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. OSU is off this week, but there is still a loaded slate of games that includes Kansas State-OU, Tennessee-Alabama, West Virginia-Texas Tech, Ole Miss-Arkansas and Ohio State-Wisconsin. I’m going to be off the grid for a couple of days so I probably won’t see much of any of them, but they should be great. Maybe we can even get a KU win over Baylor in Waco!Thanks as always to Ryan Hartwig for putting together the Watch Guide.Weekend Watch Guide: Week 7
Thanks again for all the fun this weekend @NutterClassic we enjoyed our time in California! #okstate pic.twitter.com/Nz2tvAUQc3— Cowgirl Softball (@CowgirlSB) February 26, 2017Next up, the Cowgirls head back to the friendly confines for their home opener against Arkansas on March 1st. Welcome back to this week’s all-sports roundup featuring the non-revenue sports like tennis, women’s hoops, and softball. Thanks for reading.Cowboy TennisDebuting in the top-10 for the first time this season, the No. 8 Cowboys headed north to take on a pair of Big Ten teams. The Cowboys began the weekend series defeating No. 25 Minnesota 5-2 in an extremely tight matchup in which 3 out of the 6 singles matches went a full 3 sets. Strong comeback performances by No. 18 Julian Cash and Tristan Meraut lifted OSU past the Gophers who had just made their top-25 debut.#okstate knocked off No. 13 Northwestern for the second time in nine days to improve to 10-3 on Sunday.READ: https://t.co/lGLfcXiu5W pic.twitter.com/xbZwAVQQZu— OSU Cowboy Tennis (@CowboyTennis) February 26, 2017To finish off the weekend, the Cowboys continued their Big Ten carnage by defeating No. 13 Northwestern 4-1. Strangely, this was their second time facing the Wildcats as they had already met in the 1st round of the ITA Indoor Championships where they bested the Cats 4-2.The Pokes narrowly won the doubles point and rode the momentum into singles play where they dominated. The Cowboys (10-3) have now won five top-25 matches in the young season and currently are undefeated on the road.Up next for the Pokes is a top-10 heavyweight battle against another Big Ten foe, this time No. 9 Michigan next weekend.Cowgirl BasketballThe Cowgirl hoopsters continued a terrific OSU sports weekend with a close 67-63 senior night win against the Lady Mountaineers in Gallagher Iba. Terrific performances from the underclassmen propelled the ladies to their 3rd win in four games and gave the seniors one last winning moment in Stillwater.Postgame autographs are much sweeter following victories! #okstate pic.twitter.com/nR85SfOu3f— Cowgirl Basketball (@OSUWBB) February 26, 2017The Cowgirls lost in Ames on Monday night but will start Big 12 Tournament play this weekend in OKC. Thank you Cowgirl Seniors!It’s official. March 3, #okstate will be the No. 7 seed and take on No. 10 Kansas at 8:30 p.m. in OKC.— Cowgirl Basketball (@OSUWBB) February 28, 2017 Cowgirl SoftballThe Cowgirl softball team ventured out west participate in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Palm Spring, California. The ladies played five games scoring wins over Long Beach State, UC Santa Barbara, and New Mexico State, and falling to No. 21 California and San Diego State.All-around, it was a pretty solid weekend for the Cowgirls which included a timely 7th inning rally to down New Mexico State on Saturday.Also if you haven’t noticed this yet, the OSU softball team has some sweet threads.Watch out California, there’s a ❄️❄️❄️ coming through! We’re busting out our #Ice uniforms for Sunday! pic.twitter.com/o0WADFn380— Cowgirl Softball (@CowgirlSB) February 25, 2017 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.
