For all the Latest Sports News News, Other Sports News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps. Kolkata: Struggling for consistency, five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand on Tuesday said he is becoming “my own worst enemy”. Anand missed the Grand Chess Tour Finals by just 1.5 points, getting eliminated after managing just one point in the last five games of the Tata Steel Rapid and Blitz tournament that concluded here on Tuesday.“I’ve no words to describe. I would give myself a chance and then I would become my own worst enemy. That probably bugs me. If I had no chance then it would have been nice actually,” Anand said after the tournament.The biggest heartbreak came in the round 15 when the former Blitz king lost to Dutch number one, Anish Giri, from a winning position and saw his flag fall in front of the crestfallen spectators at the National Library Auditorium.Such was the despair that Anand remembered veteran John Cleese’s dialogue from the 1986 movie Clockwise where the British actor says: “It’s not the despair, Laura. I can take the despair. It’s the hope I can’t stand.”“I’m okay with failure but it’s the hope that’s killing me. This is what I was doing today. I kept giving myself a chance and then I destroyed myself. “It (the game against Anish) was probably the final straw.I was just winning. I forgot about the clock. If I won the game, I was back in contention. I was my worst enemy,” he rued. In such troubled times, the Indian wizard found solace from his son Akhil’s dance performances at school. “Almost the whole year, I’ve been struggling to put up any kind of stability and consistency.The good news is my son got second prize in school dance competition so that’s the most important thing right now. The joy of being a father. “I was at home when he was practising for his competition.He took it very seriously, putting the soundtrack and would the steps. It paid off.” Anand, who had finished third in the penultimate leg in Bucharest, concluded with a seventh-place finish.Anand had earlier missed the ticket for the next year’s Candidates. “This year has been tough. The nice thing when you come to the end of the year you tend to forget everything and kind of wipe the slate. Hopefully, I can look forward to next year,” Anand, who turns 50 next month, said.“Right now I’ve to think about why things are going so wrong. Try to be better next year,” he said. Reigning world champions Magnus Carlsen finished the tournament with a whopping 27 points and broke his own record in the Grand chess tour, bettering his 26.5 points scored at Abidjan, Ivory Coast earlier this year.“I knew before today that I needed to score points to regain the world number one spot in Blitz. I think I’m second now—that’s a bit less disastrous than being fifth. But in the long run, being number one is what it counts where I feel like I belong,” the Norwegian said.
Kathmandu: Indian athletes dominated the track and field and shooting events to clinch 27 medals, including 11 gold, on the second day of competitions and remain in the second position at the medals tally in the 13th South Asian Games in Kathmandu on Tuesday. India completely dominated the first day of athletics events by clinching 10 medals (4 gold, 4 silver, 2 bronze) while the shooters also fetched nine (4 gold, 4 silver, 1 bronze) to swell the country's tally. Both the volleyball men's and women's teams won a gold each while the taekwondo players contributed 1 gold and 3 bronze medals. India also bagged gold medals in both men's and women's table tennis team events. India's medal tally stood at 43 medals (18 gold, 16 silver and 9 bronze), behind hosts Nepal's 44 (23 gold, 9 silver, 12 bronze).Sri Lanka was third with 46 medals (5 gold, 14 silver, 27 bronze). On the first day of athletics competition, Archana Suseendran (women's 100m), M Jashna (women's high jump), Sarvesh Anil Kushare (men's high jump) and Ajay Kumar Saroj (men's 1500m) won a gold each to begin India's athletics campaign on an impressive note. Suseendran clocked 11.80 seconds in the 100m dash to emerge as the fastest woman of the Games, leaving behind Sri Lankans Thanuji Amasha (11.82) and Lakshika Sugand (11.84) for silver and bronze respectively.In the women's high jump, Jashna cleared 1.73m to clinch the gold while Rubina Yadav bagged a bronze with an effort of 1.69m. Kushare cleared 2.21m to win the men's high jump gold while compatriot Chetan Balasubramanya claimed the silver with an effort of 2.16m for a 1-2 finish for India. Saroj won the gold in men's 1500m with a timing of 3.54.18 seconds while Ajeet Kumar clinched the silver by clocking 3.57.18s.The bronze went to Tanka Karki (3.50.20s) of Nepal. Kavita Yadav then added a silver in the women's 10,000m race by clocking 35 minute 7.95 seconds. Earlier in the day, India's Chanda (4.34.51s) clinched the silver medal in the women's 1500m event while compatriot Chitra Palakeez (4.35.46s) settled for the bronze. The gold in this event went to Sri Lanka's Uda Kuburalage (4.34.34s). At the Satdobato Shooting Range, Indian shooters bagged nine medals, including four gold, with Mehuli Ghosh winning the yellow metal with a score better than the world record.The 19-year-old Mehuli clinched the gold with a score of 253.3 in the final, which is 0.4 more than the current world record of 252.9 which is in the name of another Indian, Apurvi Chandela. Mehuli's effort will, however, not be considered as a world record, as the South Asian Games' results are not recognised by the international body (ISSF) for the purpose of records. Shriyanka Sadangi took the silver with a score of 250.8, while Shreya Agrawal (227.2) clinched the bronze in a 1-2-3 podium finish by the Indians.India also won the team gold in the 