WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUNDUP: Burnett practices with the Pack
GREEN BAY - Green Bay Packers' safety Morgan Burnett was a full participant at practice yesterday, and he hopes to make his season debut on Sunday.
The Packers returned from their bye week, as they get ready to host the Detroit Lions this weekend. Coach Mike McCarthy says he's curious to see Burnett go through a week of practice, after being out since he injured a hamstring just before the start of the season. The three games he has missed were Burnett's first since 2010. Burnett returned without the dread-locks he's had since high school. He granted his mother's wish by having them cut during the bye. Also, rookie running back Eddie Lacy practiced yesterday after being out with a concussion 16 days ago. McCarthy says Lacy is a "full go" for the Lions' game. Rookie running back Johnathan Franklin was also back at practice after hurting a foot. Clay Matthews, James Starks, Casey Hayward, John Kuhn, Jarrett Bush, and Jermichael Finley did not practice. Also yesterday, rookie running back Michael Hill was promoted from Green Bay's practice squad to the Pack's 53-man roster. Hill was Missouri Western's all-time leading rusher with 4,969 career yards and 35 touchdowns. The Packers acquired Hill after San Diego let him go at the end of its training camp.
Get ready to hear this stat ad-nauseum this week -- the Detroit Lions have not beaten the Green Bay Packers on Wisconsin soil since December of 1991. With the Lions as hot as they are, you'll undoubtedly hear various national media pick up on the subject all week, as the Lions get ready to play at Green Bay on Sunday. The last time the Lions won in Wisconsin was when the Packers were still playing some of their games in Milwaukee. They've dropped 22 straight at the old County Stadium and Lambeau Field. Now, they have a chance to end that string, as Detroit tries to keep its share of first-place in the NFC North Division, tied with Chicago at 3-1. The Lions were an offensive juggernaut at home yesterday, beating the Bears 40-32. The week before, Detroit won at Washington for the first time in three-fourths-of-a-century. The big difference for the Lions is running back Reggie Bush. Detroit's new acquisition had 173 all-purpose yards yesterday. Observers say he's finally the complete offensive standout they expected when New Orleans made him the Number-two pick in the 2006 Draft. The Packers are 1-2, in third place in the North after their bye week.
University of Wisconsin football coach Gary Andersen said his game plan against Ohio State had five main points -- and the Badgers only achieved two of them in Saturday night's loss. Andersen broke down the 31-24 defeat during a news conference yesterday. He said his team wanted to score on 70-percent of its trips inside the Buckeyes' 25. They scored on 67-percent of their trips, and Andersen said it was good enough. Also, he wanted the Badgers to win the fourth quarter -- which they did, 10-0. Andersen said his team fell short on defense, giving up 390 total yards. They lost the turnover battle on an interception. And they fell short on special teams. The result is a 1-1 Big Ten record for Wisconsin, and a 3-2 overall mark. The Badgers have a bye on Saturday, and will host Northwestern on October 12th.
University of Wisconsin tight end Jacob Pedersen is expected to return October 12th, when the Badgers return from a bye week and host Northwestern. Pedersen has been out with a knee injury -- and he did not play in Saturday night's loss at Ohio State after going through warm-ups. Badgers' coach Gary Andersen said today that Pederson should be ready for the Wildcats -- and the same is true for running back Melvin Gordon and receiver-and-kick returner Kenzel Doe. Gordon injured a knee against the Buckeyes. Doe has been out with a bad hamstring.
Mequon Homestead remains atop the AP state high school football poll for the large schools. Kimberly remains at Number-two, followed by Sun Prairie. All three teams are 6-0. Hartland Arrowhead is fourth at 5-1. For the middle-sized schools, West De Pere is still at Number-One followed by Waupaca, Walworth Big Foot, and Waukesha Catholic Memorial. Fond du Lac St. Mary’s Springs still leads the small schools. Lancaster is second, Shiocton third, and Stanley-Boyd fourth.
The Milwaukee Bucks are already dealing with an injury as they open their training camp today. Veteran forward Carlos Delfino had a recent setback as he recovers from surgery on a broken bone in his right foot. Delfino wore a walking boot at the Bucks' Media Day yesterday. He said he does not know when he'll be able to play -- and he hopes to learn more in the next couple days. The 31-year-old Delfino played three seasons with Milwaukee before joining the Houston Rockets a year ago. He said he played the final month of last season with a hairline foot fracture. Of the 15 players expected to make the Milwaukee roster, only four were with the team last year -- and Delfino is one of three former Bucks coming back along with Luke Ridnour and Zaza Pachulia. Racine native Caron Butler is one of several veterans joining Milwaukee for the first time. He said he invited all of his new teammates to dinner a few days ago, where they talked about the team's expectations. In his words, "We felt real good about what we can get accomplished." It wouldn't take much to top last season -- when the Bucks went 38-44 and were swept by the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs.
The Bucks will only have three non-roster players instead of four as they open their training camp. Former Marquette guard Junior Cadougan had visa problems which stopped him from being a part of the Training Camp roster. He's not being replaced, so the Bucks will enter camp with 18 players. The other three camp players are Trey McKinney Jones, Olek Czyz, and NBA journeyman Stephen Graham.
A standout guard from Brookfield Central High School will play his college basketball at Vanderbilt. Riley LaChance announced yesterday that he has committed to the Commodores. He scored 21 points a game with Brookfield Central last year, with three assists and two steals. LaChance attracted over 40 offers from major colleges around the country. He chose Vanderbilt over Iowa -- where his Ray Allen Select Club teammate Brady Ellingson is going. LaChance's father Tom played at Marquette two decades ago.
