Posted on: February 22, 2012 11:32 am
 

Spring Practice Primer: Texas



Posted by Tom Fornelli


Spring football is in the air, and with our Spring Practice Primers the Eye On College Football Blog gets you up to speed on what to look for on campuses around the country this spring. Today we look at Texas.

Spring Practice Starts: Thursday, February 23

Spring Game: Sunday, April 1

Three Things To Look For:

1. Who will be quarterback? It's becoming somewhat of an annual tradition in Austin that the Longhorns must have a quarterback competition heading into spring practice. Much like last season, David Ash and Case McCoy will be battling with one another for the starting job, though this year incoming freshman Connor Brewer will join the fray as well. Whichever quarterback ends up winning the job, the Longhorns will be better served to decide sooner rather than later and head into the summer with a clear-cut number one.

2. Expansion of the offensive playbook. Last year Bryan Harsin had to deal with not only implementing a new playbook at Texas, but with two quarterbacks who didn't seem capable of fully utilizing that playbook. This spring we shall see if Harsin and the Longhorns plan on expanding it or further driving the basics home. Obviously, the quicker a quarterback emerges, the more Harsin will be able to do.

3. Can the defense improve? Unlike Harsin, Manny Diaz had a bit more established talent to work with on defense in his first season as defensive coordinator. That being said, Diaz will likely begin implementing new things in his second year as well, which means that a defense that was already the best unit in the Big 12 last season could get even better and more unpredictable in 2012.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the opening kick of the year all the way through the offseason, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview.

Get CBSSports.com College Football updates on Facebook
Posted on: February 22, 2012 9:41 am
Edited on: February 22, 2012 3:17 pm
 

Danny O'Brien free to transfer to Vanderbilt



Posted by Chip Patterson


Former Maryland quarterback Danny O'Brien will no longer be restricted from transferring to Vanderbilt, the school announced on Wednesday.

The Baltimore Sun first reported Wednesday that Danny O'Brien, offensive lineman Max Garcia, and linebacker Mario Rowson are all no longer restricted from accepting aid from Vanderbilt to play football. When the trio was released from their scholarship, they were reportedly restricted from transferring to any future ACC opponents, West Virginia, Temple, and Vanderbilt.

More On O'Brien

The school released an official statement from head coach Randy Edsall.

“While at first I thought it was important to limit the institutions to which they could transfer, I have since reconsidered my decision” Edsall said in a statement. “At the end of the day, I want what’s best for these guys and I wish them well in their futures.

“As a program we are looking forward to putting this distraction behind us and to moving forward. Spring practice opens on March 10 and we can’t wait to get back out on the field.”

All of those schools, except the Commodores, are slated to appear on Maryland's schedule in the near future. Vanderbilt was reportedly added because of concerns with head coach James Franklin, the former offensive coordinator at Maryland under Ralph Friedgen.

“I am pleased to be able to move on and pursue a graduate degree and continue my athletic career at the school of my choosing.” O’Brien said in a statement. “I would like to thank Coach Edsall for his support throughout this process.”

According to the Baltimore Sun, Maryland believes that O'Brien had been in contact with Franklin, possibly violating NCAA tampering rules. The school has opted to allow the three players to transfer, but has filed an official complaint against Vanderbilt through the ACC.

“We have been informed by the Southeastern Conference that the Atlantic Coast Conference has filed a formal complaint involving Vanderbilt University football on behalf of one of its members," Vanderbilt vice chancellor of athletics David Williams said in an official statement. "We are complying with SEC and Vanderbilt procedures and are conducting an investigation on the matter.”

James Franklin denied tampering allegations in an apperance on Nashville radio last week.

“I don’t like innuendos and comments being made about tampering and things like that,” Franklin told 104.5 The Zone. “You guys know me. I’m the type of guy, I’m going to have relationships with my players. I hope to have relationships with the guys that play for me for the rest of my life.

