Tag:Missouri
Posted on: February 8, 2012 12:09 pm
 

Missouri LT Elvis Fisher cleared for sixth year

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Missouri is going to need all hands on deck for its inaugural season in the SEC. And fortunately for the Tigers, one of the most experienced, most valuable of those hands is returning to the team for a sixth year of eligibility to take a crack at the nation's top conference.

The father of Missouri senior left tackle Elvis Fisher confirmed to the Columbia Daily Tribune Tuesday that this son had been granted an extra season of eligibility and would be returning to the field this fall. After redshirting in 2007, Fisher started every game for the Tigers his freshman, sophomore and junior seasons before tearing his patellar tendon in fall camp 2011. Fisher was an honorable mention All-Big 12 lineman in 2009 and 2010 and would have set a new team record for consecutive starts had he remained healthy.

The NCAA told Missouri officials Tuesday that Fisher's resulting application for a medical hardship waiver had been approved. Fisher celebrated the news himself on Twitter:

 

 Fisher's father, Jeff Fisher, told the Tribune the family had not been certain Elvis would play a sixth year even if the NCAA granted the waiver.

“We hashed it out,” Jeff said. “We decided, ‘If they say yes, let’s do this' ... If they said no, we were going to be doubling up our efforts to try and get into the NFL. But this way gives him more prep time to get stronger and faster, have another year, and play the first year in the SEC. It’s exciting."

Assuming he returns to full strength by the start of the 2012 season, Fisher will give the Tigers three returning starters on their offensive line--no small positive considering some of the defensive lines Mizzou will face this year.

Though reportedly "ahead of his recovery plan," Fisher's availability for the Tigers' spring drills is still to be determined.

For up-to-the-minute updates on Tiger football, follow our CBSSports.com Missouri RapidReports by Dave Matter.

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Posted on: February 2, 2012 12:29 am
Edited on: February 2, 2012 3:45 pm
 

National Signing Day Winners and Losers: SEC

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Breaking down who won and who lost in the SEC on National Signing Day:

 

WINNERS

Mike Slive. Anyone who doubted Missouri's conference cred had to fall silent for at least a day as the Tigers introduced the nation's No. 1 recruit into the SEC East. The rest of the Tigers' class may not be as deep as many of their new league rivals', but when said class also includes a star as overpoweringly bright as Dorial Green-Beckham, it's hard to see any flaws.

Players to watch: WR Dorial Green-Beckham, G Evan Boehm, QB Maty Mauk.  

Alabama. Yawn--just another No. 1-ranked class of 25-plus blue-chips for Nick Saban's perpetual recruiting motion machine, with the surprise signing of highly regarded Virginia defensive tackle Korren Kirven the icing on a cake the Crimson Tide had baked long before Wednesday. By his own admission, Saban said they "didn't have any surprises," for worse or -- this being Alabama -- better. Once Kirven had declared and top safety Landon Collins had finally gotten his mother on board, the drama in Tuscaloosa was over.

In fact, after a big Junior Day haul, Saban and Co. are already off and sprinting for 2013. Come next February, it's likely there won't be any surprises then either. It may not be exciting for anyone hoping for stunning announcements, big rankings swings, and overheated speculation -- the Tide may have used it all up in last year's Cyrus Kouandjio saga -- but it's the same lethally efficient formula that's netted Saban two national championships in three seasons. Nothing much changed for Alabama on Signing Day, but unfortunately for the rest of college football, that means nothing much has changed when it comes to the difficulty of knocking the Tide off their perch, either.

Players to watch: S Landon CollinsRB T.J. YeldonCB Geno SmithVideo: Saban on being No. 1 on the recruiting trail. 



James Franklin. When Franklin's blazingly hot start last summer netted him a commitment from All-American running back Brian Kimbrow, the nation's no. 52 player, the response from many observers around the SEC was "That's impressive. It'll be even more impressive if he actually signs."

