Friday, August 24, 2012

Catching up still thinks Derek Dooley works out

Y U DO THAT? Derek Dooley's Project Don't Get Fired is off to a less-than-spectacular start:
Tennessee All-SEC receiver Da'Rick Rogers has been indefinitely suspended from the team, the university announced, and coach Derek Dooley said after practice Thursday that he does not expect Rogers to be with the team at all this season.

Sources told that Rogers' suspension came after multiple violations of the school's substance abuse policy for athletes.

"When you get into the coaching profession, you quickly learn that probably the No. 1 professional hazard is the behavior of 18- to 22-year-olds," Dooley said in a statement.
Touche. He and Tyrann Mathieu should, like, hang out and stuff.

Anyway, Rogers had 67 catches (the most in the conference) for 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns last year as a sophomore. He's a legit talent who would've been one half of a pretty excellent receiving corps along with Justin Hunter, who missed most of last year with a torn ACL but is back now and better be 100 percent since Tennessee's offense will desperately need him.

According to ESPN and AP and everybody else, Rogers' spot will most likely go to spectacularly named transfer Cordarrelle Patterson, a 6-foot-4 dude who had a bajillion catches the last couple years in junior college and then got offers from most of the SEC and Big 12. He's talented but probably won't be comparable to what Rogers would've been this year.

As for Rogers, no word yet on whether he's looking at transferring; he'd have to do so in literally the next week since classes are starting everywhere. IMO, it's a lot more likely that he sticks it out at Tennessee since Dooley is only saying that it's "unlikely" (and therefore not totally improbable) that he could be back on the team at some point this season, which would be swell for Rogers and maybe even sweller for Dooley.

This seems like an appropriate spot for this thing:


Speaking of guys with drug problems: Tyrann Mathieu won't be playing football this year:
Tyrann Mathieu will not play football this season and continues to focus on working on himself, his adoptive father Tyrone told ESPN's Joe Schad on Thursday.

Tyrone Mathieu said last week that the 20-year-old cornerback and punt returner known as the "Honey Badger" has been at the Right Step recovery center and is being counseled by former NBA player John Lucas. Lucas battled substance abuse during his pro career and now mentors others who have dependency issues.
That would presumably increase the possibility of a return to LSU if LSU is willing to reconsider that "permanently ineligible" thing, which it will. He'll also have the option of entering next year's draft regardless of his playing status but would be doing so with a year of no football and a known drug problem; that seems unlikely but plausible. We'll see. I don't have much else to add here except that bypassing football in favor of rehab is probably the right move for a guy who obviously needs rehab.

Oregon O RLY? Oregon has a starting quarterback whose name isn't Brian Bennett:
Redshirt freshman Marcus Mariota has been named the starting quarterback for the Oregon Ducks.

Mariota beat out third-year sophomore Bryan Bennett during a seven-month competition that began in January after Oregon's all-time touchdown passes leader, Darron Thomas, decided to forgo his senior year to enter the NFL Draft.

Mariota was given the nod by the fifth-ranked Ducks after a final test in a scrimmage Thursday.
I couldn't possibly have been more wrong in spring when I said/wrote something along the lines of "Oregon is having a make-believe quarterback competition." The lesson: Chip Kelly does what he wants whateva.

Bennett started three games last year when Darron Thomas was hurt -- with two of those coming when LaMichael James was also out -- and averaged an absurd 8.7 yards a carry while throwing six touchdowns and no interceptions and putting up 43 points a game. Oregon's running game would have unquestionably been somewhere between "awesome" and "HOLY LORD" with Bennett as the starter, which was the expectation until Mariota pwned him in the spring game by going 18 of 26 for 202 yards and a touchdown and running for 99 yards and two TDs. That's the extent of Mariota's production history since he's a redshirt freshman; still, it's reasonable to assume that Mariota must've been pretty freakin' good throughout the offseason given what Bennett has done in, like, actual games.

FYI, Mariota is somewhat of a Thomas clone at 6-foot-4 but a better runner (keep in mind that Thomas was largely a pocket passer last year; he had no more than 10 attempts or 60 yards in any game and had only about 300 yards for the season). Talent will not be as much of an issue as readiness, which is pretty uknowable for a young guy with zero on-field experience, especially a young guy with zero on-field experience who played his high school football in Hawaii.

