Tag:Bryan Fischer
Posted on: September 1, 2011 3:32 pm

USC secondary coach Willie Mack Garza resigns

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Nearly 48 hours before their season opener, USC will shockingly take the field without a key staff member.

Trojans' secondary coach Willie Mack Garza resigned Thursday afternoon effective immediately citing personal reasons, according to a school statement.

"I stepped down today from my coaching duties at USC," Garza said. "I have some personal issues unrelated to USC that I need to address.  I wish the Trojans the best and I am sorry I won't be with them in what I know will be a very successful season."

Garza was entering his second year with the program and followed head coach Lane Kiffin to Los Angeles from Tennessee. The 42-year-old assistant also had coaching stops at Western Michigan, TCU, Tarleton State and North Dakota State before connecting with Kiffin and the Volunteers in 2009. Several USC beat writers confirmed that he was not at practice on Wednesday and that players were informed via text message Thursday morning.

Graduate assistant and former Trojan and NFL defensive back Sammy Knight is expected to take over Garza's responsibilities. USC plays Minnesota at 12:30 PM on Saturday.
Posted on: August 31, 2011 3:39 pm
Edited on: August 31, 2011 3:42 pm

Jadeveon Clowney could start for South Carolina

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Steve Spurrier has positioned South Carolina to not only make to a run at another SEC East title, but a BCS bowl as well in 2011.

Key to the Old Ball Coach transforming the Gamecocks into a - gulp - perennial contender? Impact freshman from in-state.

In 2009, wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey signed with the program and wound up a consensus Freshman All-American. Last year running back Marcus Lattimore picked South Carolina and was a unanimous pick for National Freshman of the Year as the Gamecocks rolled to a division title.

This year, with perhaps his most talented team returning, Spurrier has added the consensus number one overall recruit in the country in Jadeveon Clowney. The 6-foot-6 defensive end racked up 29.5 sacks his final year in high school and pretty much lived in the opponent's back field. While his dominance is unlikely to translate right away at the collegiate level, it's clear South Carolina is going to incorporate Clowney in their defensive line rotation right from the get-go to see what he can do.

"We're trying to let him learn," Spurrier said Wednesday. "Obviously there's a lot of attention if you're the number one recruit in the nation. He's not listed as the starter but he'll be in there a whole lot, early and often."

An ankle injury has slowed him down some during fall camp but he's abused his fair share of offensive lineman during the month of August. It's unclear how exactly defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson will use his newest weapon but don't be surprised if Clowney rushes the passer as a stand up linebacker on occasion. He'll likely take the field behind senior Melvin Ingram but starting the opener versus East Carolina hasn't been ruled out.

"He may start or he may not, I'm not sure what our line coach wants to do right now," Spurrier said. "He's certainly in the mix and a player who is going to play a lot."

Clowney won't just be a speed rusher off the edge for the Gamecocks either. Spurrier notes the freshman has added a few tricks to his repertoire.

"He's also a power rusher," Spurrier added. "In high school, he flew all over the place, fast, ran around everyone. But he's actually gained about 10 pounds or so and is up to 260 or so. He can use a power move also. That's obviously very good for defensive ends."

A scary proposition for opposing left tackles this season and a reason why several quarterbacks are bracing for his impact.
Posted on: August 31, 2011 1:07 am
Edited on: August 31, 2011 1:08 am

Prince named starter at UCLA, other QBs will play

Posted by Bryan Fischer

As the old saying goes, if you have two quarterbacks, you don't really have a quarterback.

Such is the case at UCLA, where head coach Rick Neuheisel named Kevin Prince the starter Tuesday night but told reporters that fellow signal-caller Richard Brehaut would see playing time in the Bruins' opener against Houston.

"This is not so everybody feels good," Neuheisel said. "It's so that the competition continues. We're going to play this position well. We're going to play it consistently. Both kids are capable of doing that and I'm going to expect it from them. I'm excited to watch them both play."

