Snooker’s top tournament is one of a number of sporting events chosen to test the safe return of spectators as part of the easing of coronavirus lockdown rules in England.The World Championship starts on July 31 and five-time winner O’Sullivan has left open the possibility of withdrawing despite saying he was prepared to take the risk of playing.With a limited number of fans set to be given access to Sheffield’s Crucible arena, O’Sullivan told the BBC: “I just think it’s an unnecessary risk. I just don’t think you want to be putting people’s lives at risk.“You look at the NHS (National Health Service) and you think this is like a war at the moment and it’s those people who have been flat out, and you watch what they go through, and anything to take the stress off them is paramount.”O’Sullivan, who had previously hinted he could pull out if crowds were allowed back into the venue, fired a warning to organisers that he was not certain to keep playing even if he enters the tournament.“If I get to that point (of feeling uncomfortable), then obviously there is no point in playing. And hopefully I don’t, hopefully I feel like I’m there and I’m enjoying it,” he said.O’Sullivan is due to start his first round match on August 2 against a qualifier, as he bids to rebound from last year’s stunning opening-round loss to amateur James Cahill.
NFL odds, picks, predictions for Week 6: Expert betting tips & pick ’em, survivor pools, DFS game advice
All the essentials are in one place, from updated odds and spreads, our experts’ picks (straight up and against the spread), and a game-by-game guide to trends and injury reports every bettor should know before placing their wager. There are tips for making your survivor and pick ’em pool picks this week. And if daily games are more your speed, you’ll find advice on building the ideal lineups for the most popular games on DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo.Contents:NFL odds for Week 6Expert NFL picks, predictionsTips for pick ’em, survivor poolsNFL betting guidesDFS strategy guidesNFL odds, spreads for Week 6 gamesHere are the latest odds and point spreads for every Week 6 NFL game, via Sportsbook Review (last updated: Oct. 10).Thursday, Oct. 10New York Giants at New England Patriots: NE -17.5, 44.5Sunday, Oct. 13Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: PK, 47Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens: BAL -13.5, 47.5Seattle Seahawks at Cleveland Browns: CLE -2.5, 47Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs: KC -7.5, 55New Orleans Saints at Jacksonville Jaguars: PK, 45Philadelphia Eagles at Minnesota Vikings: MIN -3, 44Washington Redskins at Miami Dolphins: WAS -3.5, 41San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams: LAR -4, 49Atlanta Falcons at Arizona Cardinals: ATL -1, 49Dallas Cowboys at New York Jets: DAL -7.5, 45Tennessee Titans at Denver Broncos: DEN -1, 40Pittsburgh Steelers at Los Angeles Chargers: LAC -7, 41.5Monday, Oct. 14Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers: GB -6, 47Expert NFL picks, predictions for Week 6Straight up: In our picks and predictions for Week 6 of the 2019 NFL season, Minnesota stays on track with a tight win over Philadelphia. Plus, Green Bay pads its lead in the division, and Washington gets on the board with a victory.Against the spread: In our NFL picks against the spread for Week 6, Seattle wins a close game in Cleveland. Plus, Los Angeles gets the best of San Francisco, and slipping Kansas City and Dallas get back on track.Upset picks: The Browns, Saints and Titans are overlooked by bettors in their Week 6 matchups, making them smart picks to cover or even win outright this weekend.WEEK 6 FANTASY RANKINGS:Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | KickerTips, advice for pick ’em, survivor poolsWeek 6 survivor pool tips: Good news: the Dolphins are back! Bad news: they’re playing the Redskins. TeamRankings’ number-crunching experts break down this week’s win percentages and future win odds to help you find the right Week 6 pick for your survivor pool.Week 6 picks for confidence, pick ’em pools: Who should you pick in Week 6 NFL football pools? The experts from TeamRankings have advice for five key games where it might make sense to pick the underdog or play it safe with the favorite in your confidence and pick ’em pools.FREE TRIAL OFFER: Sporting News readers can get a free three-day premium trial to TeamRankings, including game predictions, betting picks, and customized picks for pick ’em and survivor pools. Claim your free trial now.NFL Week 6 betting guidesGame-by-game betting guide: Sportsbook Review has everything you