The Ducks get an “Obi-Win” in Canal on Star Wars Night

The force was with the Rubber Ducks on Star Wars night at Canal Park on a cold rainy Thursday in Akron. The Ducks opened their four game home series against the Altoona Curve, an affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Altoona’s starting pitcher Brandon Waddell had the Ducks off balance early and often piling up six strikeouts in only three innings of work. Akron didn’t register a hit until the fourth inning when Bobby Bradley banged a triple off of the left field wall. It was a bullpen night for the Curve, and kept the Ducks at bay for the majority of the middle innings until the seventh when Akron’s catcher Eric Haase ripped a two RBI triple to give Akron the lead. Cameron Hill relieved Luis Lugo and pitched 2 and 2/3’s of scoreless ball to maintain the lead for the Ducks. Akron gave up the lead in the top of the ninth via sacrifice fly to even the nights proceedings at two a piece, and there was a collective groan from the fans that stuck around as the precipitation picked up in Canal. Rubber Duck’s designated hitter Joe Sever played the role of Luke Skywalker and saved the day for Akron, sending the fans home happy when he blasted a ball into the right center field gap for a walk off win. The Rubber Ducks improve to 11-14 on the season and play the Curve (15-10) again tomorrow night in Canal Park at 6:35pm.

MAC Tourney Day 1:NIU huskies fight their way back after falling behind big in the first half

Cleveland, OH: Had this been a fight the referee would have called it early, but good thing they didn’t…

In the second quarterfinal game at The Q saw the fifth seeded Ohio University Bobcats squaring off against the fourth seeded Northern Illinois University Huskies. OU came into the game feeling good about their win on Monday against the 12 seeded Eastern Michigan Eagles; while NIU had been eagerly waiting to play, having played well enough in the regular season to get a first round bye.
Early on it seemed as though we would witness the first blow out in The Q; the Huskies looked stagnant and rusty from sitting out first round play on a bye. NIU’s zone was thwarted in large part because OU could not miss anything; the Bobcats shot an astounding 57% from 3PT range in the first half. OU came off the tip running and gunning and started the first quarter of play with a 14-5 run. The Lady Bobcats continued to play solid D and drill 3’s up until halftime; when play paused at the midway juncture The Q saw the score sitting at 41-24 in favor of OU. Although NIU was facing a serious deficit there was something that happened right before the halftime buzzer that seemed to have provided a spark of moment for the Huskies. NIU’s Renee Sladek hit a buzzer beating 2 point shot at the baseline, which didn’t seem like much at the time but it would give the Huskies enough belief to start a comeback.
If you live by the three, then you will most certainly die by the three…
The halftime break seemed to put Ohio’s three-point shooting on ice; the Bobcat’s Cavalier-like 3-point shooting percentage dropped from 56% to a pedestrian 34% in the second half. While OU was building a neighborhood with their bricked threes; NIU continued to penetrate the paint and dominated the second half outscoring the Bobcats 48-30. The whole stadium could sense the momentum shift, as NIU seemed like an unstoppable force that saw the Bobcats wishing time would tick faster off of the clock. NIU took the lead with 49 seconds to go in the game and never looked back. OU had a chance to win the game on a last second three as the Bobcat litter looked on in disbelief watching their MAC tourney dreams rim out with the last second shot.
NIU moves on to the semi-finals where they will take on the eighth seeded Western Michigan Broncos who also come off a nail biting comeback game against one seeded Central Michigan. NIU and WMU play Friday in The Q; tip off is 11am

2016 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Wide Receivers

Wide Receivers
1. Corey Coleman
– Height: 5’11
– Weight: 194
– College: Baylor
– Class: Junior (Redshirt)
Coleman is an explosive playmaker as an outside receiver. The 2015 Biletnikoff Award winner, which is the award given to the best collegiate receiver, Coleman is ranked number one on my board because of his ability to make the big play. Decent size for a receiver, not a physical monster by any stretch of the imagination, but has enough build to transition to the NFL.
Combine Results
– 40 time: 4.40s
– Bench: 17
– Vertical Jump: 40 ½ inches
– Broad Jump: 10’9
Most analysts have Treadwell as the clear top receiver in the 2016 class, but I believe in Coleman’s ability to stretch the field while still being able to make plays in the short to intermediate passing game.
Some of Coleman’s shortcomings are mental which causes red flags to be raised for a few organizations, but his high ceiling is what makes him the top receiver in the draft.
Coleman is a projected mid-first round pick, and would have to fall to the Browns later in the first round to be considered a good pick by Cleveland. Even with Coleman’s talent and potential, Cleveland would not be a good fit for Coleman because the of the Browns’ position in the draft.
NFL Comparison
Best Case Scenario – Emmanuel Sanders
Worst Case Scenario – John Brown

