The Latest: Dixon dominates first half of Indianapolis 500 The story of the second quarter of the Indianapolis 500 has been miscues on pit road.Alexander Rossi was challenging race leader Scott Dixon when he came out of Turn 4 too hot and missed the entry to pit lane. Sage Karam lost a lot of time when he locked up his tires and missed his stall on pit road. Rookie driver Rinus VeeKay also lost several seconds when he stalled leaving his pit, then he was penalized for hitting a team member.The most intriguing part of the race so far has been pit strategy. Several of the Team Penske drivers are on a completely different strategy from the leaders, including the defending winner Simon Pagenaud. They are hoping that strategy may help overcome what appears to be a gap between Honda and their own Chevrolet engines.___3 p.m. Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditThe Latest from the Indianapolis 500, which was delayed from Memorial Day weekend because of COVID-19:___4 p.m. Marco Andretti has led the field to the green flag for the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500, the familiar field of 33 roaring down the canyon-like front stretch of empty seats at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.The warm-ups found Andretti following the IndyCar two-seater driven by his grandfather and 1969 winner Mario Andretti with his father and team owner Michael Andretti in the second seat. It was the first time that the three generations of the family were on the track at the Brickyard at the same time.The call to start the engines was delivered by Roger Penske, whose family purchased the speedway along with the IndyCar Series. He promised that fans would be “back home again in Indiana” in 2021.___1 p.m. Associated Press James Davison has brought out the first caution flag of the Indianapolis 500 when he made contact with the wall in the opening laps and his right front tire turned into a ball of fire.Davison was able to exit the car without any problem. His car was still smoking as it was lifted onto a flatbed truck.Scott Dixon went immediately to the front when the green flag dropped, passing pole sitter Marco Andretti heading into Turn 1. Ryan Hunter-Reay also was on the move in the opening laps as Honda flexed the muscle it has shown all month.___1:30 p.m. Marcus Ericsson got into some turbulent air while running near the front of the Indy 500 and slapped the outer wall in Turn 2, bringing out the second caution flag on the hot, sunny day in Indianapolis.Scott Dixon had led the first 28 laps before taking the field down pit road for the first set of stops. He was still in first after the stop with Takuma Sato, Alexander Rossi and Marco Andretti close behind.The weather could play a factor in the race. It is much warmer than it typically is during the race in May.___1:40 p.m. Scott Dixon has dominated the first half of the Indianapolis 500, much as the five-time IndyCar champion and 2008 race winner has dominated the rest of the season for Chip Ganassi Racing.Dalton Kellett brought out a caution before the midway point when he hit the wall hard. That erased about a lead of about 10 seconds that Dixon had built over the course of a long green-flag run. But after the field cycled through pit stops, Dixon found himself at the sharp end of the field once again.When the race went to green, Conor Daly and Oliver Askew were involved in a heavy wreck deep in the field. Askew was visibly shaken as he climbed out of the car, sitting on the tub for several minutes to catch his breath.___3:30 p.m. August 23, 2020 The countdown is on to the start of the Indy 500, which was delayed from its traditional date in May because of the coronavirus pandemic and will be run without fans for the first time in its 104 editions.New track owner Roger Penske, whose team has four cars in the field, and IndyCar executives have tried to create an entertaining prerace show for broadcaster NBC. But the build up to “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” is still somewhat eerie without the 250,000-plus fans who typically show up inside the Brickyard.Driver introductions took place with the voice of the public address announcer echoing off the empty stands. There also will be no military parade or balloon release, two staples of race day. But there will be Jim Cornelison singing “Back Home Again in Indiana” and the Air Force’s famed Thunderbirds performing a flyover.