Posted on: November 3, 2010 6:03 pm

Miami won't have Damien Berry either

Posted by Tom Fornelli

So when you've already made the announcement that you'll be starting a freshman at quarterback in this week's game thanks to the concussion suffered by your starter, odds are that you're going to want to lean a bit more on your ground game.  Which is probably what Randy Shannon had been hoping to do to help out Stephen Morris against Maryland when he fills in for Jacory Harris. 

Which is a pretty solid plan to have, if it weren't for one small problem.  That running back you were hoping to lean on a bit more this week?  Well, he can't play either.  After practice on Wednesday Shannon said that Damien Berry will miss this week's game as well, saying that he's been banged up for the last few weeks.

“You  just can’t keep going and going and going. It gets tough on him,” Shannon said. “We’re not going to make it get worse than what he is when he’s already kind of nicked up. We’ve got backs right now, so the numbers are OK.”

The 'Canes do have other backs, and Lamar Miller and Mike James will have to team up to account for Berry's absence.  Berry had a bad game against Virginia, but had rushed for 100 yards in Miami's previous four games, and leads the team with 690 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Posted on: November 3, 2010 12:36 pm
Edited on: November 3, 2010 12:37 pm

Randy Shannon doubts Jacory will play this week

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Well, it's another day of the week, which means it's time for your daily update on Miami quarterback Jacory Harris.

Harris got knocked out of the Hurricanes' loss to Virginia last week -- and if you haven't seen the hit, feel free to check it out -- and freshman Stephen Morris was taking snaps with the first team in practice this week.  Still, the possibility of Harris returning to play against Maryland hasn't been completely ruled out.

On Wednesday Randy Shannon said that Morris will start, as Harris was held out of practice again, but he could play if he's able to return to practice on Thursday.  Though Shannon doesn't seem too confident that's what will happen.

Shannon said that he "doubts [Harris] plays this week" and that there's a 75% chance that he won't. 

Which means that Morris will be making his first career start against a Maryland team that has played surprisingly well so far this season.  Though, to be fair, the Terps are 3-1 in the conference with those wins coming against Duke, Boston College and Wake Forest.

Not exactly the best the ACC has to offer.  Though, considering how poorly the Hurricanes played last week after Harris left the game, this trip to Miami may not be that much tougher.

Posted on: November 3, 2010 12:17 pm
Edited on: November 13, 2010 6:07 pm

Michigan loses another starter for the season

Posted by Tom Fornelli

They've always said that practice makes perfect, but in Ann Arbor the saying has probably undergone a couple modifications, especially if you are an experienced member of the Michigan secondary.  The statement then becomes something more like "practice makes the rest of your season end."

The Wolverines lost Troy Woolfolk earlier this season when he broke his ankle during practice, and now the team's only remaining corner that could be considered experienced, J.T. Floyd, is going to miss the rest of the season as well.

During his press conference on Wednesday, Rich Rodriguez said that while the x-rays on Floyd's ankle came back negative, they did show ligament damage, and Floyd will be out for the rest of the year.

Which is a huge blow to a defense that couldn't stop anybody as it is.  It's also a punch to the gut of Rodriguez, who is once again coming under fire as his team has continued the trend of winning early and then getting beat up on in conference play.  Losing Floyd isn't going to help the Wolverines win any games, which hurt Rodriguez's chances of returning next season.

Floyd is Michigan's leading tackler this season, and also leads the Big Ten in tackles in conference play, which gives you another idea of how big of an injury this is.  A defense that has shown it can't tackle anybody just lost the one player on the team who could.

Posted on: November 2, 2010 2:22 pm

Hogs vs. Commodores yields bad blood

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

49-14 Vanderbilt losses like the one the Commodores suffered Saturday at Arkansas haven't been that uncommon over the years. By the time the victor has finished padding their stats and the usual condescedning platitudes about the Vandy effort have been written, it's typically time to simply move on to the next potential 'Dore drubbing. (Up this week: Florida !)

