While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. The Oscar Awards are here! And for people who have zero cares about the real ceremony, but still enjoy a little sports fun surrounding it, CBS Sports named its Oscar Award winners from the 2016 football season.And Mike Gundy came away a winner … in makeup and hairstyling. Here’s what Chip Patterson of CBS said about Gundy’s wicked hairdo:The hairstyle — named perfectly by the coach himself as the “Arkansas Waterfall” — added a fun wrinkle to a wild 2016 campaign. Gundy nearly had to cut it in November because of a bet with his son regarding an upcoming test. Thankfully for us, Gundy’s son scored an 88 and not a 91, allowing the Arkansas Waterfall to continue its dominance of the college football hairstyling scene.Oh, yeah. I’m sure that Oscar will look nice hanging in Gundy’s barn, right next to where he keeps his stash of butch wax.Also included in the Oscars was (look away, quick!) Central Michigan wide receiver Jesse Kroll, who won the award for best player in a supporting role. No, he wasn’t the one who scored the go-ahead heart-breaking touchdown over Oklahoma State. He was the one who caught the first pass then flipped it back for the W.[Warning: Now would be the time to toggle back to the home page.]
Premier League Are Liverpool any worse off for selling Coutinho? Peter Staunton Click here to see more stories from this author Chief Correspondent Last updated 1 year ago 03:28 4/3/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(3) Getty Images Premier League Liverpool v Newcastle United Liverpool Newcastle United Opinion Klopp’s great gamble is paying off with the Reds reasonably assured of a top-four slot and a place in the Champions League quarter-finals Jurgen Klopp said pre-match that Liverpool were less predictable since Philippe Coutinho’s departure. That is not to sling mud at the Brazilian who departed for Barcelona in the January transfer window but more to reflect the fact that without one dominant playmaker opponents simply don’t know where the danger is going to come from.Klopp’s gamble in sanctioning Coutinho’s record transfer is paying off. Safely delivered through to the Champions League quarter finals – barring a cataclysmic collapse – and now second to only Manchester City in the Premier League, the manager can currently reflect on a pretty canny piece of business. All that and RB Leipzig dynamo Naby Keita to look forward to in the summer.It would be remiss to say Coutinho was holding Liverpool back or causing them a problem but there is better balance in the team since Klopp has been given the option to play with a more pragmatic midfield three. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Without the schemer occupying a place in the team ahead of him, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is beginning to carve out a niche instead of the Reds having one attacker too many. His work in providing Mo Salah with the opening goal against Newcastle was excellent.Salah, now safely assured of his status as signing of the season, needs no second invitation in situations like that. He has now scored in 26 separate club games for Liverpool this season – an English and top-five European league record.While Klopp was commenting on the effect on the side since Coutinho’s exit, he mentioned the form of Roberto Firmino. He may never be a bonafide poacher like Sergio Aguero but that is not what Liverpool are looking for.He fits this set-up like a glove, whether it’s leading the line or dropping in to create the play. He gave Sadio Mane the opportunity to shoot at goal for Liverpool’s second, game-killing strike.Newcastle provided exactly what was expected on one of the coldest nights to see a game this season. Rafael Benitez had his team sit deep and resist. It worked until just before half-time and a side of such limited ambition is always going to struggle to get back into a game after falling behind.These types of games have had the habit of biting Klopp on the backside throughout his Liverpool reign. This time, though, there were no mistakes and Liverpool took care of business efficiently.That Mane goal was the 200th Premier League goal of Klopp’s Liverpool reign. They have come in 97 matches. Scoring has never been a problem, rather it’s been keeping them out at the other end.The signing of Virgil van Dijk should help in that regard and, while they lost a superstar in Coutinho, they appear to have gained a bit more balance. Subscribe to Goal’s Liverpool Correspondent Neil Jones’ weekly email bringing you the best Liverpool FC writing from around the web
