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Spring game is preview of fall season

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first_imgAnother spring session is in the books for the Trojan football team, and now the wait begins for fall practice and the opener against the Alabama Crimson Tide. Spring practice is great for showcasing potentially new dynamic players as well as offering a glimpse of what the season ahead brings. This year, Clay Helton’s first as head coach, was no different.While most of the focus surrounded the quarterback battle between redshirt junior Max Browne and redshirt freshman Sam Darnold, there were points of interest all across the Trojan roster. In addition, fans and players got their first taste of the newly assembled coaching staff. The group of coaches offers an interesting blend of holdovers from the current staff, returning coaches on their second tour of USC and Helton connections.Coaching is such an important component of player development at the collegiate level, and it seems that this group knows what they are doing. While it is still early, and the sample size is only 15 practices, the quotes and practice assessments coming from both coaches and players seem to be markedly improved in terms of discipline and organization from years past.In particular, both sides of the line appear to be in good hands. The offensive line, which returns the bulk of their depth chart, is led by new coach Neil Callaway. Callaway has more than 30 years of experience in coaching, and brings sage wisdom and a low key approach that has the line looking in sync and developing at a rapid pace. So far, Callaway has impressed with his role during the spring and could be the best line coach the Trojans have had since Tim Drevno during the 2014 season.An offensive line that is strong and mobile as well as disciplined will be a key to the Trojans’ success regardless of who is under center. On the defensive side, the front four will set the tone for a back seven that returns a wealth of talent.Unfortunately, the front four is relatively thin at this stage. Redshirt junior defensive tackle Kenny Bigelow Jr., who was expected to be an anchor on the line this year, was lost for the season during the spring. The Trojans suffered another scare yesterday as sophomore defensive tackle Noah Jefferson left practice with what Helton said is hopefully a minor injury. Any more losses on an already beleaguered front four will make first-year coach Kenenchi Udeze’s job even harder.Udeze who was a star at USC and part of the Wild Bunch 2 line that featured fellow NFL stalwarts Mike Patterson and Sean Cody in addition to Omar Nazel, moves into a position coaching role with great promise and fanfare. What he may lack in years of coaching, Udeze more than makes up for with enthusiasm, passion and firsthand knowledge and experience of what it takes to be great at both the collegiate and professional level.One of Udeze’s strengths in the spring and hopefully going forward will be the development of some of USC’s younger athletes on the line who have demonstrated tremendous potential and just to need refine their technique to elevate their game.Building up strong lines on both sides of the ball will allow Helton to implement his desired game plan, and win with a punishing and high octane attack. One spring session won’t build the final product, as that will take some serious time, but the Trojans made some serious strides in their first 15 sessions.The team is stacked at the receiver and running back positions and has many young and talented defensive backs and linebackers. With a renewed emphasis on spreading the ball around next season, the Trojans could have some other position players join junior wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, junior defensive back and wide receiver Adoree’ Jackson and sophomore tailback Ronald Jones II on the national radar. If they can stay healthy athletes like redshirt junior wide receiver Steven Mitchell Jr., senior wide receiver Darreus Rogers, redshirt sophomore wide receiver Ajene Harris and sophomore tailback Dominic Davis all could have expanded roles in the offense.Ultimately, regardless of who is under center in the first game, if the Trojans can further develop their offensive line and make sure either Darnold and Browne has enough time to spread the ball around to the immense talent surrounding them, the Trojans could be in great shape next season.Spring session is over and the early results on offense look promising. Now, the fall will be about making sure the defense can stay healthy and match the offenses’ progress so Helton’s debut season as head coach will be a successful one.Jake Davidson is a junior majoring in accounting. His column, “Davidson’s Direction,” runs Mondays.last_img read more

Can sea monkeys stir the sea?

