Marshall: Shockers’ experience means little against Indiana

first_imgOMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Wichita State coach Greg Marshall is downplaying his team’s NCAA Tournament experience as a factor in Friday’s game against Indiana.The Shockers have five players back from last year’s team that was unbeaten until it lost to Kentucky in the round of 32. Three of those players were on the team that went to the Final Four the year before.Indiana is the youngest team in the tournament.Marshall said UAB’s upset of Iowa State on Thursday is proof that experience doesn’t matter much once the game starts.Wichita State (28-4) comes in as the No. 7 seed in the Midwest, and its 63-5 record the past two years is the best in Division I.The No. 10 Hoosiers (20-13) have lost nine of their last 14.last_img read more

Final Four rematch: It’s UK-Wisconsin again

first_imgCLEVELAND – Since Aaron Harrison’s final dagger dropped with six seconds left in last year’s national semifinal, Wisconsin has been on a mission.“That loss left a sour taste in our mouth, so we wanted to get back,” Badgers forward Sam Dekker said Saturday after winning the NCAA Tournament’s West Regional to return to the Final Four.Since Connecticut ruined Kentucky’s storybook ending in the national championship game last season, the Wildcats have been similarly motivated.“Just two more games,” said Andrew Harrison late Saturday night after hitting the clinching free throws against Notre Dame to get UK into its second straight Final Four and fourth in five years under coach John Calipari. “You really remember that feeling you had after the (title) game last year. You don’t want to have that feeling again.”Tweet by Courier-Journal.comBut someone’s redemption tour will be stopped short in the rematch. The undefeated Wildcats (38-0) must go through red-hot Wisconsin (35-3) again, this time in Indianapolis, for their shot at a ninth NCAA championship and college basketball’s first 40-0 season.The Badgers, who returned eight of the nine guys who played in last year’s Final Four duel with Kentucky, have won 10 straight games and hit 10 of 12 3-pointers in the second half Saturday to blow by Arizona.“I know (Wisconsin coach) Bo Ryan, and he’s a great friend, and how good he coaches,” said Calipari, who has won 15 of his last 16 NCAA Tournament games. “I’ve said all along I thought the (four) best teams were us, Wisconsin and Arizona and Duke. And other teams are right there, but those four seem to be a little bit better than the others.”The Badgers have a combination of shooting and size – seven players 6-8 or taller, including 6-9 Dekker and 7-foot All-American Frank Kaminsky – to threaten the Cats. Kentucky, with just one major contributor shorter than 6-6, ultimately overtook the Fighting Irish with a massive mismatch in length.“That’s a great matchup,” said Notre Dame coach Mike Brey after his team fell just short in a 68-66 thriller. “Wisconsin’s a little bit like us: they’re skilled and they can spread people out. They have a little more bulk and frontline size, but they’re really skilled offensive guys, and certainly we were able to get some things tonight.”Analysis | Towns, UK outlast Notre Dame 68-66The Cats returned just five of the guys who played against Wisconsin the first time, and lost their top two scorers from that 74-73 classic, but that doesn’t mean the Cats are less equipped. This team is actually far better than that one. They added four McDonald’s All-Americans, including 6-11 freshman star Karl-Anthony Towns, who poured in 25 points against the Irish.Junior 7-footer Willie Cauley-Stein, the nation’s top defender who helped save Saturday’s game with a late block, was injured and didn’t play the Badgers last year. But he knows this will be a challenge.“I’m glad we have a week to prepare for them,” Cauley-Stein said. “The way they play together is the best in the country. This is when I’m glad we don’t have one day to prepare for them. One day to prepare for a team like Notre Dame? That’s why we couldn’t stop them. If we’d had a couple more days to see where the holes are …. but the way they run their offense is crazy. You really can’t stop it.Analysis | Towns, UK outlast Notre Dame 68-66“It’s really them missing shots, and you get the rebounds, and that’s how you stop them. Otherwise they’re going to get their shots up, and if they’re making them, it’s going to be a long night.”One of the Wildcats’ newcomers, rookie point guard Tyler Ulis, is still familiar with Wisconsin’s best player, Kaminsky. They’re both former Illinois high school stars and played in the same league.Ulis is new to this matchup, and this stage, but he knows what to expect.“Another hard-fought game,” he said, “and I feel like they want some get-back from last year.”Kyle Tucker can be reached at (502) 582-4361. Follow him on Twitter @KyleTucker_CJ.last_img read more

