By Paul LeckerSports ReporterMARSHFIELD – The Marshfield football team played its best half of the season in the first half of Friday’s Valley Football Association South Division game against Neenah.In the second half, however, the tables turned.Marshfield committed three turnovers on its final four possessions and couldn’t get the ball back from the Rockets in the final 6 minutes on its way to its first loss of the season.Jose Alba-Zielinski caught a 64-yard touchdown pass from Joe Jung with 8:25 to go in the fourth quarter for the go-ahead score as the Rockets pulled out a 27-24 win at Beell Stadium. Both teams are now 2-1 overall and 1-1 in the VFA South.Marshfield led 21-14 at halftime and pushed the lead to 10 after a 33-yard field goal by Zach McManus on its opening drive of the third quarter.A fumbled snap was recovered by Neenah’s Sam Ferron at the Tigers’ 19 and Austin Belot scored on the next play to cut Marshfield’s lead to 24-21 with 1:28 to go in the third quarter.Marshfield punted on its next two possessions and following the second punt, Jung hit Alba-Zielinski on a short pass and the Neenah senior outran the Tigers’ defense for the long touchdown to put the Rockets ahead.Marshfield had its next drive end on an interception and the Rockets were able to convert four first downs – two coming on fourth down – to run out the final 5:59 of the game.“We were in a dog fight again, lose this one by three, and turnovers were an issue,” Marshfield coach Denny Goettl said. “We’ll keep coming together, we’ll keep playing as hard as we can, and keep battling back.”Belot finished with 175 yards rushing on 25 carries and Jung had 211 yards passing and 69 on the ground to lead the Neenah attack.Nick Hoheisel had his third-straight 100-yard rushing game, piling up 137 yards on 28 carries, and he also scored a touchdown for the Tigers. Quarterback Tyson Slade had 148 yards passing and had a dazzling 22-yard touchdown run in the final minute of the first quarter.Slade hit Jon Hardinger on a fade pattern in the right corner of the end zone for a 27-yard touchdown just 1:21 into the game to put the Tigers on top.Alba-Zielinski caught a 45-yard touchdown pass from Jung to tie the game before Slade’s run put the Tigers back on top.Slade scrambled out of the pocket, took off down the left sideline and turned across the field, scoring near the right sideline.Hoheisel’s 6-yard touchdown run gave Marshfield a 21-7 lead with 5:18 left in the first half, but Neenah quickly scored when Alec Elkin had a 61-yard TD catch from Jung.McManus’ field goal capped a nine-play drive to open the second half for the Tigers, but they wouldn’t score again as the turnovers mounted.Goettl said the Tigers are going to find themselves in close games throughout the season, and the first three games are perfect examples.“We know who we are,” Goettl said. “I keep saying ‘dog fight’ and I hope the kids understand now. The last couple of weeks they came out on our end. We’ll battle back and get going. We just have to get healthy again.”Marshfield plays at Oshkosh West next Friday. The game starts at 8:15 p.m. at Titan Stadium and will be broadcast on WDLB-AM 1450 and wdlbwosq.com.(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com.) Rockets 27, Tigers 24Neenah 7 7 7 6 – 27Marshfield 14 7 3 0 – 24First QuarterM – Jon Hardinger 27 pass from Tyson Slade (Zach McManus kick), 10:39.N – Jose Alba-Zielinski 45 pass from Joe Jung (Chris Keider kick), 8:10.M – Slade 22 run (McManus kick), 0:34.Second QuarterM – Nick Hoheisel 6 run (McManus kick), 5:18.N – Alec Elkin 61 pass from Jung (Keider kick), 2:48.Third QuarterM – McManus 33 field goal, 8:21.N – Austin Belot 19 run (Keider kick), 1:28.Fourth QuarterN – Alba-Zielinski 64 pass from Jung (kick blocked), 8:25.Team StatisticsFirst downs: Neenah 15; Marshfield 15.Rushing (att-yards): Neenah 43-248; Marshfield 37-157.Passing (comp-att-yards-int): Neenah 7-19-211-0; Marshfield 10-19-148-2.Penalties (no.-yards): Neenah 10-87; Marshfield 7-85.Punting (no.-avg.): Neenah 3-39.0; Marshfield 3-38.3.Fumbles (total-lost): Neenah 0-0; Marshfield 2-1.Individual StatisticsRushing: N, Austin Belot 25-175, Joe Jung 16-69, Jose Alba-Zielinski 1-5, No. 36 (no name provided) 1-2. M, Nick Hoheisel 28-137, Tyson Slade 4-14, Braden Bohman 5-6.Passing: N, Jung 7-19-211-0. M, Slade 10-19-148-2.Receiving: N, Alba-Zielinski 3-119, Alec Elkin 2-63, Belot 2-29. M, Bohman 4-74, Jon Hardinger 4-50, Isaac Huettl 1-17, Hoheisel 1-7.Punting: N, Alba-Zielinski 3-38.0. M, Zach McManus 3-37.3.Fumble recovery (defense): N, Sam Ferron.Interceptions (defense): N, Jung, Brandon Diedrich.Records: Neenah 2-1, 1-1 Valley Football Association South; Marshfield 2-1, 1-1 VFA South.
