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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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Woman drugs mother of a newborn and tries to steal baby

first_imgThe Pierce County Sheriff’s Department in Washington State is reporting that they have arrested a woman who posed as a photographer in an effort to kidnap a woman’s newborn.The Sheriff’s department says they began investigating the suspect who went by the name Juliette Parker on Facebook after the victim contacted them believing she may have been drugged by the suspect.The victim told authorities that she met Parker in a Facebook group where Parker advertised free newborn photo sessions because she wanted to build her photography portfolio.The victim told investigators that the suspect visited her home three times with her 16-year-old daughter and took selfies with the newborn. She also said that she noticed that the suspect would wipe her fingerprints off of everything she touched.On the third visit, Parker and her daughter brought the mother a cupcake and several moments after the victim ingested the cupcake she began feeling drowsy and numb.The victim then kicked the pair out of her home. While the suspect and her daughter did leave, the victim noticed that her house keys were missing and contacted the police believing she may have been drugged.After an investigation, authorities reported that they found evidence that there were several other victims and that the suspect planned to steal a newborn and raise it as her own:“Our detectives have worked tirelessly on this case, conducting multiple interviews and obtaining several search warrants,” the department said. “This detailed investigation identified additional victims and garnered evidence that indicate that the suspect was planning to steal a newborn baby to raise as her own.”last_img read more

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Pittsburgh Beats Howard 84-52

first_imgHoward’s Oliver Ellison, left, and Pittsburgh’s Lamar Patterson, right, fight for possession in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/John Heller)by Nate BarnesAssociated Press WriterPITTSBURGH (AP) – Head coach Kevin Nickelberry wanted to limit Pittsburgh forward Talib Zanna’s impact against his Howard Bison in Sunday’s game.And limit Zanna the Bison did, but that didn’t help in the game’s outcome as Pitt beat Howard 84-52.“We had to just battle him,” Nickelberry said. “We just wanted to use our two-headed monster and try to get him in foul trouble.”Nickelberry’s two-headed monster is 6-foot-9-inch Oliver Ellison and 6-foot-10-inch Marcel Boyd. They were the largest players Zanna faced yet this season, after he dominated an undersized and undermanned Fresno State front line Tuesday with a 19-point, 10-rebound double-double.The Bison cared so much about surrounding and harassing Zanna that they played a zone defense for the first time this season.“Bigs can’t beat us tonight,” Nickelberry told his team. “The guards have to beat us. And their guards killed us.”Zanna got in foul trouble early, according to Nickelberry’s plan, and played just six minutes in the first half. Zanna scored only four points on three shot attempts, and pulled in just three rebounds.It was Pitt’s guards, led by Lamar Patterson, who did in the Bison.Patterson helped Pitt to jump out to a 9-0 lead when he fed freshman forward Michael Young for a dunk and later sank a three-pointer.Patterson shot 4-of-4 from deep in the first half, 5-of-6 overall, and entered halftime with a game-high 16 points. His performance led the best shooting percentage in a half in school history, as Pitt made 81 percent of its field goals and opened up a 48-24 halftime lead.“Last game we just couldn’t find the touch,” Patterson said. “Today, we found it. That’s just how it is, some games it goes in, some games it doesn’t.”Patterson finished with 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting, next to five rebounds and four assists.“I’m a versatile player,” Patterson said. “I like to show different aspects of my game every time out.”Also on the perimeter, guards James Robinson, Cam Wright, Durand Johnson and Chris Jones combined to score 32 points.“It was a really good performance by us,” Dixon said. “The starting guards especially. James, Cameron and Lamar were really good.”Good shot selection proved to be a key.“I think we took a lot of bad shots in the last game and missed some open ones,” Dixon said. “Tonight we took almost all the good threes, and I think that was a big part of it. It usually comes down to shot selection.”The Panthers cooled off in the second half, but still shot 58 percent from the field. Defensively, Pitt held Howard to only 17 field goals and 36.2 percent shooting.Michael Young found the most success of any “big” Sunday, with 11 points on 4-of-4 shooting. Other than Young, though, it was the play of Pitt’s perimeter assets that helped counter the Zanna’s ineffectiveness.“We tried to cut off what we thought was the head of the dragon,” Nickelberry said. “But obviously there were more parts to the dragon than I thought.”last_img read more

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