Ole Miss drops series opener to Missouri

first_imgOle Miss and Missouri both scored two runs in the fifth inning, but the Rebels couldn’t manage to manufacture any more offense thereafter on Friday night. The Rebels dropped its series opener to the Tigers 4-2 at Taylor Stadium. The loss brings Ole Miss back to one game above .500 with the regular season winding down. The Rebels are still projected to make the NCAA Tournament, but must remain above that mark to be eligible. Junior Christian Trent tossed a complete game, allowing four runs on nine hits.The southpaw struck out six Tigers without surrendering a walk as he pitched eight innings for the second consecutive game.The first 23 batters of the game were retired before Missouri’s Ryan Howard singled up the middle with two outs in the bottom of the fourth.The Tigers reached the scoreboard in three consecutive innings from the fifth to the seventh. For Ole Miss, Colby Bortles and Connor Cloyd continued their hot streaks at the plate. Bortles reached base for the 24th time in the past 25 games, going 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored. Cloyd increased his hit streak to eight games with an infield single.last_img read more

Ole Miss’ Friday night game vs. Texas A&M postponed

first_imgOle Miss coach Mike Bianco.Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco.OXFORD – Ole Miss’ Friday night game against No. 8 Texas A&M has been postponed due to inclement weather.The Rebels (29-25) and Aggies (43-9) will play two seven-inning games on Saturday starting at 1:30 p.m. The second contest will start following a 40 minute break.The Aggies downed Ole Miss 4-0 in the series opener on Thursday night. Texas A&M starter Grayson Long pitched a gem, working seven scoreless innings and striking out 12. He allowed just two hits.After getting to 29 wins earlier in the week with a victory over Arkansas State, the Rebels likely can only help themselves this weekend. But the loss to the Aggies on Thursday mathematically eliminated them from earning a bye into the double-elimination round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament.Ole Miss is projected as a No. 2 seed in the Tallahassee regional in the NCAA Tournament, according to Texas A&M is still fighting to earn a national seed. Not looking very good— Riley Blevins (@Riley_Blevins) May 15, 2015Ole Miss sophomore Brady Bramlett is scheduled to start the first game on Saturday. Senior Scott Weathersby will likely go in the second.Bramlett has a 3.73 ERA and is 6-3 on the year. He’ll go against Texas A&M right-hander Ryan Hendrix, who owns a 3.48 ERA with a 4-1 record. Single-game tickets for Friday’s game will be valid for the full doubleheader on Saturday.last_img read more

USC’s Alan Knott named to Rimington Trophy Spring Watch List

first_imgUSC’s Alan Knott named to the Rimington Award Spring Watch List.USC’s Alan Knott named to the Rimington Award Spring Watch List.COLUMBIA – South Carolina sophomore center Alan Knott has been named to the Rimington Trophy Spring Watch List.The list includes 52 of the top centers in college football.The 6-4, 268-pound Tyrone, Georgia native made eight starts for the Gamecocks as a redshirt freshman and tool virtually all the snaps at center during spring practice.Following spring practice the USC coaching staff named him the most improved offensive lineman, in addition to being named the Joe Morrison Offensive Player of the spring, which was awarded at the spring game.The center with the most first-team votes will be determined the winner. If there is a tie with first team votes, then the center with the most second team votes will win. If there is still a tie, the winner will be determined by a majority vote from the Rimington Trophy committee. The winner will be recognized at the Rimington Trophy Presentation at the Rococo Theatre in Lincoln, Nebraska on Saturday, January 16, 2016.Dave Rimington, the award’s namesake, was a consensus first-team All-America center at the University of Nebraska in 1981 and 1982, during which time he became the John Outland Trophy’s only double winner as the nation’s finest college interior lineman.last_img read more

