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  • Ebola situation in Liberia: non-conventional interventions needed

    first_imgReport from the World Health OrganizationDuring the past weeks, a WHO team of emergency experts worked together with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and members of her government to assess the Ebola situation in Liberia.Transmission of the Ebola virus in Liberia is already intense and the number of new cases is increasing exponentially.The investigative team worked alongside staff from the Ministry of Health, local health officials, and other key partners working in the country.All agreed that the demands of the Ebola outbreak have completely outstripped the government’s and partners’ capacity to respond. Fourteen of Liberia’s 15 counties have now reported confirmed cases.Some 152 health care workers have been infected and 79 have died. When the outbreak began, Liberia had only one doctor to treat nearly 100,000 people in a total population of 4.4 million people. Every infection or death of a doctor or nurse depletes response capacity significantly.Liberia, together with the other hard-hit countries, namely Guinea and Sierra Leone, is experiencing a phenomenon never before seen in any previous Ebola outbreak. As soon as a new Ebola treatment facility is opened, it immediately fills to overflowing with patients, pointing to a large but previously invisible caseload.Of all Ebola-affected countries, Liberia has the highest cumulative number of reported cases and deaths, amounting, on 8 September, to nearly two thousand cases and more than one thousand deaths. The case-fatality rate, at 58%, is also among the highest.Situation in Montserrado countyThe WHO investigation concentrated on Montserrado county, which includes Liberia’s capital, Monrovia. The county is home to more than one million people. The teeming West Point slum, which has no sanitation, little running water, and virtually no electrical supplies, is also located in Monrovia, and is adjacent to the city’s major market district.In Montserrado county, the team estimated that 1000 beds are urgently needed for the treatment of currently infected Ebola patients. At present only 240 beds are available, with an additional 260 beds either planned or in the process of being put in place. These estimates mean that only half of the urgent and immediate capacity needs could be met within the next few weeks and months.The number of new cases is moving far faster than the capacity to manage them in Ebola-specific treatment centres.For example, an Ebola treatment facility, hastily improvised by WHO for the Ministry of Health, was recently set up to manage 30 patients but had more than 70 patients as soon as it opened.WHO estimates that 200 to 250 medical staff are needed to safely manage an Ebola treatment facility with 70 beds.The investigation team viewed conditions in general-purpose health facilities as well as Ebola-specific transit and treatment facilities.The John F Kennedy Medical Center in Monrovia, which was largely destroyed during Liberia’s civil war, remains the country’s only academic referral hospital. The hospital is plagued by electrical fires and floods, and several medical staff were infected there and died, depleting the hospital’s limited workforce further.The fact that early symptoms of Ebola virus disease mimic those of many other common infectious diseases increases the likelihood that Ebola patients will be treated in the same ward as patients suffering from other infections, putting cases and medical staff alike at very high risk of exposure.In Monrovia, taxis filled with entire families, of whom some members are thought to be infected with the Ebola virus, crisscross the city, searching for a treatment bed. There are none. As WHO staff in Liberia confirm, no free beds for Ebola treatment exist anywhere in the country.According to a WHO staff member who has been in Liberia for the past several weeks, motorbike-taxis and regular taxis are a hot source of potential Ebola virus transmission, as these vehicles are not disinfected at all, much less before new passengers are taken on board.When patients are turned away at Ebola treatment centres, they have no choice but to return to their communities and homes, where they inevitably infect others, perpetuating constantly higher flare-ups in the number of cases.Other urgent needs include finding shelters for orphans and helping recovered patients who have been rejected by their families or neighbours.Last week, WHO sent one of its most experienced emergency managers to head the WHO office in Monrovia. Coordination among key partners is rapidly improving, aiming for a better match between resources and rapidly escalating needs.Implications of the investigationThe investigation in Liberia yields three important conclusions that need to shape the Ebola response in high-transmission countries.First, conventional Ebola control interventions are not having an adequate impact in Liberia, though they appear to be working elsewhere in areas of limited transmission, most notably in Nigeria, Senegal, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.Second, far greater community engagement is the cornerstone of a more effective response. Where communities take charge, especially in rural areas, and put in place their own solutions and protective measures, Ebola transmission has slowed considerably.Third, key development partners who are supporting the response in Liberia and elsewhere need to prepare to scale up their current efforts by three- to four-fold.As WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan told agencies and officials last week in New York City and Washington, DC, development partners need to prepare for an “exponential increase” in Ebola cases in countries currently experiencing intense virus transmission.Many thousands of new cases are expected in Liberia over the coming three weeks.WHO and its Director-General will continue to advocate for more Ebola treatment beds in Liberia and elsewhere, and will hold the world accountable for responding to this dire emergency with its unprecedented dimensions of human suffering.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