___More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/apf-AutoRacing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comments (3) Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close WordPress.com Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings Sort by: Date Rating Last Activity Loading comments… You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. +6 Vote up Vote down paula mortimer · 392 weeks ago Congratulations Vince! You are truly a man with integrity, and class. It is nice to see such a good man win this honor. Good luck on your next adventure (wellington city council race) you have my support and vote! Congratulations again. Report Reply 0 replies · active 392 weeks ago +4 Vote up Vote down Yes & No · 392 weeks ago Congrats Vince. You have been a friend of only not Wellington, but Sumner County. Thanks again. Report Reply 0 replies · active 392 weeks ago +1 Vote up Vote down Guest · 392 weeks ago Congratulations Vince and congratulations James, you’ll make a great president for the chamber. Report Reply 0 replies · active 392 weeks ago Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow â€” Vince Wetta joined a long list of Distinguished Service Award recipients Thursday night when he was chosen the 2012 DSA winner in front of a capacity crowd at the annual Wellington Area Chamber of Commerce Celebration at Theurer’s Marketing Center. Other big winners included: â€¢Mark Cress, who won the Sumner County Young Professional of the Year presented by the Sumner County Young Professionals.â€¢Security State Bank which was named Business of the Year. Winners of the Chamber Presidential Awards were given from out going President Jodie Heath. They included: â€¢Mike and Maggie Evans, owner of Slate Creek Books and chief organizers of the Wellington Farmers’ Market;â€¢Raymond Schalk, outgoing director of the Wellington Senior Center;â€¢Susan Treft of Susans’ Portrait Designs;â€¢Beverly Huntzinger, posthumously recognized for her pageant work;â€¢Tracy Heath, WPD Chief and husband of Jodie. The evening belonged to Wetta, who was presented the award from last year’s recipients Perry and Sherry Wiley. Wetta has been a civil servant who has worked on the Santa Fe Railroad and was a Kansas State Representative for six years representing the 80th District that was splintered this year due to legislative redistricting. Richard Klemp from the Kansas Star Casino, who had worked for Peninsula Gaming – a group that wanted to put a casino on Exit 19 in Wellington a few years back, put it best.“It was the effort of Vince that Sumner County became part of the south-central gaming zone. Had it not been for Mr. Wetta there would not be a casino in south-central Kansas, especially after Sedgwick County voted it down.” Klemp presented Wetta a Mount Rushmore picture with Wetta imposed over President Abraham Lincoln.“Lincoln has a movie and a picture on the $5 bill, so the heck with Lincoln,” Klemp told a laughing audience.As always the DSA award is top secret until the presentation given to a deserving recipient annually since 1964 when Dwight Miller won the award. Wetta became the 48th recipient (two years a husband-wife team has won it) of what is considered to be the most prestigious award given in Wellington. Wetta, who was joined by his family, was nearly speechless after getting the award. “There is a lot of love in this family,” Wetta said. “If it wasn’t for my wife Marilyn, I wouldn’t be here. I was awfully hard on my boys as they were growing up. But they became good people. I thought if I expect that from them, I should expect that from myself.“It is important for me to give back to the community of Wellington and I plan to do so. Thank you so much.” The Legleiter Video of the DSA Award will be featured in this story shortly. As far as the rest of the evening, as always it was a big event held at Theurer’s this year since Wellington Memorial Auditorium is under renovation. The Chamber President torch was transferred from Jodie Heath to James Chism, who outlined his goals for the coming year including getting 300 new members into the organization. The 2013 Chamber Board of Directors were announced. Those members include: â€¢Cody White of the Wellington Recreation Commission;â€¢Jane Cole of Farmers Insurance, Chamber Ambassadors;â€¢Joe Moralez, KWLS Radio;â€¢Kelsi Hinshaw, Sumner Regional Medical Center Endowment;â€¢Kip Etter, the Dore;â€¢Sunni Bales, Futures Unlimited;â€¢Susan Treft, Susan’s Portrait Designs. Skeet Sirmons of United Country Theurer Auction/Realty was named President Elect. Keri Shimkus of Cornerbank was named secretary/treasurer. As always executive director Shelley Hansel Williams was the emcee and Michelle Wellington was the administrative assistant. A slideshow of yesterday events is here. To view these photos enlarged, click here.
Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comments (3) Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close WordPress.com Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings Sort by: Date Rating Last Activity Loading comments… You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. +2 Vote up Vote down CueballSumnernewscow 94p · 283 weeks ago OK, gang, this is all you have to do. Write up your garage sale and submit it as a comment. Write as much as you like and you won’t pay one cent! Example: Joe Blow at 100 North New York Avenue is having a garage sale for the Wellington Citywide. We will start the sale at 6 a.m. and run through noon Saturday. We will be offering a variety of stuff including clothes, furniture and a beautiful hand-woven rug. We will also be giving out free lemonade. Call us at 888-888-8888 if your have any questions. Hope to see you there! Report Reply 0 replies · active 283 weeks ago 0 Vote up Vote down Carrells · 283 weeks ago The weather sure feels like Garage Sale Time! Let’s get started! ODDS and ENDS SALE of stuff in the way after doing some cleaning. Come check it out. Thur afternoon and Friday 0-6 . Corningware pots. punch bowl set, other kitchen items, few clothes, TV, new never used juicer, surround sound system, few clothes. Still collecting and putting out. 621 Morningside Now! Report Reply 0 replies · active 283 weeks ago 0 Vote up Vote down Emily · 279 weeks ago Rummage Sale Saturday, May 2, 2015 – 8:00AM – 4:00PM Church-wide rummage sale benefitting Mt. Carmel Student Ministries. All customers welcome! Donations accepted. Rental sale space available to public for $20/table. Location: Front Parking Lot Mt. Carmel Christian Church 4110 Bach-Buxton Rd. Cincinnati, OH 45103 (Rain Date: May 16th) Report Reply 0 replies · active 279 weeks ago Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments By Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow â€” It is another garage sale weekend. And the world needs to know you are having one. Go ahead and post your garage sale in the â€œcommentâ€ section below. We will remind the shopping troops on Friday about your sale.Happy bargain selling and hunting!Follow us on Twitter.
Chelsea striker Morata agents in AC Milan talksby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveChelsea striker Alvaro Morata is in talks about a return to Italy in January.Morata is being increasingly linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge.The struggling Chelsea striker reportedly contacted Barcelona to enquire about a move last week.And Calciomercato says his entourage are now also spoken to AC Milan to see if they would be willing to take him away from the Premier League. Any deal would be a loan given Milan’s financial fair play plans. TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
ANN ARBOR, MI – NOVEMBER 28: Quarterback J.T. Barrett #16 of the Ohio State Buckeyes celebrates after rushing for a fourth quarter touchdown against the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium on November 28, 2015 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)Just because it looks like Braxton Miller won’t be playing quarterback this season for the Buckeyes, doesn’t mean Ohio State’s other QB’s can take things easy. There’s still a quarterback competition to win and a national championship to defend, and sophomore J.T. Barrett, the primary starter last season, certainly knows that. That’s probably why Barrett and fellow quarterback Stephen Collier spent some free time today throwing with wide receivers Johnnie Dixon, Parris Campbell and Noah Brown. That Ohio State offense will be scary this season, no matter who is at the controls.
TORONTO – An additional US$40 million has been secured for a plan to build a new high-tech neighbourhood at Toronto’s waterfront.Waterfront Toronto said on Tuesday that its board voted to move forward in creating the plan with Sidewalk Labs, which is owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet.Sidewalk Labs said the funding comes as the two sides signed a legal agreement on the plan. The company was chosen by Waterfront Toronto last October to present its ideas for a brand new area of the city.The high-tech district will be in the Quayside development, along Toronto’s eastern waterfront.According to a press release, Sidewalk Labs initially committed US$50 million to the planning phase. Sidewalk Labs spokesman Dan Levitan said another US$40 million had been committed on Tuesday.Levitan said the next steps for the planning includes holding a series of public consultations and noted that a draft plan will be released in early 2019 for another round of approvals.A proposal for the project says the high-tech community would centre on sustainability and affordability.Waterfront Toronto said the only commitment for the project at this time is creating a plan for Quayside.
