WISCONSIN SPORTS BRIEFS:Packers ready to open training camp
GREEN BAY - As training camp begins tomorrow, Green Bay Packers’ coach Mike McCarthy says he wants to avoid the injuries that marred last year’s camp.
McCarthy told reporters today that he scheduled all but one of the Packers’ 19 camp practices for the morning to help prevent fatigue during the day – and thus prevent injuries. The coach said he made about a half-dozen changes for this year’s camp, some of which fans and reporters shouldn’t notice. Players were given their physicals today, and the first workout is at 8:20 tomorrow morning. Last year, defensive players Desmond Bishop and Davon House suffered serious injuries during camp and the exhibition season. Bishop never played for the Packers’ again. He was cut for salary cap purposes, and he signed with Minnesota along with receiver Greg Jennings. In the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Jennings is quoted as saying he questioned the leadership of whom he called “Number-12” – quarterback Aaron Rodgers – and inferred that he puts the spotlight on himself above the team. McCarthy responded that quote, “When you put on that purple, something happens to you.” The coach defended Rodgers as a quote, “outstanding role model” who continues to grow as a team leader as he begins his ninth training camp.
Once again this year, the Packers will not have any training camp holdouts. The team confirmed this morning that first-round defensive end Datone Jones signed a contract – reported to be a four-year deal worth seven-point-seven million dollars and six-and-a-quarter million in guaranteed money. Jones was the 26th overall pick in the NFL Draft in April, out of UCLA. Also today, the Packers announced the signing of undrafted safety Ryan McMahon from Sacramento State. McMahon took part in the Packers’ rookie orientation camp, but was not signed until now. He played two seasons with the Hornets, after playing two years with USC. He had two forced fumbles in 22 games at Sacramento State, with a sack, an interception, seven total tackles for losses, and 11 pass break-ups. The Packers now have seven safeties on their roster.
The Milwaukee Brewers are using same lineup this afternoon as they did last night – when they got more hits than in the previous two games combined. The Crew belted out nine hits in a 3-1 home victory over the San Diego Padres, after getting a total of just eight hits in a pair of losses to the Pads on Monday and Tuesday nights. The Brewers are going for a split of their four-game series against San Diego. Rickie Weeks is once again at the lead-off spot he last held a couple years ago. The usual lead-off hitter, Norichika Aoki, falls to second – and Jean Segura drops down one spot to third. Jonathan Lucroy is the clean-up hitter in the absence of the Braun-Ramirez-Hart triumvirate. Carlos Gomez bats fifth again, after going 4-for-4 with the game-winning double in last night’s win over San Diego. Caleb Gindl is again playing left field, where Logan Schafer has normally played in Braun’s absence. Schafer is only hitting around .200 at home. Right-hander Yovani Gallardo is starting for the Crew against Padres’ right-hander Edinson Volquez.
In the Midwest League, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers will try to make it two-in-a-row over Clinton tonight. The Rattlers crushed the Lumber-kings 9-1 last night near Appleton. The Beloit Snappers host Kane County again, on the heels of a 5-1 Snappers’ victory. Beloit is back into a tie for first place with Cedar Rapids in the Midwest League’s Western Division. Wisconsin is in sole possession of sixth in the eight-team division. Bowling Green and Great Lakes are now tied for the Eastern Division lead. Those two teams play each other tonight at Great Lakes. Also, Cedar Rapids is at home against Peoria. Burlington hosts Quad Cities. Fort Wayne is at West Michigan. Dayton plays at Lansing. And Lake County is at South Bend.
UW-River Falls has a new track-and-cross country coach. Matthew Cole has been hired to replace Aaron Decker in the Falcons’ track program. Cole will serve as a co-head coach for cross country, along with Scott Sekelsky. Keven Syverson left that squad. Cole has spent the last eight years as the women’s cross country coach at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana. He was also a track assistant coach there.