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Since 2006, Bortles’s QBR was easily the worst by the QB on a team that scored at least 50 points. Or 45. Or even 40. Among teams scoring 30 or more points, only Eli Manning’s microscopic 0.2 QBR in this 38-21 win against the Buffalo Bills was worse. (Naturally, Eli followed up that stinker with a near-upset of the 15-0 New England Patriots and then won four straight games, including the Super Bowl.) The average sub-5.0-QBR game yields a shade under 9.9 points. Overcoming that kind of performance, much less stacking another 40 points of production on top of it, requires something remarkable.In Manning’s case, it was two long rushing touchdowns and two defensive touchdowns. For Jacksonville, it was a couple of return touchdowns — a fumble and a punt — plus a dangerous Bortles pass to Allen Hurns that was nearly intercepted but instead turned into an 80-yard touchdown. The latter was likely scored as a bad pass despite its good result, which is one of the selling points for QBR — that its individual inputs and charting make it a better representation of play than traditional QB rating (which put Bortles at 114.6). But then, the black-box mechanics of QBR can also lead to wacky results; the formula, with all its credit-splitting and other arcana, undeniably makes more sense on a season-long scale than in single games.Even so, outliers as extreme as Bortles’s win don’t come along every week — or every decade. Fifty-point games are rare, but ones in which the quarterback is so immaterial to the product are all but non-existent. Fifty-point outings are pretty rare in the NFL. When teams do break the half-century barrier, it’s usually the result of an exceptional individual performance; in 26 of the NFL’s 36 50-point games since 2006,1The first season for which TruMedia has game-by-game Total QBR data. the high-scoring team’s primary passer2Meaning the QB who attempted the most passes for the team in the game. posted a score of 90 or better on Total QBR’s 0-to-100 scale, where 50 is average.Only twice in the past decade has a team dropped 50 or more on an opponent despite its quarterback having a QBR below league average. The first was a mediocre Jay Cutler game from 2012, in which Cutler had a QBR of 43.8 — not horrendous, though also not what you think of when you envision a 50-point offensive outburst. The second happened Sunday, in the Jacksonville Jaguars’ out-of-nowhere 51-16 romp over the tailspinning Indianapolis Colts. Because, despite his team’s huge scoring output, Jags QB Blake Bortles posted an impossibly low 3.8 QBR for the game: read more


201515711658-8747%3 199915901531+59670 YEARAVERAGE HOME ELOAVERAGE ROAD ELODIFFERENCEAVERAGE HOME WIN PROBABILITYHOME UNDERDOGS 200116121589+22620 200315791573+5601 200015661617-50522 Since the NFL postseason expanded to 12 teams in 1990, home teams have won 65 percent of the time on wild-card weekend — an even better rate than the league’s 59 percent home field advantage in the regular season. For teams that can’t lock down a bye week, playing at home has traditionally been a solid consolation. This year, though, it could be that none of that will matter once the games begin.As of Tuesday morning, three of the four home teams in this weekend’s games are underdogs in Vegas, and you can make a good case that the fourth — Washington, which hosts Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers — should also be expected to lose. According to FiveThirtyEight’s Elo ratings, our favorite measure of a team’s strength at any given moment, this is the first time since 1990 that three home teams have been underdogs in the wild-card round: This year’s group is also the second-most-overmatched batch of home teams since 1990, the only impediment to No. 1 being 2010, when the 7-9 Seahawks hosted (and won!) a wild-card game. That year’s crop of home teams was exceptionally weak; in addition to Seattle, Kansas City was a below-average team according to both Elo and Pro-Football-Reference.com’s Simple Rating System, and the Eagles and Colts were helped by good fortune (they exceeded their Pythagorean expectations).While this year’s wild-card home teams aren’t great, they’re not all that bad — that three-quarters of them are underdogs owes more to the strength of their opponents. By Elo, this is easily the strongest group of road squads that wild-card weekend has seen since 1990. It includes teams ranked Nos. 1 (Seattle), 4 (Kansas City), 7 (Pittsburgh) and 9 (Green Bay) in the league. Those are the kinds of teams that typically host wild-card games, not travel to other cities as guests.Back in October, my colleague Andrew Flowers and I wrote about how downright weird the season was shaping up to be, in the sense that the distribution of wins was out of whack compared with historical norms. Now, on the eve of the playoffs, that weirdness is manifesting itself another way: Each conference’s lowest-seeded teams are among its strongest. It’s a phenomenon that could pay big dividends for road teams on wild-card weekend.Check out our Super Bowl odds for every playoff team. 200715701570+0590 199216161615+1590 201315641593-29551 199015681582-15570 201115521578-25551 199515571545+12601 199715851535+50660 200415951530+65680 199815941542+52660 199315531547+6600 200915891617-28552 200215911524+67680 199415761543+34640 201415961578+18620 201215991580+19611 199115971541+55660 199615981506+92710 Pregame Elo ratings and odds for wild-card round, 1990-2015 200815541628-74492 200616031522+81700 200515841615-31551 Source: Pro-Football-Reference.com 201015181638-120432 read more


The Los Angeles Lakers, already struggling, will have to go on the road without three significant big men because of injuries: Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill.Howard has a torn labrum in his right shoulder, and is expected to miss at least a week of action before his injury is re-evaluated. He injured his shoulder in Friday’s loss to the Los Angeles Clippers and aggravated it in Sunday’s defeat to the Denver Nuggets.“It shouldn’t keep me out for awhile, but to make sure that I’m cautious, to make sure that I’m healthy, that’s the most important thing,” Howard told reporters at the Lakers practice facility on Monday.The most encouraging the news about Howard’s injury is that he will not need surgery.”I was in pain (Sunday night), and the biggest thing right now is I have to make sure I’m 100 percent,” the six-time All-Star said. “I don’t want to play with my shoulder weak. I’d have a chance for more injuries. I’ve got to let it heal up.”In the meantime, Gasol will be out after sustaining a concussion in Sunday night’s loss to the Nuggets, when he was hit in the face with an elbow from Denver center JaVale McGee.Hill, a key reserve forward, has a right hip injury that he suffered during Sunday’s game as well. An MRI revealed a small tear of the labrum in his left hip, according to ESPNLA.com. He will also be re-evaluated in a week.The Lakers, who are 15-18 and sit in 11th place in the Western Conference, hardly could afford such a rash of injuries to key personnel.“When it rains, it pours, man,” star guard Kobe Bryant said. “It’s like the old Mr. Magoo thing. You just try to get through it.”Los Angeles coach Mike D’Antoni added: “The NBA is unforgiving, and nobody is feeling sorry for us. There’s 29 other teams that are happy, and we’ve got to do the best we can do.”D’Antoni said he will have to resort to a smaller line-up until the team gets healthy again. Darius Morris, Antawn Jamison, Earl Clark and Devin Ebanks – bench players who had not made a significant contribution this season – will receive more playing time. The Lakers will also call up rookie center Robert Sacre from their D-League affiliate, the Los Angeles D-Fenders.“Guys have to step up, and I made sure everybody knew because we want to make sure everybody is in the right frame of mind (Tuesday), whether it being playing a different position or playing a little bit differently than they normally have,” D’Antoni said.D’Antoni also said small forward Metta World Peace might play both forward positions and center until the big men return.“If you feel sorry for yourself, if you complain, if you make excuses, that’s when frankly I think you delay the turnaround or prohibit the turnaround,” point guard Steve Nash said.The Lakers, who have lost their three games, play their first game without the trio of big men Tuesday night at the Houston Rockets. They will end their short road trip at the San Antonio Spurs Wednesday night and return to home game against the Oklahoma City Thunder Friday night — a tough stretch when healthy, and a much tougher one missing three key components. read more


