April 18, 2014

While We’re Waiting…Josh Gordon’s roller coaster, and home town kid starts vs. Browns

Cleveland sports fans are waiting. Thus, while we’re all waiting, the WFNY editors thought you might enjoy reading. Because you never know how long we might be waiting. So here are assorted reading goodies for you to enjoy. Send more good links for tomorrow’s edition to tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

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Hudson High School alumni Brian Winters starts at guard today for the New York Jets against his home town team.

“Growing up 45 minutes outside of Cleveland in Hudson, Ohio, the 320-pound guard said, “I was kind of suckered into becoming a Browns fan. That’s just kind of how it worked. I didn’t really have a favorite team growing up, but if there was a team that I watched, it would be the Browns.”

And if there was a player that he watched, it would be seventh-year veteran T Joe Thomas.

“I was a big fan of Joe Thomas and grew up watching him,” Winters said. “I always, obviously, watched the offensive line, so that was big. I liked the way he played.”

The 6’6”, 312-pound tackle has been both durable and reliable for the Browns, having started all 110 games since being drafted third overall in the ’07 draft.Of course, Winters only has to turn his head to the left to find another player who’s accomplished that feat – T D’Brickashaw Ferguson, the leader among active NFL players in consecutive games started since Week 1 of their rookie season.

Brian Winters will not be fortunate enough to share this impressive accomplishment with his childhood team’s left tackle and his current team’s left tackle. A third-round pick out of Kent State, he was injured during much of training camp and ultimately missed the first two preseason games. He replaced Vladimir Ducasse as our starting left guard back in Week 5 of the regular season and has held the position ever since. Two more games mean two more chances to prove he belongs as a starting guard in the NFL. The fact that one of those matchups happens to come against one of his favorite teams is just an added bonus.

“My friends and family are messing with me a little bit because it’s pretty important going up against my hometown team,” Winters said, “so it’s obviously going to be awesome playing against people that I grew up watching. It’s going to be fun.” [Frankel/NewYorkJets.com] [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting…Browns rookie camp, Fixing Ubaldo, and Hurricane Reynolds

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com

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Dawgs by Nature breaks down day 2 of Browns rookie mini camp.

“More Miraculous Mingo: Other than the fact that he looks like he could add some weight, the early reviews for Barkevious Mingo continued to be positive on Day 2. Some of the media reviews included, “he flew through the drills, showing impressive change of direction” and “he is very quick and fly’s throughout whatever obstacle he is working against.” [Pokorny/Dawgs by Nature] [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting…Trading Asdrubal, and the emergence of Shannon Scott

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

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“The thought of trading Cabrera was mentioned several times in the offseason, especially after the Indians signed Mike Aviles. His name came up in talks with the Cardinals and the Phillies and Chris Antonetti no doubt fielded calls from a couple other teams, most likely the Red Sox because they’ve had a black hole at short since Nomar Garciaparra was traded.

The front office has to stay on the move, maximizing potential and selling high. And in keeping Cabrera this long they might have already missed that chance on a guy who wasn’t even all that heralded out of the minors for much besides his glove. The best time to trade him would have been after the 2011 season: His stock was through the roof after he’d hit 25 homers with a .792 OPS. His on-base numbers have been fading a bit, from a .361 peak in 2009 down to .338 last season, but that’s more than average and he’s had an OPS+ over 110 every year save 2010 when he broke his arm.” [Rohlfing/Wahoo's on First]

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Box Score: Ohio State 82, Albany 60

After the cancellation of Friday’s Carrier Classic, the Ohio State Buckeye’s men’s basketball team officially began their season with an 82-60 win over Albany on Sunday. The Buckeyes 17-2 run to close the first half helped the home team pull away from an Albany squad that kept the game close for most of the first half.

The lead stayed around 20 for most of the second half, with the result never in doubt. Ohio State was led by their stars Aaron Craft, who scored 20 points to go along with his 7 assists, and Deshaun Thomas who chipped in with 19 points to start his season.

The win for comes in the first round of the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament. The Buckeye will now play Rhode Island in the next round on November 17th and then will play a championship or consolation game the following day.

