Tag:Jerry Hinnen
Posted on: July 26, 2011 2:55 pm

MWC's Boise State among non-AQ favorites

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Several non-AQ conferences have held their preseason media days and polls, and it won't surprise anyone to learn that the Mountain West's edition has anointed newcomers Boise State the league favorites in their first MWC campaign.

The Broncos earned 28 out of a possible 31 first-place votes, with reigning champion TCU picking up three nods to finish second in their final MWC preseason poll before 2012's jump to the Big East. Air Force placed third, followed by San Diego State.

Personally, we'd have slid the Aztecs into the third slot* thanks in large part to Ronnie Hillman, the explosive sophomore running back who was named to the MWC's preseason all-conference team, also announced Tuesday. But it was the Broncos who predictbably dominated the list of honorees, earning a conference-high seven selections. In addition to Kellen Moore (who was named the preseason MWC Offensive Player of the Year), the Broncos were also saw less-household names like safety George Iloka, defensive end Shea McLellin and offensive tackle Nate Potter.

picked up four selections, including preseason Defesnive Player of the Year Tank Carder. No doubt the MWC itself is hoping the media have their predictions right; having the Broncos oust the Frogs in the two teams' only shared conference season would be a feather in the league's cap as TCU departs (and the MWC fights for a BCS automatic berth.

But as mentioned, the MWC isn't the only league that's been busy issuing its preseason polls. Checking in on two of their non-AQ brethren:

MAC: The Mid-American Conference held its Media Day Tuesday and announced the league's press had selected up-and-coming Toledo the league favorite for 2011. The Rockets return a league-high 18 starters in the third season of Tim Beckman's tenure, including dynamic receiver/returner Eric Page, a Biletnikoff Award Watch list member.

But the Rockets were far from a slam dunk choice, gaining only five of the 13 votes cast for MAC champion. Reigning divisional champions Northern Illinois and Miami (Ohio) each picked up three nods, with Ohio and Western Michigan each picking up a token vote. All in all, seven different teams earned votes as champions of one division or the other--promising a well-heated MAC race this fall.

SUN BELT: The SBC doesn't issue a media vote, but last week the league's coaches released their own picks for the 2011 Sun Belt standings, with an unfamiliar name at the top: FIU.

Behind co-preseason Offensive Player of the Year (and CBSSports.com College Football 100 member) T.Y. Hilton, the Golden Panthers usurped usual league overloards Troy, receiving five of the nine votes in the poll. And in maybe the quirkiest single vote in any of those polls mentioned in this post, someone is very high on Western Kentucky; despite going 2-10 last year (and 2-22 the past two seasons), the Hilltoppers received one first-place vote.

*Yes, despite the devastation in the SDSU receiving corps. Between a veteran line, Hillman, and senior QB Ryan Lindley, they'll be fine. 

Posted on: July 26, 2011 11:28 am
Edited on: July 26, 2011 4:57 pm

Gamecock QB coach Magnus arrested, suspended

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

There's no member of the South Carolina staff Stephen Garcia works more closely with than quarterbacks coach G.A. Magnus. Magnus's role is to be Garcia's mentor, his tutor, even -- if we may be so bold -- an inspiration towards becoming a better QB on and off the field.

So cue the thousand "oh, he's an inspiration for Garcia, all right" wisecracks: Magnus was arrested in Greenville, S.C. at 1:31 a.m. Tuesday morning, having been charged with "nuisance conduct."

And while "nuisance conduct" doesn't sound too embarrassing, the details reported by The State certainly are. Magnus was spotted by police officers "urinating on the street curb and roadway" along Greenville's Main St. When approached by officers he was "unsteady on his feet and ... had a strong odor of alcoholic beverage coming from his person," according to the police report. Other reports have stated Magnus's reponse to officers was "belligerent" in nature.

Magnus will be fined $470 for the incident, but the fallout at his day job will be much more damaging than that. He has already been suspended idefinitely by head coach Steve Spurrier, with the school releaseing the following statement:
University of South Carolina assistant football coach G.A. Mangus has been suspended indefinitely following an incident that occurred early this morning in Greenville, head coach Steve Spurrier announced today.

“G.A. has been suspended from all coaching activities until this matter is resolved,” said Coach Spurrier. “We are disappointed in his actions and will handle it accordingly.”
Now in his third season in Columbia, Magnus had been credited with much of Garcia's improvement over the past couple of seasons. But it will be much more difficult for Spurrier to suggest his staff is capable of handling Garcia's well-publicized bouts with public drunkenness when -- fair or not -- the staff member closest to Garcia appears incapable of handling his own.