IndyCar drivers brace for wild ride at Texas

first_imgPlay VideoPlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration Time 0:00Loaded: 0%0:00Progress: 0%0:00 Progress: 0%Stream TypeLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1ChaptersChaptersdescriptions off, selectedDescriptionssubtitles off, selectedSubtitlescaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedCaptionsAudio TrackFullscreenThis is a modal window. An unanticipated problem was encountered, check back soon and try again Error Code: MEDIA_ERR_UNKNOWN FORT WORTH — It could be the concoction of speed and nerve and bravado that makes Texas Motor Speedway such a compelling IndyCar venue.It could be the cunning required to manage tires and fuel for endless laps and then summon the willingness to dice within inches of other cars racing more than 220 mph.It could be the litany of odd — and often unsavory — things that happen at the 1.5-mile track that brandishes the slogan “No Limits.”“When something goes wrong at Texas,” said driver Oriol Servia, “it seems to go really, really wrong there.”Q&A: Sebastien Bourdais on perfect laps, Paul NewmanTexas matters for different reasons Saturday night: Honda Performance Development should have a clear indication if its teams have any chance of becoming more competitive against Chevrolet this season as the series moves to the second oval on the schedule.Because while Chevrolets have won six of eight races this season under the first use of aerodynamic body kits, HPD has been biding its time for the oval portion of the schedule. There, said HPD president, Art St. Cyr, Honda should improve after exerting much of its developmental efforts.“Our kit was designed around ovals,” he told USA TODAY Sports. “They’re all a little bit different. Indy has a little bit of its own specific specification that doesn’t transfer to other ovals, so we won’t know until we get to Texas.”Oval performance matters most, St. Cyr said, because winning the Indianapolis 500 is the top goal — Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s Graham Rahal led Honda in finishing fifth — followed by the manufacturer’s championship and race wins.Honda drivers, like Ryan Hunter-Reay, front, have struggled this year but they hope to do better on ovals. (Brian Spurlock, USA TODAY Sports)Honda drivers, like Ryan Hunter-Reay, front, have struggled, but they hope to do better on ovals. (Brian Spurlock, USA TODAY Sports)Progress at Indianapolis is debatable. Rahal has been the class of the Honda contingent and his finish was in keeping with how the rest of the season has played out. He’s fifth in driver points as the top Honda competitor.Though the oval portion of the IndyCar schedule is diverse, the convention of the speed-inducing 1.5-mile, 24-degree-banked Texas track should help indicate future possibility for Honda, at least more than the 2.5-mile flat expanse of Indianapolis Motor Speedway.After a paltry showing through the first seven street/road course races – Honda drivers James Hinchcliffe of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Carlos Munoz of Andretti Autosport won rain-shortened events – Honda needs to quell a paddock unease. St. Cyr has attempted to tamp down any panic.“We think we’re OK,” St. Cyr said. “Our side pods and our engine cover actually give us some side force which actually helps on ovals, almost to the detriment of our handling on road courses.”Honda drivers are not alone in wondering how the speedway kits will affect competition at Texas. Competitors were already musing the topic in the days before the Indianapolis 500, when three Chevrolets went airborne. Andretti’s Ryan Hunter-Reay said he was “interested to know as well” how the aero kit-era car would perform at Texas.IndyCar announced Tuesday that it had implemented the use of so-called closure panels to the front and back of both manufacturers’ real wheel guards with the intent of preventing cars from going aloft when turned backwards at high speeds.“Unfortunately, we’re going to find out just like the rest of you guys. We have no idea,” Hunter-Reay said in May. “Texas is, obviously, a different rule package, a different downforce mandate there that we have. It is a very different package than (Indianapolis).