PARIS- German legendary formula one race driver Michael Schumacher is in a critical condition after he hit his head on a rock in a skiing accident in the French Alps.The seven-times Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher is in a critical condition after a skiing accident in the French Alps, his doctors said in a press conference.The former race driver, who was unconscious when he was brought in a helicopter to the Grenoble hospital in southeast France, has suffered serious head injury and will have to undergo surgery, the hospital said in a statement. Formula 1 racer Olivier Panis, the last French race driver to win the Formula One Grand Prix, said he tried to visit Schumacher at Grenoble hospital.Brazilian Formula 1 racer Felipe Massa, currently driving for Ferrari, shared a picture of Schumacher on the online photo-sharing site, Instagram, and expressed his sympathies.‘’Michael, I’m praying for you my dear brother,’’ he wrote. ‘’I hope you get well as soon as possible, may God protect you,’’ he wrote on his Instagram.French Formula One driver Romain Grosjean wrote, ‘’All we can think about right now is Schumi and his family; I hope he gets well soon,’’ on his twitter account.The two doctors treating Schumacher, whose birthday is on January 3, said a new press meeting is going to be held today on Schumacher’s condition.
Over time, athletes get stronger and faster, come from a broader talent pool, are better trained, and benefit from ever-growing institutional knowledge of their chosen art. This is most readily apparent with such individual skills as swimming, running and jumping — or kicking a football.One of the biggest stories of the 2016 NFL wild-card round is how the Minnesota Vikings almost toppled the two-time defending NFC champion Seattle Seahawks, only to see their hopes dashed when kicker Blair Walsh shanked an easy 27-yard field-goal attempt that would have given the Vikings the lead with 22 seconds left in the game. The aftermath was dramatic, and once again, the NFL kicking game was thrust into the spotlight for pretty much the only reason it ever is: A kicker screwed up. Perhaps lost in the hubbub is that this was the only field goal missed all weekend.1Kickers made 24 of 26 attempts, including extra points (which are no longer gimmes). Such is the plight of the NFL kicker: They do their jobs remarkably well week in and week out, but get attention for it only when something goes horribly wrong.But not at FiveThirtyEight! We will acknowledge greatness in its many forms.Last year around this time, we published “Kickers Are Forever,” my ode to NFL kickers and the eerily steady progress they have made over the past 80-plus years. In that article, I showed how the kicking improvement has been reliable and has changed things like the fourth-down math. In the offseason, the NFL decided to make kickers’ jobs harder by moving the extra point back from the 2-yard line to the 15-yard line.Predictably, this led to some missed extra points. This combined with a down week or two early in the season, and the notion started to emerge that kickers were having a bad year, sucking in some prominent commentators. We debunked the idea of a “Kick-pocalypse” at the time, but given my interest in everything kickers, I’ve once again taken a dive into the numbers to see if the kicking train has actually been in reverse, or stopped, or even slowed.Spoiler: It has not. Indeed, not only was field-goal kicking in the 2015 regular season almost exactly as good as we said it would be, but kickers were the best they’ve ever been at kicking off and punting — with dramatic effects on the game.2These are not as athletically “pure” as field-goal attempts — meaning the results of a kickoff or punt will also depend on a number of factors not in the kicker’s control (such as special teams units). One thing that I mentioned in my previous article is that — with no natural offset like defense to offense — the improvement in kicking has played a central role in the offensive increase we’ve seen over the past decades. However, it seems like the natural offsets are actually kickoffs and punts, which have somewhat counterbalanced the improvement in kickoffs by giving offenses longer fields. I’ve also identified the best players at the different aspects of the kicking game, and I have some awards to hand out to the best of the best.Field-goal kickers have improved almost exactly as predictedYes, field-goal kickers missed 71 extra points this season, after missing only eight last season. This 94.2 percent is the lowest since 1979. No, this is in no way bad or unexpected. Historically, it is quite high for 33-yard attempts — though for kicking, “historical” is not always a good frame for comparison. So to be clear, it is perfectly in line with projections for 2015 kickers.Kickers also made 84.5 percent of their non-extra-point kick attempts — essentially tied