Forgive us for being put in mind of the following blast from our childhood past:

Like they've always said: quarterback coaches who make substantial off-field mistakes involving alcohol have quarterbacks who make substantial off-field mistakes involving alcohol.

It's not actually that simple (obviously), but there's no question Magnus and the Gamecock program are going to be asked if it might be quite a few times between now and the start of the season.

Mugshot from the Greenville City Police Department via WSPA.

Posted on: July 25, 2011 4:31 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2011 11:31 am

N.C. State's Byrd lost for year with ACL tear

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

N.C. State fans hoping to hear good news from head coach Tom O'Brien at today's ACC Media Days must feel sorely disappointed, as O'Brien has instead confirmed that redshirt sophomore corner Jarvis Byrd has torn his ACL and will miss the 2011 season.

As if the news wasn't difficult enough for Byrd and the Wolfpack faithful to take, the injury is Byrd's second ACL tear in three years in Raleigh. One of O'Brien's most highly sought-after recruits in the Wolfpack's 2009 class, Byrd earned a starting role late in his freshman season but went out with his first knee injury in the final game of the year against North Carolina.

As a result, Byrd missed the entire 2010 campaign and redshirted. But he returned this past spring and had once again put himself into position to start, until suffering the new ACL tear in 7-on-7 work last Wednesday, according to O'Brien.

If there's any silver lining to Byrd's plight, it's that the Wolfpack still have plenty of experience in the secondary to fall back on. Both 2010 starting corners (David Amerson and C.J. Wilson) return, as do both starting safeties in juniors Earl Wolff and Brandon Bishop. If that foursome can stay healthy, Byrd's absence may not be felt too keenly.

But that's hardly guaranteed, and all the same, there's no question the ceiling for NCSU's 2011 defensive backfield has been lowered.

(And in other Wolfpack injury news, O'Brien also announced bruising running back Mustafa Greene won't return from a foot injury until October. Ouch.)

For more immediate Wolfpack news, follow our N.C. State CBS RapidReporter Mike Potter either here at CBSSports or on Twitter.

Posted on: July 25, 2011 2:39 pm

Cutcliffe's defense vs. Luck: Luck's beard

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Like every coach dealing with the prospect of facing Andrew Luck this season, Duke head coach David Cutcliffe isn't real optimistic about his Blue Devils' ability to slow down the future No. 1 overall draft pick and Heisman Trophy finalist. But at least he lives in hope, as he told local radio station 620 (as transcribed by Football Scoop):
Cutcliffe joked, “I hope he keeps his beard and it grows over his eyes, so he can’t see.”
That would be, uh, quite the beard. But if you haven't seen Luck's recent efforts, they're not quite on par with Troy punter Will Goggans's ... but we're seeing a lot of potential. The video evidence:

We're thinking Cutcliffe's best beard-related bet isn't that it cover Luck's eyes; it's that it forces his brain to overheat in the North Carolina September sun. Or that he gets it tangled in his facemask and trainers have to spend the entire second quarter cutting him free. Or that a gang of crazed Lincoln-Douglas debate reenactors abduct him en route to the stadium as a forced stand-in for Honest Abe.

Those all may sound awfully far-fetched. But as Cutcliffe would tell you, they're probably still more likely than the Blue Devils simply stopping a talent like Luck.

Posted on: July 25, 2011 12:49 pm
Edited on: July 25, 2011 1:05 pm

Vols' LB Austin Johnson arrested

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The last thing in the world Tennessee needed on the eve of opening its fall camp was a member of the  team's dwindling linebacking crew putting himself in suspension jeopardy with off-the-field trouble.

Guess what, Vols? A member of your dwindling linebacking crew has put himself in suspension jeopardy with off-the-field trouble. Senior Austin Johnson was arrested sometime around 3:50 a.m. Sunday morning and charged with disorderly conduct and public intoxication. Johnson posted a total $1,000 bond and was released some nine hours later.

A Tennessee spokesman said the school was "aware of an incident" it was "in the process of investigating ... for additional information."

After a junior year in which he recorded 44 tackles in his substitute's role and saw the field in every quarter of the season (one of only four Vols to do so), Johnson was slated to enjoy his first starting role at middle linebacker. But with outside linebacker Herman Lathers injured and possibly gone for the season, Johnson could now be forced outside.

Either way, a front seven with just one returning starter -- defensive tackle Malik Jackson -- can sorely afford to have one of its most experienced members miss any time through suspension. If Johnson (pictured back in his days as a fullback) misses the season opener against Montana, it's likely no harm done.

