A new species of subterranean ant discovered in Brazil is so weird, biologists have classified it as the sole representative of a new subfamily. The alien creature has been whimsically named Martialis heureka: “the ant from Mars.” An article about it in Nature News said, “It adds a new branch to the ant family tree which split off from the others extremely early in the family’s evolution.” Trouble is, it doesn’t look anything like a wasp, from which ants supposedly evolved (see picture on National Geographic). This has thrown ideas of ant evolution into a bit of a quandary. Christian Rabeling, the discoverer, found that this ant did not fit into the existing taxonomy. Scientists are calling this a relict species of a sister family they have named Martialis. The original paper in PNAS says, “On the basis of morphological and phylogenetic evidence we suggest that these specialized subterranean predators are the sole surviving representatives of a highly divergent lineage that arose near the dawn of ant diversification and have persisted in ecologically stable environments like tropical soils over great spans of time.” That makes it essentially a living fossil. “Like the duck-billed platypus is to mammals,” explained Nature News, “it’s clearly a cousin to other ants, yet a weird and ancestral version that took its own evolutionary direction early on.” This must be what the title of the paper means when it says the discovery “sheds light on early ant evolution.” A look inside the paper, though, reveals a few problems with the confident assertions about evolution:A robust phylogeny is indispensable for elucidating the evolutionary origin of ants and for exploring the selective forces that have produced their extraordinary specializations. Previously published studies, however, led to contradicting views of early ant evolution, in part because of high levels of morphological convergence, the secondary loss of characters, and a lack of informative paleontological data. As a result, numerous taxa have been proposed as the most basal lineage.Recent attempts to find a robust phylogeny have now been dealt another challenge with the discovery of M. heureka. Their phylogenetic tree shows it on its own branch, all by itself. Another problem is revealed deep in the paper: “Second, the basal ant lineages seem to have originated in a relatively short period, potentially making the unambiguous resolution of their relationships quite difficult and sensitive to methodological error.” The only suggestion of light being shed on ant evolution by this discovery is that it turns their attention away from the idea ants evolved from wasps. What they expected, and what they found, were pointing in opposite ways:Our phylogenetic analyses, combined with the inferred biology of M. heureka, suggest that the most basal extant ant lineages are cryptic, hypogaeic foragers, rather than wasp-like, epigaeic foragers (Fig. 3). This finding is congruent with recent molecular studies, which previously suggested the Leptanillinae, another subfamily of subterranean predators, to be sister lineage to all extant ants. This result has puzzled ant systematists for two reasons. First, Wilson et al.’s classic study of the Mesozoic amber ant Sphecomyrma postulated that the ancestral ant was a large-eyed, wasp-like, ground forager, creating a strong expectation that the most basal extant ant lineages would also be epigaeic foragers, presumably similar to Sphecomyrma. Second, the Leptanillinae [blind foragers in Africa] share common morphological and behavioral characteristics with the Amblyoponinae, implying the monophyly of this group. In contrast, our results and recent molecular systematic studies suggest that blind, subterranean, specialized predators, like Martialis, the Leptanillinae, and some poneroids, evolved early during ant diversification. We hypothesize, that once these hypogaeic predators adapted to their specialized subterranean environment, their morphology and biology changed little over evolutionary time because their hypogaeic habitat has likely been ecologically stable and provided a refuge from competition with other, more recently evolved, ants. It is important to note that no definitive statement about the morphology and life history of the ancestral, Mesozoic ant can be derived from our current knowledge about the surviving basalmost ant lineages, because the relative probabilities of evolutionary transitions between epigaeic and hypogaeic habits are uncertain.They explained that the supposition that ants evolved from wasps relies on ambiguous data subject to alternative hypotheses. One other problem with their suggestion that ants evolved from wasps is that Martialis would make the ant hypogaeic [underground] foraging evolve three times. That’s why they are suggesting the basal ant was already a hypogaeic forager. “The exact nature of the ancestral ant