Bills Open 2017 Training Camp at St. John Fisher College

        George Radney

        George Radney

It’s the Buffalo Bills 18th season at St. John Fisher College and once again optimism is in the air, especially with new Bills Head Coach Sean McDermott. The Bills must address offensive line weaknesses with Eric Wood and Jordan Mills being expendable. Hopefully rookie Dion Dawkins can win the starting right tackle position and allow Jordan Mills to come off the bench in a reserve role. That would be the best role for Jordan Mills and injured Eric Wood returning to the center position would Bills Open 2017 Training Camp at St. John Fisher College be a big mistake by Bills coaches. Ryan Groy should start at center position because of his strong run blocking skills along with being able to upgrade the offensive line. Eric Wood should be cut and his position on the roster given to a quality free agent who can help the team in another position.

Bills middle linebacker position competition between Preston Brown and second year player Reggie Ragland should be very interesting. I also like the cornerback position with Micah Hyde, Ronald Darby, and rookie Tre”Darvious White making the roster but who will be the nickel backs along with being key role players on special teams? We will soon find out if second year player Kevon Seymour, along with free agents Shareece Wright, and Leonard Johnson can make a name for themselves on a wide open secondary unit. Bills secondary will perform much better this season because the defensive line is intact and will be playing a 4-3 defensive scheme which means Marcell Dareus, Kyle Williams, Jerry Hughes, and Lorenzo Alexander will be more focused on rushing the passer instead of dropping back into coverage. This 4-3 scheme will force opposing quarterbacks to throw the ball sooner and Bills defensive line is still one of the best in the NFL. It’s very sad that they were wasted for two years by a horrible Head Coach named Rex Ryan, who did not know what he was doing with a good defensive unit that fit a scheme he was not capable of coaching or leading to wins.

The Bills wide receivers group is literally wide open for several players to step up and take a spot on the active roster. Sammy Watkins must produce this season and hopefully will be injury free in order to have a productive season. I also like Rod Streater and Andre Holmes, both played for the Oakland Raiders in recent years and can make big plays along with Philly Brown, Jeremy butler, Dezmin Lewis, and Walter Powell. These guys all have problems with consistently holding on to the football. It might come down to who drops the least amount of passes.

Due to a very unpopular move of not resigning Mike Gillislee, the Bills are in a position of looking for a quality back up to LeSean McCoy. We will keep an eye on newcomer Cedric O”Neal and second player Jonathan Williams, who must step his game up in order to make the team. There are always some diamonds in the rough and I will be looking for them throughout training camp. The Bills New Head Coach is used to an aggressive defensive unit and is better suited to employ an attacking style defense in Buffalo. Keep in mind this is McDermott’s first NFL Head coaching job and we will have to wait and see how he reacts under the pressure of a live NFL game. I will be on twitter and Facebook from training camp George Radney     @Georgeradman to follow with updates throughout the upcoming NFL season.

She Worked Hard For This

Anndea Zeigler Receives Full Athletic Scholarship to Canisius

by Gregory L. Gamble II

workedhard.jpg

Anndea Zeigler, of Cardinal O’Hara High School won’t let you think for one moment that she didn’t work as hard as she possibly could to get an opportunity to play for the Canisius Golden Griffins Women’s basketball team this fall.

Zeigler, attends Cardinal O’Hara High School where she has enjoyed playing basketball for the highly r e s p e c t e d Head Coach N i c k e l l e O’Neil. Zeigler has also participated in playing soccer and running track. Receiving a Full-Athletic Scholarship is not an easy accomplishment. As a student- athlete, you’re required to go far above and beyond what’s asked of you not only as an athlete, but also as a student. The norms of attending class, being a social butterfly and having hobbies are no comparison to the demands placed on you to excel in the classroom, be competitive in your sport, while balancing a social life and your own personal interest and hobbies. On top of that demand, its one thing to play and be competitive in a sport, it’s another thing to play that sport and win. Zeigler, has been able to do all of the above. She’s met the winning demands of coach O’Neil and Cardinal O’Hara’s winning tradition – as the last time the Lady Hawks lost a game to a team in Western New York was in 2013.

Zeigler has also dominated in the classroom as she currently resides on the Honor Roll at Cardinal O’Hara. When asked how she feels about her accomplishments, Zeigler responded “I feel ac- She Worked Hard For This: Anndea Zeigler Receives Full Athletic Scholarship to Canisius accomplished. I’m fortunate and I feel like I’m paying my parents back for all of their sacrifices for me.” Zeigler admits that her success has come with some challenges. “Transferring from a public school (Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts) to a private school was tough. I had to learn how to balance fun, my grades and my social life. I think that the biggest lesson that I’ve learned is time management and being humble.” Being humble and working hard is what Anndea Zeigler has become accustom to. As a freshman, Zeigler came off of the bench for the Lady Hawks and was behind a litany of great players.

