Who stood out at the East West Shrine game?

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For this article I ignored the potential draft position of the players and rated their performance on the field on game day. Let me say up front that I do not agree with the “experts” that watch the practices and leave on game day. In my years of coaching, I have seen a lot of guys that looked like Tarzan in practice but when the pressure was on in a game they played like Jane.

Blair White WR Michigan State 14 points (4th round)

Blair gets open, has very good hands, and can adjust to bad balls (because he has had so much experience with bad QBs). He was a 4th or 5th projection before the EW game but with a very solid game he has moved into the 4th. The one question about him is speed. He is projected to run a 4.52. At 6-1 200 lbs, that is just OK. If he gets under 4.5 he could get into the 3rd.

Rahim Alem DE Louisiana State 13 pts (3rd)

Alem is 6-3 and 262. That is too light for a starting DE in the pros. He doesn’t really look like he can put on another 30 pounds and keep his speed. He is expected to run a 4.7 40 and depends on that speed to be effective. He could be a pass rush specialist at the next level. He had 2 hurries and caused an interception in the game. He needs work to develop something other than a one move outside rush.

Freddie Barnes WR Bowling Green State 13 pts (5th)

Barnes is one of my favorite value picks. He is only 6′ and 206 and runs a slow 4.58. But he is the prototype slot receiver. Ask Tom Brady how valuable WR Welker is to his offense! Barnes is a high motor guy that will block for the run, get open on short routes, catch the ball in a crowd and will be a pain to any D trying to cover him. He was one of the few weapons at BG and still drove Ds nuts.

James Ruffin DE Northern Iowa 13 pts (5th)

Ruffin is another too light DE. But at 6-4 he has the ability to add bulk and be a starting DE. He played really well and got a hurry and a sack. He also caused a penalty and got a couple of other pass rushes. He is not good at anchoring against the run but more bulk will help. He could be a value pick in the 5th and could go higher if he puts on some good weight and still runs a 4.75-4.8 40.

O’Brien Schofield OB Wisconsin 10 pts (3rd prior to injury)

Schofield reportedly tore his ACL which is a real shame. He had never played LB until the EW game but picked up the position very quickly. He got an interception, had the speed to get wide to stretch out the run, and covered receivers well. Given the injury, he will fall to the 7th round or may not be drafted. He will be an outstanding value for someone but not until 2011.

Andrew Quarless TE Penn State 9pts (6th)

This is a very deep TE draft. As a result, Quarless may drop to the 6th. He is a decent blocker but a good receiver. He gets open, and had 3 nice catches in the game including a TD. He is 6-5 248 and should be able to run a 4.7 40. He will be a nice 2nd TE and does well on special teams.

Doug Worthington DT Ohio State 9pts (7th)

Worthington was a mainstay of the Buckeye D. He had a solid EW game as well. He was doubled a number of times, got half a sack in my grading, and was solid in rushing the passer. He is decent against the run but at 275 could add some weight to get better.

Lindsey Witten DE Connecticut 8pts (4th)

Witten was one of the higher rated players at the EW game. But he is another of the underweight DEs in college. At 264 he needs weight to be a potential starter. But he uses his speed (4.7) to get to the QB. He may not be able to add the weight and keep the speed. At 6-4 he could be a LB conversion as well.

Jamar Wall CB Texas Tech 8pts (5th)

Wall will give you a great play then screw up badly. He scored 14 points with 3 excellent pass breakups but lost points with bad coverage and a penalty. At 5-10 with 4.5 speed, he is going to have to improve his coverage skills to make a team. He will contribute on special teams but will be a risk to draft even in the 5th round.

Reggie Carter IB UCLA 8pts (5th/6th)

Carter is a high motor guy with good instincts and the ability to stop the run. At 243 he will likely end up outside and should be OK there if he runs the 4.7 that he is expected to do at the Combine. He covers receivers fairly well and can contribute on special teams.