need to know before betting on the NFL’s Week 6 games contained within this handy cheat sheet, including updated odds, point spreads, injury reports and more for every game.Thursday Night Football: Here’s everything to know about betting on Giants vs. Patriots in Week 6, including updated odds, trends and our expert’s prediction.Sunday Night Football (still to come)Monday Night Football (still to come)NFL DFS picks & strategy for Week 6 gamesFanDuelCore plays for cash games: We start our Week 6 FanDuel cash lineups with four core picks, including Matt Ryan and David Johnson. See how we fill in around them and get more strategy advice for your NFL DFS contests.Lineup advice for GPP tournaments: NFL DFS expert Bennett Bedford breaks down his Week 6 FanDuel core plays. See his example lineup picks for daily fantasy football GPPs, including Cooper Kupp and Austin Hooper.DraftKingsBest lineup stacks: NFL DFS expert Brandon Barbour from RotoQL breaks down his top value picks for your Week 6 FanDuel and DraftKings lineups. Get strategy advice to help win your daily fantasy football contests.Lineup advice for cash games: No Christian McCaffrey on the daily fantasy football main slate this week? No problem. Our Week 6 DraftKings cash lineup picks can help you finish in the money in your NFL DFS contests.Lineup advice for GPP tournaments: See our DraftKings lineup picks and pick up more NFL DFS GPP tournament tips for Week 6. Whether you’re trying to outsmart your co-workers in the office survivor pool, placing a bet with a sportsbook, or looking for an edge creating your DFS lineups, our weekly guide to gambling on the NFL has everything you need to win big during Week 6.MORE: Get the latest NFL odds & betting advice at Sportsbook Review Giants vs. Patriots DFS advice: The Giants and Patriots open Week 6 on Thursday Night Football. If you’re putting together a DraftKings Showdown lineup, we’ve got the picks, advice and sleepers to help in your NFL DFS tournaments.YahooLineup advice for cash games: An Atlanta stack and some high-volume RBs are the key to our Week 6 Yahoo daily fantasy football cash lineup picks. See our strategy for NFL DFS contests?Lineup advice for GPP tournaments: Our Week 6 Yahoo NFL DFS GPP lineup starts with a Gardner Minshew-DJ Chark stack and relies on Dalvin Cook and Nick Chubb to carry the load.
Astros assistant general manager Brandon Taubman is under fire for an incident that occurred after the Astros won the AL pennant, and MLB commissioner Rob Manfred is looking into it.“I’m really concerned at this point about the underlying substance of the situation and what the atmosphere was, how it came to be,” Manfred told reporters before the second game of the World Series on Wednesday, via Fox 26 in Houston. “That’s my focus right now.” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred on the controversy involving #Astros ass’t GM Brandon Taubman: “I’m really concerned at this point about the underlying substance of the situation & what the atmosphere was..We pride ourselves on providing an inclusive,harassment free environment.” pic.twitter.com/S6XC08RJx1— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) October 23, 2019Taubman is alleged to have yelled “Thank God we got Osuna! I’m so f—ing glad we got Osuna!” in the direction of three female reporters after Houston’s 6-4 win over the Yankees in the American League Championship Series.The incident was apparently so intense that another Astros staffer had to apologize to the reporters, according to Sports Illustrated. Related News Astros dispute story that team executive taunted female reporters about Roberto Osuna Astros’ A.J. Hinch ‘very disappointed’ in team exec’s controversial comments “We pride ourselves on providing an inclusive, harassment-free environment in all of the various aspects of our business,” he said. “I think it’s a core value for baseball and I think that we have to be tremendously concerned whenever we have an incident that attracts this much attention.”The BBWAA and the AWSM have both issued statements condemning Taubman’s actions as well as the Astros’ initial response to the incident. Game 2 of the World Series will be played at 8:08 p.m. ET in Houston on Wednesday. The Nationals currently lead the series 1-0. Houston initially refuted the report, but it has since been confirmed by three different sources and Taubman has issued a statement on the incident. The Astros did as well, and manager AJ Hinch spoke about how disappointed he was with the reported actions of the Astros staffer.MLB has not announced any discipline as of yet, but Manfred may decide on some kind of punishment in time.
