Tag: 上海夜网RT

Veterans of Syracuse defense determined to improve off of disappointing 2011 season

first_imgShamarko Thomas means no disrespect to Chandler Jones when he says Syracuse’s defense is tighter this year. Jones was a first-round pick in the NFL Draft who is now in training camp with the New England Patriots, but the defense he left behind may have improved its chemistry.Five seniors will start on the Orange’s defense, and together, they’ve made sure everyone understands what needs to be done to improve.“I feel like this year, our defense has a bigger bond,” Thomas, Syracuse’s starting strong safety, said. “That’s the key of a great defense, champions, is being brothers and being on the same page. And I feel like that’s going to take us far. “Syracuse’s finished near the bottom of the Big East of nearly every defensive category last season, allowing 28.5 points per game. SU was last in total defense, allowing 386.4 yard per game, and sixth in rushing defense with 128.2 yards allowed per game. The Orange also had the fewest sacks in the Big East, 28.On the surface, nothing about last year’s defensive performances give much encouragement to a better season in 2012. The defense did not improve as the season went on.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBut the unit is placing a collective emphasis on the smaller points that it might have missed last season. Defensive end Deon Goggins also said some of last season’s struggles were because of inexperience.“Honestly, we just had a lot of young guys. We were just young as a team,” Goggins said. “That’s all it was. After last year, going through what we went through, I see the changes in a lot of the young guys that have to step up.”Goggins said the unit took the initiative this spring to continue working after the practices were over, when no coaches were around. They walked through drills, worked one-on-one and continued on their days off.They also left the SU campus and went on trips to build chemistry.Even a small trip to Green Lakes State Park in nearby Fayetteville went a long way toward improving that bond, Goggins said.Marquis Spruill, who’s moving from middle linebacker to outside linebacker, said he remembers that even during his freshman season, SU’s defensive players weren’t as “in sync” as they are now.He was a freshman in 2010, when the unit ranked seventh in the nation in total defense.They hold each other accountable, and compete in everything from lifting in the weight room to seeing who can go the longest without getting tired during drills outside in the sweltering heat.As practices progress, their work intensifies and continues to improve.“As the practices go, it gets better,” Spruill said. “I saw it during the springtime. We came off a bad record. It leaves a sour taste in your mouth. You only want to get better, and that’s what everyone wants to do.”Losing Jones would seemingly be a big hole to fill, but Goggins said it’s not something the defense is concerned about. The defensive end was glad to see Jones go accomplish his dream of reaching the NFL.It also gives someone else on the Syracuse defense a chance to step up.Whether or not the off-the-field improvements carry over to the defense’s performance on the field remains to be seen. For now, at least, the players are optimistic that they’ll make a difference.“I feel like our mentality is just come together,” Thomas said. “Come together and be hungry. If you be hungry and you work hard, it’s all going to come together for you.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on August 3, 2012 at 5:55 pm Contact Chris: [email protected] | @chris_isemanlast_img read more

Rufai: I Have Solution to Nigeria’s Goalkeeper’s Problem

first_imgDuro IkhazuagbeAs Nigeria continues to grapple with getting a quality goalkeeper for the senior national team, the Super Eagles, ex-international Peter Rufai has insisted that he has solution to the festering problem.Yesterday, Franco-German handler of the Super Eagles, Gernot Rohr, invited 23 players for the international friendly with Ukraine without the inclusion of South Africa-based Daniel Akpeyi who was the country’s Number 1 goalkeeper to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt. Peter Rufai The Kaiser Chief goalkeeper reclaimed the shirt from Francis Uzoho who was between the sticks for Eagles at the World Cup in Russia where Nigeria failed to make it out of the group stage.But for the leukaemia that ended Carl Ikeme’s career after starting the 2018 World Cup qualifiers brilliantly in Ndola, Zambia, Ikechukwu Ezenwa would not have had the opportunity of becoming the first choice goalkeeper for the rest of the matches en-route the Mundial.Apart from Ikeme whose quality measured close to Vincent Enyeama who vacated the post after an illustrious career, all other three goalkeepers have never really lived up to the quality of the pre-Ikeme era.Nigerians now resort to prayers each time any of the current three goalkeepers are between the sticks. Poor goalkeeping by Akpeyi stopped Nigeria from reaching the final of Egypt 2019.But yesterday, Rufai, who remains one of the country’s best goalkeepers to date, told THISDAY that this problem remains because those in charge of the country’s football at both NFF and state FAs have ignored his thesis on how to solve the matter.“For me it remains an embarrassment that a country of over 170 million people are running from pillar to pole and are unable to get just one quality goalkeeper that can be called world-class.“Couple of years back when this problem started, I offered to help and even gave my proposal to the League Management Company and the NFF. It was to also involve state FAs so that when fully implemented, goalkeeping will no longer be problem of the country any more. As I speak with you, that proposal remains on the shelf,” revealed Rufai fondly called Dodo Mayana in his period with the senior national team.He insisted that there was little Rohr could do for the national team so long as there is no “what we can call a Nigerian playing policy in place.”In Rufai’s words: “when there is a policy in place, successive coaches or even players coming from anywhere around the world will have to adjust to the Nigerian policy. This is the only way we can return to the top where our football ought to belong.”If Germany-based Fortuna Dusseldorf goalkeeper, Emil Maduka Okoye, who Rohr invited for first time for the friendly with Ukraine gets his first cap on September 10, he will become the fifth goalkeeper to be tried since Enyeama walked away from the Super Eagles.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more