Alric Arnett WR West Virginia 8pts (6th)

Drafting a WR from a running team is always a little risky. But Arnett may be the exception. He has decent speed (4.49) good hands and can catch the bad pass. The question is can he get open regularly? He looked good in the game.

Greg Hardy DE Mississippi 8pts (1st or 2nd)

Hardy led the SEC in sacks and came into the game with a low 1st early 2nd round evaluation. I was not that impressed in this game. He played a lot better against Florida and Georgia. He got a sack, and had 2 other nice plays but allowed himself to get caught up in the wash too often against the run. He is an outstanding athlete but didn’t make enough plays in the game. He is going to have to add some weight to be a regular. But that could hurt his speed. At an expected 4.58 in the 40, he need his speed. He too may be a LB conversion prospect but taking a conversion that high is a huge risk.

Stevenson Sylvester OB Utah 8pts (FA)

Sylvester really popped early then disappeared. He attacks the run with great instincts, but he is too small and too slow but showed a great motor early. I have not yet decided how I feel about him but I will let you know when I get deeper into player evaluation.

Your fantasy football doesn’t have to be over. Run a pro football franchise all year long for free at . Tell them Coach Smith sent you.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio http://www.sportstalkcleveland.com/ Monday morning at 11. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

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What to look for in the Saturday January 2nd bowl games.

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football

PAPAJOHNS.com BOWL South Carolina 7-5 Connecticut 7-5

Despite losing a key player to tragedy and being out-manned regularly, UConn has played a handful of ranked teams close only to lose heartbreaking game after game. Starting CB Jasper Howard was murdered on Oct. 18th. The team carries his memory and his jersey as a rally flag. The heart and hard work was rewarded with an overtime win over Notre Dame followed by a couple of wins to end the season.

UConn’s O scores 31 points per game and is fairly balanced between the run and the pass. The running tandem of Todman and Dixon provide a good ground attack despite not having even an average O line. QB Endres took over half way through the year and has done fairly well completing 64% with 6 TDs and 4 picks. His favorite target is WR Easley (5th round). The D has gotten better over the year but still is young. It is led by DE Witten (4th) and FS Vaughn (5th).

The Ol’ Ball Coach Spurrier still throws the ball all over the place. “Running backs, we don’t need no stinkin’ running backs” seems to be the game plan for SC. QB Garcia has a rating of 124.5 with 2733 yards and 17 TDs. He has had 394 attempts while the top 2 running backs had a total of 211 carries.

The SC D has been very erratic. They allowed 41 points to a bad Georgia O and then held a highly rated offense of #4 Mississippi to just 10. The D is led by OB Norwood (late 2nd) and SS Stewart (6th).

While UConn has won 3 straight, SC has lost 3 of their last 4. SC is a 5 point favorite but I doubt they will win that big. This could be another upset.

COTTON BOWL #19 Oklahoma St. 9-3 Mississippi 8-4

Ole Miss QB Snead needs to have a good game to impress NFL scouts. He came into the season as a top QB draft prospect but has fallen to the point he would be better off to stay for his senior year. He has completed only 54% with 20 TDs and 17 picks. RB McCluster (3rd) is just 5-7 169 and will have to play WR in the NFL. WR Hodge (6th) and G Jerry (5th) are also prospects on the Rebel O.

The Rebel D has been inconsistent. They held the high powered O of Arkansas to 17 then let a below average O of Miss St. score 41. DE Hardy (1st or high 2nd) is the highest rated player on the team but FS Lewis should be a late round pick.

Oklahoma St. had a disappointing season as well. They were expected to compete for the Big 12 South title but lost to Houston in the pre-league schedule then had lopsided losses to Texas and Oklahoma. QB Robinson is a 3 year starter but had a less than expected senior year. He had a passer rating of 135 but that was down from 149 in 07 and 167 in 08. He is a late round prospect. The O line is led by top OT prospect Okung (early 1st) and G Lewis (6th). RB Tolson (6th) averaged 5.4 with 11 TDs.