At the halfway point of the season, the Utah football team has several players who could be called team MVP.Start with quarterback Alex Smith, who has led the Utes with 287 yards of total offense per game and is responsible for 20 touchdowns. Then there’s Marty Johnson,who has rushed for more than 500 yards and receiver Steve Savoy, who has 35 catches for 531 yards. On defense you have linebacker Spencer Toone, who leads the team in tackles and fumble recoveries. Of course there’s senior safety Morgan Scalley, who is tied for the team lead in sacks and interceptions and is unquestionably the team’s leader.But ask coach Urban Meyer who’s been most valuable and you’ll be surprised.”If I had a vote, Grady Marshall’s our MVP.”Grady Marshall?Some Ute fans may have never even heard of Marshall, who isn’t a starter and only ranks 17th on the team in tackles. But to Meyer and the Utes, Marshall is the most “special” player on the team. The junior from Salt Lake is the one Ute who plays on all the special teams and performs his role superbly.”He’s worth 40 yards to us every time he takes the field,” said Meyer. “I love his attitude and the way he shows up every day for work. There’s no speed other than full speed for him and very few guys are like that.”Marshall is the backup to Toone at the rover linebacker spot and has seen some action there this season. It’s on the special teams where he excels, however.He is the captain of the kickoff team, where he is the “missile,”— the one player who goes wherever the ball is. On the kickoff return team he plays on the front row and is responsible for double-teaming one of the opponents.On punting team, Marshall is the “gunner,” who runs full speed down the field and tries to get to the returner at the same time the ball does.On the punt block team, Marshall is simply “7,” a player looks for gaps in the middle of the line in an effort to block punts. That’s his favorite of all the special team positions.”I love special teams,” he said. “My main role is to go out and make plays. I like kickoffs, but punt block is definitely the most exciting.”Marshall has already blocked two punts this year, including one in Saturday’s win over North Carolina that resulted in a safety. Technically, that is a score, but Marshall’s goal is to get a touchdown off a blocked punt.”It’s frustrating sometimes, but I’m hoping to get in the end zone,” he said.After being a part of three state title teams at Skyline High where he was an all-state defensive back in 1998, Marshall went on an LDS mission to Australia. His only scholarship offer was at Ricks College, but when the school turned into BYU-Idaho and dropped athletics, Marshall decided to walk on at Utah.He played on some special teams in 2002 and immediately caught Meyer’s attention when he took over the following spring.”Kyle Whittingham told me he was a difference-maker even though he hadn’t played much,” Meyer said. “I knew as soon as he walked through the door that he was going to play. He’s fast, people don’t give him enough credit. He’s one of our fastest three guys. And he’s a tough kid.”Grady is the son of former football star Steve Marshall, who played for the Utes from 1971-73. His dad is best-known for an interception return for a touchdown in Utah’s incredible fourth-quarter comeback in a 28-27 win over Arizona in 1972 and for taking over at quarterback for injured Don Van Galder in a 62-36 win over Colorado State and setting some school records.”He definitely has input and helps me out,” said Grady of his father, who is a longtime assistant at Skyline. “He gives me tips but mostly leaves it up to the coaches here.”The versatility his father displayed is evident in Grady Marshall’s game. The Ute coaches have tried him on offense and different positions on defense, including safety and linebacker along with all his special teams duties.Meyer says Marshall’s full-speed-ahead approach may hurt him a bit as a defender, where he needs to slow down a bit and play with more patience. But he expects Marshall to be a regular before his career is through as a Ute. And if he does earn a starting spot, Marshall will “absolutely” still play on the special teams as he has for three years, according to his coach. “I just want guys like that on the field,” Meyer said. “I do believe he’ll play for us (as a regular). If he doesn’t, he’s still one of our most valuable players.” E-mail: email@example.com
Langvad gives Utes spark off the bench E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org DENVER — So much for all this talk about Utah not being able to get off to a quick start.The Utes solved that problem Friday night against UNLV by jumping out to a 22-point lead. The problem was the Utes almost forgot to finish the deal.Although they improved to 27-4 on the season, the Utes had to hold on for dear life against the hard-charging Rebels to escape with a 73-67 victory at the Pepsi Center.The victory moved the Utes into the finals of the Mountain West Conference tournament for the second straight year against the winner of Friday night’s late game between New Mexico and San Diego State.For the fourth straight year, the Utes played the Rebels in the MWC tourney, the third time in the semifinals. But just when it appeared the Utes were going to cruise to victory and have a chance to rest their starters for Saturday’s final, the Rebels put on a furious rally by scoring as many points in the second half (49) as Colorado State managed the whole game the day before.Behind hot-shooting Romel Beck, the Rebels nearly erased Utah’s 