Smith pumped up for England clash

first_imgMOHALI, India, CMC – Opener Devon Smith says scoring his maiden One-Day International century has given him added confidence for West Indies’ clash with England next Thursday in Chennai. The left-hander made 107 last Friday as West Indies beat Ireland by 44-runs to inch even closer to a quarter-final spot of the ongoing World Cup. “I’m feeling very happy at the moment and I’m happy for the fantastic support of my team-mates and all those people who supported me and believed in me over the years,” said Smith, who surpassed his previous best of 91 against South Africa three years ago. “Winning a match for the West Indies feels great! I am now more confident and I’m looking ahead to the next game against England in Chennai. “That is the next step and that is all we are concentrating on at the moment. We will be look to move from strength to strength.”Smith faced 133 balls and struck 13 fours and one six, and anchored the innings after West Indies were sent in to bat. He put on a slow 89 for the first wicket with Shiv Chanderpaul (35) but was involved a frenetic 88-run stand for the fourth wicket with Kieron Pollard who fell just short of three figures with a robust 94. “Doing so well and helping the team to a victory … has given me great confidence,” said the 29-year-old. “I started slowly but I knew that if I battled out to the end of the innings I would be able to cash in and get a good score at the end. It’s all about the team and I batted for the team.”West Indies were missing talismanic opener Chris Gayle who pulled out of the side with an abdominal strain, and Smith said this was his cue to shoulder the responsibility. “With Chris out … I realised from very early that I had to step up and be counted in a big way,” he explained. “I was asked to take on the responsibility and I am happy I did it. It feels really good that I could get my first ODI century in a winning cause and help us get closer to next stage of the World Cup.” The victory left West Indies second in the standings on six points from four matches, with remaining fixtures against England and Group B leaders India. With the century, Smith moved to 202 runs for the World Cup at an average of 50.5.Source: Cana News Tweet Sharing is caring! Share Sharecenter_img Share NewsSports Smith pumped up for England clash by: – March 14, 2011 30 Views   no discussionslast_img read more

Football searches for defensive leadership

first_imgAll three are expected to be ready for the regular season, however, and their absence gives inexperienced or forgotten players the chance to showcase their skills against a talented group of Trojan receivers. As the team continues to grow, they haven’t forgotten last season’s emotions. Redshirt freshman cornerback Isaac Taylor-Stuart runs during spring football practice. (Josh Dunst / Daily Trojan) “The defensive line has been probably the most impressive, just with their techniques up front,” Pendergast said. “The inside linebacker position with the young guys has been fun to watch. They’ve really picked up their ability to blitz inside.” All USC teams are talented, but this one faces the monumental task of making fans forget about the team’s frustrating 2018 campaign. The defense in particular has a lot of questions to answer: The unit lost four major contributors from 2018 in linebackers Porter Gustin and Cam Smith, cornerback Iman Marshall and safety Marvell Tell. “Honestly, it helps us more because we’re able to learn more positions on the field and get used to playing inside and outside instead of corner sticking to corner, safety sticking to safety,” said redshirt freshman cornerback Chase Williams. “It helps us all to learn every position on the field and, at the end of the day, it gets our conditioning up.” “What I want is a bunch of leadership,” Burns said. “Even the freshman [are] communicating, being boisterous about situations and encouraging each other. I think we have a crop of leaders, not just in the secondary but on the defensive side.” “The technique as a corner is very important, especially getting your hands on them, stopping them from running their route, making it a lot tougher for the [quarterback] to make the throws,” Taylor-Stuart said. Defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast said putting players at multiple positions helps the coaches as well as the players. “When you’re teaching the defense, when you’re putting it in in the spring, trying to find out what guys do best, what gives them the best opportunity not only for the team but for them as well, you have to kind of mix and match,” Pendergast said. Taylor-Stuart and Williams said their work with defensive backs coach Greg Burns helped them pick up the slack. “We want to come out and dominate and compete every day,” redshirt sophomore defensive lineman Marlon Tuipulotu said of his position group. “We want to hold ourselves to a higher standard than we did last season because we felt we didn’t do what we were supposed to.”center_img Taylor-Stuart echoed Burns’ philosophy of emphasizing on proper technique, especially when it came to physicality with receivers. The other areas of the defense have had a bit more luck healthwise. Pendergast said he has liked what he has seen from the defensive line and inside linebackers. Nothing can be taken for granted when a team has everything to prove. That is the mindset the USC football team holds halfway through its spring practice schedule. “I just like working against whoever steps up,” said redshirt freshman cornerback Isaac Taylor-Stuart, a highly-ranked recruit who missed much of last season due to injuries. “I like working with [senior Michael] Pitt[man], [redshirt-junior] Tyler Vaughns, [sophomore] Amon-ra St. Brown — it doesn’t matter who steps up. As long as I work and get better, that’s all that matters.” With young players stepping up, Burns said he didn’t care who emerged as a leader, just that they communicate. The injuries have forced the remaining defensive backs to fill in at every position in the secondary, which can be mentally and physically tiring but also rewarding. The team is dealing with particular challenges replacing those last two players, however. The Trojans are dealing with injuries to sophomore cornerback Olaijah Griffin (shoulder) and sophomore safety Talanoa Hufanga (collarbone), both of whom were poised to get significant playing time in the defensive backfield. Even freshman cornerback Max Williams is currently unavailable as he recovers from a knee injury that ended his senior season of high school. “He’s super detailed, he gets down to the real nitty-gritty stuff and he pushes us,” Williams said. “Each day, he gets more and more intense, but at the same time, he stays on the fundamentals. He continues to have us repeat the same drills, the same techniques because they transfer to the field.” Taylor-Stuart said he has liked the team’s energy as spring ball has progressed. We’re a lot more competitive,” he said. “We know what losing feels like, and we don’t want to lose anymore. If we just have that winning mentality, not thinking about losing but only getting better … we just keep winning like that.last_img read more