AJ MACLEAN/Herald photoAfter entering last season as the biggest question mark on a defense featuring a talented line and experienced backfield, the Wisconsin linebackers returned all three starters heading into this year’s spring practice. However, with senior “will” backer Dontez Sanders nursing an injury, several youngsters have stepped up for Bret Bielema’s defense.“Obviously, we have guys that haven’t had many reps in live game situations,” Bielema said. “The more you can put them in those situations through scrimmages, pressure situations, understanding what the point is in the football game that they need to do this, this and this for this to happen. That’s going to happen, but there’s a big, big learning curve. They learn every day, you can see it literally happen within a practice.”One of those youngsters who has grabbed the coaching staff’s attention this spring is redshirt sophomore Casey Hogan. Hogan worked at safety last season, but shifted to “sam” linebacker prior to the spring session and has earned a spot on the second team defense after beginning the spring buried on the depth chart.“What we’ve really done is put him in a position where he would have more success physically, in theory, than the other position,” Bielema said.The transition to linebacker has been, by Hogan’s own admission, tough. However, the new “sam” backer has been studying film and learning from teammates.“It’s definitely a lot more physical,” Hogan said of playing on the strong side. “I’ve definitely been in the training room a lot more than I’m used to. I’ve just got to use my size and my long arms to my advantage and know where I’ve got to line up in formations and stuff and just do my keys and I’ll be alright.”Hogan has made the most of his chances thus far, showing his combination of speed and quickness for a linebacker. The lanky 6-foot-5 Hogan has also used his atypical size to create problems for the UW offense on blitzes during scrimmages. For the Cross Plains native, his play of late is a culmination of many hours of hard work.“The goal coming into the spring was just to get the coaches to notice, work hard in the weight room and get bigger, faster and stronger with [strength and conditioning coordinator John Dettman] and company,” Hogan said. “I’m just working hard, trying to get up in the film room as much as I can, get up with the coaches, talk to them. I’m lucky they’re noticing and I’m making the plays and getting the opportunity.”The man ahead of Hogan on the depth chart, junior Mark Zalewski, has had one of the best springs of any player on the defensive side of the football. While senior Lamarr Watkins, who has played in 31 games (starting eight) in his career, has taken the majority of snaps with the first team defense at “will” in Sanders’ absence, only Zalewski appears to have a real grip on a starting job.“I think Mark Zalewski is a good football player,” Bielema said. “Zew’s probably my best linebacker at any position, and he knows that. He’s really competing well amongst himself. He knows what he has to do to become a better football player. The rest of the guys, it’s a wide open battle and they’re doing some good things.”A position in an upheaval of sorts this spring has been “mike” backer, where sophomore Andy Crooks, who took over the starting spot for five games near the end of last season, has been among a number of players working with the first team defense in the middle.Junior Reggie Cribbs, who started prior to Crooks’ emergence until he was limited by an injury last season, has been a noticeable absence this spring. Cribbs has not participated in practice reportedly due to academic issues, and his status for the fall remains uncertain.Along with Crooks, junior Paul Joran and redshirt freshman Josh Neal have each spent time at first team “mike”, with Joran seeing the most time of late.The group as a whole will receive a boost in the fall from a talented freshman class that includes highly touted linebackers Travis Beckum and Elijah Hodge. However, the influx of new talent could also leave several current Badger linebackers fighting for spots on the depth chart.“We can’t worry about them,” Hogan said. “We’ve got to do our job right now, it’s spring ball and they’re obviously not here. But when they come in, we’re going to welcome them and try to help them into our family at linebacker, help them as much as we can and make us a better unit.”
