Georgia pecan farmers can learn the art of grafting during a clinic on Tuesday, April 21, hosted by University of Georgia Extension horticulturist Lenny Wells.Grafting involves taking a branch from one tree and connecting it to the vascular tissue of another, Wells said. If a pecan farmer wants a Stuart variety tree, the farmer can insert a branch from an existing Stuart tree and graft it onto the seedling rootstock. Wells said pecan producers graft trees because nuts produced by a specific variety will not produce an identical tree to the parent.“Once the connections are made through grafting, the tree becomes (the variety that) was attached,” Wells said. “There’s a science to it, but I think with grafting, it’s one of those things where there’s definitely an art to it. To be good at it, you have to have the touch. It just takes practice, and there’s a lot of different types of grafts you can do.”The free clinic will take place at the UGA Ponder Farm in Tifton, Georgia, on Tuesday, April 21, at 10 a.m. The farm is located off of Highway 82 on Ty Ty Whiddon Mill Road.Participants will learn about two different grafting types — bark and banana, or four-flap.With bark grafting, a branch is taken from a tree the farmer wants to duplicate and inserted between the bark and the wood of the rootstock. Of the two methods, Wells said banana grafting is easier to learn how to do. Cuts are made on the bark and the bark is peeled down into four flaps, like peeling a banana. The wood is then cut inside out, cuts are made on the graft wood and the branch is inserted into the rootstock. The flaps are then brought back over. “There’s still a lot of interest in it because there’s a lot of people who want to know how to do it just for the novelty of it. Some want to learn how to do it for their own operation,” Wells said.
The controversial Uruguay forward has made clear his desire to leave Anfield in a series of interviews over the summer and the consequent speculation over his future has been intense. Real Madrid have regularly been linked with the player, valued at at least £40million by Liverpool, but the only positive move to date in the saga has been a rejected £30million bid from Arsenal. Liverpool also have a strong hand having agreed a four-year contract with Suarez only last August. Rodgers told talkSPORT: “Over the course of the last few months and towards the end of the season there has been a lot of speculation with Luis. But the fact is it remains the same – we value the player. He had a terrific season for us last year and showed his qualities. “Since then I’ve been in communication with him through texts and conversations on the phone and it (the situation) is pretty much the same. He is a valued player. He is an absolute magician on the field. “Luis is a real competitor, a real winner. He wants Liverpool to do so well but, like every player, every manager, and more importantly every football club, they want to be working at the very highest level. “At the minute he is on a break, he is relaxing with his family. We are in constant communication. He has got three years left on his contract, we don’t want to sell him, and we hope everything will be fine for the summer. We want to bring in a few more players to reinforce the group and we think we can put up a real fight next season.” Suarez scored 30 goals for Liverpool last season but his campaign ended controversially after he was handed a 10-game ban – six of which he is still to serve – for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic during a match at Anfield. That was merely the latest in a series of incidents concerning Suarez and the 26-year-old has since criticised the British media for their portrayal of him. He has encouraged interest from Madrid and his representatives this week held discussions with Liverpool about his situation. But as yet there has been no approach from the Spanish giants while Liverpool have made their position clear, suggesting Suarez would have to formally request a transfer to have any chance of a move. Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers remains determined to keep wantaway striker Luis Suarez. Press Association
