Redskins

Ohio State-Marquette canceled by condensation

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Ohio State-Marquette canceled by condensation

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (AP) Ohio State coach Thad Matta was real eager for his fourth-ranked Buckeyes to take the court aboard the USS Yorktown. Even though the game was called off, he's certain his players learned plenty.

The season-opening showcase between the Buckeyes and Marquette on the decommissioned vessel was canceled Friday night when officials, coaches and administrators believed continuing condensation made the makeshift court too dangerous to play.

Still, Matta said he believed the time his team spent listening to current and former military members - eight of them visited with Buckeyes players and coaches Thursday night, he said - was worth the long, complex trip.

``Yeah, we didn't get to play,'' Matta said in the carrier's theater. ``But the purpose was served.''

Earlier, seventh-ranked Notre Dame defeated No. 19 Ohio State 57-51 in the first women's game played outdoors on a carrier. There were challenges in that one, too - the setting sun for the late afternoon start had both sides squinting to see - but the court was dry and safe. That wasn't the case once the sun went down.

Ohio State guard Aaron Craft said he knew things would be tricky when he saw a couple of Marquette's players ``slide from half-court to the 3-point line.''

Referee John Cahill talked with both coaches and athletic directors about conditions. All agreed to give the court more time to dry in the cooling atmosphere. After about a half-hour delay, Cahill restarted pregame warmups as volunteers and workers did what they could to soak up the moisture. Nothing worked and the game was called off.

``All were apprehensive about playing the game,'' Cahill said. ``You could feel the wet spots on the floor. Our primary concern is with the student-athlete. The last thing we want is any kid who's got a future in the game of basketball to be injured as a result of this.''

Once the game was canceled, Marquette and Ohio State players returned to the court to sign autographs, pose for pictures and greet the fans.

``It was certainly disappointing,'' said Gregory Hoffman, a 1971 Ohio State graduate who lives in Mount Pleasant. ``You don't want athletes to hurt themselves. It's Charleston and there's condensation at night.''

Coaches and ADs from both schools said they would continue talking about ways to play again, although it's not likely this season. Ohio State opens its home season on Sunday against Albany while Marquette has a home game the same day with Colgate.

The game was part of the second Carrier Classic, the first a magnificent spectacle between North Carolina and Michigan State attended by President Barack Obama.

The contest raises money for several groups that help troops and veterans. It was a showcase for Veterans Day weekend.

Most of the 4,000 seats at the makeshift arena were full, many of them servicemen and women who received donated tickets. Ohio State's players put on a dunk contest, guard Aaron Craft skying high for a jam as spectators snapped pictures on their cellphones.

The contest was supposed to be one of the marquee events of college basketball's opening weekend. Ohio State reached the Final Four last season while Marquette advanced to the NCAA's round of 16 before losing to Florida.

Marquette coach Buzz Williams came to the court in Army-style combat boots and both sides wore uniforms to honor the military and those who've served their country.

``It is disappointing,'' Williams said. ``But the health of our players is monumental.''

Morale Entertainment's Michael Whalen said the Notre Dame women's practice on Thursday morning was moved to warmer afternoon conditions because of condensation. But Thursday night, organizers found little wrong with the court and thought things would be fine.

Whalen wasn't sure what the cancellation might mean for the future of the Carrier Classic, or the potential of holding another game here on the Yorktown.

``We were trying to do something good,'' Whalen said. ``This time, it didn't work out.''

The coaches saw plenty of positives even with the cancellation. Ohio State star Craft and his sister, Cait, who plays for the Buckeyes women's team, have an older brother Brandon returning from serving in Afghanistan in about a week. Matta remembered Craft telling him, ``It doesn't get better than this.''

Williams of Marquette said the lost game wouldn't change his mind if asked to play on a carrier again.

``We'll play anywhere, anytime in this type of event for this type of purpose,'' he said.

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Derrius Guice hopes to return from injured reserve as soon as he's eligible to

Derrius Guice hopes to return from injured reserve as soon as he's eligible to

Derrius Guice tweeted out a photo early Tuesday afternoon of himself and Alex Smith stepping onto a Redskins' practice field in Ashburn. Then, later on, he indicated the date he's hoping to make his return from injured reserve.

It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that the energetic Guice wants to play as soon as he's eligible to.

When a fan asked the second-year pro on social media if he'd be back after the team's bye week, which is on Nov. 10, the running back replied with a "Yessir."

If he does in fact rejoin the Redskins then, his first appearance for the Burgundy and Gold would be a Week 11 matchup against the Jets. If they had a game in Week 10, he could be activated at that point, but they're off.

NFL rules stipulate that every franchise can bring two players off of I.R. after they've spent eight weeks on it. Guice suffered a knee injury in the season opener in Philadelphia and underwent meniscus surgery soon thereafter. It was an unfortunate obstacle for him especially after he missed all of 2018, but to his credit, he handled it well.

Considering No. 29's potential and the fact that Bill Callahan loves the running game, there's no doubt Washington would like to place him back on the roster when he's ready. Hopefully, he'll start practicing soon and get to a place where he's able to be relied upon. 

It's unlikely Guice's return will coincide with a Redskins playoff run, but it'll still be interesting to see if he can string together a healthy finish to the schedule. Between he, Terry McLaurin and Dwayne Haskins, there should be plenty of young talent to take in on offense in the second half of the 2019 campaign. 

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Bill Callahan might be an old-school running coach, but he knows he needs to adapt against 49ers

Bill Callahan might be an old-school running coach, but he knows he needs to adapt against 49ers

From the moment Bill Callahan took over as the Redskins interim head coach, he talked almost exclusively about establishing the run game in the offense. 

Last week in Miami his team did just that, running the ball 33 times for 145 yards. It was Washington's biggest output from the ground game this season, and by a wide margin. 

This week, however, the Redskins face a much stiffer challenge against San Francisco. The 49ers boast the second-best defense in the league, trailing only the Patriots, and Kyle Shanahan's team is giving up fewer than 90 rush yards-per0game. That's nearly 100 yards less than the Dolphins were giving up prior to last week's game against the Redskins. 

Last week, it made sense for Callahan to preach running the football. Miami was awful at defending it. This week, things look much different, and Redskins fans might be surprised to know Callahan looks willing to change his offensive scheme. 

"Every game is different," Callahan said in an interview with NBC Sports Washington.

"This game coming up may be different than last week. We may take certain shots on certain downs and distances, and change our tendencies as we go forward. That's always fluid."

Against the 0-4 Dolphins, the Redskins played a conservative offense that saw Case Keenum complete just 13 passes. He was able to connect with rookie wide receiver Terry McLaurin for two scores, but there were plenty of pass yards left on the field in Miami. The truth was Washington didn't need to do that much offensively to beat the awful Dolphins.

Against 5-0 San Francisco, the opposite is true. The Niners' offense ranks fifth in the league in yards-per-game and third in points-per-game. Shanahan's team plays great football on both sides, and the former Redskins offensive coordinator will very much want to show off his new squad on Sunday. 

Callahan seems quite aware of the circumstances for this game, and that could mean a much more aggressive Redskins offense. 

"I think that you are gameplan specific based on your opponent," the coach said. "Obviously, you want to take advantage of the things you can do. We will certainly focus in on that as we delve into the 49ers."

The Niners have won four out of five games by double digits, and two wins came by more than 20 points. This team is clicking on all cylinders right now. 

The Redskins have a serious task in front of them, and oddsmakers installed Washington as double-digit underdogs. The good news, even if minor, is Callahan looks like he understands the nature of his opponent and that he must adapt his team to best attack San Francisco. 

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