Andy FateJust moments after Wisconsin beat BYU 27-17 last Saturday — in which transfer quarterback-receiver-safety Tanner McEvoy made his first career interception — Andy Baggot of the Wisconsin State Journal queried head coach Gary Andersen about McEvoy’s prospects as a quarterback, either now or in the future, at Wisconsin.It seemed like an odd question to ask, given the context. Andersen was succinct, saying he hadn’t contemplated McEvoy at the quarterback position, which felt like an obvious response. Thoughts of McEvoy playing quarterback this season were dispelled months ago when he faded in the quarterback race and started catching passes more often than throwing them.And it wasn’t long — no more than a few weeks and a few game reps — before his stint at receiver was over following a surgery to repair a broken wrist. It would be a defining moment in McEvoy’s first season at Madison.“He was going to miss a lot of reps because he couldn’t do anything,” safeties coach Bill Busch said. “That’s when it kind of clicked.”McEvoy, at 6-foot-6, 223 pounds, lauded for his speed and overall athleticism, was going to be relocated to the sidelines because his broken wrist impeded his offensive effectiveness. Wisconsin’s noteworthy sophomore transfer was trending down Danny O’Brien’s path as opposed to Russell Wilson’s.Then an idea arose where McEvoy could use his extraordinary frame on the other side of the ball as a safety.“I mean, when you’re 6-foot-6 and can move like that, definitely people notice you,” redshirt freshman safety Nate Hammon said.And so McEvoy found his way onto the field for Wisconsin, even if he intended to play quarterback all along. In just a few short weeks, he had a package of third down plays where he was used. Then Ohio State happened.McEvoy’s role was expanding each week, but following a first drive where OSU quarterback Braxton Miller effortlessly escorted the Buckeyes to a 7-0 lead, largely through the air, Andersen knew McEvoy — who played safety in high school — was needed more than ever.“We needed to get some athletes on the field. We really thought that,” Andersen said following the 31-24 loss. “To throw him in the moment was definitely risky, to say the least. That’s what we felt we needed to do.”Wisconsin fans saw McEvoy’s No. 17 jersey — different from the No. 5 he wore as a quarterback — on the field for most of the remaining minutes in Columbus, Ohio. What they didn’t see was any big plays or mistakes on McEvoy’s behalf.And since then, there wasn’t much for news on the McEvoy front.“I haven’t done anything wrong, but I haven’t done anything great,” McEvoy said, describing his first four games with an ingrained role in the defense. That’s why this past weekend against BYU was important for him.McEvoy was the benefactor of redshirt senior line backer Chris Borland’s pressure on BYU quarterback Taysom Hill, who hurriedly lofted a pass well beyond his receiver, tumbling into McEvoy’s basket. It was an important moment that McEvoy would eventually downplay the significance of. He knew he had another interception opportunity on the last play of the game, where he crossed the field to break up a final Cougar pass attempt.Those two plays are largely why McEvoy has remained a part of the Wisconsin secondary; he can flat out cover ground and stalk the football. Add in his abnormal height and wingspan, and McEvoy becomes quite the asset in any secondary. He says he just likes making plays on the football field, something that his favorite player, Ed Reed, made an NFL career of.Hammon said that one week McEvoy made something “like 11 interceptions in practice.” Each day athleticism is readily apparent. Back in August, backup quarterback Bart Houston likened McEvoy’s speed to a deer. However, it’s more his placement within the secondary than his athleticism that has helped Wisconsin the most.Earlier on this season, redshirt sophomore safety Michael Caputo was forced to guard receivers out of sheer necessity. With McEvoy in the mold, Caputo now generally spotlights opposing tight ends and aids the front seven in run defense, where he made 12 tackles against BYU.With McEvoy on the field, senior safety Dez Southward was able to play man coverage on BYU’s physical receiver Cody Hoffman, a matchup the Badgers defensive coaches sought out. McEvoy has really opened up the options for Busch.With just five weeks of safety game snaps under his belt, there remains plenty for McEvoy to learn and gain from the safety position. Week-by-week the coaching staff warmed McEvoy into the mix.“They kind of eased me into it,” McEvoy said. “They didn’t throw the kitchen sink at me.”Week-by-week he’s gained confidence in his play recognition and tackling tendencies. Week-by-week he plans for safety and covers the back end of the Wisconsin defense. While it seems like he’s a full-fledged safety this week, the question in Andersen’s press conference relayed a bit of uncertainty about McEvoy’s future spot.Andersen ended his answer with, “He’s a safety next week, and we’ll move on from there.”Busch said, “This week, he’s in my room, so we’ll get him ready to play.”So whether he’s a quarterback or a safety right now or if in the future he’s a quarterback or a safety, it doesn’t really matter. McEvoy thinks he can still play quarterback at Wisconsin, but will happily settle with safety.“As of right now, in this season, in this week, I’m focusing on what we have to do against Indiana,” McEvoy said. “I’m just going to stick to playing safety until they tell me to do otherwise.”
