Thursday, September 13, 2012

Catching up is lacking knee ligaments

I'm so surprised: Robert Marve has a torn ACL. Of course he does.
Purdue quarterback Robert Marve has re-torn the ACL in his left knee and will be out at least a few weeks.

It's the third torn ACL of Marve's injury-riddled college career.

"It's significant enough to hold him out for a while," Purdue coach Danny Hope said Tuesday. "It is torn, but we anticipate him making an attempt to come back and play this season," Hope said.
Ehhh maybe. I'm skeptical. Regardless, his career's gonna be over after this season; this is his sixth year because of the two previous ACL blowouts.

Marve started the opener with returning starter Caleb TerBush suspended but then was meh last week against Notre Dame and got replaced by TerBush after getting hurt in the fourth quarter. So TerBush has his job back, basically, which means Purdue might be a little more run-heavy and probably will be equally mediocre on offense. And in the inevitable event that TerBush gets his knee struck down in AIRBHG fashion, Purdue will still have Rob Henry, who was the starter (another similarly average one) in 2010 until he tore his ACL.

Upshot: Expectations for Purdue should change minimally. Remarkably, this might be the best eligible team in the division (pending Wisconsin becoming Wisconsin again). Interpret that as you will.

Knees would be helpful: Oregon safety John Boyett (a first-team All-Pac-12 dude) and guard Carson York are both done for the year:
Boyett revealed to his hometown newspaper earlier this week that he'll need surgery to repair patellar tendons in both knees. The injury will end his career with the Ducks unless Oregon successfully petitions the NCAA for an additional year of eligibility.
York hurt his right kneecap during Oregon's 42-25 win over Fresno State last weekend. He told news reporters he would undergo surgery Tuesday but his season was over.
Yeesh; those are significant losses seeing as how both were three-year starters, one on a O-line that lost two guys from last season and one in a secondary that lost its other safety/rover.

IMO, Boyett is the less replaceable of the two. York actually had his knee screwed up in the Rose Bowl last year and wasn't a certainty at the start of the season, which allowed for some contingency planning. There's also probably more depth at guard than at safety: Nick Cody (another All-Pac-12-caliber player) and former starting right tackle Ryan Clanton are listed as the starters after some York-related preseason shuffling, and backup Hammani Stevens has played sufficient minutes to be an adequate fill-in if necessary. Boyett, though ... yeah. He led Oregon with 108 tackles last year -- he had 17 (!!!) in the Rose Bowl -- and is obviously the only player with meaningful experience at his position since he's started there for the entirety of his career. Avery Patterson, who played a lot of nickel corner last year, is the nominal backup and presumptive replacement. He'll probably be OK but not an All-American like Boyett might have been.

Penn State is out of players: For serious. See?
Starting wide receiver Shawney Kersey, Penn State's most experienced player at the position, has left the team for "personal reasons," the Nittany Lions announced on Twitter.

The redshirt junior started the first two games this season and had six receptions for 44 yards.
Kersey was Penn State's leading returning receiver coming into the year (with four career catches woo) and third-leading receiver this year through two games (with a slightly-more-impressive six catches, as mentioned above). Allen Robinson has looked pretty good as the de facto No. 1 guy, but past Robinson and slot guy Alex Kenney, there's basically nothing ... as is the case at most positions for Penn State. According to ESPN, true freshman Trevor Williams and senior Brandon Moseby-Felder (seven career catches) will be the next guys on the field with Kersey gone. There will definitely be a drop-off of some degree; it definitely won't matter.

This comment from the above-linked story pretty well summarizes my thoughts:
Admire those players that stay, but harbor no ill will to those who don't want to deal with this ever-deepening cesspool.
 Cesspool indeed. 

So long, Chase Rome: In more "disappointing Big Ten teams losing starters"-related news:
Nebraska coach Bo Pelini has announced that starting defensive tackle Chase Rome has left the team.

Pelini told reporters after practice Wednesday that Rome's "personal goals and personal perception of where he should be on this football team doesn't match the team goals."
I have no idea what that means; Rome was already a nominal starter. Maybe he wanted less of a rotation-type situation with Thad Randle? Maybe he was not totally thrilled with the talk about Nebraska switching to a 3-4 over after the disaster that was the UCLA game? I dunno.