“But the fact that people would make accusations that we tampered or did this or did that, again, I’m just going to defend our program and defend our character and how we do things. But I think it’s ridiculous to think that I’m not going to have relationships with these kids after I leave places.”

In addition to Vanderbilt, Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Stanford have all been listed as possible landing spots for O'Brien. Last week, The Washington Post reported that Mississippi, Arizona, South Florida, and East Carolina have all shown interest in O'Brien immediately following the transfer announcement.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the opening kick of the year all the way through the offseason, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview.

Get CBSSports.com College Football updates on Facebook   
Posted on: February 21, 2012 9:35 pm
 

Spring Practice Primer: Boston College



Posted by Chip Patterson


Spring football is in the air, and with our Spring Practice Primers the Eye On College Football Blog gets you up to speed on what to look for on campuses around the country this spring. Today we look at Boston College.

Spring Practice Started: Saturday, February 18

Spring Game: Saturday, March 31

Three Things To Look For:

1. Replacing Luke Kuechly. Arguably one of the most dominant and decorated defensive players in recent Boston College history, Kuechly's early departure to the NFL has left a huge hole in the unit. Not only did Kuechly put up nation-leading tackle numbers for the last three seasons, but he was a swarming ball-hawk, exhibiting sideline-to-sideline speed and awareness that helped prevent the home run offensive play. That responsibility will fall now on sophomore Sean Duggan and junior Steele Vivitto - who likely will play outside linebacker. Kuechly was a leader by example for Boston College, and setting that same tone - both on the field and in the film room - is a responsibility to be claimed this spring.

2. With Montel Harris shut down, what is the identity of the offense? First-year offensive coordinator Doug Martin, formerly with New Mexico State and Kent State, has seen on film how the Eagles offense sputtered without Harris in 2011. It only took one practice for Harris to re-aggravate that left knee injury that kept him out of 10 contests last season, and questioning his availability for an entire 2012 season is a legitimate concern. Martin will have both Chase Rettig and Josh Bordner in competition for snaps at quarterback this spring, and he will have the (unfortunate) opportunity of creating his Montel Harris-less backup plan this spring.

3. Can Spaziani get back on track? Boston College may not leap off the page as an ACC power house to many, but until 2011 the Eagles had shown a constancy that that only a few of their fellow league members have displayed. The Eagles went to 12 straight bowl games from 1999-2010 before going 4-8 and missing the postseason. In recent years, bowl trips have helped cool "Frank Spaziani hot seat" talk, but now he needs results. The responsibility will eventually fall on Spaziani to get this new coaching staff on the same page this spring. The offensive staff for 2012 includes new faces at four of the five positions, including offensive coordinator Doug Martin. Improving the offense, which ranked dead last in scoring and total offense in the ACC in 2011, will be essential to getting the Eagles back to their bowling ways in 2012.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the opening kick of the year all the way through the offseason, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview.

Get CBSSports.com College Football updates on Facebook   
Posted on: February 21, 2012 5:17 pm
 

Mizzou increases ticket prices for SEC move

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The biggest change for Missouri's athletics programs and its football team can be summed simply: they're moving from the Big 12 to the SEC. But there's a ton of other smaller changes that go along with that big change, and Tiger fans and boosters are going to feel several of them in the wallet.

That's the takeaway from this open letter from Missouri athletic director Mike Alden to "Tiger Nation" addressing the "5 basic areas on which we see those challenges" arising in the SEC. Among those are "Facilities," "Operational Costs," and other areas which will require an increase in the athletic budget.

Towards that end, Alden announced that the Tigers would implement "an increase in ticket prices in football across the board," faculty and students excepted. Those prices will fall in the "middle of the pack" for the SEC.

Missouri will also add seating to their south end zone -- including moving the band into the "southeast corner of the student section" -- and increasing the level of "minimum donations" to the Tiger Scholarship Fund. Season ticket holders grandfathered in from before required donations will also now have to make some level of donation to keep those tickets, beginning in 2013.

