Cech ready to quit champions

first_imgPetr Cech is prepared to leave Chelsea after 11 years for a Premier League rival this summer, according to his agent. After a decade as number one, Cech, who is 33 on Wednesday, has found himself second choice behind Thibaut Courtois this season. Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United are among the clubs – along with Paris St Germain and Real Madrid – reportedly monitoring his situation after Cech hinted at his wish to move on this summer, despite still having a year to run on his contract. Press Associationcenter_img The Czech Republic goalkeeper’s agent Viktor Kolar told the London Evening Standard: “Arsenal, United or PSG are all top clubs and Petr would like to join one of them – definitely. “Petr expects that (owner) Roman Abramovich, not Mourinho, will decide about his future, based on their mutual agreement from last year.” Cech signed from Rennes in 2004 before playing a major role in winning every major club trophy. Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho expressed a reluctance for Cech to move to rivals and also said it would take “big” money to prise Cech away from Stamford Bridge. But Chelsea are understood to be prepared to take the player’s wishes into consideration on deciding whether or not he can leave and his next destination. last_img read more

Extra Innings: Harrell hire brings USC fans hope

first_imgDaniels is surrounded by a wealth of receivers in rising sophomore Amon-Ra St. Brown, senior Michael Pittman and redshirt junior Tyler Vaughns. I have no doubt that given the right guidance from a coach who has air-raid offense down to a science and the ability to develop quarterbacks, Daniels and his teammates will thrive in 2019. Finally, Trojan football has someone in charge of their offense. Finally, USC Athletics has made a choice that fans will back. Finally, the future of USC football has a glimmer of hope. I have no doubts that implementing an air-raid offense is the right choice for the Trojans going into the 2019 season. This is why I — like most fans and alumni — was so excited about the Kingsbury hire. Malepeai is a gritty, goal-line type of back. He found that niche last season, after pounding in touchdowns from a couple yards out and converting on third and short. It’s unlikely that he will be a consistent first-down player. Last season, he filled a necessary spot for the Trojans, and he did a great job at it. But at the same time, that doesn’t mean he can step up and fill the first string spot in 2019. I don’t doubt that Pendergast will find a core of young talent in rising sophomores cornerback Olaijah Griffin, lineman Jay Tufele and safety Talanoa Hufanga to lead the defense in August. But even if he doesn’t, and the defense becomes a major flaw in USC’s playbook, an air-raid offense is the perfect remedy. Having the ability to get the ball down the field and into the end zone fast could prove to be invaluable, and it would mitigate some of the growing pains the defense could experience this year. Harrell’s first season with the Mean Green in 2016 resulted in an abysmal 117th rank in total offense. Three years later, his offense finished at No. 20 in the nation for the same statistic. Carr is a different story — he is the preeminent candidate to fill the starting spot. He has a lot of potential and could prove to be a success for the Trojans this upcoming season. The main problem: He has to stay healthy. Carr has proven to be one of the more injury-prone players for USC, but an injury at a crucial point of the season could be devastating for the Trojans. For Trojan fans, there is finally some hope for the 2019 football season. First and foremost, the 2019 Trojans’ ground game is largely up in the air. The loss of former senior running back Aca’Cedric Ware significantly hurts the Trojans’ run game. Left on the back personnel are rising juniors Stephen Carr and Vavae Malepeai. Both are solid backs, but come with flaws. What’s most impressive is that Harrell managed to mount that statistic improvement while playing against “elite” teams like Incarnate Word and Liberty. That was obviously a joke. I recognize that his stats must be taken with a grain of salt, but a 97-place improvement has to turn some heads. Harrell was hired on Wednesday and will have to get to Los Angeles as soon as possible to start working with the Trojans. National Signing Day is Feb. 6, and spring practices start in March. As for USC’s passing game, it has weapons. Rising sophomore JT Daniels will be an all-star quarterback if he gets the proper coaching direction. That’s where Harrell comes in. The former NTU OC developed quarterback Mason Fine into Conference USA’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2017 and 2018. USC’s defense is another concern. Losing senior captains in linebackers Cam Smith, Porter Gustin, cornerback Ajene Harris and safety Marvell Tell III is not an easy blow to recover from. But if I had to choose one USC coach to put all my faith in, it would be defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast. Finally. Former North Texas offensive coordinator Graham Harrell is certainly a welcome addition to the coaching staff. The best part about the hire is that it reconciles much of the pain from the loss of Kliff Kingsbury, who left USC for the Arizona Cardinals a month after he was hired. It’s important to acknowledge that Harrell is no Kingsbury; the former NTU coach has yet to prove himself in a Power Five conference. While he doesn’t have a long track record,  Harrell certainly brings a very intriguing resume to the table. Much like Kingsbury, Harrell has spent time working under the air-raid king and current Washington State head coach Mike Leach. Harrell’s experience with Leach led him to implement the pass-heavy offense at North Texas, and it worked like a charm. Sam Arslanian is a sophomore writing about sports. His column, “Extra Innings,” runs Fridays.last_img read more