  • Fatalistic Forecasts Aren’t Helping Ebola Efforts – Greater Positivity is Needed

    first_imgDuring a recent telephone conversation with my aunt, who lives in Liberia, I could hear trepidation in her voice for the first time. At the same time, though, she remained typically stoic, her faith in God unshakable after surviving two armed insurgencies. “They are saying on the radio that before January [2015] thousands of us will die,” said Auntie Arinah. “This thing is getting very scary. We rebuke those numbers!”I couldn’t help feeling moved by my aunt’s tenacity in the midst of her anxiety. Ebola fatality projections seem to have created an atmosphere of psychological distress in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, nations still recovering from the trauma of conflict.The language of alarm has been conspicuous. Estimated casualty numbers are punctuated with conditional verbs such as “could” and “may”. In August, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced that Ebola-related deaths could exceed 20,000 if there were no efforts to contain the disease. The projection seemed so far-fetched at the time that Liberia’s president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, publicly rejected them.Estimates have steadily increased. At a news conference in Geneva last week, the WHO estimated that there could be 10,000 new cases over the next two months. The scariest projection of all, referenced by my aunt, came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last month: between 550,000 and 1.4 million people may be infected by January.I suspect that these forecasts are partly intended to speed up action, so that aid, medical supplies and health practitioners are deployed to the affected countries as quickly as possible. But there are unintended consequences. As a Liberian who has family, friends and colleagues in the country, fatality forecasts aren’t troubling only because they may come to pass. Announcements of probable deaths are affecting people right now.Isolated incidences of Ebola in Europe and the US have already caused hysteria. Africans across the world have been on the receiving end of xenophobia laced with racist venom more than ever before. Alarmist projections only add fuel to the fire.I’m not denying the threat Ebola poses if it is not contained. Yet I remain convinced that the grim statistics and apocalyptic framing of the outbreak are doing more harm than good.I fear the projections may be causing undue stress to people who need hope – healthcare workers battling the disease in hazmat suits; pregnant women on the verge of giving life; patients in Ebola treatment units who refuse to go gentle into that good night; and policymakers looking for solutions.For the countless individuals whose stories have been anonymised by the threat of Ebola, we must change the narrative around fuzzy, conditional statistics. Flip the script. Focus on the number of people who could survive if the response were faster. If we follow with precision the 70-70-60 formula developed by the WHO – treating 70% of infected patients while burying 70% of those who have died within 60 days – we should be able to predict how many lives will be spared. These numbers must replace the bleak headlines and become a new call to action.In an outbreak of this scale, speed and magnitude, accurate and reliable data is perhaps second only in importance to life-saving medical care. Probable, suspected and confirmed cases must be swiftly disaggregated to minimise over- or under-reporting. The underlying assumption that anyone exhibiting symptoms of Ebola has the virus is faulty and harmful, given the stigma attached to the disease. The recent establishment of mobile laboratories at two clinics in Liberia will enable diagnosis within hours, as opposed to days, so that people can seek appropriate medical attention for Ebola and non-Ebola ailments.The mantra so far – “it may get worse before it gets better” – seems rather defeatist. Instead of heeding fatalistic pronouncements, we need to shift our attention to the 400 people who had Ebola and came through, thanks to quality care in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. The 11-year-old boy in Liberia of YouTube fame, Mamadee, comes to mind.I’d like to see alarming forecasts of death and doom give way to a more measured and positive approach to the Ebola outbreak. My aunt in Liberia wouldn’t have it any other way.This article was originally published on Theguardian.comShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