The OSU D features CB Cox (2nd) and safeties Sexton and Antoine who are marginal prospects in the 7th round.

Mississippi is a 3 point favorite but expect OSU to win in an upset.

LIBERTY BOWL East Carolina 9-4 Arkansas 7-5

Hog QB Mallett led the team to the 10th best passing game in division 1. He threw for 3425 with 29 TDs and just 7 picks. His top receiver Childs had only 45 catches. Mallett spreads the ball around. G Petrus (4th) heads up his protection.

The Hog D is horrible. It allowed 33 points to LSU in their overtime loss. Only DT Sheppard has a chance to be drafted from that group.

EC’s D will challenge Mallett. It is led by DE Wilson (3rd), DT Ross (7th) and S Eskridge (6th). The D has played very well this year and seem to be getting better each week. The O is led by RB Lindsey. Most experts don’t believe he is a pro prospect but at 5-10 200 he is big enough. Behind an average line he averaged 5 per carry. I like his toughness.

The line is Hogs by 8 but I don’t think so. Take the points and EC may win outright.

ALAMO BOWL Michigan State 6-6 Texas Tech 8-4

This game will be ugly quickly. MSU had a horrible pass D even before the suspensions of several starters on D. TT G Carter (5th) and T Winn (fa) will protect QB Potts. He will be throwing the ball without concern for the MSU d. TT is an 8 point favorite. MSU will be very lucky to keep it that close.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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What to watch for in the games this weekend.

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football

College Football:

Georgia Tech v. Clemson  This game was interesting on a couple of levels.  First, GT is going to be a nightmare to defend.  They have the Navy option game working like a fine tuned race car.  But Clemson in previous years would have folded up like a 78 Ford Fairmont after the opponent put 21 points on the board.  But this Clemson team fought back and made a game of it.  These two should be fun to watch going forward.

USC @ Ohio State Forget what the experts are saying. This game will depend on 2 things—the OSU O and D lines. Can OSU drive USC off the ball to run and give Pryor time to throw? Can OSU’s D stop the run and put pressure on the USC QB? The answer to both is no and OSU will lose the game by 14.

Notre Dame @ Michigan Coach Rich Rodriguez’s system will work but he does not have the players on O or D to make it effective. ND finally has some key parts in place. ND wins by 10.

South Carolina @ Georgia Last year all the experts had Georgia at the top of the rankings. They had injuries and failed to live up to the hype. This year very few are talking about them. Look for them to be better than they were last year even without Stafford at QB. Georgia wins by 10.

North Carolina @ Connecticut NC is ranked in the top 20 but UConn gets no love. UC lost a lot to the draft this spring but is a program on the rise. UConn wins at home in a upset.

Syracuse @ Penn State New QB Greg Paulus had the Orange moving last week with the exception of the fumble on the first drive. That won’t continue and PS wins by 30.

Pro Football:

Tennessee @ Pittsburgh The Steelers won despite the fact that they can not run the ball. The problem is in the O line and won’t be solved this season. Despite having all the other parts, the lack of the ability to run will come back to bite the Steelers.

Miami @ Atlanta Last year Miami improved a great deal. This year they are better but they won’t win as many. ATL wins.

Philadelphia @ Carolina The Eagles show their power against a good Carolina D. Eagles win.

Washington @ New York The experts pick the Giants to go all the way. They won’t because of their lack of WRs. The Giants win but closer than it should be.

Chicago @ Green Bay The Pack is lucky to catch the Bears early. GB wins this one but they won’t at the return engagement at Soldier Field.

