ESPN gave Gary Miller national exposure, but KCAL allows an L.A. baseball identity

first_img“It’s just a part of the morphing into a new role,” said the 50-year-old forever-young-looking Miller, enjoying another iced tea at an outdoor restaurant Wednesday on a non-snowy winter day in Hollywood. Miller logged 17 years at ESPN, spending many a night on “SportsCenter” or “Baseball Tonight” or as a dugout reporter on regional games. It was ESPN who sent him out this way in 1999 to succeed Chris Myers as the host of Roy Firestone-created “Up Close.” That lasted only three years before it was eventually, and unfortunately, phased out. In the process, he met his future wife, Lisa Marie, a North Hollywood native who was the show’s office manager. Taping the show out of the Anaheim ESPN Zone restaurant, Miller was able to start a family in Santa Ana with now 5-year-old daughter Calle and 2-year-old son Rigley (that’s as in Wrigley Field, but minus the “W”). Some regional biases die harder than others. But Miller knew as soon as he landed in this part of the country that he wanted to stay. “I knew as I was doing (`Up Close’) that it was the greatest job I’d ever have, and looking back, I think the industry as a whole is missing a good, unedited interview show like that one,” Miller said. “It bugged me that the network was going more and more away from interviewing athletes and more to having their own analysts like (Peter) Gammons or a (Sean) Salisbury provide the soundbites to the day’s news. Maybe it’s because they’re not afraid to say things that an athlete that’s too middle-of-the-road won’t say.” For the Chicago-area native whose sports TV career was shaped by long stops at the all-sports monolith in Bristol, Conn., as well as in Atlanta during the growing stages of CNN and Headline News, the mistaken identity is understandable. But a year has gone by since KCAL-Channel9 hired him as a weekend anchor and co-host for the station’s Dodgers pregame telecasts. A recent year-long run on KSPN-AM (710) as an afternoon host on a show called “West Coast Bias” could be an even bigger clue to his region of choice for those still confused. How can it not crack up Gary Miller every time he’s walking through an airport or a crowded a baseball stadium and he gets recognized. Sort of. “Someone will say, ‘Hey, I just saw you last night on ESPN,”‘ Miller said. “OK, even though I haven’t done a `SportsCenter’ in eight years …” center_img We interrupt this story for an “Up Close”-esque segue: Some in the media industry assumed Miller’s reassignment to California was part of a career makeover. It came a year after an infamous incident in Cleveland, where Miller went through the embarrassment of an arrest for urinating out a second-story window on to two off-duty police officers on the night before the Cleveland Indians were to play the Baltimore Orioles in an American League playoff game at Jacobs Field. Do an Internet search for the story, and the version of what happened in the newspapers, and what Miller actually remembers taking place, are quite different. Miller says he was definitely drinking at the open-bar party, hosted by the American League. He needed to use the restroom but the lines were too long, so he grabbed an empty beer bottle and filled it up. The next thing he knew, he was getting a tap on the shoulder by police officers and being handcuffed. Newspaper reports quoted the police as saying he had “an instrument used for drugs” – Miller said it was a plastic dental pick – and the reported “residue” in his pockets were from aspirin and Rolaids. Charged with indecency, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, Miller immediately pleaded not guilty, and changed it in the December trial to no-contest. The way the story was reported – and it happened shortly after media frenzy over Marv Albert’s arrest for assaulting a sexual partner in a hotel room – has a profound affect on how Miller takes his journalistic approach to dealing with information about an arrested athlete or someone who’s going through public scrutiny. “I was angry about all the misinformation, and I was aware of it immediately,” he said. “When I was released, there were other reporters waiting to talk to me and I said, `You better get your facts right before you put them out there.’ “All that really did change me. It’s not like I was 20 in a frat house where it was some badge of honor. The thing that bothered me most was that the stories said, `Gary Miller, 40 …’ That’s not what I wanted to be doing with my life. I haven’t had a drink since. “But I did put myself in that situation. Since then, I had to interview athletes such as a Doc Gooden or Darryl Strawberry, and I guess I felt I could relate more to them after having my own public incident and the repercussions that go with it, having your life played out in the media.” A strong spiritual force in Miller’s life also helped him reach a moment of epiphany after the incident. Having thick skin helps, too, when an employer lets you go without warning, which is basically what happened with him when KSPN-AM dropped him suddenly in November. Station management said Miller wasn’t opinionated enough, but somehow, the show he co-hosted with D’Marco Farr was successful enough that performance bonuses were kicking in for reaching certain ratings plateaus. Miller says he’s still receiving checks in the mail for that. “Based on my experience in the industry, it was not related at all to the content of the show, but to save money,” said Miller, who had been at the station for several years prior to the regular spot. “I’ve experienced almost every manner of discontinuation, but being let go for too much success and record ratings was a first. It was dumbfounding, especially when management said it takes 18 months for a show to really get running, and we had been doing it just a year.” The “bad taste” he says that is left from that radio gig is compounded by the fact that Farr, whom he recruited to join him for the show, hasn’t made any contact with him since then. There must be some strange reason, then, why KSPN feels compelled to keep Miller on the payroll. Tom Hoffarth is a columnist for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. 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AVG 9 Launches With Smarter and Faster LinkScanner, Free ID Protection Service

