Coordinated visions: McDonald plans to orchestrate physical, explosive offense at Syracuse

first_img Related Stories Coordinated visions: Bullough brings tough, aggressive approach to Syracuse defense Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on January 31, 2013 at 2:00 am Contact Ryne: rjgery@syr.educenter_img The skepticism started to form immediately when Northern Illinois wide receiver Darrell Hill walked into his new position coach’s office.George McDonald was just three years removed from his playing days at Illinois, and Hill already had some questions before taking a seat for his first individual meeting with him.“First of all I’m like, ‘Who’s this young guy that’s trying to coach us? How much can he know?’” said Hill, who was a senior in McDonald’s first season coaching at NIU in 2001. “And you sat down and once you talked to the guy, his personality just came out.”The young coach’s personality was intense and professional – “strictly business” – from day one. Hill and his teammates quickly learned McDonald knew the game, and grew to respect him for his demanding approach. McDonald parlayed his success at Northern Illinois into jobs with bigger programs in the last decade, building his resume and coaching acumen at Stanford, Western Michigan, Minnesota and Miami, and in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns.McDonald joined the coaching staff as Arkansas’ wide receivers coach in December, but left in January when Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer came calling. Shafer hired McDonald as his offensive coordinator, a position he held at WMU and described as his dream to attain. McDonald developed a reputation as a top recruiter and cerebral coach since his days at NIU, and now brings those attributes to Syracuse.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“We’re going to be able to recruit great players here,” McDonald said at his introductory press conference. “The thing that we’re going to do better than anyone in the country is we’re going to develop them to even be better players.”McDonald impressed Shafer when he arrived for his interview at Northern Illinois. Shafer, then the secondary coach, said their coaching philosophies matched and they soon became colleagues.“Then he came in and coached,” Shafer said. “And by far the best wide receiver coach I’ve ever been associated with.Hill’s rise from unknown to NFL Draft pick after just one season under McDonald’s tutelage proves Shafer’s sentiment.In the previous three seasons, Hill hadn’t demonstrated much. He was a one-dimensional receiver who only ran one route – taking off straight down the field for deep balls.All that changed under McDonald.With their new coach, the receivers ran ball drills they’d never seen before, lying flat on their backs while McDonald rifled balls at them in one drill, and catching tennis balls he fired their way with one hand in another. They worked on routes and perfected their footwork – all before practice, when the frenetic pace picked up even more.Jogging was not permitted.Often, the end of practice only meant the start of another workout for Hill, sometimes lasting 45 minutes.“We thought the guy was crazy, man,” Hill said. “But when we got in the game action – a lot of those drills that we went through, the ball drills, coming out of the breaks – it really benefited us on game day.”It benefited Hill beyond his lone season with McDonald.His breakout senior season, in which he caught 38 passes for 822 yards and seven touchdowns, put him on the NFL’s radar. Hill prepared at Cris Carter’s Fast Camp, where he went through some of the same drills McDonald already put him through, and was drafted by the Tennessee Titans in the seventh round of the 2002 NFL Draft.Looking back, Hill credits McDonald and the approach he originally questioned for helping him get there.“Once you bought into it, you respected it because it made you better,” Hill said.In his career, McDonald mentored more elite receivers in the college game, including Greg Jennings at Western Michigan and Eric Decker at Minnesota. In the last two seasons, he oversaw the development of Miami receivers Tommy Streeter and Travis Benjamin into NFL players.And last fall, he took on the role of passing game coordinator for the Hurricanes, who finished third in the Atlantic Coast Conference in passing with 295.4 yards per game.This fall, McDonald will take the reins of the Syracuse offense. Hill expects him to attack his newest challenge with the same intensity and focus he did at Northern Illinois 12 years ago, and McDonald’s excited to get started.“Every day’s the first day of school for me because I know when I come into the office, I’m going to be surrounded by people with the same vision, the same passion,” McDonald said. “And that passion is developing players, playing great football, winning games, graduating great players and having a lot of fun doing it.” Commentslast_img read more

