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Tag:New York Jets
Posted on: March 23, 2011 3:43 pm
 

Broken feet sideline Longhorn, Badger stars

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

As far as injury woes go, no one at Texas or Wisconsin is going to do too much complaining in the light of the injury plague affecting already-shorthanded USC.

But there's probably going to be at least a little griping after potential all-conference performers at both schools had surgery this past week to repair a broken foot, sidelining them for the duration of spring practice.

At Texas, the player in question is outside linebacker Jordan Hicks, who Longhorn officials confirmed via Twitter has broken his right foot. A consensus five-star megarecruit and prep All-American in the class of 2010, Hicks got his feet wet with 21 tackles as a true freshman and is expected to become a major contributor to the Longhorn linebacking corps this fall under aggressive new defensive coordinator Manny Diaz. But those expectations may have to be dialed back with Hicks forced to miss the rest of spring, and no doubt falling behind his teammates in adjusting to Diaz's schemes.

At Wisconsin, wide receiver Nick Toon -- son of New York Jets great Al Toon, though you probably knew that already -- is taking on a very different role this spring after breaking a bone in his left foot:
The Badgers football team started spring practices on Tuesday, with Toon on crutches and his left foot in a boot after surgery last week to repair a fracture to the fifth metatarsal.

So instead of running routes and working on his timing with new quarterback Jon Budmayr , Toon is relegated to helping the team's young receivers grow up as fast as possible.

"I'll be out here coaching up these young guys," Toon said after practice, which was closed to the media. "It's a great opportunity for me to spread my knowledge among the young cats around here, get those guys on track so they can help me out in the fall."

Unlike Hicks, the senior Toon has enough experience that the missed practice won't hurt him too badly. But who it might hurt is Budmayr, who could certainly benefit from working on his timing with his future No. 1 receiver and gaining the confidence that comes with throwing to a steady, veteran hand like Toon.

The good news for both Texas and Wisconsin -- other than that neither is USC -- is that both Hicks and Toon should be 100 percent by the time fall camp rolls around. But for one team looking to atone for a 5-7 disaster and one trying to preserve their precarious perch atop the Big Ten, even relatively minor setbacks like these can prove crucial come the crucible of the season.


Posted on: February 21, 2011 5:28 pm
Edited on: February 21, 2011 6:03 pm
 

Spring Practice Primer: Stanford

Posted by Bryan Fischer

College Football has no offseason. Every coach knows that the preparation for September begins now, in Spring Practice. So we here at the Eye on College Football will get you ready as teams open spring ball with our Spring Practice Primers. Today, we look at Stanford, which begins spring practice this afternoon.

Spring practice question: Can the Cardinal keep up the momentum under new coach David Shaw?

Fresh off the best season in school history - punctuated by a 40-12 dismantling of Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl - Stanford’s offseason was filled with something rarely associated with the program: drama. After a week of will-he-or-won’t-he declare for the draft, presumed number one pick Andrew Luck stunned everyone by announcing he would stay in school. A day later, after being courted by Michigan and the Miami Dolphins, head coach Jim Harbaugh left for the San Francisco 49ers.

When hiring a new head coach was only the third most interesting thing to happen on campus during the offseason, you realize just how far Stanford football came under Harbaugh. Trying to continue what he build up is Stanford alum David Shaw, who slides into the head coaching role after being the Cardinal's offensive coordinator the past four years.

What’s his deal? For all the talk about Luck's role in the offense, Shaw is a believer in a balanced offense for one. Despite not having Heisman Trophy runner-up Toby Gerhart last season, Stanford still finished second in the Pac-10 in rushing at 214 yards per game. Though most of the backfield returns in 2011, the major storyline of spring practice is finding replacements for three starters on the offensive line, including All-American center Chase Beeler.

“From a personnel standpoint, we have a chance to be very athletic upfront,” Shaw said at his pre-spring press conference. “The question is will those guys be consistent and will they play at the same level as those who they are replacing from last year. Ability-wise, we'll be fine. This spring we'll see who is ready to step up and fill those roles. A lot of our success will depend on how we play upfront.”

Offensive line isn’t the only area of concern for the first time head coach. There are still open position battles at linebacker, defensive line, cornerback and backup quarterback. The Cardinal might need five players just to replace all-everything Owen Marecic.

“The best thing about spring practice is the pure competition,” Shaw said. “We have guys coming back who played well for us last year but will be pushed by others ready to make their marks. We've recruited very well the last couple of years and we have a lot of players who are ready to compete and fill some roles.

“The next year is always different - different players, different roles, different schemes. You always have to add, delete and change. That's where we are at right now.”

The first week or two of spring practice will be a bit of a learning experience for the new staff. Shaw named former New York Jets assistant Mike Bloomgren as offensive line coach/run game coordinator and elevated Mike Sanford to running backs coach last Friday. Bringing on coaches just four days before spring practice starts isn't ideal and is something to keep an eye on but staff continuity elsewhere should help ease the transition.

Defensively, Derek Mason and Jason Tarver will share the defensive coordinator title and attempt to fill the shoes of the highly regarded Vic Fangio. Mason will also coach the secondary and will be responsible for calling plays, while Tarver will also serve as linebackers coach.

The return of Luck, however, is key for building on the success of last year. Shaw shouldn't have too much trouble keeping Stanford’s offense from dipping too much from last year’s unit that set a school-record for points scored and finished ninth in the nation in scoring. Having the Heisman Trophy front-runner under center tends to help but running backs Stepfan Taylor, Anthony Wilkerson and others will also contribute. 

“With Andrew coming back, I've felt pretty good going to bed at night,” Shaw said. “I think he is comfortable with me in my role and I'm extremely comfortable with him. We have an established relationship that will only get better.”

With a manageable schedule (Oregon and Notre Dame at home to go along with just four road games) and lots of talent surrounding a future number one pick in the NFL Draft, Shaw could not have asked for a better situation to take over. With a little bit of Luck and a dash of good coaching, don’t expect a drop off from Stanford after using David Shaw's first spring practice to ease the transition from Jim Harbaugh.

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