7 Nov

QLD JUNIOR READY FOR SCHOOL SPORT CHAMPIONSHIPS

first_imgPETE’S PLAYGROUND Football commentators used to say that Wally Lewis knew every blade of grass on Lang Park. His consistent knack of terrorising opposition defences with uncanny kicks that would take outrageous bounces and turns confirmed the belief that only a ‘King’ knowing every inch of his kingdom could conjure such magic. Just as Lang Park was the `King’s’ backyard, thirteen-year-old Surfers Paradise student Peter Norman has a similar affinity with Owen Park Southport, the home of Gold Coast touch. When Peter Norman runs out as a member of the Queensland U 15 Schoolboys team next Tuesday in the opening round of fixtures in the School Sport Australia Combined Touch Tournament, The Southport School (TSS) Year Eight student will be relying on more than just a little knowledge of the hometown surface. The son of former Australian Open Touch Representative Greg, and ATA Hall of Fame member and current Australian Open Women’s Coach, Kerry Norman, Peter has spent more night’s at Owen Park than most of us have had hot dinners. For the Touch community, the familiar sight of the baby blonde tyro riding his tricycle around Owen Park, resplendent in a fluorescent yellow Tigers Touch club jersey was confirmation you were at the home of Touch on the Coast in the early `90’s. Greg and Kerry, who have always been heavily involved in playing, coaching, refereeing, and administration, would dress Peter in the fluoro shirt, so he’d be easy to keep an eye on. Wednesday night touch at the Coast wasn’t the same until you heard Gold Coast Administrator Henry Lesniewski over the PA system making his weekly impassioned plea for “Peter Norman to please come to the canteen, your parents want to go home.” Everyone would laugh and Pete would amble in eventually, usually with a sheepish grin, mostly with his shirt now fluoro dirt and minus the shoes, often with the remains of a banana paddle pop on his face, and always with a thousand stories to share about his adventures in `Pete’s Playground’, the biggest backyard in the world that seemed to belong to him. Peter was inspired by the speed, fun, and skills on display and took up the challenge of playing by beginning in the Gold Coast junior competition with a bunch of friends when he was five years old. He has grown quickly from a small boy climbing trees and playing with his `brother’ (his Bart Simpson doll, who incidentally, still covets the top bunk in Pete’s room) riding skateboards and clocking the asteroids machine in the Gold Coast club house, to a young man who is considered by many to be one of the brightest young talents in our sport. In a short time, Peter impressed his early coaches as a player with great vision, good basics, and excellent commitment in defence. With those sorts of credentials it wasn’t long before representative touch would call his name. Firstly at South Coast schoolboy level, and for Gold Coast in the QTA Junior State Cup team. Peter represented Qld at Primary school level for three successive years from 2001-2003, firstly as a ten year old, then captaining the team last year in his final year at Primary school. Previously, only one Queensland Schoolboy Touch player, former Qld Rugby League State of Origin star, PJ Marsh has been successful in gaining selection in the Qld U 15 Schoolboys Touch team straight out of Primary school… That was until Peter Norman came along. He produced such a mature and outstanding display at the Qld U15 Secondary championships in Ipswich in June that Coach Danny Parker and selectors had no choice but to pitch the Gold Coast Falcons Division One player into the State U 15 Schoolboys team for the Schools Sport Australia Combined Touch Tournament. The hard working middle has no reservation in saying his selection in the U 15 State team is the best moment of his short career “It’s pretty awesome, no way was I expecting to be selected. There are so many good players in the Qld team, I’m just happy to be there” the typically modest Norman added. “The PJ Marsh thing is pretty special, but it won’t mean much if I don’t get out there and do my job for the team.” Norman believes a training camp in the recent September holidays went a long way to bonding the team and sorting out a running style of touch that will prove to be fun to play and execute. He believes the calibre of players in the Qld side under the shrewd coaching of Dan Parker will allow the Queenslanders to mount a strong charge for the National crown against arch enemies and defending champions NSW. Both his parents have coached Peter at various stages of his career and in various teams, though they try to avoid the scenario as much as possible to allow Peter to experience other coaching ideas and skills and to enable him to make his own pathway in the sport. “Occasionally, we’d have a few bumps, more so when he was younger, he would think that that’s Mum or Dad talking, not the coach, and he’d react like a son, not a player, and we had to bring him into line a few times…maybe you are harder on your own kids as well, and that’s probably been tough for him on occasion,” Greg said. Greg recalls refereeing Pete in his early days, when both Kerry and himself would send their son for substitutions because he would argue with their calls. Kerry believes Pete is a good student of the game and has been impressed with his willingness to listen and apply new knowledge from his coaches and mentors of late. “He’s learnt plenty from Danny already and Corey Foster has been fantastic for him at Falcons, taking him under his wing and helping bring him along – Pete just respect him so much.” “It’s good because he can play with the Division One players at the Coast Wednesday, then still go up and play with his mates in the BMTA junior competition Thursday night and really have fun still.” Peter is also very appreciative of the guidance his parents have given him and reckons he inherited his Mum’s talk on the field and good defensive skills, and his Dad’s flamboyance in attack. “They’ve been good, not pushy or anything – they just say try your hardest, listen to the coach, have fun and be a good team man.” Greg jokingly offered that each parent contributed the following to Peter’s development, “Peter received good looks from his Dad and his temper from his Mum…” “Kerry’s brain and speed, and from me – creativeness in attack,” he was quick to add. Both parents have been fully supportive of Peter’s Touch career, but not to the exclusion of anything else. Greg believes giving Peter the opportunity to experience a wide variety of activities has been a big factor in the balanced approach Peter has towards life. He is a budding beach flags champion and trains on the sand to help his speed and technique. At school this year he performed with distinction in Cross Country, Athletics, and Swimming, and was awarded Best Back for Rugby in the U13 age division. Being a Coast kid, `Normo’ as his mates call him, loves body boarding and spends a lot of time with the boys from Touch and school at the beach or kicking back at the movies. Oh, and did I mention that he made the Dean’s list at TSS for academic excellence? Typically modest, I had to dig deeper than Damian Martyn on a dodgy pitch at Chennai, to get that piece of information out of him. So next Tuesday, when the Queenslanders run out onto the Owen Park fields in the U 15 Boys, look for Peter Norman- he’s not wearing fluoro yellow anymore, but he’ll be sporting the # 3 on his Maroon back, a tribute to his Touch hero Corey Foster, and hopefully he’ll keep his shoes on long enough to have his name over the PA system for giving defenders the slip in the race to the scoreline, not his parents. Games at the School Sport Australia Combined Touch Tournament will be played in two age divisions U 12 and U 15 Girls and Boys respectively, featuring State teams from all over Australia from Tuesday 26th October at Owen Park through to finals day on Saturday 30th October. Written by Karley Banks, SQBD Development Officer, 19th October 2004last_img
23 Oct

