Published on August 10, 2014 at 2:07 pm Contact Jesse: [email protected] | @dougherty_jesse Facebook Twitter Google+ When Corey Winfield was turning heads as a receiver in high school, he was occasionally tasked with making sure no opposing wideout did, too. If Riverview Gardens (Mo.) High School was facing a notable wide receiver, Winfield would play both ways and line up across from him. When he left for Syracuse after catching nine touchdowns and returning six more in his senior season, it seemed likely that he’d never match up with an opposing playmaker again.Now it’s his newest goal. “I see it as being a receiver on the other side of the ball,” Winfield said of his recent change of positions. “I’m learning from the older guys so I can just jump right in.”After not seeing the field at all as a freshman last year, Winfield was flipped from receiver to cornerback at the start of Syracuse’s 2014 training camp. With a crowded receiving corps that includes Jarrod West, Ashton Broyld and Brisly Estime, among other returnees and a group of talented freshmen, SU head coach Scott Shafer thought Winfield was too athletic to be a “backup to a backup.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBeyond senior Brandon Reddish and juniors Julian Whigham and Wayne Morgan, the Orange’s crop of cornerbacks is relatively thin. Winfield is running alongside another group of freshmen — this one consisting of Cordell Hudson, Antwan Cordy and Juwan Dowels — and he could rise fast. “There’s a learning curve there so we just have to get him to play the technique, and learn it and learn what we’re doing from a scheme standpoint,” defensive backs coach Fred Reed said. “But he’s an explosive athlete and I think he has some upside down the road.”Learning curve or not, Reed added that the switch from wide receiver to cornerback may be the most natural between any two positions. That – factored into the coaches’ decision to move Winfield – has added to his excitement since as he plans to use his athleticism to smooth the adjustment period. Winfield’s toolbox includes strength and speed but is highlighted by his leaping ability. He has been dunking a basketball since the seventh grade, used to do backflips before he realized how dangerous they were and his 38-inch vertical is best on the team.“He’s just an athlete and has one of the best verts in the building,” West said. “As soon as you throw a deep ball on Corey he’s just going to turn into a receiver like he was. I’m sure he’ll thrive over there.”“Over there” means going from competing with West and Co. for playing time, to matching up with them. When asked who he was most excited to cover, Winfield got giddy and rattled off a bunch of names. West was one of them, as were Estime and Sean Avant, two of his classmates. Saturday was Winfield’s public debut as a defensive back, as the Orange scrimmaged in front of fans and media as the main attraction of FanFest at SU Soccer Stadium. Winfield said on Friday that learning the position and the Orange’s overall scheme has been his greatest challenge, but his most noticeable blunder had to do with neither of the two. Pressed up on West on the near sideline, Winfield was outmuscled at the line before West burned him for a touchdown stretching more than 50 yards. Terrel Hunt placed the ball right into West’s hands and Winfield trailed by a few steps the whole way. Yet Winfield has time and he’s already boiled the position down to a science his mind and muscles can work with. “When the ball is up there I’m just going to go and get it,” Winfield said. “The other stuff will come.” Comments
