The best men’s college hockey recruiting class ever? Why Michigan’s freshman-laden roster is ‘elite’

The halls of Yost Ice Arena should be bustling right now, with the Michigan Wolverines’ pep band blaring “The Victors” and the Children of Yost — the boisterous student section — heckling an opposing goaltender. But with no fans allowed in the building, one of college hockey’s most sacred cathedrals is empty. And yet, it certainly isn’t quiet.

Outscoring opponents 21-9 through six games, the No. 7 Michigan hockey team is making plenty of noise on the ice. Starting the season 4-2, the Wolverines’ offensive attack is spearheaded by a group of freshmen that has come in with an incredible amount of hype, attention and expectations, shining a bright spotlight on the program.

Head coach Mel Pearson brought in 10 first-year players, four of whom were already drafted into the NHL and three of whom could each go in the top 10 of the 2021 draft. Among them is 6-foot-5 two-way defenseman Owen Power, who was ranked as ESPN’s preseason No. 1 prospect for the next year’s draft and is poised to be the highest-drafted collegiate player since Jack Eichel (No. 2) in 2015.

If they could, scouts would be taking up a rather large section of seats in Yost. Due to local regulations to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19, however, the school has not allowed spectators into the building, including scouts who now have to catch the team on video like everyone else. (The Wolverines travel to Penn State for a Big Ten matchup on Wednesday at 6 p.m. ET on ESPNU and the ESPN app.)

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Elite marine scientist named fellow in her field | East Jefferson community news

Slidell resident Laurie Jugan’s passion and effort as a marine scientist have earned her an award that highlights her as an elite member of her field.

The Marine Technology Society named her as a 2020 fellow, a lifetime achievement award given to members who have distinguished themselves in the field.

Jugan is president of the Gulf Coast section of the organization, an area that spans from Louisiana through the panhandle of Florida. She is the first woman from the section to receive the award.

Jugan has spent nearly 30 years connecting the latest technology advancements with the marine science industry to solve problems in waters around the globe but especially in the Gulf Coast.

She spent 25 years as an oceanographer, working for a small company that developed technology for underwater projects. In her position, she wrote proposals, managed contracts and supervised teams at Stennis Space Center and across the globe.

One project that she is especially proud of created software that helped divers see better underwater or stay protected by knowing where they shouldn’t venture. The tool became an instrumental technology for the U.S. Navy during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“Divers went into that area of the world, and we were able to keep them safe,” she said.

The software, developed for naval research at Stennis, is one example of “how much technology happens in our own backyard,” Jugan said.

Jugan is now an independent consultant supporting the Mississippi Enterprise for Technology, a nonprofit located at Stennis. Her technical roles include at-sea exercise direction and the creation of environmental products that assist the Naval Fleet in navigating global waters.

She said she loves making matches between the companies or entities that are developing technology and problems that need solving.

Many such connections have been made, she said, during the Marine Technology Society’s annual OCEANS conferences which brings together professionals in the marine science and technology field. She served three times as organizer for the OCEANS conference.

In 2009, she chaired the event, which was held in Biloxi, Mississippi, and brought more than 2,000 attendees and an economic impact of $3 million to the area, she said. The conference was slated to again be held in Biloxi in 2020, but in response to COVID-19 the meeting became a virtual event.

But she also saw the need to connect technology and projects on the Gulf Coast on a more regular basis. So, she co-founded the Oceans in Action workshops held annually since 2011. She helped to bring in the Advanced Naval Technology Enterprise as part of the workshop.

“Research is great, but an operational project is where that research goes into a tool that gets implemented and helps a mission. At Stennis, so many research tools go into missions. That is what Oceans in Action is about,” she said.

She said one outcome from Oceans in Action is that underwater drones are being used more in Gulf waters, and states across the Gulf Coast are working together to solve problems that are

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ESPN Making Some Elite Chicken Salad With This College GameDay at the Masters Recipe

ESPN’s College GameDay will broadcast live from Augusta National on Nov. 14, coinciding with third-round play at the Masters, the network announced today. Add that to the list of sentences you never thought you’d read eight months ago for so many reasons. But it’s happening … unless, of course, college football and golf are derailed by the pandemic between now and then. Fingers crossed.

a close up of a sign: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

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Andrew Redington/Getty Images

For now, let’s stay optimistic about the regular-scheduled programming holding up and the confluence of two great events dovetailing into a singular and historic morning of television. Because if you can bring yourself to look at the positives of this situation, they really are quite something to celebrate.

It’s an awesome idea only made possible by the worst of situations. So it’s not easy for a thinking person to dive head-first into the fun without a little trepidation and context. Perhaps the best thing to do is to contextualize and appreciate just how resourceful sports networks have been in adapting to this new world.

Gallery: The best athletes-turned-broadcasters (Yardbarker)

College GameDay near Amen Corner is elite chicken-salad-making. The unexpected perk slipping through the cracks of a heavy weight. Your mileage will vary on how much to enjoy the experience and if there should be any guilt.