1Los Angeles Dodgers9794989595.9 5San Diego Padres6965656866.6 EXPECTED NUMBER OF WINS 2San Francisco Giants8888858887.1 4Arizona Diamondbacks7877777877.4 3Colorado Rockies7778748177.4 Based on projected wins or over/under win totals. Data gathered on March 14, 2017.Sources: Baseball Prospectus, Fangraphs, Clay Davenport, Las Vegas Review-Journal In honor of the 2017 Major League Baseball season, which starts April 2, FiveThirtyEight is once again assembling some of our favorite baseball writers to chat about what’s ahead. Today, we focus on the National League West with Molly Knight, author of “The Best Team Money Can Buy,” and Sarah Wexler, a writer for Dodgers Digest and The Hardball Times. The transcript below has been edited. neil (Neil Paine, FiveThirtyEight senior sportswriter): All right, so let’s talk NL West! I’m gonna start with the Dodgers, since they’re considered by most people to be the favorites in the division. (And, of course, both of you are very familiar with them!)mollyknight: It’s totally bizarre to me that they’ve won the division four years in a row. And yet somehow the Giants have won 11 World Series during that run.neil: Hah — yes, it does feel that way for the Giants. (At least until last year.)mollyknight: When I was reporting my book, Dodgers President Stan Kasten told me the goal was to make the playoffs every year because the playoffs are such a crapshoot and there’s no other way to control winning a title.But now it strikes me they may be turning into the ’90s Atlanta Braves. Which were also run by … Stan Kasten.neil: Well, that was one thing I wanted to ask about — the Dodgers seem to have an absurd amount of talent this year. FanGraphs considers L.A. to be the most talented team — not just in the NL West, but in all of baseball. It also gives them the third-best odds of winning the World Series.It seems kind of assumed that the Cubs are the NL’s best team. But is it possible that we’re all underrating the Dodgers, particularly with a healthy Clayton Kershaw, an improving Corey Seager, the Logan Forsythe trade, etc.? (Feels weird to say a $240 million team is underrated.)mollyknight: I still think the Cubs are better, but the gap is narrowing. The Cubs don’t have much starting pitching depth. If anything happens to one of their big three, I believe the Dodgers become the favorite.What do you think, Sarah?sarahwexler: That sounds about right. We saw last year the way the Dodgers were able to cobble together a rotation that worked (with the help of an excellent bullpen, of course) despite a league-leading number of injuries because of the incredible depth they have. And while that hopefully won’t be necessary this year, it’s certainly something they could do again if they had to.Also, I think it’s telling that they’ve traded away both Jose De Leon and Chase De Jong this offseason and they’re still flush with starting pitcher depth.mollyknight: It’s going to be so fun when top prospect Cody Bellinger gets called up. He’s a rock star. I think Seager/Bellinger will be the West Coast version of Bryzzo, and I’m here for it. And I think Bryzzo is here for it, too. They’re fun guys who love to compete. That rivalry should be outstanding.sarahwexler: I’m very much looking forward to Bellinger, too, though you have to wonder what that means for Adrian Gonzalez, who’s been an absolute rock at 1B for the Dodgersmollyknight: Yeah, that’s sort of the iceberg looming on the horizon for me with this team, tbh.neil: Although even that is a good problem to have!mollyknight: I don’t know how the team will respond if Gonzo’s production continues to taper off (as it does for all players on the wrong side of 32). It’s very difficult to bench a guy like that. But Bellinger plays in the outfield also, so I believe we may see him there first.neil: That’s going to be one of the questions that weighs on L.A. manager Dave Roberts. What did you think of his first season?mollyknight: He showed a willingness to embrace analytics and use relievers in unorthodox ways, both of which are vital to any team’s success going forward. This oversimplifies, but the three teams left standing at the very end (Cubs, Indians, Dodgers) all had managers willing to use their closers in the eighth inning or earlier.neil: That’s a great point — probably one of the reasons that creative bullpen management is the big new trend people are talking about leaguewide.mollyknight: Zach Britton sends his regards from hell.neil: Haha.So we’ve raved about the Dodgers’ strengths — what are the potential pitfalls for this team?sarahwexler: For as much talent and depth as there is in their rotation, there’s also a lot of uncertainty there. Will Rich Hill’s blisters be an issue again? Will Kenta Maeda wear out like he did last season? Is Julio Urias going to live up to his potential? Will we ever see Hyun-Jin Ryu again?mollyknight: They need to hit left-handed pitching. Logan Forsythe is a nice addition at second, but if he’s going to be leading off, I’m slightly concerned that his on-base percentage was .333 last season.Also, Clayton Kershaw can only pitch once every five days.sarahwexler: $240 million team, and they haven’t even figured out a way to clone Clayton Kershaw yet. Pft.mollyknight: I’m calling for a nonpartisan investigation into Rich Hill’s blister.neil: As long as nobody has to investigate his treatment method.sarahwexler: I was going to make a golden showers joke, but I restrained myself.mollyknight: I did not know about this, and now my lunch is ruined.neil: On that note, let’s move on to the Giants! They had such an up-and-down season in 2016 — at their best, they looked ready to keep that even-year championship streak going; at their worst, they nearly tailspun their way out of the playoffs down the stretch. What version do we expect to see this year?sarahwexler: I think those Giants evened out to about where they were supposed to be, and I think we’ll see similar end results with them this year. They’ve made a few key changes in signing closer Mark Melancon and bringing in Jae-gyun Hwang to play 3B, but besides that, they’re really not a radically different team.neil: How big was the Melancon pickup? The bullpen was a huge issue for them last year.sarahwexler: It was a great signing for them. It definitely fills one of their most substantial needs, and for one year fewer (and slightly less average annual value) than Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen got (which makes sense, given that Melancon’s a bit older and not quite as good, though still very good).Of course, besides that, their bullpen doesn’t look especially different, so we’ll see.mollyknight: It is tough to count the Giants out though. Never forget Hunter Pence is a witch.sarahwexler: I usually go with alien myself. Maybe he’s a witch from another planet.mollyknight: He actually lives in my friend’s building in San Francisco — and it’s sinking!sarahwexler: Something something metaphor for America.neil: Or the Giants’ division odds down the stretch?mollyknight: I was there in the fall, and I ran into him in the gym. He was doing Pilates.So Giants fans reading this should know that Hunter Pence takes his offseason seriously enough to do Pilates while the building sinks.neil: Even Pence is getting a little long in the tooth, though (supernatural origin notwithstanding). If this is basically the same group as the past few years, back for another go-around, they seem a little bit short of where L.A. is talent-wise (to say nothing of the NL’s other heaviest hitters). What has to go right for San Francisco to win the division?mollyknight: Buster Posey hitting for power again. Matt Moore turning into the guy everyone once thought he could be, on a consistent basis. Hunter Pence not changing his underwear.And the Dodgers collapsing.sarahwexler: All of that, plus Hwang panning out at 3B, and maybe also figuring out a way to plug the black hole that is their left field.mollyknight: It would also help if their bullpen didn’t blow 32 games. Melancon really should help. I don’t know how it could get any worse than last year. I looked up one night last September and saw Joe Nathan pitching in a tie game at Coors Field and thought I was hallucinating.neil: According to FanGraphs, basically the Dodgers and Giants were the only teams that had any shot at the division all year. Is this a two-team race again? Colorado got some buzz over the offseason (as much buzz as the Rockies ever really get).sarahwexler: The Rockies kind of seem to do the same thing every year, which is get off to a really hot start that leads people to question if they’re legit. They then answer that question by falling off quickly.mollyknight: It’s so hard to evaluate the Rockies since I’m not even sure what game they play in Denver. It looks nothing like baseball. Can you even imagine being a pitcher drafted by the Rockies?neil: Well, that was going to be one of my questions — is it possible their rotation looks … kinda OK?sarahwexler: They do actually have some intriguing young arms.mollyknight: They’ve got a young kid they drafted last year named Riley Pint who sits 97 and can touch 100. He’s 19 years old. I WANT TO BELIEVE.They’ve also got Nolan Arenado, who, in my opinion, is the most underrated player in baseball.neil: What did you make of the Ian Desmond signing? Was it as bad as everyone said?sarahwexler: Can’t say I love giving five years/$70 million to a guy to play a position he hasn’t played a single inning at in his entire career, but I don’t think their 1B situation is going to be what makes or breaks them this year.mollyknight: Their farm system is decent. I believe Baseball America has them at No. 10. The problem is the Dodgers and the Padres are both deeper. But they do have two potential future stars, in Pint and shortstop Brendan Rodgers — though neither one is close to the big leagues right now.neil: So even if the “dark horse” talk is premature for the Rockies, maybe they’re finally taking steps in the right direction. (Now, if only anybody can figure out what the heck to do about the weird underperformance of their batters on the road …)mollyknight: Spoiling the Dodgers’ or Giants’ season might be the best they can hope for this year.neil: The other team that I think is interesting as a spoiler is Arizona. They were one of the buzzy teams of last offseason and had a complete disaster of a season. Any chance they bounce back?mollyknight: I saw Zack Greinke was sitting 89 during his last spring training start. That is not what you want.I mean, unless you are Dodgers baseball-ops president Andrew Friedman.sarahwexler: Greinke rebounding is obviously going to be essential for this Dbacks team, as is Shelby Miller looking … well, better, but that’s a low bar.mollyknight: The Diamondbacks have a bunch of sort-of-broken young pitchers with plenty of promise. If someone can fix a couple of them, then this team looks very different.sarahwexler: Yeah, Taijuan Walker’s a guy who’s yet to live up to his potential, but I still think his addition improves their rotation.mollyknight: Shelby Miller, Taijuan Walker, Patrick Corbin, Archie Bradley — all of these guys were GUYS at one point.sarahwexler: Plus, Robbie Ray was one of the top strikeout guys in baseball last year. What’s up with that?mollyknight: Dansby Swanson looks like a franchise shortstop. That Shelby Miller trade will go down as one of the worst deals in the history of baseball if he doesn’t turn it around. No pressure, Shelbs. They’ve got to hope Greinke has a good first half and then unload him for prospects and money relief. They cannot win while paying his salary. Their farm system is in ruins.They’ve finally got a smart front office in there, but they are a decade behind other teams in terms of analytics. The good news is nobody expects anything, and Paul Goldschmidt exists. The bad news is everything else, including the uniforms.neil: Yeah, they seem like a team in a weird place, with too many expensive players to fully rebuild right now but nowhere near enough talent to contend.mollyknight: I believe Dan Haren will fix the Diamondbacks with his tweets alone.neil: Finally, we have the San Diego Padres. Exactly how bad are they going to be?sarahwexler: Oof. When I got asked to do this, one of my first thoughts was, “Oh, great, I have to find things to say about the Padres.” Uh … Carter Capps might be fun to watch?neil: Yes! They have to be glad that Carter Capps a) will return from injury and b) still has a legal delivery!mollyknight: I still can’t believe GM A.J. Preller didn’t get fired for trying to hide injuries of players he traded last year. I will give this to the Padres: Even when they are bad, it’s never boring.neil: Will other GMs ever trade with Preller again?sarahwexler: I mean, what does he even have at this point that anyone would want to trade for?mollyknight: Pitcher Anderson Espinoza and center fielder Manny Margot, both of whom could either wind up being total stars or total duds. Fun times! I also like Cal Quantrill a lot, especially as a pitcher in that park. He needs to work his way back from Tommy John, but I think he’ll be a solid front-end rotation guy for them in a few years.It’s hard for me to knock the Padres, though, because their ballpark food is so great. They even have beer garden days. And the crowds are so chill. It’s the most relaxing atmosphere in sports.But, yeah, they’re going to be ril bad.neil: One cool thing they might do is to tinker with pitcher usage, having the starter only go through the lineup once. So, that’s fun. (Bad teams should do more of this cool, experimental stuff.)mollyknight: Yes, if you are going to lose, you might as well do it in style.neil: Sounds like “intriguing” is just about the best you can hope for out of this division if you’re not named the Dodgers or Giants.sarahwexler: It’ll likely be another fun chapter in the Dodgers/Giants rivalry, and there’s certainly potential for the Rockies or Dbacks to surprise us. Or for the Padres to make us look like jerks for being so mean to them.mollyknight: I’d be surprised if the Dodgers ran away with the division. The Giants always hang around. As certain as a Madison Bumgarner snotrocket in September, the Giants will be there.sarahwexler: Peeing on blisters, snotrockets … this chat has everything.CORRECTION (March 14, 10:30 p.m.): An earlier version of this chat misattributed one of Sarah Wexler’s lines to Molly Knight. The statement beginning “It’ll likely be another fun chapter in the Dodgers/Giants rivalry…” was said by Wexler, not Knight. An earlier version of this correction misidentified the statement that had been corrected. How forecasters view the NL West RANKTEAMPECOTAFANGRAPHSDAVENPORTWESTGATEAVERAGE read more


