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Tennessee Volunteers wide receiver Justin Hunter is still working back from a knee injury suffered during last year's Florida Gators game that ended his season. He's not yet 100 percent, saying he still isn't able to make his cuts like he'd like and that he still thinks back to the injury sometimes. But he's set to participate in Tennessee's Saturday scrimmage, making for his first appearance at Neyland Stadium since last year's 156-yard game against the Cincinnati Bearcats.
Derek Dooley says Hunter needs to get past thinking about playing hurt, even though the Vols aren't going to allow anyone to tackle him on Saturday. Hunter expects to be his old self by the summer and to be good to go in time for the regular season.
The Missouri Tigers have a pair of high-profile injuries to address as spring football winds down. Quarterback James Franklin is going to "heal quick" after undergoing a successful shoulder surgery, says coach Gary Pinkel, while running back Henry Josey still has an operation ahead of him. Pinkel notes Josey still has a redshirt year to spend if need be, but still hopes Franklin will be able to return in time for the season.
Josey shattered his knee late last season after posting some of the country's best rushing numbers. Franklin has been banged up since early in spring ball, when he hurt himself fighting for a loose ball.
It would be mighty fine for Mizzou if both players are able to make full recoveries, whether this year or the next, but it's nice to remember Josey has a year to spare.
Oregon will enter spring ball without one of its top running backs, as Tra Carson is transferring.
Auburn's quarterback competition is a three-man race, but is Kiehl Frazier standing out?
Quarterbacks Jacoby Brissett, Jeff Driskel and Tyler Murphy are all in the race to start for the Gators as spring practice winds down.
Georgia announced on Friday that defensive end Derrick Lott has decided to transfer. Lott, a junior, left the program looking for more playing time elsewhere. He was behind Garrison Smith on the depth chart and with Ray Drew and Cornelius Washington also working out at defensive end, it became apparent early in spring practice that he would not see as much of the field as he would like and decided to move on. Georgia coach Mark Richt released a statement on Lott's decision:
"Derrick and I met and he believes he will have opportunities for more playing time elsewhere," head coach Mark Richt said in a statement. "We support him and will assist in any way possible during this process."
He finishes his career at Georgia playing only five games, registering just 10 tackles.
In February, Florida Gators tight end A.C. Leonard was arrested and charged with misdemeanor domestic battery. In the wake of the news, the school suspended the player from team activities. It appears the suspension was short-lived and Leonard will now be reinstated.
The Associated Press via Sports Illustrated reports that Leonard was seen attending team practices two weeks ago and has been reinstated by the school.
Leonard practiced with the Gators on Wednesday, but coach Will Muschamp says the sophomore "still has a lot of things to work through before his status for the fall is addressed."
In a statistic that may be a bit too telling, Leonard's arrest marked the 10th arrest of a Florida player during the 15 months that Muschamp has been acting head coach of the team.
During the day on Thursday, Iowa running back Jordan Canzeri reportedly suffered a knee injury; Thursday night, Canzeri's father confirmed to Rob Howe of Hawkeye Insider that Canzeri suffered a torn ACL.
Canzeri had 114 rushing yards in limited 2011 action, and hauled in a receiving touchdown, but he figured to be a prominent member of a Hawkeyes backfield that is full of question marks at this point in the spring and the subject of running jokes around these parts, thanks to departures by 2011 leading rusher Marcus Coker and promising freshman Mika'il McCall.
Now? Well, if you have eligibility, you might want to contact Kirk Ferentz.
For all news and information regarding the Iowa Hawkeyes, please visit Black Heart Gold Pants. For all things college football, check out Every Day Should Be Saturday or SB Nation's dedicated NCAA football hub.
Iowa Hawkeyes running back Jordan Canzeri has suffered a knee injury. Canzeri will be entering his sophomore season in 2012.
Tennessee Volunteers head coach Derek Dooley says he hasn't technically suspended wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers, but that Rogers won't be coming around practice until some things are straightened out. Dooley says that could be as soon as this week, if all goes well.
Dooley: Vols All-SEC WR Da'Rick Rogers has to work out some things before returning to the team. Not calling it a suspension.— Wes Rucker (@wesrucker247) March 29, 2012
This isn't the first time Dooley has termed a prolonged absence this way, nor is it the first time Rogers has made less-than-savory headlines. It's also not the 355th piece of bad news to hit the Vols in the past two years, but more like the 1,763rd. I've lost count.
Much of Tennessee's chances this year count on Tyler Bray having a full suite of weaponry. If Justin Hunter is able to come back from injury and Rogers can do the same with his non-suspension, the Vols could be battle-hardened enough to be deadly.
Rogers led the team with 1,040 receiving yards in 2011.
Starting Georgia Bulldogs safety Bacarri Rambo's suspension will be for the first four games of the season, Seth Emerson reports. No word yet on the number of games linebacker Alec Ogletree is to be suspended for, but both are starters. Rambo led the SEC in interceptions last year.
Rambo plans to appeal the suspension, Emerson reports, which came as a result of violating athletic department rules.
With starting corner Sanders Commings also suspended for the first two games of the year, that SEC opener against the Missouri Tigers in Columbia is starting to look more and more dangerous for the Dawgs. Who's going to cover Dorial Green-Beckham and T.J. Moe? Could be wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell, who's been taking reps at corner. If Rambo misses four games, he'd also miss the game against the Vanderbilt Commodores, who gave Georgia all it could handle last year.
Georgia safety Bacarri Rambo and linebacker Alec Ogletree have reportedly been suspended at least two games due to a violation of team rules, continuing what has been a troubled offseason for the Bulldogs' defense.
Maryland cornerback Avery Graham will transfer after being granted an unconditional release by the Terps and coach Randy Edsall. He is the 13th player to leave Edsall's program since the end of the 2011 season.
Spring game season truly gets underway this weekend, with two of the country's biggest outfits holding public to-dos. A handful of teams have already wrapped up their spring camps, but April-ish is when the totally pointless magic really shines.
The Texas Longhorns are in business on April 1 at 3 p.m. ET, live on the Longhorn Network. The LSU Tigers may actually get more extensive television coverage for their March 31 (1:30 p.m. ET) scrimmage even though it's not going to be broadcast on TV. Les Miles' squad will also celebrate their 2011 SEC title, perhaps the most forgotten SEC title ever.
Cross-border recruiting intrigue is also in play:
via @max_olson Kam Miles and Eldridge Massington will not make it to Texas spring game. > Will be at LSU spring game Saturday— Saturday Night Slant (@snslant) March 28, 2012
The rest of the weekend's spring festivities schedule (none of these games are televised nationally, so check your radio listings*):
April 1: Texas
Elsewhere, the BYU Cougars have an interesting model going: they held their spring game a week before their practices end, letting them use their public scrimmage as a trial run, rather than as a presentation.
* I don't know if there are radio listings.
South Carolina Gamecocks guard Bruce Ellington will also remain South Carolina Gamecocks wide receiver Bruce Ellington. After a couple weeks of soul-searching, he's told coach Steve Spurrier he'll still end up playing football this year:
"He realizes he's pretty good at football and wants to play both,'' Spurrier said. "He thought it over and thought he made a little too quick a decision."
New basketball coach Frank Martin says he'll talk with Ellington soon, while Spurrier says Martin "would be a heck of a football coach". That's probably entirely accurate, as Martin is comfortably the most intense man in Columbia already.
Ellington originally decided to give up football for just basketball. He should be able to play a big role on both teams, with Alshon Jeffery's exit leaving the top of the wide receiver depth chart Ellington's for the taking. Ellington finished second on the team to Marcus Lattimore in yards from scrimmage last year.
