Posted on: May 18, 2011 5:11 pm
Edited on: May 18, 2011 5:12 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
Transfer Tuesday continues to bleed into Wednesday as Tom O'Brien announced today that Colorado defensive end Forrest West will be transferring to North Carolina State to join the Wolfpack football team. West played the last two season for the Buffaloes, being named the team's most outstanding freshman in 2009 and finished second on the team in sacks in 2010. He will sit out the 2011 season and have two years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2012.
West's departure from Colorado came as a bit of a surprise to fans, and led to speculation ranging from academic issues to team commitment. Head coach John Embree addressed the talk in a release earlier this month.
"[West's decision to leave] had nothing to do with any academic or disciplinary issues, a lack of commitment to the team, or any question about his ability to continue making substantial contributions as he has done during the past two seasons," Embree said in an official release.
Once eligible, West will try and give the Wolfpack a star on the defensive line that has been missing since the time of current Houston Texan Mario Williams.
Posted on: May 12, 2011 5:42 pm
Edited on: May 12, 2011 8:05 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Posted on: May 9, 2011 5:20 pm
Edited on: May 9, 2011 5:20 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
Spring time is a time for learning. Ask any coach and you'll hear some derivative of, 'We want to get back to learning the fundamentals' at the beginning of their spring press conference. Now that spring practices have wrapped up for all of the Pac-12 schools though, it's time to figure out what we've learned from them. Here's a few things we've learned about all 12 teams (other than the fact that they're all very rich thanks to the new media deal).
What we've learned: The Ducks are still feeling out the offensive line situation, where they have to replace three of the starting five before taking on a top five team in LSU week one. Mark Asper is set at right tackle and Carson York returns at left guard but beyond that it's a few question marks. Expect the battles to start to continue with a few of the incoming freshmen to get a look once fall camp starts. Luckily the Ducks have two Heisman Trophy candidates in the backfield in running back LaMichael James and quarterback Darron Williams to smooth the transition as they can both hit the hole quickly with their speed. The defense seems set and will likely be better than last year's unit despite losing their leader, linebacker Casey Matthews, to graduation. Oregon still needs some receivers to step up but early enrollee Colt Lyerla figures to be in the mix early on offense.
What we've learned: Andrew Luck is good. But everybody already knew that. A few pieces around Luck still need to be ironed out though, namely at receiver and on the opposite side of the ball along the defensive line. By all indications the transition from Jim Harbaugh to new head coach David Shaw went smoothly but practices were closed so there's not a ton we can gleam from the Cardinal's spring. Luck led scoring drives on all three series he was in during the Stanford spring game and that's without running back Tyler Gaffney, who was playing baseball all spring. Having the best quarterback in college football seems to cover up a lot of holes.
What we've learned: The Sun Devils will be donning new uniforms in the fall and on top of looking pretty slick, they'll also be carrying the weight of expectations as the Pac-12 South favorite. Injuries were the story of the spring with starting corner Omar Bolden going down with a torn ACL early last year. He's expected to come back later in the season but that's a big blow on an otherwise solid and upperclassman-laden team. Wide out T.J. Simpson also injured his knee. The offensive line, an area of concern for years in the desert, appears to be at full strength and much improved.
What we've learned: Lots of injuries to deal with this spring with the Utes, who had several starters miss the spring game or spring all together. Starting quarterback Jordan Wynn was one such player who didn't get a chance to go through practices under new offensive coordinator Norm Chow but he's still expected to be the starter once fall camp opens. There are several players competing at running back and the staff is hopeful after Harvey Langi, John White and Thretton Palamo all had a good spring. Palamo becoming the starter is interesting because he's a former ruby player. Utes also seemed to figure out the replacements in the secondary which was something head coach Kyle Whittingham wanted to do.
What we've learned: There's some talent at USC but the depth is... lacking. The Trojans used to be able to stock pile four and five-star talent but it was evident that Lane Kiffin is doing some rebuilding with 49 out of the 85 scholarship players from the past two recruiting classes. That also means this is a young team but there's a lot to build around in quarterback Matt Barkley and wide out Robert Woods. The defense should be better than a year ago as players grow more comfortable with the system. The secondary should be much improved in particular. With 12 players out for spring and many freshmen expected to contribute, USC still has to figure a few things out in the fall.