UEFA Champions League Stop the Neymar show! The spotlight is now on Mbappe Peter Staunton Click here to see more stories from this author Chief Correspondent Last updated 1 year ago 16:00 6/3/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(1) Getty Images UEFA Champions League PSG v Metz PSG v Real Madrid Metz PSG Real Madrid Ligue 1 Neymar Kylian Mbappé Opinion The injury sustained by Neymar means all eyes will be on the young French superstar, who has been thrust again into the limelight ahead of schedule Paris Saint-Germain’s signing of Neymar last summer for €222 million gave cause for concern to the club’s Qatari higher-ups. Uefa, not long after the deal, announced an investigation into how PSG intended to meet break-even requirements as stipulated by Financial Fair play regulations.Spending so much money without the relevant revenue streams elsewhere to cover it is always going to bring a club onto the financial radar and it was reported — post Neymar — that PSG’s squad was to split in two; transferables and untransferables.Among those to ship out in order to balance the books were Lucas Moura and Blaise Matuidi. Also in the transferrable pile was Angel Di Maria until an intervention by coach Unai Emery offered the winger a stay of execution. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Now he will get his chance to play from the start in the Champions League for the first time this season against the team with whom he won the cup in 2014 – Real Madrid. His place in the team comes at the expense of Neymar, convalescing following his high-profile foot injury suffered against Olympique Marseille a couple of weekends ago.That injury, combined with first-leg defeat to Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu, is reckoned to have brought a certain amount of doom and gloom around Parc des Princes. Overturning a two-goal deficit against Zinedine Zidane’s team – so at home in the Champions League despite their domestic troubles – is a tough ask under any circumstance. But doing so without the world’s most expensive player and flagship signing is another thing altogether.But PSG’s band of transferables and untransferables will now come together in an attempt to prove they are capable of achievement without the preening Brazilian in their ranks. It’s no secret that Neymar has been indulged by PSG president Nasser al-Khelaifi since his arrival from Barcelona. He enjoys extended breaks between matches — one incident last month saw the 26-year-old given two days off for his lavish birthday party while his team-mates sweated it out in a Coupe de France game against Sochaux. Di Maria, for the record, got a hat-trick that night.Neymar put Edinson Cavani’s nose out of joint earlier in the season by demanding primacy for penalty kicks. Tensions have been smoothed over in that regard but Neymar upset local fans by denying the Uruguayan the chance to achieve PSG’s all-time goalscoring record from the spot in a laughably one-sided game against Dijon in January. For better or for worse, there is no chance of Neymar taking any spot-kick away from Cavani this week.PSG in ordinary circumstances could be reasonably assured of a positive outcome. They have not lost a match in Paris’s 16th arrondissement in about two years. They are defending a run of 19 consecutive wins at home and their Champions League form in their own surrounds is formidable.Their last four games — a run stretching back to last season’s last-16 first leg against Barcelona — have yielded 19 goals and four victories. Barca, and Bayern Munich for that matter, have been swept aside. Di Maria was the architect of that brilliant night against Barca, scoring twice, and will relish the chance to restore his reputation in the competition’s highest-profile fixture.Much too will depend on the man opposite him on the other flank. Kylian Mbappe, whose permanent signing from Monaco was deferred lest PSG suffer further at the hands of Uefa, is already earning a sterling reputation across the continent. Now touted as the world’s finest attacking prospect, Mbappe has wasted no time in demonstrating his potency on the biggest stage.The 19-year-old has scored 10 goals in 17 Champions League games — being the youngest man to reach that 10-goal landmark in the process. Neymar was signed for the here and now with Mbappe marked out for a starring role in the future but he has made a habit of overcoming obstacles ahead of schedule. Now he is carrying the big burden.If it were a race between them to see who might win the Ballon d’Or first, well, it could be seen as neck-and-neck. Not many prospects have ever begun their top-level careers with this kind of hype but the boy from Bondy is justifying it.Madrid missed out on both Neymar and Mbappe at various points along their development path with options ultimately sought by their fathers and advisers elsewhere. Neymar missed his chance two weeks ago to show what he could do but now the onus will fall on Mbappe.He, too, is not in the rudest of health. He missed the routine dismissal of Troyes in Ligue 1 as a few days before an ankle injury befell him. He asked Emery for a substitution at half-time after receiving a knock against Marseille – the very team against who Neymar suffered four days prior. That weekend rest should see him fit enough to start and to attempt to lead the comeback against the defending champions.Last year it was Di Maria shining in the home leg against Barcelona while Neymar was very much the protagonist in the second leg comeback. Now is the time for Mbappe to show that he too can be the leader, the talisman, the spark, and that nasty Uefa business can wait until the end of the season.