Albany

Team Statistics: Albany Great Danes
Name Min FG 3Pt FT Off Reb Ast TO Stl Blk PF Pts
J. Iati 34 3-8 1-5 6-6 1 5 3 2 2 0 3 13
J. Guerrier 19 1-6 1-5 2-2 1 2 1 1 0 0 1 5
J. Puk 29 1-3 0-0 2-2 1 7 1 4 0 0 3 4
B. Metcalf 22 0-0 0-0 2-4 0 3 0 1 0 0 1 2
M. Black 33 7-13 2-6 4-6 2 2 1 1 1 0 2 20
G. Johnson 8 0-2 0-0 0-2 1 3 0 3 0 0 2 0
D. Evans 9 0-2 0-0 2-2 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 2
S. Rowley 19 2-3 0-0 3-4 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 7
C. Page 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
P. Hooley 8 1-5 1-3 0-0 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 3
D. Wiegmann 5 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
L. Devlin 12 1-2 1-2 1-2 2 4 0 1 0 0 1 4
Totals   16-45 6-22 22-30 9 29 6 17 4 0 18 60
Percentages   .356 .273 .733   Team Rebounds: 3

Ohio St.

Team Statistics: Ohio State Buckeyes
Name Min FG 3Pt FT Off Reb Ast TO Stl Blk PF Pts
S. Thompson 27 2-4 0-1 0-0 2 5 3 2 1 4 3 4
L. Smith, Jr. 30 8-11 2-2 0-0 1 5 0 1 0 0 2 18
A. Craft 31 6-9 5-7 3-4 1 2 7 1 0 0 3 20
D. Thomas 30 7-17 4-9 1-1 0 3 2 2 2 0 1 19
E. Ravenel 15 0-1 0-0 0-0 1 4 1 1 0 0 2 0
S. Scott 19 4-5 0-0 1-3 0 1 3 2 2 0 3 9
L. Ross 23 4-8 1-1 1-2 3 5 0 1 0 0 3 10
A. Williams 16 0-0 0-0 0-2 0 2 1 0 0 0 2 0
T. McDonald 9 1-1 0-0 0-1 0 1 1 1 0 0 1 2
Totals   32-56 12-20 6-13 8 28 18 11 5 4 20 82
Percentages   .571 .600 .462   Team Rebounds: 4

Aaron Craft’s brother deploys for Afghanistan today as OSU faces Syracuse

Aaron Craft’s brother Brandon Craft deploys for service in Afghanistan as member of the US Army today, as Ohio State prepares to play Syracuse with chance to advance to Final Four.

This from Doug Lesmerises of the Plain Dealer earlier today:

This is today for the Craft family: one son trying to reach New Orleans, while the other is headed to Afghanistan.

“We have an opportunity like this to play in the Elite Eight,” Ohio State sophomore point guard Aaron Craft said Friday, “but it gives you perspective on some things. We fight for a basketball game but he’s fighting for something bigger than all of us.”

He is Brandon Craft, Aaron’s older brother, a member of the Army who will deploy today from Fort Lewis in Washington, fulfilling an assignment that had been delayed for several weeks by a knee injury suffered during training. After a knee injury several years ago ended his football career at Findlay University, Brandon Craft enlisted as his younger brother was entering Ohio State in 2010.

“He was always around athletics as much as Aaron was,” their father, John, said Friday. “I think being in the Army and being part of that kind of team helps fill the void.”

Thanks for your service, Brandon. Be safe.

While We’re Waiting…Grading The Sessions Trade, Tribe Bullpen Battles, Browns Quarterback Questions

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

Grading the Cavaliers’ trade of Ramon Sessions: “I was on the fence about their move of Sessions, because I’m so high on him. Yes, he was expiring and would be leaving. Yes, they only had 20-some-odd games left with him. But couldn’t they get better value than terrible contracts with another year left on them and a 25-plus pick? Then I thought more about it, and saw that the Cavs also got the right to swap their Heat pick obtained in the LeBron James sign-and-trade in 2013 with the Lakers’ pick, which could be substantially worse if the Lakers don’t improve considerably on their older core.

The Cavs now could have four first-round picks in 2012 and more picks in the future. They can package to move up or for a player. If yoiu’re rebuilding, this is the way to go. Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, and picks on picks on picks.

It’s a big-picture plan, and a good one.” [Eye On Basketball/Matt Moore]

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Buckeyes Have A Tough, But Navigable Road

They didn’t meet expectations in the regular season or in the conference tournament. They’ve accumulated seven losses and more close calls because of a lack of offensive consistency. This team lacks an identity at times, and their depth remains an issue. When they run up against someone that can guard Jared Sullinger 1-on-1, they’ll probably be going home. In the last two tournaments, Matta’s teams have failed to meet the expectations of their high seeds, and those teams had far more upperclassmen leadership. Their three-point shooting is streaky at best, and they do not get the ball into the post with enough regularity or ease. The Buckeyes won’t make it past the Sweet 16.