remains uncertain,” though, “given that the propensity for repeated evolution of a hypogaeic lifestyle may be higher than for reevolution of an epigaeic lifestyle.” In short, no clear light seems to have been shed on ant evolution by this discovery. It was a complete surprise. What other surprises lie in store? “This discovery hints at a wealth of species, possibly of great evolutionary importance, still hidden in the soils of the remaining rainforests.” Stefan Cover, a curatorial assistant at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology, had a more humble view. In the Nature News article, he said that Martialis “jars us out of going with our familiar conceptions… This is a lesson that we could probably import into studies of other groups.”1. Rabeling, Brown and Verhaugh, “Newly discovered sister lineage sheds light on early ant evolution,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, published online before print September 15, 2008, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0806187105.We can suggest some other studies of other groups where evolutionists could import this lesson: how about the Monera, Protista, Fungi, Plantae and Animalia? (the five kingdoms of taxonomy). The discoverers put their weird little ant in a jar, but maybe the scientists need to be put in one, because Martialis “jars us out of going with our familiar conceptions,” Cover said. While they’re safely in a jar out of harm’s way (unable to harm us, that is), let’s hunt for more rainforest species with great evolutionary importance. Jarring evolutionists is fun. Every new discovery jars them into realizing their neat little schemes are wrong. They’re like blind hypogaeic foragers, digging around in their own dirt, thinking every new surprise is shedding light on evolution. That phrase – “Shed[ding] light on evolution” – yields thousands of hits on Google. We’ve examined dozens of those claims right here. Can you remember one that has turned up a single photon? The truth is they are walking in a darkness of their own making. The light they need to see is the flashing red stop light next to the “Wrong Way” sign they missed back in 1859.(Visited 14 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Ohio has a long history of university no-till plots, but so does Nebraska. And, while Nebraska has not been no-tilling for as long as Ohio, the state does have one man that has been there for all of the 37 years of no-till plot research — agricultural engineer Paul Jasa with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.Jasa brought his tremendous amount of no-till experience to the popular Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference in Ada yesterday. Today is the second day of the conference.“We have done some dumb things with tillage in the past. Mother Nature has roots living in the soil year round, but our ancestors started tilling and have roots growing only five or six months a year,” Jasa said. “We created a plow pan five or six inches deep. Then we broke up that plow pan at five or six inches with a chisel plow and after a few years we created a chisel pan down at 12 inches. Then we started sub-soiling. We lowered our plow pan from eight to 12 to 20 inches deep without thinking about the soil. We try to fix the dumb things we have done by doing something else and often times that other thing is just as dumb. Let’s stop that and part with tillage tools and go with no-till to get the system to start working with you. We need everything to start working together.”With a no-till system in place, a diverse crop rotation and the use of cover crops, water infiltration, soil structure, soil temperatures, and soil biology all can move in a positive direction, Jasa said. But to maximize yields through a no-till system, consistency is crucial and that starts with planting.For no-till, planters need to accomplish four steps:Cut and handle residue,Penetrate the soil to the desired seeding depth,Establish proper seed-to-soil contact,Close the seed-v.“Keeping these four items in mind, producers can evaluate the strengths or weaknesses of their planter and make any adjustments or changes necessary to make no-till successful,” Jasa said. “Fortunately, most planters can be used for no-till with few, if any, modifications.” Here is more from Jasa in an interview with Dale Minyo.Dale Minyo with Paul Jasa at CTTC 2017Jasa compiled the following tips for ideal no-till planting. Maintain sharp openersDouble-disk openers, if sharp and properly maintained, can cut through residue without coulters or residue movers. Adjust the disk openers so they work together as a single cutting edge with about two inches of blade contact on the standard disks or about 1.5 inches on the heavy-duty, thicker disks. (Staggered disks should be adjusted to just touch.) When replacing the disk openers, also replace the seed tube protector as it holds