Regardless, given Oregon's hilarious amount of talent at running back, Chip Kelly's respectable track record with first-year quarterbacks and a schedule that's lacking serious competition until November 3, I still think Oregon can win it all. No pressure, dude.

Notre Dame makes it official: As expected, Everett Golson will start for Notre Dame in the opener and probably beyond (unless he's not good, in which case he might not even start the second half of the opener). So that's that. The only moderately surprising portion of Thursday's announcement was that there won't be any Andrew Hendrix-specific packages:
Kelly noted, "Everett's the starter, and if things go the way we're planning, he'll play the whole game."
I'm gonna bypass the requisite Brian Kelly gif and just repeat what I've been saying all along: Golson might be absurdly talented but also has zero experience, which means the infuriating turnover thing will still be an infuriating turnover thing. Notre Dame quarterbacks have thrown 17 and 16 interceptions the past two seasons, and I'll be shocked (SHOCKED, I SAY) if that number goes down significantly with another first-year starter who's probably not Andrew Luck in terms of accuracy and game management and whatnot. I still think (a) Tommy Rees gets some snaps in the first month and (b) Brian Kelly turns purple on multiple occasions during that time. If not, Golson will be commemorated in solid gold outside the stadium and immediately elevated into the Notre Dame Pantheon of Reasonable Expectations by Beano Cook.

Texas has either two or zero quarterbacks: Mack Brown kinda/sorta picked a starter Wednesday:
The Longhorns named David Ash the starter Wednesday after rotating between Ash and Case McCoy as starters in 2011 and vacillating between them both during the subsequent nine months.

"As we have been saying, it is obvious you have to have one walk out there first," Texas coach Mack Brown said. "But we feel like both of them have been really good leaders, and they handled summer well and they handle preseason well, so we are not hesitant to put either one of them in the game. But David will start."
Brown and Bryan Harsin said just a few days ago that both guys are gonna play, so the starting job is a very nominal one. And there's a reason for that: McCoy looked like a far better passer last year but was totally incapable of throwing the ball downfield and thus didn't produce very many points (he had only four touchdowns going into the last game of the season, a game in which he threw three of those but also had four picks), whereas Ash was only a 56 percent passer with four touchdowns and eight picks but also had about 300 non-sack rushing yards. Translation: They're totally different players who have been pretty equally mediocre to this point in their careers.

FWIW, the general fan/media sentiment is/was that Ash should be the starter based on his running ability and his accompanying effectiveness at getting first downs last year when the passing game was doing nothing of note, which was most of the time and regardless of who was in the game (Texas was 88th in pass efficiency last year). He's got that job now but in the most tenuous way possible. It will probably be more surprising if McCoy doesn't start a game this year than if he does.

BTW, Texas could be a legit national title contender if the quarterbacks are anything better than average. There is absurd talent on defense and at running back and pretty much everywhere else other than quarterback. That position's kinda important, though.

Auburn picks a quarterback: It's Kiehl Frazier:
Auburn on Thursday named sophomore quarterback Kiehl Frazier the starter for its season opener against Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game on Sept. 1.

Frazier and Clint Moseley had been competing for the starting nod.
Frazier has been The Future ever since he showed up on campus last year; he would've started if he had any idea how to run the offense but instead got only an occasional snap and went 5 for 12 with two picks. Moseley got some slightly more meaningful experience: He was 66 for 108 with five touchdowns and three picks last season, with all of that time coming in the second half of the year. Those numbers are OK but don't specify that he utterly dominated Ole Miss (12 for 15 with four touchdowns lol) and was extremely uninspiring in his seven other appearances.

Anyway, what's interesting is that Frazier's an athletic-type guy who would've been perfect as a Cam Newton replacement but might be a little less perfect now that Scot Loeffler is Auburn's O-coordinator. I'm curious to see what Loeffler does with a very non-pro-style quarterback. The good news is that whatever he does will probably be an improvement on last year's debacle that resulted in an offense ranked 100th in yards and 70th in scoring; the bad news is that improvement might not actually be that easy with no Michael Dyer and a quarterback who has a career passer rating of 8.33.

