After a less-than-stellar defensive performance during the 2015 USC football campaign, the Trojans have a new man at the helm.Clancy Pendergast, who served as defensive coordinator for USC in 2013, will return to the same role next season.Pendergast was the linebackers coach for the San Francisco 49ers in 2015. He has spent 16 of his 24 years of coaching experience in the NFL. From 2010 to 2012, Pendergast was the defensive coordinator at Cal and constructed a defense that was among the best in the Pac-12, ranking first in total defense during his first two seasons.He had similar success with the Trojans, as USC finished in the top 25 nationally in a number of defensive categories, including total and scoring defense.“We are very excited to announce the return of Clancy Pendergast as our defensive coordinator,” head coach Clay Helton said. “I have had the good fortune to watch Clancy lead our defense first hand, and was blown away by his knowledge of the game as well as his teaching abilities. His success at both the NFL and college level makes it easy to see why he is one of the top defensive coaches in the game today.”It seemed change was in the air for the entire season.A wave of uncertainty inundated the program upon Steve Sarkisian’s exit, as Helton took the reins when the Trojans were 3-2 and looking for answers.Helton’s impressive stint as interim head coach earned the respect of players, fans and members of the athletic department alike. With that said, attention now shifts to the 2016 season, which coincidentally begins with a game against national champion Alabama in Arlington, Texas.There is a lot to digest as the Trojans turn the page and prepare for spring ball.Helton went with a coaching overhaul on the defensive side of the ball, opting not to retain defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, defensive line coach Chris Wilson and defensive backs coach Keith Heyward.The defense made strides as the season progressed, but a trip to Eugene halted that progress. Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. threw six touchdown passes — and just five incompletions — in a 48-28 rout by the Ducks. Following the loss to Stanford in the Pac-12 title game, Wilcox was dismissed. He did not coach during the Holiday Bowl against Wisconsin.USC was 65th in the FBS in total defense, allowing almost exactly 400 yards per game.Special teams got a new coordinator, as John Baxter made his way back to Troy. He was Michigan’s special teams coordinator this past season, but was with the Trojans as recently as 2013.One of the biggest surprises, though, was tight ends coach Marques Tuiasosopo’s decision to join the UCLA coaching staff as quarterbacks coach. Tuiasosopo joined Sarkisian in the move from Seattle to Los Angeles for the 2014 season. Tuiasosopo also served as the quarterbacks coach at USC during the latter part of the season.Tuiasosopo was an assistant coach on offense for the Trojans but is now taking his talents across town.Coaches move on. So do players.Cody Kessler’s college career has come to a conclusion, as USC prepares to bid a fond farewell to one of the most efficient quarterbacks this conference has ever seen. The redshirt senior finished with more than 10,000 career passing yards. Tre Madden, a Trojan tailback, is also a fifth-year senior and will no longer be spotted in the Trojans’ backfield.The obvious loss on the defensive side is Su’a Cravens. The junior figures to be a high draft pick this spring, especially given his versatility. He is a monster at both outside linebacker and strong safety and has undoubtedly turned some heads of pro scouts. His impact at the strongside outside linebacker hybrid position was immense game in and game out.Replacing No. 21 will not be easy.There will be plenty of storylines to keep tabs on this offseason. The development of quarterback Max Browne will be a hot topic during spring ball, as will the play of freshman sensation Ronald Jones II at tailback.Inside linebacker Lamar Dawson has wrapped up his career as well, but the youngster Cam Smith showed his brilliance this season and ensured fans that he is more than capable of dominating at the collegiate level. Another spring storyline will be his recovery from an ACL injury he suffered against Colorado.0000000The postseason loss to Wisconsin was agonizing for the Trojan faithful, but there is a tremendous amount of energy as spring practice approaches.It goes without saying that the preparation for national champion Alabama in the 2016 opener starts now.
Source: Independent UK Michel Platini, the former president of Uefa has been arrested over the decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.The former France international captain was detained by French police on Tuesday morning in Nanterre, a western suburb of Paris, as part of the investigation into corruption surrounding how the 2022 World Cup hosting rights were awarded, according to French investigative outlet Mediapart.Platini was taken into the Anti-Corruption Office of the Juducial Police (OCLCIFF) on Tuesday morning for questioning.Platini was on the 1998 Fifa World Cup organising committee, and joined the Fifa executive committee in 2002 until he received his ban.The report also claims that Claude Gueant, who formerly advised ex-French president Nicolas Sarkozy as Secretary General, has also been taken in for questioning but has not been arrested.Qatar was controversially awarded the right to host the 2022 World Cup in 2010, which was announced at the same time as Russia winning the right to stage the 2018 tournament. In 2014, Platini admitted holding a meeting in secret with disgraced former football official Mohamaed Bin Hammam days before casting his vote for Qatar, with the ex-Asian Football Confederation subsequently banned from football for life following an expose by the Sunday Times.
