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Posted on: March 7, 2012 10:07 am
Edited on: March 8, 2012 10:25 am
 

Report: 4 Arizona players arrested in party brawl

Posted by Chip Patterson

UPDATE (3/8): Assault charges against Eric Bender-Ramsay have been dropped, though the trespassing charge remains.  Ebbele and Grandon, still facing assault charges, were held out the Wildcats' spring practice on Wednesday.   


Four Arizona football players have been arrested after a fight broke out at a party, according to a local report.

The Daily Wildcat, citing police reports, detailed the charges against sophomore cornerback Jourdan Grandon, sophomore offensive tackle Fabbians Ebbele, sophomore offensive lineman Eric Bender-Ramsay, and sophomore safety Jared Tevis.

Grandon, Ebbele, and Bender have all been charged with criminal trespassing and assault, while Tevis collected only a trespassing charge. According to the report, Tevis was invited to a party and showed up with his teammates and former Wildcat Joshua Robbins. When Tevis and the group were asked to leave because the others were not invited, Robbins reportedly shoved a woman and upon being slapped - punched her in the face.

A small brawl broke out at the party, and then things escalated. (via: The Daily Wildcat)

The players left after the brawl, but before leaving said, “We will be back with our homies.” A short time later, the players returned “in a group of between 10 and 30,” and a man later identified as sophomore offensive tackle Fabbians Ebbele forcibly entered the home and “began punching everybody he could reach,” according to the report, including the resident who was initially assaulted and her brother.

People at the party told officers the UA players entered the home and began assaulting male members of the party while several women attempted to stop another fight from happening. One woman was pushed up against the wall by Robbins. Robbins continued to push other female guests and residents.

Members of the party identified Grandon after he “punched a female guest in her face with a closed fist and began punching other females in the face.” Tevis was also present during the altercation but none of the victims observed him assaulting anyone.

When officers saw the Navigator speeding away from the house, they pulled the car over to the side of the road for a “high risk” stop. Everyone inside of the car, which included Tevis, Robbins, Grandon, and Ebbele, was removed from the car, along with junior defensive tackle Justin Washington, who was not charged in the incident.

The school has not released an official statement yet, but the assumption would be that some kind of suspension is in order for at least Grandon, Ebbele, and Bender. Ebbele is expected to start at tackle this season, and Grandon was expected to see significant playing time in the secondary.

Needless to say, this is not the kind of distraction new head coach Rich Rodriguez wants during spring practice. The Wildcats started Spring Practice March 5, for three things to look for check out the Arizona Spring Practice Primer.

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Posted on: March 6, 2012 6:19 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2012 6:26 pm
 

Spring Practice Primer: Missouri

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Spring football is in the air, and with our Spring Practice Primers the Eye On College Football Blog gets you up to speed on what to look for on campuses around the country this spring. Today we look at Missouri.

Spring Practice Starts: March 6

Spring Game: April 14

Returning starters: 5 offensive, 6 defensive, 2 specialists

Three Things To Look For:

1.  What practical impact, if any, will the SEC move have on spring camp? Gary Pinkel has gone on record as saying the Tigers won't be changing their coaching philosophy or schemes to adjust to their new conference home, but that doesn't mean it has to be business as usual during spring camp. With the carrot of making a splash in the (mostly) open SEC East hanging in front of them, the Tigers could (or should) have the kind of focus and drive throughout spring practice that could (or should) give them that extra edge in preparation come the fall. But with depth a major concern at multiple positions (see below), Pinkel can't crank up the intensity too high--lest he lose a major contributor in the offseason for a second straight season.

2. Can the Tigers find enough bodies on the defensive line? One number to illustrate Missouri's current lack of depth on the defensive line: zero, as in the number of players who started for the Tigers in 2011 that will be taking part in spring drills, thanks to three graduations and shoulder surgery for end Brad Madison. A second is four, as in the total number of scholarship tackles who'll be participating in spring practice thanks to offseason surgeries for Sheldon Richardson and Marvin Foster (the former the Tigers' expected best DT). The bad news is that with so much inexperience and limited numbers, the Tigers will come out of spring still unsure about what they'll really have to work with come the fall--and in a league where line play is often even more critical than in other (less ground-oriented) leagues. The good news? Players like tackle Lucas Vincent and end Michael Sam will have a golden opportunity to prove themselves ready for a starring role, and maybe even some extra coaching attention to help make that opportunity pay off.

