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  • 27 Jun
    导出博客文章Hands firmly across his chest, and not even the hint of a smile on his lips,
    Neil Hawgoods body language might have seemed inexplicable. The coach of the
    Indian womens hockey team had just watched his side create history. They had
    beaten China 2-1 following goals from Grace Deep Ekka and Deepika Thakur, in the
    final of the Asian Champions Trophy. It was the first time in four attempts that
    India had claimed the continental crown.The players themselves were ecstatic.
    They draped themselves in the national flag. They danced in the team bus and
    ordered previously forbidden pizza once they got back to the hotel. On the
    ground they had even made an attempt to hoist Hawgood on their shoulders but the
    Australian would have none of it and the girls gave up after lifting him a few
    inches off the ground. When it came for posing for pictures with the trophy,
    Hawgood, still with very little expression on his face, stood in the corner of
    the frame.The Indian team understood.Coach gets emotional very quickly. After
    our match against Japan [where the team settled for a draw after giving up a
    two-goal cushion] he was crying. This time he was so happy that he probably
    didnt want to show his emotion, Deepika told ESPN soon after scoring the winning
    strike off a penalty corner with 17 seconds left on the clock.Hawgood would
    explain his actions later. I get more enjoyment from watching the girls
    celebrate. It is their success and they deserved to be at the centre of it all,
    he told ESPN from Singapore following what was only his sides third win against
    China in the last 13 encounters.The win was the second bit of history that India
    have created this year. They had broken a 36-year drought by qualifying for the
    Olympics. Once there, the side performed poorly, losing all but one game and
    finishing with a -15 goal difference. Hawgood and his team, however, believe
    that the bruising experience in Rio has paid off.We cant underestimate the role
    that qualifying for the Olympics has made to the team, he said. You learn more
    from a big lesson than a number of smaller lessons. At the Olympics, the team
    learned how they needed to play at a higher level for longer periods of
    time.Against a Chinese team ranked four places higher than them at eighth in the
    world, India were able to soak up spells of sustained pressure, particularly in
    the second and third quarters when the game seemed to ebb. The team was able to
    knuckle down, he said. They were able to stay focused and get through those hard
    periods.Deepika, who with 182 caps is the most experienced member of the squad,
    and had featured in three winless Asian Champions Trophy campaigns before this
    one, said the side is much stronger mentally.Unlike in previous editions, we
    werent worried how we would perform this time, she said. After having qualified
    for the Olympics we dont just want to be a team that takes part. We dont think
    we are just a normal team any more. We expect better from ourselves. Is baar
    jeet ki bhukh aa gayi hai team mein (We have the hunger to win now). Frankly
    anything less than winning the Champions Trophy would have been a disappointment
    for us.Indeed, Hawgood had told his side before the tournament that this was
    their best chance to claim the continental crown. At the end of the Olympic
    cycle, most teams will be rebuilding [China would send a U-21 squad]. On the
    other hand, we only had three seniors [albeit including captain Sushila Chanu]
    missing out this tournament, he said.While he expected the title, Hawgood rates
    the win highly simply because it means that the momentum created by the Olympic
    qualification is maintained. However, he knows that while his side are
    competitive in Asia, there is a long way to go. We are top of the mountain in
    Asia, but only halfway up where we need to be at the world level, he said.The
    team will have little time to rest on their laurels. Flying back to India on
    Saturday, they begin training almost immediately. After a 10-day camp, they head
    to Australia where they play a three-match test series against a side to whom
    they lost 6-1 in the Olympics. We have bigger challenges, he said. Hockey goes
    on.Hawgood says the side will pick another three or four newcomers for the
    Australia tour. There are also other areas India have to work on. The teams
    penalty corner woes continued in Singapore too. They converted one of seven in
    their final league game against China, which was the only game they lost in the
    tournament.We dont need just a single drag flicker, Hawgood said. We probably
    need two or three. But when I returned to the Indian team 12 months ago, I didnt
    feel that we had the time to develop one before the Olympics. But it is
    something we need.
