UW ready to say ‘aloha’

first_imgThe Wisconsin secondary has struggled all year and Hawaii will offer up a stiff challenge with star wide receiver Greg Salas.[/media-credit]Looking at almost any college football bowl predictions, experts will tell you the Wisconsin football team is headed to the Outback Bowl for a matchup with Auburn.Assuming they beat Hawaii this Saturday.This assumption should not be taken lightly as the Warriors will be fighting for their bowl lives in Aloha Stadium Saturday.After losing its first six conference games to start the season, Hawaii is rolling on a four game winning streak including a momentum-building 24-17 win last weekend.“Well, they were a 2-6 football team that has revived themselves very, very well,” UW head coach Bret Bielema said. “They were 2-6 and … regrouped and have played very well offensively and defensively. They have done some really good things in the kicking game. All four of these last games, none of them have really come easy, so they have earned each one of those victories.”As one of only two teams not to have clinched a bowl or been eliminated from contention — with Army being the other — the Warriors will have plenty of motivation on senior day.Currently on a 3-year bowl streak, the WAC school so far away from everyone will also be fighting to keep alive its hard-earned reputation as a decent football program.“Bottom line, if they win this game they are going to become bowl eligible for a very big bowl themselves,” Bielema said.Averaging 456.1 yards of total offense, including 348.7 yards through the air, the Badger corners will be tested once again. Exposed through mental mistakes against Northwestern two weeks ago, UW’s secondary will have to bounce back fairly quickly.Its first challenge? Stopping junior wide receiver Greg Salas, an offensive dynamo responsible for 103 receptions, 1,559 yards and eight touchdowns this season.“Our front four has to give pressure to help out our back end,” Bielema added.Given a bye week, Wisconsin has taken the same approach to fixing mistakes that they have all season.Hard work, hard work and, well… you know the rest.“Just like in the offseason we just know we have to work harder,” UW running back Zach Brown said. “It was a tough loss, but we are using the bye week time to get better.”Playing in a stadium four time zones away, the Badgers will face a host of challenges trying to stay prepared.Besides exams and warm weather serving as distractions, UW will also have to avoid looking toward the looming bowl game.“Honestly, we aren’t thinking about no bowl game,” Brown said. “We are worrying about Hawaii. That is our biggest game and we can’t look ahead. We just got to make sure we take care of Hawaii.”Not to be all business and no fun, Bielema has designated time for the players to relax and see the sites.Perhaps to inspire leadership, he mentioned going to Pearl Harbor.“The hard part for us is, because it is an extended stay, it has similarities to a bowl game,” Bielema said. “But obviously the game is going to be on us very, very quick. So we told our guys it is about focusing on the details of what we need to do to win Saturday.”“I am really excited,” Brown added. “Growing up, I was never a real big traveler and I never thought I would have a chance to go to Hawaii, so being able to do this is great and I am looking forward to it.”last_img read more