What we've learned: Starting quarterback Nick Foles has a talented group of wide outs but he'll have to get the ball to them quickly. While every coach in the country wants their trigger man to get the ball out quickly, Foles has to do so mainly because he'll have an entirely new offensive line in front of him. At the moment both tackles will be redshirt freshmen who haven't played a game but they looked solid this spring. Both defensive ends (who were very productive) are gone but C.J. Parrish impressed everyone coming off the edge this spring. The secondary seems to be rounding into form and Texas transfer Dan Buckner should be a nice target for Foles.
What we've learned: The Bears' practices had to be moved off campus due to construction and that's pretty fitting considering that Cal football was, well, under construction this spring. The situation at quarterback seems to be Zach Maynard over Brock Mansion and Allan Bridgeford but none of the three seems to be particularly appealing based on reports. Jim Michalczik is back in Berkeley as offensive coordinator and we'll see what tweaks he makes but Jeff Tedford will be the play caller and quarterbacks coach this year. The defense will likely be the strength of the team, especially along the defensive line.
What we've learned: Not a ton about the team that will take the field in the fall. Quarterback Ryan Katz sat out with a broken bone in his wrist and all-everything athlete James Rodgers is rehabbing from knee surgery and might not make it back in time for the opener. The offensive line returns four of five and needs to play better but there weren't any indications they did so this spring. Terron Ward seems to have emerged as the favorite to replace Jacquizz Rodgers but there are plenty of players in the mix.
What we've learned: There are plenty of issues on offense out side of the running back position but at least the defense looks better. Being relatively healthy on defense is nice for the new staff and the defensive line looks like it can provide a nice pass rush. The quarterback battle is on hold until the fall but freshman Brett Hundley showed flashes and if he gets the playbook down, could end up the starter. Injuries along the offensive line were an issue once again.
What we've learned: Keith Price is the new starter at quarterback and has the task of keeping the Huskies afloat without Jake Locker and several other starters. Chris Polk has looked good at running back and is primed for another good season if he can deal with more defenders in the box. Three starters along the offensive line needed to be replaced and some of the battles will likely continue in fall camp. Early enrollee Austin Seferian-Jenkins made an impression and figures to make an impact on offense at tight end.
What we've learned: Everything is new for the conference's newest member. First time head coach Jon Embree takes over the reigns as the program tries to reset after a down couple of years. Tyler Hansen had a good spring in the new pro-style offense and the Buffs have a listed 17 starters coming back overall that gives them some hope this year. There's a bunch of questions on defense as the team moves to a more traditional 4-3 alignment from last year's 3-3-5. The front seven seems to be ok coming out of drills but replacing both corners is still a concern.
What we've learned: There are plenty of issues on the Palouse but there's hope this spring. The Cougars are set at quarterback with Jeff Tuel and former starter Marshall Lobbestael and the offensive line seems solid coming out of the spring. The front seven was impressive this spring and should be much improved from last year with a bit of depth Washington State hasn't had. Special teams is a bit of a concern and didn't really get worked out this spring.
Tags: Allan Bridgeford, Andrew Luck, Arizona, Arizona State, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Brett Hundley, Brock Mansion, C.J. Parrish, Cal, Carson York, Casey Matthews, Chris Polk, Colorado, Colt Lyerla, Dan Buckner, Darron Williams, David Shaw, Harvey Langi, Heisman Trophy, Jacquizz Rodgers, Jake Locker, James Rodgers Terron Ward, Jeff Tedford, Jeff Tuel, Jim Harbaugh, Jim Michalczik, John White, Jon Embree, Jordan Wynn, Keith Price, Kyle Whittingham, LaMichael James, Lane Kiffin, LSU, Mark Asper, Marshall Lobbestael, Matt Barkley, Nick Foles, Norm Chow, Omar Bolden, Oregon, Oregon State, Pac-12, Robert Woods, Ryan Katz, Stanford, T.J. Simpson, Texas, Thretton Palamo, Tyler Gaffney, Tyler Hansen, UCLA, USC, Utah, Washington, Washington State, Zach Maynard
Posted on: May 6, 2011 3:01 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Every Friday we catch up on four stories you might have missed during the week ... and add a few extra links to help take you into the weekend.
FOUR LINKS ...