But this has proven to be one blowout with surprisingly long -- and acrimnious -- legs. For one thing, the game has proven to be the final one of the year for key contributors on both sides, as both Razorback receiver Greg Childs and Commodore running back Warren Norman have been ruled out for the rest of the season with a patellar tendon injury and a dislocated right wrist , respectively. This space has already commented on the impact of the loss of Childs on the Hog attack, but Norman's injury could be an even greater blow for the already-struggling Commodore offense; the SEC leader in all-purpose yardage a year ago, Norman was Vandy's leading rusher, kickoff returner, ball-carrier, and touchdown-scorer.

But at least those injuries occurred during the normal run-of-play of the game (though Bobby Petrino has had to answer questions about why Childs was still playing in the fourth quarter of a three-touchdown game). Petrino is of the opinion that the same can't be said of the knock taken by freshman Arkansas defensive tackle Byran Jones :


Petrino said Monday defensive tackle Byran Jones was injured on a “dirty, bad play” in the Razorbacks’ win over Vanderbilt Saturday.

Jones, a freshman, went down on the Commodores’ first offensive possession and didn’t return with an ankle injury. His status for this weekend’s game against South Carolina is uncertain.

“It was a bad-looking play,” Petrino said. “It’s a shame, because the guy blocked him and Byran took off running and the guy clipped him from behind on his ankle. Terrible way to get hurt because it was a dirty, bad play, and it’s unfortunate.
For their part, it's doubtful Vandy will be expressing too much symapthy. The Hogs were called for a pair of chop blocks during the game, and the 'Dors are claiming the rude reception in Fayetteville went well beyond the scoreboard :
Vanderbilt equipment manager Luke Wyatt confirmed that the two ball boys (college students) that the Commodores provided to work on the Arkansas sideline required protection after being verbally abused and physically pushed by a member of the Razorbacks' support staff in the early stages of the game.

Wyatt notified state troopers on the field of the situation at halftime to make sure they were not bothered or touched the rest of the way. Vanderbilt coaches are aware of the situation.
Coaches sniping at the opponents? Season-ending injuries? Chop blocks? State troopers called in to keep the ballboys safe? This is not your typical Vanderbilt rout. And after all of this, it's highly likely that next year's rematch in Nashville won't be either. It's rare that any Commodore game makes for appointment viewing, but that one just might.
Posted on: November 2, 2010 12:35 pm
Edited on: November 13, 2010 6:08 pm

Dan Persa should play against Penn State

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa has done just about everything for the Wildcats this season.  Not only does Persa rank second in the country in completion percentage (74.4%) and ninth in pass efficiency (162.7) but he also leads Northwestern in rushing with 360 yards.  Without Persa, the Wildcats aren't 6-2 and on their way back to another bowl game under Pat Fitzgerald.

There was some concern that Northwestern would have to take on Penn State this weekend without its lynchpin on offense, as Persa suffered a concussion during a win against Indiana last week.  According to Fitzgerald, though, there's no reason to worry as he "fully expects him to play" this weekend.  Still, before it can be made official, Persa will have to pass Northwestern's "post-concussion protocol" which is a series of tests he'll need to pass before being cleared.

The team plans on having him participate in non-contact drills on Tuesday and hopes to have him cleared to play on Thursday.

Persa may have some extra motivation to play this weekend as well, as he grew up a fan of Penn State only a few hours away from campus, and his mom graduated from the school.  When he was in high school the Nittany Lions didn't show much attention to him, so he may want to give them a hint on what they missed out on.

Posted on: November 2, 2010 11:45 am
Edited on: November 2, 2010 11:46 am

New Mexico loses QB to pumpkin-carving accident

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It's pretty hard not to feel a little sorry for the New Mexico football program.  It's even harder not to laugh at it.  The Lobos are 0-8 this season, and 1-19 over the last two years.  The only time we write about them here is when Mike Leach is saying he's not crazy enough to take over the program , or their current head coach is just crazy enough that you actually have to consider that he may have attacked a student reporter at a sports bar.   When that's not good enough, we write about New Mexico beat reporters who lose their jobs for emailing players and kind of suggesting they should quit the team.