3. Can Kendial Lawrence be the answer at running back? As CBSSports.com Missouri RapidReporter Dave Matter has written, the Tigers are in decided need of some new playmakers at both wide receiver and tight end. But those won't do much good if the Tiger running game can't keep opposing defenses honest, and after 2011's brutal knee injury, it remains to be seen what -- if any -- contribution Henry Josey can make. That puts the onus on rising senior Lawrence, who saw plenty of carries last season but also saw his role reduced as Josey exploded onto the scene; for the season, Josey averaged more than three yards more per-carry than Lawrence. If Lawrence can show some improved explosiveness this spring, that'll be one less worry -- and a key one at that -- for a Tiger offense that will have its work cut out for it in 2012.

To check in on the rest of the SEC and other BCS conferences, check out the Spring Practice Schedule

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Posted on: March 6, 2012 4:40 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2012 4:43 pm
 

NCAA denies redshirt for Clemson LB Steward

Posted by Chip Patterson

Clemson linebacker Tony Steward had his request for a medical redshirt from the NCAA denied last week, according to Tigers' head coach Dabo Swinney.

Swinney met with the media on Tuesday to discuss several team issues heading into Wednesday's opening of spring practice, and called the NCAA's decision "a shame."

A five-star prospect coming out of high school, Steward was one of the many true freshman to contribute immediately for the Tigers, but his action was cut short by a torn ACL in the fifth game. NCAA rules allow for players to redshirt for medical reason if they had played in 30 percent or fewer of the team's games in a season. While the fifth game put the sophomore linebacker over the limit, the school hoped only playing 36 snaps in those games would result in an exception.

Steward is still recovering from successful knee surgery to repair the damage, and will miss all of Clemson's spring practice. He is expected to be fully cleared to participate in team activities in May.

Another member of that same recruiting class will be returning to practice on Wednesday: sophomore running back Mike Bellamy. Bellamy showed bursts of potential during his freshman campaign, but the on-field time was reportedly limited by off-field conduct and attitude issues.

Bellamy received criticism from the coaching staff during the season, and was suspended indefinitely for violation of a team rule before the ACC title game in December.

"[Bellamy has] been doing OK," Swinney said on Tuesday. "This is a big spring for him."

Starting running back Andre Ellington returns for the Tigers, looking to build on a junior year that saw him collect 1,178 yards despite missing time due to injury. Ellington has had to miss time because of injury in each of his last two seasons, and there should be opportunity for Bellamy to move up to the No. 2 spot on the depth chart this spring.

For more on the Tigers' updates heading into spring practice, check out Travis Sawchik's Tigers RapidReports.

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Posted on: March 6, 2012 3:20 pm
 

Auburn to unveil Heisman statues at spring game

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Auburn fans treating themselves to the Tigers' "A-Day" spring game are going to be treated themselves to a one-of-a-kind ceremony involving the school's three Heisman Trophy winners.

The Tiger athletic department had announced previously that they would be commissioning and erecting statuses of Pat Sullivan, Bo Jackson and Cam Newton to be unveiled at a later date. A release from the school Tuesday established that date as April 14, when the statues will be dedicated in a special ceremony at 10 a.m. prior to the annual "A-Day" game.

According to the release, Sullivan (who won his Heisman in 1971), Jackson (1985) and Newton (2010, in case you've forgotten already) are all scheduled to be in attendance at the ceremony. The statues will be placed on the east end of Jordan-Hare Stadium.

In an interview with Auburn fansite The War Eagle Reader last April, statue sculptor Ken Bjorge said that the statues of Sullivan and Jackson had already been commissioned -- and completed -- when Newton's stunning Heisman season forced Auburn to ask for a third statue, and delay the unveiling of Sullivan's and Jackson's. In the interim, Florida became the first SEC team with a collection of Heisman statues, unveiling renditions of Steve Spurrier, Danny Wuerffel and Tim Tebow at their 2011 spring game. 

The delay also meant, of course, that Auburn avoided the awkwardness of either dedicating or not dedicating a statue of Newton, whose infamous NCAA investigation only wrapped up last October. Though going through with an order for $100,000 worth of sculpted steel was already a sizable vote of confidence on Auburn's part, there's little doubt the school is highly appreciative the statue won't have to be unveiled with a Julie Roe Lach-shaped monkey on its back. 

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the opening kick of the year all the way through the offseason, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview.

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Posted on: March 6, 2012 2:22 pm
 

Spring Practice Primer: Wake Forest



Posted by Chip Patterson


Spring football is in the air, and with our Spring Practice Primers the Eye On College Football Blog gets you up to speed on what to look for on campuses around the country this spring. Today we look at Wake Forest.