By Mary Ann BourbeauHOLMDEL – “Write what you know.”Lorene Scafaria certainly took Mark Twain’s words of advice to heart in writing her latest movie script, “The Meddler.” The former Holmdel resident crafted a heartwarming story about her relationship with her mother, Gail, and how in her grief after her husband died, Gail latched on to her daughter’s life.“He and my mom were married 40 years and they were madly in love,” Scafaria said. “They were such a beautiful couple. His loss was huge for both of us.”Scafaria was an aspiring screenwriter living in Los Angeles when her father, Joseph, an Italian immigrant who worked in the garment business, died in November 2009. Her parents also had an apartment in Los Angeles that they stayed in while visiting her. Gail felt she couldn’t stay alone in the family home anymore, so six months later, she put the house on the market and moved to California, just a mile away from her single daughter.“She started calling me a lot,” Scafaria said.Scafaria and her mother had always been close, so she was happy to have Gail nearby, but all the calling, texting and dropping in unannounced soon proved too much. Scafaria decided to use the experience as a creative outlet and within a month, she had the first draft of a movie script down on paper.“I wanted to tell this story from my mother’s perspective, how lonely she was,” Scafaria said. “The character is so tough and funny, just like my mom. It was therapeutic for us.”As a child, Scafaria was always interested in movies, writing and performing. She began writing screenplays in fifth grade. Once, on a trip to New York City, she bought the script for the movie, “A Clockwork Orange.”“I was so interested in the structure of a script and what it looked like on paper,” she said.As a teenager, she and her friends would regularly perform at the Improv Jam in Red Bank and hang out at the Broadway Diner afterward. They would also go see movies at least twice a week.“I loved hanging out in Red Bank,” she said. “Those were some of my favorite years.”After graduating from Holmdel High School in 1995, Scafaria studied English with a writing concentration and a theater minor at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, and later transferred to Montclair State University, where she earned her degree. She moved to New York City, answering phones at a film company while writing scripts and submitting them to agents.“When I got my first rejection letter, I hung it on the wall,” she said. “I was so excited that I heard from someone.”A few days later, that agent reconsidered and told Scafaria she should move to Los Angeles. When Scafaria arrived, she found that the agent no longer worked at the company.“I left New York thinking I had an agent in Los Angeles, and when I arrived, there was nothing,” she said.But she powered on and soon began making money off her scripts. She wrote television shows, the screenplay for the film, “Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist” and wrote and directed the movie, “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.”In addition to writing the script for “The Meddler,” Scafaria also directed the movie, which stars former Edison resident Susan Sarandon as her mother, renamed Marnie in the film. Scafaria’s character is played by Rose Byrne. While much of the story is based in reality, other aspects, including a love interest for Marnie, did not actually happen.“I added a lot of fiction,” said Scafaria. “It has more closure than exists in real life.”Scafaria said that when she approached Gail about the movie idea, her mother was on board immediately.“She got a kick out of it,” Scafaria said. “I think she loved the portrait of this character. My mother couldn’t believe Susan Sarandon was playing her. Susan was wearing my mom’s tops from Chico’s and driving her car. She said my father would have loved being married to Susan Sarandon.”Scafaria even managed to get photographs of her father, and a shot of his driver’s license, into the movie.“My father is sort of immortalized,” she said. “My mother loves it so much that she goes to see the movie at least once a day. What people don’t realize is that the real-life meddler is in the theater.”“The Meddler” had its premiere in September at the Toronto International Film Festival and an April red carpet premiere in Los Angeles. The movie is currently in wide release.“It’s been amazing,” Scafaria said. “It’s so exciting to make a film and share it with other people. My mother is really enjoying the feeling of it and the sense of pride in her daughter.”Arts and entertainment writer Mary Ann Bourbeau can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @MaryAnnBourbeau.
ARCADIA, Calif. (Oct. 14, 2016)–Under patient handling from Tiago Pereira, Atomic Rule rallied three-wide turning for home and outran favored Curlin Rules by 2 ¼ lengths in winning Friday’s $55,000 Santa Anita allowance feature. Trained by Richard Baltas, who is in Kentucky, Atomic Rule covered a mile and one eighth on turf in 1:46.35.With Curlin Rules setting the early pace, Atomic Rule sat a close fourth at the rail into the Club House turn and stayed at the fence to the three sixteenths pole, when he eased out and easily outran Brazilian-bred Editore and the favorite.Off at 6-1 in a field of eight 3-year-olds and up, Atomic Rule paid $14.00, $6.20 and $3.20.Claimed for $40,000 out of a second place finish at Del Mar Aug. 21, the 6-year-old California-bred gelding by Tribal Rule collected his 10th win from 33 lifetime starts. Owned by Paymaster Racing, LLC, he picked up $42,900 for the win, increasing his earnings to $270,440.Curlin Rules, who was headed by Editore a quarter mile from home, shook him off and proved second best, finishing a neck in front of Little Scotty. Off at 2-1 with Victor Espinoza, Curlin Rules paid $4.00 and $3.00.Little Scotty, ridden by Kent Desormeaux, prevailed by a head over a late closing Burger and Fries and paid $3.60 to show.Fractions on the race, with the temporary rail at 30 feet, were 22.36, 46.37, 1:10.32 and 1:34.55.First post time on Saturday for a nine-race card on Saturday is at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m.