Replacing Gustin: Practice focuses on solidifying defense

first_imgSenior linebacker Porter Gustin left the Colorado game with a fractured ankle and won’t return this year. (Josh Dunst | Daily Trojan)USC football took a huge blow Sunday when the team announced that senior linebacker Porter Gustin would miss the remainder of the season with a fractured ankle. As the team practiced Wednesday in preparation of Saturday’s road matchup with Utah, Gustin’s absence loomed over the proceedings.Gustin’s seven sacks lead the Pac-12, and the Trojan pass rush has noticeably struggled when he has been out this season. The team is turning to redshirt junior defensive lineman Christian Rector and redshirt freshman linebacker Hunter Echols to fill in for Gustin at the “predator” position. “Replacing [Gustin] is a tough thing to do, but we have to have a next guy up mentality,” Rector said. “We have a good scheme, a good system, so I have to execute it.”No other player on the Trojan defense has more than 1.5 sacks, so the team has big shoes to fill. The pass rush was still excellent when Gustin was injured last season, but that team featured threats like Uchenna Nwosu and Rasheem Green, both of whom have departed for the NFL.Defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast said there is no replacing a player of Gustin’s caliber. “Everything from work ethic, helping people get lined up during the game, helping to coach the younger guys at practice, to playing and competing at a high level,” Pendergast said. “He’s someone that you can’t replace.”Gustin’s injury comes at possibly the worst time for the Trojans, with the most important game of their season coming up on Saturday. Utah boasts a strong offensive line, with four starters of at least 310 pounds, so USC’s front seven will have its work cut out for it.“They’re very physical up front, they do a nice job in the running game,” Pendergast said. “[Junior Zack] Moss, the running back, is very much a downhill perimeter runner, the [junior] quarterback [Tyler Huntley] is a true dual-threat guy, and they’ve got a lot of speed outside. So they can hurt you in a lot of different ways offensively.” Moss has rushed for 617 yards and seven touchdowns on 110 attempts, averaging 102.8 yards per game and 5.6 yards per carry this season. Huntley is the team’s second-leading rusher, with 207 yards and three touchdowns on 75 attempts.“They’re really physical, their [offensive] line is really big up front,” said freshman linebacker Palaie Gaoteote. “They compact the box and try to run it down your throat.”Utah’s offense is on the rise, putting up 40 or more points in its previous two games against Arizona and Stanford. As Pendergast said, the improvement has been most evident in the run game, as the Utes topped 220 rushing yards in both games.“They’ve gotten themselves in a lot more manageable third down situations, therefore they’re winning on first down,” Pendergast said of the Utes’ recent improvement. “Their offense is very impressive, and it’s a completely different style of offense than what we faced last week in Colorado.”If there’s an area the USC defense can exploit in Utah’s run game, it’s Huntley’s propensity for taking negative plays. The junior signal-caller has 112 negative yards on rushing attempts this season, which the Trojans can take advantage of if they get into the backfield repeatedly like they did against Colorado.Huntley has solid overall numbers in the passing game: He completes 64 percent of his passes for 203.5 yards per game, with seven touchdowns and three interceptions. With Gustin gone, other USC pass rushers will have to contain the speedy Huntley so he can’t make plays outside the pocket. Even so, Helton said the team was focusing on stopping Utah’s run game.“Hopefully, we can do like last game and maybe get up or create third and longs where you’re putting them more in passing situations,” Helton said. “Because when they can lean on that run game, lean on the play-action game, they’re good. That’s right in their backyard.” Utah is notable for its rowdy atmosphere, which the Trojans prepared for this Wednesday by filtering crowd noise during their third down drills. If the practice was any indication, though, the Trojans will struggle to match the energy; the session was quiet, lacking the contentious competitiveness that had characterized the practices over their three-game winning streak.Injury updateHelton said that both Gaoteote and senior linebacker Cam Smith are close to game ready, but neither have been medically cleared yet. Smith is recovering from a hamstring injury, while Gaoteote has not yet cleared concussion protocol.Smith was unavailable after practice, but Gaoteote said he was improving every day and feeling better.The team also pulled redshirt junior offensive guard Jacob Daniel with knee soreness.last_img read more

Niko Steinkrauß, Merkur Sportwetten: The Polish sports betting market will pose some challenges

first_img Merkur Sportwetten increases stake in Belgium’s Betcenter August 4, 2020 Share Share Submit Related Articles Polish wagering report highlights STS market dominance  August 17, 2020 Last week, Merkur Sportwetten GmbH grew its European and Polish presence by announcing that it was acquiring Warsaw-based Totolotek SA.Merkur Sportwetten operates as a subsidiary of the Espelkamp-based Gauselmann Group, consolidating the group’s national and international operations. SBC spoke to the CEO of Merkur Sportwetten Niko Steinkrauß to discuss the new acquisition and the challenges in navigating a new market.What are your hopes for the expansion into the Polish market? The Polish sports betting market definitely has its challenges – the high taxation (12% of stakes), and the difficulties in effectively cutting out non-licensed online operators, to name the top two. Still we believe Poland’s size and dynamic development offer good business opportunities. Especially the retail sector is not as developed as we know it from the other markets we operate (e.g., Germany, Austria, Belgium). We are confident that with our omnichannel product we can make a big impact in the market and offer Polish punters the best choice across all distribution channels – be it the betting shop, the self-service terminal, or online. In addition, expanding into Poland is a Group project. Gauselmann’s slot machine division is a partner of Totalizator Sportowy, providing the monopoly operator for gambling with our technology. The arcade operations division is also on stand-by to become active in Poland once opportunities open up. Together, we see the potential to become a major player in the polish gambling and betting sector. What will be the driving force behind the success of your expansion into the new market?The key driving force will be how Polish sports betting consumers accept Totolotek’s new proposition. We are investing heavily into our omnichannel approach – converting Totolotek’s legacy mix of different product platforms into our state of the art, integrated platform, refurbishing the shop network, and bringing our unique online offering to customers. The quicker we are with this transition, the better we can turn-around Totolotek and make it a market share winner again. The gambling industry as a whole has some significant challenges to face this year, especially with more jurisdictions changing their regulatory frameworks. How do you plan to address these obstacles?In fact, there are two sides to the coin here. On the one hand, we as a provider that is not only willing, but also able to comply with the ever increasing regulatory standards, are actually welcoming their strict enforcement. But the key point is that the enforcement needs to apply to everyone – not only to licensed operators. That unfortunately is not always the case. Also, if regulation overshoots, it just makes licensed offerings unattractive. That not only harms our business, but also prevents regulators from reaching their actual objectives. You cannot protect players and minors, if the unlicensed and illegal offering is much more attractive. We are in constant dialogue with policy makers on these issues. Only if we listen to each other, we can create an ecosystem in balance. Mateusz Juroszek – Non-stop STS will expand amid industry disruptions August 12, 2020 StumbleUponlast_img read more