22-point lead and cut the margin to three points three times in the final six minutes, However, the Utes found enough composure to hold on for the scary victory.”We were able to find a way to get it done,” said Utah coach Ray Giacoletti. “It sounds crazy, but we haven’t had to be in that situation a whole heckuva lot this year. But this time of year it doesn’t matter how pretty is as long as you have one more point on the scoreboard than the other team does.”The Utes have made a habit all year of playing a close first half and then going on a couple of second-half runs to win by a comfortable margin. This time they jumped out of the games quickly and went into halftime with a 14-point lead.”We got off to a good start,” said Andrew Bogut, who had his 21st double-double of the season with 25 points and 12 rebounds. “The media has been on us for three months about our first halves. We did this for you.”Thanks Andrew.But the second half the Utes came up with a new twist. Instead of expanding a small lead, they let a large lead dwindle to almost nothing.”In the second half we kind of relaxed and kind of got on our back foot and they came back,” Bogut said. “We had to scramble for that win at the end.”The Utes quickly expanded their 32-18 halftime lead to 22 points at 42-20 with 16:31 left in the game. The Rebels looked like they had already packed it in as they started off the second half with five turnovers, a missed shot and one make on their first seven possessions.But just like that, the Rebels couldn’t miss, scoring on six straight possessions, including three 3-pointers, over the next three minutes. That made it 50-35, but the Utes still didn’t seem too worried as Giacoletti left four of his starters on the bench.The coach acknowledged afterward that he was trying to rest his starters for tonight’s game.When Beck hit still another 3-pointer to make it 52-40 with 9:38 left, Giacoletti decided enough was enough and inserted Bogut, Marc Jackson, Hawkins and Markson back into the game, joining Tim Drisdom.However, the starters didn’t improve things much.Drisdom lost the ball, Markson missed a 3-pointer and Bogut missed the front end of a 1-and-1. Then Bogut missed an inside shot and was tied up and Hawkins had a short shot blocked. When Ricky Morgan scored inside, the Ute lead was down to 52-46 with 8:25 left.The Utes briefly pushed the lead to nine at 57-48, but the Rebels scored six straight points to cut it to 57-54 and it could have been two if Beck hadn’t missed a free throw after scoring inside.That’s when Giacoletti tried some odd strategy. He put his team in a 2-3 zone to keep the Rebels from beating the Utes one-on-one near the basket. When UNLV missed 3-pointers on three of their next four possessions, it looked like brilliant strategy as the Utes moved back to a 63-56 lead.”Certainly that had an effect,” said UNLV coach Lon Kruger.During the last two minutes, the Utes hit eight of 10 free throws and added a layup by Hawkins when he was left alone by the pressing Rebels and the Utes secured the win.”They panicked a little bit, but Utah’s a great team. We lost to the better team,” said UNLV’s Odartey Blankson, who scored 13 points.”They played 40 minutes of great basketball and we played about 12,” said Beck, who led his team with 19 points.Besides Bogut’s 25 points, Hawkins scored 14 points, Bryant Markson chipped in 12 and Jonas Langvad added 10. Langvad hit back-to-back 3-pointers in the first half to help the Utes to a double-digit lead. “You just can’t afford to dig yourselves that big of a hole against a team like Utah,” said Kruger. “I hope they play for a long time.” Related Lobos dispatch Aztecs, await matchup with Utes Utah-UNLV game at a glance Utes outshoot Cougars, reach women’s finals
Freshman averages over 40 minutes ppg rebs FG % FT %tAndrew Bogut (season) 16.7 13.3 57.7 64.0 Luke Nevill (through 7 games) 18.0 11.6 58.5 64.0 Although he definitely hasn’t made Utah fans forget about Andrew Bogut, Luke Nevill has a few things in common with the former Ute star who was last year’s national player of the year and NBA No. 1 Draft pick.Like Bogut, Nevill is a 7-foot-tall basketball player who grew up in Australia and came to America to play basketball for the University of Utah.Nevill isn’t likely to become another Bogut — how many players become national player of the year and a No. 1 draft choice? — but something else the two have in common are their freshman statistics.After seven games, Nevill is averaging 9.1 points and 5.9 rebounds per game, which are less than the 12.2 ppg and 9.9 rpg numbers Bogut put up as a freshman in 2003-04. However, Bogut averaged 30 minutes per game, compared to Nevill’s 21 minutes per game and if you extrapolate the numbers over a 40-minute game, Nevill measures up.Nevill would have the slight edge in scoring over 40 minutes, 18.0 to 16.7, while Bogut would have the edge in rebounding 13.3 to 11.6. As for shooting percentages, they are amazingly identical — 58.5 percent for Nevill to 57.7 for Bogut from the field and 64.0 percent from the line for both.The two Aussies didn’t know each other before coming to Utah — Bogut being from Melbourne on the southeast coast and Nevill growing up in Perth on the west coast.Nevill wanted to pursue a college career, so he came to the U.S. as an exchange student to a host family in Georgia in 2003. Being 7 feet tall he was an attraction to several colleges and was recruited by the likes of South Carolina, Georgia Tech, Charlotte and Georgia.He also got the attention of Utah, which already had Bogut in the