Essar Ports Green Ports Are the Future of the Industry

first_imgMaritime industry stakeholders all over the world are increasing their contribution to the reduction of carbon footprint. While shipping companies decided to modify their vessels in order to comply with the upcoming 2020 Sulphur Cap regulation, the port industry took their own measures to cut pollution.One of these is India’s second-largest, private-sector port and terminal company by capacity and throughput, Essar Ports, that has a total operational capacity of 110 MTPA in India.Speaking to World Maritime News, the company’s CEO & MD, Rajiv Agarwal, said that Essar Ports believes that green ports “are truly the future of the industry.”Rajiv Agarwal, CEO & MD, Essar PortsAgarwal explained that the company took numerous steps and has invested in reduction of the carbon footprint at all of its four terminals by implementing technologies such as cold-fog system, sprinkling systems for dust and pollution control, completely mechanized handling facilities ensuring zero spillage and covering the entire conveyor system.He added that these measures “have been pivotal in our vision of developing environmentally friendly facilities.”Additionally, developing deeper draft ports and terminals enabled operations with larger parcel size “which further the initiative lowering carbon footprint. We will continue to invest in modern technologies which ensure cargo handling through environmentally friendly means.”Essar Ports’ terminals are focused on bulk and dry bulk cargoes that are primarily used as raw material in core sector industries, like steel, power and cement.So far, the company has invested more than USD 1.6 billion in the development of port terminal facilities in India. Essar Ports said that its terminals are not only capable of handling the biggest ships sailing today “but also provide one of the best turnaround times of India,” contributed by the modernization and development of the company’s Vizag iron ore handling complex.The iron ore handling complex can now berth Super Capesize vessels up to 200,000 dwt, with a depth of 20 metres. The 24-million-tonne terminal has seen a growth rate of 45% in overall cargo throughput driven by a sharp increase in new customers, the company explained.Speaking about Essar Ports’ future plans, the CEO noted that the company is always on the lookout for opportunities to grow its businesses as the four terminals have further expansion possibilities.“Our target is to grow at a rate of more than 20% in the near future. To achieve this growth we have put a strategy in place to expand our customer base in the near future. The focus is now on increasing revenue, diversifying cargo base, optimizing costs, and improving our operational and financial performance.”During the first quarter of the year, Essar Ports reported a 17.4% growth in cargo volumes across its four terminals. The combined throughput stood at 13.5 million tonnes, up from 11.5 million tonnes in the same period of 2018.Of the four terminals, the Salaya and Vizag terminal showcased a strong performance in cargo handling with a striking increase in third-party cargo utilization thereby helping the company achieve its target of handling 60 million tonnes of cargo by the end of the current financial year.World Maritime News Staff; Image Courtesy: Essar Ports (Hazira Port)last_img read more