“Texas is going to be interesting. It’s always hot there. We’re always going to be sliding round with the lower downforce numbers than we run lately there. And we’ll certainly run a lot less downforce there than we have been running here. There’s certainly concerns there, but I have no idea yet.”Defending Texas race-winner Ed Carpenter, who drives a Chevrolet, predicted that increased downforce could open a second lane at Texas and manifest more passing. If so, he said, “I think they’ll be a little easier to pass and keep the field a little closer together. I don’t see it being to the point where it’s a pack race like we had pre-2005.”The panels also will be used at 2-mile Auto Club Speedway and on the 2.5-mile triangular Pocono Raceway. Series vice president of technology Will Phillips said they will “serve as a blocker so air cannot flow through the rear wheel guards” and “ultimately raise the point at which cars would experience lift when traveling backwards.”The series also increased downforce over the 2014 Texas race with a mandated adjustment to rear wing angles to between -6) and -10.5 degrees.Ed Carpenter won at Texas last year. (Tim Sharp, AP)Ed Carpenter won at Texas last year. (Tim Sharp, AP)Consternation, said former Indianapolis 500 winner Gil de Ferran, is the byproduct of reintroducing innovation into the series with the highly manipulateable kits. De Ferran, a Honda consultant who was a member of the “I.C.O.N.I.C.” committee tasked by the series with launching the aero kit movement in 2010, said it was to be expected one manufacturer would rush ahead.“This is a little bit of a hangover from the one-make era,” he told USA TODAY Sports. “The probability that the curtains were going to open and everyone was going to be exactly the same, to me, were fairly small. And it appears in certain circumstances that Chevy has built a better mousetrap. Not all circumstances, by the way, I believe, but overall that’s the way it appears, anyway.“It’s called competition. There’s nobody there holding your hand. You’ve got to do better and use everything you have to improve.”With innovation comes the risk and the reward of trophies vs. wrecked cars. Helio Castroneves’ airborne tumble at Indianapolis was traced to an ill-conceived setup. The unforgiving speed and bare-knuckle mentality engendered at Texas make for a dangerous parlay.CASTRONEVES: Gains ground after IndyCar reduces penaltyDe Ferran saw this personally in 2001 after being one of many to suffer from adverse effects from G forces that forced the cancellation of a Champ Car race here.“That was crazy,” de Ferran said. “The forces in your body were so big and I remember coming back into the pits and really having a hard time remembering what had happened a few seconds ago. It was extraordinary. Some guys suffered more, some suffered less. It literally took all your strength to stay breathing and turning your wheel.”De Ferran, however, said he is not concerned the unknowns of the current aero kit could enable such a scenario this weekend.“I think IndyCar has done a lot of work to understand where we are going to be, speed-wise,” he said.Ultimately, the attempt, said Servia, a degreed mechanical engineer, is worth trying for the longer-term good of the sport.“Racing and development have been hand in hand since Day 1,” he said. “I believe there should always be some development because tracks, fans, want to see and understand technology better, solutions better, why these guys are better than these guys. But also it attracts manufacturers to do better. Manufacturers come and they spend money making something good and they spend money saying how good it is, promoting it. “I am all for development, but with that comes a risk, people doing a better job than others, or messing up in some areas. I think we all understand that when you (are) trying to open the door, there is a risk sometimes of getting some things wrong.” Session ID: 2020-09-18:cd04a80f6c33742b574d5689 Player ID: videojs-brightcove-player-634141-4273778667001 OK Close Modal DialogCaption Settings DialogBeginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsDefaultsDoneClose Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.last_img read more

