We're under two weeks until the start of football season, and with the pads on, that means more and more players are starting to go down with injuries.
Virginia Tech and Ohio State both revealed they lost more than one player to an injury that will wipe out their 2013 season, with the Hokies searching for any sort of healthy players as they prepare to take on the two-time national champions in under a fortnight. Clemson also disclosed an injury, although not one of the season-ending variety. And of course, we have updates on the various QB battles around the country as coaches try to figure out who will start their year under center.
Here's a look at what happened in camps Thursday, from Cal to Penn State.
Seriously, the Hokies might not be able to field a team for the season-opener against Alabama. Starting linebacker Ronny VanDyke is done for the year, running back Tony Gregory tore his ACL for the fourth time, ending his career, starting right tackle Mark Shuman has a torn meniscus and will miss 4-6 weeks (putting him out for the opener).
And that's not all: Likely starting running back J.C. Coleman has sprained BOTH of his ankles, compounding a depth issue caused by Gregory's injury, Michael Holmes' removal from the team, and Joel Caleb's suspension. With VanDyke injured, the team will likely have to start a walk-on at one OLB spot, and the team is down to just one running back, redshirt freshman Trey Edmunds. They already had their hands full with the Crimson Tide, and now this could get ugly.
Not particularly a surprise, but Gary Pinkel has named his senior the starter for the team's season opener against Murray State. Franklin had a fine 2011, throwing for 2,865 yards with 21 touchdowns and 11 picks, but was riddled by injuries and the rigors of an SEC schedule last year, with 1,562 yards on a lower completion percentage, lower yards-per attempt, with 11 touchdowns and seven picks. Rock M Nation was pleased with the move:
This is good news. We have no idea how Franklin will play when the games actually start (though if he's healthy, we have a pretty good idea), but he didn't back into this job. He seized control of it with a steady spring, a good summer, and, apparently, an outstanding scrimmage on Thursday.
Unlike Pinkel, O'Brien needs more time to think. Neither of his potential starters has ever taken a snap at PSU -- Ferguson is a juco transfer, Hackenberg is a true freshman -- but O'Brien has praised both. Last week, he had said Ferguson was slightly ahead of Hackenberg due to the frosh's inexperience, but that appears to have changed.
Not quite as crushing as with Virginia Tech, but still a bummer to see some hard-working students see their careers end. Griffin, the son of two-time Heisman winner Archie, played in all Ohio State's games last year, mainly on special teams. Wood played four games before he started dealing with his injury.
Leggett is just a freshman, but with projected starter Sam Cooper also dealing with an injury, he was expected to be a weapon in Tajh Boyd's arsenal. Leggett's MCL injury is expected to keep him out up to a month, putting the Tigers down to three tight ends for the season opener -- something Shakin' the Southland sees as a big problem considering the complexity of the position in Chad Morris' offense and the team's already high dependence on Sammy Watkins. They're considering moving a lineman to tight end, so that should give you an idea of how things are.
The Longhorns were banking on the services of Harrison, ranked as the top juco tackle in the land, as you can see from this interview Burnt Orange Nation had with the 6'7, 300-pounder. But to get academically eligible, he took a BYU Independent Study course -- much like the ones Michael Oher took in "The Blind Side" to get into Ole Miss -- but non-BYU student athletes are no longer allowed to take those courses. So Texas waits on BYU to clear him -- any chance they're waiting until after the Week 2 matchup between the two teams?
Update: Nope! True freshman Jared Goff wins the job.
California Golden Blogs has been at Sonny Dykes' practices, and it seems like he might have chosen his man:
Zach Kline saw almost all of the reps Thursday, the first time all camp that there was only one quarterback running the show. In the previous week, time had been split up in some sort of rotation or another, but today was almost exclusively Zach Kline.
They go on to note that that's sometimes a good thing -- and sometimes a bad one.
First, it was LaMichael James, with Kenjon Barner as the backup. Last year, it was Barner with De'Anthony Thomas as the backup. With Barner now gone, Oregon's high-powered offense won't be giving the ball just to the Heisman hopeful Thomas: there's a slew of other guys in the mix, as The Oregonian writes, including sophomore Byron Marshall:
"I could see him moving out and running out of some of the same sets that we put in for De'Anthony," Campbell said. "In fact, (offensive coordinator Scott) Frost has mentioned that he's as good as the wide receivers in terms of running the routes and catching the ball."
Floyd, who Card Chronicle notes very quickly had a pick-six in last year's Sugar Bowl win over Florida, had announced he was having an MRI, which sent shivers down their spines. But it turned out nothing was the matter, and he was back on the field Thursday.
Honestly, do I need to say more to get you to click that?