In Oklahoma State’s spring football press conference, OSU head coach Mike Gundy said that the Cowboys will have more varied looks on defense in the future, and that includes using more three-down lineman fronts in 2017.The Cowboys used the formation a number of times last season. The 3-3-5 defense has a number of variations, but the Cowboys mostly used it last year in passing situations.The 3-3-5 in its original state (six in the box, secondary pressed at the line of scrimmage) often employs the “disciplined aggression” philosophy, relying on zone blitzes and pressure to stop opposing offenses. Additionally, it creates an unusual front for the offense to block against, which can aid the defense in the running game.When the Cowboys used the 3-3-5 last year, though, they used it in a more simplified state. They used a 3-3-5 “across”, which means that all five players in the secondary align roughly 7-10 yards behind the line of scrimmage.This is a conservative defensive alignment used to stop the deep ball and force everything underneath. Here’s a graphic from a Chalk Talk article on last year’s Texas Tech game:The defense occasionally struggled in this personnel, as they gave up easy throws that often went for big yardage thanks to yards after the catch. The 3-3-5 is most effective as an aggressive scheme, and the Cowboys used it more conservatively with mixed results.The tough thing about the 3-3-5, and with any pressure-heavy defense in modern football, is that it goes against offenses that operate with a much higher tempo than when the defense became popular in the early 2000s.At that time, a defense could call different exotic blitzes with no worry about having to call plays on the fly. Now, if a defense calls a blitz and the quarterback throws for a first down, the defense has to call another play on the fly with the knowledge that using the same blitz call twice in a row is a major risk.This isn’t to say that the defense can’t succeed in modern football. There are plenty of teams who successfully use exotic defenses, such as Arizona and West Virginia. The issue is that the defense takes time to learn, and no team is going to have success if they don’t have the ability to analyze and learn the defense extensively.This is where the hiring of defensive analyst Brian VanGorder comes in. VanGorder has extensive experience with three-down hybrid defenses, tracing all the way back to his job coaching linebackers at Grand Valley State in 1989 under current Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly.Gundy believes that VanGorder can help the Cowboys incorporate the three-down philosophy into their defense.“I think college quarterbacks have become coaches on the field,” Gundy said earlier this week. “If you don’t give them a different look sometimes and use some variation in your defense, they’re pretty good at picking you apart. We think there are times for three-down and times for four-down … and that’s why I wanted to bring a guy in to help us with how much you need to work on each area.”The Cowboys aren’t going to completely overhaul their defensive system, but they are going to venture into becoming a more varied defense. The hope is that they will have enough time and knowledge to be able to use three-down sets more effectively than they did last year.There were times where it worked well and there were other times when it did not. But with an offseason in front of them, and plenty of bright defensive minds on staff, they have plenty of time to turn it into an asset. 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.
It’s never too early to talk some early college football lines, and that’s just what everyone was doing this week as Odds Shark and South Point Casino came out with several early CFB lines for the first week of the season and beyond. Here are the OSU-related ones. September 9TCU-6Arkansas October 28Oklahoma State-5West Virginia All of this looks fairly reasonable. I’d love to jump on OSU -17 if gambling was legal. I think right now I’d also like to take OSU -1 against OU. This season has “OSU will win at home and lose the Big 12 title rematch to OU and OU will go to the CFB Playoff” written alllllll over it.Here are some other Big 12 lines of note. September 16USC-12Texas August 31Oklahoma State-17Tulsa 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. November 4TCU-5Texas September 16Oklahoma State-4.5Pitt DateFavoriteLineUnderdog November 4Oklahoma-1Oklahoma State October 14Oklahoma-8Texas DateFavoriteLineUnderdog November 11Baylor-7Texas Tech I’m in on tOSU -8 and USC -12. Both of those teams will dust OU and Texas at that point in the season, I think. Also like Baylor -7. All the favorites! September 9Ohio State-8Oklahoma
Tottenham Hotspur Dembele ‘a genius of football’ like Maradona and Ronaldinho, claims Pochettino Ben Spratt 04:51 24/2/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(1) Tottenham Hotspur Premier League Crystal Palace v Tottenham Hotspur Crystal Palace The Argentine manager played alongside both superstars, and he puts the former Fulham midfielder in the same bracket Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino believes Mousa Dembele to be “a genius of football” like Diego Maradona and Ronaldinho.Dembele has received rave reviews in recent weeks as Spurs emerged unbeaten from a run of fixtures that included clashes with Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Juventus.The former Fulham man has been key to this fine form and his manager was in no mood to play down the midfielder’s talents ahead of Tottenham’s next Premier League match against Crystal Palace. Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp “I can talk about [Dembele] because I know very well him after nearly four years,” Pochettino told a pre-match news conference. “I have told you – and some people use my word to describe him – he is a genius of football.”He is this type of player I put next to Ronaldinho, Maradona, [Jay-Jay] Okocha – players that I was lucky to play with. For me, he is one of the unbelievable talents in the history of football.”For him, it was always difficult to be fit – he’s always fighting for his fitness – but now he’s in an amazing moment and he deserves all the praise people are giving him.”Pochettino is hoping Dembele can again stand out at Selhurst Park, where he is expecting a tough test against Roy Hodgson’s Palace.”It will be a big battle,” he said of the match. “Roy and his staff are doing a fantastic job. It will be good to see them again.Great fight by the team #UCL #COYS pic.twitter.com/qt5iYeV1CE — Mousa Dembélé (@mousadembele) February 13, 2018 “We need to match them in the areas of motivation and [being] ready to fight and then, of course, try to deliver our way and our game. It will be very tough.”It will be very important to win the three points, fighting for the top four. The idea is to win, the idea is to fight, to be ready. The three points are massive for us.”
