Tag:Adam Jacobi
Posted on: September 3, 2011 12:42 pm
Edited on: September 3, 2011 12:43 pm
 

Joe Paterno coaching from press box

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Penn State is in the opening minutes of its first game of the year, taking on Indiana State, but it's doing so without its most familiar face on the sidelines. An on-field collision in August left venerable head coach Joe Paterno with fractures in his shoulder and pelvis, and because of that, something as simple as standing on the sideline for three hours is now an unwelcome task; instead, as Penn State RapidReporter Jim Rodenbush reports, Paterno is coaching from the press box today

While coaching from the press box is unusual, it's not inherently bad; there's a reason why coordinators usually find themselves up there. It provides a far better angle for watching plays unfold and noticing breakdowns than on the sideline, where views of the far side of the field are easily obscured. With modern communication systems being what they are, Paterno is hardly disadvantaged when it comes to most of his coaching duties.

That all said, what Paterno gives up is the ability to communicate with his players on an effective or efficient basis. Unless all 85 players have headsets to put on -- which can't possibly be legal -- Paterno's going to need someone on the sideline to relay his messages to the players, and in a game where seconds between plays are precious, that's an inefficiency that the Nittany Lions don't need.

Unfortunately, Penn State had better get used to this system, because while Paterno's not going to be incapacitated forever by his injuries, he's also not recovering from a broken pelvis enough to be standing and walking for three hours at a time anytime soon.

The situation isn't affecting Penn State so far, though; the Nittany Lions lead 14-0 late in the first quarter.

Posted on: September 2, 2011 11:34 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Michigan State 28, Youngstown State 6

Posted by Adam Jacobi

MICHIGAN STATE WON.  The No. 17 Michigan State Spartans overcame a slow start and dispatched the Youngstown State Penguins, 28-6, under the lights at Spartan Stadium (more on that, by the way, in a little bit). Kirk Cousins was cruelly efficient at 18-22 for 221 yards and a score through the air, and big back Le'Veon Bell punched in two more scores on the ground for the Spartans. 

WHY MICHIGAN STATE WON: Michigan State is just too talented on offense for YSU to bottle up the attack for four quarters. Cousins had little difficulty finding open receivers, although he didn't have to find anyone other than B.J. Cunningham too often. Cunningham had nine of the Spartans' 18 receptions, 130 of the team's 221 receiving yards, and the team's only score through the air. The performance left him tied with Matt Trannon for most catches in Michigan State history, and with 11 or 12 games left in the season, odds are that Cunningham will obliterate that program record by the end of the year.

WHEN MICHIGAN STATE WON: Youngstown State never led during the game, but this game wasn't really in hand for Michigan State until Cousins found Cunningham with a rocket of a throw for the 18-yard score, making it 21-6 with just under five minutes left in the third quarter.

WHAT MICHIGAN STATE WON: The Spartans may not have looked quite as impressive as Wisconsin did in its Thursday opener, but they did demonstrate the ability to move the ball with ease both on the ground and through the air. Holding YSU QB Kurt Hess to just 135 passing yards on 38 attempts is a major victory for the Spartan secondary, even if they "only" forced one interception. 

WHAT YOUNGSTOWN STATE LOST: The Penguins lost little other than pride, although the Penguins and their coaches will not doubt lament the missed scoring opportunities in the first half. An upset wasn't seriously in the cards, even with MSU leading only by eight points in the second half, but the 28-6 final score belies the difficulty YSU gave the 17th-ranked Spartans for the first three quarters. 

THAT WAS CRAZY: Late in the second quarter, following a missed field goal by Youngstown State kicker David Brown, a bank of temporary lights went out. The game was stopped briefly, but game officials decided the light levels were sufficient to go forward. No word on if the shanked field goal was directly responsible for the outage.

Posted on: September 2, 2011 5:12 pm
Edited on: September 2, 2011 5:15 pm
 

PODCAST: Three studs, three duds from Thursday

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Here's the podcast I recorded with Adam Aizer earlier today, looking at the three studs and three duds of Thursday. I picked four studs. I can't do anything right.

Click here to listen in a new window, or listen in the embedded player below.

