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Adam Wonderly

AFC North Nation: Solid running backs essential for teams to succeed in NFL

The Cincinnati Bengals are a testament to just how important a running back can be in the NFL. When Bengals running back Giovani Bernard went out with an injury to his hip, rookie running back Jeremy Hill stepped in and made an immediate impact. He was only seeing limited playing time because Bernard had been so good, but now it’s apparent to what the Bengals have in the backfield.Teams are constantly looking for that one guy who can carry the workload of an entire NFL season and do it on a consistent basis. Now, the Bengals have two of those guys, and it’s a great problem to have. With the inconsistency of quarterback Andy Dalton, running the ball has been more important than ever.The Bengals have been lucky, drafting two guys in two years that made an immediate positive impact. Some teams in the AFC North have gone elsewhere to try and bring in someone who has already established themselves in the NFL.The Cleveland Browns picked up running back Ben Tate from the Houston Texans and added him to their three-headed monster in the backfield, which consists of Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West. Once Crowell and West get the green light that they will be getting more carries, Tate is out the window. Tate signed a two-year $6.2 million deal with the Browns in the offseason, and it seems the team has already decided it isn’t going to work out.The Browns are no strangers to making surprising deals when it comes to the running back position. Last year, the Browns traded Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts for a few draft picks because they didn’t feel like he was the right guy for them.The Browns aren’t alone in releasing running backs this week. The Pittsburgh Steelers have also joined in on the fun. The Steelers cut Legarrette Blount, who they recently picked up from the New England Patriots. People might remember when Blount got in trouble at the beginning of the year when police found illegal drugs in his car.Fellow Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell was in the car with Blount, but neither was given a suspension by the NFL or the Steelers organization. Bell has had a much better year for the Steelers than Blount, and I’m assuming that’s why Blount was let go, not because of previous encounters. It just goes to show that if you’re having a great year in the NFL, helping your teams win games and putting butts in the seats, then you have a little more pull in the organization.Running backs are a rare commodity in the NFL — there are a lot of guys that can get you two or three yards by just being brute force guys. But it’s hard to find a guy that can make home-run plays for you on a consistent basis. For Browns and Steelers fans, let’s hope the organizations have a plan to keep these teams in the race for the division.Adam Wondrely is a senior studying creative writing and journalism. Who do you have finishing in first place in the AFC North? Email him at

In the Know with Meg O

In The Know With Meg O: Social media presence can hurt your future career

Thanksgiving season has a different meaning for students. For some, Thanksgiving is the light at the end of the tunnel after a long semester. It might be a time to remember what you are especially thankful for. Or perhaps it’s the start of crunch time to get applications in for coveted internships or even — dare I say it — jobs.

Amplified Observations

Amplified Observations: The Resurgence of The Saxophone In Pop Music

The second decade of the new millennium has brought many new musical trends. Trap music emerged from the hip-hop underground to prom night dance floors everywhere, and surf rock made a west coast comeback into the hearts and minds of us all ­(e.g. Wavves, Fidlar, No Age, Best Coast, etc). Hell, even Weezer put out a decent album for a change.Yet one of the most fascinating — and seemingly random — sonic trends of the 2010s is the reincorporation of saxophone into chart-topping pop music. Not since the 1980s has the shiny brass instrument picked up so much traction with the cadre of hit-makers in the commercial music industry. Since Jason Derulo could not be reached for comment, I’ll take a crack at explaining this one on my own.Invented in 1840 by Adolphe Sax, the saxophone rose to prominence in classical music and later jazz — a genre most closely associated with the single-reed woodwind. Many jazz greats possessed a mastery of the instrument in between scoring fixes and giving dirty looks at the drummer (“This isn’t experimental timing, Chester!”). Charlie Parker, John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins are some of the best examples of the utilization of the instrument to its artistic zenith. But could you ever imagine any of them playing in an Ariana Grande studio session?It seems pop music is stealing from the 1980s. Today, the genre and its producers — who, let’s face it, are the real people behind the hits — are developing a fond nostalgia for the 1980s when saxophone reigned supreme on the radio.Dozens and dozens of pop standards from the ’80s, such as INXS’s “Never Tear Us Apart,” Men At Work’s “Who Can It Be Now,” LL Cool J’s “Going Back to Cali” and Springsteen’s “Jungleland,” all featured heavy use, the last of which may be the most popular rock song featuring a saxophone ever, giving Pink Floyd’s “Money” a run for its … well, money. Even ’80s punk rock — a deviant’s genre with a great distaste for instrumental deviation — incorporated saxophone with songs like Fear’s “New York’s Alright If You Like Saxophones.” Later, punk-act NOFX, which formed in the mid-’80s, would also include saxophone in many of its songs, including 2009’s “I Am an Alcoholic.”Fast-forwarding through the grungy, detuned sound of the ’90s and the bubblegum essence of the early-2000s Britney Spears era, some of this current decade’s biggest songs are using catchy saxophone and saxophone samples to either back their hooks or provide a catchy filler (many times arranged to the style of trap music).Macklemore’s 2012 anti-consumerist hit, “Thrift Shop” was arguably the catalyst to this trend, along with the catalyst to a haircut trend that’s 3edgy5me. The single’s massive success — it went 7x platinum, which is 7x more platinum than I will ever have — most likely led to big-name producers realizing that a single sax sample could tie a whole song together (Big Lebowski, much?). Everyone knows that an older sample can act as the basis to any successful tune but a saxophone sample? It makes people want to dance. It puts the dance back in dance music. The jazzy full spectrum sound is able to stand on its own or be thrown into the mix to give a track that certain brass flavor that makes us endure Ryan Seacrest’s ramblings each Sunday morning.Following the success of “Thrift Shop,” many other artists hopped on the proverbial bandwagon loaded with saxophones down in the baggage hold (along with my cell phone which I accidently left in there when I was packing).Before Macklemore, Lady Gaga made room for a saxophone solo on “Edge of Glory,” played by the late Clarence Clemons of The E Street Band, causing people to start to notice the woodwind before it was poppin’ tags. Katy Perry also used a sax solo pre-Macklemore on 2010’s “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.),” played by Kenny G. So the reemergence of the instrument had been floating around some time before 2013 and 2014’s saxophone renaissance.Jason Derulo released “Talk Dirty” in late 2013, which featured a lone saxophone as an interlude following the hook — easily the best part of the song. And in 2014, Ariana Grande dropped one of her biggest hits, “Problem,” which features a groovy sax riff.Other recent but lesser-known examples include Childish Gambino’s 2013 song “Worldstar,” and M83’s 2011 late-night-driving jam “Midnight City,” which features a prominent sax solo as an outro.But with all this in mind, the real question is: will saxophone and saxophone samples continue to appear on the radio? Or are they just another musical fad like autotune? And if this trend continues, will musicians in 2030 bring back autotune to get that classic 2010s feel?Despite its extensive use in the past, the future of saxophone in pop music is unknown. Everything in pop culture gets recycled eventually, but nowadays it seems like the process is moving much faster and “15 minutes of fame” has turned into 15 seconds.Only time will tell if the lovable brass instrument claims a permanent place in the pop world or is thrown to the wayside like Robin Thicke or dancehall (I’m looking at you, Sean Paul. You cheated all of us by not making anything as good as “Temperature” and for that, I will never forgive you).Whatever happens, I’m interested to see what other instruments are pushed into stardom. My fingers are crossed for a tuba trap song to drop within the next year. 

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