Eden Hazard Hazard is entitled to ask himself: What am I doing at Chelsea? Peter Staunton Click here to see more stories from this author Chief Correspondent Last updated 1 year ago 16:00 5/3/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(4) Getty Images Eden Hazard Chelsea Manchester City v Chelsea Barcelona v Chelsea Manchester City Barcelona Premier League UEFA Champions League Opinion The jig appears to be up for Antonio Conte and the Blues have a summer of rebuilding ahead of them, meaning their playmaker might consider moving on The warning signs were there before kick-off. The presence of N’Golo Kante for Chelsea in a game like this is non-negotiable.Although he travelled with the squad – and was seen coming through the bowels of the Etihad Stadium with the rest of his team-mates afterwards – the France midfielder was unavailable to face Manchester City on Sunday through illness.With him in the side Chelsea can play both ways. Antonio Conte can ask his side to get on the ball and he can rely on the simple but tempo-setting passes of Kante in midfield. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp If they decide to surrender the ball and play on the counter, well, Kante can be the ideal man for that too.Conte prepared a game plan for Barcelona in the first leg of the Champions League last 16 and assumed that he could deploy a similar set up against Pep Guardiola’s side.That would make sense if Kante was available. He wasn’t.Danny Drinkwater and Cesc Fabregas are an inadequate pair for a side of Chelsea’s profile in a game of this circumstance. The ex-Leicester captain appears to be a forgotten Chelsea Sporcle quiz answer-in-waiting such has been his lack of impact at Stamford Bridge.His signing, and that of Ross Barkley and Olivier Giroud in January, as well as Antonio Rudiger, Alvaro Morata and Davide Zappacosta in summer, hint at a much deeper problem. Transfers have not been on the required level.Chelsea were crying out for improvements last summer when Nemanja Matic, Diego Costa and John Terry were leaving. To that trio you can add David Luiz who has become persona non grata around West London under Conte. That is the heart and soul of a Premier League title-winning team.Chelsea’s recruitment department did not step it up and give their first-teamers something to think about. The Blues have regressed and regressed badly. Alarm bells should have been ringing as early as the Community Shield in August.Kante can do plenty to paper over the cracks as he is a one-man midfield. Without him this plan was doomed to fail.In it Eden Hazard is expected to work selflessly as a false centre forward. His role in an attacking sense is limited to instigating counter-attacks whenever possession-heavy opponents lose the ball.That might be fine if Chelsea had a little more ambition. But they were routinely coming forward with only three men – Hazard, Pedro and Willian – while a fourth in an off-key Victor Moses got forward only intermittently.Hazard’s best qualities are sacrificed in a team like this. He does not work well with his back to goal. Fans prefer to see him take possession somewhere high on the left, cut in and take shots or provide through balls.To willingly nullify your best attacking player requires the ultimate payoff of the result. It came against neither Barca – albeit unluckily – nor City.”I think the target was to be solid until the end and then try to put one in at the end,” Olivier Giroud said of the tactic. “Obviously, when you concede just after half-time, it is a kick in the leg a little bit but we still thought we could come back at the end. It was not enough but City deserved to win.”It is always easy to say that after the game but if Eden had an opportunity to score, we could have said it was the best choice. Obviously it was difficult today. I am not the coach and the coach makes the team. We have to respect that and give our best no matter who is on the pitch.”If the Barca draw convinced Conte that the system could be tried again then this disgrace of a showing should see it consigned to the dustbin unless they are playing Barca again. Even then it will come with no guarantees.This was a performance of such limited quality and ambition that Chelsea found themselves on the bad end of a couple of Premier League records. No team has ever completed more passes than the 902 City managed here. No player has managed more touches than the 174 by Ilkay Gundogan. How jealous Hazard must have been of those figures; he hit 20 passes on the day. Courtois, his goalkeeper, made 45. Some of those City passes and touches were delivered too easily. One unforgivable passage of play in the 75th minute saw Chelsea filter back into their defensive shape slowly, allow passes to be interchanged at will in front of them, before finally approaching their adversaries in possession at walking pace.Sky commentator Gary Neville raged against Arsenal in the Carabao Cup final last week for their walking football. He won’t be the only one unimpressed by Chelsea’s efforts on Sunday.Maybe that’s just how good Guardiola is. He reduces otherwise decent teams to the role of jobbers. No team has a good plan for City other than to dig in, soak it up and hope for the best. You’ll get lucky every now and again as Wigan proved recently. But it’s not enough. It’s certainly not enough for a team like Chelsea and a player like Hazard.He is 27 now and has a few more seasons at his peak. There remains significant disquiet at the Bridge over their playmaker’s new contract. What he was asked to do at the Etihad – and the standard of his team-mates at present – should have him think twice about his next move. Indeed he did not shake the hand of his coach Conte when finally replaced late on. There is clearly more upheaval and more new arrivals imminent at Chelsea this summer. It would be amazing if Conte lasted through to August at this rate while a clear-out on the playing side can be expected. Hazard might well look at that mess coming down the line and think his interests are better served elsewhere.Although he’s got a couple of league titles to his name, he has not been part of a dominant Chelsea team – an era-defining team like Jose Mourinho’s back-to-back title winners or the 2012 team that won the Champions League.He has played his part in their big recent successes but there is a lack of a plan, a lack of identity and a lack of promise at present. If Hazard decides to leave he will not be short of suitors. One thing is for sure, he would be forgiven for thinking that he deserves better.