  • New Horizons at Jupiter

    first_imgNew Horizons, a spaceship bound for Pluto, took a good look at the Jupiter system when passing by on Feb. 28.  The scientific findings were featured in a special section of Science last week, with 11 articles.  Joanne Baker said in the Introductory article,1 “The papers in this special issue record how the probe witnessed lightning and aurorae in Jupiter’s atmosphere, volcanic eruptions on the moon Io, and the pulsing of Jupiter’s magnetosphere, a cocoon of charged particles that swathes the entire system.”Io’s magnetic personality:  Of special interest is Io, the volcanic inner moon of Jupiter.  The spacecraft witnessed a major eruption of a polar volcano seen earlier by the Galileo mission:An eruption of the Tvashtar volcano on the satellite Io was caught in the act, allowing the mechanics of the sulfurous plume and the lava temperature to be measured.  Pollution from Io’s volcanoes has even reached the shores of Europa, an icy moon that may harbor oceans beneath its frozen surface.  Io’s volcanic emissions feed extra sulfur and oxygen ions into a vast particle cloud that circles the entire Jupiter system, held in place by the planet’s strong magnetic field.  Behind the planet, it is pulled into a magnetic shadow billions of kilometers long, streaming away from the Sun as the solar wind deflects around Jupiter.  Acting like a giant pipe, this magnetic tail drains half a metric ton of charged particles out of the jovian system each second.Apparently the mass lost down the magnetotail is just half of Io’s output.  Norbert Krupp, in another introductory article,2 said that Io is ejecting one metric ton per second of sulfur dioxide particles.  “Data from all of the previous missions have shown that Jupiter’s moon Io is the most important player in the configuration and dynamics of the jovian magnetosphere,” he exclaimed.  Keep in mind that Jupiter has the largest magnetosphere by far of any planet in the solar system.  This little moon is shedding a lot of responsibility (picture).Polar eruption:  Spencer et al described the volcanoes on Io in another paper (picture).3  The 350-km-high plume from Tvashtar (picture) contained “remarkable time-variable filamentary structures” (movie).  Tvashtar, erupting steadily during the eight days of the observations (picture), was just one of several active volcanoes witnessed in action (picture).  They measured lava temperatures nearly 2000° F. – consistent with basaltic lavas and not requiring “exotic high temperature magmas” inferred from some Galileo observations, they claimed (compare this 2002 abstract from Galileo scientists).Ring things:  Jupiter’s faint rings were the subject of a paper by Showalter et al (picture).4  They were surprised that clumps appeared in some new tenuous rings; these clumps “challenge our theoretical understanding,” they said (movie).  Another puzzle is that “The dusty jovian ring system must be replenished continuously from embedded source bodies,” but they could not find any new small moons capable of feeding the ring system other than the previously-known Metis and Adrastea (movie).  Jupiter’s rings showed significant variation since Galileo: a pattern matched by the thinnest rings at Saturn and Uranus.  “We conclude that the general class of dusty rings may be much more dynamic and time-variable than was previously supposed, with variations on 10- to 20-year time scales not the exception but the norm.”Europa dope:  New Horizons also got looks at Europa and Ganymede.5  It appears that Io is coating Europa with some of the non-ice material observed earlier on “thousand-year time scales” (picture).  The “young” crater Pwyll on Europa showed less contamination than others, supporting the idea that the salty material comes from outside the moon.  If so, this raises hopes that the ocean under the ice is not so salty as to inhibit life (09/17/2002).  Yet if Europa is undergoing “active resurfacing,” as they said, it might seem plausible that the accumulated salts from Io would contaminate the interior ocean over billions of years. Ganymede scarface:  Ganymede appears to be accumulating “a globally distributed dark material except where relatively recent impacts have excavated cleaner ice from below the surface.”  New Horizons observed three bright, rayed craters not mapped by earlier missions (picture).Visit the New Horizons website where there is a gallery of images from the Jupiter flyby.1.  Joanne Baker, “Grand Tour,” Science, 12 October 2007: Vol. 318. no. 5848, p. 215, DOI: 10.1126/science.318.5848.215.2.  Norbert Krupp, “New Surprises in the Largest Magnetosphere of Our Solar System,” Science, 12 October 2007: Vol. 318. no. 5848, pp. 216-217, DOI: 10.1126/science.1150448.3.  Spencer et al, “Io Volcanism Seen by New Horizons: A Major Eruption of the Tvashtar Volcano,” Science, 12 October 2007: Vol. 318. no. 5848, pp. 240-243, DOI: 10.1126/science.1147621.4.  Showalter et al, “Clump Detections and Limits on Moons in Jupiter’s Ring System,” Science, 12 October 2007: Vol. 318. no. 5848, pp. 232-234, DOI: 10.1126/science.1147647.5.  Grundy et al, “New Horizons Mapping of Europa and Ganymede,” Science, 12 October 2007: Vol. 318. no. 5848, pp. 234-237, DOI: 10.1126/science.1147623.We could not find where any of the scientists ventured to explain how these short-lived phenomena, sometimes called “dramatic,” could be sustained for 4.5 billion years.  New Horizons has shown that the Jupiter system’s dynamic activity, first observed in 1979 by the Voyagers, was not a fluke.  Volcanic eruptions, ring erosion and active resurfacing have continued unabated for the last 28 years.  How far back in time can these evidences of youth be extended?    Remember that nearly all of these phenomena were a complete surprise when first discovered.  Believers in a billions-of-years-old solar system did not predict them then, and cannot explain them now.  Some open-minded researcher should take the collective data and model it without the a priori constraint of billions of years.  Planetary science needs new horizons.(Visited 9 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