Minnesota @ Cleveland Mangini’s trick to keep the name of the starting QB secret works in a big way and the Browns…Just kidding. This game is over at half time. It’s going to be a L O N G season in Brownie land.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: Georgia Tech,Clemson,USC,Ohio State,Notre Dame,Michigan,Pryor,College football,North Carolina,Connecticut,Syarcuse,Penn State,nfl,NFL Draft,Tennessee,Pittsburgh,Miami,Atlanta Falcons,Philadelphia,Carolina,Washington,New York Giants,Chicago,Green Bay,Paulus,Browns,Vikings

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  • Published: Apr 8th, 2009
  • Category: College Basketball
  • Comments: Comments Off on My thoughts on the final weekend of the NCAA Tournament

My thoughts on the final weekend of the NCAA Tournament

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Fryingpan Sports

My thoughts on the final weekend of the NCAA Tournament

By Bill Smith

The Big East teams fail to make the Championship game.

North Carolina was just too deep and too talented for Villanova. NC point guard Ty Lawson and forward Tylor Hansbrough. Hansbrough came back for his senior year to try to win a Championship. He and Lawson were all that NC needed to get to the finals.

The biggest surprise of the day was the win by Michigan State over Connecticut. The defense of MSU stopped UConn’s powerful offense. Points off turnovers were the difference. UConn had the greatest margin on foul shots taken vs opponent foul shots in the country. While the Detroit fans were clearly supporting the Spartans, the officials did their best to even the odds for UConn.

Despite the failure to make the final game, the Big East had an outstanding season.

Just because the top teams failed to advance to the Championship game, don’t discount the year that the BE had. They were the top conference all season long with significant wins up and down the league standings.

The officiating was, to be kind, inconsistent.

A foul like beauty is in the eye of the of the beholder. When UConn had the ball fouls seemed to appear to the zebras much more often than when MSU had the pill. I played golf with my uncle and found out it isn’t what you shoot that makes the difference. It’s what you count and don’t count that really changes the score.

I will admit that I seem to be the only one that saw the disparity of calls between the two teams. Of course any statement even by the announcers will get them transferred to do the Alaska Shootout except they don’t play that any more. But since I had no particular interest in either team, I found it surprising that all the fouls in the first half seemed to be against the Spartans.

In football and basketball, SPEED KILLS.

And it was speed that killed the Spartans against the Tar Heels. There is a real temptation to play at the speed of NC when you play them. Combine that with the success MSU had against UConn with fastbreak points off defensive steals, the Spartans started the game running with NC. They problem was that they couldn’t hit the few open shots that running got them. They also couldn’t get many rebounds.

While Wayne Ellington was hitting 7 for 9 for NC, the Tar Heels suddenly found out how to play defense. All year long, the experts said that NC was a great offensive team that just outscored their opponents. That was not at all the case at least in the Tournament.

In the time between the loss in the ACC tournament and the first NCAA game, the Heels rededicated themselves to defense. In the first half of the Championship game alone, Lawson got 7 steals including an inbound pass that helped NC build a 10 point lead in the first few minutes. The Heels never looked back and the Spartans never looked like they belonged on the same floor as the Champs.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

My email is [email protected]

Technorati Tags: NCAA Tournament,Big Dance,North Carolina,Michigan State,Villanova,Connecticut,UConn,Tar Heels,Spartans,Big East

Saturday Niblets from around the net for 03/28/09

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Fryingpan Sports

Saturday Niblets from around the net for 03/28/09

nib

By Bill Smith

Best comment of the last 2 weeks:

Acai Burn’s comment on Don’t get too excited about a 3 team deal involving Jay Cutler and the Browns.

The Browns have two serviceable quarterbacks on the team at this time and to make a move at the qb position when they have other needs is a waste.

The problem is that in a three way deal, there is no way to compensate the Browns for the loss of Quinn. The Broncos will demand more than Quinn in return for Cutler. The question I posed boils down to where will the draft choice(s) for the Browns come from to compensate them for giving up Quinn?