the disks apart to reduce blade flexing and acts as a scraper to help keep the disks clean. If hair pinning residue is a problem, increase the planting depth some to improve the residue cutting angle of the disks. Don’t seed between the old rowsBy planting down the old rows, the seeds will be placed in the most biologically active area of the field. The decaying roots from last year leave channels in the soil for the new roots to grow in. Avoid planting in the heart of the wheel track from last year as that is the most compacted area in the field. Planting about 4 inches to the side of the old row works well for corn on corn where uniform depth control is critical. This also reduces tire wear compared to driving on the root stumps to plant between the old rows. Watch planting speedKeep the speed around five miles per hour to reduce planter unit bounce and deliver the seeds uniformly. Be wary of ads that say a planter can “meter seed” at seven to eight mph. That doesn’t mean it can deliver the seeds to the soil uniformly at higher speeds, especially on rough fields. Often the resulting non-uniformity from operating at higher speeds reduces yields enough to justify a larger planter (or a second planter) to complete planting in a timely manner. Increase the down pressureThe residue of no-till, especially in hard, dry soil, requires down pressure springs and extra weight (as necessary) on the planter to cut through and penetrate the soil to achieve desired seeding depth. Enough down pressure should be on the row units to make sure that the depth gauging wheels are actually gauging planting depth. Check the down pressure on the row units as conditions change to avoid over-compacting wet soils, creating sidewall compaction.Place seeds at a uniform depth. Make sure all the seeds are placed at the bottom of the seed-v into good soil moisture for uniform emergence. Keeton Seed Firmers or Schaffert Rebounders are recommended for a more uniform planting depth for more uniform emergence. These units also provide convenient in-furrow fertilizer application options. The Keeton Seed Firmers also improve seed-to-soil contact as the name implies. Keep residue uniformConsider residue movers on the planter to “even up” and create a uniform residue layer, especially if the residue was not uniformly spread during harvest or some residue was drifted by the wind. However, if the residue cover is already uniform, such as in long-term no-till, residue movers can do more harm than good. In these cases, the movers break residue loose from the soil and some of the residue can then blow back over the row, creating non-uniform conditions. In addition, some of the emerging corn may leaf out under the residue and have difficulty surviving. Close the seed-vThe seed-v should be properly closed for good seed-to-soil contact and to reduce drying out of the seed zone. Spoked closing wheels are often added to planters to help close the seed-v. They serve three purposes:Drying the soil with tillage,Closing the seed-v while fracturing the sidewall, andProviding loose soil above the seed.The loose soil created by the spoked wheels reduces the chances of the seed-v opening back up as the soil dries, especially on wet clay soils. However, depending on the moisture situation, the tillage of the closing wheels might dry out the soil too much. In some cases, growers get better results using one spoked wheel and one regular closing wheel. Also, some closing wheel brands have less aggressive spokes than others and some provide some soil firming to reduce drying. Level the planterThe planter should be level to slightly tail down in back, with the toolbar at the proper height so that the parallel links run parallel to the soil surface. If the planter runs nose down, the openers will tend to bulldoze and may plug with residue. When operated tail down, the cutting edge on the double disk openers is in a better position to cut residue on the soil surface. Also, as the planter runs nose down, the tail assembly of the closing wheels doesn’t run level. As the pivot point of the closing wheel arm gets lower (either by leveling the planter tail down or by planting deeper), the angled closing wheels have more of a pinching action and they will do a better job of closing the seed-v. Consider planting deeperPlanting the seeds deeper puts them into a more buffered soil environment with a more uniform soil temperature and soil moisture. This improves uniformity of emergence, which increases yields. Also, by planting deeper, the root system is better established, improving standability and allowing the plant to better handle stresses. Corn should be planted at least two inches deep as most corn planters were designed for planting depths of two to three inches. Consider the three-inch planting depth in dry years and low residue conditions to reduce the chances of the seed zone drying out.
