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Published: Friday, September 29, 2017 @ 10:11 AM
— The Cincinnati Bengals have a chance to beat the Cleveland Browns for the sixth consecutive time this weekend, and I’m afraid to admit I feel it is likely that will happen.
If following sports has taught me anything, it is that feeling like you know something is always dangerous, but all signs point to a good day on the lake for the men in stripes.
They took some important steps forward last week in Green Bay. They seemed to prioritize getting the ball to the most dangerous players without wrecking the flow of the offense.
If they continue to refine that plan and execute better, more yards and even points should follow.
The defense should only get better with Vontaze Burfict back in the middle, and while I like the potential of DeShone Kizer, he’s no Aaron Rodgers.
Hey, but I managed to talk myself into Johnny Manziel embarrassing the Bengals in his first start two years ago, and… that is not quite what happened.
The start is important in many football games, but it should be particularly so in this one.
The Bengals should be a lot better team when they have the lead than when they are trailing because of the pass rush. That goes for both sides of the ball.
Cincinnati’s secondary might be so-so, but they can get after the quarterback.
Cincinnati’s offensive line is bad, especially when everyone knows they have to throw…
How about Ohio State?
Rutgers stinks, especially on offense.
This might be the least challenging game the Silver Bullets face all year, but the Scarlet Knights defense has been respectable.
I believe the Buckeyes are again hoping to see some man to man and press defense this weekend (It’s what Rutgers coach Chris Ash did at Ohio State when he was defensive coordinator), but I would not be surprised to see RU follow everyone else’s lead and play off.
Then again, they have been pretty good at taking the ball away, so perhaps Ash would prefer to go down being aggressive.
That would be another nice challenge for J.T. Barrett to cross off his list of things to do before the Buckeyes play Penn State (one of the originators of the play off in the secondary and attack the line with everyone else style against Ohio State).
In a fantastic, wide-ranging interview this week, Ohio State offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson said has started getting more aggressive.
“Yeah, I would’ve said, the last couple of weeks, he’s kind of gotten a little bit more comfortable, a little bit more assertive anticipation. Not waiting to see if it’s there, but he’s fitting into some tight windows but I think he’s fitting because he’s seeing, letting it go instead of waiting in. Sometimes when you wait, protection breaks down instead of the ball being thrown. So, now, I think he’s just getting more confident in trusting Coach Day, Coach Day trusting him with what they like, the receivers, the protection, fitting in. He had a good week of practice so far.”
That’s a great sign for the prospects Ohio State’s next showing against a highly ranked opponent goes better than the last few...
Ohio State basketball also got some run yesterday as Chris Hotlmann met with reporters in Columbus.
He says defense is going to be the emphasis for his first Buckeyes team, which makes sense because there’s no guarantee they are going to be able to score much.
Perhaps some offensive games will take a jump under new management, but I’ll believe it when I see it.
I am fairly certain there is enough athleticism on this team to lock up a lot of opponents, though, if they buy into the mind-set necessary to do such a thing.
Bonus: That type of discipline has been lacking in the program for a few years and would also probably benefit the offense from an execution standpoint.Follow @marcushartman
Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 9:55 PM
CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Reds hit a home run for the first time in eight days. They grabbed a lead for the first time in 50 innings. They scored more than three runs for the first time in a week.
Most importantly, the Reds won a game, snapping a five-game losing streak by beating the Atlanta Braves 10-4 on Monday in the opener of a four-game series at Great American Ball Park.
With a 4-18 record, the Reds still have the worst record in baseball, and they are still off to their worst start through 22 games in franchise history. This was the first win for interim Reds manager Jim Riggleman, whose took the reins on Friday and was swept in his first series in St. Louis.
“I was involved in a situation in Chicago many years ago where we got off to a horrendus start,” Riggleman said before the game. “I’ve been through it. A great baseball man, Buddy Bell, went through that in Kansas City. I was able to say that to the players. We’ve been through it. We can handle this. You’ve got to handle it. The way to handle it is to get out of it. We’re going to get out of it. Our players are focused and will always be giving a great effort. The sooner the better, of course.”
Here’s a quick recap of the game:
Small crowd: The announced attendance was 9,463, though there were many fewer people in the stands. At the start of the game, there were only four people sitting in the upper deck in left field.
It was the smallest crowd at Great American Ball Park this season and the smallest since Aug. 31, 2009, when a crowd of 9,087 watched the Reds beat the Pirates 6-3. That was the last time the Reds had a crowd smaller than 10,000.