Haleigh Nelson of Wisconsin has been named the Big Ten volleyball freshman of the week. The 6-4 middle blocker averaged one-point-eight-six blocks per set last week, as the Badgers went 2-0 in conference play for the first time in six years. Nelson had a season-high seven blocks in a win over Purdue, and six in a victory over Indiana. She also had a team-best .417 hitting percentage for the weekend, with almost two-and-a-half kills per set. The Badgers are 13-1 overall. They're ranked 23rd in this week's national coaches' poll.
University of Wisconsin goalkeeper Genevieve Richard is the Big Ten defensive player-of-the-week in women's soccer. The junior posted her second straight conference shutout on the road, during a 2-0 win at Michigan State on Sunday. Richard is 7-0-1 for the season. Also, the Badgers' Kylie Schwarz has been named the Big Ten's freshman-of-the-week. She anchored a backline that helped Wisconsin post a pair of shutouts last week.
Chicago Cubs' manager Dale Sveum was fired yesterday, ending a two-year run in which the Cubs lost more games than at any other time in its century-plus history. Sveum, a former Milwaukee Brewers' hitting coach and shortstop, went 127-and-197 in his two years at the helm. He leaves with one-year remaining on a three-year deal signed before the 2012 campaign. Theo Epstein, the Cubs' president of baseball operations, said Sveum's firing was not based on wins and losses. He said it was quote, "a function of our long-term building plan and the moves we have made -- some good, a few we would like to have back -- to further this strategy." Epstein said the Cubs need a "dynamic new voice" to achieve the team's desired success. The Cubs went 61-101 in Sveum's first year, and 66-96 this year. The team dropped 41 of its final 59 games. Sveum entered the job with almost no managerial experience. He was the Brewers' skipper for 16 games in 2008, including the team's four-game playoff run which ended in a Division Series' loss to Philadelphia.
Aaron Horvat and Krissy Dorre, both of UW-Milwaukee, were named today as the Horizon League men's-and-women's soccer players-of-the-week on offense. Horvat, a sophomore, scored four goals against Detroit in a 5-3 Panthers' victory. It was Milwaukee's first hat trick in eight seasons. Dorre, a junior forward, had two goals and an assist in Milwaukee's 3-2 win over Valparaiso. Also, UWM's Rachel Neuberger is the Horizon League volleyball defensive player-of-the-week. Neuberger, a senior, had a league-high 12 blocks last week -- six each in a pair of matches against Oakland and Wright State.
Former Milwaukee Bucks' coach George Karl will go on TV as a studio analyst for ESPN. The network said Karl signed a long-time broadcast agreement, and he'll make his debut Saturday night on "Sports Center." Karl was the head coach in Milwaukee for five seasons from 1998-through-mid-2003. A year later, he began a nine-year coaching stint in Denver -- where he was named the NBA's coach-of-the-year last season. On ESPN, the 62-year-old Karl will offer commentary on a number of studio programs like "Sports Center," "NBA Tonight," and "NBA Coast-to-Coast." It's not a new experience for Karl. He was with ESPN during the 2003-'04 NBA season.
Aramis Ramirez says the Milwaukee Brewers are quote, "not that far away" from returning to the playoffs. The Crew finished a distant fourth in the National League Central, just two years after winning 96 regular season games and getting to within two victories of the World Series. Ramirez missed a good share of the season after hurting a knee twice while sliding into second base. His injury was endemic of the medical problems the Brewers had from start-to-finish. Centerfielder Carlos Gomez said things could have been different had the Brewers not struggled to a 6-22 record in May. He said 10-to-15 wins that month would have put Milwaukee in a better situation. Milwaukee finished 74-88 but won 12-of-its-last-17. Next year, Gomez says the Crew will have a solid lineup. He predicts five players with at least 20 home runs and quote, "It's hard to find a team with power and speed like that." Yovani Gallardo, Kyle Lohse, and Wily Peralta are already projected to be starters in 2014, and possibly Marco Estrada -- who went 3-0 in his last nine starts after missing two months with a bad hamstring. Ramirez pointed out that the Brewers will need a productive Ryan Braun, saying that Braun has always been a strong player before getting tied up in performance-enhancing drugs.
A shooting guard from Germantown is the third Wisconsin high school player this month to commit to the North Dakota State men's basketball team next fall. Jake Showalter announced his commitment yesterday during his official visit to N.D. State. He'll join a teammate, Germantown forward Evan Wesenberg, on the Bison next year. Wesenberg gave his commitment last week, and guard Paul Miller of Kettle Moraine did the same on September eighth. The 6-4 Showalter averaged around 12 points, two-and-a-half assists, and two rebounds last season for a Germantown team that has won 56 straight games with a pair of state Division 1 championships along the way. Showalter said he and Wesenberg grew up together -- and it's nice to go college with a life-long friend. Showalter said it was a factor in his decision -- but it was not the deciding reason. Showalter also an offer from The Citadel, and he considered Division II schools Winona State and Northern Michigan.
The University of Wisconsin men's soccer team lost its Big Ten Conference opener Sunday, 3-1 at Penn State. Nick Janus scored the only goal for the Badgers, who are now 5-2-1 overall.
The Marquette University women's soccer team is 2-0 in the Big East, after a 1-0 victory at Villanova. Mady Vicker scored the game's only goal, as the Golden Eagles improved to 9-3 overall. UW-Green Bay's women's team played to a scoreless tie at home against Loyola. The Phoenix outshot Loyola 11-to-9. Green Bay is now 4-3-4 overall.