Rebels pitching could take hit during MLB draft

first_imgIf he returns, Christian Trent is the likely No. 1 starter for Ole Miss in 2015. He was drafted in the 29th round in 2014 by the Los Angeles Dodgers.If he returns, Christian Trent is the likely No. 1 starter for Ole Miss in 2015. He was drafted in the 29th round in 2014 by the Los Angeles Dodgers.OXFORD – If you run your finger down the list of Ole Miss’ baseball signees, it seems like every other prospect has a “P” next to his name.There are a few reasons why the Rebels signed 13 pitching prospects in 2015, one being the onslaught of arms could potentially soften the blow this week could bring.Today, the MLB first-year player draft begins.The Rebels might not have the big-name prospects they’ve produced in year’s past, but the decisions their players make this week could have an equal impact.All of the Rebels’ draft-hopeful players are pitchers. Ole Miss’ biggest weak spot during the up-and-down 2015 season?“Pitching,” Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. “We just didn’t have enough pitching to win.”It could have even less next spring, depending on where, or if, Friday starter Christian Trent, Saturday guy Brady Bramlett and 6-foot-6 reliever Jacob Waguespack are selected.“I don’t like talking about the draft,” Bianco said.It could be because beyond those three and a few others, there was a massive drop off in pitching talent for the Rebels this season.A third of Ole Miss’ innings were pitched by guys who owned a 6.00 ERA or higher.The 13 pitchers the Rebels signed could be used to neatly fill in those holes, falling in behind the returning Bramlett and Trent. Or Bianco could be left shuffling through the newcomers, hoping a few emerge as weekend starters.“The truth is, when we sign pitchers… (they’re) guys you think can be weekend guys,” Bianco said. “Now, it becomes, who’s going to be that guy?“Right now, I don’t know who that guy is going to be.”Regardless of the toll the draft takes, the Rebels will get some help from two players returning from injury.Sean Johnson, a 6-foot-7 junior college signee, probably would have been a weekend option for the Rebels, and maybe even drafted this week, if he hadn’t torn his ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow.Brady Feigl, a 6-foot-5 freshman right-hander, also just finished his rehab.“Those would have been a few weekend guys right there,” Bianco said. “You never know which guys are going to pan out or what’s going to happen.”It’s partly why Bianco doesn’t come across overly stressed about the chunk the draft could take from his rotation.Christian Trent, who likely will be taken the earliest of the three (and was drafted in the 29th round in 2014 by the Los Angeles Dodgers), was never thought of as an ace. But he posted a 9-0 record last year and owned a 3.74 ERA this year in that role.The same goes from Bramlett.“365 days ago, we weren’t talking about Brady Bramlett,” Bianco said. “If anything, he would have been one of the 12th questions, like, ‘Oh, yeah, what about Bramlett? How’s he?’”It’s true, and also probably the reason why Bramlett is the Rebels’ best bet at returning.The Louisville All-American arrived at Ole Miss as a freshman, made four starts, then had to sit out the rest of the season and the following year after tearing his labrum.Entering this season, it was unknown where Bramlett would fit in.Sunday guy? Midweek starter? Bullpen?The 6-foot-4 redshirt sophomore led the team in strikeouts with 84 and went 7-4 starting on Saturdays.“I think Brady is just excited to build on this year,” Bianco said. “He’s going to get stronger. We’ll see.”Contact Riley Blevins at Follow @Riley_Blevins on Twitter.last_img read more