5. Weird ScienceTwo high school boys “feed” their computer with as much real-world data as they could obtain during the Reagan era. The result: their idea of the perfect woman. Tags:#film#geek 2. Star WarsYou already know. There’s nothing more to add. 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App What is a geek, anyway? Someone who loves math and science and computers? Sure, but that’s only part of it. As counter-terrorism expert Richard Clark once told Stephen Colbert (around the 3:40 mark): “Geeks get it done.” That nails it. Geeks Get It Done – GGID. Geeks imagine, then build. Geeks envision, then destroy. Geeks remake the old world and create new worlds. Sometimes just for fun, sometimes because the fate of all humanity hangs in the balance.That’s why geeks get inspired by movies that remind them to revel in their obsessiveness – because it ultimately leads to the way you “get it done.” Which movies do the best job of providing that awesome inspiration? You can’t go wrong with these 10 classics: 1. The MatrixYou are your code.The Matrix is so good that the hot, leather-clad love interest who snaps necks and knows how to handle a semi-automatic doesn’t even make it into the top 5 best things about this movie. 9. Galaxy QuestThe obsessive Star Trek-fanboy parody done right. When it comes on television, you can’t not watch it. Why? Because it inspires you to never stop believing. 8. Star TrekThis Star Trek reboot took us back to the future – to the early days of James T. Kirk, Spock, and the Enterprise. Think of just how awesome it will be if the new Star Wars films are as successful as this Star Trek reboot. “I dare you to do better.” 3. Iron ManWealthy industrialist, playboy, inventor, badass. It’s like if Bill Gates were as cool as he is rich. Related Posts 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout 4. TronMore than 30 years ago, Disney put a hacker inside a computer. Mad props. Do you agree with our list? Are there any you think don’t belong in the top 10? What geek classics did we leave out? Have at it in the comments.Lead image courtesy of s_bukley / Shutterstock. 7. AkiraKatsuhiro Otomo. Neo-Tokyo. Biker gangs. Psions. Enjoy. 6. Minority ReportThe “PreCrime” police force uses “precogs” to stop murderers before they kill. What’s that? Why, yes, it is based on a Philip K. Dick story. 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… 10. The GooniesFor a generation of geeks and would-be geeks, The Goonies inspired their sense of adventure. It’s message was clear: never stop being a pirate. brian s hall 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People…
Seat sharing talks with the Janata Dal (U) will figure high on the agenda during BJP chief Amit Shah’s visit to Patna on Thursday. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is scheduled to join Mr Shah for both breakfast and dinner during the visit. Top sources in the BJP have confirmed that while Mr Shah will be largely busy with organisational meetings, two one-on-one meetings have been scheduled with Mr. Kumar.“Adhyakshaji (BJP president Amit Shah) will be having breakfast with the Chief Minister (Nitish Kumar) at the State guest house where he will be staying. After addressing organisational meetings like the social media volunteers meet, a meeting of vistaraks, core committee and Shakti Kendra meetings, he will have dinner with Nitish Kumar at the latter’s residence,” said a source. State BJP president Nityanand Rai confirmed the two meetings. “Seat sharing talks are on the anvil, and a formula that will be good for all stakeholders will be formulated,” added the source. No other details were shared as party men and allies like the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) are holding their peace.Electoral equation“We won 22 seats in 2014 on our own; some of them were seats where JD(U) used to win as part of the NDA. Therefore, the seat adjustment is not just about absolute numbers but particular seats and this will have implications for some sitting BJP MPs too,” added the source. Meanwhile, a political observer in Bihar told The Hindu, “I don’t see any electoral dividend for the BJP to take JD(U) along with it in Lok Sabha poll…for the BJP, a triangular contest will always benefit as both RJD and JD(U) would cut each other’s backward caste vote while the BJP’s vote bank will be intact in the name of PM Narendra Modi”.“Though, it will be a different ball game if JD(U) compromises with 9-10 seats with the BJP promising it a lion share in the State Assembly poll in 2020,” said political analyst Ajay Kumar.