That team wound up winning a New York State Federation Championship. Zeigler has remained patient and faithful and as she puts it, has “waited her turn.” Now, it's her time to shine. For the next young lady looking to follow in Anndea Zeigler’s footsteps, she leaves you with this message, “Work hard! What you put in is what you get out. Don’t take any opportunity for granted because there is always someone coming behind you who wants your spot. Have faith and wait your turn.” Zeigler plans to take full advantage of the athletic scholarship she is being awarded. She is undecided academically but says that her options are Physical Therapy or Accounting. Whichever one she chooses, we can count on Anndea being extremely successful in that field.

Zeigler says that you can expect her to work hard, and that whatever God has planned for her will be. She thanks her parents Rihshawndra (Sherice) and Milton Zeigler for their immense support in her dreams and is eager to give them a return on their investment. Anndea Zeigler, we are happy that you have decided to go to college close to home and represent Western New York on a National scale by playing at Canisius College. We look forward to witnessing your development. Remember at all times, You’ve Got Odds2Beat! Follow Gregory L. Gamble II on all social media outlets at Odds2Beat or visit www.odds2beat.com for the latest updates.

Persistence is Key: Roburt Welch Jr. is Clarkson University

Bound on an Academic Scholarship

By Gregory L. Gamble II

This fall, Roburt Welch Jr. will be attending Clarkson University on a Full Academic Scholarship to study Electrical Engineering. Welch, a product of St. Francis High School, where he participated in track as a high, long and triple jumper and basketball as a starting small forward, will also be playing basketball at Clarkson University under Head Coach Jeff Gorski. 

Welch is the epitome of what it means to be a student-athlete. He has defied odds on and off of the court. On the court, Roburt Welch Jr. helped lead St. Francis High School to the Manhattan Cup Final for the first time since 2007, the first regular season title in the Monsignor Martin Association since 2000, and the school's first ever #1 local ranking for a period during the regular season. 

Off of the court and in the classroom, Welch looks to join an elite group. According to the United States Department of Labor, in 2016 there were a total of 293 employed minority (Black/African American, Asian, Hispanic or Latino) electrical engineers in the country. Of those 293 employed electrical engineers, 7.5 percent or 22 employed electrical engineers were African American or Black. 

With all of Welch’s success, it would be natural to assume he’s just a gifted young man who’s been provided the necessary resources. Don’t be fooled. Hard work and persistence is what has gotten Welch to this point in his life along with unwavering support from his mother and father. 

After Welch’s sophomore season at St. Francis High School, he decided he wanted to take his basketball game to the next level. He began training with Odds2Beat, Inc. and Eurowe Training, two of the city’s finest basketball skill development companies, to develop his game individually. His coaching staff at St. Francis, which consists of Head Coach Brian Ferris and assistant coach Antwan Anderson, pushed Welch to accept a bigger role on the team and set their expectations high for Welch. With the elevation of his basketball game, Welch was passionately warned with urgency that his academics must match his basketball aspirations. When asked what was some of his greatest challenges as a student-athlete at St. Francis, Welch stated that some of his biggest development pieces were maturity and discipline. “I had to grow up and mature. I learned from people who came before me. I had to learn how to take criticism. I had to increase my IQ on and off of the court.” Welch stated that he struggled with Chemistry and Geometry his sophomore year and decided that he didn’t want to struggle anymore so he made changes. “I had to study everyday! Normally, I could cruise through school, but the teachers expectations at St. Francis were high and I realized that in order to be successful, studying hard needed to be a priority.” 

Welch’s advice for the student-athletes looking to follow in his footsteps, “Never give up, no matter how hard it could be. You never know where working hard could get you.” He then added specifically to basketball players, “Don’t use basketball as a way out. Use basketball as a tool.” 

What can we expect from Welch at Clarkson academically and athletically?                             “I’m going to push myself in everything that I do. Clarkson is a tough school and it wont be easy but I’ll keep developing.” 

Welch thanks his mother, Leticia Otis, and father, Robert Welch Jr., for their support and putting him through school at St. Francis. He is extremely grateful and glad to have had the opportunity to play at such a high level in high school. 

Roburt Welch Jr. has left us all astonished with his recent accomplishments. I speak on behalf of all of Western New York when I say, Roburt we are behind you! You’ve Got Odds2Beat! 

Greg Gamble

Greg Gamble

Follow Our Basketball Columnist Gregory L. Gamble II on all social media outlets at Odds2Beat or visit www.odds2beat.com for the latest updates.