front-runners Mike Ward and Nic Burnside as they traded the lead in the early laps. Smith worked past Burnside following a restart after 21 laps. He caught and passed Ward coming out of turn four to lead lap 26. He never lost the lead, though Jim Lewis Jr. caught up to Smith’s bumper with 10 laps to go and even pulled up to Smith’s back quarter panel albeit briefly.

“I could hear him back there so I knew he was close,” Smith said. “We have some work to do. We’re always trying to get this car faster.”

Smith was fast enough Saturday to claim the $1,720 win. It didn’t hurt that Lewis scraped the wall coming out of turn two in a last-ditch effort to get alongside Smith. The win kept Smith in the late models points lead. He won the late model championships in both 2014 and 2015.

Smith, from nearby Quincy and sponsored by C&E Auto Reconditioning in Springfield, credited his father and crew chief, Jerry, for getting him to victory lane again.

“They’re never easy to win. It’s a testament to my crew,” the younger Smith said. “They work their tails off on this car day in and day out. It makes my job easier. … I’m grateful for every race we win.”

Smith said he and his crew offered to help Marlin get his car repaired after banging the wall Friday.

“He’s a super nice guy,” Smith said. “You can never underestimate those guys. They’ve got a lot of resources. They know a lot of smart people. He had some unfortunate events this weekend, but it’s always good. It draws in a big crowd.”

Marlin brought a special trophy to share with Saturday’s winner. Smith was awarded a small red paddle with the Confederate flag painted on it with the words, ‘I spanked their butts at Shady Bowl.’ Marlin’s major race sponsor Saturday was Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Lewis Jr. finished second, Ward third, Brian Reeser fourth and Scott Sullenberger fifth.

Gary Eaton Jr. won the 30-lap Vores BJ Body Shop Classic and Jason Purtee captured the Hobby Stocks feature.

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