If anything, those few hours after home games might be only time all week during the fall Briggs and wife Loren have a chance to decompress together without school, work or football getting in the way. So while many of the Panthers go out and do what college kids do on the weekend, Briggs typically heads home to the small one-bedroom off-campus apartment he and his wife share and exhales.“I’m living my dream,” Briggs said.One that the NCAA played a small role in. The organization’s decision in 2015 to allow schools to provide “cost of attendance” payouts to players gave Briggs and Syracuse offensive tackle Koda Martin — who is married to Orange head coach Dino Babers’ daughter Jazzmin — peace of mind before popping the question.“My wife graduated before me and was getting a job as a teacher, but I didn’t want her to be dealing with the pressure of pulling the weight for me and her,” said Martin, who transferred to Syracuse after graduating from Texas A&M, where he met Jazzmin, a volleyball player. “Thankfully, with my scholarship check and the cost of attendance check that had been added around the time we got married, it was a big difference-maker. It definitely comforted me and made me feel like I was really going to be financially stable and that it was feasible to be able to get married and have the stability that we needed, not have to stress too much about money.”The ties that bind Martin and the Orange are complex.The 23-year-old’s father Kirk — a longtime high school coach in Texas — is now the quarterbacks coach at Syracuse. Oh, and then there’s the whole “father-in-law” as head coach thing. It can be a tricky line to walk at times.“He holds me to a high standard definitely,” Martin said of Babers. “There’s no favoritism. If anything, I’ve got a little extra coaching and a little extra accountability at home, stuff like that.”Babers insisted there was no nepotism involved when he announced Martin — who married Jazzmin in the summer of 2017 and currently lives in the basement of Babers’ house — as a starter. Martin’s play has backed it up for the surprising Orange (5-2), winning over the respect of his new teammates in the process.“I’m not even close to thinking about marriage, but I hope he feels like he’s comfortable with playing under his father-in-law,” Orange defensive end Kendall Coleman said. “Coming into a team that he really didn’t know too much about, to come in here and immediately be an impact player for us is impressive.”The opportunity to be part of the renaissance Babers is trying to orchestrate at Syracuse is one of the reasons Martin wanted to join the Orange. Yet being married has helped provided him with perspective. The game can be all-consuming at times. Going home to his wife — even with his head coach living upstairs — gives him a reality check of sorts.“I love football,” Martin said. “It’s a huge part of my life. I was raised in it. It’s kind of hard to imagine my life without football, but at the same time it’s not the end-all, be-all. My priorities are family, education and football. My faith gives me a lot of peace and comfort when things aren’t going my way.”Briggs can relate.For a young couple on a budget, the “game checks” as the 22-year-old Briggs calls them, can go a long way.“I wanted to know I could put food on the table and pay for some insurance for a vehicle that I’d saved up to pay for,” said Briggs, who is pursing a master’s degree in finance while Loren works at a church and takes online classes toward a college degree of her own. “I had all the basic necessities for living.”A life that’s pretty hectic at the moment. Briggs is juggling 15 credit hours, a starting job in the Pitt secondary and married life. Yet it hardly appears to be overwhelming. If anything, Briggs is thriving. He’s currently fifth on the team with 29 tackles for the Panthers (3-4) while providing a steadying presence in the secondary.“He’s playing at a high level right now, I think,” Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi said. “Better than he ever has.”Briggs isn’t sure if there’s a correlation between his rise and being married, though he believes tying the knot “made me a better leader.” It’s one of the reasons his teammates voted him a defensive captain over the summer after he admittedly struggled on the field in 2017.Even if the lifestyle Martin, Briggs, Stone and other married players lead is different than the rest of the guys in the locker room.“It can be a little isolating at times if you’re the only married couple on the team because some events are players only,” Virginia head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. ”(When I coached at) Brigham Young, there were so many (couples) that there were couples only events. Well, when you’re Lindell Stone and his wife and if you’re one of the only married couples, then yeah, it can be a little bit of an identity crisis as to where they fit, but if they fit together, it all works well.”There are no such issues for Stone, who Mendenhall called “an unselfish and team-oriented player who kind of goes above and beyond to make sure” he fits in.For Martin and Jazzmin, there are plenty of quiet nights at home but every once in a while they head out into the western New York night with the rest of the Orange. While Martin allows “it’s a different dynamic,” Jazzmin provides a secret weapon of sorts. Call it the byproduct of being the daughter of a coach and the wife of a player.