OSU freshman wide receiver Austin Mack (11) attempts to catch the ball during the spring game on April 16 at Ohio Stadium. Credit: Lantern File PhotoThe roster turnover from a season ago has been well documented. Ohio State returns just six of 22 starters from 2016, and 44 of its scholarship players have yet to see game action for coach Urban Meyer. Not all 16 jobs are up for grabs. Meyer and others have indicated that junior Jamarco Jones will start at left tackle, redshirt freshman Mike Weber at running back, redshirt sophomore Noah Brown and sixth-year senior Corey Smith at receiver and redshirt junior Marcus Baugh at tight end on offense. For the defense, redshirt sophomore Sam Hubbard will man the strong-side defensive end position, junior Dante Booker at outside linebacker and redshirt sophomore Malik Hooker at safety.A season ago those names lined the two-deep depth chart or were injured. Now, Meyer and Co. need to find other members of the Scarlet and Gray to fill remaining roles, and they could turn to a talented true freshmen class.OSU reeled in the No. 4 recruiting class in 2016 according to 247Sports, with seven of those recruits having enrolled in the spring. Some of those early-enrollees could earn pivotal spots in fall camp which starts Aug. 6.“My goal is to play every freshman,” Meyer said at Big Ten Media Days last week. “I know that doesn’t happen, but we want to play the freshmen as soon as we can.”There will be plenty of redshirt freshmen in starting and second-string roles, but these true freshmen are poised to see time in their first season in Columbus.Michael JordanOne of the best units on Meyer’s teams the last two years has been the offensive line. Redshirt senior Pat Elflein and redshirt junior Billy Price return for the “Slobs,” but they will be joined by three new linemates hoping to continue that “Slob” mentality.Freshman Michael Jordan is a four-star recruit from Plymouth High School in Canton, Michigan, who has made quite the impression during the summer. Enough of an impression that Meyer said that Jordan will likely be a starter.“What I’ve seen from (Jordan), his development since he got here in January is outstanding,” Meyer said.Meyer later said that Jordan will have to compete for the job and that he has to earn it in camp. However, it appears Jordan has the lead for a position on the o-line.Recruited as an offensive tackle, new o-line coach Greg Studrawa will likely put the 6-foot-7, 310 pound Jordan wherever he is needed. Junior college transfer Malcolm Pridgeon may have the right tackle position for Studrawa’s unit having played left tackle in JUCO.“He’s a smart guy. He’s taking coaching very well,” Elflein said about Jordan. “He gets after guys. Sometimes you have to develop that nastiness and some guys just have it. He has it.”Austin MackFreshman wideout Austin Mack first turned heads at last summer’s Friday Night Lights event in Ohio Stadium where he was nearly unguardable. When the Fort Wayne, Indiana, native enrolled in January, he became the first player to lose his black stripe and earn reps with the upperclassmen.Mack is just one of the many young receivers eyeing substantial playing time come Sept. 3 against Bowling Green. The second-string spot on the depth chart behind Brown and Smith are possibly the most open, and hotly contested, areas on the roster. Having been inaugurated into the program so early, Mack stands as good of a chance as any other receiver to see targets from quarterback J.T. Barrett.“The talent and speed and athleticism will not be an issue. It’s how they perform,” Meyer said about the receiving unit. “That’s where J.T. is going to be so critical because you’re going to see a lot of wide eyes. A lot of those guys have not played.”Mack had three receptions for 22 yards for the Scarlet team in the spring game in April.Nick BosaNo. 97 will be on the defensive front four once again for OSU, but it’s the other Bosa’s turn. Nick Bosa—known as “smaller bear” to brother and former Buckeye Joey—is Meyer’s most prized recruit from the 2016 class.Ranked as the No. 1 strong-side defensive end in the country, five-star Bosa tore his ACL in his senior year at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Despite that, Meyer said that Bosa will not be redshirted in 2016, meaning that he wants Bosa to factor into the defensive line.Meyer added last week that he, strength coach Mickey Marotti and other defensive coaches will closely monitor Bosa’s progress throughout camp.Demario McCall / Antonio WilliamsLast season, junior Curtis Samuel served as a the backup running back to Ezekiel Elliott. He is listed as an H-back on the team’s roster, but following the dismissal of Bri’onte Dunn, freshmen DeMario McCall and Antonio Williams may be in the mix for playing time in the backfield.“Depth is a concern,” Meyer said. “You want four bodies in the tailback position, and I count Dontre Wilson and Curtis Samuel in the mix. So we have Demario McCall, Antonio Williams and obviously Mike Weber. So that is a concern.”Williams enrolled in the spring at OSU and benefitted from an injured Dunn at the time. Williams started for the Gray team in the annual spring game where he rushed for 29 yards on seven carries.McCall is another guy who could be rotated into the catalog of running backs. Standing at 5-foot-9, 182 pounds, McCall has the build to play H-back for Meyer. McCall registered an unofficial 4.34 40-yard dash in high school—and if there is one thing Meyer is consistent with, it’s finding playing time for players with top-end speed. McCall has that.Jonathon CooperOpposite from Nick Bosa, Cooper was ranked the No. 3 weak-side defensive end in the 2016 recruiting class. Hailing from Gahanna-Lincoln High School just 20 minutes outside of Columbus, Cooper participated in spring practice as an early-enrollee and is looking to backup redshirt junior defensive end Tyquan Lewis on the weak-side of the defensive line.At 6-foot-3, 248 pounds, Cooper may not be limited to the defensive end position. Sophomore Sam Hubbard and Lewis have the the end positions locked down, so the inside tackle positions may be where Cooper finds the most time on the field. read more