“Institutions such as the IMF must reform so that they can become credible,” Gordhan said in a statement. Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management and former IMF chief economist, Simon Johnson, told Fin24 Manuel was hotly-tipped as a possible successor. The only way that could happen, was if it reflected the interests of “all countries”. “South Africa calls for a candidate from a developing country to be given the opportunity to be the managing director of the IMF. Such a candidate will bring a new perspective that will ensure that the interests of all countries, both developed and developing, are fully reflected in the operations and policies of the IMF.” 20 May 2011The International Monetary Fund’s new managing director should come from a developing country, South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Wednesday. He said there were candidates from several developing countries who were “credible” and “eminently suitable” to run the organisation. He said if the Brics group of emerging countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and SA) agreed on a candidate, that person could become a front-runner to head the IMF. On Tuesday, Fin24 reported that National Planning Commission head Trevor Manuel could emerge as a candidate to replace International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Although Strauss-Kahn had not formally stepped down, he was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a hotel cleaner in New York.
18 June 2013A 2-1 loss in Ethiopia in Sunday left Bafana Bafana five points behind the Walia Antelopes in qualifying for the 2014 Fifa World Cup with one match to play, but their hopes of reaching Brazil might not be over.Football’s world governing body, Fifa, is investigating whether or not Ethiopia used an ineligible player in its 2-1 win over Botswana in Botswana. The standard punishment is a 3-0 victory to the opposition.Should that punishment be meted out to the Ethiopians, they would be on 10 points, with a goal difference of plus-one. South Africa would remain on eight points and a goal difference of plus-four. Botswana would improve to seven points and a goal difference of minus-one, while the Central African Republic would remain on three points and a goal difference of minus-six.Last round of group qualifyingThat would turn the final round of games in September – South Africa at home to Botswana and Ethiopia away to the Central African Republic – into possible group deciders. What it wouldn’t do is put Bafana Bafana’s fate in the team’s hands. That would remain in Ethiopia’s hands.Sunday’s match in Addis Ababa was decided by a freak own goal, turning Bafana goal scorer Bernard Parker from hero to villian.Parker had put South Africa in front in the 33rd minute after getting onto the end of a clearance by goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune and sending a half-volley beyond the reach of Ethiopian goalie Jemal Tassew. His effort silenced the crowd, which had been loud throughout the contest.Just 10 minutes later, though, Ethiopia equalised through Getaneh Kabede after some sloppy defending from South Africa.Own goalThen, in the 70th minute, the home team was awarded a free kick on the right, deep in South African territory. The ball was delivered into the the centre and was met by Parker who, with a powerful header, found the corner of Khune’s goal from some distance. It would have been a spectacular goal had it been at the other end of the field, but it was, instead, a shocking own goal.Bafana pushed hard for an equaliser, but came up short as Ethiopia claimed a 2-1 victory.At the time, the news about the investigation into Ethiopia’s win in Botswana was unknown, so South Africa’s coach Gordon Igesund believed Bafana’s Fifa World Cup challenge was over when he commented: “The dream is over for us as far as 2014 Brazil is concerned. Now we have to regroup and see what lies ahead of us.”Igesund took charge of the team in 2012 after Bafana, under Pitso Mosimane, began their qualifying campaign with an away draw with Botswana and a home draw against Ethiopia. He said: “My mandate was to qualify the team for the World Cup and I didn’t do that, so I will have to wait and see what will happen as it is no longer in my hands. It was a difficult assignment from the beginning, having lost some crucial points in the early stages of the qualifiers, but I agreed to the challenge because I believed we could make it, sadly it was not to be.”Support for IgesundDennis Mumble, the CEO of the South African Football Association, has, however, already spoken out in Igesund’s defence, agreeing that the coach was handed a difficult hand when he took the team.Igesund admitted he was disappointed to lose in Addis Ababa. “You can see from the attitude and commitment of the players that we really wanted to win this match. We threw everything at them. We managed to score, but our own errors cost us the game. It is one of those things that happen in football.“We worked so hard in the last year to get to where we are,” he continued. “We have made huge strides. It is just unfortunate that we found ourselves in a position where we had to win this game.‘A fantastic performance“I am pleased with the effort of every single player. They gave their all. We did everything that we could possibly do. I told the players to walk with their heads high because it was a fantastic performance away from home.”Captain Itumeleng Khune echoed Igesund’s sentiments when he said: “We are very disappointed with the result, but I believe we gave a very good account of ourselves. We are proud of the display we put out in this match. We did everything we could, but unfortunately things didn’t go our way.”Should Ethiopia be punished by Fifa, something will have gone South Africa’s way, however, and the 2014 World Cup dream will be alive.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material
