Kevin Fixler
    Sport Matters

26 November 2014

Mizzou football commit Drew Lock a rising QB star

Eric Thomas, head football coach at Lee’s Summit High School in Missouri, says he remembers the precise moment he thought quarterback Drew Lock might be something special.

It was during a preseason team camp heading into the 2010 season, under the lights of a college campus and Lock, not even yet a freshman, had the reins of the JV squad for the very first time and was marching the Tigers down the field. Thomas kept calling in the same run-oriented play, but instead his QB continued to go with option two and chuck it for positive gains. Finally at the goal line, a run seemed the natural choice, so Thomas pulled in his new signal-caller and suggested a hand-off. The young kid’s next move? Nod yes, but go throw a touchdown. “That was probably the first time we really realized the possibilities with him,” Thomas tells OZY.


14 November 2014

In the NFL, Tossing Out the Third-String Quarterback

In the NFL, it’s becoming more evident with each passing season that in the club of elite quarterbacks, if two is company, three’s a crowd.

Even people who have a life on Sunday know that quarterbacks are pretty crucial to any team hoping to make a Super Bowl bid, much less win many games. But in a move that only the most addicted fans may have noticed, a growing number of teams are relying on only two QBs week in and week out, contrary to the standard practice of a three-man unit that served as insurance against injury. All of which raises a burning question as we huddle up for another weekend of pro football: Why the choice to make this potentially crucial player a third wheel?


6 November 2014

The Secret to Winning Pro Tennis: Big Data?

Move over Billy Beane — baseball isn’t the only sport that’s buddying up to big data.

Tennis pros — often driven by their coaches — are increasingly turning to data recorders from the likes of IBM, SAP and other tech firms that track the distance players run, where they hit important serves and all sorts of other metrics. Essentially, these datasets can help players pinpoint certain patterns or preferred strategies of opponents, as well as predictable tendencies in their own game that they may want to avoid. And you can bet that numerous figures will be closely scrutinized ahead of the Nov. 9-16 ATP World Tour Finals in London — the last event of the season, where distinguished names like Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray will duke it out on court.


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