10m air rifle event. In the men's 50m 3P event, Chain Singh clinched the gold medal with compatriot Akhil Sheoran winning the silver. Yogesh Singh and Gurpreet Singh won the gold and silver medal in the 25m center fire pistol event respectively. India also won a silver medal in the 25m center fire pistol team event. India also swept the volleyball gold medals by winning both the men's and women's titles. The men's team defeated Pakistan 20-25, 25-15, 25-17 and 29-27 in a hard-fought summit clash to defend the gold they had won at home in the 2016 edition.The bronze medal went to Sri Lanka. In the women's final, the defending champions had to toil hard to beat hosts Nepal in a five-setter to clinch the gold. India won 25-17, 23-25, 21-25, 25-20 and 15-6. The women's bronze medal also went to Sri Lanka. In table tennis, Indian men's team beat Nepal 3-0 in the summit clash while their women's counterparts defeated Sri Lanka team 3-0 in the final to clinch gold medals.Also Read | Nepal Woman Bowler Takes Six Wickets And Concedes No Runs To Create World RecordIn taekwondo, Kashish Malik won a gold in women's 57kg category while Radha Bhati (women's 46kg), Kanha Mainali (men's 54kg) and Prithviraj Chavan (men's 68kg) won a bronze each. In women's football, India mauled Maldives 5-0 in their opening game with Bala Devi scoring a brace. Indian men's and women's kho-kho teams registered dominating wins over their Sri Lankan counterparts in the semi-finals to enter the finals. For all the Latest Sports News News, Other Sports News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.
New Delhi: India completed a 5-0 whitewash of the T20I series with a seven-run win in the fifth and final match on Sunday. Jasprit Bumrah was the hero for India with a tight spell of three for 12 from four overs at the Bay Oval. Bumrah, who has not performed at his usual standards so far in this series, got his groove back and helped India become the first team to register a series sweep in a bilateral five-match T20I series.Jasprit Bumrah also created a world record during the match. He became the first bowler in T20I cricket to bowl seven maiden overs, going past Sri Lanka's Nuwan Kulasekara who had bowled six overs without conceding a run during his 58-match long career. Bumrah was adjudged the player of the match.In the match, India choked New Zealand yet again to turn it around for a seven-run win. The Indian pacers, led by Bumrah, shared seven wickets among them for 25 runs in match-changing 7.2 overs to restrict the Kiwis to 156 for nine while defending 163 for three.India's total was built around stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma' 60-run knock after they elected to bat. Tim Seifert (50) and Ross Taylor (53) kept the Black Caps in hunt for a consolation win but the hosts again fell near the finish line.This is only third time that India have whitewashed opponents in away T20 series and first time in a five-match rubber. India had blanked the West Indies 3-0 in 2019 and beat Australia 3-0 in 2016. For all the Latest Sports News News, Cricket News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.
SPRINTING legend Usain Bolt has continued to approach his upcoming tryout with Borussia Dortmund with as much vigour as he did while dominating track and field over the course of 10 years.After enlisting the help of former Reggae Boyz-turned-coach, Ricardo ‘Bibi’ Gardner, Bolt has continued making sure he doesn’t go to Dortmund without any experience training at the top level.In South Africa, Bolt trained with Mamelodi Sundown, an African ABSA Premier League side, who share the same sponsor as the eight-time Olympic gold medallist in PUMA.Bolt has, for a long time, toyed with the idea of playing professional football but only recently, got an offer to train with Dortmund, after which the double world-record holder over 100 and 200 metres says he could try out with Manchester United.The retired sprinter has, for even longer than his own ambitions of playing, been in love with Manchester City and his tryout with Dortmund is just to see if he might be good enough for a shot at making it to the club he has loved since he was a boy.“One of my biggest dreams is to sign for Manchester United. If Dortmund says I’m good enough, I’ll crack on and train hard,” said Bolt in an interview earlier this year.“I’ve spoken to Alex Ferguson and I told him he needs to put in a good word. He told me if I get fit and ready he will see what he can do.”Since those comments Bolt has leaned on Gardner, who trains Harbour View FC in Jamaica’s Red Stripe Premier League, but has pointed out that while this is a goal of his, his success or failure shouldn’t be seen as a big deal.“I am always confident in everything. You have to go into everything confident. I know I will be a little bit nervous but it’s not a life-or-death situation. It is just something that I personally want to accomplish and I think I can do so. So I am going to go out there and do what I have to do,” the 100m and 200m world record-holder said. (Sportsmax.com)
About Connatix V56490 360p 1/1 1080p HD The St. Louis Blues beat the Minnesota Wild 2-1 Wednesday night at Enterprise Center in St. Louis. The loss drops Minnesota to 4-9 overall this season, and 1-8 on the road.The Blues' Sammy Blais broke a scoreless tie with a goal at 6:52 of the second period, but the Wild quickly answered with Mats Zuccarello's first goal of the season at 8:43.St. Louis forward Alex Pietrangelo's fifth goal of the season, scored at 1:39 of the third period, proved to be the game-winner. Auto (360p) 720p HD Visit Advertiser website GO TO PAGE Skip About Connatix V56490 The Wild will host the Blues in St. Paul on Saturday night. The game can be heard on AM 1390, Granite City Sports.