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    . Tests earlier this week revealed a Grade 2 left hamstring
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    Its an injury that will require about eight weeks to heal. He finished a
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    . Kiriasis and brakeman Franziska Fritz finished two runs in
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    . Those lessons were more than enough to overwhelm the Utah
    Jazz. Lou Williams scored 25 points and the Hawks continued their offensive
    upswing as they rolled to an easy 118-85 victory over the Jazz on Friday night,
    winning their third straight and for the fourth time in five games. LOS ANGELES
    -- Cmon, Clay Helton. You know you want to. Heres your chance. Heres your chance
    to tell all the college football experts to go do something anatomically
    impossible.All he does is give a hearty laugh.Not my style, Helton said. Not my
    style.Helton is the former soon-to-be-former USC coach. He spent the first month
    of his first head coaching season hearing why he shouldnt get a second. Now
    Helton is the middle of his third month, and his No. 13 Trojans are 7-3 with a
    six-game winning streak as they prepare to finish their Pac-12 schedule at UCLA
    (10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN). USC is a half-game behind No. 10 Colorado, and a
    half-game ahead of Utah, in the Pac-12 South.The Trojans actually can win the
    division. If they beat the Bruins (4-6, 2-5), and if No. 22 Washington State
    wins at Colorado, and the Buffs go on to beat No. 12 Utah next week, then the
    courtly Helton would have every right to say something that is not his
    style.Google Clay Helton and you dont have to scroll down very far. The fifth
    story is, Clay Helton Must Be Fired and USC Needs to Find a Real Head Coach. The
    seventh and ninth stories provide five names as possible replacements. Those
    three stories were published in late September, when USC had a record of 1-3.The
    ready-fire-aim section of my business did itself proud. Yeah, the Trojans got
    humiliated by Alabama in the opener, 52-6. It turned out that USC, in its first
    game, literally was not ready for the big time. The atmosphere in Cowboys
    Stadium, not to mention the Crimson Tide themselves, overwhelmed the
    Trojans.Yep, they followed with an equally inept offensive performance at
    Stanford two weeks later in a 27-10 loss. After that game, Helton benched
    fourth-year junior quarterback Max Browne for redshirt freshman Sam Darnold.He
    played well in his first start, at Utah, but the Trojans lost fumbles on their
    first three offensive possessions, and then gave up a touchdown with :16 to play
    to lose 31-27. All they had to show for the first month of the season was a
    victory over Utah State and a rabble that had been roused.Gah, Helton said, that
    feels like years ago.His family rallied around him. In the days after the Utah
    game, his daughter Aubrey, a high school senior, came up to him, gave him a big
    hug, and said, Daddy, dont worry about it. Its all going to be good.Not even
    Aubrey knew how good. But her daddy had an inkling. As the carping about Helton
    being overmatched reached a crescendo, he came away from the Utah loss convinced
    that the Trojans would be fine. He wont tell you six-wins-in-a-row, 13th-ranked,
    division-contender fine. But fine. This wasnt a team pointing fingers across the
    locker room.There were guys coming up on their own to watch extra film in our
    meeting rooms and taking it upon themselves to bring their teammates with them,
    Helton said. Thats what hurt, losing that game, because I saw what each kid was
    trying to do to help this team win.Helton seized on that kernel of determination
    and, as the geniuses speculated on his successor -- four games into his career
    -- he let his team know that he paid it no mind.I kept telling myself, Remember,
    18- to 21-year-olds look to their leader and look to their coaching staff,
    Helton said. How we react, theyre going to react. Just stay
    poiseed.ddddddddddddDont panic. Stay consistent in what youre doing and what you
    believe in and live with the results.Six starts later, Darnold is the best
    first-year quarterback in the FBS. Dont ask me, Jalen Hurts fans. Ask Darnolds
    QBR (86.8), fifth in the nation. Darnold has been so effective as a passer he
    has reopened the running lanes for backs Ronald Jones II and Justin Davis.That
    is as good a decision as any to probe whether Helton could coach his way out of
    a paper bag. With 20/20 hindsight, it seems perfectly obvious that Darnold is
    the better quarterback. But Helton remains steadfast that the full-speed
    decision he made to start Browne in the first three games is one he would make
    again.I had seen a kid, Max Browne, whos a redshirt junior, that had been in
    college football games, was efficient, had been a team captain, very respected
    by our team as a leader, Helton said. And I saw Sam, just this ultra-talented
    thing, just brilliance. But had never seen him in a ballgame, a real live
    college game.Browne didnt make mistakes, but he didnt make magic, either.
    Darnold proved he could handle major college football. Boy, could he. Should you
    blame Helton for not getting Darnold ready for the opener? You should, as long
    as you ignore that the offense had a new coordinator, the defense had a new
    coordinator, and so did the special teams. That contributed to the slow start as
    well.Look at the way the defense has improved over the course of the season:
    five sacks in the first four games, 14 in the next six. The Trojans have allowed
    an average of 18 points per game during their six-game winning streak.USC is
    coming off a 26-13 victory at No. 4 Washington, a vivid illustration of how far
    the Trojans have progressed since that loss to Alabama. Here was another fast,
    talented team. Here was a game in Husky Stadium, one of the most intimidating
    atmospheres in college football. USC didnt wilt this time.As I look back on our
    entire season, it really culminated in last week, Helton said. ...I just saw
    unbelievable poise and maturity. It was as electric an atmosphere as you could
    possibly have. It was as good a scene for college football as you could see, and
    the moment wasnt too big for them. They really walked in there with a sense of
    maturity and confidence. Hey, lets just focus on our job. Lets dont care about
    the stadium. Lets dont care about the noise. Lets dont care about the weather.
    Lets just get our job done.They have two rivalry games remaining -- Notre Dame
    comes west next week -- and Helton said he has seen no heads swelled by the win
    at Washington. Coach Overmatched could end up with a 10-win season. And a Pac-12
    title. The guy that the internet fired seven weeks ago may end up in the Rose
    Bowl.Heltons unfailingly polite, unerringly even-keeled, unbelievably unexciting
    personality ended up being just the right touch for a young team. So, cmon,
    Coach. Let it go. Tell the experts off.You have to be very strong-willed, Helton
    said. You have to have thick skin. And dont get your feelings hurt. Believe in
    what youre doing. Believe in the things youre doing for kids.Oh, well. They got
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