first_imgTags:#news#web A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… frederic lardinois Related Posts The latest outbreaks of Twitter and Facebook worms have once again shown that while antivirus and malware protection often focuses on dealing with threats once they have already landed on a user’s computer, proactive protection is really the way to go on the net. The paid and free versions AVG 9, which launched today, include an enhanced link scanner that can handle shortened URLs and analyze a site in real time. Other new security features include improved rootkit protection, which is also included in the free version, and ‘cloud protection,’ which will block phishing sites. The AVG firewall has also gotten an update and now makes most of the obvious decisions for the user. In earlier versions, AVG’s firewall would often ask users questions that had pretty obvious answers and, similar to Vista’s User Account Control, users would simply get complacent and just click the warning away. Thanks to its ‘behavioral technology,’ the software can also figure out if a certain program is acting suspiciously, even if the file isn’t infected with a known virus. AVG’s CEO J.R. Smith told us last week the the company focused on a number of key issues in this new version: keeping pop-ups down, improving the scanning speed and keeping memory usage to a minimum so that the app would also run well on netbooks. In our own tests, AVG 9 was faster than the previous version, though we can’t quite corroborate AVG’s claim that the new version scans 50% faster.Identity Theft ProtectionAnother interesting new service AVG launched today is its Identity Theft Recovery Unity. A free 800-number for users of the paid and free versions will provide information about identity theft and guide users through the process of restoring their credit scores if they become a victim of identity theft. Mac Versions?We also asked AVG if the company planned to release any products for the Mac. While the company doesn’t have anything to announce right now, it was interesting to hear that AVG has been talking to Apple about phishing protection on the iPhone – a feature that would only work if Apple gave AVG access to some of the deeper layers of the iPhone OS.Microsoft, of course, also released its own anti-virus software, Microsoft Security Essentials, a few days ago, though while it’s a very capable antivirus package, Security Essentials is still a rather basic product compared to solutions from AVG, Avira, or Symantec.center_img Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

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Rain or Shine dumps Alaska in Hontiveros, dela Cruz farewell

first_imgLaDontae Henton put up a game-high 20 points to lead Alaska.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Winter storm threatens to scramble Thanksgiving travel plans Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ PBA IMAGESANTIPOLO—Rain or Shine put a damper on a couple of retirements after thrashing Alaska, 112-82, in the 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup Wednesday at Ynares Sports Center here.The Elasto Painters improved to 6-4 to strengthened their bid for the fourth spot in the standings while the Aces, who saw Dondon Hontiveros and Tony Dela Cruz play their final games, ended their season with a 3-8 card.ADVERTISEMENT Michael Jordan’s advice to newly-acquired Dwight Howard: ‘Play determined’ Rain or Shine broke the game wide open with a big second quarter run and a definitive 15-0 run to start the fourth capped by a jumper by Ronnie Matias for a 98-61 lead made sure Alaska stayed down for the count. “I just told the players that we will go up against Alaska and that they should play that they want to win,” said ROS head coach Caloy Garcia.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games opening“We’re lucky that (Sonny) Thoss, Calvin (Abueva), and (Chris) Banchero didn’t play today but I still told my team to play at a hundred percent.”J’Nathan Bullock topscored for the Elasto Painters with 14 points while Chris Tiu filled up the stat sheets with nine points, eight rebounds, five assists, and two steals.  View comments Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games MOST READ Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Argentine bishop appears at court hearing on abuse charges ‘A complete lie:’ Drilon refutes ‘blabbermouth’ Salo’s claims Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Trump to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist groups No more menthol cigarettes: New ban on tobacco, vape flavors Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim LATEST STORIESlast_img read more