  • Pension Advances: Not a Good Option for Military Retirees

    first_imgBy Carol ChurchAs anyone who works with service members knows, a military pension is a valuable and honorable thing. It signifies many years of hard work and devotion to our county. And for many people, it is an incredibly important financial lifeline.That’s why it’s so galling to hear about companies who prey on veterans by offering so-called “pension advances” that actually consist of predatory loans. Service members, retired service members, and those us who work with these populations need to be aware of this problem.What are Pension Advances?These companies market “quick” “pension loans” to veterans (and often other government employees) using flags and patriotic imagery. They know that some retirees have poor credit and may be in need of money for bills or emergencies, while being entitled to guaranteed pension income.  The companies take advantage of this by offering a fast lump sum of money that “buy out” some of the pensions. The lump sum, while tempting, will inevitably be worth far less than the pension rights that are signed over, making this a bad deal.The pensioner then has to pay back the company. Though a pension advance is not legally considered a loan, it really is one, and the effective interest rates can be astronomical—from 20% to 100%+. For instance, a person receiving a $5000 lump sum might end up having to pay back more than $30,000!There may be very high fees associated with the transaction, and the pensioner may be required to buy life insurance to protect the company’s “investment.” (If the person dies before the company gets all its payments, this policy benefits that company.) What’s more, the lump sum may push some people into a higher tax bracket and cause them to have to pay more taxes.Are They Legal?Pension advances are in a legally gray area. Their status varies by state and is constantly changing. Some law firms, states, and government agencies have pursued legal action against companies in this area. Congress has held hearings to consider whether to outlaw the practice. The fact that the companies insist they are “not loans” when all evidence points to the opposite means that they are on legally shaky ground. In many cases, the companies also are not offering the legal disclosures required by the government. But for now, these companies are still operating in most areas.What Should Be Done if Someone I know Has Participated in a Pension Advance? Pensionhelp.org, a free government service, may be able to assist those who have questions or concerns about their pension plan, including questions about pension advances.Legally, it may be possible to have pension advance agreement invalidated, as has happened in some established cases. However, this is not something to rely on. Even when courts find in favor of borrowers, the companies involved frequently declare bankruptcy, leaving the pensioners with nothing.Those who feel they’ve been taken advantage of by a pension advance may be able to file a complaint with the FTC.What Other Options Are There?These companies are able to find customers because people feel they have no other option. However, these terms are so poor that almost any other loan would be a better choice, including a typical high-interest credit card. Other possibilities include:Working with creditors to reduce interest rates or consolidate loans. Contact a nonprofit consumer credit counseling agency through www.nfcc.org for more assistance.Taking out a home equity loanA reverse mortgageA personal loan, possibly through a peer-to-peer lending platform like Lending Club No matter what they or their websites say, experts agree that pension advances are a poor choice for veterans. These companies are not in business to offer a fair service, and financial advisors need to warn their clients about them.Further Reading:Beware of the Pension PredatorsPension Advances: Not So FastReferences:Davis, O. (2015). Controversial Pension Advance Industry Flourishes With Little Federal, State Scrutiny.Federal Trade Commission. (2014). Pension Advances: Not So Fast.Marte, J. (2015). Some retirees are making a terrible mistake with their pensions.Pension Rights Center. (2016). The facts about pension advances.last_img read more