A little more than four years ago when the two were freshmen, they sat next to each other in the locker room. Then, they played on the same line during games. Now, they’re in all the same classes. Senior forwards John Albert and Sergio Somma have developed a unique friendship while playing on the Ohio State men’s hockey team, which allows them to joke around but be serious when it’s time to take care of business. They seem to have a certain comfort level with each other, which was evident the moment they were asked to say something about the other. “His feet smell terrible; it’s pretty bad actually,” Albert said of Somma, with a chuckle. “I think over the years I’ve gotten used to it.” Albert had a few more fun facts about his buddy. “He really cares about his sticks,” Albert said. “If there’s a little dent on his stick … he always puts it in my face.” Somma wasn’t shy about sharing some tidbits about Albert either. “He eats funny,” Somma said. “He like dips his head down and shoves food in his mouth … and he, like, doesn’t move his head.” While the two aren’t afraid to point out the other’s faults and embarrassing habits, they also have a certain respect for each other. They don’t hesitate to talk about how much they like being teammates and how their friendship helps out on the ice. “(John is) a real great skater, a real dynamic player,” Somma said. “Somebody you enjoy being around off the ice, you’re probably going to click better with on the ice. … It happens to be like that with me and John.” Albert said he enjoys playing with Somma and their friendship makes it easy to be teammates. “I have a great time playing with him,” Albert said. “It’s great. He’s a great player; he’s feisty on the ice.” OSU coach Mark Osiecki said he knows he has to keep Somma and Albert on the same line because they make each other play better. “We’re trying to keep those two together,” Osiecki said. “They feed off each other.” Somma and Albert said they enjoy being on the same team now, but wonder what it would be like to play on different teams at the next level — the NHL. Albert has been drafted by the Atlanta Thrashers and Somma could receive offers after this season. Albert gave the impression that Somma is a player he wouldn’t want to face. “As an opponent,” Albert said, “I think it’d be a struggle to play against him.” Somma thought differently of facing Albert. “It would be funny,” Somma said. “Just give him a smile and a whack, and then you keep playing.” NHL fantasies aside, both players said they are concentrated on this season with the Buckeyes. Albert said the off-ice friendship makes it easier for the two to give each other constructive criticism on the ice. “He’s always there to pick me up,” Albert said, “and I think it’s vice versa.” Throughout the four years they’ve played together and been friends, Albert said, he wonders what Somma really thinks of him. “At least I hope he likes me,” Albert said with a smile. Somma reassured that they’re friends, saying even if he didn’t like Albert, he’d still act like it. “Everyone thinks I do,” Somma said, “so I guess I’m doing a pretty good job acting like it.” read more