I should have given extra kudos to Vick Ballard, by the way, mainly because of his name. One, it sounds like the name of a 265-pound running back, the type of guy who really has no business trying to run a 40-yard dash or wearing a form-fitting uniform. It's almost a disappointment that he's an average-sized tailback. And two, because I feel like America needs more young men named Vic, or Vick, or Victor. That's the kind of man that ends up owning an auto care shop -- or at the very least a non-ironic, grease-stained mechanic shirt with that name stitched onto the breast. Vic won't screw you over on that muffler repair. Vic does an honest day's work.

I digress.

Past all that, we talk Wisconsin and Russell Wilson a little more, and also Jordan Jefferson and LSU. I suppose I'm more on Adam Aizer's side than is evident in our answers to the question, in that I never thought this was LSU's year to begin with, but the odds of a win over Oregon are sufficiently lower now with Jarrett Lee under center than with Jefferson that it's fair to say that Jefferson's suspension is costing LSU the shot at the title (rather than, say, costing them the title outright).

Click here to subscribe to the CBSSports.com College Football Podcast on iTunes!

Posted on: September 2, 2011 3:56 pm
 

Dan Persa 'questionable' for Northwestern opener

Posted by Adam Jacobi

There's been a great deal of, shall we say, conflicting information from Northwestern about vaunted quarterback Dan Persa as the Wildcats prepare for a Week 1 battle at Boston College. Persa is coming off a torn Achilles tendon 10 months ago in a 21-17 victory against Iowa, and while that's a major injury to suffer, expectations have been such that Persa would not only be back for 2011, but also be a Heisman candidate for the 'Cats.

Since then, we've been told that Persa's recovery has been ahead of schedule, that Kain Colter (the first-string quarterback during spring, while Persa was still out) had pulled even with Persa, that Persa said his repaired Achilles tendon was almost a 10 on a scale of 10, that Pat Fitzgerald expected Persa to start ... and now that Persa is listed as "questionable" for the game

As mentioned before, it's entirely possible that listing Colter as the "1b" starter at quarterback has less to do with Persa's recovery and more with Colter's improvement as a quarterback, especially since he's been spending enough time with the starting unit to develop a meaningful rapport and timing. If that's the case, Fitzgerald shouldn't have to worry too much about Persa's lingering Achilles issue, because Colter would be a legitimate quarterback to send out against Boston College and Persa wouldn't have to be forced into situations for which he's not fully prepared yet. That's not to say Persa or Fitzgerald represented the condition of Persa's Achilles, it's just that getting that rehab done is hardly the end of getting Persa back on the field and 100%. He's got a lot of conditioning and practice that he missed, so there's a readjustment process that varies for everybody, regardless of their character or commitment to the program.

That all said, we fully expect to see Persa on the field for some amount of time on Saturday. If the training staff really didn't think Persa could go, he'd be out; a long-term rehab project like this probably isn't on a day-to-day basis. Some sort of time-split scenario seems likely, and Fitzgerald has been comfortable with situations like that in the past -- especially with one quarterback dinged up.
Posted on: September 2, 2011 3:17 pm
 

The Saturday Meal Plan: Week 1

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The Saturday Meal Plan is a helpful guide put together for you to maximize the results of your college football diet.  Just enough to leave you feeling full, but not so much you spend your entire Sunday in the bathroom.

While Thursday and Friday night serve as delicious appetizers for the new college football season, one that feels like it took forever to get here, the big games start on Saturday. Since it's been a while since you planted your behind on a couch on a Saturday morning and stayed there all day, you're probably going to need some help navigating through the day.

So lucky for you, the Eye On College Football crew has brought the Saturday Meal Plan back. It's your weekly menu of which games should be on your plate and where you can find them.