Prince started the first five games last season before being sidelined with a knee injury. At the beginning of fall camp, Neuheisel said Prince would start out with the first team offense but preferred to keep the quarterback competition open. The hope was that either Brehaut would push Prince or one of the two would win the job with no questions asked. Instead, naming a starter is code for "QB rotation" in Westwood.

"I just believe both deserve to play, so both are going to play this weekend," Neuheisel said. "We'll start Kevin, and Richard will come off the bench and play. I've told both of them that I don't know exactly when or how or why, because when you make promises of that sort, you end up setting yourself up for disappointment because you can never predict the ebb and flow of a game."

Considering that UCLA was almost dead last among FBS teams in passing offense last season, one has to assume there's nowhere to go but up no matter what the rotation looks like in the opener. Neuheisel, who also doubles as the Bruins quarterbacks coach, has also pledged to work in true freshman Brett Hundley in some specially designed packages. He is slowly returning from a knee injury that kept him out at the beginning of camp but it appears he will see some meaningful snaps at some point this season.

Given the injury history at the position in recent years, perhaps it is a good thing that more than one player will be ready to lead the offense. On the other hand, there is that old saying...

Posted on: August 29, 2011 5:38 pm
Edited on: August 29, 2011 5:45 pm

SEC talk not a distraction at Texas A&M

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Have you heard? It's the opening week of the college football and that means the return of actual football. Yep, players between the lines, bone-jarring hits, 100-yard returns called back by flags and touchdowns galore.

Perhaps no coach is welcoming an actual game more than Texas A&M head coach Mike Sherman, who has had to deal with the Aggies-to-the-SEC sideshow around his program for most of fall camp. Speaking on the Big 12 conference call on Monday however, he told reporters that the chatter about conference realignment isn't creeping into his players' minds.

"Those distractions only come if you allow them to become distractions," Sherman said. "They have not been a distraction for us because I told them a couple of times that things happen, we can only control what can control: how we prepare for this season. All that outside stuff, we let other people take care of that."

Entering his fourth year at the helm in College Station, Sherman did drop a bit of a hint as to where the program would be playing college football in the future though - in a roundabout way.

"We have a bunch of seniors on this team that will never play in that conference," he said. "They, at this point, could care less. They're concerned with winning this season."

Note that Sherman only mentioned seniors not playing in the SEC. It might be reading into his comments some but from all indications, the Aggies are as good as gone and their head coach is well aware of where his underclassmen will be playing next year. Still, it sounds as though the team is indeed focused more on running routes than running East.

"We've developed a mentality of where we just live in the present and don't worry about that stuff," Sherman added. "I don't think it's just coach-speak, if you talk to one of the players, they'll tell you the same thing. They're going to class today for the first time, they've got girlfriends, they have lives and they have football. Those distractions are made by people on the outside."

"When it's settled, it's settled. I'm not really worried about it. That whole schedule, in football years, is 10 years down the road.  I'm not even concerned about it."

The A&M is ranked 8th in the country and will host SMU on September 4.

Posted on: August 29, 2011 1:34 pm
Edited on: August 29, 2011 1:38 pm

It's game week and Oregon fans are ready for LSU

Posted by Bryan Fischer

After an offseason filled with turmoil, transfers and Texas A&M to the SEC, the start of the college football season is officially here. It's game week across the country and teams are busy installing new plays, preparing against the scout team and getting their helmets ready for action.

The big opener that everybody is looking forward to is #3 Oregon versus #4 LSU at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas. The folks at DucksEmpire.com are so excited about seeing their team back in action after coming up short in the national title game that they put together a fantastic highlight video to get everybody pumped up: 

Even if you're not an Oregon fan, how can you watch that and not get pumped up for the return of college football? Here's the week one schedule to help plan out your weekend filled with, thankfully, football.

Are you ready? Certainly looks like the Ducks are.