A six-year-old student was allegedly molested by a teacher at a government-aided girls’ school in south Kolkata. The incident led to a major protest by parents of students outside the school on Tuesday. The protesters threw stones at the police team which reached the spot for investigation, forcing the police to resort to baton charge to disperse them. The accused teacher was arrested and four persons were taken into custody for throwing stones at the police. The school authorities could not be reached for comments.Two separate casesJoint Commissioner of Kolkata Police (Headquarters) Supratim Sarkar said two separate cases were lodged regarding the alleged molestation and assault on police. “We have lodged a case against the accused teacher under Sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act,” he said.A brawl broke out in front of the school between the police and the guardians when the latter tried to break open the school gate. Both sides allegedly traded blows and a section of the protesters tried to pull off the helmets of the police personnel who retaliated with baton charge. Several guardians and police personnel were injured in the clash. “Eight police personnel, including two officers incharge, were injured,” said Mr. Sarkar. He denied allegations that there was not adequate deployment of women police personnel to deal with the situation.A section of guardians eventually broke open the main gate of the school and ransacked several rooms inside the premises. They also allegedly heckled other teachers when they tried to leave the premises. The situation was such that some of the teachers had to be taken out of the area in police vehicles.West Bengal Commission for Protection of Child Rights chairperson said that the commission will monitor the probe and seek the CCTV footages of the school from the police if required.
The constituents of the Left Front are going to turn on the heat on the Communist Party of India (Marxist) during a meeting scheduled on Friday to decide on its alliance with the Congress. Senior leaders of three major constituents of the Left Front — All India Forward Bloc (AIFB), Revolutionary Socialist Party ( RSP) and Communist Party of India (CPI) — told The Hindu that they are going to raise strong objections on the ongoing talks on electoral understanding with Congress. “We will not have any alliance with the Congress. The AIFB will contest three Lok Sabha seats and on the remaining seats with support CPI(M) and other allies,” Naren Chatterjee, State secretary of AIFB, said. RSP general secretary Kshiti Goswami said: “The CPI(M) has no right to force the alliance with the Congress on the Left Front. We have all seen the result when the Left and Congress came together in the 2016 Assembly polls.”
Paul Lee re-injures thumb in first game of season. PBA IMAGESMANILA, Philippines—Paul Lee’s start to the 2019-2020 PBA season hit a bit of a snag in Magnolia’s first game of the year.Magnolia not only lost 80-75 in overtime against TNT, but it also saw Lee get sidelined with an injury.ADVERTISEMENT Lee was already nursing a sore right thumb prior to the match against the KaTropa when he aggravated it early in the third quarter of the PBA Philippine Cup game Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena.“It’s just sad that I wasn’t able to help the team, but it does happen in games,” said Lee in Filipino. “That’s part of the job, so I’ll just wait for this to heal.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine football chiefSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesLee left the game at the 10:24 mark of the fourth quarter after his hand got slapped on a rebound play and he said that it will take at least a week for him to fully recover.The shooting guard, however, said he’ll be ready to practice with Gilas Pilipinas on Monday but he would refrain from joining the scrimmages to allow his thumb to heal. Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Oil plant explodes in Pampanga town Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games PLAY LIST 01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games00:50Trending Articles02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Grace Poe files bill to protect govt teachers from malicious accusations SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte “It’ll take around a week and the only bad part here is it was hit again after it got snagged in my teammate’s jersey in practice,” said Lee who played for 13 minutes in the Hotshots’ season opener.“I’ll be back, no problem, it just so happened that my thumb got hit earlier. The team assistants earlier asked me what I felt on my thumb and I told them that it was painful whenever I caught the ball so we decided that I’d sit the game out.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next LATEST STORIES MOST READ View comments ‘We are too hospitable,’ says Sotto amid SEA Games woes Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. ‘We are too hospitable,’ says Sotto amid SEA Games woes PDEA chief backs Robredo in revealing ‘discoveries’ on drug war Gilas Pilipinas practices with Andray Blatche for 2nd straight day US judge bars Trump’s health insurance rule for immigrants