for the second-best all time.3This season finishes a hair behind 2008, when kickers made 84.5 percent exactly; in 2015 they made 84.4985 percent — about 1/100th of a single made kick behind. This, despite the fact that they attempted longer kicks than ever. Here’s a plot of field-goal percentage vs. attempt distance over the past 14 seasons: By this metric, kickers had their second-best season of all time (trailing only their miraculous 2013 campaign) and were within a fraction of a percentage point of their projections — well within the margin of error.Using our field goal expected value model, we can see what kickers scored the most and fewest points relative to expectation. I’ve included the results for all players below. Our champion for 2015 was the New England Patriots’ Stephen Gostkowski, who ran 12.2 points above expectation by making 33 of 36 field-goal tries (for 9.2 points above expectation) and all 52 extra points (for 3.0 points above expectation). Under the new rules this year, 30 NFL kickers missed extra points; Gostkowski still hasn’t missed one since 2006 — his rookie season.The worst kicker was Tampa Bay rookie Kyle Brindza, who missed six of 12 field-goal attempts and two of eight extra points before being cut in October. He ran 12.0 points below expectation on just 20 kicks overall.Touchbacks are the new blackAnother area where kickers can provide significant value, and where we also see creepily constant improvement, is in kickoffs. Of course, kickoff results depend somewhat on special teams kick coverage (though hang time and location matter as well), but one mostly objective metric we can track is frequency of touchbacks (note that the large shift from 2010 to 2011 is a result of the NFL moving the kickoff spot up to the 35): In a big surprise to me — and a big loss for those of us who despise the punting game — punters and kickers seem to affect the game similarly. They each claim five of the 10 players with the highest value added this season,9Gay has been both a punter and kicker (and is identified as both by Pro-Football-Reference.com) but handles only kickoffs in the NFL. with punters taking four of the top five spots. Although most coaches are probably costing their teams points by punting too much instead of going for it, the ones with better punters are costing their teams less.That doesn’t mean punters have quite caught up to their place-kicking counterparts, at least at the very top. Johnny Hekker — the league’s most valuable punter, as well as a guy who admits he’s more comfortable with his Pokémon deck than he is tackling people — falls 3.3 points short of Gostkowski as the most valuable overall. Therefore Stephen Gostkowski of the New England Patriots is our 2015 NFL Football Player10Who actually uses his feet. of the Year.Finally, here, for your perusal, is a sortable table of value added by all punters and kickers this season: The average attempt distance has seen a steady increase, which might logically result in a decrease in efficiency, but the continued improvement of kickers has outpaced the increase in distance.This includes them making 65 percent of their kicks from 50+ yards — second only to the 2013 kickers — despite taking a record 160 such attempts. Here’s how they performed over each distance category:The 2015 kickers struggled a little bit from middle distances of 40 to 50 yards. And by “struggled,” I mean they had top-five all-time seasons but didn’t set records.From 55 to 59 yards, they made 13 of 19 attempts, or 68 percent — the best rate of all time for that range. In the four seasons from 2002 through 2005 (the first four years of the data shown above) they made 13 of 42 such attempts, or 31 percent.To better compare seasons, I’ve created an adjusted field-goal percentage that accounts for the distances of each kick and gives us that season’s expected make percentage for a baseline kick from the 30-yard line (about a 48-yard attempt):4The average kick is much shorter than that, but that’s about the sweet spot for a distance with lots of attempts where performance over time varies the most. It’s also a spot that requires both distance and accuracy and is around the area of the field where kicker improvement has the biggest impact on fourth-down decisions. The differences here are pretty depressingly drastic for punt haters. In the 2002 and 2003 seasons, the average punt from 60 to 90 yards out (the part of the field where end zone locations don’t come into play) netted 37.3 yards, while in the 2014 and 2015 seasons those punts netted an average of 42.7 yards. That’s a 5-plus-yard difference on every punt!So perhaps punt coverage has gotten worse? Nope. If you look at raw punt distance, punts have gotten 4.7 yards longer on average (47.8 vs. 43.1). Although 2015 punters set records at virtually every distance, the absolute margins are smaller when you get closer to the goal. For kicks 