In short: SEC membership doesn't come with a free bumper sticker, but if it did, it would be "Expensive but worth it."

The financial effort might be the most immediate fallout from the SEC decision, but Alden's letter also announced several more:

  • The Tigers will debut their "re-branding" of their Nike-produced uniforms, which will "focus much more on our [Tiger] logo than the 'block M.'" We are both excited and afraid.
  • Faurot Field will undergo some major changes, including a new artificial turf surface (at a cost of $1.5 million) and a shift from "Missouri" to "Mizzou" in each end zone. And of course, the SEC logo will adorn the field as well.
  • Tickets allotted for visiting fans will be increased from approximately 3,800 to 6,000, because, well, to put it simply, Georgia is going to want more than 3,800 tickets.
HT: TeamSpeedKills.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the opening kick of the year all the way through the offseason, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview.


Get CBSSports.com College Football updates on Facebook   
Posted on: February 21, 2012 2:52 pm
 

Montel Harris (knee) out for spring practice

Posted by Chip Patterson

Boston College is just one workout into spring practice, and their most valuable offensive asset has already been shut down. Head coach Frank Spaziani announced on Tuesday that senior running back Montel Harris will not participate in the rest of spring practice due to a re-aggravation of the left knee injury that held him out of all but two games in 2011.

Harris participated in Saturday's first practice, but complained of soreness afterwards. The school's all-time leader in career rushing yards (3,735) and carries (786) underwent surgery on his left knee last August, and was granted a medical hardship waiver to participate in 2012.

Harris was cleared by doctors to participate in spring practice last week, but Spaziani admitted to ESPN.com's Heather Dinich there was concern about the possibility of re-injury.  The head coach indicated the focus of Harris' spring would be getting healthy for the season opener in September.

After Harris underwent the initial procedure on his left knee, the 2011 Preseason ACC Player of the Year was thought to be sidelined for only four to six weeks. The re-aggravation after just one practice should cause major concern for Spaziani and the rest of the Eagles' coaching staff.

Harris is the ACC's active leader in rushing yards and carries.  He is just 868 yards from overtaking NC State running back Ted Brown as the league's all-time rushing leader.  At ACC Media Day last July, the popular thought was that the record would be broken in 2011.  Even with an extra year of eligibility, the focus has moved away from 100-yard games to staying 100 percent healthy.  

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the opening kick of the year all the way through the offseason, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview.

Get CBSSports.com College Football updates on Facebook   
Posted on: February 21, 2012 2:02 pm
 

VIDEO: Barnhart on Arkansas-LSU

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

From a national perspective, the big news to come out of Arkansas's final 2012 schedule was the home-and-home series with Rutgers, the first time an SEC team has ever agreed to visit the Piscataway, N.J. school. But closer to home, the key development was the Razorbacks moving their annual "Battle for the Boot" rivalry game against LSU from its traditional home at Little Rock's War Memorial Stadium to their on-campus stadium on Fayetteville.

In this video, CBS Sports' Tony Barnhart visits the Tim Brando Show to discuss the twin reasons -- more seating, and better recruiting --that "the LSU-Arkansas game will never go back to Little Rock," despite the near-20 years' worth of tradition there between the Hogs and Tigers:

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the opening kick of the year all the way through the offseason, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview.

Get CBSSports.com College Football updates on Facebook   
Posted on: February 21, 2012 1:12 pm
 

Kiffin blames youth for conflict with Meyer

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Urban Meyer isn't making a lot of friends in his new digs in the Big Ten, which makes it all the more ironic that he's on better terms than ever with his old SEC archenemy, Lane Kiffin.