  • NAB 2017: The Latest and Greatest Camera Lenses

    first_imgWe round up the latest camera lens announcements from NAB 2017.NAB is in full swing, and news about new cameras, gear, and accessories continue to drop. While trying to sift through all the chatter from some of the biggest brands in the industry, we focus in on the latest announcements and anticipated releases in camera lenses. Let’s check out these new lenses and what we know about them.Canon 70-200mm Telephoto Zoom LensCanon’s new 70-200mm is causing a stir at NAB as an ideal documentary or narrative workhorse for a variety of camera needs. Here’s an excerpt about the lens from Canon’s press release:The new COMPACT-SERVO 70-200mm Telephoto Zoom Lens is a 4K lens and features autofocus and optical image stabilization (with compatible camera models), resulting in high-resolution imagery, with the ability to assist filmmakers in capturing the shot they envisioned. Compatible with EF-mount Super 35mm large-format cameras, the lens maintains brightness across the entire focal range at T4.4 (equal to f/4.0).Cooke S7/i line of Full Frame Plus PrimesThe full frame sensor-friendly lenses from Cooke Optics are also standouts at NAB. The whole S7/i family consists of eight different focal lengths: 18mm, 25mm, 32mm, 40mm, 50mm, 75mm, 100mm and 135mm. Each lens has a T-Stop of T2.0 all the way to T22. You can read more here or watch the demo below.  Sigma 14mm & 135mm T2 FF High Speed Prime Cine LensesSpeed is king, as we see in Sigma’s new high-speed prime cine lens series. Both the new 14mm and 135mm round out Sigma’s complete cine line-up. Here’s a writeup on the full family from Sigma’s press release:The lineup ranges from 14mm to 135mm and covers T1.5 to T2. The lenses are compatible with full frame sensors and, while being more compact, can offer higher resolution than other high-end prime sets do. With the seven prime lenses from FF High Speed Prime Line, there is no need to change the lighting to shoot a variety of cuts, and it is possible to meet the demands that professional movie creation requires. Leica 8-18mm f/2.8-4Panasonic has unveiled the second installment in their new LEICA DG  f/2.8-4 zoom lens line (the followup to their 12-60mm announcement at CES) with a new 8-18mm option. The line is designed for micro four-third mounts, so the 8-18mm will be closer to 16-35mm — yet still great for wide coverage. You can read more here or check out the review video below. ZEISS CP.3 and CP.3 XDAs you can read in our quick hands-on review, ZEISS announced at NAB that they are updating their highly popular CP.2 lens series with a new family that includes the metadata-heavy XD updates as well. Here’s an excerpt:The kit that we checked out included 18mm, 21mm, 35mm, 50mm, and 85mm lenses. It offers full-frame coverage that consistently matches across lenses and previous generations. With the wide-open T-stops of T2.9 for 18mm-21mm and T2.1 for 25 up to 135mm, you can count on the best exposure compensations on set or in any environment. Plus, thanks to the interchangeable mount system, you can use them on a wide variety of cameras.All prices are currently to-be-announced, but we will keep you posted as prices and specs roll out until all these lenses hit the market.Be sure to check out the rest of our NAB 2017 coverage on the blog, and stay tuned for more updates.last_img read more