Vanderbilt’s one-run games an Omaha habit

first_imgZander Wiel’s solo HR in 7th-inning Vanderbilt 1, TCU 0 (2015) 9-run 3rd-inning, held off Virginia rally Vanderbilt 4, Cal State Fullerton 3 (2015) Session ID: 2020-09-18:2e2c32ff121bccf2b1fe91a0 Player ID: videojs-brightcove-player-371352-4303177588001 OK Close Modal DialogCaption Settings DialogBeginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsDefaultsDoneClose Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button. OMAHA, Neb. – Without two key home-run swings, Vanderbilt could be headed home from the College World Series.Instead, the defending national champion Commodores are one victory away from returning to the national championship series thanks to a pair of dramatic one-run wins.Coach Tim Corbin said he and his team saw this coming. Last week before leaving Nashville, the coach prepared his players for such tight, nail-biting games.“If you had the chance to play in Omaha and knew every game was going to be a one-run game, how would you go about your practice?,” Corbin said to his team. “They told me and they responded to me. It was like what I would want them to say. … They knew they were going to be in this.”Vanderbilt (49-19) will play at 7 p.m. Friday (ESPN) vs. TCU, which eliminated LSU 8-4 on Thursday.Vanderbilt’s Dansby Swanson, No. 1 draft pick, is 0-for-Omaha5 things that put Vanderbilt in prime CWS spotThe Commodores beat Cal State Fullerton 4-3 on Jeren Kendall’s walk-off homer in the ninth inning, and they edged TCU 1-0 on Zander Wiel’s seventh-inning homer that broke up a no-hitter.“We always know we’re going to score one or two eventually. We just stay in the moment,” said Kendall, a freshman. “…We expected that coming to the College World Series. The guys said to be prepared to win 1-0, 2-0.”This is old hat for the Commodores in Omaha. Their last five wins in the College World Series have come by one-run margins, beginning in last year’s national title run.“Tyler Campbell’s dribbler to shortstop won the Texas game (last year). Johnny Norwood’s (home run) ball got us out of a tight jam (to beat Virginia in the national title game),” Corbin said. “… You just have to look at the fact that we can pull those games out.”Vanderbilt’s Jeren Kendall gets home run ball after allVanderbilt one win from CWS final after beating TCUShortstop Dansby Swanson, last year’s College World Series Most Outstanding Player, said elite pitching has kept games close throughout the bracket. Four of the first eight games of this College World Series were decided by one run, including two by Vanderbilt.“Hitting is pretty tough to come by out here because of how aware everyone is of the hitters, and the scouting reports are out,” said Swanson, who is 0-for-8 in this College World Series. “We’ll just try to score when we can to take advantage when we can.”Pitching depth often thins out late in the tournament, as the primary rotation of starters runs out. But Corbin said this College World Series field had such elite arms that close low-scoring games were likely.“This was just the one time that I could see there weren’t any Cinderellas,” Corbin said. “Not to minimize a Cinderella team, but I just knew these teams were here for a reason, and basically because they knew they could pitch.” Reach Adam Sparks at 615-259-8010 and on Twitter @AdamSparks. ONE-RUN WINS IN OMAHA Vanderbilt’s last five wins in the College World Series have been by one run each Vanderbilt 4, Texas 3, 10 inn. (2014) Game (Year) Tyler Campbell’s RBI infield single in 10th How Vanderilt won John Norwood’s HR in 8th inning Vanderbilt 9, Virginia 8 (2014) COLLEGE WORLD SERIES VANDERBILT (49-19) vs. TCUWhere: Omaha, Neb.When: 7 p.m. FridayTV/radio: ESPN/560-AM, 95.9-FM Vanderbilt 3, Virginia 2 (2014) Vanderbilt players including Liam Sabino (11) and Matt Ruppenthal (28) react to Zander Wiel's solo home run against TCU during the seventh inning of the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park on Tuesday in Omaha, Neb. It was the Commodores’ fifth straight one-run win in the College World Series.Vanderbilt players including Liam Sabino (11) and Matt Ruppenthal (28) react to Zander Wiel’s solo home run against TCU during the seventh inning of the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park on Tuesday in Omaha, Neb. It was the Commodores’ fifth straight one-run win in the College World Series.Play VideoPlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration Time 0:00Loaded: 0%0:00Progress: 0%0:00 Progress: 0%Stream TypeLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1ChaptersChaptersdescriptions off, selectedDescriptionssubtitles off, selectedSubtitlescaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedCaptionsAudio TrackFullscreenThis is a modal window. The Video Cloud video was not found. Error Code: VIDEO_CLOUD_ERR_VIDEO_NOT_FOUND Jeren Kendall’s walk-off HR in 9th inninglast_img read more

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey comments on Confederate flag