Regardless, he's gone now, which presumably leaves Randle as the full-time starter next to Baker Steinkuhler. Depth might be an issue. Also potentially an issue: Nebraska's defense in general. Whether Rome was good or not, he was obviously better than the alternatives, and last year's not-so-good performances have become totally craptacular ones so far this year. The Ohio State/Wisconsin/Northwestern/Michigan/Michigan State stretch will be ... umm ... telling.

LSU update: Tajh Jones won't be back this year:
LSU will play the remainder of the season without Tahj Jones, one of its most experienced linebackers, as well as three other players, coach Les Miles confirmed Wednesday.

Miles was asked about reports concerning the players' academic eligibility during Wednesday morning's SEC coaches teleconference.

Although he did not disclose specific details, Miles acknowledged that Jones, offensive lineman Evan Washington, tight end Tyler Edwards and linebacker D.J. Welter would not play this season.

"Those guys will not play this year," Miles said. "I don't know if I can tell you specifics."
Jones is the only one of those guys who's of relevance in the short term; he was a projected starter at strongside linebacker going into camp, then was beaten out by Luke Muncie before being ruled academically ineligible a few days prior to the the opener. That ruling was assumed at the time to be a done-for-the-season thing but was also being appealed; the appeal apparently was denied.

The issue isn't so much a lineup-related one (Muncie is fine) as a depth one since there's so little experience behind the starters, especially at the outside spots. I'm guessing LSU will get by.

Making Friends In The Media 101: So ...USC beat writer Scott Wolf of the L.A. Daily News wrote this the other day:

USC kicker Andre Heidari underwent surgery last week to repair a torn meniscus in his knee and will be sidelined about three weeks.

Heidari suffered the injury in the season opener against Hawaii and did not accompany USC to its game against Syracuse on Saturday. Walk-on Alex Wood filled in for Heidari and kicked six extra points.
OK. Kicker got hurt yadda yadda. Pretty innocuous, yes?
Kiffin is not addressing injuries this season. USC also announced in August a policy barring the media from reporting strategy or injury-related news observed during in-season practices.

The Daily News report did not cite practice-related information.

Still, USC has barred Daily News reporter Scott Wolf from attending practice for two weeks and will not issue him a credential for the Trojans' Sept. 22 game against California at the Coliseum, said Gene Warnick, sports editor for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.
Wha? LANE KIFFIN Y U DOUCHY? Upholding a rule (albeit a stupid one) is one thing; being an asshole just to be an asshole is another. Fortunately, the local sports editors flipped out appropriately, which resulted in the ban ending pretty much immediately:
I was informed earlier this evening that I would be allowed to return to USC football practices after a two-day ban for writing that kicker Andre Heidari underwent knee surgery.

Sports editors from the Daily News, Los Angeles Times and Orange County Register spoke with USC athletic director Pat Haden today. Talks continue on the practice policies.
So that's that. If I were the L.A. Daily News, my contingency plan would've been pulling Wolf and all other USC-related coverage for the rest of the year and blanketing UCLA like whoa. Why cover a program that apparently has no interest in being covered? Would've been easy to pin it on USC's lack of cooperation with the media, which would've gotten an amusing comment out of Jim Mora Jr. if nothing else.

This sounds bad: There have been some shenanigans goin' on at Mississippi State:
Byron De'Vinner, the 7-on-7 summer league football coach in Nashville who said Tuesday that he witnessed a booster give Mississippi State freshman defensive back Will Redmond money, told ESPN on Wednesday the same booster told him he provided benefits to "five or six" Mississippi State athletes

De'Vinner said Redmond told him it was former Mississippi State wide receivers coach Angelo Mirando who introduced Redmond to booster Robert Denton Herring, whom he claims provided cash and clothing to the player.

Mirando resigned Aug. 19, citing "unforeseen personal issues."

 Mississippi State has been working with the NCAA to examine a "potential recruiting irregularity" over the past several months, but has declined to provide further details since Mirando resigned.

According to documents provided to the Clarion-Ledger on Aug. 28, a Mississippi State booster was found to have had "impermissible contact" with a recruit and may have engaged in other NCAA rules violations. The school has since disassociated with Herring.
Yeeeaaahhh. Whether those shenanigans can/will be pinned on anybody other than Mirando, Herring and the players is unknown, but it might not really matter; the NCAA is now making coaches (and the institutions themselves) responsible for everything that happens among their staff members, which means Dan Mullen and Mississippi State are looking at an NCAA paddlin' via scholarship reductions and vacated wins once a few of the referenced guys are ruled ineligible.