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first_imgThe tiny swirls created by brine shrimp and other minuscule aquatic creatures could mix the seas’ upper layers as well as winds and waves do, a new study suggests. Such “biomixing” could play an important role in redistributing heat, salt, and nutrients in the upper layers of the ocean. However, some researchers question how effectively biomixing blends the waters of the wave-thrashed sunlit surface with those from the cool, calm depths.Winds, waves, and tides are crucial for mixing the surface waters of lakes and seas, transporting heat downward and simultaneously bringing nutrient-rich waters up to the surface where light-harvesting phytoplankton need them to thrive. But small marine creatures help such processes as they migrate to the ocean surface each night to forage and then return to the relative safety of unlit depths during daylight hours, some researchers think. One of the most familiar of these travelers, known to kids worldwide as the sea monkey, is the brine shrimp Artemia salina, says John Dabiri, a fluid dynamicist at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena. Although the small swirls created by the fast-churning legs of a single sea monkey are not strong enough to significantly stir the seas, the eddies kicked up by billions of them might do the trick, Dabiri and others have proposed. To test the notion, he and Monica Wilhelmus, also of Caltech, measured the tiny currents triggered by artificially induced migrations of brine shrimp in the lab.Dabiri and Wilhelmus used blue and green lasers to induce thousands of 5-millimeter-long brine shrimp to “migrate” to and from the bottom of a 1.2-meter-deep tank. The creatures are strongly attracted to those colors, Dabiri says. The researchers shone the blue laser into the tank and moved it slowly up and down to control the crustaceans’ vertical movements. The tank’s solid walls could strongly affect the flow patterns generated by the shrimp as they swam, so the researchers kept the shrimp away from the edges of the tank by shining the green laser beam directly down into the center. To help visualize the swirls and eddies generated by the shrimp, the researchers added copious amounts of silver-coated microspheres to the water and illuminated them with a red laser, a color that doesn’t seem to affect the shrimps’ behavior. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The team’s high-speed videos of the teeming, laser-lit migrations captured images of swirls much larger than the creatures themselves, which resulted from the interactions of smaller flows created by individuals. The larger the swirls, the more effective the mixing might be, Dabiri says. “So even for slow migrations, there could be strong effects,” he notes.Previous studies suggest that light-harvesting phytoplankton, the base of the ocean’s food chain, collect about 60 terawatts of solar energy, Dabiri says. Even if marine organisms that consume phytoplankton convert only 1% of that power into mixing the oceans, that’s collectively comparable to the mixing power of winds and tides, Dabiri and Wilhelmus report online today in Physics of Fluids.“This is a really innovative experimental setup that provides a nice illustration of flow velocities,” says Christian Noss, a fluid dynamicist at the University of Koblenz-Landau in Germany. Jeannette Yen, a biological oceanographer at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, agrees. “I like the idea of using [the shrimps’] behavior to lure them to the camera,” she says.But scientists disagree on how effective billions of churning sea monkey legs might be in blending ocean layers that are hundreds of meters deep. “I wouldn’t want to say just yet that [biomixing] is important at a global scale” solely based on a lab experiment, says Stephen Monismith, a fluid mechanicist at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. André Visser, a physical oceanographer at the Technical University of Denmark in Charlottenlund, agrees. “Most of the energy [from the shrimp] probably goes into heating the water” rather than mixing it, he says.In fact, the upper and lower layers of the seas have measurable differences in density, a stratification that, according to theory, would reduce the efficiency of any biomixing. And in May, experiments similar to Dabiri’s suggested that stratification stifles mixing. In that research, Noss and colleague Andreas Lorke, also of Koblenz-Landau, studied the effects of large crowds of aquatic creatures called Daphnia (commonly known as water fleas) as they migrated up and down in a tank of mildly stratified water. As expected, the stratification squelched the biomixing generated by the swimming Daphnia, Noss says. Those results aren’t surprising, Visser says. “It’s difficult to lift heavy water up and to push light water down.”Dabiri and his colleagues’ next set of lab experiments will look at the effects of sea monkey migrations in stratified waters, he says. Those experiments should reveal whether sea monkeys are better mixers than water fleas.last_img read more