Friday, July 27, 2012

Catching up does stupid (and stripy!) things

This sounds painful and potentially significant: Devon Kennard might be out for the season:
USC defensive end Devon Kennard has suffered a tear of his pectoral muscle and is slated to undergo surgery next week, a source close to the player said Thursday night.

Kennard, a senior slated to be a starter, is expected to be out at least 2-3 months and could miss the entire 2012 season, depending on the severity of the tear, which will be determined next week.
That's bad-news bears for USC. Kennard was a mega recruit a few years ago who's had a bunch of minor injuries but got regular playing time last year as a nominal backup and situational pass rusher; he had a respectable two sacks, four tackles for loss and 29 tackles and was thus expected to step into the starting spot at defensive end that was vacated by early draft entry Nick Perry. It's worth noting that Kennard and other defensive end Wes Horton would've been the only guys on the D-line with any meaningful experience. Not so much anymore (at least not for the next two or three months).

The defense probably will still be better overall given that the back seven was hilariously young last year and returns intact other than at middle linebacker, where Chris Galippo's graduation has left somewhat of a hole, but whether "better overall" equals "national championship worthy" remains to be seen. USC gave up 35-plus points four times last year and was 64th in pass efficiency and 54th in yardage despite the presence of Perry and Kennard in most passing situations. There will be a must-score-40-points-to-win game at some point. In case you're wondering, the Oregon game is in L.A. on November 3.

Get a cab, man: Fitzgerald Toussaint. Argh:
Michigan running back Fitzgerald Toussaint has been suspended indefinitely from the team after being arrested Saturday evening on a DUI charge.

Saline (Mich.) Police Chief Larry Hrinik confirmed Toussaint's arrest. He said that at the time of the arrest, Toussaint's blood alcohol level was .12. Michigan's legal limit is .08.
Again: Argh. Toussaint finished with 1,041 yards and nine touchdowns last year despite splitting carries for about the first half of the year and then missing most of the Michigan State game with a relatively minor injury; he's legit and easily Michigan's best running back (unless you wanna count Denard, in which case OK).

The good news: He's never been in trouble before (he's a redshirt junior) and likely won't miss much time as long as he doesn't do anything stupid between now and the opener. The bad news: The opener is against Alabama. A suspension would be problematic. Vincent Smith is OK as a third-down type and Thomas Rawls is OK as a between-the-tackles guy; neither one is comparable at this point to Toussaint, although they'd probably be acceptable fill-ins against Air Force and UMass if whatever punishment ends up lasting for more than one week.

Brady Hoke coachspeak coachspeak coachspeak:
“I don't know yet. ... (He's) going to pay the price for poor judgments, which a lot of 18 to 23-year-old kids make, and then we'll make a decision down the road."
So we'll see. And on a related "decision down the road" note:
Michigan sophomore defensive end Frank Clark has been suspended from the football team after he was charged with second-degree home invasion, which is a felony.

Clark allegedly stole a MacBook Air laptop out of a Stockwell Hall dorm room. He has been arraigned and faces a preliminary exam on Aug. 2 in the 14th District Court.
Yeeeaaah that sounds pretty bad. Clark had one of those breakout-type things at the end of last year but was nominally backing up Brennan Beyer at weakside defensive end; his loss would be not totally insignificant but not exactly comparable to Toussaint's.

BTW, Michigan is now up to sixth in the Fulmer Cup standings (although Will Campbell's hilarious and relatively innocuous arrest counts for like half of the points). Gack.

More ANGAR: There's a uniform for the opener against 'Bama. Commence old-man-shaking-fist-at-cloud reaction:

/shakes fist at cloud.

Standard disclaimer: Michigan's road unis change all the time and are nowhere near as sacred as the home unis, which DO NOT TOUCH. And the changes above are relatively minor: (a) The typical maize piping around the numbers is missing and (b) the shoulders have a weird maize-stripe-and-block-M combo going on. The latter is a common theme with all the various alternate-ish jerseys that have been rolled out over the past year; Dave Brandon hates plain shoulders or something. I hate anything but plain shoulders. This is a war I'm not winning.

And one more Michigan-related item: Darryl Stonum is headed to Baylor:
Former Michigan wide receiver Darryl Stonum is transferring to Baylor for his final year of eligibility, according to
A reminder from January, when Stonum got booted:
Stonum missed the entire season while on suspension because of a drunken-driving arrest (his second) but was expected back next year, when he would have nominally filled Junior Hemingway's spot as the bombs-away receiver. He was also a very good kick returner who was never adequately replaced. Sadly, he won't be back at all because he's apparently incapable of following simple directions like "show up to probation meetings" and "don't drive after losing your license."
Before he was doing a lot of inadvisable things, Stonum was a starting-caliber wideout with the talent to be something more; his production was always a little lacking because he didn't have that thing -- it'd probably be best described as ball-in-the-air body-adjustment ability -- that Braylon Edwards and David Terrell and all the other unstoppable guys before him did. But he's fast and tall and presumably still talented and will be eligible immediately as a grad-student transfer, which is swell for Baylor even if Terrance Williams (957 yards and 11 touchdowns) and Tevin Reese (877 yards and seven touchdowns) are back. Stonum will most likely take Kendall Wright's spot on the outside, allowing Reese to stay in the slot and Art Briles to put three All-Big-12-ish receivers on the field at the same time.

It should be noted that former Oregon uber recruit Lache Seastrunk is expected to start at running back after transferring last year; in other words, the offense should still be pretty ridiculous as long as RGIII replacement Nick Florence is anything other than bad.