“I think he sensed that we needed his production in that second half and he came alive.Warriors teammate Draymond Green said Iguodala’s shot was simply what the team knows he can do.“As big as Andre’s shot was, we have come to expect Andre to hit big shots,” Green said. “Since he’s been here I’ve seen him hit several game winners. I’ve seen him put the icing on the cake at several wins.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess LATEST STORIES Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting For Raptors, a bad 6-minute stretch proved very costly Ethel Booba twits Mocha over 2 toilets in one cubicle at SEA Games venue Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Duterte wants probe of SEA Games mess Two-day strike in Bicol fails to cripple transport Who are Filipinos rooting for in the NBA Finals? PLAY LIST 01:43Who are Filipinos rooting for in the NBA Finals?03:12Kevin Durant out with Achilles injury; to undergo MRI on Tuesday01:48NBA: Kawhi, George seek more for Clippers than beating Lakers02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss MOST READ ‘Rebel attack’ no cause for concern-PNP, AFP When the alternative is leaving the ball in the hands of 30-point sharpshooter Stephen Curry, who struck for 23 points, Iguodala didn’t seem so bad a choice.“I’m going to probably live with that,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “It wasn’t like we were disrespecting him and not trying to guard him.“He misses that we call timeout, we go down with a chance to win the ball game unbelievably, somehow.”The Raptors led by 12 in the second quarter, surrendered the first 18 points of the third quarter to fall behind by 13 and nearly battled back to win by silencing Golden State more more than 5:30 until Iguodala’s shot.“He’s just got a lot of experience,” Kerr said. “He has done everything in his career, been in the Olympics, won three rings, one of the smartest players I’ve ever been around.ADVERTISEMENT Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala (9) and teammate Shaun Livingston (34) celebrate their win against the Toronto Raptors following the second half of Game 2 of basketball’s NBA Finals, Sunday, June 2, 2019, in Toronto. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)Stephen Curry saw it as an insult that the Toronto left Andre Iguodala open for what became the decisive 3-point basket in Golden State’s victory Sunday in the NBA Finals.That made it all the sweeter when Iguodala, who was 1-of-14 from beyond the arc before his crucial shot, sank the bucket to clinch a 109-104 victory that pulled the defending champions level 1-1 in the best-of-seven series.ADVERTISEMENT Catholic schools seek legislated pay hike, too “It’s kind of disrespectful to leave Andre Iguodala open like that,” Curry said. “He has made big shots like that before.”Raptors reserve Fred VanVleet, who struck for 17 points in the loss, said Toronto was not insulting Iguodala, but he simply was the option they were most willing to have take a long-range shot in the late-game situation.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logistics“They found Iggy on the way back out and he got a wide-open look,” said VanVleet. “He knocked it down. So that was a really big shot for him. We would like to have contested that a little bit more.“We don’t disrespect those guys. We know Iggy’s made big shots in his whole career. We’ve seen that movie before.” View comments
Down the depth chart, Jhajuan Seales appears to have taken another step forward for his 12th season in Stillwater. Even being third in production as far as yards, Seales has proven at times he can manage the role as a No. 1 wideout and has the physical tools to stretch the field. Being a No. 3 option, he isn’t given the same amount of opportunities, but he has already eclipsed his total yards from the 2015 season.On the other side of the spectrum, Chris Lacy has proven to be a formidable option but has really shown his worth in down field blocking.