Not every one of those early Vanderbilt commitments made it across the finish line. But Kimbrow did, along with 20 other quality players that had the 'Dores in the CBS Sports National Signing Day  Top 25 a week beforehand. Vandy couldn't quite hang on to that lofty ranking, but even having the SEC's eternal doormat in a "top 25" conversation is an achievement for Franklin arguably on par with Saban's in Tuscaloosa. 

Players to watch: RB Brian Kimbrow, DE Caleb AzubikeQB Pat Robinette.

Steve Spurrier's nerves. South Carolina isn't traditionally the first team you'd think of when looking for a comparison to Alabama when it comes to recruiting success. But the Gamecocks might be this year, thanks in part to joining the Tide in the team rankings top 10 (believe it or not, Carolina quietly finished third in the SEC). But like Alabama, the Gamecocks also enjoyed a pleasantly uneventful Signing Day, with 19 of the 25 Gamecocks who signed today having already committed before the 2011 season started. 

“It’s been a peaceful Signing Day today, which was kind of nice,” recruiting coordinator Steve Spurrier Jr. said. And when you peacefully land players like Shaq Roland and Jordan Diggs, doubly so.

Players to watch: WR Shaq Roland, RB Mike DavisDB Jordan Diggs. Video: Spurrier talks recruiting impact. 


LOSERS

Mark Richt's nerves. On the other side of the spectrum from Alabama and South Carolina, there was Georgia's National Signing Day. The day started with the disappointment of missing out on receivers Cordarelle Patterson (Tennessee) and JaQuay Williams (Auburn) (leaving the Bulldogs with just one wideout in the class), then picked up with a commitment from Maxpreps top 100 linebacker/safety Josh Harvey-ClemonsBut that a.m. joy dissolved into p.m. worry as Harvey-Clemons grandfather and legal guardian reportedly refused to sign Harvey-Clemons' letter of intent. Adding insult to injury, Richt's premature public comments on Harvey-Clemons may have even constituted a minor NCAA violation.

With or without Harvey-Clemons, the Bulldogs are still going to boast a star-studded class with nearly as many top 100 recruits (five, or six) as any team in the country. But the potential of losing Harvey-Clemons to hated Florida with the Gators already sitting some 15 spots ahead in the team rankings is likely to cause a restless evening (or evenings) in Athens all the same.

Players to watch: OL John TheusRB Keith MarshallDE Jordan Jenkins. Video: Will Muschamp on Florida's Signing Day.

LSU's in-state clout. There's about 105 FBS teams or so that would gladly trade classes with LSU's, especially after the addition of out-of-state gems like Oxford (Ala.) linebacker Kwon AlexanderBut in a somewhat down year for talent in the Pelican State, the Tigers had to lock down the borders to put together a truly elite class, and that didn't happen--not only did Collins and highly-regarded linebacker Denzel Devall stick with their Alabama commitments, Texas shocked Les Miles by snatching away the Tigers' blue-chip linebacker Torshiro Davis. (Davis rubbed salt in Miles's wound by saying LSU's players "don't seem that happy.")

Those were the top three players in the state by many accounts, and LSU didn't land any of them. It's not the end of the world, but for a program built on an annual harvest of blue-chippers from the bayou, it's a worrying sign all the same.

Players to watch: OL Vadal Alexander, WR Avery Johnson, LB Trey Granier.  

Arkansas. As usual under Bobby Petrino, the Razorbacks signed a respectable-but-not-spectacular class that Petrino will no doubt turn into something far more than the sum of its parts once it comes together in Fayetteville. But to come as close as they reportedly did to signing the player that would have helped cement their status as a national power and come up short has to sting.

Players to watch: LB Otha Peters, OG Jeremy Ward, RB Jonathan Williams.

SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN

Auburn. On the good side: wide receivers JaQuay Williams and Ricardo Louis each stuck with their original commitments to the Tigers, offensive lineman Will Adams flipped from Georgia Tech, and top tackle Avery Young gave Auburn a top-100 cornerstone at Georgia and Florida's expense. On the not so good side: Eddie Goldman, Ronald Darby, Leonard Williams, Alexander and Jordan Moore all had Auburn as one of their finalists and all went in a different direction. Gene Chizik's boom-or-bust Signing Day somehow managed to neither quite boom nor bust.