2. Laquan Treadwell
– Height: 6’2
– Weight: 221
– College: Ole Miss
– Class: Junior
Laquon Treadwell is the most physical receiver in the draft. As previously stated, the majority of analysts have Treadwell as the best receiver in the draft, but problems with drops, route running, and average speed leave me unimpressed. What you see is what you get with him, a solid pass catcher that can line up both inside and out using his physicality to get open. The problem with his “physical dominance” in college is that the NFL is a different animal, and every cornerback is just as physical as Treadwell.
Combine Results
– 40 time: 4.64s
– Bench: 12
– Vertical Jump: 33 inches
– Broad Jump: 9’9
With all that said I still believe Treadwell will transition well to the NFL and be a solid receiver for many years. Whoever drafts him should expect immediate production; the only reason I don’t have him listed as the top receiver is his potential. Treadwell is projected to fall somewhere in the middle picks of the first round, and would be a reach for the Browns at 8, but would be a great addition and a significant upgrade for Cleveland’s receiving corps.
NFL COMPARISON:
Best Case Scenario – Anquan Boldin
Worst Case Scenario – David Boston

3. Will Fuller
– Height: 6’1
– Weight: 186
– College: Notre Dame
– Class: Junior
Will Fuller is a speed demon, plain and simple. Fuller is the kind of receiver that stretches the field and allows other receivers to find open space in the middle of the field. A dynamic playmaker, Fuller is second all time on Notre Dame’s receiving touchdown list. Shows the ability to go up and snatch the ball out of the air, and has an extra gear down field that allows him to create space.
Combine Results
– 40 time: 4.32s
– Bench: 10
– Vertical Jump: 33 ½ inches
– Broad Jump: 10’6
It’s worth noting that Fuller was clocked at 2.51 seconds at 20 yards, which means he accelerates to top speed very quickly and that should translate well to the NFL. Fuller’s shortcomings include: untimely drops, thin frame at the receiver position, and question marks surround his ability to make plays in the middle of the field. Fuller is projected in the late first round or early second round. He would be a great fit for Cleveland as a playmaker on the outside, and would fall to the Browns in a range that would make him worth the pick.
NFL Comparison
Best Case Scenario – DeSean Jackson
Worst Case Scenario – Ted Ginn
4. Josh Doctson
– Height: 6’2
– Weight: 202
– College: TCU
– Class: Senior (Redshirt)
Doctson left TCU as the school’s all time leading receiver. A tall lanky receiver that needs to add bulk to his frame if he wants to excel in the NFL, Doctson has all the ability in the world to be a star. At TCU, Doctson played in the spread so he will have to adjust to an NFL playbook, but has enough raw athleticism to ease the transition.
Combine Results
– 40 time: 4.50 seconds
– Bench: 14
– Vertical jump: 41 inches
– Broad jump: 10’11
Doctson showed struggles with concentration catching balls over the middle of the field, as well as mediocre route running which raises red flags. If he can overcome those problems and add some weight to his frame he will be a productive receiver in the league.
The Browns could end up drafting Doctson as he is projected as a late first to early second round pick and would be a solid fit on the team.
NFL Comparison
Best Case Scenario – Joe Horn
Worst Case Scenario – Michael Jenkins