Tyus Battle ends slump with 23 points in Syracuse’s win over Morehead State

first_img Published on November 10, 2018 at 10:54 pm Contact Billy: wmheyen@syr.edu | @Wheyen3 Tyus Battle pulled up from about 15 feet on the left wing with 5:20 to go Saturday. He’d made 3-of-4 shots already in the second half. He’d already surpassed his scoring total from Syracuse’s first game when he shot 30 percent. And on this particular shot, he swished it.After his feet hit the ground, Battle bobbed his head and put a small scowl on his face. The Carrier Dome roared as SU’s leading scorer from a year ago showed he was back.“Droughts happen,” Battle said. “I wasn’t worried about it. Once I got to see one go in, I knew I was fine.”Battle scored an SU-high 23 points on Saturday night in the Carrier Dome, as the No. 16 Orange (2-0) held off Morehead State (1-2), 84-70. He finished 7-for-15 from the field and 9-for-10 from the foul line as he again spent much of the game as Syracuse’s de facto point guard. After a 3-for-10 opening night, and a poor first half, Battle dropped 18 in the second half to help the Orange pull away from a persistent Eagles team.“He can score anywhere,” SU head coach Jim Boeheim said. “Doesn’t matter where he is.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBattle wasn’t available to speak to the media after Tuesday’s season-opener. He was out on the Carrier Dome floor, getting shots up. Saturday, he said he “always wants to get shots up,” and he just wanted to solve whatever felt “a little off” in his shot.At first, it looked like those extra shots may not have done Battle any good. He got swatted on his first shot attempt Saturday as he attacked the basket. He missed a left-block fadeaway, short. He missed at the rim, again. He missed a jumper, again. Altogether, he missed his first six shots.But then, Battle pulled up from the right elbow and swished. About a minute later, he spun toward the right baseline, pulled up, and hit again. Although he missed a floater with time winding down, Battle had seen the ball go through the basket.“Just to see those go in at the end of the half, I think really gave me momentum for the second half,” Battle said.With Frank Howard still absent due to injury, Battle’s been forced to play point guard. He felt that may have contributed to his lack of aggression in SU’s exhibitions and its season opener. But he started to change that in Saturday’s first half, even when shots weren’t falling.In the second half, the aggression began to pay off. Battle attacked the rim for two layups while being fouled, along with another bucket that came off a post up on the left block.“I was trying to be aggressive in the first half and I was trying to be aggressive in the second half,” Battle said. “Only thing that changed was I guess I made a couple more shots.”Battle continued to drive to the hoop to get to the foul line, where he was 8-for-8 in the second half. In addition to the two and-1s, three separate slashes into the lane sent Battle to the line, where each time he made his pair.“Even foul shots when you see the ball go in, it makes things a lot easier,” Battle said. “Especially when you’re looking to score the ball.”Morehead State didn’t want to go away, as the Eagles brought their deficit back to 10 points on a number of occasions late in the second half. But in the closing moments, the game was finally in hand for Syracuse.The moment against Eastern Washington when the game felt in control came much earlier. Then, on his final shot of the night, Battle broke away with 4:12 to go, and he tomahawked a dunk. When he landed, he frowned.This time, it wasn’t until the game’s final minute that the Orange’s lead wasn’t in doubt. Battle beat his man going left and sliced down the center of the lane. No defenders came to help. Battle rose up and flushed it home with two hands. He didn’t show emotion right in that moment. But afterward, Oshae Brissett said, the Orange saw their junior leader smile.“We’re all excited for him,” Brissett said. “We like seeing our guys come out of their slumps. We’re all in this together, really. We don’t want to see any of our guys down. Seeing him like that, seeing him happy, even after the game, seeing him smile after the game, really lifts us all up.” Commentscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more