Beginning spring football Wednesday: the Northern Illinois Huskies, Ohio St. Buckeyes, UAB Blazers and Virginia Tech Hokies. The biggest story there is not difficult to determine, but all four teams have new stuff goin' on.
Urban Meyer plans to hit the ground running in Columbus, with his opening practice set to be a physical one. Expect constant competition at every turn -- as fellow Big Ten recruiters have noted, Meyer likes to compete all day long:
One team wins a scrimmage and it gets an icy electrolyte drink as it leaves the field. The losers? They get to quench their thirst from a garden hose. Give up a sack and you run extra sprints after the practice; sack the quarterback and you get better food, a better jersey, kinder treatment.
"Everything we try to do around here is incentive-based,'' Meyer said in previewing the spring workouts. "You want to live off campus, I have no problem with that. But you have to earn that right. A big thing is wearing visors or changing your number to No. 1. I don't really care what you wear but don't come see me unless you are taking care of your business in all the other areas that we evaluate.''
We'll soon get our first chance to see what Meyer can make of talented quarterback Braxton Miller in only a few weeks of work, with the Buckeyes spring game set for April 21.
Elsewhere, UAB has a new head coach (Garrick McGee, from Arkansas) and NIU has replaced offensive coordinator Matt Canada, who went to Wisconsin, with Mike Dunbar. Technically, they replaced Canada with P.J. Fleck, but he resigned after a day on the job. Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer and Bud Foster are still together, as they have been for decades now, but they'll have their usual fleet of talent to replace, including ace running back David Wilson.
The Miami Hurricanes entered spring football with a major concern at one offensive line position: will former No. 1 recruit Seantrel Henderson ever truly take over the tackle position? Now we can add left guard to the list, as Jon Feliciano, who's topped the depth chart this spring, is out after injuring his right knee Saturday:
"I was pulling and I hit the safety, Ray-Ray [Armstrong], [and] OT [RB Eduardo Clements] was about to break but he got hit in the back and he kind of fell into my knee. Hopefully it's just a sprain. They haven't told me anything. I'll just keep some ice on it and see how it goes.''
Feliciano started eight games at right tackle in 2011, appearing in 10 overall. He's backed by Jeremy Lewis on the current depth chart. A redshirt senior, Lewis is a converted defensive lineman who's played in only one game on the offensive side.
For more on Canes football, visit Miami blog The 7th Floor.
The most widespread question facing the Virginia Tech Hokies this year: who's going to replace David Wilson at running back? It might not be a one-man job this time around. Well, we know one of those contributors won't be Dominique Patterson, who's leaving Blacksburg.
Virginia Tech confirms RB Dominique Patterson has left the program. OL Kory Gough is a medical redshirt because of a back injury. #Hokies— Andy Bitter (@AndyBitterVT) March 27, 2012
Patterson practiced as a linebacker in 2010 before sliding over to the offense last year. An ankle injury helped prevent him from suiting up for any action. A rising redshirt sophomore, he was once ranked the No. 40 outside linebacker recruit in the country by Rivals.
At 6'2 and 236 pounds with all sorts of impressive workout numbers, he could still be an outstanding player for another program.
For more on Hokies football, visit Virginia Tech blog Gobbler Country.
Former Nebraska Cornhuskers defensive end Josh Williams has landed with the Kansas Jayhawks, the school announced Tuesday. He's the fourth transfer to KU since Charlie Weis took over, and the second from another Big 12 school, following quarterbacks Dayne Crist and Jake Heaps and wide receiver Justin McCay.
He's eligible to play right away, having already graduated. Kansas' defensive line depth chart is wide open, with only two returning linemen boasting more than 10 tackles last year.
From Kansas' release:
After redshirting his freshman season, Williams saw action in 29 games on the Cornhuskers defensive line. A 6-foot-4, 260-pound defensive end, Williams played in three games during his redshirt freshman season and then played in all 13 games for Nebraska in both the 2010 and 2011 seasons.
Williams, who started two games in 2011, collected 27 tackles during his time in Lincoln. He had three quarterback hurries, one TFL, one forced fumble and one blocked kick during his three seasons at Nebraska ...
He was listed as the No. 19 prospect by the Dallas Morning News in its Area 100, while Rivals.com listed him among the top 50 players in Texas in the 2008 recruiting rankings.
Georgia Tech could lose perhaps its best linebacker, as Julian Burnett's Sun Bowl injury continues to threaten his football career.
UCLA Bruins quarterback Nick Crissman is healthy and looking for playing time. He will transfer to another school for his final year of eligibility.
Monday, Bill O'Brien held his first post-practice press conference as Penn St. Nittany Lions coach, only the second full-time head coach to do such a thing in Happy Valley since 1966. Maybe even ever, since I have no idea how worked up the Pennsylvania media got about Penn State football in March of 1965.
First things first, let's talk quarterbacks. O'Brien said it could be all the way until the end of August until the "competition" (his preferred term) is settled, with Rob Bolden, Matthew McGloin and Paul Jones in the running. And all of that ignores the possibility of bringing in Danny O'Brien, who visited Penn State last week.
B.O'B. says he'll call the offense, and Ted Roof will look to modernize Penn State's traditional defensive look somewhat. It's a formula that's worked for quite literally decades, though, so don't expect the PSU defense to start looking anything like the defense at O'Brien's last stop, the New England Patriots.
Two Penn State players, one current and one former, were involved in a police drug search that turned up paraphernalia, according to a report.
Starting up spring football over the weekend and on Monday: the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Iowa Hawkeyes, North Texas Mean Green, Penn St. Nittany Lions and Tennessee Volunteers. While each of those schools brings its own assortment of baggage to the season, it would be hard to think of two teams with more turmoil than Penn State and Tennessee.
Certain of the Nittany Lions' troubles are obvious, landmark and not going away for decades. While off-field circumstances won't affect camp all that much, they're still there. As far as the team itself goes, PSU fields an almost entirely new coaching staff, still needs a quarterback and must replace several quality linemen, including top performer Devon Still.
At least new coach Bill O'Brien has already impressed PSU fans, who admit the whole issue is sort of complicated:
It's hard to separate the hiring of Bill O'Brien from what he'd done since taking the job. In a vacuum, it seems like this has been a home run hire. He's said all the right things, promised to continue Joe Paterno's legacy in just about every conceivable way, and really embraced the Penn State ideal. But beyond that, he's also recruited like a madman, even if you count finishing the 2012 class with quantity moreso than quality. But none of this matters one tiny iota if he can't chalk it up on the field, and none of his college experience hints that he can at a level even close to how he's recruited.
Meanwhile in Knoxville, the perpetually plagued Derek Dooley seemed to lose another assistant coach about once per week all offseason long, but did manage to swipe defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri from the Alabama Crimson Tide. It's looking like this is Dooley's last chance at UT, whether or not he's ever actually been given a complete chance to compete in the SEC. Recruiting remains strong, and if the young Vols can rally behind Tyler Bray, an iffy SEC East could yield another year for Dooley.
And if the chips fall right, Bray's receiving corps could be pretty darn good (but there are kind of a lot of chips, which is always the case with Tennessee):
Everybody is awaiting the arrival of Cordarelle Patterson -- perhaps the best wide receiver in last year's class -- along with the three prized prep players, but that's not until August. The biggest thing to look for this spring is just how much will Justin Hunter be released to do? Though many will wonder if he's going to be the same dynamic player he was pre-ACL injury, that will likely have to wait. Most reports indicate he won't be full-go this spring. As for Da'Rick Rogers, much like the Janzen Jackson situation last year, we're holding our breath that he can somehow find a way to fit in and not do anything stupid enough to get booted off the team.
Spring football season has been off and running for a little while, and while that should get everyone excited for this fall, that means injuries are once again possible during practices. Unfortunately, the injury bug has already bitten the Texas Longhorns.