5. Michael Thomas
– Height: 6’3
– Weight: 212
– College: The Ohio State University
– Class: Junior (Redshirt)
Michael Thomas out of The Ohio State University is a physical beast. Great size for the receiver position, and possesses raw athleticism. More of a work in progress prospect than a NFL ready made guy. Thomas was Ohio State’s best receiver this past season and arguably was the best receiver on the national championship team two seasons ago.
Combine Results
– 40 time: 4.57 seconds
– Bench: 18
– Vertical jump: 35 inches
– Broad jump: 10’6
Thomas is still figuring out how to be a complete receiver and has much to improve on. Route running and mental focus are huge downsides to his game, but with the right team he could flourish. He is projected as a second round pick; Thomas could potentially be a good fit for the Browns, but not in a good position to be drafted by the Browns because if they take him high it would be a reach and he most likely won’t fall to the third round.
NFL Comparison
Best Case Scenario – Marques Colston
Worst Case Scenario – Roy Williams

2016 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Wide Receivers

Wide Receivers

  1. Corey Coleman
  • Height: 5’11
  • Weight: 194
  • College: Baylor
  • Class: Junior (Redshirt)

Coleman is an explosive playmaker as an outside receiver. The 2015 Biletnikoff Award winner, which is the award given to the best collegiate receiver, Coleman is ranked number one on my board because of his ability to make the big play. Decent size for a receiver, not a physical monster by any stretch of the imagination, but has enough build to transition to the NFL.

Combine Results

  • 40 time: 4.40s
  • Bench: 17
  • Vertical Jump: 40 ½ inches
  • Broad Jump: 10’9

Most analysts have Treadwell as the clear top receiver in the 2016 class, but I believe in Coleman’s ability to stretch the field while still being able to make plays in the short to intermediate passing game.

Some of Coleman’s shortcomings are mental which causes red flags to be raised for a few organizations, but his high ceiling is what makes him the top receiver in the draft.

Coleman is a projected mid-first round pick, and would have to fall to the Browns later in the first round to be considered a good pick by Cleveland. Even with Coleman’s talent and potential, Cleveland would not be a good fit for Coleman because the of the Browns’ position in the draft.

NFL Comparison

Best Case Scenario – Emmanuel Sanders

Worst Case Scenario – John Brown

 

 

  1. Laquan Treadwell
  • Height: 6’2
  • Weight: 221
  • College: Ole Miss
  • Class: Junior

Laquon Treadwell is the most physical receiver in the draft. As previously stated, the majority of analysts have Treadwell as the best receiver in the draft, but problems with drops, route running, and average speed leave me unimpressed. What you see is what you get with him, a solid pass catcher that can line up both inside and out using his physicality to get open. The problem with his “physical dominance” in college is that the NFL is a different animal, and every cornerback is just as physical as Treadwell.

Combine Results

  • 40 time: 4.64s
  • Bench: 12
  • Vertical Jump: 33 inches
  • Broad Jump: 9’9

With all that said I still believe Treadwell will transition well to the NFL and be a solid receiver for many years. Whoever drafts him should expect immediate production; the only reason I don’t have him listed as the top receiver is his potential. Treadwell is projected to fall somewhere in the middle picks of the first round, and would be a reach for the Browns at 8, but would be a great addition and a significant upgrade for Cleveland’s receiving corps.

NFL COMPARISON:

Best Case Scenario – Anquan Boldin

Worst Case Scenario – David Boston

 

  1. Will Fuller
  • Height: 6’1
  • Weight: 186
  • College: Notre Dame
  • Class: Junior

Will Fuller is a speed demon, plain and simple. Fuller is the kind of receiver that stretches the field and allows other receivers to find open space in the middle of the field. A dynamic playmaker, Fuller is second all time on Notre Dame’s receiving touchdown list. Shows the ability to go up and snatch the ball out of the air, and has an extra gear down field that allows him to create space.

Combine Results

  • 40 time: 4.32s
  • Bench: 10
  • Vertical Jump: 33 ½ inches
  • Broad Jump: 10’6

It’s worth noting that Fuller was clocked at 2.51 seconds at 20 yards, which means he accelerates to top speed very quickly and that should translate well to the NFL. Fuller’s shortcomings include: untimely drops, thin frame at the receiver position, and question marks surround his ability to make plays in the middle of the field. Fuller is projected in the late first round or early second round. He would be a great fit for Cleveland as a playmaker on the outside, and would fall to the Browns in a range that would make him worth the pick.