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Salma Hayek, husband bonded over science and sports

first_imgLondon, Jun 5 (PTI) Actress Salma Hayek and her husband Francois-Henri Pinault fell in love with each other because of their shared passion for sports and science.The 50-year-old actress met Pinault 11 years ago and she was blown away by their exchange, which she said was not a “typical conversation” to spark romance, reported Hello magazine.”It was so silly. We started talking about football – were crazy about soccer – then science because we love space and physics.”He was so smart, charming and funny. At first I stereotyped him as not my kind of guy at all, and then I realised he was my perfect match,” Hayek said. PTI SHD SSNlast_img

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ESPN Suing Verizon

first_imgESPN is suing Verizon in an escalating clash over how the popular sports channel is being sold in a discounted pay-TV package.The complaint filed Monday in New York’s state Supreme Court alleges Verizon is breaking its contract with ESPN, owned by Walt Disney Co., by unbundling the sports channel from the main programming line-up of Verizon’s FiOS TV.The legal showdown could have ripple effects on how other pay-TV programming is packaged. Cable and satellite services are scrambling to retain subscribers as the advent of Internet video spawns new and less expensive ways to stay entertained and informed.Verizon is allowing customers to subscribe to a bare-bones package of 35 channels for $55 per month, with the option of adding other two other tiers of programming such as a sports package that includes ESPN. The streamlined packages are meant to appeal to budget-minded consumers weary of paying for dozens of TV channels that they rarely watch.Pay-TV providers such as Verizon are under pressure to give subscribers cheaper and more flexible choices as they face intensifying competition from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon.com and other online services that stream TV series and movies over high-speed Internet connections.Those market forces prompted Time Warner Inc.’s HBO, a long-time staple in pay-TV lineups, to recently begin selling an Internet-only service for $15 per month.“Verizon’s current skirmish speaks to the trouble distributors will have in creating a slimmer package that is attractive both from an economic and content perspective,” MoffettNathanson Research wrote in an analysis Monday.ESPN is fighting Verizon’s discounted “custom TV” package because it gives subscribers the option of bypassing the sports channel in their programming selections. That violates pay-TV requirements stipulating that ESPN be included in the main bundle of programming, according to ESPN. Despite the alleged breach of contract, ESPN hasn’t yet pulled its channel from the sports pack that Verizon is selling as part of its discounted service.New York-based Verizon Communications Inc. denies its new options break its ESPN contract. “Consumers have spoken loud and clear that they want choice, and the industry should be focused on giving consumers what they want,” the company said in response to ESPN’s lawsuit.In its statement, ESPN said it favors innovation as long as it doesn’t violate existing agreements. The sports channel recently worked out a deal that enabled Dish TV’s Sling service to include ESPN and ESPN2 in an Internet video service that costs about $20 per month. ESPN is included in the main programming line-up of Sling, though.While ESPN took Verizon to court, CBS Sports Network disclosed plans to join Verizon’s separate sports package beginning May 1.Few details of ESPN’s claims against Verizon were available Monday because the material in the lawsuit is currently considered confidential.ESPN is highly prized by pay-TV providers and advertisers because the channel has the rights to a variety of major professional and college sports that still command large audience who watch the programming live instead of on DVR recordings that let viewers skip the commercials.The sports channel’s allure has established ESPN as the most expensive channel in basic pay-TV channels, based on estimates from data provider SNL Kagan. ESPN charges pay-TV distributors $6.61 per monthly subscriber compared to just $1.65 per subscriber for the second most expensive basic channel, TNT.MICHAEL LIEDTKE, AP Business Writer___AP Business Writer Tali Arbel in Washington contributed to this story. TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

