Tag:Adam Jacobi
Posted on: August 29, 2011 8:09 pm
Edited on: August 30, 2011 3:49 am

Ohio State to use two quarterbacks in opener?

Posted by Adam Jacobi

In the race to replace departed quarterback Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State has had four possible candidates emerge: Senior Joe Bauserman (pictured at right), sophomore Kenny Guiton, redshirt freshman Taylor Graham, and true freshman Braxton Miller. Each have their own considerable strengths and drawbacks, but the sense in the spring was that all four had a chance to compete for the role.

[READ MORE: Ohio State's four quarterbacks

Fortunately for the Buckeyes, the race has worked itself out to an extent, and two quarterbacks -- Bauserman and Miller -- have emerged as the top two quarterbacks in the mix. This isn't much of a departure from the consensus opinion from this spring; Bauserman's got far more time in the program than anybody else, and of the younger players, Miller's by far the most physically talented. 

Since two's an easier number to pick between than four, this means we're closer to getting a starting quarterback designation from head coach Luke Fickell, right? Well, via the Buckeye RapidReports... no:

QBs Joe Bauserman and Braxton Miller are listed as co-No. 1 on the depth chart released Monday afternoon before the opener Saturday against Akron. Coach Luke Fickell has not said how long he’ll wait to designate a starter.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as Ohio State used the tandem of Stanley Jackson and Joe Germaine back in 1996 to considerable success; those Buckeyes went 11-1, beating Arizona State in the Rose Bowl and finishing second in the nation.

Moreover, there's hardly permanence to a Week 1 status when it comes to quarterback races. In all likelihood, this race will sort itself out on the field over the next month or so, and if it doesn't lead to a starter by then, then OSU's probably better off going with a platoon instead.

Posted on: August 29, 2011 4:27 pm
Edited on: August 29, 2011 7:46 pm

Michigan releases Week 1 depth chart

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The Michigan Wolverines released their first depth chart of the regular season on Monday, and although there's nothing as startling as last year's benching of Tate Forcier in favor of Denard Robinson (in retrospect, a very very good move, but still quite jarring at the time), there are a few head-scratchers as Brady Hoke gets ready to lead his charges into their first game against Western Michigan.

First, the depth chart in full, helpfully formatted by mgoblog:

QB D. Robinson D. Gardner  
RB M. Shaw OR 
F. Toussaint
V. Smith S. Hopkins
FB J. McColgan S. Watson  
WR 1 J. Hemingway K. Grady J. Jackson
WR 2 R. Roundtree J. Gallon M. Odoms
TE K. Koger B. Moore S. Watson
LT T. Lewan M. Schofield  
LG R. Barnum E. Mealer  
C D. Molk R. Khoury  
RG P. Omameh E. Mealer  
RT M. Huyge M. Schofield  

W. Heininger

N. Brink  
NT M. Martin W. Campbell  
DT R. Van Bergen Q. Washington  
WDE C. Roh J. Black F. Clark
MLB K. Demens J.B. Fitzgerald

M. Evans

WLB M. Jones B. Herron B. Hawthorne, 
D. Morgan
SLB C. Gordon J. Ryan B. Beyer
SS T. Gordon C. Johnson J. Furman
FS J. Kovacs M. Robinson  
CB1 T. Woolfolk B. Countess G. Brown

C. Avery OR 
JT Floyd

T. Anderson  
P M. Wile OR 
S. Broekhuizen
K B. Gibbons OR 
M. Wile
PR J. Hemingway OR 
D. Dileo OR 
J. Gallon OR 
M. Odoms
KR J. Gallon K. Grady V. Smith

First of all, the notion of a four-way tie at punt returner is just a little funny, isn't it? One would assume that the punt returner of the week would just be whoever's out of the rotation at WR, so as to keep legs fresh where possible, but still -- four punt returners!

But speaking of that rotation at wide receiver, that is definitely Martavious Odoms at third string WR2, with nary an "OR" to keep him in the conversation as a top reserve option. That's a little surprising; Odoms has 22 starts to his name through his career in the maize and blue, and although he ceded that starting role to Junior Hemingway in the early stages of 2010 after a season-ending foot injury, Odoms is still a much more experienced option than either Jeremy Gallon or the prodigal Kelvin Grady. Odoms has also been seen with a cast on his left arm for a while, and ice on his right shoulder; perhaps this is just a matter of a lack of practice time getting Odoms back up to speed? We'll likely know the answer to that question in about three or four weeks, provided Odoms stays healthy; if he's not moving back up the depth chart by then, we'll know Hoke has moved on to other options at wideout.