program. Former Ute coach Rick Majerus started recruiting him early in his season at Kell High School, where he averaged 17.6 points and 8.9 rebounds, and after Majerus left the program, interim Ute coach Kerry Rupp continued pursuing Nevill.However, when Rupp wasn’t retained by new coach Ray Giacoletti, who brought in his own staff, the recruitment of Nevill stopped cold. It was almost as if he had never been recruited by Utah. In fact, Giacoletti’s staff wasn’t even informed of Nevill’s recruitment.Instead, Giacoletti found out about Nevill almost by accident when he was doing some checking with the Australian Institute of Sport to talk about Bogut, who had just completed his freshman year.He asked if there were any other players he should be aware of, and an Australian official mentioned a big kid named Luke Nevill who was an exchange student in Georgia.It was April, just before the signing period and Giacoletti was understandably skeptical about a player still available at such a late date.But he decided to check him out and flew down to Georgia. It was then he found out the surprising news when Nevill said Utah had already been recruiting him for the past year or so.”They were like, wow, you’re not even on any of the records we have,” Nevill recalls.Giacoletti also discovered there were some eligibility issues that had scared off most recruiters. Because Nevill had only attended school one year as an exchange student, he wasn’t eligible to graduate from high school under rules in the state of Georgia, which required two years of attendance.That didn’t deter Giacoletti, who persisted where other schools didn’t. The problem wasn’t Nevill’s GPA or test scores, which were excellent. He just needed more schooling. So Giacoletti arranged for Nevill to go to a private school in Utah in the summer, paid for by Nevill’s family, to get the credit necessary to be eligible in the fall.The other main school Nevill considered was South Carolina, but he enjoyed Utah on his visit and it also helped to have fellow Aussie Bogut to show him around town and tell him the good points of Utah.”That made a difference because I saw another Australian in the system doing well,” Nevill said. “It was really helpful to see someone from the same country. It was a very good choice. I enjoy my teammates and the coaching staff is a great bunch of guys.”The only thing that bothers Nevill about Utah is the colder weather. He lives right near the beach in Australia and misses that. He saw snow for the first time in Georgia, but nothing like he’s seen in Utah.”They got two inches and closed the schools. Here you get three feet and keep going,” Nevill said with a chuckle.Last year, Nevill redshirted because Bogut was playing close to 35 minutes a game and another center, Chris Jackson, who had been in the program for four years, was backing him up. Even though they could have used him at times, Utah decided it wasn’t worth wasting a year of eligibility on a few minutes a game for Nevill.However, playing against Bogut every day in practice was invaluable to Nevill and prepared him for this year. Though not a starter, his coaches are happy with his play.”To be honest, I’ve been very pleased with Luke,” Giacoletti said. “Because of how well Chris Jackson has played, we’ve been able to play him in situations where he can be successful and get a good feel for the game.”Like a typical freshman, Nevill has been inconsistent, like getting 19 points and 13 rebounds against Rice one Saturday and then scoring just one point with five rebounds against Southern Utah.”He needs to be more aggressive and work on his post position deep in the paint,” said Giacoletti. “He also needs to work on boxing out so he can rebound and get more area rebounds instead of just position rebounds.”Nevill agrees with his coach about the aggressiveness issue.”Sometimes I get a bit soft when I’m inside,” he said. “I may take a fadeaway shot or don’t go strong to the rim. I need to focus on that. Also boxing out is a big thing for me to focus on.”As he gets more experience, Nevill could turn out to be a very good player for Utah, even if he never reaches the heights of Bogut. As Giacoletti points, out, he’s only in his fifth year of organized basketball.”He’s still a young pup,” he said. “He just needs strength and experience. Looking down the road, Luke has a chance to be pretty darn good” E-mail: email@example.com
LAS VEGAS — The third time was not so charming for the Utah basketball team.After beating UNLV twice during the regular season, the Utes had no answer for a determined Rebel squad and lost 73-61 in the first round of the Mountain West Conference Tournament Friday night at the Thomas and Mack Center.The defeat brought Utah’s topsy-turvy season to a merciful close as the Utes finished with a 14-17 record, only their third losing season in the past 20 years and the first since going 11-19 in 2006-07.UNLV, considered a lock for the NCAA tournament despite the two earlier losses to the Utes, improved to 24-7 on the season and will play BYU tonight in the semifinals at 9:30 p.m. MST.The Utes were trying to become the sixth straight No. 6 seed to win in the first round of the MWC tourney, but after pulling within one point early in the second half, they watched the Rebels went on a 32-13 run to put the game away.Tre’Von WIllis and Anthony Marshall led a balanced UNLV scoring attack with 13 points, while Chace Stanback had 10.For the Utes, Carlon Brown led the way with 12 points, while Luka Drca scored 11.After pulling within four points with a late