“Chris Lacy, in the last game (against Texas), was as impressive as any wide receiver that I’ve seen here at OSU in a very long time,” Gundy said following the Texas game about Lacy. “He reminded me of DeMarcus Conner, who used to just wear guys out (blocking downfield). And that’s what Lacy did.”The group as a whole is very well rounded, with each specific receiver bringing a unique skillset to the table that OSU has capitalized on throughout the year so far. I gave the group a grade of A- for their performance thus far, and the team gave an aggregate of an A. Overall, though, you can’t ask for much more production than what they’ve been able to give you through the first half of the year.WR Grade: A Halfway through the 2016 football season, we’re handing out grades for each position group and one of the most vaunted groups, wide receivers, is up next.Even without preseason Biletnikoff Watch Lister Marcell Ateman, the receivers group has performed admirably this season, and rank No. 10 as a passing offense with more than 350 yards through the air per game on average. And while that number is also a testament to the dude slinging the rock, the receivers have done their part to vault them into the top 10 nationally and No. 3 in the conference.The strength of the group, much like the Big 12 conference, is at the top of the depth chart. Losing freshman phenom Dillon Stoner was a blow to the overall depth of the team, but the top half of the group is loaded with talent, lead by James Washington.Washington started the season surprisingly slow. Against lesser competition against SE Louisiana and Central Michigan, he combined for 103 total yards. In the games since then, even with a step up in competition and more attention thrown his way in coverage, he has proven his all-american status by averaging 157 per game since.And the attention he gets on the outside has opened things up for OSU in other areas, too, as Mike Gundy noted this week. “(The defense) plays differently,” Gundy said Saturday. “You go back and watch it and study how they play when he’s in the game compared to when he’s not, they’re going to get an extra guy in the box in the running game.”Washington isn’t the most physically imposing receiver at 6-foot (which might be a stretch), but he has the leaping ability and athleticism to flat out make you look silly on the edge with catches like this. 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 second leading receiver is by far the biggest leap from last year as far as production. Jalen McCleskey, who was a speedster last season who had high points, has been able to step into the No. 2 receiver spot and has been incredibly productive. Oklahoma State has gotten creative in their ways to get McCleskey the ball, and he has taken advantage of his opportunities on jet sweeps and out of the slot. Bottom line: McCleskey + Space = Good things.WATCH: Rudolph to McCleskey gives #OKState its first touchdown of the dayCatch OSU vs. CMU on FS1! pic.twitter.com/zJjwNTM8Xc— Cowboy Football (@CowboyFB) September 10, 2016
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. Three-star defensive back Evan Fields, a rising senior from Midwest City, Okla., has named his top five schools which he released on twitter. Among his top options includes K-State, Oklahoma State, Arizona State, Mississippi State, and Illinois.https://twitter.com/Evan4_/status/802273235131723776The Cowboys entered the conversation late in the recruiting process, and earned an official visit earlier this season which he took alongside well-known Cowboy signee Tramonda Moore, who is currently at a junior college.“That’s family,” Fields told PFB of his connection with Moore, adding that he “loved” his visit to Oklahoma State, and that “it felt like home”.Whether that’s by blood or by friendship, I don’t know. But Tramonda isn’t playing his cards close to the vest in recruiting Fields. Here’s what he tweeted at Fields after he released his top five schools.#GoPokes ? https://t.co/0PQ3nxLA6h— Tramonda Moore⏳™ (@TramondaMoore) November 25, 2016The caveat in Fields list, though, is the fine print at the bottom: List can change with new offers.Fields has had a monster senior year, and it took OSU surpsingly midway through the season before extending an offer — likely to make sure he was back to full health. Now, though, there’s chatter that Oklahoma could get involved late, even though an offer has not been extended. The Sooners seem to have several other prospects on their board, before making a decision on whether to pull the trigger on Fields or not.Oklahoma State recently added a commitment at safety with Texas’ Trey Sterling, but the Pokes also lost the pledge of Tyon Merchant, so Fields would likely secure that final scholarship at safety should he land on the Cowboys. With signing day less than 3 months away, it will be interesting to see if teams jump in late or if he elects to stay with his core 5.