Wheeler News Service - Wednesday, October 2, 2013 - Noon State Sports
Editor on Duty: Thom Gerretsen (715) 389-2373
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After Sunday, the Green Bay Packers will have played a quarter of their regular season -- and they're still trying to find their identity. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers said on his E-S-P-N-Milwaukee radio show that it takes about half the season to determine a true team identity. He says playmakers will emerge, roles will be set, and we'll know who can be healthy at the end of the season when it's most important. Also, Rodgers says the 1-and-2 Packers will find out quickly how well they respond to adversity. They'll play N-F-C North co-leading Detroit on Sunday, and then the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens the following week in Baltimore. Rodgers calls it an important stretch for his team. The Packers are coming off an unusually early bye week for them -- but they had a number of injured players who could use the time off. That includes Eddie Lacy and Jermichael Finley, who are coming off concussions, plus five players with injured hamstrings -- Clay Matthews, Morgan Burnett, John Kuhn, Casey Hayward, and Jarrett Bush.
The Milwaukee Bucks are in the second day of their training camp If there's a central theme so far, it's team unity -- something that was in short supply at the end of last season. Center Larry Sanders said new coach Larry Drew has done a great job stressing team unity, which he said was "definitely missing" with the Bucks. After forward Caron Butler was traded to Milwaukee, he invited his new teammates to dinner to start some positive chemistry within the squad. During last year's playoffs, Sanders said players were in their own corners as Milwaukee was getting swept in the first round by the Miami Heat. He said some of his teammates were looking forward to the post-season, while others wished it never happened. He said no one was on the same page, and getting swept was what the Bucks deserved. During the Heat series, Sanders got into a shoving match with Monta Ellis. Since then, Ellis moved onto Dallas, while Sanders' emergence as a shot blocker was rewarded with a four-year, 44-million dollar contract. In his fourth year, Sanders is now considered a leader of the Bucks -- one of only four holdovers from last year.
The U-W Green Bay men's soccer team has improved to 5-2-and-2, after beating North Carolina-Asheville on the road yesterday, 2-to-1. Sam Krenzien and Lawrence Talery scored for the Phoenix, who had a 21-to-9 edge in total shots.
Wisconsin swept the weekly cross country honors in the Big Ten Conference. Junior Michael Van Voorhis was named the men's runner of the week, after he placed 10th at the Coast-to-Coast race in Boston. Sophomore Emma-Lisa Murphy was named the top Big Ten women's runner, after she placed fifth in Boston.