When head coach Clay Helton announced Sunday that true freshman JT Daniels would be taking over the helm as the Trojans’ starting quarterback for Saturday’s season opener against UNLV, he was taking a risk — albeit a calculated one. With a total of three collegiate games played — not started, but played — among the three rostered quarterbacks, the competition for the starting job among redshirt sophomore Matt Fink, redshirt freshman Jack Sears and Daniels started on a rather even playing field. The one wrinkle thrown into that situation was the fact that only a year ago, Daniels was supposed to be entering his senior year of high school while Fink and Sears began fall camp.For Daniels, just about all the tangibles and intangibles of a Power Five starting quarterback are there. Throwing for over 4,100 yards with 52 touchdowns in his final season at Mater Dei? Check. Collecting the best possible personal and team accolades possible in winning a state and national championship while being honored as the 2017-18 Gatorade High School Male Athlete of the Year? Check. Showing, by all accounts, wisdom well beyond his years and a capacity for the limelight that has become a necessity as the USC signal caller? Check.Yet, the inherent risk lies in a player who has only formally practiced with the team for a few months. Learning the playbook, creating chemistry with upperclassmen wideouts such as redshirt sophomore Tyler Vaughns and junior Michael Pittman: These are skills that can only come with time. In his eyes, however, Helton feels that Daniels’ time has come. His maturity is the quality that shines through more than any other.“As you can imagine JT was excited when we let him know,” Helton said. “But his uncanny maturity kept him focused on what is next.”As is with the theme of Daniels’ college career so far, the quarterback enters rarified territory becoming just the second true freshman to start a USC season opener since Matt Barkley in 2009. In fact, Daniels is just one of four to ever do so at USC, joining Barkley, Heisman trophy winner Carson Palmer and Cotton Bowl champion Rob Johnson.The biggest lingering question about Daniels is his ability to come in and ease the pain of transitioning from an all-time USC great in Sam Darnold to, well, anyone else. If anything, Daniels is a barometer of what kind of program the Trojans are at the moment. In the early 2000s, USC was able to replace Palmer with Matt Leinart, a Heisman trophy winner and two-time national champion. John David Booty, who won two Rose Bowls, would follow Leinart. Compare this to the years that would follow in which many talented, highly touted quarterbacks would fail to maintain the same level of excellence, and it leaves the Trojans in a state of flux.As much as Daniels will be interesting to watch for his own growth as a player, it will be even more appealing to watch what he does to continue Darnold’s legacy of success. Who knows? Maybe after all the fire Helton has come under since being hired two years ago, it turns out he’s just as great a quarterback whisperer as Pete Carroll. Certainly, it will take a few national championships with some Heisman trophies sprinkled in before we can properly compare the two, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility.In terms of what will be seen from Daniels now, it is unreasonable to have the same expectations for him that fans and media alike had of Darnold a year ago. Daniels, as good as he may be, is unlikely to be playing for a national championship this year. He may not even play for a Rose Bowl; currently the sights are set on taking the season one week at a time. Unlike Darnold, Daniels is in a situation where he can truly grow. First, while he has just come out of a quarterback competition in camp, he doesn’t have a five-star junior like Max Browne breathing down his neck. Second, Daniels gets real game action and plenty of practice reps to work with the first team offense, luxuries not truly afforded to Darnold until Week 4 of his magical 2016 campaign. Lastly, Daniels is a true freshman. At the very least, he will have a full three years to work in the USC system, establish his play style, and, even, bring USC back to the level it was at heading into 2017.For now, Daniels and Helton are just worried about UNLV, and they’ll let the rest of their bright future together fall into place.Jimmy Goodman is a junior majoring in communication. His column, “The Point After,” runs every other Tuesday.