Quandre Diggs, one of the Longhorns' top defensive backs when it comes to coverage with four interceptions and 17 passes defended during his freshman season, will miss the remainder of the spring due to a left wrist injury. The Austin Statesman brought the specifics regarding Diggs' injury.
Quandre Diggs, the cornerback who led the Longhorns with four interceptions last season as a freshman, has undergone surgery to his left wrist and will miss the rest of spring practice.
Diggs had successful surgery Saturday to repair the injury and is expected to recover in time for the 2012 season, Longhorns head athletic trainer for football Kenny Boyd said.
The exact injury wasn't made clear in the article, but as long as Diggs is expected to be healthy for the actual football season, this isn't too serious of an issue.
For more on the Longhorns, be sure to visit Burnt Orange Nation.
Joining spring football nation Friday: the Mississippi Rebels and the N.C. State Wolfpack. We're now entering that weird point in the year when spring football start-up dates begin to collide with spring games, and there's not much more college football than many teams finishing before others even start.
The biggest story here is obvious: new Rebels coach Hugh Freeze, who's out to prove his scoreboard-burning offense can work in the SEC. The former Arkansas St. Red Wolves coach has set records everywhere he's been, but that's the thing. He hasn't been very many places yet. Still, he's a drastic change of pace from what Ole Miss has endured as of late.
He'll look to install only about half of the offense this time around, as he's one of many coaches around the nation putting in alien offensive schemes this spring. But he's done this sort of thing before.
As for the Pack, not much has changed. That's the way Tom O'Brien likes it. Of course, linebacker and receiver are sapped of talent, but quarterback is holding steady (via Mike Glennon, who posted 3,000 yards and 31 touchdowns) and the secondary should be very good (led by David Amerson, he of the absurd 13 interceptions last year).
For more on Wolfpack football, visit N.C. State blog Backing The Pack.
Joining spring football action on Thursday: the Idaho Vandals, Mississippi St. Bulldogs, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Washington St. Cougars and Wisconsin Badgers. Lots of medium-sized critters in there, along with an East Germanic tribe that now plays in Moscow.
The biggest story, of course, is new Wazzu coach Mike Leach, who says he'll have "a pretty good semblance of" his Air Raid attack installed in four practices flat. His system focuses on a short list of deliberate assignments for each player, rather than asking each receiver to know how to play four different spots. He'll spend the rest of his time dazzling the media with his charming quotes. As for his quarterbacks:
It helps that quarterbacks Jeff Tuel and Connor Halliday both started last year before being knocked out by injuries. The pair will split repetitions evenly in spring drills as Leach and his staff evaluate their talents.
"The most basic is, `Does the guy make good decisions?''' Leach said, when asked how he evaluates quarterbacks. "The second is, `Is he accurate?'''
In limited action, Tuel certainly fit both bills, throwing for 64 percent and no interceptions in 45 attempts. Halliday's numbers weren't quite as sterling, but he was just a freshman last year. Primary starter Marshall Lobbestael was a senior.
Wisconsin, meanwhile, replaces offensive coordinator Paul Chryst with Matt Canada, formerly of Northern Illinois. Montee Ball returns after a Heisman finalist campaign, and the world waits to find out whether Maryland transfer quarterback Danny O'Brien likes what he sees during his visit this weekend. I'm sorry I don't have quite as much to say about this as I did about Mike Leach, but come on man. Mike Leach!
Boston College backup Jaryd Rudolph was arrested for secretly taping a sexual encounter between two fellow students.
All college football players work insanely hard, whether we like to believe it or not. But then there's that whole other level for service academy football players, each of whom may have something like 36 hours in his day. For senior Navy Midshipmen defensive end Joshua Jones, a projected starter, it's time to cut back and focus on things besides football.
Head coach Ken Niumatalolo, in a statement:
He came and spoke to me prior to the break. He had some things going on in the hall. He's a great kid. He's trying to take care of his swimming test and some other things you have to do to graduate here. It started to weigh down on him. Not only the academics, but you're trying to pass all your physical requirements and try to come out here and be the best player you can be.
I just think the overall burden of it, especially now that he's getting close to graduating. I just thought it became too much for him. He's a great young man and we're going to miss him.
Navy's now lost three of its top five defensive linemen from last year, with top end Jabaree Tuani graduating. Now projected to start next to incumbent Wes Henderson: senior Collin Sturdivant, who had three tackles last year.
Jones appeared in eight games last year off the bench, compiling 18 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and a sack.
For more on Navy football, visit SB Nation DC.
Starting up 2012 spring football Wednesday: Auburn Tigers, Colorado St. Rams, Houston Cougars, Iowa Hawkeyes, Kentucky Wildcats, Louisville Cardinals, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, South Florida Bulls and Wyoming Cowboys. Thus. we've had 18 schools start up spring football in the last two days. It's almost like it's actually spring now!
This is a mighty transition-y group, with new head coaches (Jim McElwain at CSU and Tony Levine at Houston), new coordinators (two each at Auburn and Iowa, plus a new OC at Notre Dame), a hot seat (Joker Philips at Kentucky), realignment rumors (Louisville to the Big 12 -- any minute now!), and even Skip Holtz showing up in coaching carousel rumors. Wyoming, you're rock solid.
Notre Dame also has the task of finding a full-time quarterback, with Kansas transfer Dayne Crist no longer in the picture. Tommy Rees and Andrew Hendrix split duties last year, but top freshman quarterback Gunner Kiel and Everett Golson could challenge for the starting gig. And don't you dare call Brian Kelly anything but a one-man man:
Asked if there was a chance he would use two quarterbacks instead of one this season, Kelly said he would prefer to have one guy who he can give a big hug to when he comes off the field after a touchdown.
Things are different (but not all that different) for the first time in a long time at Iowa, where longtime assistant Phil Parker takes over for the retired Norm Parker as defensive coordinator, and Ken O'Keefe-like coordinator Greg Davis fills in for Ken O'Keefe. Kirk Ferentz doesn't mind the remodeling:
"We really needed to just take things apart here a little bit and look a little closer,'' Ferentz said. "It's given us a chance really to go back and examine everything we're doing on both sides of the football.''
Auburn, meanwhile, replaces new Arkansas State coach Gus Malzahn with Scot Loeffler from the Temple Owls. Loeffler's two years as Florida's quarterbacks coach have been touted to the heavens as a sure sign that he's SEC-ready. The Tigers' defense gets a boost by replacing Ted Roof with former Atlanta Falcons coordinator Brian VanGorder, who's definitely SEC-ready -- from 2001 to 2004, he led the Georgia Bulldogs to perhaps the best streak of defenses in their history.
The USC Trojans enter 2012 as a likely top-two team, thanks mostly to returning quarterback Matt Barkley and his terrifying array of weaponry. Perhaps his best weapon, wide receiver Robert Woods, will miss the rest of spring practice due to a right ankle injury, according to an announcement by Lane Kiffin. Woods underwent surgery on the same ankle in December.
Woods powered through various injuries in 2011 to post 1,292 yards, be named to multiple All-American teams and earn Biletnikoff Award votes. He's expected to pair with Marqise Lee and other talented pass-catchers to form one of the nation's best receiving corps.
While his absence from spring ball is certainly an item of concern for Trojans fans, just keep this in mind: USC's not out of the Woods yet. Pretty proud of that one.
Virginia Tech's Telvion Clark, who has a chance to make his case for more playing time, was arrested over the weekend.
The Florida St. Seminoles will be without running back Devonta Freeman for the rest of spring practice due to a lower back injury. The rising sophomore led the Noles in rushing yards last year, though it was a by-committee enterprise, as he only totaled 579 on the ground. Still, he added 111 with his hands and looked to be one of the offense's prime contributors. He had a very good chance to hang onto the starting job, but now he'll have to fight his way back.