“She’ll cook Oreo balls, cookies, things like that,” Martin said. “And the guys are fired-up.”What the NCAA helped bring together — in a small way — let no man put asunder.___AP Sports Writers John Kekis in Albany, New York and Hank Kurz in Charlottesville, Virginia contributed to this report.___More AP college football: https://apnews.com/tag/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25 It’s not that Briggs doesn’t enjoy hanging out. He does. It’s just that time is precious for players like Briggs, who is among a small fraternity in the Atlantic Coast Conference attempting to navigate the push-pull of academics, big-time college football and wedded bliss. PITTSBURGH (AP) — The question arises regularly, usually after a Pittsburgh home game. And even though Dennis Briggs’ teammates know the answer that’s coming from the senior defensive back they jokingly and reverentially call “old man,” they ask anyway because respect must be paid.So when Briggs turns down their invitation to go out and either celebrate or commiserate, they don’t complain.“I have responsibilities,” Briggs said. “They understand that. They don’t give me a hard time about it.” In this April 14, 2018, file photo, Pittsburgh safety Dennis Briggs (20) gets the team fired up before their annual spring NCAA college football game in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)
The twist the playoff race has been waiting for came Saturday. The debate, for now, is between Ohio State and Oklahoma. History suggests it was inevitable. The top four had never stayed the same for three straight weeks until this past one, and to expect it to hold steady for two more was unrealistic.Still, how thoroughly No. 10 Ohio State dismantled No. 4 Michigan was startling, and it could cause the College Football Playoff selection committee to rethink a lot of what has happened so far with the Buckeyes. We could be heading toward a Big Ten vs. Big 12 in the board room where the committee meets. The essential questions: Which team has the worse defense, No. 6 Oklahoma or Ohio State? Does hanging 62 points on No. 4 Michigan make up for allowing 49 to Purdue? The Buckeyes have done both.How far the Buckeyes (No. 10 CFP) move up Tuesday could be telling and important. They should go past Washington State, which was sitting at eighth but lost the Apple Cup on Friday to Washington. But can they bounce all the way to sixth, edging ahead of the Sooners, who beat West Virginia to reach the Big 12 title game? Kyler Murray and Oklahoma have won four straight games in which they have allowed at least 40 points. The Sooners’ defense is terrible. Ohio State’s has been a little better.Ohio State gets No. 20 Northwestern (8-4) next week in Indianapolis to make one more statement. The Sooners (11-1) get a rematch with Texas (9-3), with a chance to avenge a three-point loss in October.Aside from the ugly loss at Purdue, the Buckeyes have had close calls against Nebraska (4-8) and Maryland (5-7). The Sooners dodged upsets against Texas Tech (5-7) and Oklahoma State (6-6).Ohio State has beaten Michigan, Penn State (9-3) and Michigan State (7-5). OU has beaten West Virginia (8-3) and Iowa State (7-4).Neither Ohio State nor Oklahoma looks championship caliber, but the playoff needs four teams and those two might be the choices.BOOK ITOne of the four playoff teams is pretty much set. Quarterback Ian Book and No. 3 Notre Dame completed a 12-0 season by gritting out a victory at Southern California. There has been some 2012 flavor to this Notre Dame season, with a few close calls against so-so teams. The USC game was not inspiring.And of course, any mention of the 2012 Fighting Irish brings back memories of the noncompetitive BCS championship game against Alabama. Could we be heading for a redux? Well, first off, it is way more likely Notre Dame plays Clemson than Alabama.Clemson has looked Alabama-ish at times, though not Saturday night when the Tigers gave up 510 yards passing in a lopsided victory against South Carolina.This Notre Dame team seems better and deeper than the 2012 team. Also, better coached. That could help. The reality is Alabama and Clemson appear to be a good deal better than everybody else in the country and whether it’s Notre Dame or Ohio State or Oklahoma, there is a good chance neither semifinal will be particularly