30 to 60 yards from the end zone, the gain has been 2.4 yards — but those yards may mean more if they help trap an opponent in dangerous territory. (The value of a single yard only really spikes at both end zones and the outer reaches of field-goal range.)Note that I have not fully modeled punting improvement’s impact on fourth-down decisions as I have with kicking8Mostly because it’s more complicated. When you’re at the 40, the difference between 30 net yards and 32 net yards is greater because trapping an opponent close to its goal line is valuable (which, of course, is yet another reason why kicking a field goal and fourth and goal at the 1 is one of the worst plays in sports). Expected points models may help clear this up, but in some ways using the current models begs the question, since these models make assumptions about punting. — yet — but it’s bound to be significant. Factoring in 10 years of kicking improvement was enough to swing many borderline fourth-down decisions in favor of kicking. Of the 40 situations I looked at, 11 had differences of less than two-tenths of a point — which is probably about the amount that midfield punts have improved. If a fourth-down model doesn’t adequately account for these highly predictable improvements, it could be getting many “go or no” calls wrong.The punting expectation curve is relatively easy to model with a polynomial linear regression, which means we can find the expected distance of each punt and then compare a punter’s results with that expectation.The punter of the year isn’t even a close call. The 6-foot-5, 236-pound Johnny Hekker of the St. Louis Rams led the league with a 47.9-yard average punt and netted his team 271 yards relative to expectation in the process.On the other end of the spectrum, the Jets’ Ryan Quigley averaged 43.8 yards per kick and lost his team 297 yards relative to expectation.Football player of the year (who actually uses feet)If we convert those punting yards into points as we did with kickoffs above, we can get down to business and calculate each kicker’s complete value added from kicks.Note that some punters also kick off and some kickers kick off, but there are (presently) no kickers who also punt. So for this chart I’ve plotted value gained from kickoffs vs. value gained from punting and kicking combined. Bubble sizes correspond to the total value the player added or cost his team, in expected points: The rate of touchbacks has been increasing pretty steadily, both before and after the rule change, reaching an all-time high of 57.4 percent in 2015 (not counting onside kick attempts). The average starting field position has clearly flattened, as we would expect, though 2015 still set a record: The average opponent starting position was 21.7 yards from the team’s own end zone, beating last season’s previous best of 22.0.Still, those couple of yards here and there on kickoffs add up. For example, the Colts��� Pat McAfee (aka “The Boomstick”) had touchbacks on 67 of 74 (non-onside kick) kickoffs (91 percent). That’s close to 25 more touchbacks than we would expect from an average kicker. As a rule of thumb, a typical touchback is worth about 4 yards,5This season, the average non-touchback return came out to the 24-yard line. meaning McAfee’s touchbacks alone were likely worth in the neighborhood of 100 yards, or the equivalent of 6 to 8 points over the season. That may not sound like much, but any player (especially a non-QB) who can get his team half a point or so above average per game is doing great.To get a clearer picture of which kickers are most valuable, we can compare each kickoff to league expectation to find total yards saved and then convert those yards saved to point equivalents.6Using a rough conversion of 15 yards per point. (The full results are in the table below.) If you combine kickoff value with field-goal value, Gostkowski’s lead as place-kicking champion widens: Add in the 11.6 points the Patriots earned on kickoffs (not counting onside attempts, which would help Gostkowski even more as the Patriots recovered both of their attempts this season), and Gostkowski earned 23.8 points for them above expectation. Second place is Buffalo kickoff specialist Jordan Gay with 10.8 points above expectation (all from kickoffs).Don’t look now, but punters are also changing the gameFinally, let’s turn to the most reviled of all football plays: the punt. Why teams voluntarily give up possession all the time instead of fighting tooth and nail to keep the ball — particularly with good field position — is an ongoing mystery. But they are getting better at it. Indeed, in recent years, the improvement in punting is perhaps even more marked and consistent than it has been with kicking.7Unlike with field-goal kicking, this rate of improvement seems to be more recent. The average yards per punt appears to have hovered around 40 from the ’50s through the ’80s. Source: ESPNCORRECTION (Jan. 13, 7 p.m.): The original version of this post contained several points that were based on a critical calculation error discovered by a reader, Jason Hahn. In determining the best kickers of 2015, we attempted to exclude onside kicks, but because of an error in how we filtered our data, onside kick recoveries by the kicking team were treated as a touchdown instead of being ignored. After a recalculation, Stephen Gostkowski of the Patriots becomes the most valuable kicker, not Johnny Hekker of the Rams, who moves to second place. In earning kickoff points above expectation, Jordan Gay of the Bills takes second place, not Mike Nugent of the Bengals. The touchbacks kicked by Pat McAfee of the Colts were worth 6 to 8 points over the season, not 8 to 10 points. The rate of all touchbacks reached a high of 57.4 percent in 2015, not 56 percent. The Patriots earned 11.6 points on kickoffs, not 7.7 points. These and other smaller errors have been corrected in the text of the article and in the charts and tables.
OSU cheerleaders lead OSU football players out of the field at Ohio Stadium prior to the annual Spring Game on April 18. Team Gray defeated Team Scarlet, 17-14. Credit: Muyao Shen / Lantern photographer Despite playing with what coach Urban Meyer called a “makeshift offensive line” during Saturday’s Spring Game, members of the Ohio State football team had nothing but positive things to say about where the starting five blockers are at.And with four of the five starters from last season’s national championship team back in the fold, it is easy to see why.Senior Taylor Decker, redshirt-junior Pat Elflein, redshirt-sophomore Billy Price and senior Jacoby Boren all return as members of the “slobs,” the nickname given to the starting offensive line unit.Only departed tackle Darryl Baldwin’s job was up for grabs before the spring. Meyer announced after the Spring Game, however, that it now belongs to redshirt-senior Chase Farris.“Chase Farris has earned his way, he’s a starting right tackle at Ohio State,” Meyer said.Offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Ed Warinner said having a successful season under a group’s belt is the best thing for an offensive line unit.“It’s amazing how much linemen get better in the offseason, because now they have a visual picture of how it all works,” he said. “Now, when they work on things, it just seems to make sense.”One player who Meyer and Warinner both said they feel has benefited the most from the offseason is Price, whom Meyer described as “night and day” from where he was last fall.“Billy has confidence now,” Warinner said. “Confidence comes from playing well in big games down the stretch. He’s so much further along in his development and where he’s at right now.“Billy’s just so confident in what he’s supposed to do and how he’s supposed to do it and now it just shows.”Price said OSU’s three postseason games marked a turning point in his playing career.“Those final three games, something clicked. When we played Wisconsin, and the whole offensive line’s a cohesive unit, and we continued that into Alabama and continued that into Oregon, it just felt like something finally clicked,” Price said.Despite Boren being held out of the Spring Game as he recovers from offseason surgery, Warinner said he has complete faith in the senior.“Jacoby’s great,” Warinner said. “Rehab’s good, work ethic’s great, leadership’s great, so expect him to be full speed sometime this summer, ready to be his best.”Warinner said sometimes the best practice an offensive lineman can get is competing with his own teammates on the other side of the ball. That can be especially beneficial for OSU — which features some of the best practice a player can find in Associated Press first-team All-American and junior defensive lineman Joey Bosa.“(Elflein) goes against Bosa on a daily basis, and that’s helped him grow and his confidence level,” Warinner said.While the five starting linemen have the full faith of the coaching staff, Meyer expressed some concern about the players waiting in the wings.“The area (of worry) is the offensive line. That’s the problem,” Meyer said. “And once again, not the starters, because I feel good (about them) … I’m very alarmed by the second group of offensive linemen right now.”Price said he feels like a lot of the responsibility in shaping the second unit to be ready to come in on the drop of a hat falls on the starters.“Working with younger guys, it’s like playing with clay,” Price said. “You get to mold them. As older players like Taylor, Pat and Jacoby, you get to really, really show what type of leadership we have in the room, and to fully develop those guys to become part of the ‘slobs.’”The “slobs” are set to look to carry over their strong play from last season’s title run when OSU opens its season against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., on Sept. 7.