With James Wilder, Jr. suffering a felony arrest, and thus automatically ruled out of game action for the time being, FSU's running back depth chart is murky. Top 2010 back Chris Thompson is working his way back from injury, and Jimbo Fisher says early enrollee Mario Pender will get plenty of chances to prove himself.
If Thompson's able to battle back, Noles fans seem to like him as the leading challenger for Freeman's spot:
There really are no weaknesses in his game as he catches the ball well, is good in pass protection and can be effective running inside or outside. He lacks top end speed (extremely overrated anyway), but is FSU's most dangerous big play back as evidenced by three 70+ yard scoring runs in 2010. He excels at reading the blocks, anticipating lanes before fully developed, making decisive cuts and accelerating through the line of scrimmage. What he added to his game after Gran's arrival was power, allowing him to break out of the scat back mold. We should probably credit the strength and conditioning program massive upgrade as well.
Beginning spring football Tuesday are [deep breath] the Akron Zips, Buffalo Bulls, Connecticut Huskies, Hawai'i Warriors, Iowa St. Cyclones, Georgia Bulldogs, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, Syracuse Orange and Utah Utes. That's a lot of teams! It's actually the busiest day for spring football kickoffs all season, and the best part is that it's actually finally spring now.
The Dawgs are the biggest story here, seeing as they're the reigning SEC East champions and return pretty much everybody from one of the country's best defenses. Offensive line is the biggest question, with three starters gone, and it's not clear if any defensive backs will actually suit up for the first two weeks after a couple dismissals and some suspensions. But if they can shore up their protection for Aaron Murray and bolt together a secondary, UGA could contend for the SEC title, which sounds like a weird thing to say about a team that played in the SEC Championship last year.
Norm Chow takes over at Hawai'i, finally getting his first chance as a head coach after many years as an accomplished college coordinator and position coach. Terry Bowden makes his thundering return to the big time, having to make something of challenged Akron, and Utah brings back former* quarterback Brian Johnson as its new offensive coordinator.
* Not very former. He played in the 2009 Sugar Bowl, which was, like, yesterday.
Missouri Tigers' starting quarterback James Franklin didn't get a lot of time in before his spring was cut short. He'll be out for the rest of spring football with a shoulder injury. Franklin threw for 2,865 yards and 21 touchdowns while also running for 985 yards and 15 touchdowns in his first year as a starter in 2011.
Franklin sustained the injury during practice last Tuesday. The injury did not initially appear to require surgery, but doctors later determined that surgery was in Franklin's best interests. Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel is disappointed, but is trying to find positives in the situation.
"We're disappointed for James, but this is absolutely the right thing to do, and we all know he'll be in great hands, as we have the best doctors and trainers in the nation. James has an outstanding work ethic, and he'll be able to get past this setback just fine. We expect him to be 100 percent and ready to go for the season. Until then, our younger guys will benefit from more reps and more work with the number one offense, and we'll look at that as a positive."
For more on Franklin and Mizzou, head over to Missouri Tigers blog Rock M Nation.
That was pretty quick: South Carolina Gamecocks wide receiver Bruce Ellington, who decided a week ago that he was going to leave the team in order to focus on basketball, could return to the gridiron. Citing Ellington's high school coach, ABC's Charleston affiliate reports Ellington met with Steve Spurrier over the weekend and could return for spring practice.
With Alshon Jeffery moving on to the NFL, Ellington is set to have a big year, if he chooses to come back. He was ranked second on the team last year in total yardage, behind only Marcus Lattimore. He was effective on the court as well, but the Cocks went just 2-14 in SEC play before losing head coach Darrin Horn.
According to the report, Horn's firing isn't playing a role in Ellington's reconsideration.
Joining the list of teams conducting spring football activities over the weekend: the East Carolina Pirates, Florida Atlantic Owls, Florida St. Seminoles, Michigan Wolverines, Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders, Navy Midshipmen, San Diego St. Aztecs, Texas-San Antonio, Troy Trojans, Virginia Cavaliers and Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. Whew!
This means more than half the country is now getting on with spring football. It's the tipping point, y'all.
Michigan's biggest challenge is along its defensive line, says head coach Brady Hoke, where the Wolverines lose Mike Martin and two other starters. The offensive line also has a lot of rearranging going on, and the receiving corps is unproven. Maize N Brew sorts through the offense's major issues, but doesn't expect anything more out of Denard Robinson than the Denard Robinson we've come to know and love (and Michigan fans have come to know and love and lament and love).
Florida State blog Tomahawk Nation is going absolutely all-in with its spring ball previews, extensively reviewing each position even as the Noles made a March Madness run. Now that the hoopybasket's all done with, we tremble at the thought of what FSU fans will do with the extra time on their hands. TN's receivers and tight ends preview should drop Monday.
Starting up spring football on Friday: the Bowling Green Falcons, Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, Vanderbilt Commodores and Western Michigan Broncos. Let's talk about Vandy, the team with fifty-leven quarterbacks.
They actually have whittled down that famous quarterback depth chart already, with Josh Grady, Lafonte Thourogood and Kris Kentera finding new positions. Grady's switching to wide receiver, Thourogood's now a running back and big Kentera looks more like a tight end.
Could these moves suggest that room is being made for potential Maryland transfer Danny O'Brien? The former ACC Freshman of the Year has strong connections to James Franklin and his staff and has been rumored to have Vandy in his top three choices for his next destination. However, it's possible that the 'Dores are just cleaning up to get their best athletes the most possible playing time.
Elsewhere in roster adjustments, the Dores lose offensive lineman Mylon Brown and receiver Brady Brown.
Seeing as their basketball fans don't have much to do this week (sorry), the Pittsburgh Panthers have gone ahead and opened up spring football on the same day as March Madness. That's one way to do it, and I'll never find fault with Paul Chryst's way of doing things. The former Wisconsin Badgers offensive coordinator takes over Pitt after Todd Graham's one-year vacation in the area.
Among the story lines to follow: could Dan Mason, who was carted off the field after a horrifying injury two years ago, return to play for the Panthers this year? There aren't any guarantees, but Chryst says it hasn't been ruled out.
Speaking of returns, Ray Graham, perhaps the Big East's most exciting player now that West Virginia has left the conference, is giving it everything he's got after seeing his 2011 season cut short. Chryst commented on Graham's status:
Everyone wants to learn and I noticed with Ray Graham a couple times that he was really trying to be involved with practice. That's what you want with everyone in and trying to do all that they can to get better. It was also good to see Jarred Holley moving around a little bit and Mike Shanahan jumping in to help. That says something, too. They know there are opportunities and they want to do what they can to help and get ahead.
Four passers, including the nimble Anthony Gonzalez and E.J. Banks, are competing with Tino Sunseri for the starting job as the team transitions from a quarterback-sacrificing spread set to head-down manball. Defensive end, offensive tackle, and linebacker are your other depth chart scrums to watch.
Star cornerback recruit Tee Shepard is no longer enrolled at Notre Dame.
The Arkansas Razorbacks got a pick-me-up as their spring practice begins, with Knile Davis returning from 2011's season-ending injury. But the team also suffered a setback. Linebacker Alonzo Highsmith will miss spring ball with a left pectoral injury, the school announced.
With Jerry Franklin and Tramain Thomas moving along, Highsmith is Arkansas' top returning tackler. He also led the team in tackles for loss and is tops among returning defenders in sacks. He's pretty important. Those who don't keep up with the Hogs may remember his father from his own career with the Miami Hurricanes, Dallas Cowboys, and elsewhere.