After a couple of down weeks, Week 11 is filled with potential playoff-elimination games, as the committee now looks to narrow down the playoff field.#14 Ohio State (7-1, 4-0 Big Ten) at #8 Michigan State (7-1, 4-0 Big Ten)The Buckeyes and the Spartans have both bounced back from tough early losses, setting up a likely playoff elimination game at the site of College GameDay, as the winner has a clear path to the Big Ten Championship and a possible playoff spot. After a tough loss early in the year to Virginia Tech, Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett (2352 total yards, 29 total TDs, 7 INTs) has done an excellent job of replacing the injured Braxton Miller, leading the Buckeyes to the 4th-best offense in the nation (45.6 points per game).Meanwhile, the Spartans, who are right behind the Buckeyes on offense with 45.5 points per game, is led by quarterback Connor Cook (1868 yards, 17 TDs, 5 INTs) and running back Jeremy Langford (841 yards, 10 TDs). Michigan State has played extremely well, outside of their second half early this season against Oregon, while the Buckeyes encountered a road bump last week against Penn State. Considering the playmakers on the Spartans’ sideline, last week’s performance, and the fact the game is in East Lansing on a national stage, I’ll go with Michigan State for the second year in a row.Prediction: Michigan State 31, Ohio State 28#4 Oregon (8-1, 5-1 Pac-12) at #17 Utah (6-2, 3-2 Pac-12)After snagging the final spot in the Top 4, the Ducks will look to maintain and improve their playoff seeding against a Utes squad coming off a heartbreaking 19-16 overtime loss to ASU. The Ducks’ offense, led by quarterback Marcus Mariota (2977 total yards, 34 total TDs, 2 INTs) and running back Royce Freeman (943 total yards, 13 total TDs), has been picking up steam, as evidenced by putting up 45 points against a Stanford team that hadn’t given up more than 30 in their previous 31 games. The Utes have similar strengths as Stanford, such as a strong defensive line, but have the advantage at running back with Devontae Booker (1091 total yards, 9 TDs), along with special teams with kicker Andy Phillips and returned Kaelin Clay.Regardless, I expect more of the same of the Ducks, as they’ll put up plenty of points to clinch the Pac-12 North and try and earn a playoff berth.Prediction: Oregon 42, Utah 31#10 Notre Dame (7-1) at #9 Arizona State (7-1, 5-1 Pac-12)The Fighting Irish will take on the Sun Devils in what is expected to be another high-stakes game, as the loser is most likely eliminated from earning a spot in the college football playoff. The Irish have struggled recently on defense, giving up a combined 113 points in their last three games against North Carolina, Florida State, and Navy, but have gotten enough production out of quarterback Everett Golson (2583 total yards, 29 total TDs, 7 INTs) to come 2-1 in that stretch.Meanwhile, the Sun Devils appear to be in command of the Pac-12 South after a 19-16 OT win over Utah, and a win against the Irish would likely push them just outside the playoff picture. Arizona State has become a team of destiny, with a Hail Mary win against USC and winning a battle of the kickers last weekend against Andy Phillips, one of the best kickers in college football. Head coach Todd Graham’s squad has bounced back nicely from a 62-27 loss earlier this season against UCLA and, behind the playmaking ability of running back D.J Foster (1153 total yards, 8 total TDs) and wide receiver Jaelen Strong (821 yards, 8 TDs), should be able to squeak out a win against a Notre Dame team trending in the wrong direction.Prediction: Arizona State 38, Notre Dame 34#5 Alabama (7-1, 4-1 SEC) at #16 LSU (7-2, 3-2 SEC)Nick Saban makes another return to Death Valley, as the Crimson Tide and the Tigers will look to keep themselves alive in the crowded SEC West. The Tigers are coming off a 10-7 upset of Ole Miss last week, but the Tide will present a whole other challenge for Les Miles. The Tigers have relied on Leonard Fournette (657 yards, 7 TDs) and their running game for most of the year, anda will be tested against an Alabama defense that is second in scoring with 10.5 points per game, and has yet to give up a 100-yard rusher this season. Meanwhile, the Tide will counter with their two-headed attack of T.J. Yeldon (618 yards, 5 TDs) and Darick Henry (530 yards, 4 TDs).The game will likely come out to the quarterback position, where there is a big gap between Alabama’s Blake Sims (2284 total yards, 20 TDs, 3 INTs) and LSU’s Anthony Jennings (1190 yards, 8 TDs, 5 INTs). Sims can cause more problems both with his arm and his legs, and also has the best receiver in the country in Amari Cooper (1132 yards, 9 TDs), and is less