A few weeks back, we highlighted Cade Bennett’s ridiculous film from early in his senior season, and that led us here.I got on the phone with Bennett Thursday, and we talked about what made him chose Oklahoma State over staying in his home state of Arizona, how he loved pummeling his foes before he loved football and a cool thing Arizona football is doing with its top eight teams regardless of class.I’ll let him get more into that, but I think Oklahoma should do something like it.Marshall Scott: You had offers to stay closer to home, so what sold you on Oklahoma State?Cade Bennett: I never was directly feeling connected to the in-state schools. They have good things going for them, but just overall, I never was fully there.Honestly, the whole recruiting process, I was just looking for what everyone talked about like when you go somewhere, you’ll just know if it’s your place. When I went to Oklahoma State, I visited probably dozens of schools before then, I showed up and I knew. I was like, ‘Welp, recruiting is done for me.’It’s just different people there. There’s a different kind of football played there than anywhere, in the Pac-12, as well. It has everything.Marshall Scott: Had you ever been to Oklahoma before?Cade Bennett: That was my first time ever, actually on that visit.Marshall Scott: What are some of the differences that you noticed just from people, environment between Arizona and Oklahoma?Cade Bennett: Obviously Stillwater is a lot smaller of a place, but everyone there is extremely nice. I actually went to Hawaii this summer, and some people just so happened to recognize me. They were wearing Oklahoma State stuff, and they recognized that I was Cade Bennett the recruit. It’s just different. The fans and the people there are extremely kind.Marshall Scott: OSU offered you after a lot of other schools, so how was Charlie Dickey able to do more in less time?Cade Bennett: Dickey is just a rare kind of coach. I have been in contact with many coaches throughout this whole process, and Dickey’s just got something special about him. You can tell he really cares about you. Before asking about football, he cares about the other stuff. He cares about how your family’s doing and real things. He’s a great man, a great coach. His resume is really impressive as well.Marshall Scott: Recruiting sites list you as a tackle, but you play right guard for Notre Dame Prep. Are you a guy that’s comfortable playing anywhere?Cade Bennett: Yeah, I could play any position on the line. Gimme a day snapping the ball, and I’ll be good. I can adapt to any position on the line. I played most of them. I basically played every position on the line besides left guard, but that’s the same thing basically as right guard.Marshall Scott: You’re one of four offensive linemen committed for OSU’s 2020 class, I talked with Eli Russ a few weeks ago, and he said you guys talk quite a bit. What’s that relationship been like with those guys, especially considering you probably didn’t know much about those guys before?Cade Bennett: It’s great. I’ve gotten to know them over the course of the past couple months, Eli, Trent (Pullen) and then recently Monroe (Mills) committed. They’re guys I’d love to play with. I’m excited to have them as my friends, and I’m excited to build that relationship more once we go up there.They’re the right type of people. They want to work hard. They want to compete. We have the same aspirations, so it’s good people to be around.Marshall Scott: How did OSU first get on your radar? Did Dickey reach out? Or were you reaching out? How’d that all work?Cade Bennett: Actually, Coach (Josh) Henson, when he was the offensive line coach, he came and watched me work out in, I want to say, December of last year. He was talking to me and all this stuff. I believe he had this resume where I needed to be a certain height. I’m like 6-4.5, and he needed me to be 6-5 or something. So he didn’t offer me, which kind of rubbed me the wrong way at first.Coach (Robert) Luce was following me throughout this whole time. I believe he’s the one who found my film and everything. So, even when Coach Henson was the coach, they were still in contact with me, sending mail.Then Dickey took over. About a month or two after he took over, they offered. I believe I was actually the first offensive lineman to be offered once he took the job.Marshall Scott: In a lot of your highlights, you end up on top of somebody. Where did you learn that nastiness or has it always been a part of your game?Cade Bennett: I think I actually loved that before I started loving the game of football, as weird as it sounds. As a kid, I wasn’t really into flag football. I played it, but it wasn’t my thing. I wasn’t really a fan of it and everything. But once I started playing tackle, I realized that my size and my strength could help me succeed in the sport.I just kind of use it as a way to vent. You’re not getting in trouble for hurting anyone on the football field. The name of the game is just mauling people as a lineman. I love