Updates on previous columns:

Thoughts about the first 2 rounds of the NCAA Tournament. – CBS has done a little better job limiting the switches in games. The officials must be reading my site. There have been very few visits to the scoring table replay TV since I commented on the issue. The top seeded teams are still in control of the bracket although Xavier gave Pittsburgh a tough game on Thursday night. In my opinion a 3 winning over a 2 is not an upset. The quality of play was still way below average even in the games between 2nd and 3rd seeds. The experience of Missouri was too much for 2nd seed Memphis. The Missouri pressure cause both forced and unforced turnovers by the younger Memphis players. Shot selection is a totally unknown concept in college basketball today.

Owens going to Buffalo says most about the BillsOur favorite drama queen Terrell Owens did not report to the voluntary workouts in Buffalo. That is an indication that he is not overjoyed at being forced to sign with the NFL equivalent of Siberia. Supposedly, Coach Dick Jauron told TO it was alright to miss the workouts. However, TO has to earn the support of the Bills’ locker room. Avoiding workouts with the team is not the way to do that. The Bills’ organization is going to have to put TO on a VERY short leash.

Fresh Niblets:

The NFL is considering a developmental league. Given the current economic downturn, that would not be on the radar without the United Football League starting play in 09. Keep checking this site for updates on the UFL.

Curt Schilling retires. Schilling is a shoe and a bloody sock in for the Hall of Fame. While his regular season numbers are good, his performances in the playoffs and the World Series puts him in. The very best players want the ball when the season is on the line. He wanted it and was at his best in the biggest games.

Patrick White West Virginia QB refused to do WR drills at his pro day. The NFL scouts wanted to see White catch the ball and demonstrate his abilities at WR. White wants to play QB and given the number of teams in desperate need of a QB, I think he has a chance. He will probably be as good a wildcat formation QB as any in the league. But he has the chance to develop into a Mike Vick type QB without the dog fighting baggage.

The NCAA is investigating possible recruiting violations at Univ. of Connecticut. Coach Jim Calhoun was under fire for his reaction to questions by a reporter about his salary. This should add to the heat considerably. Although the player in question never played for UConn, the best way to defuse the issue is to win the championship.

Miguel Tejada sentenced for lying to Congress about steroids – Since it can’t seem to convict the users, the US Congress is going after those that refused to name names. Now, if we could just get those in Congress to admit their guilt for the housing and economic crisis, …

Cowboys’ Jerry Jones lifted the gag order on HC Wade Phillips for the owners meetings—Opps! – Phillips said it takes 4 years to tell if a HC can do the job. No Wade, we knew you were a dolt by the third game in your first HC job. You have been fired twice since then and should have been let go after last years disaster.

People wonder why Jones keeps Phillips as HC. Admittedly, trying to coach the Cowboys is like trying to herd cats—it just is not possible. It is not that Jones can’t see Phillips’ short comings. Phillips keeps his job by letting Jones call all the shots. The reason that Jimmy Jones and Bill Parcells are no longer in Dallas is they would not put up with Jones’ constant interference.

The Blue Jackets look like they are going to make the playoffs for the first time. It seems silly to play 82 game to find out which half of the league is not going to the playoffs. Even so, the CBJ have never made the post season. For fans of Columbus, all I can say is IT’S ABOUT TIME!

The Browns signed UFA alleged OT John St. Clair to a 3 year 9 mill contract. YUCK! St. Clair is a turnstile at tackle. If they play him at guard, he might be an adequate reserve. But at tackle, St. Clair has left more broken QB’s on the ground behind him than Mean Joe Greene.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

My email is [email protected]

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Saturday's Niblets from around the net for 03/14/09

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Fryingpan Sports

Saturday’s Niblets from around the net for 03/14/09

nib

By Bill Smith

Best comment this week:

From Sportsbook on Capologist is the NFL MVP

Comment:

You are right and it is unfortunate, but I have a feeling that this will get settled in the 11th hour like it was last time. Last time, the economy was good. This time, the NFL will look even worse if they can’t settle this mess and keep the fans happy.