This team is hitting its stride. They’ve won 4 out of the last 5, and they needed to execute in two straight games with late game heroics to gain a share of the Big Ten regular season conference crown. They have 7 wins against ranked teams. They’re hungry after missing out on the Big Ten Conference Tournament championship, and they’ve had to work a little harder for everything, an edge that other Matta top teams haven’t had. Few teams have a three-man scoring punch quite like Sullinger, Thomas, and Buford. They’re the most defensively efficient team in the nation, and they defend without fouling. As many shortcomings as they’ve had on offense, a lot of the frustration has come from not knowing who will be the go-to guy during their midseason identity crisis. They still rank 7th in offensive efficiency, and they now collectively know that their team will operate through Jared Sullinger. This team may just win it all.

I figured I’d start with my two conflicting voices, as this is pretty much what’s been going on in my head not just since the bracket was unveiled, but in the weeks leading up to it when I contemplated how far I thought the Buckeyes could go in March Madness. I’ve been saying it almost since day one this season: this Ohio State team has the talent to win the national championship. As the season progressed, however, issues with consistency and leadership led me to believe the Bucks had too many holes on offense to put up six strong showings in a row. Somewhere along that line, William Buford was going to have a bad shooting night, and the Bucks would be going home. But, the recent run to a share of the Big Ten title and trip to the Big Ten Championship Game have gotten the team’s mind right and rekindled my hopes to a certain extent. [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… Browns Plan B, Shelly Duncan Starting, Rubio Out For The Season and OSU’s Rematch with Sparty

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

Good luck, Browns. No pressure or anything. “Yes, RG3 would have been a dynamic player at a position where the Browns desperately needs to improve if they want to compete. But he was not and is not the only option when it comes to solving the 13-year long quarterback conundrum.

First, there is free agency, which begins at 4 p.m. on March 13. PeytonManning is the biggest prize, but Browns have said they are not interested in his services.

They will look into Matt Flynn. Flynn only has impressed in two-career NFL starts under his belt in Green Bay. He is looked upon as the answer at the quarterback position for teams struggling in that area. The Browns surely fall in that category.

If Manning goes to Arizona, suddenly Kevin Kolb becomes available. Kolb did not have a great first season with the Cardinals, but he is considered a perfect fit in the West Coast offense.

There is still the draft, where quarterbacks like Ryan Tannehill, Kirk Cousins andBrandon Weeden are options.

Finally, the third option resides: Stick with Colt McCoy.” [Don Delco/Orange and Brown Report]

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The Buckeyes March Forecast: Cloudy

Note before reading this…. I don’t consider last night’s thrashing of Illinois any indication of a Buckeye turnaround. The Illini are a sinking ship who are playing like they can’t wait for the season to be over.  

College Basketball starts in November. The National Championship Game in New Orleans is played on April 1st. It doesn’t seem long compared to the NBA, but the way teams evolve over the course of a season, you can make a case that it’s actually three seasons in one; Pre-conference, which is essentially November through the end of the year, Conference, which goes January through the first weekend in March, and Conference Tournament time, which gives every team in the country (not playing in the Ivy League) one more shot to get to the big dance in Mid-March.

Things change. Roles are defined. Rotations come together. Players step forward while others regress. Injuries take place. Some teams grow into prime contenders as the season moves into late February. I’m afraid that one team in particular had that championship look in the pre-conference season and into mid-January, but over the last month has moved in the wrong direction: the Ohio State Buckeyes. [Read more...]

Box Score: Ohio State 58, Wisconsin 52

In a matchup of two ranked teams, the Ohio State Buckeyes traveled to Madison and came out with Thad Matta’s first ever victory at the Kohl Center. Jared Sullinger was dominant on the inside, scoring 24 points and grabbing 10 rebounds as he continued to build his National Player of the Year resume in one of the hardest places to play in the country. William Buford struggled mightily from the floor again, but the Buckeyes clamped down on the defensive end, playing at the typical slow-it-down pace Bo Ryan is so famous for, and held the Badgers to just 32 percent shooting from the floor. It was a huge win for Ohio State, who now hosts Purdue on Tuesday night in Columbus.