Players to watch: QB Zeke Pike, RB Jovon Robinson, DB T.J. Davis. And to wrap things up, here's some video of Derek Dooley:


Posted on: January 31, 2012 11:07 am
Edited on: January 31, 2012 11:16 am
 

Report: Big 12 to search for new commissioner

Posted by Tom Fornelli

For an interim commissioner, Chuck Neinas has seen an awful lot happen in the Big 12 since replacing Dan Beebe. Texas A&M and Missouri announced they'd be leaving the conference, and TCU and West Virginia were both brought on to replace them. Through all of this, Neinas has made it clear that he does not want to become a permanent replacement for Beebe.

Now it looks like the conference is ready to find his replacement.

Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News reports that on Thursday the Big 12's board of directors will consider a search committee to begin looking for Neinas' replacement. Exactly who the conference may consider to become its next commissioner, there's no mention in the report.

The report goes on to say that the board will also get the latest update on the "legal wrangling" between West Virginia and the Big East as the school continues its pursuit of freedom from the conference. The Big 12 still plans on releasing its schedule for the 2012 season no later than Wednesday to meet its contractual obligations to its television partners.

So since Wednesday is signing day, maybe Chuck Neinas will unveil the schedule by pulling it out of one of two hats. One hat will just have the Big 12 logo on it, and the other will have a West Virginia logo.

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Posted on: January 26, 2012 11:36 am
 

Chuck Neinas calls Missouri 'selfish'

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas called Missouri "selfish" in an interview with the Charleston Gazette while talking about conference realignment and the Big 12's future. According to Neinas, the current lawsuit between West Virginia and the Big East as the school tries to replace Missouri probably wouldn't be happening if not for Missouri.

"The one thing that gets lost is we're in this predicament because the SEC invited Missouri," Neinas told the paper. "But the SEC was willing to play with 13 [rather than 14] next season. We made an offer to Missouri that was financially beneficial to stay for another year. Missouri made the decision not to accept.

"We had a teleconference call with those in the SEC, Big East, ACC, Mountain West and Conference USA. We all agreed we could save money and avoid litigation if all held serve for 2012-13. All agreed. But Missouri made a very selfish decision. It's been very disruptive. Missouri gave us notice in November [of 2011] and it's pretty difficult to move forward then." 

Now, while Neinas may have a point and might even be right, I must admit, I find the fact that conferences are calling schools selfish to be a bit funny. After all, it's not as if the conferences are worried about the well being of other conferences while they seek schools to join their own.

I don't think the Big 12 decided to invite West Virginia to replace Missouri because it was in the Big East's best interest.

Speaking of the Big East, Neinas had some comments for them as well.

"The Big East gets on planes and flies all over the country inviting other schools," Neinas said. "But they raise hell when West Virginia wants to come to the Big 12?"

Considering that the Big 12 is still exploring further expansion and another Big East school, Louisville, is a likely target, it's probably safe to say that the Big 12 and Big East won't be sitting at the same table in the conference cafeteria anytime soon. 

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Posted on: January 24, 2012 4:26 pm
 

SEC East coordinator hires: thumbs up or down?

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

With all 28 positions now filled, here's one team-by-team assessment of where the SEC stands at the two most important assistant coaching positions. Yesterday, the West. Today, the East:

FLORIDA

2011: Charlie Weis as the offensive coordinator, Dan Quinn defensive.

Departures: Weis famously left for the Kansas head coaching position.

2012: Weis has been replaced by Boise State coordinator Brent Pease.

