re are the two (slightly) older members of this Australia A batting outfit. Stoinis has played for Australia in ODI and T20 cric

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PITTSBURGH -- Pat Narduzzi understands the renewal of Pitts rivalry with Penn State after a 15-year hiatus is sure to generate plenty of chatter.All things being equal, Narduzzi would rather keep the Panthers out of it.Narduzzi is putting his team on lockdown ahead of Saturdays long-awaited visit from the Nittany Lions for reasons he described as more practical than personal. The second-year coach isnt worried about his players littering the walls in Happy Valley with bulletin board material. Hed just rather have them focused on the task at hand rather than spend time talking about it.We dont want any distractions, Narduzzi said. Id rather them go right in the film rm. If its three minutes (with the media), it might be the three minutes well miss (in film).Narduzzi stressed he wants to be the only voice for the program, and he is fine with treating Pitts first meeting with Penn State since 2000 as more than just another game. In many ways it is, not just for in-state bragging rights for the next year but also for whatever edge it may gain in the living rm of recruits that have both schls on their radar.It plays a major factor I think in the end, Narduzzi said. I think kids lk up and they want to play for a winner and they want to know which ship is floating and strong.The Panthers put together a solid but hardly overwhelming 28-7 win over Villanova last weekend. While the outcome was never really in doubt once running back James Conner scored twice in the second quarter in his stirring return from a bout with Hodgkins lymphoma, there is plenty to work on as Pitt takes on an opponent that will be a significant step up in class.The offense managed just 261 yards and Conner averaged a modest 3.1 yards per carry, the lowest in his career in any game in which hes carried it at least 10 times. Narduzzi chalked it up to a bit of rust and Conners propensity to lk for a big play every time instead of settling for whats there.When he hit it, he did pretty gd, Narduzzi said. When he started to lk for that touchdown (he started to dance). Hes a big, powerful downhill runner. Thats why were not a spread offense.Conner was in kindergarten the last time Pitt and Penn State shared the same field, a 12-0 victory by the Panthers on Sept. 16, 2000, and Conner is one of the oldest players on the Panthers. Narduzzi understands it may be a bit of a challenge for a group with no personal history against the Nittany Lions to suddenly develop strong emotions one way or the other.Thats one of the reasons for the media blackout. Narduzzi spent eight years as part of Michigan States contentious annual showdown with Michigan while working as the Spartans defensive crdinator. Getting used to the white-hot flame -- and the unique circumstances surrounding the game -- tk some time.When I first got into a major rivalry, I didnt get it, he said. I didnt get it until the second year. I want to make sure they get it the first year.Colin Wilson Jersey . He said Tuesday thats a big reason why he is now the new coach of the Tennessee Titans. Whisenhunt said he hit it off quickly with Ruston Webster when interviewing for the job Friday night. Cheap Colorado Avalanche Jerseys .ca lks back at the stories and moments that made the year memorable. http://www.cheapavalanchejerseys.com/?tag=adidas-rene-robert-jersey .ca NFL Power Rankings, overtaking the Denver Broncos and remaining ahead of NFC competition San Francisco, Carolina and New Orleans. Peter Forsberg Jersey . With Parker having a quiet game for once, Nicolas Batum and Boris Diaw provided the scoring as France won its first major basketball title by beating Lithuania 80-66 on Sunday. It was a victory that ended a decade of frustration for Parker and a talented French generation, which lost the final against Spain two years ago and tk bronze in 2005. J.T. Compher Jersey . "I wrote 36 on my sheet at the beginning of the game," the Cincinnati coach said, referring the yard line the ball would need to be snapped from.In winter Australians love their fty. And this Olympic year we will all suddenly become experts in swimming and rowing and BMX and the like. Scores from a Test in Colombo or Galle might seep in at the edge of the public consciousness, mentioned late in the nightly news bulletin. A flicker of recognition will register when the names are mentioned. Did they say Warner? Starc? Theres cricket on, is there?So what hope does an Australia A series have of generating any attention at all? The same hope that Australia has of winning an Olympic medal in handball. And yet it is well worth keeping an eye on Australia A this winter in their four Tests against South Africa A and India A, and a quadrangular one-day series. These matches in Queensland will feature a young group of men who could just be Australias batting future.To the fair-weather cricket fan, the last Sheffield Shield season was as normal: their state either won the title or didnt, and that was the extent of their interest. If a ball is bowled and Channel Nine didnt show it, was it bowled at all? Yes, it was, it and 56,000 others like it. And as the more ardent fans know, it was a season of quiet revolution, a summer of breakthroughs for a number of young batsmen.For some years the Sheffield Shield has been dominated by older batsmen. At different times runs have been piled up by Adam Voges, Michael Klinger, Ed Cowan, Marcus North, Chris Rogers, even Ricky Ponting in his valedictory season topped the run tally. The occasional young batsman came through, Joe Burns or Usman Khawaja, say, but they were the exceptions.Two summers ago, only one of the Sheffield Shields top ten run scorers was 24 or under - Cameron Bancroft - and just as significantly, six of the top ten were in their thirties - Voges, Klinger, Cowan, Shaun Marsh, Rob Quiney and Callum Ferguson. The selectors rewarded Voges with a Test call-up, but they must have wished there were more youthful batsmen applying the pressure. *Head was withdrawn from the squad to play county cricket with YorkshireLast season, there were. Of the Shields top ten run scorers in the 2015-16 summer, seven were aged 24 or under - Bancroft, Travis Dean, Peter Handscomb, Matt Renshaw, Kurtis