BREAKFAST

#18 Ohio State vs. Akron - ESPN, 12pm ET

So many questions for Ohio State on Saturday. Will the Luke Fickell-era offense look any different? Who's going to shine between QBs Joe Bauserman and Braxton Miller? How much will the team miss its eight suspended players? Does Akron stand a chance anyway? - Adam Jacobi

#23 Auburn vs. Utah State - ESPN2, 12pm ET

Despite some close calls, Auburn hasn't lost to a school outside the current BCS conferences since Southern Miss upset the Tigers back in 1991. (USM's quarterback that day was a guy named Brett Favre, who would later become famous for inventing the cell phone camera.) So it's going to take a very good team by WAC standards to break that streak, and the Aggies -- the WAC's sixth-place finisher a year ago, now without star quarterback Diondre Borel -- very likely aren't that team. Most of the drama on the Auburn sidelines should concern which of their FBS-high 16 new starters look ready for their close-up, most notably new quarterback Barrett Trotter. But if Trotter and the other Tiger cubs come out nervous -- particularly the true sophomore defensive tackle pairing of Jeffrey Whitaker and Kenneth Carter, who could have their hands full with USU's veteran line -- things could stay competitive for longer than Gene Chizik would like. - Jerry Hinnen

Boston College vs. Northwestern - ESPNU, 12pm ET

You never like to start the season with injury concerns, and that this case for the star player on both these rosters. Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa was listed as "questionable" for Saturday's opener as he continues to recover from an achilles injury that ended his 2010 campaign, but popular belief seems to be that he will see the field. Boston College running back Montel Harris underwent his second arthroscopic knee surgery and will miss the game. Making matters even more difficult for the Eagles was an ankle sprain to talented backup Andre Williams. Williams will start and appears ready to go, but there will be more pressure on quarterback Chase Rettig to establish a passing attack against the Northwestern defense. Don't expect Persa to get any easy looks from the Boston College defense, led by All-American linebacker Luke Kuechly. - Chip Patterson

LUNCH

#16 Notre Dame vs. South Florida - NBC, 3:30pm ET

Year Two of the Brian Kelly Era in South Bend gets under way in a game against a former Notre Dame coach, and the son of the man who last brought a national championship to the school, Skip Holtz. There's a lot to look at in this game for both teams. Namely, will Notre Dame finally start to live up to the expectations placed on it every season, and which B.J. Daniels is going to show up for South Florida? - Tom Fornelli

#25 USC vs. Minnesota - ABC/ESPN2, 3:30pm ET

Perhaps it is saying something about how quiet Lane Kiffin has been at USC that one of the more notable things about this game is actually about the opposing coach. The Jerry Kill era begins in earnest on the road and he brings a Minnesota team that barely resembles the one that lost to the Trojans a year ago. The Gophers will compete with dual-threat MarQueis Gray at quarterback and a solid linebacking corps but it will be a tough task to pull of the upset against the firepower of the USC offense. Matt Barkley and Robert Woods are a fun pair to watch while Trojan fans will be nervous to see if the defense looks any better than it did last year. - Bryan Fischer

Michigan vs. Western Michigan - ABC/ESPN2, 3:30 pm ET

It's a new era for Michigan -- again -- and Brady Hoke's charges are going to face a stiff challenge from MAC stalwarts Western Michigan. Yes, seriously. The Wolverines probably won't be suffering for points with Denard Robinson leading the new offense, but the Broncos are more than capable of hanging around in this one, as standout QB Alex Carder should find plenty of opportunities to advance the ball through the air. Keep an eye on this one for some possible afternoon fireworks. - AJ

Ole Miss vs. BYU - ESPN, 4:45pm ET

Life in the SEC West isn't easy for anybody, but if Ole Miss is going to get to six wins and back to a bowl game this year, then this is one of those games the Rebels need to win. Though it's not like BYU is just going to hand the game to them, as the Cougars would like to get their new life as an independent off on the right foot, and what better way to do that than by getting a win against the SEC? - TF

DINNER

#22 Florida vs. FAU - ESPNU, 7pm ET

The first sign that not everything was well in Gatorland in 2010 was Florida's season opener vs. Miami (Ohio), when Urban Meyer's team gained all of 25 yards through three quarters and wheezed their way to a 34-12 victory. Unfortunately for Meyer, the RedHawks wound up one of the nation's most surprising teams. But just as fortunately for Will Muschamp, his debut as Gator head coach shouldn't be nearly so stressful--FAU has been pegged for the bottom rungs of the Sun Belt, and will be breaking in a new quarterback and six new defensive starters in the Swamp. Most Gator fans should wind up watching quarterback John Brantley rather than the scoreboard, as a steady, solid outing by the much-maligned senior would boost his and his team's confidence considerably. - JH