it.Marshall Scott: If somebody only watched you play football, they’d probably think you’re a pretty mean dude. Is that who you are off the field?Cade Bennett: No, I don’t think so. I don’t think I’m that mean of a guy. I like to save all that up for Friday nights.Marshall Scott: Notre Dame Prep, you guys are unbeaten right now. What are some of your goals for your last year of high school football?Cade Bennett: We’re gonna try to take the conference championship. There’s a chance we could get put into the top eight, as well, the open division. It’s a new thing in Arizona this year. Either way, if we get in that or we’re in 5A still, I just want to win it all. We’ve gotten so close the past few years, I think it’s finally time. Our senior class is really something special. We’ve got four DI commits, so we’re a pretty good class, maybe one of the best classes to ever come out of Notre Dame.Marshall Scott: You mentioned that open division, can you kind of take me through that? Oklahoma doesn’t do anything like that.Cade Bennett: Basically in all divisions, the top eight teams based on power points, the top eight teams will be placed into this open division. The eighth team plays the first team in the first game, and whoever wins that basically wins it all.Marshall Scott: It’s like a super state tournament?Cade Bennett: Yeah, it’s pretty sweet. We’re a really small school. We’ve only got like 900 kids compared to other schools with 3,000, but we could compete with them. I wouldn’t be scared to do any of that. I’d be happy. It’s just better competition to be honest. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.
STILLWATER — This season of Cowboy football has brought plenty of talking points.From Chuba Hubbard’s rampant pace, a young but promising gunslinger, an experienced offensive line and an inexperienced defensive line, things certainly aren’t boring.Members of the Oklahoma State football team met with the media after practice Tuesday before the Cowboys bout with Kansas State this weekend. Here are a few of the topics that were discussed.Woods Not Concerned with Lack of Targets to this PointJelani Woods has been a fan-favorite since his move from quarterback to tight end, but he hasn’t appeared much on the stat sheet in his redshirt sophomore season.Until Saturday, when Woods made his first two catches of the season. Woods’ two snags were good for 22 yards against Texas. Although Woods is just getting in on the passing game this season, he has been impressive in his progression as a blocker.On Tuesday, Woods said it was fun to get involved in the passing game, but it isn’t all that he’s after.“I was pretty happy about it, but it really didn’t mean too much to me,” Woods said. “I got a lot of opportunities, just different teams play different coverages. So, of course I’m not going to get it always, so I’m not really upset about that or anything.”Woods was also involved in the controversial fake field-goal attempt. It didn’t work, but Woods touched on the topic a bit Thursday.“I was pretty excited on the inside because I was like, ‘It’s time to make a play,’” Woods said. “I was pretty excited. I’ve watched multiple times just to see what I could do better the make that play work.”Tuihalamaka Making StridesSamuela Tuihalamaka is leading OSU’s interior defensive linemen in tackles four games in, and most of those have come in the past two weeks.A redshirt freshman from Riverside, California, Tuihalamaka had only two tackles entering the Tulsa game, but he’s had 10 total tackles in the past two games. His 12 tackles this season rank ninth on the team and is second among all defensive linemen. However, Brock Martin is the only other D-lineman ahead of Tuihalamaka, and Martin sometimes lines up as a linebacker.“I kinda got a grip of it,” Tuihalamaka said. “I had guidance from the older guys like Cam Murray, Brendon Evers, Brock, Michael Scott, all them guys that played and a couple other guys back then like Enoch (Smith), Darrion (Daniels), all them guys. They kinda showed me the ropes a little bit.”Marcus Keyes Talks Offensive Line ShuffleDylan Galloway left the Texas game with an injury, and it forced some reshuffling for the Cowboys up front.Teven Jenkins filled Galloway’s spot at left tackle. Bryce Bray moved from right guard to right tackle. Then Ry Schneider came in and filled Bray’s open guard spot. Galloway’s status heading into Saturday is unknown.“Dylan, he’s doing his treatment; he’s going to try to come back as fast as possible,” Marcus Keyes said. “We’re going to do better as an offensive line to get everybody rolling.”The Texas game wasn’t an outstanding performance for OSU’s O-line. Star running back Chuba Hubbard couldn’t find many of the lanes he has found in recent weeks, as on 37 attempts, Hubbard averaged only 3.3 yards per carry.“We just need to finish our blocks more,” Keyes said. “That’s all we need to do. We just need to come off and finish, don’t let people cross our face. That’s all.” While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.
