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Bailey: ‘The sheriff’ should remain in charge for at least 2 weeks

first_img Published on September 1, 2013 at 7:35 pm Facebook Twitter Google+ EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Drew Allen swung his fist in frustration again and again. Another chance wasted. Another opportunity for Penn State to extend its lead given.Syracuse was trailing Penn State 23-10 with 11 minutes left — seemingly its last reasonable chance to come back for a signature season-opening victory — when on a second-and-12 from the Syracuse 33-yard line, Allen flung a 12-yard out route for Jarrod West.But the ball sailed through no-man’s land and out of bounds. West ran a corner route.Allen stared him down across the field, gaping irefully, before turning and whizzing his right arm around four times.“There were times when we showed a lot of great things on offense, and then there were times that it wasn’t so great,” Allen said. “And I felt like in those times it wasn’t so great, our communication kind of broke apart.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWhile Allen was mediocre in his Orange debut, let’s remember what he’s working with: a first-year head coach and an inexperienced wide receiving corps. Even the offensive line, a group that struggled to handle an aggressive Nittany Lions front seven, has two new starters. So let’s hold back on the calls for Terrel Hunt, at least for another two weeks.Yes, Allen’s 43.2-percent completion rate was off-putting. And yes, his first interception, thrown right to Stephen Obeng-Agyapong at the end of the third quarter, was egregious and inexcusable.But one game doesn’t tell the whole story. Especially with the unit he’s working with, and especially against an above-average Penn State defense.Remember, this is a guy who hasn’t started a football game in five years, who only began getting the majority of first-team reps 10 days before the season opener and who’s used to throwing to bigger, faster Big-12 targets.Had he remained at Oklahoma his cast would’ve consisted of senior 1,000-yard receiver Jalen Saunders, standout sophomore Sterling Shepard and 6-foot-3 senior Lacoltan Bester — not the No. 2-playing-No. 1 receiver West, unproven senior Adrian Flemming and still-learning slot man Ashton Broyld.Expecting immediate greatness and heroic bravado from him this quickly is unrealistic.Quarterbacks coach Tim Lester agreed that communication in particular is where Allen and the offense need to improve the most.“Those things he’ll continue to get better at because that’s hard to do,” Lester said. “It takes a lot of time to get comfortable.”Allen’s blunder with West was just one example of that lack of chemistry. Later on the same drive, Obeng-Agyapong blitzed around the left side untouched, de-cleated the 6-foot-5 Allen and slammed him downward into the MetLife Stadium turf.Was it Allen who missed the blitz pickup, or did right tackle Ivan Foy, in his first season as a starter, just whiff on the block?Either way, these are problems that take time to work out — and who’s to say Hunt would be any better?Allen’s poise and talent were apparent at moments on Saturday. The 55-yard, over-the-top connection with Jeremiah Kobena was a glimpse at what he can do when the offense is flowing properly.It was a reminder that Allen could have been starting for the Sooners this year. His competition under center would have consisted of Blake Bell, the powerful runner aptly nicknamed “Belldozer” with the inability to throw for distance or precision, and redshirt freshman Trevor Knight, who started OU’s first game of the season.After the game SU head coach Scott Shafer said Allen will be a great football player. Lester echoed the sentiment that the job is his for the immediate future, and running back Jerome Smith called him “the sheriff.”So give Allen a chance. Northwestern and Wagner offer two more opportunities for Allen to improve before the coaching staff should decide to either stick with him until SU loses bowl eligibility, or go with Hunt.If Allen is unable to pick apart a lesser Seahawks defense in the Carrier Dome on Sept. 14, by all means go ahead and give Hunt a chance. He’d have time for a tuneup game against Tulane and a bye week to prepare for Clemson. But the next two weeks should be Allen’s regardless of his performance against PSU.With 14 days’ worth of time and repetitions as the unquestioned starter, he’ll have every chance to prove the job should be his.Stephen Bailey is an asst. sports editor at The Daily Orange whose column appears occasionally. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @Stephen_Bailey1. Commentslast_img read more