Thumbs up/down? TBD. Weis had his moments (offensively speaking, anyway) at Notre Dame, but they nearly all came via the arms of Brady Quinn or Jimmy Clausen and the Irish's cadre of top-notch receivers--making him a terrible fit for both Will Muschamp's visions of an Alabama-like ground game and the Gators' pass-poor personnel. On paper, replicating the Broncos' balanced mix-and-match approach should be a much snugger fit. But Pease arrives with just one season of play-calling experience under his belt, and at that a season in which Boise ran the ball much more poorly than they had in recent years (34th in average yards per-carry, down from 10th in both 2009 and 2010). And thanks in large part to iffy quarterback play, Texas's 2011 attempt to import the Boise offense (via Pease predecessor Bryan Harsin) hardly set the world on fire--an ill omen for a team whose current QBs, sophomores Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett, looked out of their depth as freshmen. Pease has promise, but the jury is very much out.

GEORGIA

2011: Mike Bobo offensive, Todd Grantham defensive.

Departures: Status quo.

Thumbs up/down? Up, obviously. Bobo managed the offense as well as could be expected given the injury-struck units at running back and receiver, and Grantham came into his own as one of the SEC's hottest coordinating commodities after piloting his young Dawgs to a top-five finish in total D. Richt has no reason to consider change at either slot.

KENTUCKY

2011: Randy Sanders offensive, Rick Minter and Steve Brown defensive.

Departures: Brown was fired after the 'Cats finished 10th in the SEC and 58th nationally.

2012: Minter has been promoted to full defensive coordinator.

Thumbs up/down? Down. Despite Brown's dismissal, Minter's role as play-caller and lead defensive game-planner means that Joker Phillips is keeping things almost entirely status quo--the entire 2011 offensive coaching staff will return, for instance, even after the hapless 'Cats finished a miserable 118th nationally in total offense and 117th in scoring. Phillips' loyalty to Sanders and the rest of his staff is admirable (and the upset of Tennessee was undoubtedly sweet), but if those kinds of numbers aren't enough to cause a shakeup, what would be?

MISSOURI

2011: David Yost offensive, David Steckel defensive.

Departures: None.

Thumbs up/down? Up. These are the Daves Gary Pinkel knows, and after several productive seasons in Columbia (if not spectacular where 2011 was concerned), there's no reason to make a change before testing their mettle in the SEC.

SOUTH CAROLINA

2011: Steve Spurrier is his own OC; Ellis Johnson ran the defense.

Departures: Johnson took the head coaching position at Southern Miss. 

2012: Spurrier promoted defensive backs coach (and "defensive coordinator" in title only) Lorenzo Ward to replace Johnson.

Thumbs up/down? Tentatively up. Ward spent three years leaning Johnson's schemes and already assisted with a similar 4-2-5 approach during his time at Virginia Tech; his promotion means the already successful Gamecock defense (fourth in FBS total D in 2011) won't change much -- if any -- from a schematic standpoint. The only question is if Ward can reproduce Johnson's adept in-game adjustments (see the Gamecocks' second-half shutdown of Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl) and excellent situational play-calling. If he can even come close, the Gamecock D shouldn't miss too many beats.

TENNESSEE

2011: Jim Chaney offensive, Justin Wilcox defensive.

Departures: Wilcox took the same position at Washington.

2012: Wilcox has been replaced by Alabama linebackers coach Sal Sunseri.

Thumbs up/down? TBD. The Sunseri hire alone would get a thumbs-up, since it's doubtful the Vols could have done much better than the man who just helped put together one of college football's all-time great defenses--not to mention was widely believed to be being groomed to replace Kirby Smart when the current Tide DC finally takes a head job. While it's hardly guaranteed Sunseri can replicate the Tide defense in Knoxville any more than Pease can replicate the Boise offense in Gainesville, there's no arguing with attempting that replication after what the Crimson Tide D has accomplished of late. 

The question is if Derek Dooley should have also looked for a replacement for Chaney. Following Lane Kiffin's departure, Chaney's two years in sole charge of the Vol offense have produced a slide from 60th (in 2009) to 75th to an awful 104th in total offense. Chaney has without question been dealt a rough hand, having been forced to deal with widespread inexperience as well as catastrophic injuries, and a little bit of continuity on a staff already wracked by upheaval is a major positive. So we don't blame Dooley for standing pat in the OC's chair ... though if Chaney can't engineer a dramatic turnaround in 2012, we suspect there's plenty of Vol supporters who will.