first_imgGreg Sankey, the commission of the SEC, commented on the Confederate flag during teleconference on Monday.Greg Sankey, the commission of the SEC, commented on the Confederate flag during teleconference on Monday.As the debate regarding the presence of Confederate flag in the United States continues, it reached the Southeastern Conference on Monday.New commissioner Greg Sankey was asked about the league’s opinion of the flag during a teleconference Monday morning. Sankey released a statement via Twitter last week backing its removal.He backed those words during the teleconference.“I issued a statement last week supporting the calls that have been made to remove the Confederate battle flag from a prominent displays that have been noted,” Sankey said. “We’ve seen some progress on that front, obviously in the state of Alabama.“It’s an important conversation because our athletic programs provide a key rallying point for our state and our region and we want to make sure that they are a welcoming circumstance as much as that’s possible when you’re a visiting team in our arenas and stadium and make our campuses welcoming places for all who are on our teams and populating our campuses.”Various coaches were also asked for their opinion on the flag. They all pointed to the history behind the flag, but also said it shouldn’t be used in a public setting.“The Confederate flag means a lot in a very positive way to a lot of folks in the South and it identifies the South in many ways that are historical, and in some circles is really positive,” Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. “But in other circles it is not a positive symbol in our country and as a result flying (it) in public areas that represent all the people, not just a certain element, can be a real challenge. When something is offensive to somebody, I think it’s important that we recognize that and in public places be sensitive to that and take the flag down. At the same time, I recognize the positive aspects of that symbol and so I don’t have as big a problem with it as some.”Kentucky’s John Calipari and South Carolina’s Frank Martin echoed similar sentiments in acknowledging the flag’s history, but also supporting its removal.Was just asked a question on a bball conference call about the confederate flag. I don’t want any confusion. I think we should take it down!— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) June 29, 2015Ole Miss’ Andy Kennedy and Mississippi State’s Ben Howland were not asked about the flag. Both schools have released statements regarding the Confederate flag, which is part of Mississippi’s state flag. Ole Miss explicitly stated its support for a new state flag. Mississippi State referred to its 2001 voting record, “ The MSU Faculty Senate voted overwhelmingly in support of changing the state flag of Mississippi prior to the failed statewide voter referendum on that question. Other than lawful displays of the state flag, the symbols in question are not associated with our university.” Read this statement from Chancellor Morris H Stocks regarding the Mississippi state flag.— Ole Miss (@OleMissRebels) June 23, 2015 Statement from MSU on state flag issue (Mississippi State University)— Mississippi State (@msstate) June 24, 2015The controversay extended to the USA Track and Field Championship in Eugene, Oregon last weekend. Mississippi was the only state not represented with its flag at the event.TrackTown USA President Vin Lananna said there was no “political statement” by not flying the Mississippi flag all week, according to the Associated Press.Contact Michael Bonner at Follow @MikeBBonner on Twitter.last_img read more