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Government to Allocate $30 Million for Research

first_img “The Government is of the view that the transition from our current state of economic stability to growth and prosperity must be underpinned by the evolution of a robust research and innovation ecosystem,” the Minister said. Story Highlights Over the next three years, the Government will be allocating $30 million to fund high-quality research in the areas of indigenous knowledge and water.Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, made the announcement at the launch of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Research Days at the institution on February 7.“The Government is of the view that the transition from our current state of economic stability to growth and prosperity must be underpinned by the evolution of a robust research and innovation ecosystem,” the Minister said.She emphasised that such an ecosystem must be further bolstered with strategic partnerships between tertiary institutions and industry.“This is the critical role the UWI has played for the better part of its 70-year existence, and which we know it will continue to play for us in Jamaica,” she said.Underscoring the Government’s commitment to facilitating the development of research and innovation, Ms. Grange said additional funding for research purposes will be provided as the funds become available.“As our fiscal space strengthens, we will continue to commit additional funding for high-quality research projects in the areas of indigenous knowledge and water research,” the Minister said.She said that research and development are critical to fuelling innovation, national development and economic growth, and urged for research to focus on specific issues in the society to assist in tackling social challenges and drive economic growth.“As we seek to cement a growth doctrine in our society, the University must ensure that its research modalities continue to enlighten and mould socio-economic policies that are readily adaptable to the needs of our society,” she said.UWI Research Days will be held from February 7 to 9 under the theme ‘Powering Development through Partnerships in Research and Innovation’.Key research areas to be explored include health, economics, climate change, alternative energy and crime. Over the next three years, the Government will be allocating $30 million to fund high-quality research in the areas of indigenous knowledge and water. “This is the critical role the UWI has played for the better part of its 70-year existence, and which we know it will continue to play for us in Jamaica,” she said.last_img read more

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Changes coming to Fisheries Act will impact Northwest Territories economy

first_imgAPTN National NewsAn internal Conservative document leaked late last month reveals that major changes may be coming to the Fisheries Act, including the removal of many habitat protections.In the Northwest Territories, fishing is a way of life, and as APTN National News reporter Cullen Crozier tells us, these changes could have a huge impact on the way life is lived in the territory.last_img

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Late charge propels Ohio State mens basketball to 6864 upset of No