Posted on 18th December 2017Digital Marketing FacebookshareTwittertweetGoogle+share HomeDigital MarketingAI marketing and the journey through the uncanny valley AI marketing and the journey through the uncanny valleyYou are here: “Things usually get worse before they get better.”“It’s always darkest before the dawn.”Whether it’s the valley of the shadow of death in the 23rd Psalm or the Dangerous Trench on the way to Shell City in the Sponge Bob movie, we’re used to the concept of feeling that things are getting worse, even though we know we’re headed in the right direction.This experience can be represented by a U-shaped curve, literally forming the shape of a valley between two peaks. In technical terms, the curve represents a nonlinear relationship between two variables. A specific example is the uncanny valley — the hypothesis of the unease, frustration, or even revulsion we feel as something approaches the behavior and appearance of a human without getting all the way there. In this case, the two variables are the humanlike nature of the object and the emotional response to it. This can be experienced with robots and AI assistants, and with 3D animation. Perhaps you know someone who gets illogically angry when Siri or Alexa fails to understand their commands, or maybe you get uncomfortable watching humanoid robots or CGI-animated humans in TV and movies.Although 78 percent of marketers are adopting or expanding artificial intelligence marketing in 2018, marketers are also uneasy about the uncanny valley. They are concerned that by implementing AI marketing, they will lose control of the customer experience, possibly bewildering or even revolting their customers. While this is a reasonable concern, it could prove to be an unfounded and risky position — because marketers have already forced their customers into the uncanny valley through the use of marketing automation and aggressive personalization. And to quote another truism, when you’re going through hell, keep going. Because you don’t want to stay there.Your customers are already in the uncanny valleyCould it be true that we’re already subjecting our customers to experiences that create bewilderment and revulsion? You don’t have to have 3D avatars or robots in your customer experience to create these eerie, negative feelings in your customers. The uncanny valley is represented by a sudden decrease in empathy when a human-like being ceases in some way to be human. Here are some specific examples to indicate that your customers may already be in the uncanny valley:Broken contextExample: An AI assistant or chatbot initially passes for human but fails to understand the context of a question that would be simple for a human to understand, revealing that it is not human. Here is just one of many anecdotes from Reddit:In just seconds, this user went from loving their Echo to figuratively (literally?) flipping the table in frustration.Not quite lookalikesExample: A cursory read of our example user’s Facebook history could tell you that he is a foodie, a vegetarian and a fan of subscription boxes. Recently, this user got targeted by a new artisanal food subscription service that was relevant in many respects, except for the fact that they exclusively offer cured meats. It’s reasonable in some respects that an artisanal cured meat subscription service would target him. Except that as a vegetarian, this user found their ad bewildering and invasive, causing him to lose interest and scroll quickly past. In his scrolling fervor, he accidentally registered a click on the ad, leading to weeks of cured meats in his feed.Bad timingAnother example from that same user: Currently, his bank is aggressively targeting him with a competitive mortgage offer. Three weeks ago, there were credit, fund consolidation and other signals that he was preparing for a home purchase. At that point, it was stone cold silence from the bank. But now that he has signed a mortgage with another bank and closed escrow, he is getting targeted after the fact with an offer that he would have considered three weeks ago. Now, it’s just aggravating.Three ways to ascend from the uncanny valleyAscending from the uncanny valley is possible, but it takes buy-in from executives and a concerted effort by the entire marketing organization. Fortunately, Artificial Intelligence Marketing (AIM) provides a new approach for interacting with customers, allowing for consistent relevant experiences across all channels and continuous optimization at scale. Marketers shouldn’t fear the uncanny valley. They should focus on crossing through to the other side. Here’s how:1. Keep context: Match your level of sophistication across channelsIdeally, your website, app and chatbot work together to provide integrated, personalized service. Your customers should be able to access the same contextual features whether in the mobile