But it’s less controversial to point out just how adroit and clever the industry has been in navigating the rapids. Especially when the twists and turns of the river make seeing around the bend impossible. ESPN choosing to steer into the weirdness of conflicting golf and football on its platforms is a not-so-subtle nod that, yeah, they get it and are doing their best. It’s a little thing but it’s indicative of the overarching outward mood content creators have been able to work their way into.

The constraints are innumerable and the challenges vast. Yet one could argue there’s never been a higher value placed on creativity in this field and, honestly, tons of others. It is both inspiring and humbling to see bravery in the form of steering into the skid and letting the car come to a rest where it may.

Who knew chicken salad could be reinvented in so many ways?

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Garett Bolles Explains What he Did to Turn his Career Around & Play at an Elite Level

Even the most critical sections of Broncos Country are coming around to the stellar play of much-maligned left tackle Garett Bolles this season. The Denver Broncos’ fourth-year offensive tackle is passing the eye tests with flying colors so far. 

Such rudimentary systems of evaluation have been reinforced by advanced analytics sites like Pro Football Focus, who have given the tackle a 88.9 player grade through the first five games, which is the third-highest in the NFL and the best in the AFC. Most tellingly, Bolles is yet to give up a sack and has only drawn two penalty flags.

When GM John Elway decided against offering a fifth-year option to the 28-year-old tackle, many predicted this would be Bolles’ last season in the Mile High City. Perhaps only the player and his position coach Mike Munchak saw things differently as Bolles headed into the pandemic-affected offseason. 

Bolles embraced virtual learning, polishing his technique, and added additional muscle to his 299-pound frame. On Thursday, Bolles charted out the road map that has led to him making giant strides this season and talked about the special bond he has with Munchak.

“Me and Munch have a special relationship. We meet one on one before every single game. We meet throughout the week. He understands how I feel in my demeanor to be the best and he’s just really helped me stay on track. Like I said in my quote—you all know it—it doesn’t matter how you start, it matters how you finish. That’s really how it is.”

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Bolles struggled through his first three seasons to find the right headspace that would allow him to capitalize on his obvious physical talents. Now in his second year under the tutelage of Munchak, the former Utah standout is finally turning into the first-round player the Broncos had always hoped for.

“The difference is just my mental game and the time that I put in this offseason. I put in a lot of effort,” Bolles said. “When this whole COVID thing hit… I pushed myself extremely hard. I did the little things by taking extra sets and watching film to know where my hand placements are—doing a lot of hand drills. Mostly just the mental side. I spent a lot of time this offseason on the mental aspect. I had the physical aspect. I had the tools to take care of the technique. It was just all mental. If your mind is not right, then you can’t play this game.”

Bolles has been on the receiving end of harsh criticism from Broncos fans in the recent past, so turning that chorus of boos into genuine applause and admiration seemed unlikely but it is pleasing to see. If anything, the critics are now rounding on Elway for a lack of faith and foresight

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Facing more allegations, Gregg Marshall’s run as an elite college basketball coach appears to be over

If you were Gregg Marshall, hunkered down in the metaphorical castle he’s built at Wichita State while the entire narrative of his career collapses around him, you would almost certainly be asking: Why now?

a man standing in front of a crowd: Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall yells during a February game against Tulsa.

© Brett Rojo, USA TODAY Sports
Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall yells during a February game against Tulsa.

Why are former players at not just one but two schools publicly accusing him of abusive behavior, as outlined in new reporting Tuesday in The Athletic about Marshall’s time at Winthrop? Why is the coaching style that brought him from obscurity to a Final Four and was rewarded with wealth beyond belief suddenly inappropriate and over the line? Why is the mob only coming for him now after 22 years as a college head coach?

It must be stunning and confusing to Marshall to see his treatment of players exposed now, after dragging Winthrop to the NCAA Tournament seven times in nine years and then turning Wichita State into a national brand, churning out a lot of good basketball players and good citizens along the way.

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But even if Marshall hasn’t changed, the rest of us have. And if there’s corroboration to the growing pile of allegations, including a damning account initially published Oct. 9 by Stadium, Wichita State would be foolish to keep him — if only because he can no longer credibly run a program in 2020. 

Forget for a moment that his alleged behavior is just wrong — choking an assistant, racially-charged taunts toward players, language so demeaning that former players still resent him years later — having it exposed to the public will cripple his ability to recruit, to relate, to lead. And no amount of university-level enablement, support from billionaire booster Charles Koch or ambiguity resulting from an investigation can make that stain go away. 

In that sense, calling for Marshall to be fired is either too obvious or too redundant. Even if he keeps his job — and the fact Wichita State hasn’t even suspended him yet suggests he’ll get the kid-glove treatment to the bitter end — his ability to do it effectively is already done. 

Who would knowingly send their son to play for a coach who, according to former Winthrop players who spoke with The Athletic, asked a player if he was “stupid or just retarded?” Who would knowingly send their son to play for a coach who told a player he’d “send him back to Africa” or frequently used a derogatory term for female anatomy to address players? 

That’s not what anyone should want their children to endure, and it’s certainly not coaching. 

But maybe to Marshall, it was. Try to look at it through his eyes. You’re talking about somebody who started as an under-talented, undersized player at Randolph-Macon College in the early 1980s who only stood out because of his tenacity — and his temper. 

In fact,

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