Saturday was a tale of two shoulders, as two of the nation's top players sat out with injuries. Elsewhere, Arkansas had no trouble completing passes (but might have a problem in its secondary), Georgia Tech aired it out, and a player from down under went under the knife.
We have a RED ALERT in Columbia: Jadeveon Clowney sat out the Gamecocks' scrimmage Saturday due to a sore shoulder. South Carolina defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward stepped in and calmed the masses before the situation could reach DEFCON 1 (via the Associated Press):
It's hard for Gamecock fans to be hopeful when they see Clowney in street clothes instead of his fearsome No. 7 uniform. Defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward said there's nothing to worry about.
Ward said Clowney's condition wasn't serious and the defensive lineman wasn't expected to play much anyway as coaches got a look at South Carolina's younger defenders.
''I guess he bruised it, but it's fine,'' Ward said. ''We weren't going to play him anyway.''
As for the scrimmage itself, Gamecocks quarterback Connor Shaw struggled mightily in his first scrimmage after offseason foot surgery. The senior went just 3-10 passing with an interception. For the first time in his life, Steve Spurrier wasn't concerned by his quarterback's struggles:
Spurrier said Shaw's back was a bit sore after more than a week of practice. ''He's been running around and getting a lot of snaps. He might be a little weary-legged right now,'' Spurrier said. ''He wasn't as good as normal.''
The Gamecocks' top three halfbacks -- Brandon Wilds, Mike Davis and Shon Carson -- combined for 86 rushing yards and a touchdown on 13 carries against a defensive front looking to replace five graduating linebackers.
The nation's second huge shoulder injury story is at the other USC: Marqise Lee, the defending Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year and Biletnikoff Award winner, did not participate Saturday after injuring his shoulder in Friday's practice. Trojans coach Lane Kiffin said Lee was day-to-day with a right shoulder bruise, and that he expects to have Lee back on the field soon (via the LA Times):
Asked whether Lee's workload would be scaled back to protect him from injury, Kiffin said Lee was "a little bit off right now."
"You go back to spring, he missed spring [because of a knee injury], we moved him to some different positions and now he's missed time in this camp," Kiffin said. "We've still got to get him a lot of work.
"We've got to make sure we're not relying on his athletic ability to take over. We're still putting him in a lot of situations so he can continue to improve as a receiver as he goes into his third year here."
USC went through its first two-practice day Saturday. Oft-injured offensive tackle Aundrey Walker, who missed the opening week of camp with an undisclosed injury, returned to action Saturday. Redshirt freshman Chad Wheeler, who was filling in at left tackle in Walker's absence, continued to take most snaps with the first-team offense.
The Razorbacks held their first fall scrimmage Saturday, running 107 plays inside the friendly confines of Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Quarterback Brandon Allen was excellent, completing 16-17 passes for 204 yards and a touchdown. Allen's lone incompletion was a drop by his receiver. True freshman Alex Collins, who was at the center of Signing Day's best drama, got most of the carries at halfback, rushing 12 times for 40 yards and a touchdown.
New head coach Bret Bielema was happy with the performance:
"I liked what went on out there," Coach Bielema said. "I couldn't be happier with their football IQ growth. That's something that we've really been stressing. It's one thing to be a football player, but it's a better thing to be smart football players."
Bielema also announced Saturday that wide receiver Mekale McKay has been granted a scholarship release and will transfer out of the program. McKay had 21 catches in 2012, but was crowded out of an experienced wide receiver depth chart.
Urban Meyer took the black stripes -- the equivalent of a redshirt for a team that wears actual red shirts -- off freshman linebacker Mike Mitchell and freshman wide receiver Dontre Wilson. As Land Grant Holy Land's Luke Zimmerman writes, the decision to play both freshmen in 2013 was not surprising:
Wilson had been garnering praise from the Ohio State side since Big Ten Media Days, when OSU quarterback Braxton Miller gushed about his playmaking abilities. Mitchell is one of the most physically mature linebackers to come through Ohio State since the Tressel-era, and could see early playing time in a unit lacking a ton of starting experience.
The news came on the same day that Eleven Warriors reported that defensive back Najee Murray was given his walking papers for a violation of team rules. OSU would not confirm the report. Murray was not expected to start.
The Yellow Jackets also held a scrimmage Saturday, with DeAndre Smelter's catch-of-the-year-so-far:
Smelter and quarterback Vad Lee were the stars of the show, though no statistics were published by the team. Tech brought in referee Ron Cherry to officiate the scrimmage, lending both mid-season realism and complete insanity to the proceedings.
But it wasn't all good news for Georgia Tech: Sophomore Errin Joe was injured during the scrimmage and there is no word on his status, though From the Rumble Seat said it "didn't look good." Also, incoming freshman running back Travis Custis will defer his enrollment to January after an NCAA Clearinghouse issue tripped him up.
One of the season's great experiments is over before it truly began: Australian rugby player Lindsay Crook, who gave up a likely spot on the Aussies' 2016 Olympic team to pursue his dream of playing American football, suffered a torn ACL in the Bearcats' first fall practice and will miss the season. Crook had surgery on his injured knee Saturday.
Crook was not expected to contribute in 2013 as he learned the American game, as head coach Tommy Tuberville told Cincinnati.com in May:
"He's not gonna be an overnight sensation," Tuberville said. "It'll probably take a good year to teach him our game, but he doesn't have any bad habits yet. We'll start him at linebacker because they tackle in rugby. He can kick, he can punt. We're excited about him."
Crook played a part in one of the greatest recruiting stories ever told, as he and his dad drove aimlessly around the country looking for a school with an open scholarship, eventually stumbling into Cincinnati through a cold call to the football offices. He can redshirt, and will have four years of eligibility beginning in 2014.
With 11 days of fall camp already in the books and two-a-days at an end, Georgia coach Mark Richt surprised his players with a day off and a trip to the pool:
The Bulldogs were scheduled to have a kicking scrimmage in Sanford Stadium Saturday morning, but Coach Mark Richt surprised the players by having the buses instead take them to Gabrielsen Natatorium -- the home of the 2013 national champion Georgia women's swimming and diving team. There, the freshmen and other newcomers made their traditional jumps off the 10-meter platform. Some veterans also took turns and all the players enjoyed splashing around in the water.
"Today meant a lot to us," junior offensive tackle Mark Beard said. "A lot of guys are tired, and this was Coach's way to show us some love. We really enjoyed it."
"After 11 straight days of camp, we decided to give the boys a chance to jump in the pool," Richt said. "It's always fun watching our freshmen jump for the first time."
The final practice of camp was held under the lights Saturday night. Classes at Georgia begin Monday morning, forcing the Bulldogs to wrap up camp earlier than most.
The Longhorns held their final open practice of fall camp Saturday night, and while Burnt Orange Nation could not find much to take away from the position drills and one-on-ones, the brief team session did show that David Ash has a firm grasp on the Texas offense:
In the team session, junior quarterback David Ash looked in command of the offense, throwing the ball away when necessary early, then but then getting into a rhythm later, delivering strikes on time and right on the hands of his receivers. He did not appear to throw any interceptions after throwing two on Friday.
Senior cornerback Carrington Byndom did not play Saturday after taking a hit to the head late in Friday's practice. JUCO transfer offensive tackle Desmond Harrison and safety Kevin Vaccaro also sat out.