  • Fajardo takes blame for SMB loss to Bolts

    first_imgBrace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Trailing, 102-101, the Beermen had a chance to take the lead inside the final 10 seconds and they wisely went to the reigning three-time PBA MVP to bail them out.Fajardo shot over Bolts import Allen Durham but his floater came up short as it hit the front rim.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“It was my fault. It was a good look and I missed that final shot. We should have won,” said a frustrated Fajardo in Filipino after the Beermen’s 104-101 defeat.The loss didn’t just cause San Miguel the game, but also a seat in the top four as they wound up in sixth place heading into the quarterfinals. The Cebuano giant went hard on himself despite posting a team-best 26 points, eight rebounds, and three blocks.“I won’t be able to sleep tonight. I’m really sorry and I promise to bounce back,” he said.San Miguel will now have to beat defending champion Barangay Ginebra twice in the quarterfinals for its Grand Slam bid to go on. A win by the Gin Kings on Wednesday would send the Beermen into an early exit.“We’re still not out. We still have a chance to win. We just have to stay positive. Our will is still strong and we’ll take this one game at a time even though we have to go through the eye of the needle,” he said.ADVERTISEMENT Read Next Bolts claim top spot, rally past Beermen Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients  Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa LATEST STORIES Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:02Fajardo predicts there will be no sweep in PBA Finals01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games MOST READcenter_img Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary E.T. returns to earth, reunites with grown-up Elliott in new ad  BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight PBA IMAGESNine times out of ten, June Mar Fajardo would easily make a basket from five feet.It just unfortunate for San Miguel Beer that the rarest of times Fajardo would miss from close range came on Sunday night in an all-important game against rival Meralco.ADVERTISEMENT View commentslast_img read more

  • India at Asian Games: Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu in badminton pre-quarterfinals

    first_imgSaina Nehwal is seen behind a net as she returns a shot to Macau’s Teng Lok U during their women’s single badminton match at the Gyeyang Gymnasium during the 17th Asian Games in Incheon on September 24, 2014. Photo: ReutersIndian women’s badminton singles stars Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu reached the pre-quarterfinals of the 17th Asian Games at the Gyeyang Gymnasium on Wednesday.London Olympics bronze medallist Saina thrashed Macau’s Teng Lok U 21-10, 21-8 in 26 minutes while two-time World Championships bronze medallist Sindhu took only 19 minutes to register a convincing 21-7, 21-13 win over Kit Leng Wong of Macau.Saina, who shifted her training base from Hyderabad’s Pullela Gopichand Academy to Bangalore under former national head coach Vimal Kumar before the Asiad, looked in fine form and started positively taking the first game 21-10 in 13 minutes.In the second game, Saina, ranked seventh in the world, continued her dominance over Lok U and raced to a 13-4 lead and never looked back, finally winning the game 21-8.The 24-year-old Saina will Thursday play Iran’s Soraya Aghaeihajiagha for a place in the quarter-final.In the match between Sindhu and Leng Wong, the World No.10 Indian proved too strong for Leng Wong, who is ranked 34th.Sindhu didn’t allow her opponent to settle at all, winning the first game 21-7 in just nine minutes.In the second game, Leng Wong improved her performance and few mistakes from Sindhu helped the Macau shuttler put up a better fight.But Sindhu kept playing her aggressive game to pile further pressure on Leng Wong, who in the end lost 13-21.advertisementIn the pre-quarter-finals to be held Thursday, 19-year-old Sindhu will take on Indonesia’s Bellaetrix Manuputty, who defeated Nepal’s Nangsal Tamang 21-5, 21-17.last_img read more

  • Kickoff, Punt Coverage For Oklahoma State Has Been Vital To Success

    first_imgWhile you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. Kicking and punting is not sexy, but field position will win you Big 12 championships. This should be on a canvas in fancy lettering somewhere in Mike Gundy’s office (maybe it is). Gundy has long been a proselytizer of special teams success, and this year his team is realizing it. Here are a few numbers.Kickoff return yards allowed per kickscreen-shot-2016-11-01-at-8-06-43-amThe difference of three or four yards might not seem like a lot, but in 30-possession Big 12 games, it adds up. Field position matters and OSU is protecting it. This number, by the way, ranks in the top 12 in the nation.Punt return yards allowed per puntscreen-shot-2016-11-01-at-8-06-59-amAnother number that ranks in the top 12 nationally. Zach Sinor has been lights out all year and has given his punt coverage unit sufficient time to cover up returns. Taylor Cornelius has more rushing yards this year than opponents have punt return yards which is wild.It goes deeper than this, too. There is not a great way to find average starting field position for teams unfortunately, but a cursory glance at the last four OSU games shows it is winning that battle.Average starting field positionvs. Texas: own 27vs. Iowa State: own 36vs. Kansas: own 42vs. WVU: own 43Opponent average starting field positionvs. Texas: own 24vs. Iowa State: own 21vs. Kansas: own 19vs. WVU: own 24OSU has won every starting field position battle (many times due to interceptions and fumbles deep in its opponent’s territory). Even with a mildly better offense than your opponent, you’re going to win a ton of games like that. That could change this week, though.“This will be a real challenge this week,” said Mike Gundy on Monday. “Year in and year out, Kansas State will be one of the top special teams units in the country. They do a great job with their schemes and the players understand the coverage and have multiple reps in their schemes.“Hopefully we can keep that going this week. We have been pretty productive in our cover units and in our return game when opportunities are available. We’re better than what we have been in the past in our return game.”Hopefully it remains that way.last_img read more