Meyer told CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd recently that he and Kiffin "have conversations" and that each has apologized to the other over their conduct while at Florida and Tennessee, respectively. Those conversations were confirmed by Kiffin in a Tuesday interview with the Atlanta Jornal-Constitutionin which Kiffin blamed his behavior -- including smack talk aimed in Meyer's direction over the recruitment of Nu'Keese Richardson -- on the impetuousness of youth (emphasis added):

“Yeah, I’m glad Urban and I are where we are in our relationship. When you’re young, you make some mistakes. We’ve moved forward from that. Who would’ve guessed we are back at battling each other for recruits even though we’re a long ways away? I have tremendous respect for what Urban Meyer does.”

We'll take this opportunity to remind readers that Kiffin made his remarks about Richardson ("I love the fact that Urban had to cheat and still didn't get him") three whole years ago, when Kiffin was a mere 33 years of age--far from the grizzled, world-weary 36-year old he is now. 

But snark aside, even if Kiffin isn't actually that much older than he was during his Volunteer tenure, his relationship with Meyer seems to show that he has gotten more mature. Which is not to say he's lost any of his talent for clever remarks in front of a microphone, saying of the Vols' notorious loss to Kentucky (and his reputation among Vol fans),  "I’m sure somebody somewhere blamed me for that."

A Lane Kiffin with all of his old coaching acumen and overall shrewdness, but without the petty childish distractions and torrent of secondary violations? Maybe that doesn't have a lot to do with USC's likely preseason No. 2 ranking ... but it's sure not hurting, either.

Kiffin's Trojans will start spring practice March 6. See when your team starts their camp or plays their spring game with our handy database of spring dates 

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the opening kick of the year all the way through the offseason, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview.

Get CBSSports.com College Football updates on Facebook   

Posted on: February 20, 2012 7:04 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2012 7:05 pm
 

PHOTO: Buckeye poster lists Michigan's majors

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

We've already learned that Urban Meyer has reclaimed the "Team Up North" euphemism for his Buckeyes' hated rivals at Michigan, possibly in response to Brady Hoke's "Ohio" euphemism for the school and team its alumni will be quick to tell you is the Ohio State University. But it turns out Meyer is interested in getting in his jabs at the Wolverines in more ways than just avoiding the name.

This is a sign that appeared in the front of OSU's Woody Hayes Athletic Center last week:

Yes, that's a list of majors for Ohio State's football players on the left, and those for the "Team Up North" on the right, with the (alleged) number of Wolverines in General Studies (and Engineering, Biology, and Business at the bottom) having been highlighted. 

We are not going to wade into the merits of Meyer's argument, one we have zero doubt is already being waged by both Ohio State and Michigan fans in various corners of the Internet as we speak. More important from our perspective is that this is an argument Meyer wants to wage, too--that he is willing to tell visitors to the WHAC (which notably include both recruits and their parents) that the "Team Up North" isn't challenging its players academically. (Incidentally, Meyer wouldn't be the first coach to make this exact argument; former Wolverine great Jim Harbaugh did the same during his tenure at Stanford.) 

It's one thing to talk about a rival as the biggest game of the year, call them by a different name, or even talk a little smack about a winning streak. But to essentially call out another school's academic handling of its players in semi-public fashion is something else. We're neither condemning nor condoning the poster; as we said, we'll leave to that to the partisans on either side.

What we can say is that whether it's Meyer, Hoke, new Michigan signee Ondre Pipkins or anyone else on either side of the rivalry, the heat between the Wolverines and Buckeyes is rapidly approaching that of the Hayes-Schembecler glory years ... and as fans of spicy college football, that much, at least, we can endorse wholeheartedly.

Photo by Kevin Noon. HT: Eleven Warriors.

It's been a busy couple of days around Columbus and Ann Arbor; Gordon Gee and his magic mouth are at it again, the Wolverines just scored the biggest single recruiting weekend in the country this year, and Meyer's Gainesville home is for sale.    

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the opening kick of the year all the way through the offseason, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview.

Get CBSSports.com College Football updates on Facebook   

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com