YANA PASKOVA/Herald photoThe University of Wisconsin football team held its 10th spring practice late Wednesday night, and like the rest of Madison, the team took advantage of the delightful weather and held practice outside in Camp Randall, under the lights.While the climate was a dream, the workout looked to have turned into a nightmare when senior quarterback John Stocco dropped back awkwardly and fell to the turf clutching his right ankle, the same ankle he had to have re-taped during practice last Friday, April 7.After laying on the ground for a minute or so Stocco gingerly got up and left the practice area, before laying on the ground again to have the ankle taped. To the relief of players and coaches, Stocco was back in for his next set of repetitions about five minutes later.”He’s been battling through that,” Bielema said. “He rolled it I think towards the latter part of winter conditioning.”Bielema later joked about the condition of his star quarterback, one of only three offensive starters returning for last season’s squad.”It was funny, I was going to say something to him before practice because he wasn’t taped and he is usually taped on that one ankle,” Bielema said, with a wry grin. “But he was taped after that fall.”Stocco didn’t seem to show any ill effects from the injury, throwing the ball well in the second half of practice, though he did pace and stretch while waiting for his next set of reps.In other notes, redshirt freshman Jaevery McFadden, who had been working out of tight end thus far in spring, has switched positions and is now practicing with the linebackers playing the strong side, or “Sam” linebacker spot. Bielema noted that he had recruited McFadden as a linebacker and that McFadden wasn’t getting enough reps at tight end.Speaking of which, the tight end position still looks as murky as every two-thirds through spring drills, as sophomores Travis Beckum and Sean Lewis, along with junior Andy Crooks, continue to battle for position supremacy. Crooks looks like the best blocker, while Beckum seems to be the most dynamic athlete and looks to have the best hands.”By just pure body competition obviously [Crooks] is going to be better on the line of scrimmage that [Beckum], who is a mover and a shaker,” Bielema said. “I thought on Saturday they both moved exceptionally well.”Junior Danny Kaye also took snaps at center for the first time during practices, as the Badgers try and improve depth at the position which looks to be pretty thin behind projected starter Marcus Coleman who has had an up and down spring, thus far.Wide out Luke Swan, made his return to practice Wednesday after missing much of the spring with an undisclosed injury. He did not participate fully.After practice, the team ran sprints for the first time, as punishment for off the field issues. Fourteen players ran double, including running back Jamil Walker, cornerback Jack Ikegwuonu, third-string quarterback Dustin Sherer and even defensive end Matt Shaughnessy, who is cleared to do little more than run during the spring.”I told them we weren’t going to run in spring ball unless we had to, and today we had to,” Bielema said. “It was a team ownership [off the field] issue, so everyone took ownership.”
What a sad, sad week for sports.Oh sure, there was Separation Saturday, one of the most exciting 24-hour periods of the year in college football. The MLB divisional races are heating up, with the Mets celebrating their first division title in years and the Padres-Dodgers clashing in L.A. And then, of course, there was the start of the NFL season (which kind of speaks for itself there).But every once in a while, you hear about those awful stories where people begin to take their sports too seriously. Some moron flies off the handle for one ridiculous reason or another and goes too far, in one respect or another.This week, quite unfortunately, was one of those even rarer weeks … a week that saw three such occurrences.First, there was the highly publicized case out at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, where five Duquesne basketball players — none of whom reportedly were doing anything illegal or out of the ordinary — were shot. Two have been left seriously injured, with one, Sam Ashaolu, fighting for his life in the days after the incident. Thankfully, a report says he is gaining strength at this point, though he remains in critical condition.Apparently, at least two non-students at Duquesne crashed a campus dance party and resorted to putting bullets in half the basketball team after a seemingly harmless altercation. The saddest part is, from what it sounds like, this wasn’t exactly Miami Beach. Students and faculty alike call Duquesne a very safe campus.On the other hand, the great news (besides the improvement of Ashaolu’s condition) is that the perpetrators are being arrested one by one, and justice will be served with Duquesne expecting to have a normal basketball season this winter.However, there’s the