NFL Comparison

Best Case Scenario – DeSean Jackson

Worst Case Scenario – Ted Ginn

  1. Josh Doctson
  • Height: 6’2
  • Weight: 202
  • College: TCU
  • Class: Senior (Redshirt)

Doctson left TCU as the school’s all time leading receiver. A tall lanky receiver that needs to add bulk to his frame if he wants to excel in the NFL, Doctson has all the ability in the world to be a star. At TCU, Doctson played in the spread so he will have to adjust to an NFL playbook, but has enough raw athleticism to ease the transition.

Combine Results

  • 40 time: 4.50 seconds
  • Bench: 14
  • Vertical jump: 41 inches
  • Broad jump: 10’11

Doctson showed struggles with concentration catching balls over the middle of the field, as well as mediocre route running which raises red flags. If he can overcome those problems and add some weight to his frame he will be a productive receiver in the league.

The Browns could end up drafting Doctson as he is projected as a late first to early second round pick and would be a solid fit on the team.

NFL Comparison

Best Case Scenario – Joe Horn

Worst Case Scenario – Michael Jenkins

 

  1. Michael Thomas
  • Height: 6’3
  • Weight: 212
  • College: The Ohio State University
  • Class: Junior (Redshirt)

Michael Thomas out of The Ohio State University is a physical beast. Great size for the receiver position, and possesses raw athleticism. More of a work in progress prospect than a NFL ready made guy. Thomas was Ohio State’s best receiver this past season and arguably was the best receiver on the national championship team two seasons ago.

Combine Results

  • 40 time: 4.57 seconds
  • Bench: 18
  • Vertical jump: 35 inches
  • Broad jump: 10’6

Thomas is still figuring out how to be a complete receiver and has much to improve on. Route running and mental focus are huge downsides to his game, but with the right team he could flourish. He is projected as a second round pick; Thomas could potentially be a good fit for the Browns, but not in a good position to be drafted by the Browns because if they take him high it would be a reach and he most likely won’t fall to the third round.

NFL Comparison

Best Case Scenario – Marques Colston

Worst Case Scenario – Roy Williams

Buffalo Bulls to face Akron in MAC Championship

Cleveland, OH- The nightcap Men’s semi-final game was a heavyweight bout that saw the 2nd-seeded Ohio Bobcats face off against the 3rd-seeded Bulls of Buffalo. The Bobcats sported the MAC player of the year in Antonio Campbell who averaged 17.6 PPG during the regular season. The Bulls looked towards a return to the MAC championship to defend their title.

 

The first half got off to a sluggish start offensively for both teams. The first ten minutes of the half only yielded a combined 27 points and neither team shot better than 33% from the field. The stifled offenses were less a product of great defense and more a product of blown layups and shoddy shooting from the perimeter by both teams.

 

Towards the end of the first half the shooting warmed up a little bit for both teams as the percentages crept up near the 40-45% range from the field. Buffalo started to pull away with a minute and a half until halftime, taking a double-digit lead at 36-24. The score at the midway break was 41-29 in favor of the Buffalo Bulls. Nick Perkins and Willie Connor led the scoring for Buffalo 12 points a piece; the leading scorer for the Bobcats was Antonio Campbell with 11.

 

Both teams seemed to benefit from the halftime shoot around, the Bobcats started the half 4-5 and the Bulls started 3-4 from the field. The score after three minutes of play was 53-40 in favor of the Bulls. Nobody wanted to miss in the second half, a far cry from the first half of play. Ohio went on a 10-3 run to pull within five with 14 minutes to play. Buffalo’s Willie Connor took matters into his own hands to stop the bleeding, hitting a three pointer and layup to push the lead back up to ten points, making the score 60-50.

 

The Bobcats got the deficit under double digits at 67-58; Ohio started to make a few shots and Buffalo’s offense became stagnant and ineffective with less than 10 minutes to play in the game. Two straight offensive fouls going against Buffalo allowed Ohio to once again cut the lead down to five, making it 67-62. The Bulls went on a 12-2 run that opened up a fifteen-point lead on the Bobcats that all but ended the game. Buffalo emerged victorious, the final score on the jumbo-tron at The Q read 88-74.

Buffalo will play Akron in the MAC Championship tomorrow.