Ohio State freshman Andre Jeff crosses the finish line in 4×400-meter relay to seal the 2018 men’s track and field Big Ten championship in Geneva, Ohio on Feb. 24. Credit: Ethan Clewell | Lantern reporterOhio State will switch roles from guest to host at the Jesse Owens Classic this weekend in Columbus. The meet made is up of Division I, Division II and Division III programs, along with some professional athletes. It also is Ohio State’s only outdoor home meet.“I think it’s going to be a really fun meet, it’s my last time competing in front of the home crowd,” senior Chantel Ray said. “I’m just going to go out and have fun,”Ohio State is coming off its toughest meet of the season, the Tennessee Relays. The Buckeyes did make a lasting impression, especially with their younger talent. A pair of freshmen stood out in last week’s highly competitive meet: Eric Harrison Jr. and Andre Jeff.Harrison, who has the fastest 100-meter time on the team at 10.28 seconds and is currently qualified for the NCAA Regional meet, finished second in the 200-meter dash and was on the 4×100-meter relay team that placed second.Jeff, who has the fastest 400-meter time on the team and also is currently qualified for the NCAA Regional meet, placed second in the 400-meter dash and was on the winning sprint-medley team. “The future looks bright,” coach Joel Brown said. Men’s previewSaturday, in particular, looks bright for both Harrison and Jeff because they held their weight in last week’s meet that included track-and-field stars Justin Gatlin and Christian Coleman. This week’s meet does not have nearly have the same strength of competition. In the 100-meter dash this weekend, Harrison will have his fastest competition coming from other Buckeyes. Ohio State’s 4×100-meter relay members are all in the first heat, the fastest heat. This week’s 4×100-meter relay team contains senior Duan Asemota, junior Nick Gray, senior Zack Bazile and Harrison. This specific lineup has set the fifth-fastest time in the country. “It will be a pretty stout team,” Brown said. Gray is set to run in the 4×100-meter relay, 100-meter dash and the 200-meter dash. However, that may change depending on his health. In the 110-meter hurdles, junior Dauan Seward is set to go up against an All-American, Youngstown State’s Chad Zallow. Seward also is set to compete in triple-jump, and he will enter with the best performance in the field by 0.6 meters.Women’s previewRay last week had the toughest completion out of all of the athletes. She ran against Kendra Harrison, the world-record holder in the 100-meter hurdles. This week, she will be the favorite. She will be going up against Wright State’s Cassandra Lloyd, who has a faster personal record, but hasn’t competed since June. No matter who has been on the starting blocks next to her, Ray has the mindset to stay in her lane. “I don’t worry about my time or anybody else’s time. I just run my race,” Ray said. Ray also is set to compete in the 4×100-meter relay, a challenge Brown wants Ray to face. “You have to sprint. You can’t just do hurdles,” Brown said. Throughout the season they have worked on her technical efficiency in the hurdles along with her sprint speed. This week she has been focused on minor improvements on her form in getting over the hurdles and her speed between hurdles.“Usually I back off and people start pulling away from me,” Ray said. Ohio State’s shot put will be going up against a very familiar face in junior Sade Olatoye, a Buckeye who will throw unattached. Olatoye was the Big Ten Indoor Champion for Ohio State in shot put this past indoor season. Other notesThe seniors won’t be honored at the meet, but were honored at a private banquet Thursday night.This season Ohio State has traveled more than 5,000 miles for meets. This home meet gives Ohio State a rest from travel, and it allows the Buckeyes to stay in Columbus the weekend before finals.