Name FG 3Pt FT Off Reb Ast PF Pts
William Buford 4-17 1-5 2-2 0 4 1 0 11
Aaron Craft 1-3 0-1 2-3 0 1 3 4 4
Evan Ravenel 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 0 0
Shannon Scott 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 2 2 0
Lenzelle Smith Jr. 1-3 0-2 1-1 0 2 1 2 3
Jared Sullinger 8-17 0-0 8-10 3 6 0 3 24
Deshaun Thomas 8-18 0-2 0-0 4 5 0 1 16
Sam Thompson 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 0 0
Totals 22-58 1-10 13-16 7 21 7 12 58
Percentages .379 .100 .812
Name FG 3Pt FT Off Reb Ast PF Pts
Jared Berggren 4-9 2-7 0-0 0 2 0 3 10
Mike Bruesewitz 5-14 1-9 0-0 3 10 0 4 11
Ben Brust 0-6 0-4 0-0 0 0 0 0 0
Ryan Evans 7-16 0-3 0-0 1 4 1 2 14
Josh Gasser 1-6 0-5 0-0 0 1 3 1 2
Frank Kaminsky 1-2 1-2 0-0 0 0 0 1 3
Jordan Taylor 4-13 1-5 3-3 1 1 6 4 12
Rob Wilson 0-3 0-1 0-0 0 1 0 0 0
Totals 22-69 5-36 3-3 5 19 10 15 52
Percentages .319 .139 1.000


While We’re Waiting…Tressel’s Reputation, Opening Day Optimism

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

Tressel’s rep plays a role? “A former chairman of the NCAA Committee on Infractions told The Plain Dealer on Friday that Tressel’s positive reputation could help him a great deal when Tressel finally appears before the Committee on Infractions, maybe sometime this summer.  ‘I think if you have a lifelong good record, that should weigh into how things turn out,’ said Gene Marsh, a 1978 Ohio State graduate who was member of the infractions committee for nine years, and its chairman from 2004 to 2006. ‘If it doesn’t, then what is the use of living life right?’” [Doug Lesmerises/Plain Dealer]

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Super Bowl Sunday Open Thread

I venture to say that Browns fans are unanimously rooting for one team today, and that team is the Green Bay Packers.  The Steelers, while already our historical rival, have a number of otherwise detestable characters and team traits.  Packers stars include the scion of Browns great Clay Matthews and Northern Ohio native Charles Woodson.

As a warm-up to the football game, Ohio State travels to “The Barn” in Minneapolis to face a ranked Golden Gophers squad.  Tip is set for 2 PM on ESPN.  Ohio State is kicking off a brutal two and a half week stretch of their schedule this afternoon.  It’s unlikely they escape with an undefeated record.  Minnesota has frontcourt bodies in Ralphie Sampson and Trevor Mbakwe, that could present some resistance for Jared Sullinger.

It’s a great day to pig out and watch sports and OSU will provide the nice appetizer before kickoff.  Leave your thoughts and predictions here as the afternoon and evening of games progress.

While We’re Waiting…LeBron-Gilbert Feud, CSU Blackout, Cavs Defense

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

Looking at OSU’s toughest road to a title: “Matchup nightmares. Pitt Panthers and UConn Huskies. Dixon’s group has plenty of big bodies to throw at Sullinger and a backcourt of Wannamaker and Gibbs have a quickness advantage to create offense.  UConn has size to matchup as well, while Walker and Napier are much too quick for Buford or Diebler. Craft would have to play big minutes in this game and that would hurt the Bucks on the offensive end. One ace in the hole the Buckeyes have in this tilt would be they play a credible zone. Syracuse confounded UConn with their zone in Hartford so I wouldn’t be surprised if the Buckeyes use theirs against Calhoun’s squad. Still, UConn’s personnel would pose problems.” [Kevin Berger/March to March]

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Buckeye Hoops Report: OSU Escapes Upset Scares as Schedule Toughens

Ohio State is 23-0 and off to its best start in the Big Ten in 50 years.  They continue on their course to the NCAA tournament and first weekend protected seed at Quicken Loans Arena.  They enter the toughest portion of their schedule this weekend with a top ranked target on their back.

Ohio State avoided an upset bid by a game Michigan team last night in front of what was the second sellout of the season at Value City Arena.  They trailed the Wolverines for much of the first thirty minutes before building an 8 point with about ten minutes to play.  They never relinquished the lead and went onto a 9 point victory to remain undefeated.  They now enter a brutal stretch of the schedule where they will play all 5 teams at the top of the conference consecutively over the next two weeks.

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Buckeye Hoops Report: Ohio State Sends Message to Big Ten

Ohio State continued its perfect season this week dominating in conference against ranked opponents.  It was the most impressive stretch of play this season as the midway point of conference play approaches.  The No. 1 ranking has only seemed to improve their focus and play.  It’s the best basketball team in Ohio and one that could be destined for big things come April.

This week, the Ohio State men’s basketball team rolled through the toughest stretch of their schedule to date and put a firm hold on the number one ranking heading into a weekend matchup against Northwestern. 