Spring Practice Starts: TBD (March 1 and March 3 practices were delayed, March 6 is the next scheduled practice) 

Spring Game: April 14

Three Things To Look For:

1. Tanner Price finding new favorite target. One of the things that made Wake Forest quarterback Tanner Price so successful in 2011 was his ability to distribute the ball from the spread and allow the skill position players to make plays in the open field. No player did so more prolifically than wide receiver Chris Givens, who led the ACC with 1,330 yards and totaled nine touchdowns before deciding to leave a year early for the NFL. The Demon Deacons return junior wideout Michael Campanaro - who racked up 833 receiving yards of his own - but will be looking for another player to step up as that second option in the spread attack. Head coach Jim Grobe has already singled out Terence Davis, a redshirt senior who has battled through injury during his first season's at Wake Forest, as one player expected to step up this season.

2. Replacing four starters on the offensive line. Wake Forest's biggest offensive concern heading into the year lies along the offensive line. The Demon Deacons aren't just replacing four starters, but three redshirt seniors and All-ACC second team guard Joe Looney. Center Garrick Williams is the only returning starter, and the coaches will be looking for some players to step up this spring. Grobe believes this is a talented and athletic group, but nearly every other position will be up for grabs this spring. Redshirt junior Steven Chase is one player to keep an eye on this spring. The 6-foot-7, 305 pound left tackle will be an important piece in establishing the line and pass protecting for Tanner Price.

3. Breaking in new faces on the coaching staff. Head coach Jim Grobe is one of the most tenured coaches in the ACC at his current post, and staff shakeups have not been normal since his arrival in Winston-Salem over a decade ago. The Demon Deacons entire 2012 with a pair of new hires, and some slight rearranging of the duties on the coaching staff. Jonathan Himebauch, of the CFL's Toronto Argonauts, will coach the offensive line, allowing Steed Lebotzke to focus on his responsibilities as offensive coordinator. Derrick Jackson has also been brought on to assist with the outside linebackers, which should take some weight off of defensive coordinator Brian Knorr. Grobe feels confident these additions will be improvements, but spring practice will be crucial as the entire staff adjusts to the new responsibilities.  Steve Russ recently left Wake Forest to return to his alma mater Air Force, and the defensive back duties will reportedly be taken by soon-to-be hired Tim Duffie from Colorado State

Catch up on the rest of the ACC and BCS conferences at the Spring Practice Home

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Posted on: March 6, 2012 1:38 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2012 2:09 pm
 

A&M president confirms series with Gamecocks

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The SEC still hasn't confirmed (or denied) South Carolina president Harris Pastides's claim that the league's athletic directors and presidents have signed off on a plan to maintain the league's annual cross-divisional rivalry games, or his assertion that his Gamecocks would be exchanging their yearly battle against Arkansas for one vs. league newcomers Texas A&M.

But even if the league won't confirm it, someone who would most certainly be in a position to know has: Aggie president R. Bowen Loftin. Loftin tweeted the following Monday afternoon:

 

Yes, that's the bow-tied president of a major research university of more than 50,000 students tweeting "#WHOOP" over a future football game. Clearly, the Aggies will be even more at home in the SEC than we've thought.

That aside, Loftin's confirmation should -- finally -- end any speculation or controversy over whether or not the SEC will keep the permanent cross-division games that have allowed series like Auburn-Georgia and Alabama-Tennessee to continue since its 1992 divisional split. If the SEC is going to bother forcing the Gamecocks and Aggies -- two teams without any geographic rivalry or gridiron history -- to play each season, it's safe to assume that every SEC team is going to play someone in their opposite division, eliminating the possibility of a compromise that would see some teams (like the Tide and Vols) keep their cross-division rivalries while others did not.

This decision does mean that if the SEC remains wedded to an eight-game schedule, teams in opposite divisions who don't share a rivalry game (like say, Alabama and Florida, or Georgia and LSU ) will play each other just twice in a 12-year rotation. To judge by Pastides's and Loftin's comments, though, whether that will be often enough to keep all 14 schools (and the SEC's television partners) happy will be a bridge the conference will cross when it comes to it.

HT: TSK. 

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the opening kick of the year all the way through the offseason, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview.

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Posted on: March 6, 2012 12:37 pm
 

Spring Practice Primer: Miami



Posted by Chip Patterson


Spring football is in the air, and with our Spring Practice Primers the Eye On College Football Blog gets you up to speed on what to look for on campuses around the country this spring. Today we look at Miami.

Spring Practice Started: March 3

Spring Game: April 14

Three things to look for:

1. Replacing key defensive playmakers.  The Hurricanes have said goodbye to several upperclassmen who contributed significantly on the defensive side. With players like Sean Spence, Marcus Robinson, Micanor Regis, JoJo Nicolas gone; Al Golden will be looking to a collection of unproven defensive players to step up. Rookie standouts Anthony Chickillo and Denzel Perryman return for their sophomore campaigns, but the rest of the front seven will need to be filled in with to-be-determined playmakers. One player to keep an eye on along the defensive line is redshirt junior Shayon Green, who has received praise from the coaching staff for his offseason work.