But anything further than that (much-improved Cincinnati visits Knoxville in Week 2), and a linebacking unit already lacking any returning starters will have its hands very, very full.

UPDATE: Vols beat writer Austin Ward provides some details of Johnson's arrest on Twitter:

At sometime after 3 a.m., we'll remind you.

Posted on: July 25, 2011 11:10 am
Edited on: July 25, 2011 11:16 am

Gators' Elam cited for alcohol possession

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

As criminal offenses go, "possession of alcohol by minor" ranks pretty far down the list in terms of seriousness.

But for a college football player already with one such charge on his record and a new coach promising a zero-tolerance approach to law-breaking, Florida safety Matt Elam may find some hot water all the same over his weekend citation for just that offense.

While apparently not arrested in the technical legal sense, Elam was briefly taken into custody after police officers spotted him throwing a plastic cup to the ground that was found to contain Hennessy cognac and Coke. He was released with a promise to appear in court Sunday.

The citation was Elam's second for possession of alcohol in as many years, the sophomore having been previously charged in 2010 for holding a can of the alcoholic energy drink "Four Loko" in a parking lot.

A Florida spokesman said the incident would be handled "internally," suggesting that Elam won't face a suspension. But given Will Muschamp's emphasis on the law-abiding "Florida Way" this offseason, he may be one more strike -- of any level of seriousness -- from much more substantial consequences.

Posted on: July 22, 2011 5:11 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 5:27 pm

Tennessee self-imposes two years' probation

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Given the craziness breaking out in Columbus, Tennessee picked an awfully nice time to make a little announcement of their own: the Volunteers are self-imposing two years' worth of probation following violations committed under Lane Kiffin and former men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl.

The NCAA Committee on Infractions could still set stiffer penalties at their meeting with the Vols, a meeting that at this time remains unscheduled but which should occur in the next eight weeks. But the university feels "the penalties imposed during the course of its investigation, coupled with its corrective measures, adequately address the violations that occurred."

Besides the probation, the school also imposed some minor recruiting restrictions on Derek Dooley's (as well as new hoops coach Cuonzo Martin's) staff. Their 168 "recruiting days" for the spring 2011 evaluation period were cut to 162, and only five members of Dooley's 10-member staff are allowed to make telephone calls to recruits on Nov. 1 of this year, the first day of the "recruiting "contact period."

The penalties come in addition to a number of other penalties issued by Tennessee compliance earlier this year. As the story from the Knoxville News-Sentinel reports:
As noted in the response [to the NCAA], all individuals associated with the violations, with the exception of football Director of Player Personnel Steve Rubio, are no longer employed by the university. That includes former athletic director Mike Hamilton, who resigned days before the June hearing, and former men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl and his three assistants, who all collectively misled NCAA investigators during June 2010 interviews.
The NCAA may slap on another year of probation or offer a few more (more substantial) recruiting restrictions. But unless another violation is uncovered during the two-year probation period, the worst for Tennessee athletics is now probably over.

Posted on: July 22, 2011 4:09 pm

Ohio State 'categorically denies' report

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Well, that didn't take long.

Ohio State has already responded to Friday's local television report that Jim Tressel alerted university compliance officials to a "tip" of violations in December, a month before the school claims it was alerted in its report to the NCAA. And for an official institutional statement, it does not pull its punches; the report is "categorically denied" and characterized as "unnecessarily damaging, inaccurate and entirely misleading."

The complete statement:
The university’s filings to the NCAA; Coach Tressel’s formal, written response to the NCAA’s Notice of Allegations on July 8; and the NCAA’s own Case Summary received yesterday on July 21 all make clear that when Coach Tressel was interviewed by a number of people within the institution on December 9 and December 16, he did not share his knowledge about the NCAA violation.

As we have previously stated to the public and the NCAA in our filings, Coach Tressel only sought advice from the University in January 2011 -- after the university had discovered e-mails that showed that he had knowledge of the matter and in contradiction to his statements to the University the previous December. That sequence of events is summarized clearly by the NCAA in its Case Summary.

The University categorically denies anything to the contrary, and such allegations are inconsistent with the conclusions of the NCAA and the University.

Any attempt to characterize events differently would be unnecessarily damaging, inaccurate and entirely misleading.
Assuming Ohio State is right and the report is wrong -- and the transcripts of Tressel's Feb. 8 statements to the NCAA would seem to clarify the matter one way or the other -- it would certainly help the Buckeyes avoid any charges of institutional wrongdoing.

And apparently, it has. More on today's developments out of Columbus forthcoming.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com