1. It hasn't exactly been a state secret, since it's a matter of simple addition, but it wasn't until this post at SEC blog Team Speed Kills this week that we realized that Vanderbilt has seven quarterbacks legitimately battling for the Commodores' starting quarterback position (and six of them on scholarship). And we thought Notre Dame was overrun. (Though, like the Irish and Dayne Crist, we'll be surprised if the current favorite -- Larry Smith -- doesn't hold onto the job as expected.)
2. Since we spent so much time yesterday informing you of games re-scheduled to Fridays, how 'bout another? USC and Colorado will play their first-ever Pac-12 conference game Friday on ESPN2, Nov. 4, instead of Saturday Nov. 5. We're not sure the Trojans really need the boost in exposure of a Friday night Boise State special, but no doubt Larry Scott (and his billion-dollar quest to break his conference out of the regional-network prison they've been confined to the last few seasons) approves.
3. It seems perhaps a little ... tactless for Jim Delany to welcome Lincoln as the Big Ten's new Green Bay when his conference already includes such "charming smallish town" candidates as West Lafayette and Champaign, but no doubt the Huskers won't mind the comparions between their successes and the Packers'.
4. You noticed Oregon honoring the armed forces at their spring game last Saturday, right? If not, well, they did, but the highlight had to have been this speech from Chip Kelly after the game:
AND THE CLOUD ...
Nebraska looks poised to introduce a substantial pistol element to their new Tim Beck- directed offense, which should be good news for Taylor Martinez if the Huskers can make it work ... BYU receiver Cody Hoffman was arrested recently on failure-to-appear charges after he left a speeding ticket unpaid ... Also appearing in the police blotter was Colorado signee Nelson Spruce, arrested for marijuana possession ... former Navy players talk about the death of Osama Bin Laden ... receiver Brandon Felder has transferred from North Carolina home to Pitt to help care for his ailing grandparents; Felder redshirted last fall ... We're told by the first line of this story not to ask, but we're going to anyway: Why were Penn State's original uniforms pink and black? ... and for all the lonelyhearts in Gainesville, have we got the site for you.
Posted on: April 29, 2011 1:45 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
The SEC has been dominating the college football landscape for quite a while now, as the conference has been the home of the last five national champions. So it's not exactly surprising that during the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday night, more players who called the SEC home during their college career were taken than any other conference.
In fact, nearly a third of the players taken on Thursday night were SEC players. There were 32 picks, and 10 of them were from the SEC, including five of the first six picks. The only non-SEC player taken in the top six was Texas A&M's Von Miller, who went to the Denver Broncos with the second pick. Other than that there was a distinct SEC flavor, with the state of Alabama being able to lay claim as the best college football state in the country. Auburn saw Cam Newton go to Carolina with the first pick, while Nick Fairley went 13th to the Detroit Lions. Then there was the Crimson Tide, who basically had their own table in the green room, and everyone who sat at it -- and even one player who didn't -- heard their name called on Thursday night.
Marcell Dareus (#3 Buffalo), Julio Jones (#6 Atlanta), James Carpenter (#25 Seattle) and Mark Ingram (#28 New Orleans) all gave Nick Saban some valuable face time on television last night. Elsewhere in the conference, Georgia's A.J. Green (#4 Cincinnati), LSU's Patrick Peterson (#5 Arizona), Florida's Mike Pouncey (#15 Miami) and Mississippi State's Derek Sherrod (#32 Green Bay) were drafted as well.
Here's a look at selections by conference in last night's first round (both Nebraska and Colorado still counted for the Big 12).
That's it. While it was a great year for the Big 12, what's somewhat surprising about the eight players drafted from the conference is that Missouri had two, Colorado had two and Baylor had another two. Not exactly your classic Big 12 powers. In fact, Oklahoma and Texas combined for none of the picks last night. Which can be looked at two ways. You might say that it's because neither school produced any top talent last season. I prefer to think of it as neither school lost any of its top talent this year.
There's a reason a lot of people think Oklahoma will start the year at #1 after all.
Then there was the Big 10, who had six picks, but it should be noted that all six players drafted from the Big Ten last night were lineman, whether offensive or defensive. Surprise! The Big Ten didn't have any top talent at the "skill" positions. Still, if you're a skilled defensive lineman in high school right now, there are worse places for you to play than the Big Ten, as Wisconsin, Purdue, Ohio State, Illinois, and Iowa all sent members of the defensive line to the NFL last night.