2. Ryan Williams' chance to challenge Stephen Morris.  Offseason back surgery will keep junior quarterback Stephen Morris out of contact drills for Miami's spring practice. Morris battled with former quarterback Jacory Harris for the 2011 starting job for nearly six months before losing what nearly everyone close to the program called a "neck-and-neck" battle. But while game experience gives him an edge on freshmen Gray Crow and Preston Dewey, he will still likely have to beat Memphis transfer Ryan Williams for the job in the fall. As a freshman in 2010, Williams won the Tigers' starting job in the second game of the season. A former Florida 6A State Championship MVP, Williams will be looking to put on a show in his return to the South Florida area.

3. Settling on an offensive line.  Miami never settled on a single offensive line rotation during the 2011 season. As players battled through injuries and other setbacks, the coaching staff kept competition for snaps open in practice. The results were mixed, and the lack of continuity along the unit seemed to hold back the offense at points during the season. Spring practice has already started with trouble on the line, with tackle Seantrel Henderson getting hit with a brief suspension for a violation of team policy. Henderson, once considered the future of the unit, will face tough competition from one of the deepest positions in spring ball for the Hurricanes.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the opening kick of the year all the way through the offseason, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview.

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Posted on: March 6, 2012 12:19 pm
Edited on: March 7, 2012 2:37 pm
 

LSU female goalkeeper Mo Isom to try out for PK

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

There's rarely a dull moment where LSU football -- the program of Les Miles, the "Honey Badger," Death Valley, etc. -- is concerned. And as if we needed any further evidence, the first week of the Tigers' 2012 spring camp could see even more SEC history being made on the bayou.

Former LSU women's soccer goalkeeper Mo Isom will attempt to walk on to the Tiger roster Tuesday, putting her soccer-honed leg to the test in a tryout to become the team's newest placekicker. Isom would become the first female college football player in SEC history and just the second in FBS history, following former Colorado and New Mexico kicker Katie Hnida. 

A fifth-year senior who has exhausted her eligibility on the soccer field, Isom has been planning the tryout since early 2011 and began working on field goals and kickoffs with the football team in workouts last September, station WDSU reported.

"I had [trying out] in my mind, and I approached some of the players I know, and they were so enthusiastic. And then I talked to some of the coaching staff, because of course I wanted to be in their good graces," Isom told LSU blog And the Valley Shook in a November interview. "I was expecting to see some resistance but all the doors were open to me, and everybody has been so excited, which is so great."

The daughter of a former college football player at Division II Carson-Newman , Isom said Tuesday her only motivation was attempting to make the team.

"People's first presumption is that it's a media stunt or some attempt for attention and glory," she said. "That couldn't be any farther from the truth."

Miles said in a statement following practice Tuesday that if he felt adding Isom to the roster would help the team, he wouldn't hesitate to do it.

"If she gave us an opportunity and an advantage, and I mean add an advantage, then certainly we would consider that," he said. "The good thing about it is she's an athlete. She's been through team before. She understands the commitment."

"I would have much less reservations with her than I would any number of other people that frankly didn't know what they were getting into," he added. "Obviously, she's got ball skills. She's been around it."

A Georgia native, Isom's difficult life away from the soccer field -- including her father's suicide and a battle with bulimia, as documented in this SI.com piece -- means she won't likely find the tryout process over-intimidating.

Isom told ATVS that she had connected on a 51-yarder in practice, and to judge by this highlight, leg strength may not be much of an issue:

"It would just be a fantastic way to spend my last year as a Tiger," she told ATVS. "And I love the guys on the team. I just think it would be a really special experience."

Isom would have a difficult time seeing the field even if she made the roster; rising senior Drew Alleman returns as the Tiger starter after hitting 16-of-18 field goals and 62 of his 63 extra points in 2011.

But whatever level of success she found with the Tigers, Isom would be breaking new ground in the SEC. The Southeast as a region has not been unfriendly towards female kickers, however; Ashley Martin became the first woman to score in a Division I game for FCS Jacksonville (Ala.) State, and in 2003 Tonya Butler became the first female kicker to kick an NCAA field goal at Division II West Alabama.

Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples pointed out that Isom has already competed against members of the current Tigers' roster, taking on defensive back Tryann Mathieu in an episode of Isom's "Meaux Vs." YouTube series.


 

Photo by LSU Sports Information, via ATVS. HT their way for the SI link as well. For more on Isom and other reports from LSU's spring practice, follow Glenn Guilbeau's CBSSports.com Tiger RapidReports.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com