Camp Notes: Dino Babers awaits opt-out decisions from multiple players

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ The Daily Orange is a nonprofit newsroom that receives no funding from Syracuse University. Consider donating today to support our mission.The media won’t have access to Syracuse’s training camp practices this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, the football team is organizing regular Zoom interviews with head coach Dino Babers and select players while also providing film from the Ensley Athletic Center. With “Camp Notes,” The Daily Orange’s beat reporters bring the latest news, observations and analysis as the Orange gear up for an unprecedented 2020 season. Follow along here and on Twitter.The Daily Orange is a nonprofit newsroom that receives no funding from Syracuse University. Consider donating today to support our mission.Less than a month before Syracuse football is scheduled to take the field for its first game at North Carolina, head coach Dino Babers still doesn’t know which of his players will be playing this season and which will opt-out. The Orange have had only one player, redshirt freshman defensive lineman Cooper Dawson, opt-out so far. But Babers has said on numerous occasions that multiple players are still “on the fence.” He’s not sure who will be available, though quarterback Tommy DeVito, fullback and tight end Chris Elmore, defensive back Andre Cisco and offensive lineman Airon Servais have all said they intend to play the 2020 season, if it happens.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“From a teammate standpoint, all I can do is respect their decision, listen to what they have to say, listen to their reasons,” Elmore said on teammates potentially opting-out. “They’re making decisions as grown men, what they feel is best for them and their family and their future.”The NCAA’s Board of Governors will meet Friday to determine if players who opt-out of the 2020 season will be granted another year of eligibility. While the NCAA’s council recommended granting the extra year, it’s not official yet, leaving players unsure of their decision, Babers said. The head coach said he’s taken multiple polls to see who’s in and who’s out, but the situation is fluctuating daily.“I’ve taken a poll, and the poll is always changing,” Babers said. “Some is over COVID-19, some is uncertainty over what the options are because those options haven’t come down from above us.”With classes at SU beginning Aug. 24, students from states across the country are completing their quarantine periods and arriving on campus.“That’s going to be the real key,” Babers said about students returning. “During the day time, you look at young people, they do a fantastic job. What they do at night affects what happens during the day.”The PAC-12 and Big Ten cited health concerns — most notably myocarditis, which was present in multiple athletes — as one reason for postponing their fall football seasons last week. When media asked DeVito last week if myocarditis specifically came up, he said no, but that in general, athletic staff had presented medical concerns to him. Babers said Monday that players and their families have discussed the health risks of the virus with medical experts.“It’s like anything else. We know the risk of it all,” DeVito said. “Obviously not to the fullest because it is a new virus. The medical teams are still trying to figure things out because nothing is 100%.”He added: “We have not spoken about what’s been going on with those Big Ten athletes.”Babers credited his players for holding SU Athletics accountable on the testing shortfall. Director of Athletics John Wildhack stated Friday that SU will be testing its athletes once per week, instead of every other week as it had done before. A miscommunication between the staff and the athletes on this protocol led to them sit out practices last week until it was cleared up and the players were tested. Once the season begins, each athlete will be tested three times per week, starting the week of Sept. 7. The Orange announced Friday that they didn’t have any active COVID-19 cases among their entire athletic department and that the football team has had five positive cases since the summer training program began.Before the season can begin, though, Friday’s NCAA decision on future eligibility could be the latest turning point on the status of the 2020 football season. Published on August 17, 2020 at 3:17 pm Contact Anthony: amdabbun@syr.educenter_img Commentslast_img read more

Ghana Black Stars visits Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.

first_imgThe Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has advised the Senior National Team, the Black Stars, to be wary of issues likely to derail their focus, as they sought qualification to the 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament.He said it was important that issues bothering on the captaincy, bonuses for the players and related matters did not serve as a hindrance to the Stars bid to making it to Africa’s most prestigious football tournament, slated for Cameroon.Otumfuo Osei Tutu, who was addressing the Stars at the Manhyia Palace, Kumasi, on Friday, ahead of their Sunday’s 2019 AFCON qualifier against Ethiopia, emphasized that the players might have their individual differences, but ought to work with unity of purpose.“You owe it a duty to the football fans in Ghana by giving off your possible best at all time,” he said.The Asantehene entreated the playing body to concentrate on the task ahead, stressing that the nation was behind them.Otumfuo Osei Tutu was delighted to see the Stars back to their favourite home grounds and rallied the people to throng the Baba Yara Stadium, Kumasi, to give moral support to the team to ensure a resounding victory for Ghana. The visit to the Asantehene was to seek his blessing for the match as the team hopes to get their campaign off to a flyer under coach Kwesi Appiah, who is taking charge of his second stint.The Black Stars were accompanied by deputy sports minister Pius Hadzide and powerful Ghana FA delegation led by President Kwesi Nyantakyi.The Communications Manager of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), Ibrahim Saanie Daara, was grateful to the King for his advice and spiritual support for the Stars.He gave the assurance that the team will go into all the AFCON qualifiers with the seriousness they deserved to ensure qualification to the biennial tournament.last_img read more