Past that, it's very nice to see Troy Woolfork atop the CB depth chart after the horrific dislocated ankle he suffered last August, ending his 2010 season before it began. His talent and experience were both sorely missed by an already comically thin Michigan secondary last year, so here's to Woolfork putting together the healthy and productive senior season he was supposed to have last year, and here's to modern orthopedic medicine turning a guy around from a dislocated ankle to back starting at cornerback in just 12 months. That's phenomenal.

Oh, and it'd be nice to know who's actually starting at tailback, wouldn't it?
Posted on: August 26, 2011 2:27 am
Edited on: August 26, 2011 10:12 am

Dan Beebe responds to Texas A&M statement

Posted by Adam Jacobi

In the latest chapter in the ongoing flirtations between Texas A&M and the SEC, Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe (pictured at right) has responded to Texas A&M's Thursday announcement that the Aggies were exploring a switch in conferences.

First, the statement in full, from the conference offices:

The letter received today from Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin will be addressed by the Big 12 Conference Board of Directors. It remains our strong desire for Texas A&M to continue as a member of the Big 12 and we are working toward that end. However, if it is decided otherwise, the Conference is poised to move aggressively with options.

Beebe should be careful here, as the only high-level unaffiliated football programs out there are Notre Dame and BYU (no offense, Army or Navy), and saying the conference is "poised to move aggressively" implies that there's a willing candidate already in Beebe's mind. Yes, that almost certainly could mean SMU, who's practically begging for a BCS invite, but if the Big 12 adds Houston (as has allegedly been mentioned by the conference as a possibility before), the Conference USA brass might have the grounds to suggest that the Big 12 was admitting to interfering with Conference USA business, and that could mean the threat of legal action.

That said, it could also mean something much less litigious, like adding BYU and/or Notre Dame in football only, and either gently phasing in the other sports (as both schools have full pre-existing conference affiliations outside of football) or leaving it a football-only arrangement entirely. 

Not only that, there are probably plenty of expansion candidates off the metaphorical radar with which the Big 12 has had some sort of contact, and maybe Beebe has the sense that they're privately amenable to a conference change. Again, we're talking about off the radar, so it would be reckless to speculate (see: flat-out guess) on possible schools, but Beebe would be derelict in his duty as a conference commissioner if he didn't have a contingency plan for any type of expansion -- especially one based on how willing the other schools would be to move to the Big 12.

We'll say this, though: Texas A&M is still not even an applicant (much less a member or invitee) of the SEC yet. That's likely to change, but it hasn't yet. So if Dan Beebe can wrangle four of his conference members away from a potential Pac-16 in 2010, then somehow brink Texas A&M back from the bring of "SECession," he's got to be the biggest miracle worker among conference commissioners. Alas for Beebe, miracles are miracles for a reason, and this one's probably not going to happen.

Posted on: August 25, 2011 1:23 am
Edited on: August 25, 2011 1:34 am

Miami to declare investigated players ineligible?

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Of the dozens of Miami players named in Yahoo's now-infamous report from disgraced embezzler and Miami booster Nevin Shapiro, detailing a massive pattern of illegal benefits given to players over a period of nine years, 12 are still with the Hurricanes, awaiting word on the fate of their eligibility. That's a situation without a whole lot of extra time to be resolved, as the Hurricanes open up play just nine days from Thursday.

[MORE: Twelve current Miami players named in report] 

To that end, the Miami Herald is reporting that all 12 players are expected to be named ineligible by the university soon -- but with a better resolution in mind:

If it hasn’t already, the University of Miami is expected to declare the 12 or more football players being investigated by the NCAA ineligible within the next week if the school wants the NCAA to rule on their reinstatement in time for the season opener Sept. 5 at Maryland.

UM had not declared the players ineligible as of early Wednesday afternoon, according to a source with knowledge of the investigation.

This is, if nothing else, a precautionary step; by declaring the players ineligible, the school puts the players' fate in the hands of the NCAA rather than putting the players on the field and rolling the dice with NCAA penalties. The one single way Miami could face the most severe penalties from here on out is if the team knowingly lets players with eligibility problems compete anyway (look what knowingly putting Terrell Pryor and his friends back onto the field in 2010 did to Jim Tressel and Ohio State, for example). With a declaration of ineligibility for all players involved, Miami demonstrates a proper respect for NCAA rules and protocol.