  • Spring Preview: Versatility of Safeties Allows Different Looks on Defense

    first_imgSpring practice is a time for trying things out. With most position groups, we’re looking for which freshmen can make a play and give us a first glimpse of their potential for the future.But with the safety position in 2017, it’s all about familiar faces learning new roles.As part of the Cowboys’ apparent transition (at least part-time) to a three-down front, Ramon Richards, the only cornerback on the roster with any starting experience, has been effectively moved to safety. Safety Kenneth Edison-McGruder has moved to linebacker.Mike Gundy explained the move during this spring press conference on Monday.“A lot of (the move) has to do with that 3-down, 4-down (linemen) concept we’re going to now,” Gundy said. “Having that guy that can play both, if you really have one of those guys, then they’re potentially a high-round pick because they’re skilled.”So not only does Glenn Spencer lose the leading tackler of Mike Gundy’s tenure in safety Jordan Sterns, he’ll be working in a new scheme which necessitates the position shuffling.Spencer acknowledged the difficulty of learning multiple systems — and the need.“Part of out learning process this spring is going to be how much can we have in our toolbox to be effective on Saturdays, without doing too much,” said Spencer.Tre Flowers is back for his senior season and is the Cowboys active leading tackler. Flowers and Ramon would be tabbed as the starters. Jerel Morrow is also a senior and figures to start when the Cowboys use that 3-3-5 formation.After those three you have three redshirt sophomores — Za’Carrius Green, Winston Westbrooks and Philip Redwine-Bryant — and true sophomore walk-on Chance Cook. Of course, all are seeing action this spring and will get a chance to show out in the Spring Game on April 15.In the fall, Spencer will also have true freshmen Malcolm Rodriguez, Kris McCune and Tre Sterling at his disposal. All three are 3-star recruits. All could play given OSU’s relative lack of depth at the position.With all the changes expected on defense, Spencer, now in his 10th spring camp in Stillwater and fifth as defensive coordinator, understands what spring ball is – practice and exhibition.“That’s the good thing about spring ball,” said Spencer. “Nobody’s keeping score. If we had to line up tomorrow, I don’t know what we would do. It probably wouldn’t be this.”Luckily, Glenn Spencer and his staff have six months to figure it out. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.last_img read more

  • The Reload: OSU Offers Kansas Commitment, Pushing Hard for 2018 LB DaShaun White