14 Oct

Alberta First Nations react to refinery rejection

first_imgAPTN National NewsOver 47 First Nations in Alberta would have been part of the Alberta First Nations Energy Center, and would have stood to gain a significant amount of income from the $6.6-billion dollar, First Nations-owned bitumen refinery project that was rejected by the Alberta government this week.Many are not happy with the government’s decision, and they share their reactions with APTN National News reporter Noemi LoPinto.last_img

13 Oct

Nissan unveils new Leaf car after Ghosns arrest delays it

first_imgYOKOHAMA, Japan — Nissan is showing the beefed up version of its hit Leaf electric car as the Japanese automaker seeks to distance itself from the arrest of its star executive Carlos Ghosn.The event at Nissan Motor Co.’s Yokohama headquarters, southwest of Tokyo, had been postponed when Ghosn was arrested Nov. 19.Ghosn has been charged with underreporting his income. Tokyo prosecutors have extended his detention through Friday, adding breach of trust allegations.Ghosn made his first public appearance since his arrest Tuesday, and denied each allegation in the Tokyo District Court.The new 4.16 million yen ($38,000) Leaf e+ is about the same size as the model on sale, but gets more power and cruise range. The bestselling electric car competes against Tesla models and General Motors’ Bolt.The Associated Presslast_img read more

13 Oct

Peace Region palaeontologists lead researchers in cataloguing new Hominid trackway in South

first_imgThe researchers say that a number of creatures, probably Homo sapiens, made the tracks while moving down a dune surface. This is the first reported hominid tracksite in the world from this time period and adds to the sparse global record of early hominid tracks. The trackway site also represents the largest and best-preserved archive of Late Pleistocene hominid tracks found to date.The narrow confines of the cave, often with a space of 50 cm or less between floor and ceiling, made for significant challenges in the documentation. However, thousands of photographs of the track-bearing surface were taken. Dr. McCrea then used the photographs to develop 3D photogrammetric models of the trackway. Combined with a track map, the digital data will make it possible to create exact replicas of the track-bearing surface. A similar technique has been used in the Peace Region to document dinosaur trackways.The full article can be read at: www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-22059-5 TUMBLER RIDGE, B.C. — Two Peace Region-based palaeontologists have made important scientific discoveries on dinosaurs in the past, but this time Drs. Charles Helm and Richard McCrea were researching creatures that lived much more recently.An international team of researchers led by Dr. Helm has published an article today in the open-access journal Scientific Reports which draws attention to a Late Pleistocene hominid trackway site that was identified two years ago on the south coast of South Africa. Up to forty hominid tracks were found on the ceiling and side walls of a ten-metre long cave. The tracks are thought to have been made approximately 90,000 years ago when the nearby shoreline would have been about 2 kilometres away. A 3D image of a portion of the northern trackway surface. Photo by Dr. Richard McCrea A 3D image of a portion of the northern trackway surface. Photo by Dr. Richard McCrea Tracks on the southern surface, with 10 cm bars for scale. Photo by Dr. Charles Helm Tracks on the southern surface, with 10 cm bars for scale. Photo by Dr. Charles Helm Dr. Charles Helm examining the northern track-bearing surface, which forms the ceiling of the confined inner part of the cave. Photo by Guy Thesen. Dr. Charles Helm examining the northern track-bearing surface, which forms the ceiling of the confined inner part of the cave. Photo by Guy Thesen. last_img read more