Ames, Iowa, where seasons go to fall apart or get back on track.Oklahoma State defeated Iowa State 34-27 after back-to-back not great games from the Pokes. No longer will I have to hand out Ds for an abundance of turnovers or a defense that allows double-digit chunk plays. At least not this week.OSU’s Defense: AJust when you think Jim Knowles’ time as OSU’s defensive coordinator might be dead and buried …The Cowboys’ defense won that game for OSU, and it picked apart what some consider to be the best quarterback in the league.Brock Purdy came into Saturday’s game with four interceptions in the Cyclones’ first seven games of the year, and he threw three in the fourth quarter against OSU.The picks didn’t seem fluky either. There were a handful of near-INTs in the first half, and the Cowboys had 11 pass break-ups in the game.Spencer Sanders: B-This wasn’t a world-beater game from Spencer Sanders, and the offense honestly struggled mightly in the second half, but he gave the Pokes’ playmakers a chance.His 249 passing yards are boosted by the fact that Tylan Wallace and Braydon Johnson ran for a combined 121 yards after catch on two plays. But, Sanders played his role. Apart from his lone turnover, he didn’t try to do too much, and that’s a performance he can build off.Tylan Wallace: A+This is all you need to see:Matt Ammendola and Tom Hutton: A+Kickers and punters don’t get a whole lot of love.Like offensive linemen, you don’t often notice them unless something terrible happens, but OSU has two good ones.Will start with Hutton, who has taken some flack early in his college career at times. However, Hutton’s 17 punts downed inside the 20-yard line leads the conference by three. He also has just one touchback this season, meaning he has been quite accurate.Sure, he hasn’t gotten to unleash his leg yet this season with only four of his punts going longer than 50 yards, but he is a strength in the battle of field position. Three of Hutton’s six punts from Saturday were downed inside Iowa State’s 20.As for Ammendola, he’s 12-for-12 this season on field goals. He nailed a season-long 49-yarder Saturday like it was an extra point.In his early days as a Cowboy, Ammendola was known as a kid with a big leg who was inaccurate, and as a senior, he’s proving to be an all-around rock for OSU’s special teams. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.
World Cup From beach football to Brazil captain: Marcelo living World Cup dream Iain Strachan 02:59 6/17/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty World Cup Brazil Brazil v Switzerland Switzerland Marcelo The Real Madrid defender will be immensely proud to wear the armband when the Selecao begin their Russia 2018 campaign against Switzerland Real Madrid star Marcelo says captaining Brazil at the World Cup will see him realise the ultimate childhood dream.The 30-year-old full-back is set to skipper the Selecao when they face Switzerland in a Group E clash in Rostov-on-Don on Sunday.Brazil are among the favourites to win the finals in Russia, with an expectant nation hoping Tite’s side can seal the country’s sixth World Cup triumph. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Perfection from Pulisic: Chelsea’s Captain America has arrived in the Premier League Why always Raheem? ‘Unplayable’ Sterling setting a standard Man City’s other stars need to match ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Rather than feeling overwhelmed by the pressure weighing down on the players, Marcelo is embracing his prestigious role.”It’s something I like about leadership, I feel I can transmit it to the group,” he said.”Everybody contributes to the group. I’m 30 years old and everything you go through in football, you take something from it. “Way back as a child playing football on the beach, you dream of being a player representing your national team on the big stage – and now I get to be the captain. “It’s something money can’t buy.” Ahead of their campaign beginning this weekend, Brazil have been unable to escape reminders of a humiliating 7-1 loss to Germany in the semi-finals of the tournament on home soil four years ago.Marcelo, though, is adamant he does not dwell on the extraordinary thrashing in Belo Horizonte.”These are things that happen in football,” he said.”Of course I wish it were different. There’s no trauma, if there was trauma I wouldn’t play football any more, I would have retired. “I look for a goal and I try to keep my focus on it. The World Cup is another challenge, tomorrow there’s another one. “To not get hurt is one, to train without pain is a challenge, to change from my club to the national team. Life is made up of challenges. “There’s no trauma. Even the good things don’t go to my head and I don’t let the bad things affect me.”