Women of Troy upset Washington

first_imgThe No. 7 USC women’s volleyball team did not enter this weekend’s games at the Galen Center simply to win — it wanted to make a statement. A Friday night matchup against a No. 1 Washington team that was responsible for one of USC’s three losses was apparently the perfect opportunity for redemption.Supporting · Junior outside hitter Sara Shaw, who ranks third on USC’s team with 234 kills, delivered 15 kills against Washington at a .128 clip. – Austin Vogel | Daily TrojanThe Women of Troy played arguably their most thrilling game of the season Friday, knocking down the Huskies in five grueling sets before a sweep of the Washington State Cougars on Saturday night. The victories boost No. 7 USC’s record to 21-3 overall and 9-3 in Pac-12 play.“Just to win these games is extremely good,” USC coach Mick Haley said. “We wanted to get better as a team, and I think we accomplished that. We also got our confidence up to a pretty good level.”Though the Cougars gave their all Saturday night, they simply couldn’t match up with the Women of Troy, who recorded their 15th sweep of the season with a 25-13, 25-17, 25-18 victory. They were particularly dominant in the first set, as the Women of Troy built an insurmountable 21-9 lead before freshman middle blocker Alicia Ogoms knocked down consecutive kills to seal the set.The second set was a similar story, as Shaw recorded a kill to put USC up 19-9. The Cougars rebounded to make it close, but Young notched consecutive kills before an attack error gave the Women of Troy the set. The hosts put on a hitting clinic, attacking at a .600 clip in the opening frame before hitting .316 in the middle set.The final set was much tighter, as the Cougars rebounded from a 15-8 hole to come to within 16-15. The Women of Troy, however, went on a 6-1 run, highlighted by three alternating Shaw kills, the last of which sealed the match for the Women of Troy.“We played a lot of people, and we got to practice the game situations and be successful,” Haley said. “I felt like we had a successful weekend after practicing to our strengths.”Against the Huskies, the Women of Troy were once again paced by freshman outside hitter Samantha Bricio, who took advantage of the five-set match by registering a career-high 30 kills and 12 digs to help take out the Huskies. Throughout both games, though, junior outside hitter Sara Shaw rose to center stage. After recording 15 kills and a career high 30 digs against Washington, she posted a career-high 18 kills against the Cougars, notching a .643 hitting percentage with no errors.“The Washington match was definitely a tough one for us, but I think it was a good five games,” Shaw said. “Coming back to win that match definitely boosted our confidence.”Against the Huskies, the Women of Troy twice had to come back from deficits to win, an unfamiliar situation considering the dominance with which they’ve been able to put opponents away from the start. After falling behind 2-1, the Women of Troy fought hard during the fourth set, taking the Huskies to an 18-all tie before registering four straight points to go up 22-20. Bricio then knocked down a powerful kill to take the set 25-23 and tie the match at two apiece.It was only fitting that the fifth and final set was as close as the others, as the teams were tied at eight before the Women of Troy ran away with it. Senior opposite Katie Fuller knocked down a kill for a 13-9 lead, after which junior libero Natalie Hagglund and sophomore setter Emily Young combined to set up Bricio for a kill to end the set 15-10 and claim the match for the hosts.“When we left Washington, we felt like we should have won, even though they beat us 3-0 up there,” Haley said. “We weren’t in sync in that match. I thought that we could have won in three [sets] over here, but we made too many errors in the beginning. However, as we kept playing we got more and more confident, so winning in five was fine.”After the perfect, two-week homestand, the Women of Troy will again hit the road, with games at  Arizona State and Arizona this weekend.“Winning on the road is extremely important for us, because we have six of our ten matches on the road in the second round,” Haley said. “We’ll take them one at a time, and we need to take them seriously and prepare for that.”last_img read more