13 Oct

Councils wants more options for Bylaw enforcement due to parking and illegal

first_imgMayor Ackerman wants the report to look at any actions that can be taken on behalf of the City to motivate those with illegal suites and as the Mayor said, “know darn well they have that suite, to rectify that.”Mayor Lori Ackerman shared other actions are required by the City to motivate people with illegal suites. “I think on the principle of safety, this needs to be dealt with,” said Ackerman in terms of the congestion in neighbourhoods that have several vehicles that block sidewalks and roads, causing visibility and safety issues.Council agreed this report was necessary to know what it will take to equip Bylaw officers with the tools they require for their toolbox to end this problem. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – At Monday’s Council meeting Councillor Grimsrud on behalf of Councillor Bolin put forward a resolution to help improve enforcement and parking issues due to neighbourhoods that have illegal suites.Grimsrud asked that Council direct staff to provide a report on the current staffing hours of Bylaw enforcement employees and to look at when vehicles are allowed to park on the street.Mayor Ackerman said she heard the public’s concerns at the recent Trade Show as well as receiving an email regarding specifically 104 A Avenue.last_img read more

12 Oct

Delhi HC seeks Ayush Ministry reply on plea against decision on Aadhaar-based attendance in colleges

first_imgNew Delhi: The Delhi High Court has sought the response of the Ministry of Ayush on a plea challenging its decision to install Aadhaar-based biometric attendance system in colleges.Justice C Hari Shankar asked the ministry and Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM) to file their counter affidavits on the plea and listed the matter for further hearing on May 23. The petition filed by Uttarakhand-based Uttaranchal Ayurvedic College sought quashing of the January 9 minutes of the meeting by which the ministry directed CCIM to conduct surprise inspections of all colleges possessing five-year permission claiming it is in contravention of the ministry’s July 2012 notification and the law laid down by the Supreme Court. Also Read – How a psychopath killer hid behind the mask of a devout laity!It said the apex court has held that the inspection may be done on a complaint or otherwise by a team appointed by central council only. The petition, filed through advocate Amit Sahni, said a decision was also taken in the January meeting for implementation of Aadhaar enabled geo-location based biometric attendance system for staff and faculty of the colleges. It claimed that the minutes of meeting are bad in law and liable to be quashed as this attendance system is in violation of the apex court constitution bench judgment in the K S Puttaswamy case in which it was held that Aadhaar and its usage cannot be forced upon any individual. Also Read – Encounter under way in Pulwama, militant killed”The minutes of meetings were not sent to all ayurvedic colleges and also the same was not uploaded on the official website of the Ministry of Ayush. “The authorities may proceed with the decision taken in minutes of meeting dated January 9, 2019, therefore the present petition,” it said. During the hearing, the court made it clear that if any action is taken by the authorities before the next date of hearing, on the basis of the decision which has been challenged in the petition, they would abide by the outcome of these proceedings. It also issued notice to the authorities on the plea to stay the minutes of meeting and listed it for March 27. The plea also alleged that the ministry has passed several directions which are contrary to law viz, to conduct inspections even in Ayurvedic, Homoeopathic, Unani and Siddha colleges, which were granted permission for five years. The minutes of meeting also stated that the colleges shall have to recruit faculty or staff registered in that particular state, it said.last_img read more

