Badgers bringing energy on road to Bemidji State

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first_imgWith just six games remaining, Brooke Ammerman and the Badgers have surged to a 24-2-2 record.[/media-credit]One more win and they’re WCHA champions.With a 16-point lead over second place Minnesota, the Wisconsin women’s hockey team needs just two more points to lock up the WCHA regular season title.After an attendance record-setting game against Minnesota last weekend, Wisconsin is confident it can bring the 10,668-fan energy up to Bemidji.“If I’m a player, this is fun,” head coach Mark Johnson said. “This is exciting. We only get six more [games]; as a team, that’s all we get. You want to prepare for each one of them as if it’s the last one of the season. I think we’ll come out Friday with some energy. We’ve got some things to play for yet.”The Badgers are not taking the Beavers for granted. Bemidji State has defeated other top teams and has started to make a name for itself nationally.BSU (12-11-3, 10-9-3-2 WCHA) hasn’t cracked the top-10 rankings, but has been receiving votes for several weeks. Bemidji State has also been a consistent challenge for Wisconsin, forcing the Badgers to work much harder for their wins.“I think we just have to keep things in perspective,” junior forward Brooke Ammerman said. “Bemidji has beaten Minnesota, Mercyhurst and Duluth, three of the top teams in the country. They gave us two good games when they were here. It’s going to be a tough challenge.”These two teams last met in early October at the Kohl Center. The Badgers dominated Friday night with a 7-1 win and managed two goals in the second game.That 2-0 win over Bemidji State is the lowest scoring game Wisconsin has played all season.“I think they just play a great system,” Ammerman said. “They all buy into it and they’re pretty good skaters now. They have that really good goalie in net. They give us a hard time every time we play them and they play very disciplined. We just have to make sure we don’t get frustrated and we keep moving the puck and back-check hard and make sure they don’t get a quick goal on us.”Knowing one will eventually find the back of the net, UW is aware it needs to get off as many shots as possible. Yet, the defense also needs to stay consistent with the past couple of weekends and focus.“I think consistency is a big deal for our defense,” senior defenseman Geena Prough said. “Just focusing on the little things and getting the puck up quick, and quick transitioning. We know that their goalie is very good so we just need to get a lot of shots and hopefully that’ll take care of itself.”With only six games left in the regular season, the Badgers are treating each game as their last.For Prough, nothing can be taken for granted.“Obviously I have to play each game like it’s my last. It’s my senior year so I can’t take anything for granted. I think coming off of this weekend against Minnesota we have a lot of energy and we’re ready to go. We’re going to treat Bemidji like any other top ranked team because they’re a very good team.”Johnson is confident his team’s season-long hard work – with only two losses on its record – will pay off.“We’re playing for a title right now and if we win Friday night, they’ve done something special,” Johnson said. “It’s a long grind, it’s a tough trophy to win. It takes a lot of time, it takes a lot of commitment, it takes a lot of things going right for a long period of time. Now they’re in position, they can see their hand on it.”last_img read more

Palmer impresses offensive line coach Adam and other observations from Day 6 of training camp

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first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ OffenseAlthough Prince-Tyson Gulley figures to be the feature back for Syracuse, junior George Morris II took a few snaps with the first-team offense during 11-on-zero drills in open practice Thursday. During the first series of reps, the quarterbacks threw approximately 10-yard passes — all of them completed — to the tight ends. With starter Terrel Hunt leading the first team, sophomore Mitch Kimble continued to head the second-string offense. Sophomore Austin Wilson and freshman A.J. Long split third-team snaps, as they have all week.After two rounds of handoffs, the signal-callers aired it out a bit, sending throws at least 30 yards downfield.Hunt hit Ashton Broyld and Kimble connected with Ben Lewis, but Long overthrew Corey Cooper, who didn’t have a chance to make a play on the ball.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textHunt found tight end Josh Parris on the next snap, and Kimble and Wilson threw screens to running backs Adonis Ameen-Moore and Ervin Phillips, respectively.Special teamsRyan Norton continued to take the first field goal reps and Riley Dixon was again his holder, but it was safety Darius Kelly — another candidate for the starting holder spot — who flashed some explosiveness. While holding for senior Alex Hodgkinson, Kelly took off with the snap, rolled to his right while looking for a receiver and eventually bolted down the right sideline for a would-be score.Dixon is in the lead for holder, a spot vacated by the graduated Charley Loeb, but Kelly’s play indicated some possible deception from Syracuse’s field-goal unit. “He can run, he’s quick,” head coach Scott Shafer said during his post-practice press conference. “We have to practice those things as if he had a bad snap or something. It wasn’t really a designed trick play. I think he gives us some speed, but Riley will be our first-team holder right now. That’s just something we’ll work on in a couple of days.”Running backsStaying low to the ground was a point of emphasis for running backs in Tuesday’s open practice, and on Thursday the group took it a bit further.Drills earlier in the week entailed the ball carriers ducking underneath a chute and running straight ahead. They repeated that drill Thursday, but in the second reps they took handoffs, avoided the chute and added a cut back underneath it. To practice absorbing contact, position coach DeAndre Smith was waiting there to hit them with a shield after the cut backs. Later in the practice, Smith threw a mini obstacle course at his players. They high-stepped and side-stepped over dummies before charging through a blaster — a piece of equipment with dummies at various heights — to continue working with contact.Tight endsThe tight ends continue to hone their receiving skills.On Thursday, tight end coach Bobby Acosta threw high passes — excessively high, at times — to his players, who had to elevate to haul them in.But in a series of throws during open practice, many of Acosta’s passes ended up on the ground. “Oh, shoot! Oh, shoot!” he yelled, as he moved on from an errant throw and prepared to release the next.After the 11-on-zero snaps, Acosta fired passes over the middle for his tight ends to catch, his accuracy improved.  Offensive lineSeparating his line into guards and tackles again, offensive line coach Joe Adam had his guards go through individual drills in which they pulled to the right off the snap and hit the shield with their right shoulder. After a few minutes, they reversed to the left.Adam had especially noticeable praise for junior guard Omari Palmer during the drill.“That’s it, Omari! That’s it,” he yelled.After the entire offense convened for a few reps and then re-split into positional groups, the offensive linemen worked on one-handed blocks. Just before the practice was closed to reporters, the linemen went through a drill in which two of them lined up next to each other, and pushed their blocks outward at a 45-degree angle to create an opening between them. Comments Published on August 7, 2014 at 7:57 pm Contact Phil: pmdabbra@syr.edu | @PhilDAbblast_img read more