Iowa senior center Adam Woodbury (34) puts up a shot while OSU freshman center Daniel Giddens (4) defends during a game on Feb. 28 at the Schottenstein Center.Credit: Evan Szymowicz | Sports DirectorAfter its five-point halftime lead quickly evaporated in the beginning of the second half, the Ohio State men’s basketball team desperately tried to hang on as eighth-ranked Iowa slowly gained control. Then, with about four minutes left in the game, it all changed. Redshirt sophomore guard Kam Williams sank a jumper, trimming Iowa’s lead to four. From there, the Buckeyes rattled off a 10-2 run, which included two clutch 3-pointers, the first by junior forward Marc Loving. The second came from Williams in the corner after a cross-court feed from JaQuan Lyle to give OSU a 66-62 lead. Iowa trimmed it to a one-basket deficit after a layup from senior center Adam Woodbury, and it had a chance to tie it with less than five seconds remaining, but senior guard Mike Gesell was swatted from behind by sophomore forward Keita Bates-Diop at the rim. As the scarlet-and-gray clad crowd erupted in piercing applause, Loving chased the ball down, then calmly sank two free throws to cap off the Buckeyes’ second-half push to grab a 68-64 upset on Sunday afternoon at the Schottenstein Center. “This was a great win, because (first) we won the game but (also) how we had to win it,” OSU coach Thad Matta said. “Being down, and fighting and scraping and clawing, we came together.” Loving led OSU (19-11, 11-6) with 25 points on 7-of-13 shooting, including four 3-pointers. It was his first 20-plus point game since Jan. 3. Besides getting it done on defense down the stretch, Bates-Diop supplied 19 points and six rebounds. Williams, who was instrumental in the second half as OSU climbed back into it, finished with 11 points after a sluggish start. His energy off the bench, coupled with his scoring punch, proved to a key reason why the Buckeyes engineered the upset.“Just because I’m missing shots doesn’t mean I have to stop being aggressive,” Williams said. “I just stay confident in my ability, and it worked out pretty well.” The game’s opening five minutes were characterized by sloppy play — uncontested rebounds careening of players’ hands that eventually fell out of bounds, travels and lazy passes. At the 15-minute mark, the teams had a combined seven turnovers, which was one more than total shots made. Shortly after though, the offenses began to show a pulse.The Hawkeyes (20-8, 11-5) secured a 12-7 advantage after an 8-0 run, and it looked like they really found their stride, but Loving would not let them break free.The junior forward hit his second 3-pointer of the game, then followed it up with a layup after an aggressive take. Then, after a two-minute back-and-forth, Loving connected again from deep to give OSU a 15-13 lead with 11:04 left in the half. Both teams brought high energy levels, as players were looking to push the ball off misses and were quick to the deck for loose balls. Williams didn’t score in his first-half stint off the bench, yet his ravid activity spread to his teammates. Neither team could swing momentum solely in its favor, as they traded baskets throughout the final 10 minutes of the first half. It wasn’t until the final three minutes that the Buckeyes really looked like the better team. After a crafty up-and-under reverse layup by Bates-Diop at the 1:42 mark, OSU led 33-28. Maybe sensing it was its last time to see OSU at home in the regular season, the crowd was engaged, responding to unfavorable calls with emphatic boos, while cheering made baskets with heavy applause. It provided the underdog Buckeyes with the necessary boost to overcome an 11-turnover first half to head into the locker room leading 35-30. “We feed off their energy,” Loving said of the louder-than-usual fans. “The adrenaline definitely helps boost you a little bit.” Loving paced the Scarlet and Gray with 13 points on 4-of-5 shooting, three of which were from downtown. Bates-Diop complemented Loving with 11 points of his own, as well as four rebounds. As a team, the Buckeyes posted a 54 percent clip from the field, which was critical, along with the crowd’s boost, in overcoming 11 turnovers. The Hawkeyes, despite shooting 39 percent from the field, including an 0-for-7 showing from 3-point territory, were able to trail by just five because a balanced attack. Seven players tallied points, with Gesell leading the way with 10. Senior forward Jarrod Uthoff, a top candidate for conference player of the year, was held to seven points on 2-of-7 shooting. If the Buckeyes devised a scheme during halftime to quickly bury the Hawkeyes, it was hard to tell.The first two minutes couldn’t have gone much worse for OSU. The Buckeyes had three turnovers, including a lazy cross-court pass and one that went through redshirt sophomore center Trevor Thompson’s legs as he rolled uncovered to the basket. Meanwhile for the Hawkeyes, junior guard Peter Jok drained a corner 3-pointer and Gesell sank two three throws to tie the game at 35-35. OSU had the chance to try and put away Iowa early on, but it simply couldn’t rid itself of the turnovers, which continued to give the Hawkeyes extra possessions. Frankly, the Buckeyes weren’t shooting bad from the field — at the 12:00 mark, they were at a respectable 48 percent — it’s just that they kept turning it over before attempting shots. This allowed Iowa, powered by nine successive points from Uthoff, to methodically build momentum, despite multiple aggressive attempts by OSU to keep the game within its grasp. After grabbing its first second-half lead at the 13:46 mark, Iowa held control over the next seven minutes, although Williams, Loving and Bates-Diop tried to claw OSU back. Eventually, after trailing for much of the second half, the Buckeyes swung momentum back in their favor after Williams began heating up. Feeding off the crowd and, OSU was able to string together near-flawless play down to stretch to get the win in final regular-season game at the Schott. “Today we just showed a great amount of toughness and the ability to fight adversity,” Loving said. “It’s hard to stay in the game with that amount of turnovers.”  Although Lyle didn’t score, the freshman point guard added five rebounds and five assists, two of which set up critical 3-pointers down the stretch. Matta praised his young player for finding ways to impact the game outside of the scoring column. Uthoff and Gesell finished with 16 points apiece to lead the Hawkeyes, who now drop to a three-way tie for second place in the Big Ten.Looking for a second straight upset as a last-ditch effort to bolster their NCAA tournament résumé, the Buckeyes are scheduled to conclude their regular season Saturday on the road against Michigan State. OSU fell to the Spartans 81-62 at home on Tuesday. The rematch is set for noon in East Lansing, Michigan. “We’ve got to be a better basketball team up there on Saturday than we were last Tuesday,” Matta said. “We’ll go back to the drawing board, keep working and get better.” read more