#1 Oklahoma vs. Tulsa - FX, 8pm ET

The Sooners are the preseason favorite of many people throughout the country, and Saturday night will be their first chance to show people why. This game had a lot more upset potential before the arrest and suspension of Tulsa wide receiver Damaris Johnson, but the possibility that it's a lot closer than most would expect is still there. - TF

#4 LSU vs. #3 Oregon - ABC, 8pm ET

It's not just the game of this year's opening week; it would be the game of every year's opening week. And that's just looking at the rankings of the two teams--add in the Will Lyles drama at both schools, the Tigers' August bar brawl and subsequent Jordan Jefferson suspension, Cliff Harris' and Russell Shepard's respective troubles, Chip Kelly's history of nonconference woes, Jarrett Lee's potential redemption, LaMichael James kicking off his Heisman campaign, the bevy of other All-American candidates on both rosters, and the one-and-only Les Miles, and this game is as intriguing as intriguing gets. For the Ducks, victory may come down to their revamped offensive front giving Darron Thomas enough space to get Kelly's option-game going. Tiger end Sam Montgomery, though, is the kind of elite defensive lineman the Ducks have struggled with even with veteran lines. For LSU, if Lee can avoid turnovers, the Tigers' advantage on both lines-of-scrimmage should eventually prove decisive. But given the Ducks' ball-hawking ways, that's much easier said than done. The one thing we can say for certain: we'll be watching. - JH

#19 Georgia vs. #5 Boise State - ESPN, 8pm ET

Another year, another high profile season opener for the Broncos. Heisman candidate Kellen Moore will lead Boise State into a not-so-neutral Georgia Dome to face the Bulldogs in the annual Chick fil-A Kickoff. Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, who said this week he hopes to emulate Moore's success, will be trying to make his own statement after an impressive freshman season in 2010. The Georgia-heavy crowd in Atlanta will not be the only uphill battle for the Broncos. Boise State is undersized defensively in comparison to the Bulldogs offensive line, and Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham is sure to use the 3-4 scheme to put some added pressure on Moore. However, Moore does take care of the ball (74-9 TD:Int ratio last two seasons) and Georgia will be counting on the unproven true freshman Isaiah Crowell to anchor the running game. Get the "LAST" button ready, because you'll want to see both Top 25 showdowns in the primetime slot. - CP

LATE NIGHT SNACK

Hawaii vs. Colorado - ESPN2, 10:15pm ET

This Pac-12 life isn't too bad, is it, Colorado? Your very first game and you get a trip to Hawaii to show for it. Unfortunately for the Buffaloes, they still have to face a Hawaii offense featuring dark horse Heisman candidate Bryant Moniz that puts up points in bunches. This game should be an entertaining way to end your Saturday. - TF 
Posted on: September 1, 2011 11:33 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2011 11:36 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Wisconsin 51, UNLV 17

Posted by Adam Jacobi

WISCONSIN WON. The No. 11 Wisconsin Badgers dispatched the UNLV Rebels Thursday night, 51-17, in front of a raucous crowd at Wisconsin's Camp Randall. Senior Wisconsin QB Russell Wilson was stellar in his much-anticipated Badger debut, completing 10 of 13 passes for 255 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions in little over a half of work. Meanwhile, RB Montee Ball had 130 yards from scrimmage and four scores, also seeing limited duty before taking the rest of the night off. 

WHY WISCONSIN WON: Wisconsin won for the same reason it has over the last decade-plus: pure physicality. UNLV struggled all game long to maintain the line of scrimmage on either side of the ball, and once tailbacks like Ball, James White, and even freshman Melvin Gordon get a big lane, slowing down the Wisconsin attack is basically impossible. On the defensive side of the ball, Wisconsin struggled at times to keep UNLV from moving the chains, but the Rebels missed on their first eight thrid-down conversion attempts, and were stymied by missed field goals twice early in the game when the score was still close. 