360p The World Series goes to Game 7 tonight when Washington plays at Houston. The road team has won every game in this season including Tuesday night's win for the Nationals over the Astros. Star Tribune Sports Columnist Jim Souhan joined me on WJON today. He says the Astros have been the best team in baseball this season and with Max Scherzer not 100% Houston is the still the favorite. Listen below. About Connatix V56490 1/1 720p HD About Connatix V56490 Visit Advertiser website GO TO PAGE Skip Auto (360p) The Twins picked up the $12 Million option on Nelson Cruz and claimed a pitcher off waivers from Seattle.The Timberwolves put their unbeaten 3-0 record on the line at Philadelphia tonight. Jim says the feeling around this Timberwolves team is great. The chemistry and positive attitude has put this team in a much better spot than last year. 1080p HD
About Connatix V56490 720p HD About Connatix V56490 1080p HD 360p 1/1 Visit Advertiser website GO TO PAGE Skip Auto (360p) University of Minnesota sophomore forward Daniel Oturu has officially declared for the NBA Draft. Oturu shared the news on his Instagram page.Oturu is projected by many experts to be selected in the mid-to-late first round. The NBA Draft is scheduled for June 25th.
STARKVILLE – The gestation period for Mississippi State’s 2015 season starts today, when the Bulldogs begin bowl practices at 4:55 p.m.It’s the first of nine before the team breaks for Christmas on Dec. 20Nine practices in a season may not hold much value. But this is Mississippi State’s fifth-straight season heading to a bowl. That’s at least 45 for fifth-year seniors like offensive linemen Dillon Day and Ben Beckwith. That’s about as many as fall and spring camps combined. “It’s huge. As I said, we use a little bit of it for the future. Guys get a feel for the future,” MSU coach Dan Mullen said. “There’s guys that were kind of in redshirt mode this year or backup mode where they’re not involved. This is kind of a reminder.”There’s no limit to the amount of practices a bowl-eligible team can conduct after the regular season. Most wait until after finals. Mississippi State practiced before breaking for finals too.Bowl practices have become inked on the football schedule since 2010. This year’s trip to the Orange Bowl against Georgia Tech injected excitement into the preparation“The opportunity of going to Miami will be a unique experience and special,” Mullen said. “I think they will be even more fired up next time they hit the practice field.”Last year, quarterback Nick Fitzgerald received his first taste of college football. He followed the in the steps of quarterback Dak Prescott and enrolled early. Physically, he fit in. Mentally, he looked like a high school senior.The reps were invaluable, though.“They’re a snap away from being a starter next year,” Mullen said. “It’s a huge wake-up call for those guys in the sense of urgency they need to have in practice for preparation for their future.”MSU expects to have a handful of early enrollees this January, but none will probably practice with the team leading up to the Orange Bowl on Dec. 31.Mississippi State played four true freshmen this season. Jamoral Graham, J.T. Gray, Rashun Dixon and Logan Cooke saw the majority of their playing time on special teams.With Game Day still nearly three weeks away, it allows for freshmen to get meaningful reps with the first and second teams. That includes those who didn’t play this year like linebacker Gerri Green and running back Aeris Williams.“It’s kind of that wake-up call for them before we get into this offseason,” Mullen said. “They may be a guy that might be back on the scout team when we get into actual game preparation, but right now they (are playing). That means they’re looking to be a starter next year.”There’s also incentive for current starters to perform. For the seniors, time is running out on their college football career. For those returning, it’s the foundation for momentum heading into 2015.Prescott and wide receiver De’Runnya Wilson credit their success in 2014 to offseason workouts.It all starts today.“The next five practices are focused on building the program for the future,” Mullen said.Contact Michael Bonner at (601) 961-7289 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @MikeBBonner on Twitter. Orange Bowl No. 7 Mississippi State vs. No. 12 Georgia Tech Dec. 31, 7p.m., ESPNSun Life Stadium, Miami
Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops met with the media Monday to discuss his new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, Shannon Dawson from West Virginia, and to review the 2014 season and look ahead a little bit to 2015. I had a previously scheduled flight home to Tennessee for Christmas with my family, so I missed it, but columnist Tim Sullivan will be waxing poetic on today’s proceedings shortly. And you can read the full transcript of Stoops’ comments (WARNING: He talked a lot) right here: MARK STOOP Opening statement: “First of all, happy holidays to all of you. It’s good to see you. I’ve really missed you guys. (Laughter.) It’s been a long break, and I really have missed you. But no, it’s good to talk to you. Going back to the season, I think the last time we spoke was right after the wrap‑up there at Louisville. Tough finish, tough game there, but again, proud of our team’s effort. I thought we really competed hard in that game, and really throughout the year. If you just look at our season in its entirety and through recruiting and some of the things, had an opportunity to go back and watch some of the things that we’ve done – as I talked about post‑Louisville, I felt like our team really did improve. We did a lot of good things. Really disappointed that we didn’t make enough strides to make some critical plays in critical games, or we’d be working right now, and that’s the goal, to be working here through the holidays.“Of course we are (working), but no practice time, so really miss that opportunity. It’s honestly been a little bit difficult to see the kickoff of the bowl season the other day and to sit there and watch it with us not being a part of it. That part of it is frustrating, and disappointing to myself, but again, I’m very optimistic about the future. I feel really good about our team, the way they compete, the way they’re trying to do things right. Recruiting is going exceptionally well once again, so all things are very, very, very bright (in the) future for us and our program as we move forward. I feel very good about that. Our players, once we got back from the weekend of the last game, we went right to work. We didn’t want to waste three weeks of opportunity to get in that weight room and to get busy working out and get busy physically preparing for the future.