The 2012 Ohio State football team will be playing Central Florida at noon on Saturday, but they will not be the only Buckeyes in gridiron action this weekend. Many OSU alumni will play prominent roles for NFL teams who play their season-opening games on Sunday or Monday.There are 37 former Buckeyes playing for 20 different NFL teams.New York Giants center Jim Cordle, a 2010 OSU graduate, was the first Buckeye alumnus to be active for an NFL regular-season game this season. Cordle did not start on the offensive line, but was on the 53-man active roster for the Giants’ season-opening loss to the Dallas Cowboys Wednesday.Many other Buckeyes will play more significant roles for their respective NFL teams.These former Ohio State players could make their most significant mark on the 2012 NFL season with the defensive backs they have sent to the league. Of the 37 Buckeyes in the NFL, eight of them play in the secondary and six are listed on their team’s depth chart as starters: Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Nate Clements, Philadelphia Eagles free safety Kurt Coleman, Carolina Panthers cornerback Chris Gamble, New Orleans Saints free safety Malcolm Jenkins, San Francisco 49ers strong safety Donte Whitner and Minnesota Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield.Another former OSU defensive back, New England Patriots defensive back Nate Ebner, will be among the four members of the 2011 Buckeyes football team set to begin their inaugural NFL seasons. Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Mike Adams, a second-round draft pick, and Houston Texans wide receiver DeVier Posey, a third-round draft selection, are also rookies making their debuts on Sunday, along with Jacksonville Jaguars center Mike Brewster, who went undrafted.All four rookies are listed as reserves on their team’s depth charts, but depending on each game’s circumstances, they could see playing time. Another player from last year’s Buckeyes team, running back Daniel “Boom” Herron, was drafted in the sixth round by the Bengals, but he failed to make the team’s 53-man roster.Many other prominent players with OSU ties can be seen in action this weekend as well. The New York Jets have two offensive starters, wide receiver Santonio Holmes and center Nick Mangold, who were also teammates for the Buckeyes from 2002-2005.Another member of the 2006 draft class from OSU, A.J. Hawk, starts at inside linebacker for the Green Bay Packers, while Arizona Cardinals running back Chris “Beanie” Wells and St. Louis Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis were both members of the 2009 draft class after successful careers for the Buckeyes.Whether you watch an NFL game this on Sunday afternoon, Sunday night or Monday night, chances are good that a Buckeye will be on the field. read more


Urban Meyer speaks to the media during Ohio State’s football media day Aug. 11.When you hear “Ohio State” or “Michigan,” the rivalry and The Game are one of the first things that come to mind.Growing up in Ohio with OSU alumni in my family, I view The Game no differently. It’s the biggest rivalry in sports with the most intense fans, one that culminates at the end of the football regular season for two teams that want nothing more than to beat each other.Whether you’re a football fan or not, if you hail from Ohio or Michigan, you’re ready to cheer come time for The Game. The most dedicated fans can never waiver to the other side, even for reasons completely unrelated to football.You stick with your team and root for them to win, no matter what.But there are some things even bigger than the biggest rivalry in sports, and one of those things is cancer.When Grant Reed, then 11 years old, now 12 years old, was diagnosed with cancer, he used the rivalry as his motivation to beat the disease, which kept him in the hospital for weeks at a time. Both of Reed’s parents are OSU alumni and former marching band members, so being a Buckeye was something Reed was born into.That’s why Reed decided to name his brain tumor “Michigan.”And then he beat it.Last December, when OSU football coach Urban Meyer found out about Reed’s creative choice in naming his tumor, he visited Reed at Nationwide Children’s Hospital while Reed was still undergoing treatment. Since The Game takes place in Ann Arbor, Mich., this year, Meyer wasn’t able to offer Reed tickets to the game.That’s where Michigan football coach Brady Hoke came in.When Hoke heard about Reed’s tumor, he felt the need to reach out to the young Buckeye fan.“Well I think as a father and a parent, we’re glad in this instance that he beat Michigan, and that’s probably the only time I’ll say it,” Hoke said. “But that’s important, it’s important for us, we’ve got a great, unbelievable opportunity to help kids and help people understand.”He said this was an obvious case where something was more important than the rivalry.“This is a great rivalry, the greatest there is, it’s competitive, and it’s passionate,” Hoke said. “But at the end of the day there’s a heck of lot more things more important than those rivalries.”As I am not a parent, I can’t relate to Hoke’s reasoning for reaching out to Reed in that aspect. But as a human being, you can’t help but feel Hoke’s compassion and the compassion coming from Buckeyes and Wolverines elsewhere.Hoke gave Reed and his family four tickets to come watch the Buckeyes and the Wolverines face off on Nov. 30.Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner agreed that this opportunity wasn’t something the Wolverines and coach Hoke could pass up.“That’s great on the part of coach Hoke. The rivalry is so big, what he’s fighting is so much bigger,” Gardner said. “If what he needs to do is name his deal “Beat Michigan,” I fully support it. But when he comes to The Game, I don’t support that in any way.” read more


Ohio State senior guard Kelsey Mitchell controls the ball during the first quarter of the Buckeyes’ game against Idaho on Nov. 15. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Sports EditorThe Ohio State women’s basketball team had to ferociously compete in its 85-64 win against No. 14 Stanford and in its 95-90 overtime loss to No. 5 Louisville, but its road to victory against Idaho proved to be much easier.Behind a 59-35 rebounding advantage, No. 9 Ohio State (2-1) defeated Idaho (1-1) 99-56 to pick up the program’s 1,000th victory Wednesday night at the Schottenstein Center.Redshirt junior guard Linnae Harper tallied a team-leading 18 points and 18 boards. Ohio State a 22-4 advantage in offensive rebounds and 5-foot-8 Harper, who started in the Buckeyes’ four-guard starting lineup, led the team with six offensive boards.“I’m just trying to be whatever the team needs me to be,” Harper said. “Yeah, I think it’s very versatile, but I think it requires a very mental, disciplined focus from me to be able to switch back and forth.”Redshirt senior forward Stephanie Mavunga had 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting and added 14 rebounds. She struggled in the Buckeyes’ second game of the year against Louisville after corralling a school-record 26 rebounds against Stanford in the season opener. “She gives that inside presence,” head coach Kevin McGuff said. “What it does is it gives us more balance. We can get shot-happy from the perimeter. If we can get the ball to her around the basket, just get a little more balance in what we’re doing.”Mavunga and Harper each had double-doubles before halftime. The Buckeyes held a 19-0 edge in second-chance points and 36 of their points came from inside the paint. Ohio State’s 59 rebounds were more than it had in any game last season.The Buckeyes trailed 7-5 to begin the game, then redshirt junior guard Sierra Calhoun drained a jumper and they went on an 18-point run fueled by impressive ball movement. The Vandals, who made 18 3-pointers in their season-opening 83-69 win against Colorado State, had open looks, but failed to convert them into points. Idaho made six of its 32 3-point attempts.“We defended it well in practice and that just carried over to the game,” Harper said. “We just tried to focus on that and make sure that we kept them off the line because they’re a very great 3-point shooting team.”The Buckeyes connected on 13-of-34 shots from beyond the arc. Senior guard Kelsey Mitchell led Ohio State with four 3-pointers and scored 16 points while adding four assists.The Buckeyes ended the first half on an 11-1 run in the final 3:04 of the second quarter and entered halftime with a commanding 49-24 lead. Idaho never came within 23 points of Ohio State the remainder of the game.Calhoun rebounded from her 2-for-14 performance last game and made 6-of-13 shots for 15 points. Sophomore guard Jensen Caretti scored double-digits for the first time in her career, connecting on 5-of-9 shots for 14 points.“Tonight was really valuable for her and hopefully she can continue to gain confidence as we aspire to expand our rotation a little bit more,” McGuff said.Guard Mikayla Ferenz and forward Geraldine McCorkell led the way for Idaho, scoring 17 and 14 points, respectively.Ohio State will next take the court at 7 p.m. Friday against Quinnipiac. read more