Speaking of Mississippi State: Auburn's offense is either less or more of a disaster than I thought, depending on your opinion of this:
Senior defensive back Corey Broomfield and senior linebacker Cam Lawrence have said after MSU's 28-10 victory over Auburn University Saturday that they were sure what the Tigers offense was calling from the line of scrimmage before the ball was snapped.

"We do a great job of preparing and we knew what the play was before they ever ran them," Broomfield said. "That's not a joke. We knew what they were doing, where the ball was going and who was getting it before the ball was snapped."

Lawrence had a team-high 10 tackles Saturday with 1.5 tackles for a loss and a sack of Auburn quarterback Kiehl Frazier. The Bulldogs middle linebacker said after the game he saw in Frazier's early demeanor that their pressure had gotten to him.

"It makes our job as coaches so much easier when Cam Lawrence is signaling over his head every time they were calling a pass," MSU co-defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Geoff Collins said Monday.
I bet. What's crazy is that Auburn's O-coordinator isn't some noob; it's Scot Loeffler, who was Temple's offensive coordinator last year after becoming an elite quarterbacks coach with Florida, the Detroit Lions and Michigan (where he started as a grad assistant). How does that happen? And why would Mississippi State acknowledge it? That seems like the kind of valuable info you'd wanna stick in your back pocket and pull out at a convenient time, like perhaps next year against Auburn.

Also crazy: Auburn didn't even know after watching the tape:
"I'm not aware. We can rectify that problem," Auburn coach Gene Chizik after Wednesday's practice.
Guh. Anyway, Frazier completed one pass in the first half and had 18 passing yards through three quarters last week. Whether that was more on him or more on Mississippi State knowing Auburn's playcalls remains to be seen; I'm leaning toward the former since Auburn has now gone two straight SEC games without an offensive touchdown. Either way, Loeffler and Chizik have some work to do or some Cam Newtons to purchase.

Is this news? New Mexico State is gonna give it a go as an independent:
New Mexico State will join fellow WAC football orphan Idaho in playing the 2013 season as a football independent.

In an open letter titled "Conference Update" issued Wednesday by NMSU athletic director McKinley Boston, Boston confirms that the Aggies will become the sixth FBS independent, joining Idaho, Notre Dame, BYU, Army and Navy.
Minus a conference invite (which New Mexico State desperately wanted but didn't get), the only alternative was dropping down to the FCS, which would make infinitely more sense but obviously isn't happening since NMSU and Idaho are so "committed" to Division I football. Blurgh.

The problems for NMSU are the same as they are for Idaho. The first: Who's gonna be on the schedule other than Idaho/New Mexico State, a couple FCS schools and a couple regional rivals? The second: Where's the money gonna come from with no conference revenue payouts and no realistic options for distributing content outside a conference deal?

As for the first, Boston's letter indicated that NMSU already has nine games scheduled for next year. Getting to 12 in 2013 probably won't be that difficult; it's the years further into the future that'll be of more concern with other conferences expanding. And buying sacrificial lambs won't be a desirable option since the athletic department won't have any money. This is a quote from Idaho's athletic director:
"If it doesn’t look like we can secure a schedule for us at the FBS level, then we’re going to have to make other decisions. We’re being aggressive in looking at options there. We’ll see what happens."
As for the second, this is also a quote from Idaho's athletic director (regarding the viability of independence):
"Definitely short term. I don’t see us going beyond two years."
I don't know if there's a realistic home for either school anywhere in the FBS, which means I also don't know what happens in 2013. FCS? Probably. Why not do it now? My thoughts exactly.

Weird numbers: Tennessee hasn't had a 300-yard passer, 100-yard rusher or 100-yard receiver in any of the last five games against Florida, all of which were losses. Also, Derek Dooley is 0-11 against ranked teams at Tennessee. Also also, Will Muschamp is 0-5 against ranked teams at Florida. SOMETHING HAS TO GIVE, VERNE LUNDQUIST.

Why does this exist? This is Tyler Bray's tattoo:

I'm gonna give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he was drunk, which is likely.


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