rally in the first half, the Utes came out and quickly cut the margin to one on a three-point play by Brown. But the Rebels ran off 10 straight points to push the lead to 41-30 with 16:23 left and the rout was on.The UNLV lead got as high as 21 points at 66-45, before the Ute reserves cut the lead in the final minutes.The first half was similar to numerous Ute games this season as they fell behind by double digits only to rally and make a game of it when they looked dead and buried.The Utes overcame a couple of 13-point first-half deficits to pull within four at 29-25 at halftime, despite shooting just 30 percent from the field.David Foster, who sprained his ankle eight days earlier in a game against BYU, was deemed healthy enough to start, but less than three minutes into the game he fell to the court and limped off and into the locker room for treatment. He returned a few minutes later and promptly made four points to tie the game at 8.That’s when the Rebels went on a 10-0 run in less than three minutes as the pro-UNLV crowd started their “Re-bels, Re-bels” chant. A 3-pointer by Willis made it 21-8 before the Utes broke a six-minute scoring drought with a 3-pointer by Brown.Then in the last three minutes of the half, the Utes scored nine straight points on threes by Drca, Marshall Henderson and Chris Hines to cut the lead to 28-25 before Anthony Marshall sank a late free throw.GAME NOTES: UNLV’s win tied the all-time series with the Utes at 22-22 … Luka Drca had a tough night in his final game for the Utes with six turnovers … The Utes had lost four straight tournament games to the Rebels in the Thomas & Mack Center, including a 61-55 loss two years in the semifinals. The Utes had beaten the Rebels twice in the MWC Tournament when it was held in Denver in 2004 and 2005. Kim Tillie, who sprained his ankle in practice a week ago, was able to play in the game and had three points and three rebounds in his final game as a Ute … Foster had six points and five rebounds in 19 minutes … Every Ute player who suited up, played, except Jordan Cyphers, who didn’t play for the 12th straight game … Since losing to Utah on Feb. 17, the Rebels had reeled off four straight victories by an average margin of 75-51 … Earlier this year, the Utes beat the Rebels 73-69 in Las Vegas and 66-61 in Salt Lake City.Today’s MWC scheduleNo. 1 New Mexico vs. No. 4 San Diego St., 7 p.m.No. 2 BYU vs. No. 3 UNLV, 9:30 p.m.More hoop inside Utah, BYU women look to stay alive in MWC tournament, D2 Aggies beat Boise State, face Bulldogs in WAC semifinals, D4e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Spieth among leaders for final round of US Open Related I was scrambling all over the place today. I didn’t find a fairway until the 10th hole, but I was happy with the way I hung in there. – Tony FinauUNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. – For Utah golfers Tony Finau and Daniel Summerhays, their time on the U.S. Open leaderboard was short-lived as both players had their struggles Saturday in the third round at the rock-hard, burned-out Chambers Bay Golf Course.The two Utah natives started the day in a tie for fifth place, just two shots off the lead, but both golfers bogeyed the first hole and had challenges in different areas – Finau with the driver and Summerhays on the greens – as they fell out of contention.Finau shot a 74 and sits at 211 total while Summerhays finished with a 78 for a 215 total. Finau tees off Sunday at 3:00 p.m. MT with Henrik Stenson while Summerhays goes off at 12:24 p.m. MT with amateur Denny McCarthy.While Finau is still within shouting distance, five shots off the pace set by four golfers, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Brendan Grace and Masters champion Jordan Spieth, he would have to leapfrog eight players with a low number Sunday afternoon to claim the trophy.Although he said he felt calm from the start, Summerhays started off with three straight bogeys, righted his ship in the middle of his round, only to go 4-over on a late 3-hole stretch and finish with the 8-over score that left him nine shots off the pace.Finau still stands in the top 10 in a tie for ninth place with six other golfers at 1-over-par 211. But he was disappointed with his finish, making one of the few bogeys of the day among the entire field on the par-5 18th hole. A birdie there would have put him in tie for fifth place, where he started the day, just three strokes off the lead.“I was scrambling all over the place today,’’ Finau said. “I didn’t find a fairway until the 10th hole, but I was happy with the way I hung in there.’’Summerhays was uncharacteristically critical of the course setup afterward, saying it favored the “bombers” and that it has “taken the putter out of the game.’’He said a lot of the greens were “baked-out” and “dirt” and some of the bunkers he got into late in his round either had rocks or not enough sand.“It was a comedy of errors,’’ he said. “I stayed really patient until the 16th hole and then it broke me down.’’Summerhays had made a birdie at 8 and saved par with a long putt at 11 but went bogey-double bogey-bogey at 15-16-17 before making a birdie at No. 18.“I hate to say it but they’ve taken putting out of the game here for sure and putting’s always been one of my strong suits,’’ he said. “So that was really disappointing to have it all be up to luck and to hit a lot of good putts and not have anything go in.’’Unlike Summerhays, Finau’s putter saved him on several occasions.He made a 10-footer at 11 to save par, a 5-footer at 12 for par, an 8-footer at 15 for birdie and just missed birdie putts at 16 and 17.“The putter was working just to keep me in it,’’ Finau said. “It would have been nice to finish a little better to put myself into better position going into tomorrow.I’m still in contention for sure. I’d like to close that gap on the front nine tomorrow.’’Finau has a chance, as does Summerhays, with a really low round, to earn some favors with a good finish.The top 10 finishers earn a spot in next year’s U.S. Open while the top four receive invitations to The Masters.Summerhays is staying positive and feels good about his overall game, despite his score Saturday.“I’m still looking forward to tomorrow and the next several tournaments because I feel I’m still playing well,’’ he said. “I’ll try and regroup and stay optimistic and stay positive.’’