Moreover, as the Herald article explains, the sooner these players are ruled ineligible, the more likely it is the NCAA rules on their punishment before the September 5 season opener against Maryland, which is the first day that ineligibility would truly matter. For example, as astute fans will recall, Cam Newton was declared ineligible by Auburn last season. Auburn quietly made the designation on the Tuesday prior to the SEC Championship Game, then happily announced Newton's reinstatement by the NCAA the very next day. While it's unlikely any of the 'Canes receive similar one-day vacations from eligibility, a ruling and subsequent course of punishment could come similarly quickly from the NCAA, and then at the very least the process back to the field will have begun for the players involved.

It's important to note that rulings on individual eligibility are separate from the NCAA's investigation into institutions, so even if the 12 players get their situations worked out within the next week or two, Miami itself is still in for what's probably a lengthy investigation. Here's more from the Herald:

Stacey Osburn, the NCAA’s associate director of public and media relations, told The Miami Herald in a phone interview that she could not comment on any specific cases, but elaborated on aspects of the process. In a reinstatement situation, any decision involves only that specific player and the facts presented. It is separate from the overall investigation of the institution, although if it is later found that a reinstatement decision is based on lies told by an athlete, the institution is subject to more severe penalties.

Still, as mentioned before, the 12 players don't have the luxury of waiting even two weeks (much less until the end of the investigation) before they need to have their eligibility resolved, so if and when Miami declares them all ineligible, it gets the ball rolling on putting them all back on the field, and it's therefore for their own good.

Posted on: August 24, 2011 5:15 pm
Edited on: August 24, 2011 5:45 pm

Starting Purdue QB Henry tears ACL

Posted by Adam Jacobi

No program in the Big Ten has been hampered worse by ACL injuries over the last couple seasons than Purdue, so it stands to reason that head coach Danny Hope would be hoping to have a normal, healthy set of practices before the season this year.

Clearly, whatever cruel football deity is taking residence in West Lafayette has other ideas.

Purdue announced Wednesday that starting quarterback and co-captain Rob Henry tore his right ACL in a non-contact injury during Tuesday's practice. The extent of Henry's injury isn't yet known, but a torn ACL should be enough to end Henry's season before it starts; the real question is how quickly in the offseason he can get back to work.

“Rob Henry is a huge part of our football program, our heart goes out to him,” Hope said in a statement. “He was voted a captain by the team in the spring, and I know he will continue to inspire and push Robert (Marve), Caleb (TerBush), Sean (Robinson) and all of his teammates forward.” Marve, TerBush, and Robinson are all fellow quarterbacks.

The specter of ACL injuries haunts the Boilermakers' quarterback situation even past Henry's injury, though. One of the injured players last season was Marve, who began the season starting at QB before his knee gave way against Toledo early in the year. So while Marve would ostensibly be the new starter in Henry's stead, he's still dealing with soreness in his own surgically repaired knee, and told reporters yesterday he's trying to get his knee ready for conference play -- which, for Purdue, starts October 1.

That's not good news for a Purdue team that needs a quarterback a little sooner than that, so TerBush -- who missed last season to academics but is eligible and ready to roll this season -- is probably first in line for Week 1. Past TerBush, Robinson played in emergency duty as a true freshman last year, and he was planning to redshirt this season as the presumptive fourth-string QB. That plan, clearly, might need to be revised yet again.

The Boilermakers also still have Justin Siller, a senior wide receiver who was a converted quarterback, and who made one start against Michigan last season before (yikes) being lost for the rest of the season with a foot injury on the first play from scrimmage. At this point, Siller's not part of the QB conversation, but there's no telling whether the Boilermakers might need him or not again.

It's, to say the least, too bad that these injuries continue to plague Purdue. The team showed a great deal of competitiveness last season, even with backups (and their backups) all over the place on offense. With any luck, the injury spree will stop here, and the Boilers can get something approximating their best eleven on the field this season.
Posted on: August 24, 2011 4:36 pm
Edited on: August 24, 2011 4:42 pm

Kain Colter pulls even with Persa in NU QB race?