Patterson, Travis Head, and Sam Heazlett - and only one was in his thirties - George Bailey. And the next two on the list outside the top ten - Alex Ross and Jake Lehmann - were also in the under-24 bracket.Every one of those young batsmen was named in the Australia A squad, although Head was later withdrawn so that he could take up a county contract with Yorkshire. Also picked were Marcus Stoinis, 26, who was ninth on the Shield run tally; Chris Lynn, 26, a Test batsman-in-waiting whose past two summers have been curtailed by injury; and wicketkeeper Sam Whiteman, 24, averaging 37 in first-class cricket.That is why this winters Australia A matches will be so fascinating. How will this group of young batsmen handle the step up? Who will thrive? Who will succumb to nerves? Bear in mind that this time last year Dean and Heazlett had not even made their first-class debuts, while Renshaw, Lehmann and Ross had played just one, two and three games respectively. These are batsmen who have emerged rapidly.None more so than Dean, who last year was completing a greens-keeping apprenticeship at Werribee Park Golf Club when he was handed his first Cricket Victoria contract. The states new coach, David Saker, was a key backer of Dean and when the young opener was given his first opportunity in the Sheffield Shield side, he did not disappoint.Against Queensland at the MCG, Dean became the first man ever to score a century in each innings of his Sheffield Shield debut. And both innings - 154 and 109 - were unbeaten, which meant he was on the field for every ball of the match. Dean, who is now 24, went on to play every game for Victoria and scored 111 and 54 in their Sheffield Shield final triumph, finishing second on the Shield run tally.The other man who began the summer uncapped was 20-year-old Heazlett, who like Dean plundered a century on debut. He wasnt far off matching Deans feat of a hundred in each innings on debut, scoring 129 and 78 against Tasmania at Bellerive Oval. Heazlett, who is studying to be a physiotherapist, finished with 649 Shield runs for the summer; only Matthew Hayden andd Graeme Hick enjoyed more prolific debut seasons for Queensland.dddddddddddd.His state team-mate, the opening batsman Renshaw, finished the summer as Queenslands leading Shield run scorer and fifth on the overall competition tally. Renshaw, now 20, quietly accumulated 738 runs for the Shield season and proved himself a similar batsman to Western Australias Bancroft, a grafting opener with immense concentration. Renshaws maiden hundred, scored in Mackay, was a near nine-hour 170. To find such a young man with such an old-schl approach to batting, and the talent to match, is potentially significant for Australias selectors. Renshaw, like Bancroft, lms as a Test opener of the future. He cites Alastair Ck as a batsman he would like to emulate, and like Ck, Renshaw was born in England. He still holds a British passport, but is firmly part of the Australian set-up now.The other batsman Renshaw idolised as a young kid was Michael Hussey, and there is a tinge of Hussey elsewhere in this squad as well. Lehmann also nominates Hussey as a batsman he lked up to as a child. And what a childhd it was. Like Shaun and Mitchell Marsh, Lehmann had the rare privilege of spending time in the Australian dressing rms as a kid, as the son of Darren Lehmann.But his name and background naturally led to higher expectations, and when he was chosen for his South Australia debut last year, there were no doubt some wondered if he was being favoured. Three centuries last summer, including 205 against Tasmania in Hobart, silenced any doubters. Lehmann, now 24, might bat a bit like his father but he is very much his own man.His South Australia team-mate Ross, also 24, is the only one of these Australia A batsmen who is yet to make a first-class hundred. He has come close, though, with a best of 92 not out and six fifties to his name, all last summer. Ross also impressed in the BBL, particularly through his use of the sweep shot, and he was named the Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year for 2016.Those are the really new faces. Then there is Handscomb, highly rated for many years, third on the Shield run tally last season with 784, including 112 and 61 not out in a Man-of-the-Match performance in Victorias successful Shield final. Handscomb was 24 when last season ended and has since turned 25, still young in batting terms, and had his first taste of international cricket as an injury replacement in Australias ODI squad in England last year.Bancroft, 23, has also been named in an Australia squad already, though for the Test tour of Bangladesh last year, which was cancelled for security reasons. Another solid summer for Western Australia - 732 runs at 45.75, including three hundreds - has done him no harm. David Warner and Joe Burns are the incumbent Test openers but Bancroft is waiting patiently, fitting for a batsman of his temperament.Patterson, 23, has finally started to live up to the promise he showed when he struck 157 on New South Wales debut at the age of 18 back in late 2011, at the time becoming the youngest batsman ever to score a Sheffield Shield century. He was sixth on the Shield run list last summer, with 737, including two centuries.The one member of the Australia A batting group who was much further down the Shield run list in 2015-16 was Whiteman, but then he is primarily chosen as wicketkeeper anyway. That he can bat is unquestionable, and this is a perfect opportunity for him to position himself close behind Peter Nevill in the Test keeping queue.And then there are the two (slightly) older members of this Australia A batting outfit. Stoinis has played for Australia in ODI and T20 cricket, and keeps scoring well for Victoria in all formats. Lynn is arguably the best batsman of the lot, but shoulder injuries in the past two summers have curtailed his run-making ability. This is a terrific chance to push his case for higher honours.All of these men will get the opportunity this winter to test themselves against India A or South Africa A, or both. And the Australian sporting public might not notice them just yet, but dont be surprised if one or more of these young batsmen find their way into an Australia team sner rather than later. ' ' '

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