competitive.The Irish earned their spot even if the end result isn’t pretty.WHAT NOW HARBAUGH?Jim Harbaugh has led Michigan out of the darkness that was the Rich Rodriguez and Brady Hoke eras, but even those failed hires in Ann Arbor never produced an embarrassment like this: 62 points, the most ever allowed by the Wolverines in a regulation game, against the rival against which Michigan judges itself.Michigan will go to a glitzy bowl with a chance to win 11 games and finish in the top 10, but getting exposed in every way possible by this Ohio State team should make Harbaugh question everything. Harbaugh has accomplished much at his alma mater except the most important thing: The gap between the Buckeyes and Wolverines is still vast.TUA OR KYLERMurray’s magnificent performance against West Virginia on Friday night breathed some life into the Heisman Trophy race, but Tua Tagovailoa answered on Saturday with maybe his best performance of the season.The Alabama quarterback was 25 for 32 for 324 yards and five touchdowns in the Iron Bowl against Auburn. Tagovailoa also ran for a score.The case for Kyler is a little weird: Oklahoma’s defense is so bad that Murray faces more pressure to deliver than Tagovailoa, whose team has yet to play a close game. It’s true, but it doesn’t seem fair to hold Alabama’s dominance against Tagovailoa.Tua should still be considered the favorite heading into championship weekend. If he comes up big against No. 5 Georgia in the SEC championship game, Tagovailoa will become the first Alabama quarterback to win the Heisman.Who else could be invited to New York City for the Heisman presentation? Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins’ stock is up. Washington State’s Gardner Minshew’s stock is down. Will Grier of West Virginia still should be under consideration. And that’s probably about it.PLAN B — AS IN BROHMWhat to make of Purdue coach Jeff Brohm’s declaration after the Boilermakers became bowl eligible against Indiana?“I want Louisville to do what’s best for them,” Brohm said. “I’m a fan. But right now I’m the coach at Purdue and this is where I want to be and I like it here.” After a rivalry game, what else can Brohm say? Brohm grew up in Louisville and was a star quarterback for the Cardinals, who are in the market for a new coach. There is no doubt Brohm is the coach Louisville fans want. If Brohm does indeed want to stay in West Lafayette, Indiana, if he is too loyal to his team and the school to bolt after just two seasons, we should all know quickly.Purdue and Louisville are both done playing and with the early signing period looming Dec. 19, there is no reason for an extended courtship. It should take only a few days for Louisville to know if it must move on to Plan B, whatever that might be.AROUND THE COUNTRY: LSU got no help from the officiating and lost a record-tying seven OT game at Texas A&M. The loss might cost the Tigers a spot in a New Year’s Six game to Florida, which also finished 9-3 and beat the Tigers … Kliff Kingsbury probably made the decision easier for Texas Tech by losing to Baylor to finish 5-7. Kingsbury is 35-40 overall and 19-35 in the Big 12 in six seasons at the school where he played quarterback. It is likely change is coming in Lubbock … Also in trouble: North Carolina’s Larry Fedora after Tar Heels finished 2-10. … Safe: Rutgers coach Chris Ash. … Teams that finished strong with bowl eligibility on the line and grabbed a sixth victory: Wake Forest, Tulane, TCU and Baylor. Kansas State, on the other hand, blew a 17-point fourth-quarter lead at Iowa State to miss out on a sixth victory. Could that have been Hall of Fame coach Bill Snyder’s last game at Kansas State?___Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and listen at https://www.podcastone.com/AP-Top-25-College-Football-Podcast___More AP college football: https://apnews.com/tag/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25 Ohio State running back Mike Weber, left, celebrates his touchdown against Michigan with teammate quarterback Dwayne Haskins during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018, in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State beat Michigan 62-39. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