Senior goalkeeper Sean Romeo (30) makes a save during the first period of Ohio State’s game against UMass on Oct. 19. Ohio State lost 6-3. Credit: Nick Roll | For The LanternThe goaltending of redshirt senior goaltender Sean Romeo led the No. 7 Ohio State men’s hockey team to a 1-0 victory on the road against No. 5 Notre Dame.Ohio State (4-2-1) was looking to turn its season around after a shaky start, including a series tie with UMass and a blowout at the hands of Bowling Green, and everything clicked for the Buckeyes on the road against Notre Dame (3-3-1). The Buckeyes came out hot against Notre Dame, registering eight shots in the first period before scoring the first and only goal of the game.The first period score came with just under nine minutes into the game off a power play goal by senior forward Mason Jobst. He was assisted on his fourth goal of the year by redshirt junior defenseman Wyatt Ege and freshman forward Gustaf Westlund, who each notched their third points of the season.Freshman forward Quinn Preston, still awaiting his first point for the Buckeyes, turned in a good performance on the second line with junior forward Tanner Laczynski out for Friday night’s game. Preston had two shots on goal and was often there to confront Notre Dame when it had control of the puck.Romeo had a challenging season leading up to the Big Ten opener, allowing 11 goals on 60 shots faced in the three games he appeared in. Friday night, however, he showed signs of returning to form against one of the best teams in the nation.He didn’t allow a single goal on the 23 shots sent his way by the Fighting Irish, good for his third career shutout. Notre Dame pressured Ohio State on defense, imposing itself in the Buckeyes’ territory, but Romeo responded to the challenge and turned in his best performance of the season.Ohio State had positive developments on its special teams, which so far this season had been a struggle on both ends of the power play. The Buckeyes converted on one of their three power plays and killed Notre Dame’s only opportunity of the night.The Buckeyes showed improvement in discipline, only earning two penalties all night after previously earning 34 penalties in their first six games.The Buckeyes will return to Compton Family Ice Arena to face Notre Dame at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. read more


first_imgThis was a sophisticated and an involved fraud which preyed on vulnerable and elderly victimsProsecutor Leo Seelig A wine company boss who cheated his clients out of their fine vintages is facing jail.Jonathan Piper, 30, was the sole director of Embassy Wine UK Ltd, which claimed to act as brokers for investors in fine wine.The company cold-called prospective investors and persuaded them to hand over control of their collections to Embassy, which then sold them and broke off contact.These “clients” were also made to pay fees before sales could be transacted. Victims took out bank loans, used credit cards and even cashed in pensions to pay the fees. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. At least five people lost up to £300,000 in the scam – one of whom lost £150,000 out of her life savings – which operated between June 2011 and October 2014.Piper used the cash from the con to fund a lavish lifestyle and spent almost £90,000 on a BMW X6 and Range Rover Sport.None of the income he generated between 2008 and 2014 – either legitimately or otherwise – was declared to HMRC, which was subsequently swindled out of £51,104 in income tax payments.Piper appeared at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Tuesday, where he had been due to stand trial accused of fraud by false representation, cheating the Inland Revenue, fraudulent trading and two counts of converting criminal property.Prosecutor Leo Seelig said: “The prosecution would simply say that this was a sophisticated and an involved fraud which preyed on vulnerable and elderly victims.”The court heard that Piper, now working as a scaffolder, intended to borrow money from friends in order to repay a portion of the money, which he put at closer to £200,000, following his guilty pleas.”It is his hope that he will be able to reduce the amount that is owed to the victims before sentencing,” said Thomas Day, defending.center_img She added: “These offences, just one of them alone, is likely to attract a custodial sentence and for my part I cannot see any reason why Mr Piper should not begin that sentence as of now.”It would be unfair, in fact, for him to go out and come back knowing that there is a lengthy sentence that he will face and in those circumstances I refuse bail.”It is my decision and I appreciate that he has been entrusted with bail in the past but he must begin his sentence now.”Piper, of Wanstead, east London, admitted cheating the Inland Revenue, fraudulent trading and two counts of converting criminal property. He was remanded in custody ahead of sentence on September 16. Judge Louise Kamill said: “I have listened very carefully to Mr Day, but I am afraid I am not going to grant bail.”It seems to me before reparations are proposed, first of all, they will of course be taken into account by the sentencing court.”Secondly, these reparations are not going to be personally made by Mr Piper. He never has done and nothing has been done to date.”If people are intending to make a dent in the losses on his behalf, their efforts of course will be taken into account. But it does not devolve around Mr Piper.”He is not, himself as a scaffolder, going to get a loan of about £200,000 or however he is proposing to repay those losers.”last_img read more


first_imgPolice forensics officers at the scene of the knife attack at a hostel in Queensland  “As a family, we have been comforted by the help and support offered by our friends and family at home and in Australia who have been wonderful.”Mr Jackson said the many offers of support they had received had not been ignored, but they were simply focusing on their son’s condition.He added: “We are in awe of the medical and support staff at Townsville Hospital who are providing the greatest care Tom could hope to receive and keeping me informed of his ongoing treatment every step of the way. The family of a Briton injured in a stabbing attack in Australia say they are “immensely proud” of him after he tried to save another backpacker.Tom Jackson, 30, from Congleton, Cheshire, was critically injured when he tried to help Mia Ayliffe-Chung, 21, as she was stabbed to death, allegedly by 29-year-old Frenchman Smail Ayad.His father Les Jackson issued a statement praising medical staff at Townsville Hospital in Queensland, where his son is being treated.He said: “There are many and varied reasons why we are, and always will be, immensely proud of Tom.”His actions in response to this horrific attack only add to that sense of pride. Forensics officers at the hostel in Queensland where the attack took placeCredit:Newsp/REX/Shutterstock “Finally, and most importantly, our hearts go out to Mia and her family and friends at this dreadful time.”Miss Ayliffe-Chung, from Wirksworth, Derbyshire, died at Shelley’s Backpackers hostel in Home Hill on Tuesday.Ayad has been charged with one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder, one count of serious animal cruelty and 12 counts of serious assault. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. He did not appear at a court hearing on Friday, but was remanded in custody. The case has been adjourned until October 28.Police are investigating reports that the Frenchman had an unrequited romantic interest or an “obsession” with Miss Ayliffe-Chung.last_img read more


first_imgLocal roads are failing and it’s time we had a rethink about how to adequately fund themAshphalt Industry Alliance Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. AA president Edmund King said: “It is clear that the plague of potholes aren’t going to be filled any time soon. Even before getting to a main road drivers are using pothole-riddled roads, which they would be lucky to see resurfaced in their lifetime as it takes councils 87 years to get round to it.”The Government needs to confront the funding shortfall head on and help fund repairs and resurfacing work quicker.”If not, our streets will continue to resemble Swiss cheese rather than smooth highways.”The Department for Transport has committed £6 billion for English councils to improve local roads over the current Parliament, in addition to a £50 million-a-year fund specifically for tackling potholes.It has unveiled plans for high-definition cameras to be fitted to council bin lorries to spot road surface problems which can be treated before they become potholes. The AIA’s annual road maintenance survey found that the number of potholes filled by councils fell by 19 per cent in England last year, with the biggest drop in London at 43 per cent. Wales saw an increase of 19 per cent.Local authorities need over £12 billion of funding to bring the road network up to scratch, according to the study.The gap between the amount councils say they received in the last year and what they require to keep roads in reasonable order is almost £730 million.AIA chairman Alan Mackenzie said: “Local roads are failing and it’s time we had a rethink about how to adequately fund them in the future.”Clearing the maintenance backlog remains impossible without a significant increase in funding.” Roads across the country face closure within the next five years due to their poor condition, industry experts have warned as they say councils are failing to fill in “Swiss cheese” potholes.Local roads in England and Wales are deteriorating with one in six in bad condition, a report by Ashphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) found. The issue has been caused by an ageing network, decades of underfunding, increased traffic and wetter winters. Those roads identified as being in poor condition “will not be fit for purpose in five years’ time” and some may have to close, researchers warned.last_img read more


Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. The long-running BBC topical quiz Have I Got News For You was pulled from the air last night in an apparent wrangle over the appearance of Change UK leader Heidi Allen MP.A BBC spokesman said last night: “The BBC has specific editorial guidelines that apply during election periods. “Because of this it would be inappropriate to feature political party leaders on entertainment programmes during this short election period, which does not allow for equal representation to be achieved. “So we will not broadcast the scheduled episode of HIGNFY featuring Heidi Allen, leader of Change UK. We will look to broadcast this episode at a later date.”A message on the programme maker’s Twitter feed said: “Sorry everyone. The BBC have pulled tonight’s edition of #HIGNFY – no, we didn’t book Danny Baker.“We booked Heidi Allen, a member of a party no-one knows the name of (not even the people in it), because the Euro elections, which nobody wants, may or may not be happening. Sorry.”Trying to see the funny side, the programme added: “BBC issues urgent advice not to look at pictures of Heidi Allen in case she influences Euro election result.”And then: “Tune in on Monday for Have I Got Less News For You.” The programme – hosted this week by comedian Jo Brand and featuring Ms Allen on Ian Hislop’s team and comedian Phil Wang on Paul Merton’s team – was recorded on Thursday night.Ms Allen told The Telegraph last night that she was given just two hours’ notice of the cancellation.She said: “I had been booked for ages.” She added that she had been told it was because of the “closeness to the EU elections”.Ms Allen added: “Maybe I am just not as funny as Nigel Farage – he is on the BBC all the time.” read more


The returning families unit run by the Tavistock is funded by the Home Office and provides “local authorities with expert support”, according to an official letter sent to council chief executives and heads of children’s services in October 2017.The letter states: “The majority of these children have lived in a war zone for a number of years.“They will have been exposed to terrorism and extremist ideology and witnessed incidents such as violence, murder, beheadings, rape and many other horrors that will almost certainly have had an impact on their mental and emotional development. Some will have undertaken military training, and/or been involved in terrorist activity during their time in Syria.” A child safeguarding advice document circulated to local authorities also warns that children must be first assessed when re-entering the UK to determine the level of “trauma they have experienced”; their vulnerability; and the “potential risk” they pose in “carrying out terrorist activity”.The Tavistock declined to say how many families had been treated but the numbers are thought to be small. Its budget is also unclear but it funds a number of psychiatrists and experts as well as support staff.In a statement, the Home Office said the Tavistock “ensures coordination for the provision of mental or emotional health interventions for the child and family as identified by their assessments”.Ben Wallace, the Security Minister, said: “Everyone should understand that the UK and its allies have a range of measures at their disposal to deal with foreign fighters, which includes prosecution, citizenship deprivation… and in some cases a coalition military response.”A spokesman for the Tavistock said: “The service is a pilot programme set up to specifically address the emotional and psychological needs of children returning from this war zone and who hence face a number of challenges to their well-being and development Sajid Javid Shamima Begum, 19, is one of numerous British citizens looking to return to the UK after fleeing to Syria to live under IsilCredit:Laura Lean/PA Dealing with returning jihadists has come under the spotlight following the Shamima Begum case.The east Londoner ran away to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) in 2015 when she was 15. Now aged 19 and nine months pregnant with her third child, she has begged British authorities to bring her home from Syria.Out of 400 jihadists who returned to the UK, just 40 have been prosecuted, with the vast majority placed in rehabilitation schemes instead. The Home Office has declined to reveal the cost of its various projects – likely to run into tens of millions of pounds – or the number of jihadists treated on them.Although Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, has insisted he will use “all available powers” to prevent Ms Begum from returning home and prosecute her if she does, the reality, according to sources, is the Home Office has largely tried to offer mental health treatment to returning jihadists. Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, has insisted he will use “all available powers” to prevent Ms Begum from returning home Credit:Dominic Lipinski/PA Shamima Begum Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. The Home Office is paying a leading mental health clinic to treat returning jihadists and their children, The Telegraph can disclose.The Government set up its “returning families” unit 15 months ago to cope with an influx of jihadist brides expected to come back to Britain.The unit was put in place to treat “British minors returning from the conflict in Syria and Iraq”. Parents also receive “emotional and mental health interventions”.The national scheme is run in conjunction with the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust in Hampstead, north London.The Tavistock Centre is internationally renowned and widely recognised as the UK’s leading mental health unit. read more


Kate Ryan, a family lawyer and partner at IBB Solicitors, said: “The specialist divorce centres set up in 2015 are not functioning effectively and undoubtedly this was not what was envisaged by the MoJ when they were established.“Unfortunately, many of these centres are now experience high volumes of divorce work resulting in a large backlog of work. This means the court process for dealing with documents is taking longer than ever.”“This impacts upon people who are waiting for their divorce to move forward so they can finally move on with their lives,” Ms Ryan added. “The delay is often compounded by a lack of communication from the court and the difficulty people experience in speaking with someone at the court about their case.”The family lawyer called on the MoJ to increase family court resources, saying that delays on such “sensitive and important matters impact upon the whole family”.The family court statistics were compiled by Wilsons, a private client law firm, and showed a steady increase in waiting time for couples. For the third quarter of 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, couples had to wait 48.06 weeks, 48.64 weeks, 47.31 weeks. 47.36 weeks, 49.14 weeks and 56.04 weeks, respectively.While the latest statistics for the fourth quarter of 2018 show a slight decrease – to 54.3 weeks – Jacqueline Fitzgerald, partner and head of the Family team at Wilsons said it is unacceptable that couples wanting to divorce are still forced to wait more than a year.She said: “These delays are enormously difficult for divorcing couples – they are stuck in limbo, unable to move on with their lives until the courts finally get around to dealing with them.”“For the average wait for a divorce to pass the one-year barrier for the first time is a very worrying sign for the family courts.”“The Regional Divorce Centres have had a very difficult first three years, and the problems are getting worse, not better. Remember that 56 weeks is the average wait for a divorce – many take much longer than that.”She added that the impact of austerity on government funding is only set to have further detrimental impact on the efficacy of the family courts.Treasury figures reveal that the MoJ’s will be slashed to £6 billion in 2019/20, down from £6.3 billion in 2018/19. By 2023/24, it is predicted to have halved in little more than a decade.A spokesman for Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service said:”Cases are being dealt with quicker since we increased the no of judicial sitting days and recruited extra judges and staff to meet increased demand in the family court.“We also recently announced online divorce applications to simplify the process and help reduce the delay.”   Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Married couples are having to wait longer than a year before being granted a divorce, new data reveals, as family lawyers blame the government for increasing delaysFor the first time, family court figures reveal that couples can now expect to wait up to 56 weeks until their divorce is finalised. This is in comparison to 2013 when the average wait from petition to Decree Absolute was 48 weeks.The slump in the rate of Decree Absolutes being increased comes following reforms introduced by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) in 2015 which aimed to streamline the system, cut costs and save judicial time.Prior to 2015, couples wanting to divorce had to go to one of 47 regional courts across the country. These were then centralised into just 11 Regional Divorce Centres. However legal experts claim that couples are now left “in limbo”, and that the latest data shows how the reforms have backfired. read more