The SEC's James Franklin will miss part of spring practice. That's the Missouri Tigers quarterback, not the Vanderbilt Commodores coach. We're going to have to get used to this. A shoulder injury will keep the Mizzou starter out for an undetermined period:
Sprained right shoulder for Missouri quarterback James Franklin, per MU. Expected to return at some point this spring. Timetable unknown— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) March 14, 2012
With third-or-so-stringer Ashton Glaser sustaining an arrest, this could be wide receiver T.J. Moe's chance to seize the reins as the signal caller. Yes? He did throw a few passes last year. No.
Franklin, who's been running offseason workouts according to Gary Pinkel, is expected to be one of the SEC's best three or four quarterbacks as a junior.
North Carolina Tar Heels football has seen better days. Last week included better days, as did last month and last year, but like two years ago were probably the best days. Still, UNC knows what it has to deal with due to the NCAA's investigation into its program, and new coach Larry Fedora can move on as spring practice begins Wednesday:
"I'm not one to dwell on it," Fedora said Tuesday. "I mean, it is what it is. It's about, OK, how do we react to this adversity that we've got? That's going to determine who we are. Let's just be positive and let's move forward and let's make it something good."
The Heels remain a talented team despite losing elite defensive end Quinton Coples, top linebacker Zach Brown, top receiver Dwight Jones, and just about an entire really good defense's worth of draft picks to the draft over the past two years.
The Heels boast the ACC's top returning running back, Giovani Bernard, and quarterback Bryn Renner, who played every game as a sophomore and finished third in the conference in efficiency. Talented 2011 signees like tackle Kiaro Holts, linebacker Travis Hughes, and guard Landon Turner could push for playing time.
Also starting up new regimes on Wednesday: the Arkansas St. Red Wolves with Gus Malzahn, the former assistant of the year who left the Auburn Tigers to return to his home state (and who's just joined Twitter, though we'd really rather his wife sign up too), and the Toledo Rockets with Matt Campbell, who accepted a promotion to take over for Tim Beckman.
For more on UNC football, visit North Carolina blog Carolina March.
The Arkansas Razorbacks begin spring football on Wednesday, and one of their best players is set to make his return. Running back Knile Davis, who missed all of 2011 after suffering a gruesome left ankle injury last year in preseason practice, will give the SEC's most explosive offense a weapon to replace what it's losing to the NFL Draft.
Coach Bobby Petrino says Davis is ready to return to form ... too ready to stick around for more than a year, in fact:
"I count Knile as a senior because basically this will be his last year and then he'll come out, go in the draft,'' Petrino said Tuesday. "We'll list him as a junior because he redshirted last year, but we anticipate him having a great year and coming out. That's what the plan is, that's what he needs to do.''
Davis led the SEC in rushing in 2010, and he was able to return to practice before last year's Cotton Bowl. There was some word that he might be able to participate against Kansas State, but he didn't quite make it all the way back just then.
Beginning spring football Tuesday: the Arizona St. Sun Devils, California Golden Bears, Central Florida Knights, Central Michigan Chippewas, Eastern Michigan Eagles and South Carolina Gamecocks. All Central teams are now present and accounted for.
Todd Graham begins his 10 months or so as Sparky's head coach after enjoying a brief waypoint at Pitt. With new schemes on offense and defense, plus a new quarterback, ASU is in for some changes, which Arizona State blog House of Sparky helpfully breaks down. Three men are competing to replace Brock Osweiler, though all three combined are not as tall as he once was.
Carolina, poised for another run at the SEC East title, should get Marcus Lattimore back, but has lost Alshon Jeffery and Bruce Ellington from its receiving corps, giving likely full-time* starter Connor Show (Garnet And Black Attack is actually OK with Ellington's decision to play basketball.) The Cocks also lose plenty on defense, with Melvin Ingram and Stephon Gilmore looking like NFL Draft first-rounders.
* As full-time as any quarterback can be with Steve Spurrier at the helm.
South Carolina's Bruce Ellington will focus on basketball at the expense of football.
Backup Missouri quarterback Ashton Glaser was arrested over a parking ticket after getting punched in the face.
Four schools begin spring football practice on Monday: the Oklahoma St. Cowboys, Boise St. Broncos, Temple Owls and UNLV Rebels. Yes, it's amazing that this list includes two soon-to-be Big East teams. Only Temple will be joining the conference this year, though.
Those two big-name teams have veteran quarterbacks to replace, with Kellen Moore and Brandon Weeden moving on after approximately 736 combined starts. Boise State blog OBNUG has been going in on Broncos spring practice projections for quite a while now, late last week casting Joe Southwick as the man with the first chance at replacing Moore.
OSU's official depth chart has Clint Chelf, J.W. Walsh and Wes Lunt contending for the job. I'm having a hard time deciding which of those names is the most Oklahoma, so Mike Gundy's got his work cut out there.
Temple leaves the MAC, with 5'5 running back Matt Brown hoping to take over for the NFL-bound Bernard Pierce. Penn St. Nittany Lions transfer Kevin Newsome could challenge for starting quarterback Chris Coyer's spot.
And UNLV, which shuffled its coaching staff by switching linebackers coach J.D. Williams in for former coordinator Kraig Paulson, must improve its 105th-ranked defense despite losing four key starters.
For more on the Cowboys, visit Oklahoma State blog Cowboys Ride For Free
For more on Temple football, visit SB Nation Philly.
Oklahoma's down a backup inside linebacker, as Kellen Jones is again hitting the road.
The Alabama Crimson Tide begin spring practice on the same day the Army Black Knights conclude theirs, and it's always fun to say we're fans of the world's most random sport, yes? The Tide's spring game is set for April 14, the same day as seemingly all other spring games from this and every other year.
The big news heading into camp is that presumed starting running back Eddie Lacy is out, as is backup offensive lineman Arie Kouandjio. With Trent Richardson gone, that means Jalston Fowler, stout receiver Blake Sims and Brent Calloway are competing for ... wait, no, Calloway's moving to linebacker for the time being. So maybe it's a literal one-back offense.
The Tide, as always have a ton of talent to replace -- just look at who all worked out at their Pro Day -- but have had the No. 1 recruiting class for like 395 years in a row, so nobody's exactly worried about their depth. They'll begin the season ranked in the top five after claiming the 2011 title, display their thrilling brand of submission hold football and win 10 games or so. Ah, spring.
Colorado's down a quarterback for spring football, as Nick Hirschman's gone and broken his only non-broken foot, which is pretty awful.
Nebraska Cornhuskers coach Bo Pelini has had one of those relationships with quarterback Taylor Martinez. There have been highs; there have been lows. As year No. 3 of the Martinez administration begins this week, pretty much every other player on the roster will also get the chance to take snaps.
Nebraska's spring game is set for April 14, when every team in the world is also holding some sort of scrimmage.
Issue No. 1 for the Huskers offense: that line, which loses three starters in Mike Caputo, Jermarcus Hardrick, and Marcel Jones. Jeremiah Sirles and Tyler Moore are expected to man the tackle spots, while it's a four-man free-for-all for the center job.
On defense, Nebraska is all set despite losing linebacker Lavonte David and cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, so long as we're just talking about Skelly drills. Somewhere between three and five defensive linemen will miss parts of spring practice, including potential starters Josh Williams and Chase Rome. That's all after Jared Crick's departure, so, yeah, someone should probably tell Mr. Burkhead not to trample whoever's left over.
Also under way on Wednesday: Illinois Fighting Illini spring football. The Blue and Orange Game is dialed in for April 14 and they have a new head coach, as you might've heard. Tim Beckman left the Toledo Rockets to take over for Ron Zook after a dismal season that included an appearance in the worst bowl game ever played. It's all sunshine and roses compared to that.