app, at the brick-and-mortar store or when chatting with Alexa. If a user clicks through to your site from a specific offer email, that offer should automatically persist on the website. While your customers often encounter the same creative elements across your app, social, display, email and website, they’re disappointed when experiences are disjointed and out-of-context.Unfortunately, many brand experiences can only be delivered to users in a single channel due to the inherent limitations of current marketing clouds, making a promise of sophisticated interaction that can’t be delivered in other channels.2. Reduce uncertainty: Use visual cues to signal behavior and abilityIf you do have varying levels of sophistication for some of your communication channels, you can give your customer cues to set appropriate expectations. If you have created a bot or an app with sophisticated abilities, imbue it with human personality. In contrast, a limited chatbot doesn’t need a name, a highly humanized voice or an avatar. And if your mobile app focuses on a subset of features, be clear about what they are in the app name and description.3. Responsiveness: Reduce the lag between insight and actionIf you gain insight about an individual customer, how quickly can you adjust your interactions to be responsively relevant? A human conversation involves both parties responding in real time to conscious and subconscious cues. If your campaigns and audience segments are static, or if your channels are siloed, it can take too long to move at the speed of the customer. However, with AI marketing that has dynamic decisioning at its core, new data and behavioral signals can immediately be acted upon without human intervention. The result is a more responsive customer interaction that adapts as your customer evolves.To get to the other sideHelping your customers ascend out of the uncanny valley can seem like a monumental task, but with AI marketing, it is now feasible. Consumer brands that make the leap and move away from the rules will be the first to reap the benefits of consistent, cross-channel interactions that are optimized at scale by AI.From our sponsors: AI marketing and the journey through the uncanny valley Related postsLytics now integrates with Google Marketing Platform to enable customer data-informed campaigns14th December 2019The California Consumer Privacy Act goes live in a few short weeks — Are you ready?14th December 2019ML 2019121313th December 2019Global email benchmark report finds email isn’t dead – it’s essential13th December 20192019 benchmark report: brand vs. non-brand traffic in Google Shopping12th December 2019Keep your LinkedIn advertising strategy focused in 202012th December 2019
In the lead up to the 2016 All Stars weekend, weâ€™ve caught up with both coaches to get their thoughts in the lead up to the event. Join us as we hear from TFA Indigenous All Stars coach, Phil Gyemore about how much he is looking forward to the 2016 event and what it means to take part in the weekend. Having coached as part of TFAâ€™s first involvement in the All Stars event in 2015, what does it mean to you to have this opportunity again?It means that we have opportunity to showcase our great sport on the big stage. The NRL All Stars event showcases Rugby League around the world so itâ€™s great to highlight the sport of Touch Football to a captive audience. We are proud indigenous people and we are excited to be able to represent all indigenous people in this special event.How do you see Touch Football Australia and the NRLâ€™s partnership, in regards to the opportunities like this it is presenting our athletes?We have seen numerous opportunities due to the NRL and TFA partnership and the All Stars event is a clear example of this. Both sports can share and promote knowledge and experiences that have been successful. I’m sure that we have only touched the surface of how we can both take our sports to the next level.Our players have the chance to share the stage and so many of our players have gone on to become the stars of the NRL. Players like Benji Marshall, Matt Moylan, Shaun Johnson and Ashley Taylor have honed their skills in our great game.What are you looking forward to most about the 2016 All Stars events?Being able to walk onto Suncorp Stadium will be amazing. We have all seen the Queensland dominance against New South Wales in the Rugby League State of Origin series at Suncorp Stadium. To see first-hand the surface and get a small taste of the atmosphere at one of the worldâ€™s best arenas will be something that I’ll never forget. The Mixed format of the game is a prime example of the inclusive nature of Touch Football, what else makes this form of the game so important to the sport?Mixed Touch Football is unique in the fact that we rely on all players that need to trust one another regardless of whether they are male or female. No player takes a backwards step and all players are treated equally.The All Stars event is about recognising and showcasing the amazing talent within Touch Football and Rugby League community, including those of Indigenous heritage. As a coach, if you could have any indigenous player in your team who would it be? And why?This is a really good question. If I could choose any indigenous player it would have to be Matt Bowen, the North Queensland Cowboys and Queensland Maroons star. His amazing turn of speed, footwork