I do think it’s very important that our players are socially aware and are good citizens and have opinions. No matter where your opinion comes out on the national anthem issue, you can be highly patriotic, yet balance it, and that’s a very important balance for our organization. – General manager Dennis LindseySALT LAKE CITY — When the Utah Jazz take on the Portland Trail Blazers Monday night at the Moda Center in the first exhibition game for both teams this season, the national anthem will be played before the game, as it is before every NBA game.But it will be the first time the anthem will be played for these two teams since it took on a new significance after San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick chose not to stand during the playing of the “Star Spangled Banner” at an exhibition football game in August. Since then, athletes from all over the country from pros to colleges to high schools and younger have joined Kaepernick, usually by taking a knee, to make a statement about social injustice in this country.The protests have partly come in response to shooting deaths of blacks by police officers in recent months, and with nearly 75 percent of the players in the league being African-Americans, some sorts of expression wouldn’t be unexpected this season.It’s not known whether any Jazz players plan to express themselves by kneeling or making another gesture during the national anthem Monday night or any time in the near future. Not every player has been asked and a couple that have been asked didn’t have a clear answer.However, both general manager Dennis Lindsey and coach Quin Snyder addressed the issue and said the Utah franchise will be sensitive to the issues of social justice and to players’ individual feelings.Synder addressed the anthem question twice during the week and emphasized both times that the Jazz are a “close-knit” team who will be open about the issue.“I’m pleased with the culture that’s here that is introspective and does value both unity and social justice,” he said. “The important thing to our team is the recognition that there has to be a collective effort and an awareness to make progress within a community and society at large.”He added, “I think the context is important and you can be reverent and respectful to the flag and also be sensitive and aware and things in this country that have to improve, race relations being one of them. So it’s something our guys everyone can handle and talk about individually.”Lindsey noted that the Jazz try to be sensitive to civil rights causes, as the team makes a point to visit the Martin Luther King Museum in Memphis and the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., when visiting those cities.“I do think it’s very important that our players are socially aware and are good citizens and have opinions,” Lindsey said. “No matter where your opinion comes out on the national anthem issue, you can be highly patriotic, yet balance it, and that’s a very important balance for our organization.”Speaking to a roomful of reporters and Jazz officials, Lindsay said, “If you were to poll the room here, you would probably get 50 different iterations of what it means to be patriotic or what it means to be socially aware. Those are all very important issues and we’ll make sure we address those on the team.”So what happens if a Jazz player does decide to make a personal statement during the national anthem?Snyder preferred not to speculate when asked if one or more of his players might want to express themselves in some way during the national anthem.“You’re trying to create a hypothetical situation and there isn’t one for us right now,” he said. “I think everyone’s got an opinion and perspective and it’s not something I want to get into analyzing beyond that.”Lindsay indicated that the team wouldn’t do anything to keep players from expressing themselves.“We are not the thought police and we want our players to have their individual feelings about social issues because they’re coming from much different backgrounds,” Lindsay said. “It’s important that we all respect those differences.”Two players who were asked about the national anthem issue didn’t have anything specific to say and talked more in general terms of what members of the team might do.“It’s a touchy subject,” said Derrick Favors. “We’ll just come together as a team and decide what to do if we do decide to do something.”“I think we’ve done a good job already with Dennis and Quin addressing some of the issues,” Gordon Hayward said. “First and foremost they want to educate us as to what’s going on so everybody knows we’re all on the same page as to what’s going on. It’s a very delicate subject and obviously very emotional but I think we’ll be educated.”
SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah defensive line has been heralded as one of the best D-lines in college football with a pair of all-American candidates in Bradlee Anae and Leki Fotu, both first-team all-Pac-12 selections last year, as well as tackle John Penisini, who earned second-team all-Pac-12 honors in 2018.Then there’s that other guy, what’s his name?That would be Mika Tafua, a 6-foot-3, 252-pound sophomore who plays the left end in Utah’s 4-2-5 defensive alignment.Ask Tafua if he feels overlooked or dissed by the lack of attention he receives and the soft-spoken big man replies, “No not at all, I just do my job. It’s not me. It doesn’t define me, but it’s something I want to do well at.” Tafua has done well so far as he leads his fellow defensive linemen in tackles with six so far this season, and he also had a sack and a fumble recovery, both in the BYU game.“Mika’s an outstanding player,” said Ute coach Kyle Whittingham. “He’s a little bit under the radar and doesn’t get the attention that the other guys get, but he’s playing excellent football for us.”How he ended up at Utah is a story Tafua calls “interesting” as he was hardly recruited by the Utes out of high school.He was a first-team all-state selection at Kamehameha High School in Hawaii in 2014 and signed a letter of intent with BYU. He then went on a church mission to Tacoma, Washington. Soon after he returned from his mission back in early September of 2017, Tafua was standing on the sidelines at the annual Utah-BYU game when he saw Utah assistant coach Lewis Powell. He knew Powell from Hawaii, where Powell coached the University of Hawaii defensive line for three years before moving to Utah.Tafua, who was basically a “free agent” at this point, decided to check out the program at Utah and was impressed enough that he decided to enroll at the U. and sat out the 2017 season as a redshirt.“I’ve known him for awhile,” said Powell. “He was going to head to BYU and came here and fell in love with our staff and program and what we’re trying to do. Shoot, it didn’t take much, but we’re excited to have him. He’s going to continue to get better.”“I had a lot of family here in Utah, so it was pretty easy,” Tafua said of his transition.It didn’t take long the following autumn for Tafua to claim a starting spot at the right end position on the Ute defensive line. After the third game, he switched with Anae and went to the left side. He had to miss three games with injuries but ended up starting seven games and finishing the season with 23 tackles, seven tackles for loss, two sacks and a forced fumble.“Oh man he’s doing really good,” said Powell, who coaches the defensive ends. “People are game-planning for Brad and all of a sudden Mika starts making plays and that’s what we need from him. Mika’s still young, just a sophomore, but he was a starter last year and he’s continuing to get better as he understands where he fits in and what we’re trying to do.”The Utah depth chart actually has Tafua and junior Maxs Tupai as co-starters and while Powell said the Utes try to split the reps, Tafua has been getting the majority of the time this year.“Maxs has been getting the shorter end of that, but we like both of them to play,” Powell said. “They bring different things to the table. They’re both really good, and we’re excited for both of them.”Whittingham praises Tafua’s “consistency” and believes his time in the spotlight is coming.“He’s really has no weakness,” Whittingham said. “He plays the run well, he’s a good pass rusher and has a good motor. His entire game is his strong suit because there really is no weakness. He’s got two more years after this and his time will come in the headlines.”