However, that does make for an obvious Big Question. SI.com's Stewart Mandel goes on and answers it:
Is Beckman the right man for the Illini?
Answering that will admittedly take longer than one spring. Still, the Illini's new coach, who spent the past three seasons at Toledo, is a bit of an enigma. He didn't come in and set the Big Ten on fire like Meyer or Hoke. He has a defensive background, but his Toledo teams were known for their prolific offenses. In Champaign, Beckman inherits talented junior quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase, but faces an immediate challenge upgrading Illinois' rushing attack. Perhaps rising sophomore tailback Donovonn Young will benefit from Beckman's spread attack...
Beckman's still a MAC man at heart, as evidenced by his wide-open offense and his insistence on speed in all things, even in showing up to stuff. Incumbent Scheelhaase and Reilly O’Toole will have an open competition for the starting gig, Beckman says.
Elsewhere, the great personnel concern is replacing defensive end Whitney Mercilus, who led the country in sacks. Returning linebacker Jonathan Brown and lineman Michael Buchanan combined for 13.5 sacks last year, and it's kind of amazing Illinois was so mediocre even with that pass rush, which helped their defense rank No. 7 in the country. Speaking of defense, linebacker Justin Staples will miss game time due to a DUI arrest last month.
If the rest of the D can approach last year's effort (despite losing four of their top 10 tacklers) while Beckman gets the offense moving, Illinois could be a fun team to watch this year.
The latest ACC team to start up spring practice also happens to be the defending ACC champion. The Clemson Tigers take up arms Wednesday, with their spring game scheduled on the very crowded April 14.
The Tigers aren't without questions, and not just because they gave up 70 points to the West Virginia Mountaineers in their last game. On defense, Brent Venables from the Oklahoma Sooners takes over as coordinator, while Andre Branch and Brandon Thompson are gone to the NFL Draft, and the offense must replace the nation's reigning Mackey Award winner, Dwayne Allen.
It's still a very young defense, which sounds sort of horrifying when you think about how last year ended. But that could be a good thing. Fresh slates! Dabo Swinney, naturally, is pretty upbeat, despite linebacker Tony Steward seeing the NCAA deny his request for a medical redshirt. (Former NFL tight end Wesley Walls' son Colton Walls, a reserve linebacker, is leaving the team.)
The offense shouldn't cause quite as many worries, as Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins return, along with very rich coordinator Chad Morris. Offensive line will be the biggest point of fretting, as it's also mighty inexperienced. If a patched-together front line can give Boyd time to operate, Clemson could be right back to getting in really exciting shootouts that end in improbable fashion, which is what almost all of us want out of Clemson games, Clemson fans excluded.
For more Tigers football, visit Clemson blog Shakin' The Southland.
Less than one week in, Rich Rodriguez has his first crisis at Arizona. Four players, including two possible starters, were arrested in a brawl at a party.
The Alabama Crimson Tide will be without running back Eddie Lacy and wide receiver Duron Carter during spring practice, Nick Saban announced Tuesday. Lacy is out while recovering from turf toe surgery, and offensive lineman Arie Kouandjio. Carter remains suspended, as do fellow receivers Michael Bowman and Ronald Carswell.
Lacy is expected to take over the starting job in the wake of Trent Richardson, which is a very powerful wake indeed. He obtained 805 yards from scrimmage last year despite missing time due to injury. Jalston Fowler and Dee Hart, who was injured for the 2011 campaign, should fill in.
Neither Bowman nor Carswell has made much of an impact on the Tide, with no stats between them that I'm able to discover. Carter, however, is the player who transferred from the Ohio St. Buckeyes by way of a junior college, all due to academic issues. He got as far as the 'Bama practice field after enrolling 2011, but never got beyond that.
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets bring spring football March 26, but they'll have to do it without one of their best players. Kelly Quinlan reports running back Orwin Smith will miss the practice period after undergoing offseason toe surgery. Smith plays Georgia Tech's A-back position, which finds him on the wing taking pitches and laying blocks.
Orwin Smith out for the spring after toe surgery— Kelly Quinlan (@Kelly_Quinlan) March 6, 2012
In 2011, Smith led all Tech running backs in rushing yardage with 615, averaging more than 10 yards per carry. He also finished second on the team with 306 receiving yards. With Roddy Jones and Embry Peeples also moving on, the Jackets' speed back depth chart lacks experience for the time being.
The Missouri Tigers are entering sort of an important spring practice period. And not just because they're changing their logo stuff to look less like the Michigan Wolverines*. This spell, which ends with the April 14 spring game, is the last football activity Tigers players will undergo in an official capacity as members of the Big 12. When they convene in the summer, they'll officially be SEC players.
Gary Pinkel has been talking a lot about ramping the program up to SEC standards, and quickly:
"From a recruiting standpoint; marketing standpoint; facilities standpoint, budget standpoint," he said. "All those areas, that's the transition area."
One thing he can worry a little less about: his quarterback. He says James Franklin has taken over offseason workouts, following in the lead of Blaine Gabbert, Brad Smith and Chase Daniel. The rising junior, who could be only the second-most newsworthy SEC behind the fiery Vanderbilt Commodores coach, is in position to be one of the SEC's three or so best quarterbacks in his debut year.
The Tigers should still be able to score in the SEC East, though perhaps not as frequently as they did in the Big 12. But is their defense up to league standards? Defensive line is Mizzou's primary concern this spring, with starters Dominique Hamilton and Terrell Resonno both departing. Sheldon Richardson and Lucas Vincent should have chances at the jobs.
The defensive strength is at linebacker, where all three starters return after Will Ebner was granted a fifth year of eligibility.
* My brother-in-law is a Mizzou fan in Big Ten country. He says he gets a lot of compliments from Michigan fans for his Tigers gear.
What's going on in college football Tuesday? No big deal, just the possible No. 1 team in the country taking up spring ball. Not all that important. The USC Trojans begin their quest to put national title No. 11 back on the board, working through 15 closed practices leading up to their April 14 spring game.
The primary issue for the Trojans: find someone to replace left tackle Matt Kalil, who'll be a top-10 pick in the NFL Draft after leaving school early. Someone has to protect Matt Barkley, a Heisman favorite who came back to win a championship. Aundrey Walker, a sophomore, will get the first shot at the job, but Kevin Graf looms.
Lane Kiffin also has to work in a trio of new coaches, including new wide receivers chief, Tee Martin. The former title-winning quarterback of the Tennessee Volunteers, Martin headed to L.A. by way of the Kentucky Wildcats. He'll have perhaps the nation's best collection of receiving talent to work with, though the Oklahoma Sooners and Arkansas Razorbacks could make a case.
Robert Woods and Marqise Lee are back, as is George Farmar, who returns to receiver after spending a year at running back. The move does make for a thin backfield, especially after Amir Carlisle's transfer to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
On defense, the group to watch is the secondary, where Nickell Robey and T.J. McDonald are expected to star and one cornerback job is up for grabs. Someone will have to replace rusher Nick Perry and defensive tackle Da'John Harris, among others.
Spring football is now happening for the BYU Cougars, who've yet to set a spring game date. Bronco Mendenhall's squad is already racked with injuries, with 14 players expected to miss spring ball and more than a dozen players needing surgery during the offseason, including star linebacker Kyle Van Noy.
Most of those injuries, however, affect depth more than the starting lineup. The unit that will see the most turnover this year should be the secondary, where outgoing safety Travis Uale and cornerback Corby Eason have given way to quite a competition, says the Herald Extra:
Riley Nelson is your starting quarterback, with Jake Heaps' transfer to the Kansas Jayhawks clearing up what's been a congested spot for some time now. Nelson clearly outperformed Heaps in 2011, but dealt with injury and had a couple of bad games during the middle of the year.