“To have a full stadium in a foreign country, the movement is just swelling before our very eyes.”Obviously you have the president of France there [Emmanuel Macron], the president of FIFA, you have our [USFF] president, delegates from all over the world.”This is what the people want, give the people what they want, always.” Megan Rapinoe wants action on the issue of equal pay after helping the United States to a fourth Women’s World Cup final triumph.The USWNT beat the Netherlands 2-0 in France on Sunday to retain their title, with Rapinoe scoring a second-half penalty before Rose Lavelle found the net as well. At the next World Cup in 2023, FIFA president Gianni Infantino wishes to double the prize money to $60 million, yet at the men’s competition in 2022, teams in Qatar will have a pot of $440 million.Rapinoe, who spoke at length on the issue prior to Sunday’s final, revisited the matter again having collected her Golden Boot and Golden Ball awards for the tournament’s top scorer and best player.She also called for action from the US Soccer Federation (USFF), with the players in Jill Ellis’ team having taken legal action against the governing body earlier this year over pay disparity and working conditions.”Everyone’s asking what’s next and what we want to come all of this – it’s to stop having the conversation about equal pay and are we worth it,” Rapinoe said.”What are we going to do about it? Gianni, what are we going to do about it? Carlos [Cordeiro, USFF president], what are we going to do about it? Everyone. It’s time to sit down with everyone and really get to work.”This game has done so much for all of us, we’ve put so much into it. I think it’s a testament to the quality on the field.WW.Your #FIFAWWC Golden Ball and Golden Boot recipient, @mPinoe. @roselavelle earns the Bronze Ball, and @alexmorgan13 earns the Silver Boot. pic.twitter.com/vS8ErCKJxb— U.S. Soccer WNT (@USWNT) July 7, 2019″I don’t think everything else is matching that. How we do get everything to match up and push this forward because I think at this point the argument that we have been having is totally null and void.”She added in the post-match press conference: “It’s time to move that conversation forward to the next step. A little public shame never hurt anybody, right?”Rapinoe, who scored six times in France, was presented with both of her individual prizes by Infantino on the pitch after the game.Asked what they spoke about, she replied: “Just pleasantries. There was a wry smile in there, for sure. He knows that I know.”I think he did say, ‘Let’s have a conversation.’ I said, ‘I’d love to.'”Infantino would also have heard fans in the stadium chanting ‘equal pay’ while he was on the pitch.Rapinoe and her USA team-mates will share a pot of $4 million for winning the tournament, with France’s men’s squad earning $38 million for triumphing in Russia last year.”Love it,” Rapinoe said of the chants.
[wzslider autoplay=”true”]Edin Džeko, the captain of national football team of B&H, officially signed the contract with Roma on Wednesday and became its new member. At the very beginning, at his arrival, it was clear that this transfer will draw a lot of attention of Italian media and fans of the same club. Definitely, the captain of the Dragons is giving hope to the fans of the maroon team that they will finally reach the top of the championship.Football Italy, especially the part whose heart is with Roma, gladly welcomed the news of the transfer of Edin Džeko from Manchester City. None of the foreign football player was not greeted with so much glam in the capital of Italy for a long time.Of course, Džeko arrived at Roma with the reputation of one of the best attackers in Europe. He is expected to score goals and make his new club closer to the match with Juventus for the championship title that Roma is waiting for since 2001. The fact that they gave him a jersey with the number 9, with the words – “all the greats of Roma wore this jersey,” is speaking enough on how sensational Džeko is experienced and positioned as a leader of quality team that Rudi Garcia is building.“The most important thing is that Edin is happy and satisfied, and that he found his peace. He came to the club that wanted him so much, and made great efforts to get him. Roma gave him the importance that he definitely deserves and I wish him to be happy and successful, “said the coach of B&H national football team, Mehmed Baždarević.Most of the coaches on the Old Continent speak about Džeko in a special way. Therefore, Roma should be happy to get him. The former coach of BH national team, Safet Sušić was pretty clear when he spoke about the ambitions of Roma in the next season.“Džeko and Pjanić should be very well prepared. Roma is tired of having a secondary role in Serie A next to Juventus. They brought Džeko to win the title.”On the basis of what his transfer caused, Edin is expected to show the reason why fans of Roma should say “that’s what we were missing.”According to estimations of the relevant football experts, Džeko will not only exceed the expectations, but he is soon to become a big favorite of Roma’s fans. He acquired this status in his previous clubs as well. Džekomany already took over the Rome, which was evident at the airport and the first training session of the team.The captain of the Dragons was full of great impressions as well. He likes everything in Roma, literally everything, and fans will enter in the new season with great optimism and new dreams of winning the 4th Italian title. (Source: klix.ba)