Big inning: The Reds scored five runs in the sixth. It was only the third time in 22 games they’ve led in the sixth. Jesse Winker drove in the go-ahead run with a single. Jose Peraza drove in the second run. Joey Votto walked with the bases loaded to drive in the third run. A single by Scooter Gennett drove in the final two runs.
» RELATED: Price says he will keep pulling for Reds
Drought ends: Scott Schebler, hitting lead-off for the first time this season, hit a game-tying, two-run home run in the fifth inning. It was the first home run for the Reds since their last home game on April 15 against the Cardinals. They didn’t hit a home run on the six-game road trip that concluded Sunday in St. Louis.
Costly mistake: The Braves took a 1-0 lead in the third thanks to an error by the Reds. Left fielder Adam Duvall’s wild throw to third base got by Cliff Pennington, allowing Dansby Swanson to score with one out.
Power display: Nick Markakis hit a solo home run in the fourth to give the Braves a 2-0 lead. It was the third home run of the season for Markakis.
Missed chance: Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart struck out with the bases loaded to end the first inning.
Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 9:29 PM
DAYTON — The Dayton Flyers added to their 2018 recruiting class on Monday as Frank Policelli announced his verbal commitment.
Dayton offered Policelli a scholarship in January. He visited Dayton on April 15. He’s a 6-foot-8 forward from Long Island Lutheran High School (N.Y.).
» RELATED: Former Flyer picks new school
“I would like to thank everyone who helped me along this journey since I was a kid,” Policelli wrote on Twitter. “This process was very hard, and there were a lot of ups and downs, but the people closest to me helped me remain humble and focused through it all.”
Policelli joins Dwayne Cohill, a senior at Holy Name High School, and Jhery Matos, a sophomore at Monroe College, in the 2018 class. Dayton now has four scholarships open for the 2018-19 season.
Maryland, Illinois, Texas Tech were among the other schools to offer Policelli scholarships. He’s a three-star recruit who ranks 262nd in the class of 2018, according to 247Sports.com.
Policelli is from New Hartford, N.Y., which is four hours from Long Island. He transferred to Long Island Lutheran for his senior year. He missed the second half of his junior season after undergoing knee surgery. He averaged 28.1 points and over 13 rebounds as a junior.
Policelli played AAU basketball with the New York Jayhawks. Dayton freshman Obadiah Toppin also played for that team.
Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 6:07 PM
COLUMBUS — Ohio State will hold a Celebration of Life on Wednesday for the late Earle Bruce, who died Friday at 87.
Bruce coached the Ohio State Buckeyes football team from 1979-87 and had a record of 81-26-1 in nine seasons. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2002.
» HARTMAN: Bruce one of most influential Buckeyes ever
The event will take place at St. John Arena at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday. The public is invited to attend. Parking is free in the North St. John Arena and North Riverbank lots.
The Ohio State Marching and Athletic Bands will perform. Among the speakers will be Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel, Bruce’s grandson Zach Smith, running backs coach Tony Alford and Matt McCoy of 610 WTVN. Dom Tiberi, of WBNS 10-TV, will emcee the celebration.
Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 6:41 PM
CINCINNATI — Bryan Price released a statement on Monday, four days after he was fired 18 games into his fifth season as Cincinnati Reds manager. It was his first public comment since losing his job.
“It is with tremendous gratitude and appreciation for the 8+ years I spent as a member of the Cincinnati Reds organization that I bid adieu to so many wonderful friends and co-workers,” Price wrote. “I wish Jim Riggleman great success as he takes the reins of the club and send a heartfelt thank you to a cherished group of players, coaches, trainers and clubhouse family that stayed connected, worked tirelessly together and who collectively faced challenging times head on. Many of the best people I have known in my life are, or have been, members of the Reds family.
“I will continue pulling for the Reds from my home in Arizona and am sure to follow the career paths of each and every current and former Red in the years to follow. Thank you to the ownership group, led by Bob Castellini, for giving me the privilege of managing such a storied franchise and a special thanks to my dear friend Walt Jocketty, who brought me to Cincinnati back in the fall of 2009. My wife, Judy, and I are grateful for our years in Cincinnati and for the outpouring of friendship and support offered through our time in the Queen City. My best wishes to the Cincinnati Reds and everyone in Reds country.”
This was Price’s fifth season as Reds manager. His final record was 279-387. The Reds never had a winning record in his tenure, finishing 76-86 in his first season and then 64-98 in 2015, 68-94 in 2016 and 68-94 in 2017.
» PHOTOS: Price through the years