“The guys had a great attitude, went right back to work. We kicked it up a notch, and we’ve got to continue to do that. And that’s really what I’m most proud about. I feel like our players really have gotten to the point where they know what our expectations are. They understand when they walk in the weight room, all the little things. Coach (Corey) Edmond does a phenomenal job, and really the tone has been set for these two years. The guys know what we expect. They walk in there prepared and ready to work and really look forward to that work, and it’s very, very difficult. I think that’s the next phase that we’re in. As soon as our players get back from this break, they’ll go right into the weight room and work exceptionally hard. “We will wrap up recruiting, and then we’ll get into some of our what we call ‘fourth quarter drills’ and things like that where we get into some winter conditioning, and once again, we need to continue to amp up that work. Our players physically need to get bigger and stronger. We need to continue to recruit bigger and stronger players. That will be the next phase, and I have no reason to believe anything except our players will come back and work extremely hard and continue to put the foundation in place and the toughness and the work ethic and the discipline in place in this offseason so when we get in those situations next year we can make some critical plays down the stretch to win some of those close games.“It starts that early. That’s the phase we’ll be in when we report back, and really look forward to that to be honest with you. We’ll wrap it up in January with recruiting, and again, expect to have another great class. All signs are pointing towards a very good class. Our coaches have worked extremely hard to put ourselves in a position to close down the stretch and then really look forward to getting back with our players and getting to work to get this program moving forward to get better.“You know, disappointed to lose Neal Brown, but as I mentioned, I’m very proud of Neal and very happy for him and his wife Brooke and his family to move on and be a head coach. There’s nothing selfish about me and what I try to do with our coaches. I don’t want anything but the best for them. Any coach that moves on and has an opportunity to put himself in a better situation and move forward as a head coach, we wish Neal nothing but the best. Really appreciate Neal and the hard work that he’s done.“It was good for me coming in here without the Kentucky ties and not knowing a whole heck of a lot about the culture and the people and the history and things like that when I took this job a couple years ago. It was really good to have Neal with me. He really has a great feel for the state. He’s really recruited the state exceptionally well, and helped me bridge some relationships here throughout the state with coaches and people and so on and so forth, and I really think Neal worked extremely hard with our team and with our offense. I really appreciate him and thank him for all the hard work he’s done. He has a great work ethic about him, and he’ll go on and be a great head coach. I hate to see him go, but with that, you know, we’re always at that point.“And also Craig Naivar. Coach Naivar is going to move on and take a job at the University of Houston, where a lot of his roots are from, where he really has a great reputation as a recruiter in the Houston area, and again, I really appreciate Coach Naivar and the hard work that he did in one year. So we wish him the best, as well. With that, we gave the release the other day of Shannon Dawson from West Virginia, the offensive coordinator at West Virginia. Very excited to have Shannon in our program. He’s a guy – I think a lot of you, just people throughout the state and all of our fan base and players and everybody obviously had a great interest in what direction we were going to go with the offensive coordinator. I think that goes back to the roots of this program and having a quality offense and having a guy that can move the football.“I thought it was very important after Neal got that job, I really took a step back, took my time, and really evaluated what we did the first two years, where we were going as an offense and as a program, clearly defined what I wanted in a coach and in an offensive coordinator and what direction I wanted to go, and then set out to find that guy, because as you get going in this position, I think right now even as compared to two years ago, it was really amazing to see the interest in this position. “There was quite a few people – and very, very qualified people – that had interest in our job, and I think once again, that’s a credit to many people in our program and the direction that we’re going, the commitment and all the things that you hear me talk about quite often with our administration, with the stadium, with the (new football) complex, and with the growth of our program, we’re getting out there, and that was evident by the people that approached me about the offensive coordinator position. Once again, I really took my time, evaluated to find what I wanted, and set out to find that person rather than just get all kinds of great people with great credentials and then try to change what we’re doing and so on and so forth, and what direction I wanted to go.“With that, that led me to Shannon, and could not be more happy with that hire. I think the more and more research I did, the more and more I talked to him, it was evident that he was exactly what we’re looking for here at Kentucky to lead our offense. Very, very proud to have him. I know quite a few people that have crossed paths with Shannon, both defensively and guys that have worked with him, guys that I know and trust an awful lot in this business, guys that I believe in and know, are very close to, and everybody had nothing but great things to say about Shannon.“I also think it’s kind of unique that some of his roots go back to Coach (Hal) Mumme in the days of – it all goes back, right? – I didn’t even really realize that until we were far into the process, but I think it is kind of unique that what I’m looking for and what we’re trying to be here offensively, a lot of it does tie into the culture and to the history of this program. Very proud to have Shannon. With the other position (special teams coordinator), once again, I’m taking my time. There’s no rush on that. “You know, as things, as the dust settles throughout college football and pro football and things like that, there’s a lot of movement, and I’m just taking my time. Once again, there’s an awful lot of qualified people that are interested in that position, and I’ll take my time and do a lot of research and find the right person to help us move forward here in the program. I guess I’ll open it up for questions at this time.” On what made him decide to stick with the Air Raid offense: “Yeah, I’m not ready to define that as Air Raid, OK? Maybe I did when I walked in and they asked me, and I said, ‘Sure.’ I’ve got to talk to our marketing people about that. (Laughter.) I don’t know whether I’m ready to put – to label it that way, and to be honest with you, I haven’t even talked to Shannon about that. He’s busy getting ready for the (West Virginia bowl) game and things like that. But I don’t know if that’s fair. Things evolve constantly. We change in our business. Obviously it was important for me to keep that continuity, but I think you hear me use the word evolve an awful lot as well. So we’re constantly trying to get better and put our players in a position to be successful in all phases.“But it is true; it’s the same system, however you want to define it. It’s very similar. I think it’s – you know, it’s interesting, I talked to – I don’t know if I can give you a clear answer on that. There’s things that draw me back to it. A lot of it has to do with attitude. I think a lot of these guys from this tree going back to Coach Mumme, Coach (Mike) Leach and all the people that have been under them and part of that tree since then, they have a great confidence about them that I like, that they need to bring to our offensive team and to our whole football team. And then it has to do with defending some things within the offense. “When they’re really rolling and doing things right, the offense is very difficult to defend. I think as you see different people through this tree take it and tweak it in different ways and use their little change‑ups, if you will, and there’s some guys that have evolved in the run game that I like, that I think you have to have some balance. You know, you’ve heard me talk about it all the time, and people may wonder where I’m going all the time with balance and things like that, but the bottom line is I believe to compete in this conference you have to be physical. You have to have some balance.“We’re never going to become a great defense unless we practice against some physicality every day, and you can’t – listen, I think we need to be unique. I think we need to have some nuances and some creativity to move the football for where we’re at, but I also think it comes down to some basic principles of football that you have to have, and that’s what I love about Shannon and what I think him and Dana have done at West Virginia is they’ve really run the ball very well and have some physicality about them but still are throwing the heck out of the ball and still very creative with the way they’re doing things.“I also think, going back to your question, what I like about this style and some of these guys, is there’s some simplicity about it, as well. It looks very complex at times, but I think simplicity is very important and continuity is very important as you’re dealing with college kids and where we’re at. You know, as I said in my statement, I feel like we’ve made some progress, some very good progress, and I think Neal and the offensive staff have done a great job these first two years, and I really didn’t want to take a step back and have an offensive coordinator come in and teach four (UK offensive assistant) coaches a complete new system and an entire offense. So that was important.” On his conversations with Dawson about his role at WVU and how much he was involved in calling plays with head coach Dana Holgorsen: “I’ll keep that between myself and Shannon. There’s no mystery that Dana is a great offensive mind and a great coach, and that’s what I like about it. That’s what I like, the fact that Shannon was so close to Dana and been with him not only these four years at West Virginia but their history goes back some time. I have no worries about him putting it together and calling plays. I’m very close with (WVU quarterback) Clint Trickett, as well. As you know, I worked with his father at Florida State and Clint was at Florida State when I was there, and Clint is like a coach. He’s going to be a coach, and he’s a guy that grew up in the business, and I had conversations with Clint as well. He was injured down the stretch (at WVU), and he’s on the headsets during games, and he’s also in the meetings when Shannon is coming in and addressing the team and things like that. I have complete confidence in the way he’ll lead the team and the way he’ll call plays.” On WVU adapting the offense to feature more running and how much that appealed to him: “Yeah, I think it’s very important, the way they’ve evolved, whether because of personnel or the way they wanted the offense to go. I think there’s probably a little bit of both in that. You know, so it played a big role in what I was looking for and where I wanted to go. Yeah, it was important to be able to run the ball.” On what he liked best about Dawson: “I think the No. 1 thing that stood out to me was his leadership. You know, there’s several guys that I talked – all the guys that I talked to had outstanding leadership ability. You have to. I think if you ask him when he gets here, I’m sure one of the things that appealed to him about coming here was working for a defensive coach because, you know, sink or swim, here’s the keys, you do it. Sink or swim. That’s what it was like when I went to Florida State, and I wanted it that way. It was either get it done or get fired, and that’s what my situation was going to be.“So I think that’s important for guys that are on the rise, guys that want to make a name for themselves and become a head coach someday, so I think with Shannon, it goes down to all the experience he had, with the leadership. You asked me, the most important thing was leadership, but other things I really liked about him was I felt like he’s always done more with less. I like the way he’s worked his way up the profession. I like the way he grinded from a young coach and really made a name for himself, working with Hal Mumme, the roots of his system. I think the way he’s evolved, he’d be the first to tell you and he told me, ‘Coach, we wouldn’t have this conversation if I was the same as I was two, three years ago, four years ago,’ when he was just throwing (the ball) around. If he didn’t evolve, I wouldn’t have been talking to him about coming and leading our offense.