mistake-prone than Ole Miss’s Bo Wallace. Unless Jennings proves he can beat the Tide with his arm, this one should be going to Alabama.Prediction: Alabama 24, LSU 17#7 Kansas State (7-1, 5-0 Big 12) at #6 TCU (7-1, 4-1 Big 12)The Horned Frogs will host the Wildcats in what is expected to be their biggest test in getting a spot in the inaugural playoffs. TCU, led by quarterback Trevone Boykin (2895 total yards, 26 total TDs, 4 INTs), has the 2nd-best offense in the country with 48 points per game, and has emerged as a favorite to be the Big 12’s representative in the College Football Playoff.Unfortunately, the Wildcats, led by coach Bill Snyder, quarterback Jake Waters (2282 total yards, 18 TDs, 3 INTs), and running back Charles Jones (431 yards, 11 TDs), are another tough opponent, and one that plays hard every down and makes very few mistakes. Meanwhile, the Horned Frogs have had their mental hiccups their past few weeks, and while they’ve gotten away with it in previous games, they won’t be able to bounce back from them against a well-coached Kansas State squad, and it could cost them in this game.Prediction: Kansas State 31, TCU 28#12 Baylor (7-1, 4-1 Big 12) at #15 Oklahoma (6-2, 3-2 Big 12)The Bears will look to take their top-ranked offense (50.4 points per game) to Norman to take on the Sooners, who are essentially now playing the role of spoiler. The combination of running back Samaje Perine (767 yards, 11 TDs) and wide receiver Sterling Shepard (957 yards, 5 TDs) has provided the bulk of the offense for the Sooners, while Baylor, led by quarterback Bryce Petty (2145 total yards, 23 total TDs, 3 INTs), as a lot of talent at skill positions, headlined by running back Shock Linwood (777 yards, 10 TDs).The Sooners have yet to beat a ranked team this year and, despite all of the talent on their roster, don’t have the firepower to keep up with Baylor. The defense should be able to keep this one close, but the Bears have an advantage at quarterback with Petty, and their explosive offense should be able to put up enough points to keep themselves as a dark horse contender for the playoffs.Prediction: Baylor 38, Oklahoma 31Playoff Prediction:#1 Mississippi State vs. #4 Oregon#2 Florida State vs. #3 AuburnI don’t expect any major changes in the playoff picture this week, as most of the matches impact teams looking into the bracket. Mississippi State and Florida State should be able to coast to another win against UT Martin and Virginia, respectively, while Auburn faces Texas A&M at home, which has lost three of their last four, with their only win coming against a lowly-UL Monroe team last week by five points. Oregon should put up enough points to escape Utah with a win.
Honorable Mention: Jack Lee, Nicholls; Lewis George, Central Arkansas; Carlos Trevino Houston Baptist. FRISCO, Texas – Stephen F. Austin’s Andy Lopez is the March Southland Men’s Golfer of the Month, the league announced Wednesday. Southland monthly awards are presented by UniversalCoin.com. Golfer of the Month: Andy Lopez, Stephen F. Austin – Fr. – Dallas, TexasLopez was SFA’s top place finisher on the individual leaderboard in two of the three tournaments last month. The freshman from Dallas averaged 72.33 per round with a low-round of 70 (two-under). His best tournament finish came at the Lake Charles Invitational where he captured his third top-10 finish and fourth top-20 placement of the 2017-18 season. The Plano West Senior High product shot par or better in each round to tie for seventh. His three-under 213 score tied his career low, three-round mark. Lopez led the Lumberjacks to a third place finish at the Lake Charles Invitational to conclude a month that saw the freshman shoot par or better in six out of the nine rounds he played. SFA closed out April competition at the Bearkat Invitational in Montgomery, Texas, and now awaits the Southland Conference Championship in McKinney, Texas, set to tee-off on April 23. Southland weekly award winners are nominated and voted upon by each school’s sports information director. Voting for one’s own athlete is not permitted. To earn honorable mention, a student-athlete must appear on 25 percent of ballots.