WHEN WISCONSIN WON: As soon as Montee Ball high-stepped into the end zone over a would-be tackler for his second score of the day. We were barely halfway through the first quarter when Wisconsin put together its second easy touchdown drive of the day, and the Badgers would roll up a 51-3 lead after only eight possessions before calling off the dogs. 

WHAT WISCONSIN WON: For head coach Bret Bielema, today's game was a dream come true. His Badgers throttled UNLV early on and looked capable of hanging 70+ points on the beleaguered Rebels, but Bielema got his offensive stars out of the game early in the second half, and UNLV went on to outscore the Badgers 14-0 in the last 1.5 quarters. No, that's not the production Bielema wants out of his defense, but it is enough for him to keep the pressure on them and to avoid any sense of complacency. There were signs the defense had a lot to work on in rush defense even before the Rebels got into the end zone -- now Bielema has the touchdowns given up to prove it.  

WHAT UNLV LOST: The Rebels didn't lose a whole lot other than the game itself. The game was a prolonged act of brutality in the first half, and it was immediately obvious that UNLV wasn't going to win this game, but the offense settled down in the second half, put together a couple touchdown drives, and at the very least covered the ~35-point spread. Further, nobody was seriously injured, and the Rebels have now gotten their most physical opponent of the season out of the way. It sounds cliche, but if the Rebels can survive a game in Madison, they can survive anything anyone else will throw at them, and that can do wonders for a rebuilding team's confidence early in the season.

THAT WAS CRAZY: Russell Wilson looked fantastic throwing the ball with his 255 yards and two passing scores, but Wilson's play of the game came courtesy of his feet. With time winding down in the first half and the ball at UNLV's 46-yard line, Wilson took off on a scramble and wove through the Rebel defense, eventually gliding into the end zone on a sensational run that was immediately evocative of Cam Newton slicing through opposing defenses at Auburn last year. Wisconsin won't face a UNLV-caliber defense in the Big Ten, to say the least, but opposing defensive coordinators are going to be losing sleep after seeing that rush.

Posted on: September 1, 2011 6:42 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2011 6:46 pm
 

Indiana RB Darius Willis out for Ball State game

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The Indiana Hoosiers don't have a whole lot going for them on offense, personnel-wise, so health and continuity are going to be critical for the Hoosiers' attack in the first year of the Kevin Wilson regime.

That mission to keep the offense healthy is off to a rocky start, however, as starting tailback Darius Willis is officially out for the Hoosiers' season opener against Ball State this Saturday. Here's more from The Hoosier Scoop:

Wilson said Willis, who has started the last two seasons, hasn’t had much action all preseason. He played in just four games last season before sitting out the rest of the season with several injuries, the critical one being a torn patella tendon in his knee that required surgery. Willis sat out all of spring practice, and has apparently had his action limited in August.

“He just hasn’t been practicing much,” Wilson said. “He’s just always been nicked and dinged, not able to go full go all the time. It’s kinda hard to go when you don’t practice.” 

It's likely that Willis would have missed this game anyhow, as he was facing a one-game suspension from Wilson after being involved in a domestic incident during the offseason. Willis was never charged with a crime, but Wilson deemed the incident "conduct detrimental to the team." 

Redshirt freshman Matt Perez, who missed last season with a torn ACL, has made his way to the top of the depth chart at tailback, and incoming juco back Stephen Houston will back Perez up for the time being. Don't be surprised to see Willis back in the mix pretty soon, however.

Posted on: August 30, 2011 12:59 am
Edited on: August 30, 2011 3:48 am
 

Texas A&M to withdraw from Big XII on Tuesday?

Posted by Adam Jacobi

On Monday afternoon, Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin said in a statement that "it is not our intent to prolong our conference exploration for an extended period of time." If the multiple media reports from Monday evening are to be believed, Mr. Loftin was certainly not exaggerating.

Late Monday night, the New York Times published a report that Texas A&M had indeed filed its formal withdrawal from the conference, most likely to officially take place on Tuesday:

Texas A&M’s departure from the Big 12 drew closer to reality on Monday when the university president, R. Bowen Loftin, sent a letter to the Big 12 board chairman, Missouri President Brady Deaton, notifying the league it will formally withdraw — very likely on Tuesday — according to two college officials with direct knowledge of the decision.