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Spartans saved by bigger stronger LeVeon Bell

Whether Michigan State junior running back Le’Veon Bell will be a contender for this year’s Heisman Trophy remains to be seen, but Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer has already compared Bell to a former Wisconsin running back who won the award in 1999. “(Bell) reminds me of Ron Dayne, even a little more athletic,” Meyer said. “Extremely strong, powerful guy, and times up his blocks very well, and runs through tackles, and then we see the athleticism that usually people that size don’t have.” Bell, a native of Columbus who played high school football at Groveport Madison High School, will be starting at running back for the No. 20 Spartans when they play his hometown No. 14 Buckeyes on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in East Lansing, Mich. OSU’s defense is tied 34th nationally in rushing defense with 117.5 yards allowed per game, but it could be facing its toughest test on Saturday in Bell. Bell, a 6-foot-2, 244-pound running back, ranks second among all Football Bowl Subdivision running backs with 610 rushing yards through his first four games of the season, and is coming off of a career-best 253-yard rushing game in a victory against Eastern Michigan last Saturday. OSU co-defensive coordinator Everett Withers said the skill set that has made Bell so productive this season. “He’s a patient runner. He does a nice job of setting up blocks within their offense in the power game, and I think he does a nice job of cutting back,” Withers said. “He knows where the soft spots in the defense (are), he knows when to take it on the edge. He does a nice job with a stiff arm out on the edge. He will lower his shoulder inside. He’s built for an I-back inside runner, and I think it fits what they’re trying to do offensively.” The worst day for OSU’s rushing defense thus far this year came on Sept. 15 versus California, which ran for 224 yards against the Buckeyes, 160 yards of which came from sophomore Brendan Bigelow on just four carries. Meyer said the Buckeyes cannot allow Bell, who has already gone for more than 200 yards in a single game twice this season, to do that again on Saturday. “If it turns into a 200-yard rushing day,” Meyer said, “then we’re going to lose the game.” Withers explained what the OSU defense must do to keep Bell’s rushing yards in check. “We’re going to have to make sure we keep him sideways and not let him go north and south,” Withers said. OSU redshirt senior safety Orhian Johnson said that the key to tackling Bell, considering his combination of size and athleticism, is to “get him before he gets to you.” “You definitely want to get to him before he gets started because he’s real top-heavy, so you know he’s going to run downfield,” Johnson said. “He’s got good feet, so you just can’t chop at him, but you just got to make sure you’re going to get up there, you’re going to wrap him up.” As a sophomore in last year’s matchup with the Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium, Bell only ran for 50 yards on 14 carries. At that point, however, Bell had only run for 217 yards through his first four games of the season, and was splitting carries with then-junior running back Edwin Baker. This season, with Baker having moved on to the NFL, Bell has become the Spartans’ workhorse at running back. Bell already has 117 carries this season, with no other running back having more than 15 attempts through the first four games. MSU coach Mark Dantonio said during the Spartans’ weekly press conference on Tuesday that Bell has progressed as a running back since last year’s matchup with the Buckeyes. “Where (Le’Veon’s) grown is as a complete football player,” Dantonio said. “He’s always been very, very good. But he’s gotten bigger, stronger.” OSU senior fullback Zach Boren, who said he tackled Bell in high school when he was playing on both sides of the ball for Pickerington High School Central, said Bell has “stayed true to himself from high school to college.” “In high school, they would feed him the ball 30 to 40 times a game, and that’s the same at Michigan State,” Boren said. “He’s a great player, he’s a powerful runner.” In addition to lining up at running back, Bell has also returned three punts for a total of 18 yards for the Spartans this season. Meyer said the fact that Bell has been used as a punt returner is a testament to his athleticism. “He might be the biggest punt returner in the history of college football,” Meyer said with a laugh. read more

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