Ohio State presented its plan for Buckeyes football players on May 20. On that day, there were 621 new cases of COVID in the state of Ohio. When the first players began returning June 8, that number was down to 413. By July 13, it had spiked to 1,502.This is why the Big Ten and Pac-12 already have said they will contest only conference games this season, and why the other major leagues are delaying decisions about what course their autumns will take.Playing college football in the current environment is a challenging endeavor, possibly impossible. The idea, though, that preparing to play is needlessly dangerous or, as Chris Hinton said, “They’re not even hiding the fact it’s about revenue,” is a far greater stretch than anything that’s happened before the football players run sprints. Greg Sankey knows better than anyone what three properly sequenced letters can convey. He is the commissioner of the S-E-C, a brand that may be as powerful and distinctive as any in sports. So how did he not know, when informed that someone from H-B-O wanted to interview him, that the resulting piece was going to be one-sided with or without his side?HBO has done some important sports journalism over the years, but its track record on coverage of college athletics is predictable and abysmal. HBO aired the execrable documentary “Student Athlete” in 2018 and, earlier this year, presented the ludicrous “The Scheme,” which seemed designed to cast convicted criminal Christian Dawkins as some sort of Marvel superhero. BENDER: Best-case scenario for college football in 2020 still standsSankey agreed to talk anyway, and the “Real Sports” program used that opportunity mostly to harangue him for declining to break the confidence of his member schools regarding how many of their football players had tested positive for COVID-19 after returning to campus.That’s the subject of the “Real Sports” segment titled “Dangerous Games,” reported by David Scott and produced by Josh Fine: the decision by many member schools to invite their football players back to campus for summer workouts as the coronavirus pandemic has escalated.The title itself is a conspicuous indication that “Real Sports” believes athletes being back on campus is Real Bad.There is almost no consideration given to the contention of many, expressed by Pacific-12 Conference commissioner Larry Scott in a May interview with CNN, that athletes engaging in on-campus training are safer there than they would be if they would were lifting weights or running pass patterns in their home communities.Because the choice for most college athletes isn’t between training on a campus and quarantining at home, playing “Madden” and watching “Tiger King” from the safety of their bedrooms.It’s between lifting weights in a public gym around people who aren’t regularly tested, with no medical supervision present, and, as Ohio State AD Gene Smith explained in a May teleconference, being grouped with nine other teammates to enter the Buckeyes’ football facility together, work out for an hour, then clear out so the place could be sanitized before the next group arrives.”Real Sports” did allow Sankey to say, “That reality informed what I still believe is the right decision.” But this one opposing opinion did not emerge until the report already had run more than 10 minutes and only in between the multiple questions designed to embarrass him for not being willing to reveal medical data that isn’t his to share.MORE: Which conferences have canceled their 2020 seasons”Dangerous Games” complained that too many of the Power 5 programs it contacted declined to share COVID testing data publicly. Of the 20 that did, however, the report said 8 percent of football players had produced a positive test compared with just 2 percent of the general public in the same age group.This was a disappointingly disingenuous use of data, making it seem that engaging in preseason training put the athletes in peril. These figures ignored that basically 100 percent of the football players had been tested for COVID, and a large number of positive cases were discovered in initial testing when players reported. They brought it with them. It also neglected that an infinitely smaller portion of the 18-24 age group has been tested for the illness — many, like the athletes arriving on campus, haven’t been sick enough to know they were sick.The case in the report is presented almost exclusively through an interview with one set of parents, Chris and Mya Hinton, who have two sons playing major-college football: Chris, a defensive lineman at Michigan, and Myles, an offensive lineman at Stanford.They expressed concerns about the propriety of athletes being gathered on campus to train for the 2020 college football season, as well as this: “As the parent of a football student-athlete,” Chris Hinton said, “actually, it pissed me off.”Hinton, who played in the NFL from 1983-95 as an offensive lineman, complained that the players and parents had “no voice” in the decision regarding the decision to have players resume on-campus workouts. He and his wife did not say why, given those concerns, they chose to allow both young Chris and Myles to return to their schools for training sessions that were known to be voluntary.Curiously, Scott either did not ask the Hintons why they sent their sons back to campus, or their response was not included in the piece. It seems the most salient question of all, and it was ignored.Those who insist there is no such thing as “voluntary” in college sports surely have slept through the past half-decade. The adoption of the transfer portal in NCAA athletics prevents any coaches or athletic departments from exercising extraordinary control over those who play football or basketball or any other major-college sports.MORE: Polls shows most fans don’t think football will happen this yearIf the Hinton brothers wished to opt out of summer training, it likely would have impacted their positions with their current teams. The experiences of hundreds of transfers, though, has demonstrated that there would be no shortage of programs eager to embrace those looking for a new home.We do not know whether there will be a college football season in the fall. It seems less likely than it did, frankly, when most of the decisions were made by Power 5 schools to stage on-campus training.
Theeka from Thika, Kiambu County are the defending champions and will open their campaign against Milimani in the knock-out competition.The second edition has attracted 32 teams.“We expect to have a better tournament than last year. The tournament has grown, last edition we had only 16 teams but on Saturday we will have 32 teams. We urge all the funs to turn out with their families as we have a good time,” tournament organiser Sir Alexas announced.The winner will walk home with 20,000 Airtime from Safaricom, two cases of beer courtesy of Tuborg while the Most Valuable Player in the final will be rewarded with a return ticket and merchandise from Jambo Jet.0Shares0000(Visited 17 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000The second edition of the KOT 5-aside football tournament will go down this weekend at Ligi Ndogo GroundsNAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 6 – A total of 32 teams will battle for supremacy this weekend when the second edition of the Kenyans On Twitter (KOT) 5-aside football tournament will be held at the Ligi Ndogo Grounds.Organiser of the event announced that the number of teams participating in the fun showdown has increased from 16 in the last edition.