lesser-known shooting in Dandridge, Tenn., from Monday evening. While each of the players from the Duquesne travesty is expected to survive, this next story does not have such a satisfying ending.As a youth baseball game ended in Dandridge, a small town 30 miles east of Knoxville, at the baseball diamond locals call the “Field of Dreams,” the scene turned into a field of nightmares as three people were killed with a fourth wounded at the scene.An interesting oddity of the story: the three fatal victims were each over the age of 60. You don’t see that every day, a bunch of old-timers getting violent in a sports situation.But police say the event came simply out of an “ongoing family dispute, and it wasn’t related to anything there at the ballfield.” Well, then what was it related to? My money says that a questionable call happened on the field, the game ended, and competitive spirit got the best of the fans, resulting in three confusing deaths.Folks, this ain’t the Little League World Series. And it ain’t the Pop Warner Super Bowl, either. This isn’t one of the three events I’m referring to, but I’m sure most people have seen or heard of the overzealous parent/coach who left the bench and cold-cocked a 13-year-old kid on the opposing team on Sept. 7.I’m all for protecting your kid and all, but is body slamming another young kid, putting his life in jeopardy, really the solution? Seriously, dude, use your head.So then the third of these incidents … well, it wasn’t really an incident, but the fact that one of the officials of the Oregon-Oklahoma catastrophe has received death threats is an embarrassing example of how we let our sports get the best of us all too often.Here’s my disclaimer, before you shoot off those angry e-mails: Those miscalls were up there with the worst of all time. I’m not going to advocate any conspiracy theories that the Pac-10 refs were favoring their team, but I’m not exactly going to shoot them down, either. It’s a real possibility (and if it’s true, well, that’s a whole other issue).That said, I think the president of the University of Oklahoma, David Boren, may be exaggerating a tad when he proclaims the refs’ mistakes an “outrageous injustice” and calls for the result of the game to be voided, aiding the Sooners in the BCS race.I’ll give you an outrageous injustice: Even though Gordon Reise made a mistake — OK, a really big mistake that never should have happened — the instant replay official of the game should not be receiving death threats over the phone. College football’s a big game, sure, but it’s just a game.There aren’t many times that I feel saddened when it comes to sports (well, the Yankees officially clinched the division yesterday; that brought me down a bit … but I digress), and I hate seeing sports fans unable to handle their competitive sides.It’s gotten to the point where even Sooners head coach Bob Stoops — after consistently beating on the Pac-10 repeatedly since Saturday — has asked the fans to let it go. Reise says that one call was directed at his wife and kids.The fact that these callers are also threatening Reise’s family for a mistake he made? That’s an outrageous injustice, President Boren …One outrageous injustice, among many, many more. For this week, too many.Share your thoughts on Duquesne, OU-Oklahoma or anything else on your mind at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published on November 26, 2015 at 1:00 pm Facebook Twitter Google+ Syracuse tips off its second game in Paradise Island, Bahamas at 3:30 p.m. against Connecticut on Thursday. The Huskies beat Michigan on Wednesday, 74-60.Here’s how our beat writers think Syracuse will fare against UConn in the Orange’s fifth game this season.Sam Blum (4-0)Connecticut 78, Syracuse 59SubmergedAtlantis is a land that is long considered to be lost at sea. Though Syracuse found its way through the trenches of the Battle’s first round, a matchup with No. 18 UConn will leave the Orange as isolated as the location it’s playing in. Syracuse’s big men get their first real test, and a Connecticut team that has Top-10 potential is just flat out better.Jesse Dougherty (4-0)Connecticut 68, Syracuse 59Needs more saltAdvertisementThis is placeholder textSyracuse hasn’t seen a team this quick or this talented, and the No. 18 Huskies make the Orange wish it had a few more cupcakes before facing tough opponents. SU has trouble getting inside against UConn and, in turn, Syracuse mostly takes contested 3s. The Orange doesn’t get to eat any pie this Thanksgiving, but it is offered a slice of reality. And it doesn’t taste all that good.Matt Schneidman (4-0)Syracuse 71, Connecticut 66Humble pieA UConn team coming off a convincing win over Michigan gets brought down to earth in an upset. Seven-footer Amidah Brimah and Daniel Hamilton get their share of rebounds down low, but a hot-shooting Syracuse team does enough to stretch the Huskies out and advance to the Battle 4 Atlantis finals courtesy of the deep ball. Comments