“I think all coaches, all the great coaches, I think we all realize that we don’t have all the answers and we’re constantly searching to put our team in a position to be successful, so I just like the way he grew up through the system and really made a name for himself at small colleges and been successful all the way back with Hal and then went on his own to go to Millsaps and lead that offense, and he really led a great turnaround there. Again, it was sink or swim for him there, at a small college. The same deal, he went and ran it, changed the offense. Goes to Stephen F. Austin, they were not very successful offensively the year before he got there. He goes there, and by the time he leaves they were very successful and put themselves in a position to win some championships, and then he goes on with Dana, again, who I have great respect for, and I feel like just has evolved. So those are some things.” On what he sees this offense evolving to at UK and if he wants to be closer to a smashmouth team five years from now: “First of all, I don’t know five years from now. We’ll see where things go. If all of a sudden we start rolling guys in there that are 6’8”, 330, and we get a whole bunch of them and a bunch of big backs, then maybe we will. We’ll see where the game goes. But no, they still are, what, eighth or ninth in throwing the ball? Ninth in the country in throwing the ball. They throw the ball for 314 yards a game or something to that effect, so obviously they throw the ball. They’re running a bunch of plays, and again, that’s what Neal and all of us – that’s what we’re trying to get to, and that’s what we improved. We ran more plays than we did in year one, and we will run more plays next year I would think, as we evolve as an offense.“But they ran the ball 44 times a game, and really if you look at yards per carry, it was very similar to ours. I think they just had more plays. The bottom line is if you have to defend the run game, it’s going to open things up in the pass game. The more effective you are in the run game, it’ll open things up in the pass game. Believe me, I think you’d have to ask Dana and all that, but he knows a thing or two about offense, and when you’re defending people, it’s very difficult if they can do both. Ask my brothers and other people that have to defend some of these offenses, West Virginia, Baylor, people like that, they run the heck out of the ball if you’re giving it to them. They’re very effective at running the ball, even out of the spread, and that’s what I want to look like. I want to threaten people and make them accountable to stopping the run game. If you don’t, really you’re not going to win a lot of games.” On what he’s hearing from offensive recruits: “Yeah, I think kids are very excited about the offense. They see us growing, they see us improving. We’re getting a lot better. If you look at our – even in the run game, if you look at our yards per carry with just the running backs, take out quarterback runs or sacks and things like that, as we break things down, yards per carry with running backs, we were actually reasonably successful at that. We’re creating some space. We’ve just got to continue to evolve and continue to improve and run more plays and threaten more people and get more dangerous outside and run the ball more effectively, the whole deal, you know, things that you see. “But we did some things well at times, we just weren’t as consistent as we need to be. But the recruits are very excited about it because the bottom line is it’s a fun offense to be a part of. We certainly throw the ball. We will continue to throw the ball and improve in that area, but we will have some balance, because again, you’ve heard me say it, I don’t think anybody is denying that you know that I want to run the ball.” On if Ryan Timmons will be ready for spring ball: “No, I don’t think he’ll be good to go for spring. I don’t even know, did we give out a second release? He had a shoulder (surgery) done, too. I don’t know if I even told you that. He had his ankle done first, and then he had to have his shoulder. And that’s another thing that – you know, we don’t sit there and make excuses, but Ryan was playing very banged up, and I appreciate his effort. We all know there’s things that he can do better and will do better, but he really competed all year through some pretty major injuries, so I appreciate his effort.” On how important it was, even in defeat, to compete like UK did in the finale against U of L to set a tone heading into the offseason: “Yeah, I agree with that. It was very important, because I felt all along, and as I was talking to y’all leading through that season, and I said it afterwards, there’s no doubt I was concerned, because again, if we just – physically, mentally we were trying; we just weren’t very good down the stretch there. And once we did have that opportunity to get some rest (during the open date), to get a little bit healed up, and that’s just – once again, that’s just where we were at. We weren’t quite good enough. We weren’t quite physical enough. We weren’t prepared enough mentally and physically to endure that type of season against the opponents that we play. That’s where we’re at.“But you know what? That’s going to make us that much better as we move forward and tougher and deeper and all the things we need to be, but it was important. It was, because it was a tough stretch down there, and we weren’t – it wasn’t our best football. To come out in that game and to play with that type of passion, that type of energy, and to be as committed as we were, it was fun to be a part of it. It was fun to bring some attitude and some competitiveness to a rivalry, so hopefully that’ll help us as we move forward.” On what improvement he saw in Year 2: “I felt like we were overall much more competitive. There are games throughout that season that didn’t play out the way we wanted to, that we weren’t very competitive. We did not play very well, we did not coach very well, and we were disappointed in. We all know some of those games. The good news is really there was about three or four in there as opposed to eight or nine, so I feel like we were more competitive. We’re getting closer. You know, I think that the fire and the energy and that passion that we started with, we need to build on that and get more physical. We need to get deeper, keep on developing guys in our program that we can finish the second half of the season like we did the first half.” On QB Patrick Towles’ up-and-down season: “Patrick, again, I’m proud of Patrick’s effort. He was not as consistent as he needed to be. He knows that. That comes from experience. That comes from a lot of things. That comes from players around him, the balance that we’re talking about. But he gave us a chance to do some things that we were obviously working towards and going to a bowl game and things like that, and he gave us an opportunity to do that. Obviously there was some disappointments in there, as well, and it’s a tough position to play. Quarterback comes with a lot of responsibility and a lot of leadership, and there’s a lot of people counting on that position playing well. I think he did a lot of good things, and I appreciate him and his effort, and he’ll continue to become more consistent.” On his brother Bob being familiar with Shannon Dawson, having faced his offense at WVU, and how much they conferred on that hire: “A little. A little. Not too much. A little with Bob, obviously some with my brother Mike, guys that they play against and guys that they know exactly how they’re attacking them and such. So I did consult with them a little bit, as well as another gentleman on their staff that I’m very close with that knew him, as well, Bill Bedenbaugh, the O‑line coach at Oklahoma and I are very close, and he knows some of these guys very well. So it was good to consult. And that’s the good thing about being in the business. I’ve been in the business for some time and have a lot of contacts throughout the business from just my brothers and all the places I’ve been. It’s pretty easy for me to poke around and check with a lot of people and really get a good read on guys.” On UK’s defense heading into his third season: “Yeah, as a defense we were inconsistent. We were just too inconsistent. We did some very good things and created some big plays, gave ourselves some chances, but that’s what I talked about throughout the year, really, that was part of our issues is not putting it all together on both sides. We were just where we were at. We were too inconsistent on all sides in the game. I think when you lose guys like Bud (Dupree), he’s a tough guy to replace. I don’t know if you can.“I think you hopefully get better all around him and continue to improve your team. I think Denzil Ware is a guy that I’m awfully excited about. He’s the guy that I’m going to lean on. I’m not saying a redshirt freshman could come in and replace Bud because that’s not going to happen, but he’s got that kind of ability. He’s a special player. He’s dynamic. He can rush, he can drop, he’s explosive, and he’s going to be a great football player. When, I don’t know. We’ve got to continue to work on him and push him. But those are some of the guys that you kind of look towards.” On freshman safety Mike Edwards: “Yeah, Mike Edwards will be good to go. I’m not sure about spring to be honest with you. I don’t know how that works. But he’s in our program. He’s working, and he had a good semester academically, and he’ll be good to go. Let me get some more information on spring.” On if there are any potential transfers: “I’m trying to think if there’s anything confirmed with me. No, nothing that I know of right now.” On Towles’ progress and whether a new OC resets the QB competition: “I think you heard me say that, I thought I talked about it before, but I want to set it up with saying it’s always the case where we open up all positions, so I don’t want somebody to all of a sudden take my quotes and misconstrue it and say I’m doing something different with the quarterback position. All positions are open. Nobody is given anything. Year to year, week to week, I think you saw the changes we made throughout the season. If guys aren’t performing, they’ll get replaced. That’s the way it goes.“As we head into the offseason and we head into spring, all positions are open. Obviously some guys that have done some good things for us and earned the right to be in there from day one as the starters, then they’ll go in there and start. But they’d better continue to play well, or they will be replaced. That’s no different at quarterback. Again, you heard me say it, I’m very proud of Patrick. I appreciate his effort. But I also go out and recruit guys and bring them in here and tell them they have every opportunity to win the job every day, and that’s going to be the case as we go into spring.” On if anyone else has had surgery and/or might miss spring ball: “Yeah, let me think here. Fred Tiller, Regie Meant both had (shoulder) surgeries, and Charles Walker (shoulder). They had surgery last week and are healing up right now, and they will miss spring.” On redshirting more and more players: “Well, we were better than we were in year one, and I believe we’ll be better next year than we were this year. There’s no other way around it, just continue to build your program, continue to recruit good players, and get the guys you have better. That’s a daily process for us.” On Mumme’s thoughts on Dawson: “Yeah, I have great respect for Hal, and he’s close with some of my family and different people, but I never had the opportunity – I didn’t reach out. I didn’t need to at that point. I was moving in that direction anyway. But I will. I read some of his quotes afterwards and things like that. I will talk to Hal here.” On Dawson’s recruiting territory: “No, we’ll work through all that. The good news is we’ve got a good team of recruiters, as you know, guys that work very hard and do a good job. He’ll just continue to help us there.” On his reaction to his name surfacing for the Michigan job: “You know, I’m unsure how to answer that. I mean, I wasn’t concerned at all because I knew what I was doing here and what I wanted to do and will continue to do. I have very little experience with that, (laughter) so I see some of these other coaches – I hope that’s an issue as we move forward because we want to win a bunch of games here. We all do. You know, I made some pretty strong statements when I was awarded that contract extension, and I don’t say those things lightly. But I also see some of these old vets and how they handle that situation. “Let’s hope I have to deal with that as we move forward, but I think I’m going to take Harbaugh or some of these other guys that say I’m just going to talk about this job. I don’t know what else you can do. I’m very committed. I’m very appreciative, and I’m very loyal. I’ve said those things before, and everybody has been so good to me and what we’re doing here and this whole program and very committed. I really am excited about continuing to build this program and really move it forward.” On if he expects to tweak his defense at all next season after moving some guys around this year to maximize the talent: “Yeah, I think we’re really getting a good understanding of who we are completely and where we’re going. I think you’ve heard me say it, and you go back to year one, and you just – you feel like you’re doing anything to help you win a game, and you just kind of throw a whole bunch of stuff at the wall and see what sticks. That’s a bad feeling. (Laughter.) That’s tough. But you’re just trying to find ways, whether it’s offensively to move the ball, or defensively to stop some people because you’re not quite where you want to be physically to compete with some people.