first_imgGold Reserve has entered into a partnership with Conservation International (CI) to advance the company’s strong commitment to environmental and social responsibility. The partnership will involve preserving biodiversity in and around Gold Reserve’s Brisas project in Venezuela and support the development of best practice tools for integrating biodiversity information into the business decision making processes.   Cia Aurifera Brisas del Cuyuni, the Venezuelan subsidiary of Gold Reserve, has also signed a Letter of Intent with CI Venezuela outlining commitments, whereby the two organizations will work together to institute programs pertaining to biodiversity and sustainable agro-forestry in the upper Cuyuni River basin located in the State of Bolivar in southeastern Venezuela near the Guyana border. This effort will include extensive biodiversity assessments and monitoring efforts to understand and protect the biodiversity of the project area as well as a program of work aimed at empowering local communities to develop sustainable agro-forestry.   The company has also finalized an agreement with CI to support the development of decision making tools and methodologies that guide companies such as Gold Reserve through a process by which they assess the ongoing environmental impacts and assess their biodiversity, take action to avoid, mitigate or offset this impact, and monitor their achievements. This support will facilitate the development of a biodiversity offset strategy for the Brisas Project in conjunction with the Business and Biodiversity Offset Program (BBOP) (more information on BBOP can be found at: www.forest-trends.org/biodiversityoffsetprogram ).   “We are pleased to be working with CI,” said Doug Belanger, President of Gold Reserve. “Our strong relationship with CI will empower our employees and provide them substantial experience while furthering the company’s commitment to the Equator Principles and responsible environmental stewardship.”   CI is a nonprofit international organization which operates in 40 countries around the world and applies innovations in science, economics, policy and community participation to protect the Earth’s richest regions of plant and animal diversity in the biodiversity hotspots, high-biodiversity wilderness areas as well as important marine regions around the globe. See www.conservation.org   Brisas has NI-43-101 reserves of 485 Mt of ore grading 0.67 g/t Au and 0.13% Cu. The mine plan anticipates using conventional truck and shovel mining methods with the processing of ore at full production of 70,000 t/d, yielding an average annual production of 456,000 oz of gold and 60 Mlb of copper for a mine life of 18.5 years. Using copper as a byproduct, operating costs are expected to be $126/oz (using $1.80 copper).last_img read more


first_imgOutotec and Hatch, an unincorporated Joint Venture, have been awarded a contract by the Ma’aden and Alcoa JV to provide an integrated digestion and evaporation facility to what will reportedly be the lowest cost aluminium complex in the world – the Ma’aden project in Ras Az Zawr, Saudi Arabia. The Outotec-Hatch overall contract value is approximately EUR50 million, with roughly equal share of the work between the two. The delivery of the facility includes a technology license, detailed engineering, procurement support and construction support services. Outotec and Hatch have jointly developed and own the tube digestion and integrated evaporation technologies to be installed at this alumina refinery. It will have an initial annual capacity of 1.8 Mt alumina, with first production expected in 2014.The Ma’aden aluminium project comprises a fully integrated greenfield complex with bauxite mine, alumina refinery, aluminium smelter and can sheet rolling mill. It will contribute to the development of a world-class aluminium industry in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and is designed with the potential for future expansion. The Al Baítha site consists of a bauxite mine and ore handling facilities and is located near Quiba in northeast Saudi Arabia.The mine plan has been prepared based upon current estimated capacities of the refinery and smelter reviewed in completed technical studies and envisages production at an annual mining rate of 4 Mt/y of bauxite for a period in excess of 30 years.The Ras Az Zawr site comprises a plot of land 90 km north of Jubail on the coast of the Arabian gulf. A segment of the site is proposed to be used for the construction of the alumina refinery, aluminium smelter, rolling mill and related infrastructure for the Aluminium Complex. Bauxite ore transported by rail to Ras Az Zawr will be refined to produce alumina, which will in turn be processed in the smelter on site to produce 740,000 t/y of aluminium.The rolling mill with initial hot-mill capacity of between 250,000 and 460,000 t/y will focus initially on the production of sheet, end and tab stock for the manufacture of cans and other products. Aluminium operations at Ras Az Zawr will rely on certain infrastructure with a key item being a power, steam and water facility. In October 2009 Ma’aden signed an agreement with the Saline Water Conversion Co (SWCC) and Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) to develop a joint power and desalination plant which will generate 2,400 MW of electricity and 1.025 million m3/d of water. Of that, the aluminium complex will use 1,350 MW of electricity and 25,000 m3/d of water. The rest of the water will be pumped to the cities of Riyadh, Hafr Al-Batin and Nuayriyah. SEC’s share will be 1,050 MW of electricity, some of which will power downstream industries at the Mineral Industry Complex at Ras Az Zawr.“We are delighted that Ma’aden Aluminium Project chose the unique Outotec-Hatch alumina digestion and evaporation technology  for this facility which will be one of the most technologically advanced aluminium complex in the world and utilise low-cost and clean power generation. As our core business is the development of sustainable solutions for our planet, we are very proud to be involved in this project”, says Outotec CEO Pertti Korhonen.last_img read more


first_imgInternational Mining’s September issue will include an article on this subject and we are currently accepting editorial contributions. VISTA Training has already had its input to the article and has just released its new Transporting Heavy Equipment web-based training program. A significant percentage of fatal accidents involving heavy equipment occur when loading and unloading from a trailer. Accidents can also happen when transporting equipment, if it is not properly secured to the trailer.The training program will help US operators understand the provisions of the 2006 (most recent) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration 49 CFR, Part 393 regulation. It will also help users to reduce or eliminate an all too common source of equipment mishaps.This new web-based training program covers:The types of trailers used to haul heavy equipmentHow to read a trailer load capacity plateHow to safely load and unload equipment from trailersTie-down equipment and proceduresHow to calculate the Aggregate Working Load Limit (AWLL)Best practices when hauling on public roadways.last_img read more


first_imgThe next stage of marine survey work by Marine Minerals Ltd has just commenced – the Cornish company investigating opportunities for the recovery of waste tin from the seabed on the Cornwall coast. This next step in the project is to undertake further preliminary marine survey work along the coast between St Ives and Perranporth, where deposits of waste tin are located in the seabed sand.  This is limited research work licensed by the government’s Marine Management Organisation (MMO) and is being carried out by the specialist 24m survey vessel MV Flatholm, which is operated by Falmouth based hydrographic survey company Coastline Surveys Ltd.Marine Minerals says this new survey will be investigating a range of topics, including assessing more precisely the location and quality of the tin and other mineral deposits, in the sandy seabed; clarifying the underlying geology; and getting samples for use by marine scientists and geologists to better inform the company of the make-up of the seabed. The work is being carried out over a period of two weeks.Talking about the project, John Sewell, Commercial Manager for Marine Minerals says: “Our starting point with the tin recovery project is that there are tens of millions of pounds worth of Cornish tin, already mined over the last few centuries and washed out to sea, sitting in sand off the North Cornish coast between St Ives and Perranporth. The value in that tin could be of great benefit to the Cornish economy: the challenge is, can the tin be recovered in a way that is environmentally and socially, as well as commercially viable?  We obviously believe that the answer is yes, which is why we are pursuing the project. We are acutely aware of a number of sensitive issues that need to be considered, which is why we have invited Surfers Against Sewage to join us during the marine survey work so they can see first hand the studies we are undertaking. We are committed to high levels of environmental performance and have completely rejected the use of traditional dredging methods to bring up the tin-bearing sand.”The methods the company is investigating – sifting and filtering the sand at sea and returning around 95% of it immediately back into the seabed excavation that it came from – will be far more precise and economic than dredging, it believes. Marine Minerals says its research so far suggests that when compared to natural forces such as tides, currents and storm waves, this method of working will have insignificant effects on the seabed and the local ecology. The company is carefully investigating many issues in detail via a year-long environmental study. Findings will be made public and form part of the company’s application to the MMO for a full operating licence. These plans will themselves be subject to formal, statutory public consultation, managed by the MMO, which it is anticipated will take place in 2014.last_img read more