Posted by Adam Jacobi

To say that there's a heavy amount of expectations being put on Dan Persa (pictured at right) at Northwestern this year is, if anything, an understatement. Persa is the subject of "Chicago's Heisman Candidate" billboards around the city, and for good reason; he was the team's leading passer and rusher in 2010, and he was ninth in the nation in passing efficiency.

At the same time, Persa is still recovering from a major Achilles tendon injury last November, and even though his recovery process has been relatively uneventful -- being 22 has its benefits -- there's a chasm of difference between getting one's Achilles fully healed and getting back to 100% as a football player, and Persa is dealing with that part of the process now.

To that end, Northwestern announced on Tuesday that Kain Colter, who had been the starting quarterback in the spring while Persa was still rehabbing his Achilles, is now a co-starter at quarterback with Persa, just 10 days before Northwestern kicks off its season at Boston College. Here's more from the Chicago Tribune:

Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald called quarterback Kain Colter “1b” on Tuesday, implying he’s all but even with Dan Persa.

But Fitzgerald also said of Persa: “I fully expect him to start the opener. We’ll see how things go in the next week and a half.”

“You can ask all you want,” he said, “but I’m not telling you anything.”

One could also interpret this as just good news on the maturation of Kain more than a bad omen about Persa. Kain does have a great deal of experience with the first string offense now, having been the starter while Persa has been sidelined. If Fitzgerald is confident in two of his quarterbacks, then Northwestern has the luxury of bringing Persa back at whatever speed best suits his recovery process without harming the Wildcats' spread offense too badly.

That said, Persa's not there to be a backup, and Fitzgerald knows that. Don't expect Persa to be on the sidelines very often during Big Ten play unless an foreseen setback happens. 

Posted on: August 23, 2011 5:28 pm
Edited on: August 23, 2011 5:29 pm

Michigan bids farewell to WR Je'Ron Stokes

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The wide receiving corps at Michigan got a little thinner on Tuesday as junior wideout Je'Ron Stokes was granted his release from the football program, according to a spokesperson.

Stokes was a highly-regarded transfer from Tennessee who left the Volunteers when Phil Fulmer was fired, but his recruiting hype failed to translate into significant production on the field; Stokes had just one catch for 11 yards in all of the 2010 season (against Iowa, to be precise), and his 2009 campaign (two catches, 16 yards, all in the Delaware State game) was scarcely better.

Stokes' departure comes on the heels of fellow WR Darryl Stonum being suspended for the whole 2011 season by new head coach Brady Hoke, so after the top three wide receivers (Martavious Odoms, Roy Roundtree, Junior Hemingway), there isn't a whole lot of depth in the receiver corps right now. If Stokes is leaving this late in the process (rather than, say, spring or summer), though, it's probably the case that he wasn't in line to get much playing time, so his departure shouldn't be enough to make Michigan fans panic.

This, for the record, is the second departure from Michigan in as many days. Freshman offensive lineman Tony Posada departed on Monday, and while this doesn't exactly equate an exodus from Ann Arbor or any other major cause for concern, mgoblog correctly notes that it does mean there'll be something like 57 returning scholarship players next season for the Wolverines. Again, not terrible, but it does mean Michigan's going to need to hit its quota of 25 scholarships in the next recruiting class, then find a few more scholarship players (grayshirts, walk-ons, what have you) to get back to the 85 scholarship limit.
Posted on: August 23, 2011 4:05 pm
Edited on: August 23, 2011 4:09 pm

Cy-Hawk Trophy scrapped, fan input solicited

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The voice of football fans in the state of Iowa has been heard, and as a result, the new Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Trophy (seen at right) is no more. Four days after the trophy's unveiling -- to nearly universal derision -- officials from the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, and Iowa Corn held a press conference on Tuesday to announce that the trophy will not be used for the Iowa-ISU game on September 10 or any games thereafter.

The officials announced that future ideas for the trophy would be solicited from the public, and that the public would be part of the selection process as well. That's obviously a lengthy process -- not one that can be expected to be fully implemented in the 18 days between today's press conference and the September 10 game. At the same time, fans don't want the trophy on the sidelines even once, and this current trophy is clearly not an option.

The solution: an interim trophy, to be used once in next month's game while the permanent trophy is being made. Yes, an interim rivalry trophy. This is what college football has come to, we suppose.

As for the design of the new permanent trophy, we'll reiterate our support for a giant, half-open ear of corn where it's a football on the inside of a husk. Footballs pretending to be food are always entertaining. It's scientific fact.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com