“Year Two, we’re better physically, and I wholeheartedly believe that you have to be very clearly defined on who you are in order to move forward. But there’s still always some balance there in trying to find the right slot where you’re at and what that tipping point is on both sides of the ball. I feel very good. I feel like we can settle in and know who we want to be defensively and as we move forward. Yeah, we’ll continue to do a lot of the things that we’ve done, but we’ll also hone in on some things.” On if for the new vacancy on staff he’ll lean more toward defense or special teams or look for both in the hire: “Yeah, I’m still working my way through that to be honest with you. I would really like to bring in as much defensive experience as we can get. I think if you just look around this league, and some things that are going on now and guys that I’m talking to and different things, different hires, it’s serious business. There’s guys hiring an awful lot of good football coaches. You look at certain staffs, and there’s two or three coordinator types on each side of the ball, and really that’s what you have to get to. I want the best football coach I can get.” On the linebacker position – a weakness in 2014 – this spring: “Yeah, I think Ryan Flannigan really showed great progress and great promise, and I think he’s going to really help us. He athletically did some very good things. And Josh (Forrest) really made some improvement. He’s really starting to do some really good things and be more consistent, so that helped us. We’ll continue to bring some guys along, some of the redshirt guys. We need to continue to build depth and move some guys around, see what we can do.”* For instant updates on the Wildcats, follow me on Twitter @KyleTucker_CJ. Email me at email@example.com.
COLUMBIA – An energized Steve Spurrier bounded into the press room at Independence Stadium following the University of South Carolina’s 24-21 win over Miami.The game proved a departure from so many the Gamecocks played in what was Spurrier’s most disappointing in his 10-year tenure at USC – they managed to hold on and win a game in which they had a fourth quarter lead.The Hurricanes, who finished the season with a 6-7 record including a four-game losing streak, were far from a great team. It was a club filled with several talented performers, however, led by junior running back Duke Johnson.That doesn’t matter at this point of the season, however, as Spurrier and his squad were just looking for something positive to hang their visors on entering the stretch run of recruiting season.“This gives us a boost, some energy,” said Spurrier. “It’s a shot in the arm. I told the guys the offseason workouts now are going to have to have a little more pep, a little more fire, a little more get after it.”The season appears to have caught Spurrier by surprise. While always saying you never know what is going to happen until you play the games, the Head Ball Coach appeared to believe the Gamecocks had the ability to be just as good, if not better, than his previous three squads that posted a combined 33-6 record and finished in the top 10 in the final Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls.A closer look, however, prove the team had serious inadequacies.The defensive line, which lost Jadeveon Clowney, Kelcy Quarles and Chaz Sutton, was not a group possessing enough Southeastern Conference caliber talent.The secondary was forced to rely too much on unproven freshmen. There was talent at linebacker but it took the coaching staff too long to figure out sophomores Skai Moore and Jonathan Walton gave it the best chance to succeed on the field.There were offensive deficiencies as well. A line featuring at least three athletes believed to have the talent to compete in the National Football League, underachieved for much of the season.Running backs Mike Davis and Brandon Wilds fought a plethora of injuries that meant both played at less than their best throughout the campaign.The wide receiver corps, other than sophomore sensation Pharoh Cooper and dependable senior Nick Jones, was inconsistent.So what happens now?Spurrier said it best, Saturday night.“I told our guys that we have to be a more physical and faster team next year,” said Spurrier. “We’re not a real fast team overall and not as physical as we need to be. If we can do that next year, hopefully, we’ll have a little bit better chance.”The first order of business for the staff is to hold on to and potentially add to a talented recruiting class.Junior college ends Marquavius Lewis and Dante Sawyer, along with prep school tackle Dexter Wideman, will be a marked upgrade over the 2014 group.If the Gamecocks can keep outstanding high school defensive end Arden Key in the fold, the line will be on its way to becoming what fans expect.The staff will have to work hard to attempt to get back in the game with talented high school cornerback Mark Fields, who de-committed two weeks ago.Rival Clemson appears to have the inside track for his services, but he still has an official visit to Columbia planned for the weekend on Jan. 23rd.On offense the line will be a priority, along with replacing Dylan Thompson at quarterback.Cooper is the only returning starter at receiver. Talented athletes Deebo Samuel and Shaq Davidson, who redshirted this season, will be counted on to make an impact.There still will probably be some changes to the USC coaching staff, although Spurrier may be the only one who knows the plan.The potential for USC to be improved in 2015 is there. To make that happen, however, the amount of productivity accomplished off the field in many areas in the next few months will tell the tale. USC quarterback Dylan Thompson (17) celebrates after running the ball in for the touchdown late in the third quarter against Georgia at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia on Saturday, September 13, 2014.