It was the kind of week that put some distance between the Buckeyes and everyone else in the country.  It’s unlikely they will go through conference play unscathed, but the dominance this week will surely keep them in the discussion for top team in the country whenever that first loss does come.

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Who would you rather have as a college freshman: Oden or Sullinger?

The first time I saw Jared Sullinger play in person was at the McDonald’s All American game this past year. 

Maybe because it was an All Star game, maybe because I was sitting in the press box six thousand feet above the court, or maybe because he hadn’t yet fell under the tutelage of Thad Matta, I walked away not really as impressed as I thought I’d be for some reason.

Harrison Barnes, I was convinced, was far and away the best player on the court that day.  I thought Sullinger was good obviously, but he didn’t strike me then as being great.

I was wrong initially regarding Sullinger though (time will tell on Barnes) but at this point it’s clear to not only me but anybody who watches five minutes of a Buckeyes hoops game that Jared Sullinger is a flat-out beast.  

The second time I saw him play in person was last week, when I traveled down to Columbus to watch the Buckeyes beat Penn State and grab the number one spot vacated by Duke’s loss earlier in that week.

My eyes were on Sullinger for just about every minute he was on the court, and I was blown away. [Read more...]

Buckeye Hoops Report: Ohio State is No. 1

As the college sports season turns from bowls to basketball, I am going to write a weekly report on the Ohio State Basketball team.  Conference play is starting to kick into high gear as the No. 1 ranked Buckeyes begin a 3 month run on a march to the Final Four.

This week, the Ohio State men’s basketball team ascended to a number one ranking in the polls for just the third stretch in the history of the program. 

OSU was ranked number one during a dominant stretch in the early 1960′s behind John Havlicek and Jerry Lucas.  This is the second time, however, that they have reached the top spot under Thad Matta, who led the Buckeyes to a 3 week stint atop the poll in 2006-07 during Greg Oden and Mike Conley’s brief stay in Columbus.  It’s highly unlikely that they will maintain this position during conference play in what is an elite Big Ten conference this season.  But let’s take a look at the week that was and will be for OSU and the Big Ten.

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Ohio State Escapes at Home for Likely No.1 Ranking

Ohio State held on against Penn State last night to improve to 18-0 and ascend to a likely No. 1 ranking in the polls.  Other than the Buckeyes, Penn State is probably playing the best basketball in the Big Ten right now and Ohio State had to battle all the way to the end in order to avoid their first loss of the season.  Having beaten Michigan State and Illinois in the past week, the Nittany Lions were looking for their third consecutive victory over a ranked conference opponent.  Freshmen Jared Sullinger and Aaron Craft, however, proved to be the difference.  This included a dominating final two minutes from Sullinger.

I wrote on Thursday that Sullinger’s game against Michigan, which included 6 turnovers, was a less than impressive outing for the Wooden Award candidate.  Penn State had no answer for the big man as he scored the final six points on two “and ones” in the paint.  The Buckeyes shot only 13 free throws last night and Sullinger was responsible for 9 of those.  His size in the post ensures that he will continually be able to get to the line.  Sullinger’s free throw shooting is a huge factor in Ohio State’s success.  He went 7 of 9 from the line last night and is shooting 74% for the year.

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Ohio State Holds On Against Michigan; Positioned for No. 1 with Duke Loss

While the Cavaliers struggled to avoid being doubled up this week, the second-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes improved to 17-0 last night with a 68-64 win over Michigan at Crisler Arena.

The current undefeated record represents the Buckeyes’ best start since the 1990-91 season.  As has been the case in football this century, Ohio State has dominated the Wolverines on the hardwood, with last night being their 12th win in the last 14 games against UM.

Michigan has an above average team this year at 11-6 with a few quality wins and no terrible losses from a very hard schedule.  The Wolverines, playing the No. 2 team in the nation just a few days after falling in OT to the No. 3 team in the country, showed some impressive fight from the under eight timeout to the final buzzer and gave their fans something to cheer about down the stretch.

One of these fans was new head football coach Brady Hoke.  [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… Bob Feller, Talkin Tribe and McCoy to Start?

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

Rest in Peace, Rapid Robert- [Indians.com]

Our own Jon Steiner and Paul C. talk Tribe- “With that in mind, it’s time to explore the topic of whether the Indians acted prudently in the past 2 ½ years, trading off their major parts for prospects and whether the “collateral damage” done by those actions – though they may have been the best idea in the long-term – is going to haunt this team in the short-term.” [The DiaTribe] [Read more...]