and finishing ability would be an amazing asset in any Touch Football team. 2015 was a huge year for the sport, including a victorious World Cup campaign, what has been your highlight?It has been a great year for Touch Football but one of the highlights for me would have been watching Peter Bell going out a true winner in the Women’s Open World Cup Final against New Zealand. Seeing his face in the latter stages of the game and the joy on his face during the team photo after being presented the World Cup medal was special. We had to establish a game plan that was going to prove effective and the girls executed it perfectly.What is your prediction for the result on Saturday, 13 February? TFA or Indigenous All Stars to take out the title for 2016?The Mick Lovett-coached TFA All Stars will be clear favourites however like last year we won’t be holding anything back. We will win 8-7. Stay tuned to the TFA website and social media channels in the lead up to the 2016 All Stars event for all of the latest news and information:Website â€“ www.touchfootball.com.auFacebook â€“ www.facebook.com/touchfootballaustraliaTwitter â€“ www.twitter.com/touchfootyausInstagram â€“ www.instagram.com/touchfootballaustralia Related LinksMeet The Coaches
TORONTO – Walmart Canada Corp. is rolling out a free pickup service for online orders at all of its Canadian stores by the end of the week.“All the general merchandise and apparel goods that we used to send by traditional carrier are now going through our trucks going to our stores and now customers can pick up those products for free,” the company’s vice-president of omnichannel and online grocery Daryl Porter at the eTail Canada conference Thursday in Toronto.The discount department store has a wider selection of goods online that is not carried in stores, and the pickup service offers customers the option to have those shipped to the store of their choice, Porter said. The service also allows customers to save on delivery fees by grabbing their orders at the nearest store.“Customers are making so many trips to our stores anyways. It’s about unlocking that value for them,” Porter said.It will be handy for customers who avoid home delivery over concerns about unattended packages left on their doorstep, or for people who want to make sure a gift is not accidentally intercepted by the intended recipient, he added.The new service comes after the company started offering grocery pickup in select markets, beginning with Ottawa in 2015, about a year after Loblaw rolled out a similar program in the Toronto area. Walmart Canada has since expanded it to areas including the Greater Toronto Area, Calgary and Edmonton.The company cancelled the $2.97 charge for customers who order groceries online and pick them up in stores last August after internal studies suggested it prevented some people from using the service.Competition in the online pick up and delivery business is heating up as retailers scramble to compete against e-commerce giant Amazon.Canada’s grocers, especially, have doubled down on expanding their e-commerce offerings in response to Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods Market, including its 13 Canadian locations, last year. The move sparked speculation among industry watchers that the company may be looking to expand its grocery delivery service north of the border.Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, expects 40 per cent growth in online sales this fiscal year, but it remains a distant second to Amazon.The company said Thursday its online sales rose 33 per cent in the first quarter, a strong showing after a disappointing 23 per cent increase in the final quarter of last year. Wall Street punished the company for the end-of-year online performance, sending company shares plunging more than 10 per cent. It was the biggest single-day percentage drop for shares in 30 years.Marc Lore, CEO of Walmart’s U.S. online business, told reporters on a call Thursday it’s seeing 10 per cent to 20 per cent more growth going to its online grocery business.Walmart is reworking its website with a focus on fashion and home furnishings. The new site also makes it easier for shoppers to see what services are available, such as the ability to order groceries online, and pick them up on the way home. It has also teamed up with Lord & Taylor to create a dedicated space on its site, which will be launched in the next few weeks.Amazon.com Inc. has leveraged its Prime membership program into intense loyalty from customers. Amazon recently raised its annual fee for membership to $119, from $99. And after spending $14 billion to acquire Whole Foods last summer, Amazon announced two-hour delivery from the grocery chain for its members.While it fights off rivals at home, Walmart is expanding abroad, concentrating on areas with big growth potential like India and China.— With files from The Associated Press
Kolkata: Invited to bat, Sunrisers Hyderabad scored a competitive 181 for three against Kings XI Punjab in their IPL clash at Eden Gardens, here Sunday. Comeback-man David Warner struck 85 off 53 balls and shared a 118-run stand for the first wicket with wicket-keeper batsman Jonny Bairstow (39). Vijay Shankar contributed unbeaten 40 in Sunrisers’ total. Brief Scores: Sunrisers Hyderabad: 181 for 3 in 20 overs. (D Warner 85, V Shankar 40 not out, J Bairstow 39; A Russell 2/32, P Chawla 1/23).