Then, in other not-so-surprising news, we see that the Big East had only one player taken in the first round last night. The same amount as the MAC, which was the only non-BCS conference to be noticed last night, as Temple's Muhammad Wilkerson went to the Jets with the 30th selection. The one Big East player to be taken was Pitt wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin to Kansas City at 26, which came as a bit of a surprise as most grades on Baldwin saw him as being an early to mid-second round pick.
Of course, this isn't the end of the NFL Draft by any means. There are still three days and six rounds left to get through, and who knows what the numbers will look like by Sunday night? More importantly, the true measuring stick of the conferences success on the pro level won't be known for years. It's not the amount of players you funnel into the league, it's the players who last on the next level and succeed that really tell the story.
Though that's not going to stop the "S-E-C!" chants.
Tags: A.J. Green, ACC, Alabama, Auburn, Baylor, Big 10, Big 12, Big East, Cam Newton, Colorado, Derek Sherrod, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, James Carpenter, Jonathan Baldwin, Julio Jones, LSU, Marcell Dareus, Mark Ingram, Mike Pouncey, Mississippi State, Missouri, Muhammad Wilkerson, Nebraska, NFL Draft, Nick Fairley, Nick Saban, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Pac-12, Patrick Peterson, Pitt, Purdue, SEC, Temple, Texas, Texas A&M, Von Miller, Wisconsin
Posted on: April 22, 2011 4:26 pm
Edited on: April 22, 2011 4:35 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Every Friday we catch up on four stories you might have missed during the week ... and add a few extra links to help take you into the weekend.
1. Want a quarterback? Like Clemson's Tajh Boyd (pictured)? You might want to head to the state of Virginia, which despite its relatively small recruiting profile could produce starters at as many as seven different BCS programs, including potential national title contenders Alabama and Florida State. (The class of 2012 might tend more towards wideouts, though; both the Virginia-based members of Tom Lemming's top 100 are receivers.)
2. Boise State athletic director Gene Bleymaier is a funny guy. On why the Broncos are joining the Mountain West rather than the Pac-12: "We’ve applied for membership into the NFL. … The truth is schools must be invited into a conference. You don’t get to just join a conference like you can go and join Costco.” Of course, it was his less-amusing, more-serious remarks on the lack of a college football playoff that made headlines.
3. We found out this week that both Auburn and Alabama are going to take a trip to the White House this year; the Tigers to see President Obama as national champions, of course, but Penn State announced that the Tide's Week 2 visit to Beaver Stadium will also be to a "White House." It will the first white-out for the Nittany Lions since 2009, but they maybe should have picked a different opponent, at least if the Tide's infamous 2008 throttling of Georgia during a "black-out" is in any way indicative.
4. The lead item in this Tulsa World post-spring notebook on Oklahoma concerns the Sooners trying to fill the Thanksgiving week hole in their schedule, but the most interesting item comes at the notebook's end, when we discover that Bob Stoops once hitchhiked "several hundred miles" to see Bob Seger in concert.
"I put the name of the city on some cardboard around my tennis racket," Stoops said, "and went out to the highway, held up the racket and hitched a ride to the concert." So if he ever chooses to kick against the wind for no apparent reason, you'll know why.
AND A CLOUD ...
Navy's spring game will air tonight on our own CBS Sports Network, with a few twists ... And speaking of the Midshipmen, Ken Niumatalolo has signed a long-term extension , though the non-release of details means we don't know for much or for how long ...The first wave of Ohio State Tatgate smack shirts is hitting store racks and Internet shopping carts ... Colorado was the first school to go all-HD this spring when it comes to practice film, a move that's made post-practice film study much quicker and easier, the Buff coaches say ... Mike Slive reiterates that he expects the SEC to "do something more than we have done up to now" to curb oversigning ... Yes, Virginia, it is possible for a football program to attend the Humanitarian Bowl and turn a profit; Northern Illinois (somehow) just did it ... The go-to reporter for news on Chad Bumphis's ankle injury scare at Mississippi State was Chad Bumphis ... Every school keeps things simple during their spring games, but "simple" means something different at Boise State ... A look at which SEC schools are getting the biggest financial boost from their boosters ... All-American Big 12 receiver Justin Blackmon interviews All-American Big 12 receiver Ryan Broyles, and finds out Broyles' favorite XBox game is FIFA?!?