VANDERBILT

2011: John Donovan offensive, Bob Shoop defensive.

Departures: None.

Thumbs up/down? Well up. The Commodore offense only ranked 81st in yards per-play, that was still a far sight better than the 111th they managed in 2010. Meanwhile, Shoop quietly pulled off one of the nation's most impressive coordinating jobs by pulling the 'Dores up from 76th to 14th in the same statistic. Clearly, there's no call for James Franklin to change things up at this stage.

For all of Eye on CFB's SEC coverage, click here.

Thanks to TeamSpeedKills' helpful "Coaching Carousel Scorecard." 
 

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Posted on: January 17, 2012 4:22 pm
 

SEC official: 'We're not going to nine' games

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Mike Slive and the SEC have stated (on multiple occasions) that the league's 2012 schedule is a stopgap solution before more permanent answers to the questions of cross-divisional rivalries and rotations are established in 2013. But according to conference official Larry Templeton, there's one thing that won't change in the schedule between 2012 and 2013: the number of games in it.

Templeton, chair of the SEC's transition team, confirmed to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch at Missouri Monday that the conference will not be considering moving to a nine-game schedule in 2013 ... or ever.

"We're not going to nine," he said. "The competitiveness in our league week-to-week is just too strong. It would be an easier scheduling format, but I don't think it would be fair to our players or our coaches."

In November, South Carolina president Harris Pastides said the league planned to move to a nine-game slate, but that claim was quickly shot down by the league and Slive himself, who said in December he didn't "sense any interest" from member schools in adding an additional league game.

Assuming the SEC sticks with Templeton's assertion that a nine-game schedule is off the table, the league faces a difficult catch-22. With six of the eight games already guaranteed to be divisional games (thanks to the 14-team expansion and seven teams in each division), only two will be devoted to cross-divisional contests. Make one of those a permanent cross-divisional rival and rotate through home-and-home series in the last remaining slot, and non-rival teams in opposite divisions will play each other just twice in a span of 12 years. Give both slots over to rotations, and suddenly some the bedrock rivalries of the league -- Auburn-Georgia and Alabama-Tennessee, to name the two most prominent -- are no longer annual affairs.

"That is a huge question that has not been answered ... It will be an interesting debate," Templeton said. "I think anything else is on the table for discussion. We're going to have to make some tough decisions. Are we going to stay with the permanent opponent, and then how are we going to rotate that one other game?"

One possible solution would be for some teams (like the Tide and Vols, or Tigers and Bulldogs) to keep their permanent cross-division rival while the others have both their East-West games rotate. But that could prove unnecessarily complicated, and would still force those teams with permanent rivals to see opposite-division teams exceedingly rarely. 

Of course, there are some positives to sticking with an eight-game schedule; teams with annual nonconference rivalries like South Carolina (with Clemson) or Florida (with Florida State) will find it much easier to maintain those with four non-league games available, and the capacity to schedule an extra "paycheck game" will greatly aid the league's lower-rung teams in reaching bowl eligibility. 

But already, many SEC fans would say the conference's traditional powers -- say, Alabama and Florida, or LSU and Georgia, or old rivals Auburn and Tennessee -- don't play often enough. The most likely outcome of an eight-game schedule is that games between those teams would become even more scarce. Expansion may boost the league's bottom line if its forthcoming post-14-team TV negotiations prove fruitful, but it will still come at a price, and games like this past two season's showdowns between the Tide and Gators look like they'll going to be that price.

HT: Get the Picture. 

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Posted on: January 17, 2012 1:53 pm
 

Report: Ex-Mizzou QB Tyler Gabbert to UCF

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

After a handful of false starts, former Missouri quarterback Tyler Gabbert has reportedly found his next FBS program.