Arsenal Mertesacker will regain love for football, says sympathetic Wenger Matt Dorman 23:52 14/3/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images Arsenal Premier League Arsenal v Milan UEFA Europa League The Frenchman has hailed the Germany international defender for his honesty after a candid interview with Der Spiegel Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger expects the retiring Per Mertesacker to rediscover his passion for playing soon after he hangs up the boots.World Cup winner Mertesacker recently revealed a desire to avoid being called upon during the final months of a career plagued by injuries.In a candid interview with Der Spiegel, the 33-year-old detailed his battles with anxiety and said he was eager to be “free” from the mental and physical demands of professional football. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Wenger sympathised with Mertesacker’s honest admission, although he believes the former Germany international will move past his frustration.”I think that will go very quickly. Once you stop for a few months you are ready to play again,” Wenger told reporters on Wednesday.”He has had a very long career. He never plays one minute without being totally focussed. That demands a huge amount of effort and that is why he has had the career he has.”To be a professional football player is to face a huge level of expectation. First of all from yourself, because these players are very demanding of themselves and that creates stress.”To play at the level they play today you need to have a huge resistance to stress.”To express what you want to do you need your body to be at your service. You never know how your body will respond, how you will feel, how much your reflexes in a game will be there. It is always an uncertainty and that creates stress.”Mertesacker, who will take over as the Gunners’ academy manager at the end of the campaign, has not featured since Arsenal’s FA Cup exit to Nottingham Forest in January. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
Our esteemed colleague Nancy at Getting Attention has a terrific nonprofit marketing carnival today with everything you ever wanted to know about social networking. (A carnival just means a bunch of bloggers writing on a theme.) She says:This traveling Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants brings you the best blog postings on nonprofit issues. For this week’s event, I asked bloggers to advise on how already over-taxed nonprofit communicators can handle the ever-expanding menu of communications channels, especially social networking tools, and what social media have the greatest potential for nonprofits. My post of last week is featured, along with work by bloggers smarter than I am on the topic! Highly recommended reading.
This is my broken record alert (from flickr’s 45 street), as well as a signal I’ve broken the rule I laid out yesterday, which is to be unexpected. Here’s my broken record refrain: If you know me, you know I’m always talking about how it’s best to appeal to the existing values of an audience instead of trying to convert them to your set of values. Don’t make your world view a prerequisite to a person taking action.Made to Stick, the book I’m blogging this week, explains a fresh new reason why it’s better to work from an audience’s existing schema than to try to build them a new one. It allows you to make profound ideas compact, which in turn makes them stickier. I quote:How do you do that? You use flags. You tap the existing memory terrain of your audience. You use what’s already there.People are tempted to tell you everything, with perfect accuracy, right up front, when they should be giving you just enough info to be useful, then a little more, then a little more.Nonprofits are very guilty of that second point – telling everything. Tell less, in fewer words. It’s more effective, always.Another way to think of this approach is to visualize a person’s mind as a bunch of little hooks (the Heaths say the brain really has them). If you can attach your message on a bunch of existing hooks, it’s going to stick like velcro. If you try to make new hooks, you’re in for a big, messy self-help project.
It seems like a new social network or social network application targeting do-gooders sprouts up every day – like change.org, zaadz or razoo, Causes on Facebook, etc. So what is an overwhelmed do-gooder to do? What should a nonprofit do?My clever colleague Justin Perkins of Care2 has some great materials to help you weigh the relative merits and risks of investing in social networks.First, he does a nice analysis of the “Long Tail” of Facebook causes here.Second, he created a nifty ROI calculator to help you decide which investments are worth an effort.Both are required reading! And listen to the bottom line:The same old organizing rules still seem to apply, though there are some obvious advantages to playing in social networks if you are promoting a nonprofit cause. Social networks are different from other mediums, in that they tap into some basic human needs in a new way — the need to be part of a group, the need to be creative, and the need to have a voice heard in a public forum. But it’s tough to get in the middle of that, as an organization. It can take a lot of time. In the meantime, on a self-promotional note, don’t forget that you can create a Six Degrees badge that works on many social networks — as a way to experiment to encourage supports across different platforms! (Six Degrees is part of Network for Good, where I work). You could win a $10,000 matching grant if you’re really good at it!