Also, this will be Goodell’s first test. Yes, we know he’s a sheriff and can suspended players when necessary, but what about the labor talks? How competent is he with that?

My Analysis: we will all find out how good a negotiator he is soon enough. But it takes two parties committed to getting a deal done to accomplish a contract. My fear is that the campaign rhetoric coming from the candidates to replace Gene Upshaw as the Executive Director of the NFL Players Association indicates that Goodell may not have a reasonable partner with whom to bargain.

UPDATES ON PREVIOUS COLUMNS:

The 08-09 Cavilers are not your fathers team.

Thursday night the Cavs on their west coast road trip came back from a significant deficit to beat the Suns. While wins on the road don’t necessarily translate to NBA Championships, their road record against really good teams shows they have taken another step toward becoming a championship caliber team.

My Analysis: They are showing the physical style of play to beat teams in the east but can also play an up and down game to compete with the wide open style of the western conference.

Big name cuts in the NFL have little to do with the salary cap.

Big names continue to get cut. The Rams cut both OT Orlando Pace and WR Torry Holt. The Ravens cut CB Samari Rolle. We usually see these cuts after June 1 so that the cap hit can be spread over a couple of cap years. This year there is no cap in 2010 onto which a team can spread the hit. As a result, the teams are making all their cuts now.

News from around the net:

A-FRAUD Jersey has been baned by MLB.

One of the fastest selling jerseys in the MLB has been banned. The Commissioner’s office announced that it will outlaw the shirts.

My Analysis: While that may not be a violation of free speech guaranteed in the Constitution, it is at least proof that the truth hurts. A-Fraud probably called the Commish and complained that it hurt his feelings.

The Cincinnati Bungles do something right!

The Bengals signed WR FA Lavernious Coles. Former Jet Coles is not only a vet, he is a true professional and a gentleman.

My Analysis: Maybe the Bungles have learned that players that hang out in the Hamilton County Correctional facility don’t really help you win games.

Syracuse basketball team shows real grit in the Big East Tournament.

Syracuse and Connecticut played a marathon 6 over time game Thursday night. Despite the fact that both teams will be in the Big Dance, the teams fought it out until after 1AM eastern time. Syracuse finally won the game. It was one of the most exciting games I have seen in a very long time.

As the winner, they got to play a tough West Virginia team on Friday night. The team showed great grit in fighting all the way against a much more rested Mountaineer club. Orange was behind much of the game and clawed their way to as much as a 5 point lead late in the second half. But for the Orange, this year nothing is easy. WV tied the score and forced the game to overtime. Even though the Orange looked deflated as the clock hit 0.0, they somehow found the energy deep inside them to win it in overtime.

My Analysis: In many ways, the grit of the Orange reminds me of the way that the Cavs grind out wins. This game was sloppy at times due to fatigue but the intensity of play is what makes college sports so special. Things only get screwed up when the “adults” get in the way of the kids playing the game.

Two Ohio State NFL Draft prospects use their pro day at OSU to try to recover from bad 40 times at the combine.

CB Malcolm Jenkins ran a relatively respectable unofficial time of between 4.46 seconds and 4.53 seconds in the 40-yard dash at his Pro Day according to Plain Dealer reporter Doug Lesmerises. His teammate RB Chris Wells unofficially ran between 4.34 seconds and 4.46 seconds.

My Analysis: The pro day will help Wells much more than Jenkins. Times between 4.46 and 4.53 will cause some teams to categorize him as a safety rather than a CB. That could drive him down in the draft to at best a late 1st early second round pick. Jenkins has to hope that his work on the field will convince at least one GM that he can be a shut down corner worthy of a top 15 selection.

Wells should regain the status as the top running back in the draft with his time. However, his durability will still be a concern.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

My email is wesm[email protected]

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