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Size vs. speed debate no longer necessary

first_imgThe old size-versus-speed debate is one of the most overused and illogical ways to analyze or preview a college football game.Unfortunately, Badger fans heard all about it leading up to the Champs Sports Bowl against “speedy” Miami.Many believed “The U” would be too fast for the Badgers. Experts feared those watching would inevitably be blinded by the overwhelming quickness of the ‘Canes. The powerful UW rushing attack was supposed to pale in comparison to the Hurricanes’ athletic front seven.So how did the Badgers manage to upend Miami down in Orlando? How did they hold that explosive Miami attack to just 249 yards of total offense?To sit here and say that it was UW’s size that defeated Miami’s speed is quite honestly false. Those two teams represent a lot more than those two words.Sure, Wisconsin’s powerful rushing attack and enormous offensive line had something to do with the signature victory, but UW outplayed the Hurricanes in every aspect of the game. They were not just the more physically imposing team, they were simply the better team. The Badgers are more than just powerful — they are incredibly balanced and, yeah, they too have some fast players on the roster.True to form, UW ran it down Miami’s throats and it was an impressive display, but that’s not all it did. The Badgers won that game with a relentless pass rush, sure tackling and the ability to consistently convert on third down through the air.You know what’s funny about all those things? The vast majority of teams in college football, whether labeled speedy or not, are well aware they lead to wins.And that’s what makes this whole speed and size debate so aggravating: it just doesn’t exist. Everyone needs speed and everyone needs physicality — this is football we’re talking about after all.Twenty years ago there may have been a gap in speed and athleticism across college football. I wouldn’t disagree that the southern teams had more speed, but in today’s game, every program gets its hands on quick players. Recruiting now goes coast-to-coast as midwestern programs continue to bring in players from Florida and California.As far as speed is concerned, the playing field is now pretty much even.And while everyone was busy talking about the difference in styles between the two programs, no one acknowledged that Miami had almost the exact same offensive game plan as the Badgers. Most overlook this, but the Hurricanes’ offense is only successful when they get their running game going. They had three backs combine to total over two thousand yards on the year — that’s physical football. They have a big offensive line and physical runners, but they are labeled as the speedy finesse team. The Miami players shivering in 50-degree weather didn’t promote a very rugged image, but they at least wanted to be physical up front.There are very few teams in football that can run their offenses effectively without moving the ball on the ground or winning the battles on line of scrimmage. UW won those battles and got pressure on Jacory Harris, while Scott Tolzien was comfortable in the pocket. That’s why we saw the Badgers dominate in the passing game, because I don’t care how fast your receivers are, without time to throw, no one looks open.And as the Hurricanes’ offense struggled, Tolzien became the first Wisconsin quarterback to reach 200 completions in a season, but you won’t hear anyone acknowledge the strides UW has made in the passing game.Yet, the 2009 Champs Sports Bowl isn’t the only example of a game that illuminates the idiocy of the speed and size debate, especially in the Big Ten.Ohio State and Terrelle Pryor ran wild in the Rose Bowl. The Buckeyes dominated the line of scrimmage and wore down an Oregon offense that was said to be the most explosive in the country. And thanks to Iowa and Penn State, the Big Ten proved it has some capable athletes to go along with oversized linemen (four Big Ten teams finished in the top 16).Here’s the thing — in college football today we have so many types of offenses, so many formations that we lose sight of the basics. Some teams spread it out, some opt to play between the tackles and others pull out some crazy triple option attack. But in the end each team’s core objective remains the same: you must control the line of scrimmage.Down in those trenches you need size, you need to be physical. Big Ten teams, SEC teams, ACC teams, all of them. And as unbelievable as it sounds, the good teams have both size and speed.Just check out Miami head coach Randy Shannon’s comments to ESPN.com prior to the bowl game.“It’s not going to be a situation where we’re going to be faster than those guys or they’re going to be faster than us,” he said. “We have a big offensive line; they have a big offensive line. They have big guys on defense; we have big guys on defense. It’s going to work itself out.“It’s just a myth that if you’re down south you run faster.”Coach Shannon was proved right as UW dispelled the ridiculous myth once again. I guess if the south wants to regain the speed advantage they just need to get faster, because the rest of the country has certainly caught up.Max is a junior majoring in journalism. Think the size versus speed debate should continue? Let him know at mhenson@badgerherald.com.last_img read more

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UG makes Ghana proud at FASU Games

first_imgThe Sports Directorate of the country’s premier University, University of Ghana, Legon held the flag of Ghana aloft at this year’s Federation of African University Sports (FASU) Games which took place in Ethiopia, Mekelle University.Team Legon succeeded in clinching five gold medals in the men’s badminton (Singles), badminton team event, tennis men’s singles, tennis mixed doubles and basketball men after close to a week hotly-contested sports festival.They grabbed a silver in the badminton doubles event and a bronze in the women’s tennis singles.With a contingent of 14 athletes, Team Legon finished fifth behind countries Ndejje University (Uganda), University of Johannesburg, Addis Ababa University who participated with larger contingent (30).  In all, Ghana placed fifth, but per universities, Team Legon placed third.Director of the University of Ghana Sports Directorate, Dr Bella Bello Bitugu attributed the team’s successes to a collective effort from policies, management, administration as well as restocking of students. He said on arrival at the Kotoka  International Airport yesterday that “I feel so so elated taking into account there seven gold at stake and we won five, that is a great and remarkable achievement.”Regina Afari Boateng commended the athletes and the technical highly for the feat and also attributed the student-athlete policy as one of the reasons for the feat. We bring sportsmen and women on concessional basisTo badminton coach, Henry Nii Sackey hard work and determination did the trick.The 47 Universities from the 16 countries games (ninth edition) received massive support from Dr Daniel McKorley (McDan), patron of the University of Ghana Sports Directorate.last_img read more

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