New Delhi: Bhim Army founder Chandrashekhar Azad Wednesday alleged Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and his father Mulayam Singh Yadav were “agents” of the BJP, adding he will not contest from Varanasi if his candidature scuttled the Dalit movement. He made the remarks during a public meeting in Jaipur days after BSP chief Mayawati termed him a “BJP agent” and alleged that he was contesting from Varanasi as part of the saffron party’s conspiracy to divide Dalit votes. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has entered into an alliance with SP in Uttar Pradesh to take on the BJP. “Akhilesh Yadav gave promotion to officers who inflicted atrocities on Dalits. His father says in Parliament that he wants Modi to become prime minister again. They are agents of the BJP, not me,” the Bhim Army chief said. “They call me an agent for questioning them. Yes, I am an agent of B R Ambedkar… If my own people were not in my way, I would have shown you (Akhilesh) that if we can vote you to power, we can pull you down too,” he said. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K Chandrashekhar also claimed that Mayawati was being “misled” by Satish Chandra Mishra, her general secretary and Brahmin face of the BSP. He added that he won’t contest the election in Varanasi if his candidature “strengthened” Prime Minister Narendra Modi in any way. Varanasi is the parliamentary constituency of Modi. Mayawati had on Sunday tweeted, “BJP tried hard to help Chandrashekhar join the BSP as its mole, but failed in its conspiracy. It is imperative in national interest to dislodge autocratic, despotic anti-Dalit BJP from power. Please ensure no vote goes waste.” The Bhim Party founder had announced at a rally in the national capital last month that he would contest against Modi from Varanasi and welcomed support of all parties, including the Congress, to take on the BJP. He had also sought the support of SP and BSP for his candidature, saying Dalit groups would back their alliance in other seats. The SP-BSP-RLD alliance is yet to declare its candidate against Modi in Varanasi. The Chandrashekhar-led group shot to limelight during the May 2017 clashes between Dalits and upper caste Thakurs in Saharanpur of Uttar Pradesh. Chandrashekhar was arrested after the clashes. Though he was granted bail by the Allahabad High Court, the UP Police arrested him under the stringent National Security Act. He was released in September 2018 after spending 16 months in jail.
Having not won a major in six years could be a reason Tiger Woods is considering changing his pre-Masters preparation.Woods shot a 71 in the first round of the Honda Classic Thursday and afterward said he could alter his playing schedule or the way he prepares for the year’s first major in April at Augusta National.“It could be all of the above,” he said to ESPN.After the Honda Classic, Woods is scheduled to defend his titles at next week’s WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral and the Arnold Palmer Invitational in three weeks, giving him two tournament weeks off prior to the Masters, which begins April 10.“Still looking into that, yeah,” Woods said of his preparation. “Still looking to possibly make some changes going in there.”Woods being Woods, he did not elaborate on the potential changes.He skipped last week’s WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, and his 1-over 71 at PGA National on Thursday was just his eighth official round of 2014. He missed the secondary 54-hole cut at the Farmers Insurance Open and also played the Dubai Desert Classic.The only tournaments he could add are the Valspar Championship in two weeks at Innisbrook, near Tampa, Fla.; the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio, which follows Palmer’s tournament; or the Shell Houston Open, which is played the week before the Masters.To play near Tampa would mean competing four straight weeks, something Woods rarely does; he has not played the San Antonio event since first turning pro in 1996; and Woods has never played the Houston Open or the week prior to the Masters as a pro.
