Zalewski shining in Bielema’s spring corps

first_imgAJ 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.”last_img read more

Original PacMan created to attract women to arcades because women like

first_imgIf you ever wondered what inspired the little yellow guy known as Pac-Man to run across the screen eating everything in his way, it was a ploy to get women into video arcades. The creator of the game said in a recent interview that he thought because “women like to eat” they would want to play a video game based entirely around eating things.While some might balk at the notion that centering a video game around eating comes across as sexist and stereotypical, this idea was born from a time when only a handful of women were even working in video games industry, let alone playing games. Add to that the fact Pac-Man was created by a Japanese game studio, in a country that is heavily dominated by men in the business and technology industry even by today’s standards.For his time, creator Toru Iwatani was revolutionary. He wanted to bring more lady gamers to the arcade. He saw just as much value in them as their male counterparts, but thought that women might not be as attracted to shooting up baddies like men were. So his idea of a little pizza-shaped guy running around eating pellets and fruit and “little monsters rather than a savage video game where you kill your enemies” would be what sold video games to women en mass.And it worked. By 1982 there was a noticeable uptick in women at the arcade. So much that Electronic Game Magazine released an article on it. They did a study on gamer demographics n 1982, and how much Pac-Man influenced the rise of the female gamer. Namco’s Pac-Man, and Midway’s release of it in North America, was the first big commercial hit that brought in the lady gamers. Midway’s spokesman at the time, Stanley Jarocki even credited women for making Pac-Man a success.Outside of Pac-Man though, the top games women liked to play at the arcade? Bezerk and Space Invaders. The very games that Iwatani feared were keeping women out of the arcade. It may have taken Pac-Man to get the ladies inside the doors, but it just goes to show that video games are universal for everyone.If you like weird statistics, the article breaks down the median age of the female gamer in 1982 (26), and how 8% are over the age of 40. Men and women would spend the same amount of time at the arcade (2 to 5 hours per week), with students spending far more time in front of the machines. EGM also talks about two competitive gamers from 1982: Jody Abramson and her circuit on Mattel’s Baseball and Ok-Soo Han’s win at Chicago’s Artari’s Centipede tournament.As for what Iwatani has been up to since he left Namco, he has found a job as an educator at Tokyo Polytechnic University, where he teaches video game development and is working on new ways to use video games to enrich and educate society.[Photo via Flickr – Rob DiCaterino]last_img read more