TCU will have a starting quarterback; actually, TCU might already have a starting quarterback, but Gary Patterson isn't going to tell anyone. Elsewhere, Southern Cal is getting promising production from freshman running back Justin Davis, while Virginia Tech avoided another roster hit.
That news and more:
Gary Patterson is not going to name a starting quarterback before the Horned Frogs' opener against LSU. From TCU beat writer Stefan Stevenson:
GP on declining to name QB: "It hurts us more than it helps us going into a game where nobody thinks we have a chance to win it anyway."— Stefan Stevenson (@FollowtheFrogs) August 18, 2013
Many expect Casey Pachall, who is back with the team after being suspended last season, to step back into the starting role. Patterson is going to remain coy about the whole thing, though -- when Stevenson tweeted his prediction that Pachall will get the nod, Patterson fired back, "U might be wrong!"
True freshman running back Justin Davis is impressing Lane Kiffin in practices, which may lead to significant playing time despite the fact that the team's leading rusher from a year ago, Silas Redd, is back.
Undeniably, the running game hits a different gear when Davis is in the mix. "Every time he is out there, something special kinda happens," Kiffin said about Davis. "We haven't played in a real game yet, but I don't know how much more a guy could have done with his opportunities here so far."
Davis was a consensus four-star recruit in the 2013 class.
Unfortunately for the Hokies, attrition has become a major offseason storyline. It began shortly after the end of last season, when standout cornerback Antone Exum suffered an ACL injury during a pickup basketball game. Since then, the roster situation has further deteriorated. Virginia Tech endured injuries within the offensive line and at linebacker, and several others left the program.
They got another scare over the weekend when rumors surfaced that defensive lineman Corey Marshall had decided to leave the team. According to reports, however, Marshall met with head coach Frank Beamer on Sunday and if he had any concerns about his future with the program, they were apparently addressed to his satisfaction.
The Hokies asked Marshall to move from defensive end to defensive tackle because of depth issues there. He seemed fine with the move earlier in the offseason, though he also made clear he wants to finish his career at defensive end.
True freshman defensive backs Cameron Sutton and Malik Foreman have impressed players and coaches during came, and Butch Jones expects both to be ready to contribute to the Vols' defense once the season gets underway:
"They have no choice," said Jones. "They have to be game ready. They're progressing. They're going to find out what it's like, but Cam Sutton is doing a great job. You know, Malik, I can see that the daily grind is kind of getting to him a little bit, but Justin (Coleman) is trying to mentor them. It is what it is and we just have to keep pushing them as coaches."
Defensive end Frank Clark's teammates believe he's talented enough to have a breakthrough 2013 season. Clark has his eyes on double-digit sacks this fall, and that would certainly qualify as a breakout campaign. Clark finished last season with just two sacks, though he was second on the team with nine tackles for loss.
The Wolverines could use the boost from Clark after losing leading tackler Jake Ryan to an ACL injury in the spring. Ryan is not expected to miss the entire season, but he most likely won't be ready to go until October.
The Boilermakers don't share Gary Patterson's qualms about publicly announcing a starting quarterback -- veteran Rob Henry got the job over freshmen Austin Appleby and Danny Etling. Travis Miller of Hammer and Rails is fine with this decision:
Honestly, this gives Purdue its best chance to win both this year and in the future. Henry has gained the respect of the team and is a former team captain. The offense has rallied behind his leadership and they trust him. It also allows both Danny Etling and Austin Appleby to develop over time as opposed to being thrust directly into the spotlight.
Henry has appeared in 22 games over the course of his Purdue career; he missed the entire 2011 season after tearing an ACL.
The Hurricanes need to strengthen their defense to compete for an ACC title in 2013, and the first step is getting better up front. Miami wasn't particularly effective at the point of attack last season, but they've made some additions they hope will help. One of them is graduate transfer defensive end David Gilbert.
Defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio is happy to have him on board, though there is one major concern that looms over Gilbert whenever he's on the field. Gilbert suffered so many injuries to his right foot during his time at Wisconsin that he decided to retire from football in the spring. He's obviously back now, but the foot may prove a limiting factor.
The Bears are down a pair of linebackers -- junior David Wilkerson is transferring out, while sophomore Nathan Broussard will have to miss the season thanks to an ACL injury. Neither player came into 2013 with a lot of experience; Wilkerson played in 13 games with Cal and had a total of 20 tackles, while Broussard appeared in 11 games last season.