29 Sep

Mike Trout Is A 430 Million Bargain

Trout’s most similar group averaged just fewer than 1.0 WAR by age 38. And that group contains eight Hall of Famers, including Griffey, Aaron, Mickey Mantle, Frank Robinson and Mel Ott. To further complicate matters, the quality of competition in MLB continues to improve over time, and the game is getting younger, making it more difficult to age well.However, if 1 WAR is worth $8 million in 2019, and that value inflates by 3 percent per season (for the first five seasons),2Basic assumptions which, granted, may need re-examining. the average of Trout’s comparable group would be worth about $450 million from age 27 through age 38. And it bears mentioning that Trout has accumulated 48 percent more WAR through age 26 than his comparable group of all-time legends. (Yes, Trout is good.)So Trout seems like a very good bet to deliver more value to the Angels than they’re paying him for in this contract, even if some of the assumptions above are more player-friendly than the current state of baseball’s economics. While many MLB mega-contracts end up looking bad in retrospect, this Trout deal might be the rare one that delivers positive surplus value for the team.Either way, with no opt-outs in the deal and a full no-trade clause, Trout and the Angels are committed to each other for the long haul. If Trout is interested in winning World Series rings, he took a risk in remaining in Anaheim: He has never won a playoff game with the Angels even while establishing himself at the game’s best player. As great as Trout has been, even the best player cannot do it alone — particularly not in baseball, which is a weak-link sport that is less dependent on star talent than other sports.But in some ways, the Angels’ outlook is improving for the second act of the Trout era. Albert Pujols’s albatross of a contract is coming off the books after the 2021 season — $28 million in present-day dead money the Angels can allocate elsewhere.The Angels entered Tuesday with $28 million committed in 2022 salaries, ranking 18th in baseball despite playing in the sport’s No. 2 market in Los Angeles. (The MLB average is $35.2 million committed in 2022, according to Spotrac.) So should the Angels want to compete in the market for high-end free-agent talent in coming years — like, say, Mookie Betts (free agency ETA 2021) or Francisco Lindor (free agency ETA 2022)3Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons will be a free agent after 2020. — they will have the flexibility and purchasing power to do so. As reported by ESPN’s Jeff Passan on Tuesday, the Los Angeles Angels are closing in on a 12-year contract extension worth at least $430 million with outfielder Mike Trout, setting the all-time mark for both the largest contract (passing Bryce Harper’s $330 million deal from a few weeks ago) and the greatest average annual contract value in baseball history. Trout is a longtime object of fascination for us here at FiveThirtyEight; we’ve frequently extolled his virtues as baseball’s best and most consistent star. Now he has the record-breaking contract to match his talent — but one that might still represent a big bargain for the Angels. And the deal’s long-term nature only renews questions about Trout’s ability to win in L.A., as well as his potential to break through as a star off the field.At first glance, about $36 million per year seems like a tremendous deal for the Angels. According to FanGraphs’ estimated market values based on wins above replacement (WAR), a player with Trout’s 2018 production should have been worth about $79 million last season. That’s nothing new for Trout: FanGraphs estimates that he was worth $55 million (in 70 percent of a full season) in 2017, $78 million in 2016 and $74 million in 2016. So if Trout continues his recent pace, the Angels will basically be paying him half of what he’d be worth on the open market over the next few seasons.Of course, Trout is also 27 this year, traditionally the age at which baseball players peak. Trout’s new deal will take him through 2030, his age-38 season. Even though no player in baseball history has posted more career WAR through their age-26 season than Trout,1According to a mix of WAR from FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference.com. it’s probably safe to assume that Trout won’t continue to be a 10-WAR-per-season machine throughout the entire life of this contract.The old saying that “Father Time is undefeated” remains true — perhaps truer now than ever. And even star-level players peak more quickly than you might expect. While Willie Mays and Hank Aaron were superstars late into their careers, other outfielders similar to Trout — such as Ken Griffey Jr. and Andruw Jones — fell off a performance cliff after age 30 and never recovered.Here’s a plot of the 10 retired outfielders most similar to Trout through age 26 (according to The Baseball Gauge), along with the arcs of their seasonal WAR as aging took hold: Perhaps most important for the club’s long-term prospects is the productivity of its farm system. For much of Trout’s tenure with the Angels, the club had one of the worst farm systems in baseball. The Angels’ system ranked last in baseball in 2014, 2016 and 2017, according to Baseball America. That’s begun to change. The Angels hired Billy Eppler to lead their front office after the 2015 season; they improved to 14th in the rankings in 2018 and 13th this spring.Outfielder Jo Adell, L.A.’s first-round pick in 2017, has quickly become one of the game’s elite prospects, while starter Griffin Canning, a second-round pick in 2017, gives the Angels a second top-100 prospect. And help from the farm is not too far away: Eight of the top 10 Angels prospects are expected to open in Double-A or higher this spring. Moreover, if the Angels’ top prospect from a year ago, Shohei Ohtani, can become a consistent impact performer as a pitcher and hitter, L.A. could have two star caliber players in one roster spot.The Angels’ biggest long-term issue is that they are in the same division as the Houston Astros, who are on the cutting edge of evaluation and player development. The Astros took home the 2017 World Series trophy, won 103 games a year ago project to win 99 games again this season according to the FiveThirtyEight model, all while maintaining a farm system that has ranked fifth or better in three of the past four years. Baseball America ranks the Astros’ farm system No. 5 in the game entering 2019.It will be no easy task to supplant the Astros as kings of the AL West. And if Trout and the Angels can’t do that, it will be more difficult for Trout to raise his own profile, which lags well behind what his talent would suggest. Only one baseball player made ESPN’s list of the 100 most famous athletes in the world, and it wasn’t Trout — it was Bryce Harper at No. 99. This contract extension makes Trout very rich, but it also forces him to forfeit the chance to join a more likely World Series contender — and he’ll miss out on the spotlight that would have shown on him during his own free agency after the 2020 season.So now the pressure is even greater for the Angels to surround Trout with better talent and build a winner around him. By the end of this contract, he’ll have spent two full decades with the franchise. It would be a true shame if Trout’s next 12 seasons contain as little team success as his first eight did. read more

