Press Association Chelsea defender David Luiz requires surgery after suffering a broken nose playing for Brazil. “Yes, my nose is broken, but that’s part of the game,” Luiz said in quotes published on chelseafc.com. “Now I’ll have to wait until the end of the competition and undergo surgery to fix it.” The 26-year-old incurred the injury in a collision with team-mate Thiago Silva during the Selecao’s Confederations Cup defeat of Mexico. Luiz, who struggled to stem the flow of blood after the blow, will go under the knife following the tournament, he said.
Spring is officially here.It’s not the warming weather that tipped me off (knock on wood), nor is it that damn chirping bird that woke me up this morning.Instead, a quick look at my schedule told me I had to attend the highly anticipated spring football scrimmage this Saturday.Well, if Bret Bielema says it is spring, than it must be so.After 14 practices trying to develop new players, making sure everyone stays in shape and most importantly, obliterating the memory of last year’s disappointing finish, the football team will put on its grand show at 2 p.m. this Saturday. (Free of charge! How nice of them.)If you are using this as an excuse to get up early and drink, then the spring scrimmage serves a good purpose. If you were planning on analyzing the results of the scrimmage with the upcoming season in mind, however, your time would be better spent cleaning up the mess made from the previous night’s adventures.Because no matter how many yards John Clay runs for, no matter how many interceptions Dustin Sherer foolishly throws and however many passes the receivers drop, none of it matters.And I mean none of it matters.Last season our football writer Derek Zetlin wrote the biggest problem that came out of the scrimmage was our kicker and punter. During the game Philip Welch couldn’t hit the broadside of Memorial Library and Brad Nortman would have missed Lake Mendota from the Terrace.Their production during the fall season?Welch was a first team freshman All-American and honorable mention in the Big Ten, while Nortman booted 56 punts for a 42.4 yard average and downed 16 of them inside the 20-yard line. Not only did Welch and Nortman succeed, the two specialists were the one facet of the team to remain consistent all season.Other stories that came from last year’s spring game were Allan Evridge outdueling Sherer — that turned out quite well — and almost every defensive lineman getting hurt sometime during the spring practices.And despite these inconsistencies from the fake season to the real season, every year fans here get hyped up to project which player will star in the fall and which players will be benched by midseason.I suppose the recent obsession with spring football is not entirely our fault. The SEC has pushed fans across the country to new boundaries with their unprecedented craziness during the non-football months. Whether it is Lane Kiffin pulling a proverbial Plaxico Burress by upsetting Urban Meyer or the continual comparisons of Tim Tebow to Chuck Norris, the SEC breathes football 25 hours a day. In fairness to them, they don’t have any basketball or hockey worth watching so they have to fill the time somehow.For those still planning on taking the game seriously though, let me save you some time. None of the quarterbacks will throw deep well. Clay will wow everyone with his Herculean size. One defensive lineman no one knew about will wreak havoc.And we can glean absolutely nothing from this.After the game, Bielema will say the team has to play more consistently. He will claim the starting quarterback job still is up in the air (it’s not — Sherer has it). He will lament the number of penalties and praise some of the new starters. In general you will hear more coach-speak than after a New England Patriots game.And none of it matters, because to the team, this isn’t a game. It is just another practice, albeit on a very large scale.So go ahead and tailgate the game — I wish I could join you — just remember for next season, what you see on the field is about as real as MTV’s new show, “College Life.”Michael is a junior majoring in journalism. Think that spring football holds some value? Think “College Life” is totally real? Tell him about it at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The buzz around Syracuse three months ago was palpable. A No. 19 ranking floated next to SU’s name and phrases such as “Final Four” and “best team” were flung at Jim Boeheim in his season-opening press conference.Twenty-two games later, the number 19 remains relevant only as Frank Howard’s minutes per game. Now, “Final Four” and “best team” have been replaced by “inexperience” and “still learning.” Four first-year players shouldering significant minutes was bound to create some puzzles, even for a fifth-year senior like Andrew White, who considers himself a “high IQ guy.”No puzzle, however, presented a more complicated challenge than playing the zone. Earlier this season, White said he had second-guessed himself on defense. Four years of man-to-man college defense no longer applied.All season White has stressed the need for patience and belief that he’s all-in on learning Boeheim’s defense. Finally, in Saturday’s 82-72 win over then-No. 6 Florida State, White unveiled the defensive performance he’s been working toward. His nine rebounds and four steals didn’t set any season-highs for the veteran guard, but collectively it represented White’s maturation.Most important, he’s got a grip on how to better position himself in the zone and back down opponents contesting for rebounds. It’s taken longer than both he and Boeheim would have liked, but ahead of Syracuse’s (13-9, 5-4 Atlantic Coast) Wednesday night game at North Carolina State (14-8, 3-6), they’ll take it.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“To be a one-dimensional player in this league doesn’t work,” White said on Saturday. “I have a reputation as a shooter, but I try to be a threat on defense. I try to rebound. My urgency and desperation level are so high right now.“I can’t sleep because I’m thinking about the opportunities.”Just last year he starred at Nebraska, both as the team’s leading scorer and rebounder. White wasn’t a defensive stalwart on a subpar Cornhuskers team, but he hauled in 199 rebounds in 2015-16, averaging 5.9 per game compared to 4.7 this year.In an effort to become steadier on the boards, White’s recently shifted his rebounding strategy. Instead of trying for rebounds with one hand, he’s now trying to tip the ball away toward open space on the floor where he can cleanly come away with possession.“He made a commitment to himself to get more rebounds and hold his own on the wing,” freshman forward Taurean Thompson said. “He’s just been a real presence defensively and it helps us out a lot.”Even before shot opportunities arose for the Seminoles, White appeared to be in perfect motion with the zone. Several times he flicked away passes. Sometimes out of bounds, sometimes back into FSU’s arms or sometimes into Syracuse’s possession. All of it a product of anticipation.That, perhaps more than any other sign exhibited Saturday, was encouraging for a player only known for his jump shot.“He was back, pushing, … battling with the big guys down there,” Boeheim said. “He had four steals, nine rebounds, eight defensive rebounds — that’s outstanding. Outstanding.”With the Orange clinging to a four-point lead and less than three minutes to go, FSU’s Jarquez Smith hoisted a deep 3. White positioned himself beneath the hoop with 6-foot-10 NBA hopeful Jonathan Isaac towering over his back. As the ball left Smith’s hands, White peaked over his shoulder and sealed off Isaac.When the ball ricocheted off the iron, the Seminoles’ freshman never had a chance. White’s box out afforded him enough space to cleanly snag the rebound and jumpstart one of SU’s final possessions.Rebounding, and defense, in general, has plagued the Orange all season. Its only redeeming quality at times has been scoring, spearheaded by White. Now Syracuse’s most reliable offensive presence is ready to mirror his production on the other side of the floor.“(White’s) so good offensively that the attention is taken away from his defense,” point guard John Gillon said. “I think people should start taking notice.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 1, 2017 at 12:12 am Contact Connor: email@example.com | @connorgrossman