Regarding Van Noy, who led the Cougars in tackles for loss, sacks and interceptions, and who finished second in tackles despite being hurt mid-season, Mendenhall had this to say to the Deseret News:
He's really tough. He didn't say a word. He was hurt in the TCU game and just expected it to get better. He kept playing and playing. He went into the off-season and expected it to keep getting better. Eventually it just started hurting to the point that they did an MRI and found a labrum tear. But there will be time for him to get back and with plenty of time before fall camp to be ready.
For more on Cougars football, visit BYU blog Vanquish The Foe.
It was at a practice at tiny Glenville State College in West Virginia that Rich Rodriguez invented the spread offense that's defined college football schematics for the past decade or so. Hey, look! Rich Rodriguez is running practice again! Wonder what he'll come up with this time?
The Arizona Wildcats begin spring ball on March 5, meaning Rodriguez is set to coach college ball for the first time since Michigan's 2011 Gator Bowl. He inherits a team with talent, a program with a blank slate and a fan base with realistic expectations -- we'll hope.
Task No. 1 for Rodriguez: get quarterback Matt Scott ready to roll. The redshirt senior seems well-suited to operating the coach's run-heavy spread style, and, well ... he'll kind of have to be, for the time being. The Arizona Daily Star runs through the QB depth chart:
Wide-receiver-turned-quarterback Richard Morrison will back Scott up during the spring, with walk-ons Tyler D'Amore and Alex Cappellini competing for the No. 3 spot.
Rodriguez said he expects incoming freshmen Javelle Allen and Josh Kern to push Scott once they enroll this summer.
Arizona Desert Swarm expects Morrison to return to receiver once the depth chart gets shored up.
And as Pac-12 blog Pacific Takes notes in its Arizona preview, Zona will also have to adjust to Jeff Casteel's 3-3-5 defense. Most of the team's talent is on that side of the ball, so for now, defense could be the relative strength, especially since Rodriguez' offenses have historically taken multiple years to ramp up to full potency:
So for the time being, defense might have to be Arizona's calling card. There are a handful of losses, including its top two tackers in senior linebackers Derek Earls and Paul Vassallo, sure, but it has some depth, especially in the secondary, which will be increasingly important under the team's new 3-3-5 scheme.
Safety Marquis Flowers, who finished with 68 total tackles and one interceptions a season ago is back. Others such as cornerback Shaquille Richardson, safety Tra'Mayne Bondurant and cornerback Jourdon Grandon round out what might prove to be the team's best overall unit.
The Oklahoma Sooners begin spring football Monday, with the Red and White Game scheduled for April 14, a quite popular day for various Color and Color games around the country. Primary concerns include the replacement of defensive coordinator Brent Venables with Tim Kish, the return of Mike Stoops, preparing for Landry Jones' eleventy-fifth year as starter, as well as patching together a running game.
Here's the complete OU spring practice schedule, by the way.
Kish senses excitement in Norman, especially on the part of Stoops the Younger. Since leaving to take over the Arizona Wildcats, the Big 12 has only gotten more explosive, Mike Stoops says, and two new additions aren't likely to slow things down at all:
"This is one of the best offensive conferences in the country," he said. "With the addition of TCU and West Virginia, it's only going to get that much better."
Excellent Oklahoma blog Crimson And Cream Machine previews the offensive side of the ball, finding scads of wide receiver talent in the wake of all-time leading NCAA receiver Ryan Broyles' exit, noting four returning starters along the offensive line, and hoping for a running back to emerge despite former walk-on Dominique Whaley's season-ending ankle injury.
For more on OU football, visit Oklahoma blog Crimson And Cream Machine.
Oregon Ducks wide receiver Josh Huff was pulled over for driving under the influence of intoxicants early Saturday morning.
Outgoing Virginia Cavaliers quarterback Ross Metheny will transfer to play for Sun Belt upstart South Alabama, he said Friday. Even though the Jaguars are joining FBS this season, he should still be able to play right away, as he's set to graduate soon. He'll enter USA (USA! USA!) with two years of eligibility left. The Jags have six quarterbacks on their spring roster, including 2011 starter C.J. Bennett.
The Washington Post has a quote from Metheny:
"Obviously, it's a tough decision for me," Metheny said. "It's a life-changing decision, really. It's a bold move that you've got to be willing to take, but with that being said, I wouldn't leave the University of Virginia without graduating from here. . . .
"My heart and soul is here at U-Va. I'm always going to be a Cavalier and a Wahoo, and that's another reason why it's important to me to graduate from here as a football alumni. That way when I'm 50 years old I can come back and kick it with my lifelong friends that I've made with my teammates here. That will mean a lot to me."
Metheny saw the field some as a freshman, but only got a handful of snaps in 2011 as a sophomore. He was rated a three-star quarterback coming out of high school by Rivals, with an offer also from the Connecticut Huskies.
For more on Hoos football, visit Virginia blog Streaking The Lawn.
Virginia's losing a trio of players heading into spring practice.
Jordan Whiting's return to Louisville puts Ohio State in good shape to absorb NCAA scholarship reductions.
The LSU Tigers were set to begin spring practices Thursday, but have pushed the starting date back one day to accommodate for new defensive backs coach Corey Raymond, returning Wednesday to LSU from the Nebraska Cornhuskers. LSU begins its quest to win a second straight SEC title and could enter the season ranked No. 1, but replacing all those quarterbacks will provide a month-long story line, no matter how poorly one of the outgoing guys actually didn't do at the Combine.
Also, LSU women's soccer star goalie Mo Isom told our own And The Valley Shook that she plans to try out for a spot on the team*. She wants to play defensive tackle. No, that's a lie.
I've been training since January of this year! I had it in my mind, and I approached some of the players I know, and they were so enthusiastic. And then I talked to some of the coaching staff, because of course I wanted to be in their good graces. I was expecting to see some resistance but all the doors were open to me, and everybody has been so excited, which is so great. I started working out with the team some this summer, which wound up helping as some cross-training for soccer, and I kept working on my kicking in my spare time. Then this fall I went through the walk-on tryouts, just to kind of see what it was like, and I kicked a 51-yarder. Obviously I was going to finish up in soccer, but I will be back to try out again this spring.
Elsewhere on the roster, that running-back-by-committee could use a big year from running back Michael Ford, who ATVS calls "the most maddening offensive talent on this team."
* Since everything that happens at LSU somehow turns into a fun video on YouTube, expect this kind of thing:
The TCU Horned Frogs have become known as one of college football's consistently good defensive teams. 2011 was their first season out of the top 10 scoring defenses since 2005, and that was thanks in part to Robert Griffin III completely losing his mind in Week 1.
But the Big 12 is quite a step up from the Mountain West and TCU's many other recent conferences, especially when it comes to throwing around the old oblong. Will the Frogs' secondary struggle to keep up with their new wide-open league, given the loss of top safety Devin Johnson to a drug arrest and safety Danny Heiss moved down to linebacker?
Gary Patterson said he has a group of wide receivers who are as talented as any in the Big 12. And that will help prepare the TCU secondary for life in the Big 12.
"If we can cover our group, we'll be able to cover anybody in the country," Patterson said. "I don't know if we'll play anybody with a faster group of wideouts."
Patterson's crew has proved itself against good offenses. In the past two years, TCU has beaten Kellen Moore and Griffin, to name a pair.
Few days late on this one, but all right: the Florida Gators have announced a starting date for their 2012 spring practice session. March 14 it is, with open practices on the 16 and 17 coinciding with a coaches' clinic. This leaves the Alabama Crimson Tide as the only major program in the country to declare an opening date, far as I can tell, and there are probably many easy Alabama jokes to make about that, as always.