Food is prepared for a media tasting event during a tour of Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) ATLANTA (AP) — If you’re on the lookout for Super Bowl tickets, be prepared to fork over several thousand dollars. By 43 minutes ago But if you make it through the gates, here’s a bit of good news for your wallet.A hot dog can be had for a couple of bucks. A slice of pizza will set you back a mere $3.Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which made waves in the sports industry by becoming the first facility to introduce so-called “fan first” pricing at its concession stands, is keeping those budget items on the menu for the biggest event in its short history — Sunday’s NFL title game between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams.“It’s what you would want if you went with your family to a sporting event,” said Scott Jenkins, the stadium’s general manager. “It’s good food, and it’s at a fair price.”So, if your stomach is growling but your bank account is light, consider a pretzel or popcorn. Like the hot dog, each of those stadium staples is just $2. For that same price, you can wash it all down with a bottle of water or a soft drink that comes with free refills. If you’re in the mood for something stronger, a domestic beer checks in at $5.“When I’ve been around, scouting out big events, the prices are high and they go higher,” Jenkins said. “We made it clear when we bid that our prices were fan first, and we’re keeping them for the Super Bowl.”The $1.5 billion stadium, which opened less than two years ago and is best known for a complex retractable roof that opens and closes like a camera lens, is also looking to make a Super splash with some of its higher-priced food items.Especially those that show off the South’s culinary heritage.A hefty order of chicken and waffles, accompanied by sorghum butter, creamy cole slaw and sweet pickles, checks in at $12. But the item likely to make the biggest splash with fans is the “C.O.S.” — the Closed On Sunday chicken sandwich. That is renowned chef Kevin Gillespie’s take on an Atlanta staple, the Chick-fil-A sandwich.While the $14 price tag might sound a bit hefty compared to some of those aforementioned budget items — and certainly to a Chick-fil-A offering — it’ll probably seem worth it when you’ve finished off a fried chicken breast (sorry, the seasoning is a closely guarded secret) lathered in spicy pickled mayonnaise and served between two honey butter buns.“We’ve taken our record-setting day, the most we’ve ever sold, and we’ve doubled that,” said Gillespie, who also runs two of metro Atlanta most acclaimed restaurants. “We’ll see if we run out again on Super Bowl Sunday.”There’s actually a Chick-fil-A stand within Mercedes-Benz Stadium, but as everyone in this part of the country certainly knows: the fast-food restaurant is closed on Sundays (hence the name of Gillespie’s creation).Yep, even on Super Bowl Sunday.That spot will be occupied by another vendor, so Gillespie has the big game’s chicken sandwich spotlight all to himself.“We feel like a lot of folks have probably read about this stuff, so we want them to have a chance to taste it,” he said. “We decided to stick with the same menu, stick with the exact same pricing, don’t turn it up just because it’s the Super Bowl. We’re pretty pumped about it. We think we’re going to have a pretty busy day on Sunday.”The Mercedes-Benz cooks also came up with several items to honor the Super Bowl teams.The “L.A. Chicharron Dog” is an homage to the team from La La Land — a hot dog covered with pinto beans, jalapenos, garlic, roasted poblano pepper strips, cotija cheese, tajin-seasoned chicharrones (essentially, fried pork rinds) and cilantro. Not exactly for the faint of heart (or anyone with heart issues).Speaking of an angioplasty waiting to happen, the offering for the AFC champion Patriots is the “N.E. Beantown Frank,” which is covered with northern beans, maple syrup, Nueske’s bacon and green onions.“This is us playing in the kitchen,” said Matt Cooper, the executive chef at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. “Once we saw the teams that were playing in the Super Bowl, all us chefs got together and came up with some ideas for New England and LA.”His favorite?“I’m going to lean toward LA,” Cooper said. “That’s where I’m originally from.”On the drink side, there’s the PaLomA (yes, the “L″ and the “A″ are capitalized for obvious reasons), a libation comprised of tequila, ruby red grapefruit, soda water and a blood orange wedge. Patriot fans might prefer to opt for the New Englander — vodka, cranberry and soda water adorned with a lime wedge.Much like the teams that will be looking to claim a title on the field, Mercedes-Benz Stadium is eager to grab a prize of its own in the kitchen.The champion of Super Bowl stadium food.“We have a lot of eyes on us,” Cooper said. “It’s going to be a fun one.”___Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/paul%20newberry___For more AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL