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DURHAM, N.C. -- One by one over the past few years, Duke has taken care of nearly every item on its program-building checklist.The Blue Devils have posted three straight winning seasons. Theyve won an Atlantic Coast Conference divisional championship and played for a league title. Theyve reached four straight bowls, finally winning one.Now Duke wants to take yet another step forward and win a conference title.That will be a big challenge in a league that has two College Football Playoff contenders in Clemson and Florida State, but its another sign of progress that the Blue Devils goal cant be summarily dismissed.We have high expectations, which is a good thing when it comes to Duke football, coach David Cutcliffe said, and we know they have set their sights high.Bowls have become an every-year thing at Duke. Nobody on this years roster knows what its like to miss the postseason. Thats a 180-degree turn from the late 1990s and 2000s, when the Blue Devils went 17 years between bowl appearances and went winless four times in that span.Duke is coming off its first bowl victory since 1961, an overtime win over Indiana in the Pinstripe Bowl, and the Blue Devils say ending a year with a win kept them hungry for more during the offseason.We love having that trophy. We love having the rings from that bowl game, quarterback Thomas Sirk said. We want to win another bowl game. We want to win an ACC championship and ultimately play in the College Football Playoff.Other things to watch for this season from Duke:SIRKS WORKSirk hopes to be ready for the opener Sept. 3 against North Carolina Central after rupturing his left Achilles tendon during a conditioning workout in February. Sirk missed the 2013 season after rupturing his right Achilles, and that familiarity with the comeback process has made this rehab easier. He was listed as the starter on the preseason depth chart. Sirk -- a dual-threat QB who led the team in rushing last season and was co-MVP of the Pinstripe Bowl victory -- says he wont alter his style: I dont think its going to change who I am, he said.GROUND GAMEDuke ranked fifth in the ACC in rushing last season, and needs more from its stable of experienced running backs, none of whom averaged more than 46 yards in 2015. Cutcliffe says that starts up front with three starters back on an offensive line that he says could be the biggest, most physical offensive line wed had. He says the goal is to develop a power-running game thats less dependent on zone blocking and finesse.KEY GAMESTwo losses from 2015 haunt the Blue Devils: a 30-27 loss to Miami that led to a complete overhaul of the leagues instant replay system after numerous officiating errors were noted on the Hurricanes game-ending kickoff return for a touchdown, and the embarrassing 66-31 loss to rival North Carolina the following week. Duke faces the Tar Heels on Thursday night, Nov. 10, and ends the season at Miami on Nov. 28.SEASON OPENERDuke opens with crosstown opponent N.C. Central on Sept. 3, and the school will unveil the second phase of construction at remodeled Wallace Wade Stadium -- the crown jewel of which will be the five-story, 90,000-square-foot tower of boxes and luxury suites that replaced the sports medicine building that used to double as the press box.PREDICTIONWin 7, Lose 5. Mitchell Trubisky Womens Jersey
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. Isner, ranked No. 14, won his eighth career singles title and took the title in New Zealand for the second time after his victory in 2010. The match was similar to Isners quarterfinal victory over fifth-seeded Philipp Kohlschreiber which went to three sets, all tiebreaks and contained no breaks of serve. Mitchell Trubisky Bears Jersey
. Ferrer, trying to win his fourth title on Mexican soil, will next play South Africas Kevin Anderson, who eliminated American Sam Querrey,7-6 (2), 6-4. Also Wednesday, Gilles Simon (6) of France beat Donald Young of the United States 6-4, 6-3, Ukraines Alexandr Dolgopolov downed Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-3, 6-4 and Croatias Ivo Karlovic defeated Dudi Sela of Israel 7-6 (4), 6-2. If England fail to win this series and, as a consequence, do not make it to No. 1 in the Test rankings, they will surely look back on the second day of this match and rue the three chances they put down in the field.All sides drop chances. Even the best. And a couple of these, not least one to James Anderson in the slips offered by Asad Shafiq when he had scored just 7, were tough.But England have now dropped 14 chances in this series. Not half-chances - like the sort that flew over Alastair Cook and Joe Root in the slips off Asad Shafiqs bat (on 57) or even the sort that was edged between Root and Anderson from Misbah-ul-Haq (on 6), on Friday - but clear, catchable opportunities. Some have been, by the standards of international cricket, straightforward. The chance put down by Alex Hales here, off the first delivery bowled by Chris Woakes, certainly fits in that category. Pakistan, by contrast, have dropped 11 comparable chances.And when a team has dropped that many chances, they cannot keep dismissing the problem as an aberration. They have to accept that they have a problem and find a way of confronting it.One area the England team might like to look at is employing a full-time specialist fielding coach. While Chris Taylor will work with the limited-overs sides from time to time, it seems odd that, in an age when England have taken professionalism to such a level that it would seem amiss if dietary advice and psychologists were not provided as a matter of course, that such a fundamental part of the game - the part of the game that all players will have to do more than anything else - is so overlooked.England used to have a full-time fielding coach. But, over the last couple of years, it was decided that the two main coaches (Trevor Bayliss and Paul Farbrace) could absorb the extra work and cut down on the number of people in and around the dressing room. It wasnt a cost-cutting measure - the ECB is one of the richest cricket boards in the world - as much as a well-intentioned attempt to ensure the environment remained calm, controlled and player-centred. Quite reasonably, they wanted to cut down the number of voices getting in players heads.A couple of years later, however, it seems reasonable to conclude that the approach is not working. England are dropping too many chances. They may be getting away with it most of the time at present but, in India and Australia, such errors will cost them series. As Farbrace, the assistant coach, put it: If we are serious about being the No.1 side in the world - and we are but we are a long way off at present - then you have to take your chances and keep the opposition under pressure. Farbrace took exception - his words - to the suggestion that the England coaching set-up requires specialist assistance when it comes to fielding. As well as defending his own efforts, he made the reasonable observation that several other members of the support staff - not least the batting coach Mark Ramprakash and the bowling coach Ottis Gibson - also helped out as required.I dont think it comes down to the level of coaching, he said. We work very hard on it. Trevor has always worked with international teams: Sri Lanka and England. We do have an awful lot of coaches and there are enough people to work on fielding. There have been [specialist] coaches in the past, but Trevor wants to take it on and we spent a lot of time on it.There is no doubting the hard work and good intentions of Bayliss and Farbrace. Their fielding sessions are lively, enjoyable and tough. But can these coaches be expected to have the specialist skills required to help players with all the problems they face? Can they, as well as helping the batsmen and bowlers (and the England team does not have a full-time spin coach, either), help provide the specialist assistance to coax the best out of men fielding at cover, gully, the slips or short leg? Can they be reasonably expected to be experts in all these ppositions and have the range of drills - or the time to implement them - designed to improve the players performances in each of them?The evidence to date suggests not.ddddddddddddYou would expect Julien Fountain to agree with that view. He is a specialist fielding coach, after all, and has previously worked with West Indies, Pakistan, Bangladesh and, briefly, England. But he makes some interesting points about the value of much fielding practice and the value of specialist coaching.There are various reasons why catches go down, Fountain told ESPNcricinfo. There may be technical issues - though there shouldnt be too many at international level - and there may be tactical issues, such as a bowler not communicating when a slower ball or bouncer is coming.But the main problem tends to be concentration. While replicating match conditions is tough in terms of improving concentration - time constraints rarely allow it - every player should have a pre-delivery trigger, just as they do when batting, in the field.The best ways to improve are, according to Fountain, overload training and underload training. In underload training a player will be given a vast number of relatively simple catches, generally at low pace, to help groove their technique. With that done, they will have a period of overload training which might include reducing the distance between fielder and bat, increased velocity, distractions and perhaps the introduction of visual impairment, such as wearing goggles. Generally, though, all the training will come back to ensure that pre-delivery trigger is engrained so the fielder is ready - mentally and physically - should any ball come their way.Fountain believes there is a fundamental undervaluing of the worth of fielding in cricket. While baseball provides statistics to account for the cost of any miss, cricket offers only the most basic information: the number of catches or stumpings completed. There is no info on the number dropped or the cost of them.Equally he believes that the basis of most slip-catching practice - a coach edging a ball to a cordon - fails to replicate common match conditions. For while most coaching practice sees the ball guided off a horizontal bat, many of the actual opportunities come off a vertical bat with the ball travelling at a different trajectory. Fountain uses a slab of granite and a baseball bat (the ball is thrown on to the granite and edged towards the cordon off the baseball bat) in an attempt to replicate match conditions.It all amounts to the same thing: fielding, despite its immense importance, is an undervalued facet of the game.Perhaps there is another side to this. All too often in English cricket, dissenting voices are kept on the periphery because they threaten the comfortable existence of some of those in positions of influence. Not with the England team, so much, but at development level and at Bluffborough in particular.Take Gary Palmer, for example. He has now worked with Alastair Cook for 18 months - a period that coincides with his return to form - but remains unemployed by the ECB. If Palmer is good enough for the highest run-scorer in Englands history, why would he not be made available for other batsmen? Why would the ECB not want to employ him and use his skills, alongside other batting coaches, for the development of young players?Similar things may be said about Ian Pont (the fast bowling coach) and even Fountain.But perhaps because they threaten to undermine the opinions of some of those working in Loughborough, those who have built their reputations on deciding how coaching should look and feel, their expertise seems strangely underutilised.England will have to take their fielding more seriously - not just spent time on it, but examine the science and statistics - if they are to fulfil their potential. Wholesale Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Authentic Jerseys From China Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys
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