Stanford picks a quarterback: It's Josh Nunes and therefore not the guy most people thought it'd be back in spring:
Stanford coach David Shaw announced Tuesday that redshirt junior quarterback Josh Nunes has won the starting job, beating out sophomore Brett Nottingham.

"Over time, Josh has been the most consistent," Shaw said. "Make no mistake. This is not about wild plays, it's not about doing something outside the framework of the offense. This is about consistency. This is about executing the plays that were called. ... Josh has been the most consistent over this time."
Nottingham was generally regarded as the favorite primarily because of recruiting hype -- he was a four-star guy and Rivals' fourth-ranked quarterback two years ago -- but also because he beat out Nunes last year for the nominal backup job and threw eight passes, all of which were meaningless, whereas Nunes threw zero a year after throwing two as a redshirt freshman. That's the extent of the experience on Stanford's roster with Andrew Luck gone.

Suffice it to say that Nunes will probably be doing a lot of handing off to Stepfan Taylor this year and occasionally going play-action while being tasked with "executing the plays that were called," which basically means not sucking. His ability to do that will largely determine whether Stanford goes 8-4 and ends up in the Alamo Bowl or goes 10-2 and ends up in the BCS conversation.

Storm Klein wins: I'm so surprised:
The punishment isn't over yet, but Storm Klein's absence from Ohio State officially has ended.

After a charge of domestic violence was dismissed and the senior linebacker pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of misdemeanor disorderly conduct on Wednesday, Klein's status was re-evaluated by Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer on Thursday.

Klein will continue to face discipline that includes a minimum two-game suspension. But he is again a member of the team after missing a month of offseason workouts and all of training camp this month.
Upshot: Klein pleaded down to a misdemeanor Thursday and was back on the team -- albeit with a minimum two-game suspension -- within about three hours.

It's worth noting that Klein was considered somewhat of a starting-by-default starter last year and had already lost his starting job in spring ball to Curtis Grant (and Etienne Sabino on the outside) even before the dismissal, so his reinstatement wasn't of the "lol of course he's a senior starter" variety. Still, his presence will be useful given that (a) Grant has never been very effective in actual games and (b) the depth chart behind Grant went "redshirt freshman Connor Crowell, nothing" after Klein got booted. Depth is nice.

Georgia might have a starting running back: Georgia is totally and unequivocally committing to Ken Malcome as the replacement for Isaiah Crowell:
Georgia coach Mark Richt announced Wednesday evening after a closed scrimmage that Ken Malcome will likely start the Sept. 1 opener against Buffalo, though it was not a totally definitive call.

"Something could change between now and then," Richt said.
That's ... ummm ... decisive. Malcome was the presumptive starter coming into camp since he had been listed as Crowell's co-starter on the depth chart after a reportedly impressive spring that followed a season-ending stretch in which he took over for an injured Crowell as the nominal starter and put up 173 yards on 42 carries.

The reason(s) there was any question about whether Malcome was gonna be the guy: Keith Marshall, the consensus No. 1 running back in the country last year who's had people saying breathless things about his him ever since he enrolled early, and freshman Todd Gurley, whose recruiting profile wasn't significantly different from Marshall's (Rivals had him as the fifth-ranked running back in the class and the No. 42 player overall). Don't be surprised if one or both of those guys starts siphoning off carries pretty quickly; they've got the talent to do so and don't have a whole lot less experience than Malcome, who's a redshirt sophomore with only the aforementioned 42 carries. That's, like, two games' worth.

I say "one or both of those guys" because the depth chart at running back is pretty ambiguous:
"I don't even know for sure. I've not talked to the staff about how we're going to do it yet," Richt said. "Even when we do it, I doubt I'll announce anything. I don't want the guys to know. I just want them to keep fighting, keep competing. We'll tell them the night before the game, maybe."
Maybe. Maybe not. Whatev.

This is so weird: Penn State jerseys will srsly have names on them. Srsly.


Yes, I heard about it: The kid in Oklahoma will be Dave Brandon's guest at a Michigan game. Note to self: Get inexplicably punished for wearing Michigan gear. Also: Boycott the dirt-filled state of Oklahoma. That is all.


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