Redshirt-junior tight end Nick Vannett carries the ball into the end zone during a game against Maryland on Oct. 4 in College Park, Md. OSU won, 52-24.Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editorWith all the success the Ohio State offense has had in recent weeks, there is one spot where the Buckeyes aren’t up to par: the red zone.Coach Urban Meyer said his team’s play inside the opponent’s 20-yard line simply isn’t on track with the expectations at OSU.“It’s not very good at all,” Meyer said Monday. “For what we expect, it’s not good.”Overall this season, the Buckeyes have put points on the scoreboard 23 times in 28 trips to the red zone, coming out to a conversion rate of just 82 percent. Of those 23 scores, just 19 have been touchdowns. Those numbers compare to a 92 percent success rate for opponents, who have scored 10 touchdowns and added one field goal in 12 red zone tries against OSU this season.In 2013, the Buckeyes scored 60 times in 63 attempts — a 95 percent success rate — including 53 touchdowns in the red zone. That means the 2014 Buckeyes are putting points on the board in the red zone less often than last year’s counterparts were able to come away with touchdowns alone. Their opponents, meanwhile, were held to a 79 percent rate of success inside the 20 last season.OSU’s success rate was just over 71 percent in its most recent game — a 52-24 win against Maryland on Oct. 4 — as it went just five for seven in the red zone.Meyer said the success — or lack thereof — near the goal line comes down to coaching and not the ability of the players on the field.“It’s not the players’ fault, it’s our fault,” Meyer said. “It’s coaching errors, whether it be tempo, we just have to do a better job.”OSU co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tom Herman said he agreed the team’s red zone offense isn’t rolling at the necessary level, but noted the expectations are high when it comes to putting the ball in the end zone in Columbus, especially considering the success the Buckeyes have had since he and Meyer arrived in 2012.“I think our red zone, goal line or scoring touchdowns in the red zone is certainly not where we want it to be,” Herman said Monday. “Now we’ve set the bar pretty high finishing first in the country, I think second in our first year, first last year in touchdown percentage in the red zone.”The Buckeyes’ struggles in the red zone have them ranked all the way down at No. 72 in the country for red zone scoring percentage and No. 42 in the nation in red zone touchdown percentage. OSU was ranked in the top five for both scoring and touchdown percentage last year and 16th and second, respectively, in 2012.Senior wide receiver Evan Spencer said he has noticed the Buckeyes’ less-than-expected success in the red zone so far this season.“On offense, we’ve got to try to make sure that we’re capitalizing in the red zone,” Spencer said Monday. “We had a few times — last week I’m not sure, but I know the week before — we had a few times we got stalled in the end zone. Granted we’re putting up a lot of points at the same time, but there’s little small things that we can do personally and as a team.”Herman said one of the problems OSU has had near the goal line this season is making sure it takes advantage of soft spots in the opposing defense.“We don’t care what those weaknesses are,” Herman said. “We just need (to do) a better job of exploiting those weaknesses and not trying to beat our head against the wall into their strengths.”As players and the coaching staff have taken notice of the need to convert more often inside the 20, there has been more of an emphasis on it in practice — especially during OSU’s recent bye week.Senior tight end Jeff Heuerman said the coaching staff focused on red zone offense more often than normal last week after the less-than-stellar showing against the Terrapins.“We obviously had three days of practice, I think we did red zone two of the three,” Heuerman said Monday. “We usually only do red zone once a week.”He said the Buckeyes also practiced “some live short yardage situations” that they wouldn’t normally.Herman said improvement on that part of OSU’s game will be key going forward, and added he believes it can happen if the Buckeyes continue to work toward executing every play throughout the game.“I think we’re capable now and moving in the direction of, ‘Hey, you need to play with great technique for 80 plays in a row,’” Herman said. “And I think that’s a fair expectation given the point in the season that we’re at.”The Buckeyes are scheduled to return to the field Saturday against Rutgers at Ohio Stadium. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m.