Per the Orlando Sentinel, Gabbert is transferring to UCF and will join the Knights as a sophomore with three years of eligibility remaining. A native of Ballwin, Mo., Gabbert is currently taking classes at a St. Louis community college, the Sentinel reported.  

Gabbert began his college career in Columbia, following in his famous five-star brother Blaine Gabbert's oversized footsteps. A prized four-star recruit himself, Tyler redshirted during the 2010 season and was expected by many to take over for his brother come the 2011 campaign. But Gabbert lost out on the Tigers' starting job to James Franklin in spring practices and -- not wasting any time -- elected to transfer in May. He committed himself to Louisville in June (enough so that Charlie Strong issued a tweet welcoming him to the Cardinal program) only to ultimately choose not to enroll there, either.

His decision to finally land at UCF, though, may prove to be a win-win for both sides. The Knights are desperate for quarterbacking depth following the transfer of Jeff Godfreywith incumbent starter Blake Bortles the only scholarship quarterback currently on the UCF roster. At the very least, Gabbert should offer them a high-quality insurance policy in the event of an injury to Bortles.

As for what Gabbert gets out of the move to UCF, though impressive in his 10 appearances, Bortles is only a true sophomore himself and could conceivably cede the starting position -- or at least the occasional snap -- to a prospect of Gabbert's talents. Despite a lackluster 2011 season as Godfrey and Bortles played tug-of-war under center, the Knights still boast one of the deepest rosters in Conference USA and could give Gabbert an excellent chance at guiding a bowl-bound offense or even a league title-winning team if he can beat out Bortles.

That's a big "if," but on paper, it seems to be worth the gamble for both Gabbert and George O'Leary's recovering program.

Check out all the news here at Eye on CFB on the non-BCS conferences by clicking here.

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Posted on: January 10, 2012 9:29 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2012 9:37 pm
 

Marcus Coker released after assault investigation

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The Iowa Hawkeyes announced on Tuesday that Marcus Coker, the sophomore tailback who led the team with 1384 rushing yards and 15 yards and was named second team All-Big Ten in 2011, had been released from his scholarship and would transfer. Coker had been suspended days before the team's Insight Bowl appearance against Oklahoma, which the Sooners won 31-14.

Iowa's announcement said that Coker had originally been suspended after violating the Student Athlete Code of Conduct, and on Tuesday, Iowa athletic director Gary Barta again declined to provide any more specifics. But an open records request by the Iowa City Press-Citizen revealed a sexual assault investigation against Coker dating from an October 28 incident at his residence.

According to that report, a woman reported to police that she was the victim of an assault at Coker’s residence, 618 Iowa Ave. The alleged assault took place sometime between 1:15-1:30 p.m. on Oct. 28.

The circumstances surrounding the assault are not detailed in the report, but it does note that the responding officer was dispatched to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics for a sexual assault.

Iowa City Police Lt. Doug Hart said Coker was investigated for assault. However, after conferring with the Johnson County Attorney’s Office, prosecution was not pursued. Hart said the alleged victim also did not want to prosecute.

Nobody involved in the situation has indicated whether the investigation against Coker was what affected his status with the team, though the police department did say that the situation had been relayed to the Iowa athletic department, as per usual procedure.

According to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, Coker left this message on his Facebook page last week: "Everything happens for a reason..cant tell people i did something when i didnt. So hints y i never answered those questions. Anyway thanks everyone for the support especially hawknation and fam. Go hawks..hawk for life."

Freshman running back Mika'il McCall also left the Iowa program last week, so Coker's departure makes it a remarkable 12 straight running backs who have left Iowa before their senior seasons. Damian Sims, who signed with Iowa in 2004, was the last scholarship RB recruit to play four full seasons with the Hawkeyes.

Kirk Ferentz is unavailable for comment, according to the university.

For more breaking news on this situation and the rest of the Iowa Hawkeyes, read the CBSSports.com Iowa RapidReports by Brendan Stiles.

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