So this story really shouldn't shock you in the least.  You should in no way be surprised to find out that the Lobos have lost a quarterback for the rest of the season due to a pumpkin-carving accident
New Mexico's unfathomably bad season took a turn for the worse before the Lobos left Albuquerque.

Part-time starting quarterback Brad Gruner sliced the pinkie on his throwing hand and required season-ending surgery.

The accident happened while carving a pumpkin.
Gruner was carving "Help" into the pumpkin when the accident happened.*  His loss won't be that big of a deal for New Mexico, as they've been using three other terribly ineffective quarterbacks this season in what was some kind of four-headed monster hell-bent on not winning football games.  In fact, anytime a pumpkin-carving accident can help get a player named Stump Godfrey on the field more, it's a wonderful thing.

*I assume this is what he was carving, anyway

Hat tip: SBNation

Posted on: November 1, 2010 4:46 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2010 4:50 pm

Arkansas loses WR Greg Childs for season

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Arkansas ' passing game took a major hit this weekend when Greg Childs , the Razorbacks' leading receiver both this season and last, suffered a season-ending knee injury . According to head coach Bobby Petrino , Childs injured the patellar tendon in his knee -- the same tendon that Notre Dame quarterback Dayne Crist ruptured the same day , incidentally -- and the surgery and rehab will sideline Childs for 4-6 months, or well past bowl season.

Some fans will likely wonder why Childs was even playing when he was injured; his injury occurred in the fourth quarter of a game the Razorbacks would win by a 49-14 margin over hapless Vanderbilt . And yes, that's a fair question. At the same time, there's nothing about playing with a large lead that makes a player more susceptible to injury or anything; it's just rotten luck that it happened late in the contest and not, say, early next week. Or three weeks ago. Or whenever. It happened, and now Arkansas has to move on.

If there's any consolation, it's that the injury likely derails any hope Childs might have had of declaring early for the NFL draft. Childs has prototypical size and speed, but if he can't run at 100% at the combine, there's really no sense in beginning the pro process at that point. As for his collegiate career, spring ball is probably out of the question, but Childs doesn't need those reps as much as the younger players anyway; his on-field abilities are well-established as it is. By the time Childs gets through summer and fall practices, he should be 100% full speed for Week 1, and that'll be bad news for the rest of the SEC next season.

Posted on: November 1, 2010 12:01 pm

Jacory Harris' status up in the air

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Seriously, seeing that hit again leaves me feeling woozy.  Jacory Harris suffered a concussion on Saturday on that very play, which leaves his status for this week a bit up in the air.  Obviously, my philosophy -- one I've stated here around 5,000 times already -- with concussions is that any player who suffers one should sit out at least a week, maybe more depending on the severity.  Unfortunately, I don't have any actual say in the matter, and even if I did, I'd be too scared to tell Randy Shannon because Randy Shannon could beat me up.

Still, considering how the hit looked, I think it's more than likely that Harris will be not be starting for Miami when it takes on Maryland this weekend.  As for whether or not he'll miss any more time than that, Shannon isn't sure.

"Too early to tell," Shannon told the Miami Herald. "Our medical staff does such a wonderful job evaluating the whole big picture. It wasn't, `Let's check his head.' They did a thorough exam of everything: neck, head, shoulder, back, hip, arms -- everything. Anytime you have a hit like that, safety is the most important thing.''

Shannon went on to say that if Harris can't play this weekend, Stephen Morris will get the start in his place. Morris replaced Spencer Whipple on Saturday after Whipple struggled in place of Harris.  Shannon also said that should Morris have to start against Maryland, he'll be working with a stripped-down playbook.

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