Sources at the school have since confirmed that report to Orangebloods.com, and the Associated Press is reporting this move now as well. This would likely be the latest and most decisive step in Texas A&M's ongoing campaign to join the SEC for the 2012 football season; only a formal application to the SEC is all that remains.

Earlier on Monday, the Big 12 sent a letter to Texas A&M spelling out the terms necessary for the Aggies' departure from the conference, including the "mutual waivers of legal claims" that would essentially clear a legal path for withdrawal from the Big 12. That letter fulfilled a request from Texas A&M on Monday morning asking for all the necessary terms for withdrawal.

If that all sounds like extra-dry legalese, it sort of is; in short, all this means is that there are legal steps to be followed for Texas A&M to leave the Big 12 as soon as possible without any added repercussions for the school past the Big 12 conference by-laws -- and no repercussions for the SEC whatsoever, who could otherwise be open for litigation if the Big 12 thought the SEC was "recruiting" schools while they were current members of the Big 12.

More on Texas A&M

Undermining that idea, however, is the fact that the SEC has stayed quiet throughout these proceedings, only releasing a statement a couple weeks ago that it was happy at 12 teams and had no plans to expand unless the conference landscape changed significantly. Evidently, Texas A&M's formal withdrawal is enough to qualify; there's virtually zero chance this process would have gotten as far as it has without the SEC's (private) approval.

This departure would be the third that the Big 12 would suffer in the last two years; Nebraska left for the Big Ten effective this season, and Colorado has also joined the Pac-12 on the same timeline. Without these three schools, the "Big 12" would have just nine schools committed to the conference for the 2012 football season and beyond at this point.

The Aggies' reasons for seeking greener pastures are varied and nebulous, but the near-universal underlying theme to the reasons is A&M's relationship with Texas. Texas has caused a great deal of consternation in College Station recently with not only the advent of the ESPN-affiliated Longhorn Network, but the concessions granted to the channel thereafter. Before the NCAA intervened with a ban on collegiate networks showing high school athletics, the Longhorn Network was poised to air HS games involving key recruits. The network also planned to air a conference football game, a plan to which Texas A&M took special offense, even after the Big 12 put the kibosh on that idea as well. 

Conference commissioner Dan Beebe has already indicated that Texas A&M's departure would not be a deathblow to the conference, however. Beebe told his constituents in a letter two weeks ago that the Big 12 would survive the loss of A&M, and the names of schools like Houston and SMU have been bandied about as possible local replacements for the Aggies -- though the ratio of schools mentioned as Big Ten expansion candidates to actual expansion schools (roughly 20:1) should be something of a damper on Houston and SMU talk.

Furthermore, the commissioner said in a later letter that the conference was "poised to move aggressively" to rebuild its ranks, and that type of language could indicate some mutual interest from an independent football program -- namely BYU, since Notre Dame has already shot down any talk of the Big 12. Otherwise, if the Big 12 publicly states it's "poised to move aggressively" at colleges that are still active conference members elsewhere, it opens itself up to the type of litigation the SEC had specifically avoided above. 

As usual, the Aggie football program itself has been somewhat taciturn in its response to the potential move, though that's not a sign of reluctance. As head coach Mike Sherman pointed out, it's a move that isn't even going to affect the program's most important class.

"We have a bunch of seniors on this team that will never play in that conference," Sherman said in a Monday conference call, ostensibly referring to the SEC. "They, at this point, could care less. They're concerned with winning this season."

Senior safety Trent Hunter agreed with that sentiment in an earlier interview, saying the realignment talk is "not anything that's going to affect us playing SMU in that first week."

While it'd be easy to dismiss Sherman and Hunter as just using typical deflection techniques that are endemic in just about every athlete or coach interview, it's a fact that the move affects nothing about the coming season, and this season is all anybody for A&M -- coaches, assistants, seniors, on down to the true freshmen -- ought to be focusing on, because it's all that every other opponent of the Aggies is going to be focusing on. To start looking ahead to future years in Week 1 is to lose focus on the task at hand from the word "go," and that is a recipe for unmitigated disaster. Kudos to the A&M program for not falling into that trap thus far.

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