Tags: Alabama, Alabama, Auburn, BCS, Big Ten, Bob Seger, Bob Stoops, Bob Stoops Loves Bob Seger, Boise State, Chad Bumphis, Clemson, Colorado, Florida State, Friday Four Links, Gene Bleymaier, Georgia, Humanitarian Bowl, Justin Blackmon, Ken Niumatalolo, Mike Slive, Mississippi State, Mountain West, Navy, Northern Illinois, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma, Pac-12, Penn State, Ryan Broyles, SEC, Tajh Boyd
Posted on: April 18, 2011 12:28 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
The Big East and ESPN have had a business relationship for 32 years and the two entities are currently at work to make sure that relationship lasts even longer. The current television deal between ESPN and the Big East runs through 2013, but both sides are currently negotiating a new deal, and early indications are that the new deal will be extremely helpful for the Big East. At the moment, the Big East receives $36 million annually from its deal with ESPN. The new contract that is in the preliminary rounds of discussion could see the conference more than tripling that income.
Sources indicate the early numbers range from $110 million to $130 million annually, but conference sources describe those figures as a starting point for any negotiation. The initial offer would fall short of the $155 million annual payout the ACC will receive from ESPN in a deal that kicks in this summer. But the bold push by ESPN shows the network wants to lock down college rights in the face of increasing competition.
Now, while you might think that the Big East would be in a rush to sign any deal that more than triples its income, that's not the case. Not everybody within the conference is as willing to sign with ESPN right now, but would rather test the open market. Which seems somewhat ridiculous. If your boss came up to you today and said he wanted to triple your salary, odds are that you wouldn't tell the boss that you'd like to see what you'd rather test unemployment first.
Of course, the job economy is quite different than the television rights for major college conferences at the moment.
Just look at the Big 12. A year ago at this time people were basically writing the eulogy for the Big 12 as the conference was losing Nebraska and Colorado, and seemed to be on the precipice of losing Texas and Oklahoma as well. As we know now, the Big 12 did not die, and just signed a new deal with Fox Sports last week that is going to bring in $90 million a year for the conference, while Texas and Oklahoma are busy starting their own networks. Also, if the Big 12 could get $90 million, then you know Larry Scott and the Pac-12 are sitting around licking their chops.
So odds are that if the Big East did decide to test the open market, it may be able to get more than what ESPN is already offering, even if it may still wind up being ESPN signing the check. Now, obviously, the reason the Big East is able to command so much money is not because of football. The conference's basketball league is what really drives the price up, but this new deal could go a long way in improving the conference in football.
If nothing else, it may help keep schools like Pitt and Syracuse around and not looking to relocate. After all, just because the Big Ten says it's done expanding, that doesn't mean it is, and both Pitt and Syracuse came up as expansion candidates with the Big Ten before the conference decided to stop at Nebraska.
Posted on: April 13, 2011 1:15 pm
Edited on: April 13, 2011 1:16 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
After years -- or as it must have seemed like to Buffs fans, millenia -- of injuries, waffling, and general lack of leadership at the quarterback position, the arrival of new head coach Jon Embree (and graduation of annual backup/spot starter Cody Hawkins) seems to have put an end to the question marks. Tyler Hansen is officially your Colorado quarterback starter, and it doesn't sound like there's any wiggle room in Embree's decision:
Those are some mighty fine numbers there, and suggest the Buffs coule have a legitimately threatening passing game for the first time since the Gary Barnett era. Of course, since they've all come against the Colorado secondary, they also suggest Embree has some work to do in the secondary.
But given how hamstrung Colorado has been by the quarterback position the past few season, it's hard to imagine any Buffs fans -- or Embree, who knows how badly the seemingly rudderless Dan Hawkins Buffs need a strong, rally-to-the-flag on-field leader like an entrenched senior Hansen -- offering up the first complaint.
(And hey, while we're discussing Colorado and quarterbacks, you should know former Georgia backup quarterback and occasional Bulldog receiver/punt returner Logan Gray has transferred to Boulder and should be eligible immediately, due to the same graduate program loophole that allowed Jeremiah Masoli to startfrom Day 1 at Ole Miss. But don't expect Gray to show up at all on Colorado's quarterbacking depth chart, much less challenge Hansen; he's expected to help fill in the Buffs' depeleted corps of wideouts.)