(Hat tip Rand Getlin)

Posted on: August 29, 2011 11:07 am
Edited on: August 29, 2011 2:34 pm

CBSSports.com Preseason Freshman All-America team

Posted by Bryan Fischer

CBSSports.com has released it's annual preseason All-America Team in college football, voted on by staff, writers and bloggers from CBSSports.com. Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck headlines the the list after throwing for 32 touchdowns last season. With a talented freshman class expected to make an impact, the preseason freshman All-America Team is listed below.

The SEC had the most players on the team with eight players, followed by the Pac-12 with six players.

CBSSports.com Preseason All-America Team


QB -- Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville
RB -- Isaiah Crowell, Georgia
RB -- Savon Huggins, Rutgers
WR -- Sammy Watkins, Clemson
WR -- Marqise Lee, USC
TE -- Nick O'Leary, Florida State
OL -- La'El Collins, LSU
OL -- Tyler Moore, Nebraska
OL -- Mitch Smothers, Arkansas
OL -- Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama
C -- Reese Dismukes, Auburn


DE -- Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
DE -- Aaron Lynch, Notre Dame
DT -- Viliami Moala, Cal
DT -- Timmy Jernigan, Florida State
LB -- Tony Steward, Clemson
LB -- C.J. Johnson, Mississippi State
LB -- Ryan Shazier, Ohio State
DB -- Marcus Roberson, Florida
DB -- Wayne Lyons, Stanford
DB -- Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon
DB -- Enrique Florence, Auburn

Special teams

K -- Andre Heidari, USC
P -- Pablo Beltran, Navy
All-Purpose -- De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon

Posted on: August 26, 2011 7:00 pm
Edited on: August 26, 2011 7:05 pm

NCAA is watching The Longhorn Network. Closely.

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The controversal Longhorn Network launches Friday at 6 p.m. central time but before taking the air (to only a handful of minor cable operators) the NCAA wanted to deliver a message to ESPN and Texas about their joint venture before flipping the switch: We're watching you. Very, very closely.

The NCAA is monitoring content on the Longhorn Network and its news coverage of high school sports. With respect to NCAA bylaws as the Association has continued to review the issue, acceptable content is limited to scores, statistics, standings and news video used to report those details. 

We will continue to monitor the Longhorn Network to determine if the content is produced within those guidelines.

After being denied the chance to televise high school games, network executives later announced they would instead limit programming to highlights of selected games. This, ESPN has argued, is allowable because they are news and don't fall under the broad definition of high school programming. Seems like the NCAA is making sure all parties realize there are some limits to this however.

So for now the NCAA is sitting back in their recliners and watching an All-Access look into Mack Brown's program and the latest news about the Longhorn swim team, keeping an eye out for programming that goes beyond the lines.

Illustration by Tom Fornelli

Posted on: August 25, 2011 7:29 pm
Edited on: August 26, 2011 6:12 am

Report: Eight Miami players declared ineligible

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Miami has declared eight football players ineligible and begun the NCAA student-athlete reinstatement process, according to The Miami Herald.

Quarterback Jacory Harris was the only player named in the report as being ineligible, which stems from alleged extra benefits provided by former Hurricanes booster Nevin Shapiro. Four other players, according to the report, were cleared because they accepted fewer than $100 in benefits and can repay the amounts to a charity of their choice in order to play.

It is not known if the ineligible players will complete the reinstatement process in time for Miami's first game against Maryland on September 5. The university was expected to get the proceedings started early in hopes that the NCAA can determine their status for the season opener sooner. Speaking earlier Thursday, head coach Al Golden delayed releasing a depth chart due to the uncertain status of so many players involved in the investigation.

“We'll practice enough guys because we don't know what the future brings,” Golden said. “Hopefully we'll find out in the near future if there are any suspensions or penalties and we'll adjust accordingly.”

Golden said ACC rules require depth charts to be released on Tuesday but that Miami was working with the conference and with the Terrapins to coordinate its release.

At least 12 players involved in the NCAA probe practiced Thursday afternoon according to reports.

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