Q&A: Kentucky’s Mark Stoops previews 2015

first_imgKentucky coach Mark Stoops speaks to the media at the Southeastern Conference NCAA college football media days, Wednesday, July 15, 2015, in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)Kentucky coach Mark Stoops speaks to the media at the Southeastern Conference NCAA college football media days, Wednesday, July 15, 2015, in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)You’ve heard from Kentucky’s coordinators. Now here’s head coach Mark Stoops before today’s Louisville Alumni Kickoff Luncheon. Talking recruiting, vibe heading into 2015, all here:MARK STOOPSOn getting early commitments: ” We’ve had a nice quiet week. We haven’t had a lot going on with recruiting (laughter). It’s been good. It’s been exciting. It’s important to get in on guys early. It’s important to recruit them the whole way and keep them all the way through, like you know, it’s been a good week.”On getting all the signees on campus for fall camp: “Not all at this point. We’re still working on a couple guys. I’ll give you an update first day at camp to see where we’re at. We’re working our way through that. You know one, we already announced to the public that won’t be there.”On the mood around the program: “It’s an exciting time. We just had our last workout this morning, a group workout, obviously guys have been training all summer and they’ll continue to do a little bit next week. We had our last session this morning where the coaches spent some time with the players and then we leave and the players do their own 7-on-7, we’re not allowed to be there when the balls out. They did some 7-on-7.“It’s exciting. The players have worked really hard. They’re bigger, they’re stronger, they’re anxious to get done with the lifting and running and get on with football. It’s just an exciting time and a time- everybody is ready to move on. I’m done. I’m ready to move on as you know with the talking season. And they’re done with the just lifting and running, they want to put the pads on and get out there and play football.”On the longest stretch he’s been away from football: “I took a full week. One week was the most I took. I really didn’t leave town much this summer, so I was around quite a bit. I did leave for a week and go on vacation with my family, went to the beach. So seven days was the most that I stepped away from.”On if he was itching to get back: “To be honest with you, no I was OK. I took those seven days and even put my phone up for a while, so I had some missed recruiting calls and some people reaching out to me and later I said, ‘I was at the beach and put my phone up,’ and everybody was good with that. Everybody can wait a day or two until I get back to them.“It was a good summer. I feel good. I feel like we made a lot of progress. I feel like our staff has done a nice job of getting some time away but also, as you can tell by some results, by the way our players look and recruiting we don’t ever step away from it too far. Guys are anxious and refreshed and rejuvenated and ready to go.”On if this was the first time he felt comfortable enough to put his phone away: “Yeah, I say that, I say I put it away for a few days, it’s maybe when I’m at the beach for four or five hours but it’s never truly away. You always have to stay on it. I think as things come together and the team gets better, your staff understands what’s expected of them and where I’m at, and the comfort level, it certainly gets better as it goes on.”On if he noticed the vote in the coaches poll: “I did not. I did not.”On what he thinks about it: “You know I don’t really pay much attention to any of that. I just want our team to be better. It gets boring talking about that but it’s the truth. I want us to be better day one this year than we’ve been last spring, than we were last fall. That we’re better. We’re going to take that approach everyday. We’re going to control the things we can control. We had a good day today. We had a good morning. To my knowledge after we left everybody stayed healthy on the 7-on-7. Like I said that will be the last group workout before we report next Thursday. It’s been a good summer and I know our players have improved. I know we made progress. I know the recruits we brought in look good and are going to help our team, the guys that are here now. We’re just anxious to get into camp and get better and go to work”On if his brother voted for him: “I have no idea. I don’t even know if he has a vote this year. He does? It could be. I don’t know.”On if he feels more positive feelings this season: “Certainly. Any time you put the amount of work in that we put in, then you expect to be more confident. You expect that to be more confident. You expect it to be more positive because you know you’re better. I always use the adage about being sharper. We’re sharper. We have sharper tools. Guys, the players, have worked hard. Our coaches have worked hard. You’re going into Year Three, we should be better; we expect to be better. But we still know that it’s a day to day approach. Nothing’s going to be given to us. Just because we’re better doesn’t mean we’re going to win any more games. We’ve got to go to work and see what happens.”On injuries and surgeries from spring and if he expects them to all be back: “I do. I do think Glenn Faulkner – as you know, I just released the other day – he’ll be out for the season. He got injured this summer. Kobie (Walker). There’s a good chance Kobie could be out for a couple weeks, but in general, we’re going to be, we should be at full strength.”On recruiting burnout affects coaches as they get older: “I think it’s extremely important piece of our job and it’s really important as you’re piecing your staff together with guys that can recruit. I would never put an age limit on that or anything like that because I’ve seen plenty of fellas who are getting up there in age that are outstanding recruiters and unbelievable work ethic. I don’t think it has anything to do with age, or at least in my opinion, I’ve seen some great ones, some great recruiters and great work ethic of some older guys, both at Florida State and here, guys I’ve had. But I think it’s really important to have guys who are passionate about it and that work at it. You have to do it. You have to do it every day. And you’ve gotta stay on it and be organized and relentless in your approach, relentless in your work ethic about recruiting because we have to recruit so many guys. It takes a lot of good players. We all have our own egos and think we can coach anything, but bottom line is you better have some players also. And then again, development is such a big piece of it. You’ve got to get good players and develop them. I think it’s real important and I do think that the recruiting piece is getting looked at by a lot of people because it is kind of crazy. It is out of hand at times with what we do. But gotta do it.”On what part is “crazy:” “I just think I was all for – I was one of the few. There wasn’t too many, I thought the early signing period would go into effect, I thought there was enough steam and momentum to get that done. But that’s a piece of it. You get guys committed and you work hard for a year, a year and a half, two years. You have them committed for a bit of time and for a month and a half, we’re babysitting guys we have committed. We’re spending a lot of money; we’re going on private planes, going to see them every week for guys we’ve had committed to us for two years. If they want to sign; if you have a commitment both ways, why not give them a piece of paper and let them sign it and get it done? Get the contract sealed up. The way it works right now is we have to go hard all the way through the first week in February, the first Wednesday in February. That’s one piece you asked me about. We could go on and on, but that’s a piece of it.”On how much losing the final six games last year hurt the continuity of the most recent class: “Not sure. I don’t know if that had a piece of it or not because some of them flipped a lot later than that. I don’t know. There’s a lot of things that go into play when it comes to recruiting, but I think, like I told you the year before, to only lose one through the course of the year like we did in ’14. Last year we lost a few down the stretch, but again we’re going to concentrate on the ones we got. I think it’s a class that I’m very excited about. The guys that are here right now, the guys who came in December are some special players. We’re very excited about the guys we signed.”* For instant updates on the Wildcats, follow me on Twitter @KyleTucker_CJ. Email me at read more