    first_imgThe Reload is PFB’s recruiting recap, catching you up to speed on the latest news and rumors regarding Oklahoma State recruiting.OSU giving full court press to top linebacker target DaShaun WhiteOklahoma State has two linebackers in the fold for 2018 in outside linebacker and safety Kolby Peel and inside linebacker Blake Barron. But Glenn Spencer isn’t yet done, making North Richland Hills (Texas) outside linebacker DaShaun White his top priority on the trail.White is set to narrow his list of top schools soon, and he says OSU is expected to be among that cut because of his relationship with a former Cowboy player turned graduate assistant.“Believe it or not, I actually have my best relationship with graduate assistant Andre Sexton,” White told Rivals. “He’s been talking to me since one of my games last season and started recruiting me early … He’s a coach that makes me feel at home, so with that, that’s really the biggest thing for me. With the culture they have there, I think they’re going to be a really good football team there the next couple of years.”White now has 19 Division I offers after blowing up this spring which include Oklahoma, UCLA, Texas A&M, TCU and others.Jabbar Muhammad offer No. 1 for 2020 prospectOklahoma State is offer No. 1 for 2020 cornerback Jabbar Muhammad of DeSoto, Texas, where OSU has had a great deal of success recruiting over the years. Chris Lacy and A.J. Green are currently on the roster and DeSoto alums, and Green took to Twitter after Muhammad’s offer to encourage OSU fans to show him some love.Muhammad is a 5-foot-10 prospect who will be a sophomore next season.Eddie Smith, 2018 cornerback, offered by OSUCornerback remains a major priority in the 2018 class and Eddie Smith of Slidell, Louisiana, is the latest target. Smith, like early enrollee Lamarcus Morton, plays both wide receiver and cornerback but OSU likes him at corner. He’s a three-star prosect with offers from Mississippi State, Tennessee, Texas Tech and others. Smith played both sides of the ball last season and had a good deal of success catching 11 passes for 275 yards and five touchdowns, while recording 33 tackles, one tackle for loss, two INT’s, and one defensive TD for DeSoto.In state lineman offered by OSUFollowing a recent unofficial visit, fast-rising in-state two-way lineman Jacob Farrell reported a visit from OSU. Farrell is a 6-foot-6, 280 pound prospect who Josh Henson recently paid a visit to, which gives rise to the thought that OSU could (and likely is) set to target five high school offensive linemen in the 2018 class.“The visit went great,” Farrell told Scout of his visit. “We checked out all the facilities and they showed us all over the campus. I liked what I saw.”Along with OSU, Farrell now has opportunities from Kansas, Texas Tech and Utah State.2018 wide receiver Jonathan Shepherd offeredOSU’s lone wide receiver commit in the 2018 class is a big one in Tulsa Union’s C.J. Moore, but that isn’t the only pass-catcher OSU is taking in the class. The staff has its sights set on three-star Kilgore receiver Jonathan Shepherd, who reported the offer this week. Subsequently, prediction in OSU’s favor was made in his 247sports crystal ball. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.center_img Shepherd also holds offers from TCU, Texas Tech and New Mexico, among others. Scout recently tagged him as an up-and-comer to watch in the Texas area.In a field full of good receivers, Shepherd stood out and has solidified himself as one of the very best sleeper prospects in the entire state of Texas. The 6-foot-4, 182-pounder won several 1-on-1 reps as his frame and top-end speed give him a dangerous combination. He has made recent unofficial stops in at LSU and Texas.Kansas commit offered by OSUTevailance Hunt joined Shepherd among wide receivers who were offered this week. The Kansas commitment from Texas High committed to Kansas just a month ago, and OSU is the only school to offer since.Hunt caught 36 passes for 701 yards last season and 10 touchdowns during Texas High’s 10-0 regular season.Hunt’s Texas High teammate Quin Hampton is signed with Kansas and will be a receiver next season for the Jayhawks, a big factor in his decision to commit last month. But don’t be surprised to see OSU and others look to break that commitment as summer rolls on.Running backs coach Wozniak in to see 2018 targetOklahoma State landed and signed 2017 running back J.D. King last cycle, and this cycle it remains in the mix for 2018 dual-threat quarterback James Graham, whom OSU has offered as a running back. Running backs coach John Wozniak was in recently to stop and check on Graham in Georgia.From Scout on what he does best on the gridiron.James Graham is a 6-foot-1, 180 pound athlete out of Fitzgerald (Ga.).  He plays quarterback for the Hurricanes and he helped them get to the state championship game in 2015.  He loves to have the ball in his hands, and he is very good with it.  His position preference is quarterback, but he is being recruited as an athlete due to his ability to play wide receiver, running back and defensive back.  At quarterback, Graham is a runner first.  They do not throw the ball a lot in his offense, so he has a ways to go as a passer, but he is an exceptional athlete who can hurt defenses with his legs.  When watching him play, I think wide receiver because he is fluid in the open field and a great runner with the ball in his hands.  But, you see the type of athlete he is, and he’d be fun to look at as a cornerback with his size and length.  He is a versatile player who could end up on either side of the ball on the next level.  He has a nice burst in the speed department. [Scout]Graham says OSU has an edge in his recruitment because he has a teammate who will be on campus, as does Virginia Tech. It seems he’s really looking to find a fit where he can play quarterback at the next level, however with Spencer Sanders committed, that might be a deterrent for him picking OSU. He’s likely to take his recruitment down closer to signing day, which could benefit OSU, as he plans to make official visits during his senior year.last_img read more