28 Sep

What Betting Markets Think LeBron James Will Do

The big question right now is whether LeBron James will stay with the Miami Heat or return to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Despite the fact that his departure from the latter in 2010 seemed to have burned a few bridges, some fans appear to have forgiven James and are hoping for his return.How likely is James to return to Ohio? That’s a difficult question, but we can try to get a rough sense from betting markets. The Cavs and the Heat aren’t the only contenders. Here’s an average of the latest betting lines on where James will play next season, converted into probabilities:Oddsmakers seem to think James is about a 50-50 bet to stay with the Heat. Cleveland has some hope, and the remaining teams not much. But if history is any indicator, both Miami and Cleveland might have reason to worry.James had to make a similar decision in 2010, and betting markets didn’t get that one right.Bettors thought James would stay put in 2010 as well. But the difference in spread is notable. Based on these numbers, bettors are 11 percent more confident in his loyalty than they were in 2010. The second most likely options in both scenarios make up for this difference, with the Chicago Bulls at a 24 percent chance in 2010 and the Cavs at a 16 percent chance currently.Just like these betting sites, we’ve had mixed success in predicting James’s moves. Until his announcement, it’s worth considering that maybe we don’t know the MVP quite as well as we think we do. read more

28 Sep

Football How much will special teams impact the Fiesta Bowl for Ohio

Penn State freshman punter Blake Gillikin (93) and OSU redshirt sophomore wide receiver Terry McLaurin (83) rush towards the ball after a blocked punt in the second half of the Buckeyes game on Oct. 22. The Buckeyes lost 24-21. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo EditorSCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — For weeks, much of the talk for the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl has been about the offensive and defensive capabilities of both No. 3 Ohio State and No. 2 Clemson. However, there has been little discussed in terms of special teams, the unit that the Buckeyes take extremely seriously. Kerry Coombs, the secondary and special teams coach for the Buckeyes, has a knack for coaching some of the best special teamers in the nation year after year. According to him, the effort of his gunners and kick coverage unit could make the difference in a game as evenly matched as OSU versus Clemson.“I think they’re very, very good just like I think we’re very, very good,” he said. “I think there’s going to be a couple of areas in the game … I know that their national championship game last year hinged on some big special teams plays. I think that our kids are extremely well prepared, and I know that there’s are too. So, it’s going to be a lot of fun. I think it will be a factor in the game.”One of the biggest weapons on Coombs’ special teams unit is senior punter Cameron Johnston. Johnston, a native of Melbourne, Australia, who has been punting for the Buckeyes for four years now, and is in his fifth year with the team.Averaging a career-best 46.2 yards per punt in 2016, the Australian born punter has a few goals in mind against Clemson. The most prominent of those goals is limiting the returning ability of the Tigers’ returners.“You never know how many times you’re going to punt, but when you do, you got to make sure it’s in the right area,” Johnston said. “If you get zero return yards for the day, you’ve had a good day.”While netting zero return yards on punts has a lot to do with how the ball is kicked and the trajectory it takes before striking the turf the proper way, having help from teammates is necessary to limiting return yardage. Wide receivers like redshirt sophomore Parris Campbell and Terry McLaurin have been instrumental on kick coverage success, playing predominantly at the outside coverage positions.The players at those positions, known predominately as “gunners,” are known for their speed and athleticism, as well as the ability to hunt down the ball and bring down the returner quickly, or forcing him towards the middle of the field. For McLaurin, the chance to cut his teeth as a special teamer has resulted in his development as a well-rounded player.“You kind of get your feet wet playing special teams,” he said. “Once you start making plays on special teams, you’re going to be making plays on offense. You see it all the time with guys coming through this program. That’s what we preach about competitive excellence.”Although the Buckeyes have yet to score on a punt return this year, it is worth noting OSU has not given up a touchdown on a punt either this season. Part of that statistic has to do with McLaurin’s ability, while another part comes down to how well Johnston has played.With a punter like Johnston who is a master at hang-time on punts, as well as a speedy player on the outside to get to the returner quickly, OSU might very well dictate the game. Pinning an offense deep in its own territory is something that Coombs feels could be the difference maker come Saturday.“All the difference,” he said. “And not just big (plays), but just the innate field position difference. If we can gain yards with special forces throughout the game, which is our objective, it doesn’t show up as a big play. But it makes a dent in the scoreboard.”OSU squares off against Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl on Saturday at 7 p.m. in the University of Phoenix Stadium. read more