Victor Goosens, Team LiquidSAP has today announced its entrance into esports via a sponsorship deal with European organisation Team Liquid.This sponsorship of Team Liquid marks the first collaboration of SAP with a professional esports organisation, and notably a three year agreement has been signed. As official innovation partner, SAP will work with Team Liquid on ‘co-developing software based on in-game data’, which is intended to help Team Liquid better analyse performance and ‘achieve greater precision in areas like team and player performance and scouting new talent’.SAP has been around since 1972. The German company boasts customers in over 180 countries and had a reported revenue of €22bn (£15.5bn) in 2016. They are already well versed in sporting partnerships, and maintain them with the likes of the City Group, Bayern Munich, the NBA, McLaren, the NHL, the New York Yankees and many more. SAP, unsurprisingly, has a multitude of services and tools but it’s the SAP HANA® platform which will serve as the core technology for co-development for the Liquid partnership. Additional components such as SAP®Cloud Platform, the SAP Leonardo digital innovation system as well as the Internet of Things (IoT), predictive and machine learning functionalities will be evaluated as part of the co-innovation process. Performance tracking is of course as key in esports as any other competitive pursuit, and SAP is looking to participate as a global and sustainable player in the esports ecosystem.Stefan Ries, Chief Human Resources Officer, SAP commented: “After deciding to become a sponsor in the field of esports, SAP took time to observe and analyze the market and its ecosystem before finally deciding to partner with Team Liquid – one of the most successful teams in the business.“For SAP, esports opens us up to a tech-savvy and highly skilled young audience and potential new talent for SAP. As a global, innovative and forward-looking technology company, SAP provides a high brand fit to the esports ecosystem.”“There is a strong demand for meaningful data and analytics software in esports,” said Victor Goossens, co-CEO, Team Liquid. “For Team Liquid, competitive performance is key – and smart technology and data give us the best possible tools to analyze and improve. As a technology company at the cutting edge of innovation and with sponsorship experience across sports and entertainment, SAP is the perfect partner to collaborate with Team Liquid to create tools and solutions to fuel our competitive journey.”Lars Lamadé, Head of Sponsorships, Europe & Asia, SAP added: “Esports is a highly interesting field for SAP. With a team sponsorship, SAP will be able to activate its full potential by working closely together with Team Liquid to understand their needs and apply innovative technology solutions to address them.“SAP as an innovation-driven company is interested in esports as a 100% digital sport with a high speed of development. The partnership with Team Liquid, with a true and authentic co-innovation mind-set at its core, will become a great use case for SAP technology.”Esports Insider says: This is the biggest entrance in esports in some time. SAP is a huge company and this is a massive boost to both Team Liquid, and the industry at large. SAP’s tools and services are well regarded and used by some of the top sporting organisations in the world (the NBA, Bayern Munich, the NHL, McLaren etc.) and so Liquid are sure to reap some rewards from this arrangement.