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WISCONSIN SPORTS BRIEFS: Packers open second half of training camp

GREEN BAY - The Green Bay Packers opened the second half of their Training Camp today with a mid-day practice. Camp started 18 days ago, and it culminates 17 days from now when the Packers set their regular season roster.

Four players remain on the Packers’ physically-unable-to-perform list, after running back DuJuan Harris and defensive end Mike Neal passed their physicals in the days after camp began. The four remaining on the “PUP” list are defensive lineman Jerel Worthy, safety Sean Richardson, and offensive linemen J.C. Tretter and Derek Sherrod. The Green Bay Press-Gazette says 32 players have had a total of 198 missed practices, scrimmages, and exhibition games. The team has had 12 Training Camp workouts so far, along with the Family Night Scrimmage and last week’s exhibition loss to Arizona.


Fans were invited back this morning, after the Green Bay Packers held their first closed Training Camp practice in decades. Head Coach Mike McCarthy said he wanted to work on things that he didn’t want to expose until the regular season begins. They included schemes which did not get enough attention as players were getting familiar with their playbooks. League rules require teams to let the media cover all Training Camp practices – but they could not tweet updates like they could when everyone can get a look. The Packers have nine more camp practices scheduled, all open to the public unless the weather’s bad. This week’s workouts begin at 11:15 today, tomorrow, and Thursday. There’s no practice on Friday, before the Packers head to Saint Louis for a Saturday night exhibition against the Rams. Last week, the team practiced the day before their pre-season opener, which they lost to Arizona 17-0. McCarthy denied yesterday that the Thursday practice affected the Packers’ performance against the Cardinals. He said nobody played more than 35 plays in the game, so it was not a matter of being too tired. 


Green Bay’s all-time leading scorer says it’s great to be a Packer again. Kicker Ryan Longwell talked to reporters today at Lambeau Field, where he officially retired after just over 15 NFL seasons. He scored 1,054 – still a team record – in nine years with the Packers. In 2005, the team let him go as a free agent, and he played six more years with Minnesota through 2011. He did not play in last year’s regular season, but he booted four extra points for Seattle in a playoff game. Longwell said he never had hard feelings against Green Bay – and he’s proud of what accomplished with the Packers. Longwell said he also had a great run with the Vikings – and from there, he could see how special Green Bay was. He said his biggest regret was not to enjoy his Super Bowl run more than he did during his rookie season. Longwell figured his teams would play in the Big Game again – but it never happened. Longwell also said his former Packers’ teammate Brett Favre will return to have his No. 4 retired, when the time is right.


Marco Estrada will try again to win his first game since June third, when the Milwaukee Brewers open an Interleague series at Texas tonight. The right-handed Estrada will make his second start since coming off a rough hamstring injury which kept him out for two months. He had a solid outing last Wednesday, giving up just one hit in five innings at San Francisco without getting the decision. Estrada is 4-4 with a 4.96 ERA. Ogando has had injury problems as well. He earned his first win since May 15th, when he gave up two runs in five innings at Anaheim last Wednesday night. Before that, Ogando had not gone past the fifth inning in four starts, after missing seven weeks with inflammation in his throwing shoulder. Ogando is 5-3 with a 3.28 ERA. The Rangers have been victorious in all but one of their last 14 games. They lead the American League West by a game over Oakland. The Brewers are last in the NL Central, but have won 5-of-8. 


 The Milwaukee Brewers could run into a buzz-saw tonight when they face the Texas Rangers in Arlington. The Rangers have won 13-of-their-last-14 games – and they’ve won eight straight against teams below .500, like the Brewers. Also, the Rangers were fired up after Yu Darvish took a no-hitter into the eighth inning last night in a 2-1 victory over Houston. It helped Texas maintain a one-game division lead over Oakland in the American League West. The Brewers have not played badly themselves. The Crew had 20 runs and 27 hits in two victories at Seattle, before the Mariners shut out Milwaukee 2-0 on Sunday. The Brewers were off yesterday. They’re 51-67, but they’ve won five of their last eight. Also, the Crew is expected to get back Aramis Ramirez tonight, either at third base or the designated hitter spot. Ramirez has been out for over a month with tendinitis from a sprained left knee. Right-hander Marco Estrada will start for Milwaukee this evening against Rangers’ right-hander Alexi Ogando. 


The Lakeshore Chinooks and Duluth Huskies will both have a chance tonight to advance to the Northwoods League championship series. Both teams have taken a one-game lead in their best-of-three divisional playoff rounds – and both will try to clinch their current series on the road this evening. Lakeshore plays at Madison, after the Chinooks crushed the Mallards 15-0 in Game-One last night at Mequon. Duluth heads to Waterloo Iowa, after beating the Bucks 5-2. The two series’ winners will advance to the Northwoods’ Summer Collegiate World Series, which is scheduled to begin on Thursday night.


The Class-“A” Midwest League has the day off. The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers will get an extra day to celebrate a 9-1 pounding of Quad Cities last night in Davenport Iowa. The Beloit Snappers are coming off a 3-1 loss at Burlington. Beloit, the first-half champion, has only won three-of-its-last-10 games. They’ve dropped into a tie for fourth place with Clinton in the Western Division, both eight games behind first-place Cedar Rapids for the second half.. The Timber Rattlers are sixth among the eight teams in the West, at 10 games off the pace. In the Eastern Division, Great Lakes has a half-game edge over second-place South Bend.


Cornell is the coaches’ pre-season favorite to win its second straight Midwest Conference volleyball title this fall. The Rams went undefeated a year ago, when it returned to the Midwest for the first time since 1997. Saint Norbert is projected to take second, while Lake Forest and Monmouth are in a tie for third. Carroll is picked to take fifth, followed by Illinois College, Grinnell, Ripon, Lawrence, Knox, and Beloit.


Saint Norbert College of De Pere has been picked to repeat as the Midwest Conference football champions this fall. The Green Knights won a share of the league crown a year ago. Illinois College is second in the pre-season coaches’ poll, and Carroll of Waukesha is third. Monmouth is projected to take fourth followed by Lake Forest, Ripon, Cornell, Grinnell, Knox College, Lawrence, and Beloit. 


Concordia University in Mequon is the preseason favorite to win its first football title this fall in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference. The Falcons received 10-of-their-14 first-place votes from the league’s coaches and sports information directors. Concordia-Mequon placed second in the NACC a year ago behind Concordia-Chicago. Wisconsin Lutheran is projected to take second this fall followed by Aurora, Benedictine, Concordia-Chicago, Lakeland, and Rockford.


Lakeland College of Sheboygan has named Sam Schroeder as its new men’s golf coach and top men’s basketball assistant. He replaces Marcus Conigliaro, who also held both jobs before joining UW-Platteville as a men’s basketball assistant. Schroeder has been a graduate assistant for the Lakeland basketball squad for the last two years. He was a member of Lakeland’s conference tournament title team in 2008.