It could have been worse: Penn States's alternative to getting reamed by the NCAA was getting eliminated by the NCAA:
If Penn State had not accepted the package of NCAA sanctions announced Monday, the Nittany Lions faced a historic death penalty of four years, university president Rodney Erickson told "Outside the Lines" on Wednesday afternoon.

In a separate interview, NCAA president Mark Emmert confirmed that a core group of NCAA school presidents had agreed early last week that an appropriate punishment was no Penn State football for four years.
Great googly moogly. A four-year death sentence would've been a literal, not-survivable death sentence; I was among the OUTRAGED and thought a year would've been sufficient. I'm undecided whether I'm more amazed that the actual punishment now looks not so bad or that Rodney Erickson got to choose his own death rather than having it piled on top of him.

Daily Silas Redd update: Silas Redd met with USC on Thursday but apparently has not yet made a decision on whether/where he'll be transferring. His next step: goin' places.
Penn State running back Silas Redd met with USC coach Lane Kiffin for three hours Thursday in Connecticut, and a source said "it went really well."

Redd will travel to California for a visit Saturday, a source said, and may decide on whether he will leave Penn State by Monday.

Redd, Penn State's leading rusher last season, is intrigued by the chance to compete for a national championship and that could overwhelm the emotional part of him wanting to stay for his teammates, the source said.
The standard "USC has 47 five-star running backs" argument doesn't apply anymore. The depth chart goes like this: senior Curtis McNeal (an average-ish starter), sophomore D.J. Morgan, nothing. Redd's probably better than either one of those guys -- he did put up 1,241 yards and seven touchdowns last year behind Penn State's mediocre line -- and therefore would probably get at least some regular carries immediately.

FYI, USC is at its scholarship limit (and the Penn State waivers don't apply to schools that have their own restrictions) but will likely have a spot open by the time the season rolls around due to academics/malfeasance/whatever. Redd would undoubtedly be worth finding a spot for since (a) he's got two years of eligibility left and (b) there's a lack of both talent and depth at running back. And as a reminder:
The NCAA has said players can transfer from Penn State and be eligible immediately.
BTW, Redd was supposed to be part of the (incredibly uncomfortable) Penn State delegation at Big Ten media days but bailed at the last minute; I wouldn't expect him back.

Tommy Rees gets his sentence: What the headline-type thing says:
Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees will perform 50 hours of community service after pleading guilty to misdemeanor counts of resisting law enforcement and illegal consumption of alcohol by a minor in connection with his arrest outside a party in South Bend, Ind.

Rees, 20, received a 30-day suspended jail sentence and 11 months of probation, and he must write a letter of apology to the officers involved in his May 3 arrest.
Upshot: No jail time (assuming no additional screwups). The suspended-sentence ruling was a fortunate one since 30 days in jail at this point would have completely removed him from fall camp and made him a non-option, which would have decreased the likelihood of seeing this on September 1:


Woo bowl names: Scratch that stuff about the Valley of the Sun Bowl:
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- The Insight Bowl has become the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl under a new sponsorship agreement.

The change was announced Monday by the Valley of the Sun Bowl Foundation, which operates the postseason contest played at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe.
The BCA's official list of approved bowls came out a couple weeks ago and recognized this year's game as the sponsor-less Valley of the Sun Bowl, which didn't seem to bode particularly well for its future. Having a sponsor is ... ummm ... better.

Insert joke here about controllable sprinkler heads and overtime and whatnot.

WTF is up with the stripe? Northwestern has new uniforms (wear-them-all-the-time uniforms and not alternates). They are purply and stripy:

Reaction: Meh. Northwestern has had a whole bunch of weird purple-and-black combos and would have to do something totally insane to get me shaking my old-man fist, and the stripe that at first appeared totally insane in fact has some historical relevance:
Under Armour included the design element as an homage to the "Northwestern stripe," the school's signature thin-thick-thin striping pattern that it pioneered in 1928, paving the way for it to spread throughout the world of sports.
Interesting. Photo evidence:


Elite 11 weirdness: Didn't the Elite 11 used to, like, have some meaning? Maybe I'm remembering wrong; I dunno. The 25 (!!!) participants threw 32 passes each (???) over a span of four days last week before some of them were officially recognized by the guys who run the camp (and by "the guys who run the camp" I mostly mean "Trent Dilfer"). The results were as ambiguous as expected.

Here's a list (put together by somebody with more time on his hands than I do) of the official "Elite 11" juxtaposed with the scouting services' rankings of the dudes' respective performances:
1. Asiantti Woulard (USF) / Rivals (1), Scout (3)
2. Max Browne (USC) / Rivals (3), Scout (4)
3. Christian Hackenberg (PSU) / Rivals (2), Scout (10)
4. Kevin Olsen (Miami) / Rivals (6), Scout (2)
5. Joshua Dobbs (ASU) / Rivals (13), Scout  (9)
6. Johnny Stanton (NEB) / Rivals (22), Scout (bottom five)
7. Malik Zaire (ND) / Rivals (7) , Scout (12)
8. Shane Cockerville (MD) / Rivals (12), Scout (16)
9. Jared Goff (CAL) / Rivals (9) , Scout (5)
10. Luke Del Rio (OKST) / Rivals (17), Scout (18)
11. Zack Greenlee (none) / Rivals (24), Scout (bottom five)
So Johnny Stanton and Zack Greenlee were either really good or among the worst quarterbacks there. And five-star Michigan commit Shane Morris was ranked No. 1 by Scout (woo) and No. 4 by Rivals but was apparently not in the official top 11. That's a massive discrepancy; explain, please.

The rankings are super subjective anyway (duh) but would be a little less so if the format were less ridiculous. I mean, one game's worth of throws spread out over four days while rotating with 24 other guys? Ridiculous ridiculousness. Take all assessments with a lick of salt.


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