The Gators will break in new offensive coordinator Brent Pease, determine whether Jacoby Brissett or Jeff Driskel (or a surprise!) will take over for John Brantley, begin sorting through early enrollees from the No. 3 recruiting class, and try not to finish in third place in the SEC East any more. Florida's spring game is set for April 7.
Potential Miami starter Stephen Morris won't participate fully in spring drills after undergoing back surgery.
N.C. State's linebacker corps will be all-new in 2012, now that D.J. Green has been suspended for the entire year.
Four teams will join the FBS ranks this season: South Alabama, Texas State, UMass and University of Texas-San Antonio. The first two have already hit the field for spring practice, so why don't we go ahead and check in on the new guys?
Jaguars coach Joey Jones has used the word "decent" to describe South Alabama's chances in the Sun Belt, though they won't have a chance just yet to win a conference title if they happen to be better than decent. USA plays against Sun Belt teams this year, but that run won't count toward conference standings just yet. They also have games against the Mississippi St. Bulldogs, Hawaii Warriors and the N.C. State Wolfpack. It's those Sun Belt games that don't matter, however, that matter the most in 2012.
In San Marcos, Texas State is quite aware of what a special spring practice period this is:
"We have thought about this for a long time, but I hadn't really put it in perspective that today was the first practice as an official FBS member. But that's exciting the think about," Bobcat head football coach Dennis Franchione said. "In actuality, that wasn't my thought process. My thought process was about how do I get this team better with blocking, tackling an teaching our offense and defense? But it is an exciting period in Bobcat football there's no doubt about that."
Why yes, that's the Dennis Franchione of Alabama and Texas A&M fame. Among his top concerns: choosing a quarterback. Returning starter-like items Tyler Arndt and Sean Rutherford are joined by somewhere between two and five others on the depth chart. Also, rebuilding an offensive line that's lost several top players.
The Bobcats open with the Houston Cougars and even host the Texas Tech Red Raiders on Sept. 8. They'll also play the Navy Midshipmen and Nevada Wolf Pack, along with new WAC (and maybe Mount USA!) rivals.
The TCU Horned Frogs' football stadium was torn down after last season, and is being constructed anew. It is very pretty. To metaphor a metaphor, let's note TCU's football roster has also been rent asunder and must be rebuilt. It's so easy!
The losses, due to the great Fort Worth drug caper of February 2012, are heavy. Starters LB Tanner Brock, NT D.J. Yendrey, and S Devin Johnson were all arrested, as was potential starter OT Ty Horn. I took a crack at the depth chart damage here, but it's safe to say Gary Patterson has on his hard hat, which he never takes off anyway. I'm sort of scared of Gary Patterson.
Patterson's first move, as Frogs O' War notes: giving some walk-ons a shot at linebacker, one of the thinnest positions considering that Tank Carder has also moved on. Big Sam Carter has taken over for Johnson for the time being, while fellow safety Danny Heiss has slid down to LB.
Stefan Stevenson views the tackle spots on each side of the ball as the biggest competitions, with only two offensive line positions good to go and a whole lot of humanity battling to replace Yendrey.
The Texas Longhorns quarterback depth chart, among the nation's most confounding in 2011, appears to have narrowed itself to only two candidates for the coming season. After seeing last season's opening day starter, Garrett Gilbert, benched and eventually transfer to the SMU Mustangs, primary duties are likely to fall to either Case McCoy or David Ash.
It's not out of the question that the two could split the role, as they did for much of last year. Mack Brown says the two will need to be prepared to play interchangeably:
"We don't care who walks out first at any position today," said Brown, who does not plan to release an official depth chart until August. "You really need two quarterbacks. Everybody talks about the guy and the star. We have.... had the guy and the star, and then he gets hurt, he's sick and we lose a game. So we have really got to put an emphasis on being two-deep and making sure that we improve in that area."
Rising sophomore Ash gives the Horns a dual-threat option, while rising junior McCoy was clearly the better of the two last year in almost every passing category.
FSU running back James Wilder Jr. has been arrested after attempting to prevent a law enforcement officer from arresting his girlfriend.
Boston College's Montel Harris will have to miss still more football due to his lingering knee injury.
The 2012 college football season is threatening to leave you behind if you don't hurry up and read some things about spring practice.
The TCU Horned Frogs will be without at least four players due to the freshly-busted Fort Worth drug ring. Three of them are definite major losses while the other looked ready to take on a significant role as a junior. Based on TCU's most recent depth chart (the Poinsettia Bowl), here's a look at who might have to step up.
The easiest loss to tabulate is that of linebacker Tanner Brock, who didn't play much in 2011 due to an injury, but was the team's leading tackler in 2010. Kenny Cain held down the job last year and led the team in tackles, so little should be expected to change there. The loss of senior middle linebackers Tank Carder and Kris Gardner remains the bigger concern, but it might've been nice to see what Brock and Cain could do on the field at the same time.
Replacing defensive tackle D.J. Yendrey might not be as disastrous as it seems. He started every game after being named All-Mountain West in 2010, leading all interior linemen in tackles, and he's backed by rising sophomores Jon Lewis and David Johnson. But the two played an active role in the line rotation combining for 44 tackles. Incoming freshman Chuck Hunter, a 295-pound four-star, could see playing time.
Devin Johnson didn't start the entire year, but finished the year strong, producing 47 tackles. TCU runs a five-DB set as its base defense. This means defensive back depth is important, you see. Big rising sophomore Sam Carter (220 pounds) is listed next on the depth chart at strong safety. He played in bits of 11 games as a redshirt freshman.
Ty Horn was listed as Robert Deck's backup at right tackle, but Deck is a departing senior, one of four seniors listed on the two-deep starting line, including starting left tackle Jeff Olson. Horn wasn't a sure thing to take over one of the two tackle spots, but he'd have to be considered a front-runner. James Dunbar and Nykiren Wellington are the only tackles left on the most recent depth chart. TCU brought in four offensive line signees this class, and they'll probably need at least a couple to suit up.
Florida tight end A.C. Leonard has been arrested on charges of simple domestic battery, according to a report.
The names of the four TCU Horned Frogs football players who were arrested for their alleged involvement in a drug ring of some sort have been released. Linebacker Tanner Brock, defensive tackle D.J. Yendrey, safety Devin Johnson and offensive tackle Ty Horn. All four were expelled, as were the other 13 students who were arrested as part of the six-month, inter-departmental investigation -- which isn't yet over.
All four players would've been quite significant contributors in 2012. Yendrey led all Horned Frogs interior linemen in tackles in 2011, adding 5.5 tackles for loss and three sacks. Brock played sparingly in 2011 due to injury, but led the team in tackles in 2010. Horn was expected to compete for a starting job in 2012, with three senior starters departing. And Johnson finished 2011 with 49 tackles and three pass breakups.
All except Horn were rising seniors.
Auburn could be without automatic red zone touchdown Philip Lutzenkirchen during spring ball.
Stanford linebacker Shayne Skov was arrested for DUI in late January.
We're only weeks away from Pac-12 spring practice season, with spring games following not too long after.
Does your Big 12 school care about football? If it does, it's probably already got its spring game scheduled up.
The sporting world does not end after March Madness, ACC fan. Spring football dates are falling into place as we speak.
Not sure where you think you're going, but it's almost 2012 football season. Big Ten spring games are being scheduled left and right.
SEC football is already just a month or so away, with spring practice starting soon and spring games shortly after.
Clemson will head into spring practice without one of its most productive defenders, but there's good news.
Florida defensive tackle Leon Orr faces pot charges after a January 10 arrest.
Florida State linebacker Arrington Jenkins has been arrested for a felony motorcycle theft; it's the Seminoles' second grand theft arrest in three days.
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