Volleyball: Badgers win Big Ten championship outright with help from Gophers

first_imgAspirations were high for the Wisconsin volleyball team this year. They returned three All-Americans in Dana Rettke, Sydney Hilley and Madison Duello. They added an experienced defensive specialist in Minnesota transfer Lauren Barnes. Then, they started the year 4-4 against a brutal slate of non-conference teams. Their losses came against Marquette, Baylor and Washington twice — all teams currently ranked in the AVCA top 10. They used it as a learning experience and rallied to a Big Ten Championship. The Badgers had just one Big championship in the last 17 years after consecutive titles in Ten 2000 and 2001.Volleyball: Badgers retake Big Ten lead with victories over Minnesota, Michigan StateThe No. 5 University of Wisconsin volleyball team (19-5, 15-1 Big Ten) took care of both No. 7 Minnesota and Read…After their loss to Penn State Friday night, Wisconsin swept Rutgers and watched as Minnesota topped Penn state 3-1. Penn State’s loss to Minnesota gave the Badgers the top record in the conference.Since their second loss to No. 10 Washington Sept. 21, the Badgers ripped through Big Ten play with a 18-2 record, including a 12 game winning streak with seven against ranked teams.They have also played the toughest schedule among the top teams in the Big Ten. Wisconsin has faced Minnesota twice, Nebraska twice and Penn State twice, all three of whom are ranked in the top 10 of the AVCA rankings. None of those teams faced each other more than once. Their two conference losses came against The Ohio State University Buckeyes, a mid-tier team in the Big Ten, and Penn State in a five-set heartbreaker.The Badgers responded emphatically following the loss to Ohio State. They dropped only one set in their five wins since the loss, including wins over then-No. 5 Minnesota and then-No. 6 Nebraska.That streak ended with the Nittany Lions.Volleyball: 3 surprising boosts to No. 7 BadgersA season ago, the Wisconsin volleyball team reached the Elite 8 of the NCAA Tournament before their neighbor to the Read…The progression of this Badger team is evident from the start of the year. Both as individuals and as a group, UW has improved in all three aspects of the game. According to Head Coach Kelly Sheffield, this team relishes that improvement. “There’s still a lot of opportunities to grow individually and as a team,” Sheffield said. “Winning is fun, but there’s no better feeling than the feeling of getting better … that’s where the real confidence comes from.” Their confidence has grown not only from winning but from closing out sets in crucial games. In their loss to Marquette early this season, UW had six match point opportunities and failed to capitalize each time. In their first loss to Washington, the Badgers dropped a set after leading 24–20 which would have tied the match at 1–1. Volleyball: Badgers split pair of games, drop first match in Big Ten playAn undefeated record in Big Ten volleyball is a tall task. There are currently six Big Ten teams in the Read…The team’s ability to close out crucial sets seemed to change in a pivotal match in Lincoln against Nebraska. In a raucous environment, UW rattled off set-winning runs of 9–4, 11–5 and 6–2 against the top defense in the Big Ten. Since that night, the Badgers have closed sets furiously with the exception of the loss to the Buckeyes. Also, different Badgers have pioneered game-ending runs. On the road in the 3–1 win over Minnesota, outside hitter Molly Haggerty closed out the third set with back-to-back kills and finished the match on a personal 3–0 run. In their second sweep of the Cornhuskers, middle blocker Danielle Hart closed the second set with two kills in the final three points. To close the match, right side hitter Madison Duello provided two kills and an emphatic block on Nebraska’s Lexi Sun. Volleyball: Badgers record team’s best start ever in Big Ten playThe Wisconsin volleyball team (16-4, 12-0 Big Ten) has started 12-0 in conference play for the first time in Badger Read…Looking ahead to the NCAA Tournament, the Badgers will likely host two games following their loss to Penn State. A win over the Nittany Lions likely would have given the Badgers a top-four seed and the subsequent opportunity to host four games.The Badgers will rely on their varied offensive attack as tournament time arrives. Their offense is seventh in the country in hitting percentage and setter Sydney Hilley, a top candidate for Big Ten Setter of the Year, is currently third in the country in assists per game. Rettke, the two-time AVCA first-team All-American, will likely add another selection as well as a shot for the Big Ten Player of the Year.Their defense has been steadily improving since the start of the season. At the start of the year, five of the Badgers’ first eight opponents recorded hitting percentages above .200. Since then, only four of their last 20 opponents have eclipsed .200, and the Badgers won three of those four matches. Volleyball: All-American Rettke remains hungry following summer with Team USAJunior Dana Rettke has been one of the most intimidating forces in college volleyball for over two years now. A Read…Lastly, UW will look to regain their prominence at the service line. In their last eight games, the Badgers’ service errors have outnumbered their service aces. UW’s service aces either matched or outpaced their service errors in 10 of their first 18 games. Freshman Izzy Ashburn gave the team an unexpected boost at the service line and could be a key contributor in the serving facet of the game.An NCAA championship is a legitimate goal for this team. All three phases of the game are necessary to accomplish that goal.last_img read more

HARPS’ HEARTS BROKEN BY LATE LONGFORD WINNER

first_imgA late free kick from Glen O’Connor earned Longford Town a deserved 1-0 victory over Finn Harps in their Airtricity Division One clash at Finn Park tonight.Longford had the better chances in the first period.First, David O’Sullivan headed wide from a pinpoint cross from Don Cowan in the 32nd minute. O’Sullivan went close again a minute later when he flashed a shot just over.Harps lived dangerously in the early stages of the second period and were lucky not to go behind in the 52nd minute when Flynn headed wide from a superb cross from Salmon.They eventually did concede when Glen O’Connor fired home a cracking free kick in the 85th minute.Harps manager Ollie Horgan replaced Caoimhin Bonner and Josh Mailey with Gareth Harkin and Darah Black for the last five minutes in a desperate attempt to grab an equaliser but Longford held on to leave Ballybofey with all three points. There was a minute’s applause before the kick-off for Oisin Merritt, the young Harps reserves player who is critically ill in a Spanish hospital following a fall in the early hours of Monday morning last.Finn Harps: Conor Winn, Caoimhin Bonner (Gareth Harkin 87), Ciaran Coll, Keith Cowan, Damien McNulty, Michael Funston, Josh Mailey (Darah Black 87), Pat McCann, Ruairi Keating, Kevin McHugh.Unused substitutes: Graham Fisher, Mark Forker, Paul McVeigh, Shaun Patton, Carel Tiofack.Longford Town: Paul Hunt, James Mulhall, Pat Flynn, Pat Sullivan, Willie Tyrell (Glen O’Connor 34), Kevin O’Connor, Don Cowan (Peter Hynes 68), Stephen Rice, Mark Salmon, David O’Sullivan, Gary Shaw.Unused substitutes: Conor O’Brien, Noel Haverty, Chris Bennion, Sean Russell, Lorcan Shannon. Referee: Ben Connolly.HARPS’ HEARTS BROKEN BY LATE LONGFORD WINNER was last modified: June 13th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:donegalfinn harpsLongford Townlast_img read more