Posted on: March 1, 2012 4:13 pm
  •  
 

Spring Practice Primer: Northwestern



Posted by Tom Fornelli


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 Northwestern.

Spring Practice Starts: Saturday, March 3

Spring Game: Saturday, April 14

Returning Starters: Five on offense, five on defense, both specialists.

Three Things To Look For:

1. Can Kain Colter take over the starting quarterback job? When Northwestern was without Dan Persa last season, Colter did an admirable job filling in. Even after Persa returned Colter continued to see time on the field, though mostly as a running and receiving threat, tallying 1,120 yards and 12 touchdowns for the Northwestern offense. The question, though, will be whether or not Colter can take on full-time responsibilites as a passer. There's reason to believe he can, because even though he only threw 82 passes last season, he completed 67% of them and had 6 touchdowns with only 1 interception. Still, he'll have to prove it this spring or Pat Fitzgerald may be forced to look in a different direction.

2. Another playmaker on offense must emerge. While Colter is likely to be the focal point of the Northwestern offense in 2012, his life would be a lot easier if somebody else on the Wildcats offense stood up to help carry the load. Whether it's running back Treyvon Green or receiver Demetrius Fields, somebody will have to step up to replace the talent lost to graduation and Colter's likely move.

3. Northwestern needs to stop somebody. A major problem in Evanston the last few seasons has been the defense and its inability to keep opponents off the board. Against Big Ten competition last season, Northwestern's defense allowed 32.75 points a game. I repeat, that was against Big Ten offenses. If there's reason to be optimistic, it's that the Wildcats played a lot of freshman and sophomores on defense toward the end of the season, so hopefully that experience will lead to improvement in 2012.

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.

Get CBSSports.com College Football updates on Facebook

Posted on: March 1, 2012 1:51 pm
 

Spring Practice Primer: LSU

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 LSU.

Spring Practice Starts: March 2, or a day after it had been scheduledthat date two days after the start had originally been scheduled. Les Miles has said the delay is due to getting new defensive backs coach Corey Raymond up to speed.

Spring Game: March 31

Returning starters: Seven on offense, five on defense, both specialists.

Three Things To Look For:

1.  Is Zach Mettenberger ready to take over at quarterback? Miles has made no secret of his expectations for the former Georgia and JUCO quarterback, saying he expects the Tigers to immediately take a step forward in the passing game thanks to the big-armed senior--not that with Jordan Jefferson (fresh off his rock-bottom performance at the NFL Draft combine) finally relinquishing the reins, there's really anywhere for that passing game to go but up. But for the Tigers to live up to their preseason No. 1 ranking, Mettenberger will have to live up to his advance hype and then some. Unlike during the days of his Jefferson-Jarrett Lee platoon, Miles won't have many options if he doesn't; none of the other three quarterbacks on the roster (including brother-of-Phillip Stephen Rivers, a redshirt freshman) have taken a college snap or come with much in the way of advance hype. (In retrospect, maybe it's no surprise Miles lost his cool over Gunner Kiel's decision to go to Notre Dame instead.) 

2. Can anyone fill the shoes of Rueben Randle? The Tigers aren't exactly hurting at wide receiver, not with Odell Beckham Jr. looking to build on a highly promising freshman season and the brutally underused Russell Shepard bound to get the attention of his coaching staff one of these years. But both players are more the shifty, undersized type that thrived on Randle opening up coverage underneath than a replacement for Randle's 6'4" downfield presence; Beckham's 11.6 yards per-reception average in 2011 was nearly 6 yards shy of Randle's (outstanding) mark, for instance. And outside of Beckham and Shepard, no other wideout on the team finished in double-digits for receptions in 2011. Mettenberger's deep touch is nice, but it won't do a whole lot for the Tigers if someone -- sophomore Landry Fields, maybe, or junior Kadron Boone -- can't put it to use down the field. 

3. How will the Tigers react to their BCS debacle? Even without the likes of Jefferson, Randle, or Morris Claiborne, there's still no roster in the FBS more fully stocked with talent than this one. (It won't surprise anyone if the Tigers' entire starting defensive line -- Barkevious Mingo, Anthony Johnson, Bennie Logan, and Sam Montgomery -- ends up starting in the NFL as well.) Miles has been a master motivator in the past, and if he turns his team's faceplant in the Superdome into a rallying point and driving force, there's no reason they can't run the regular season table again. But if it instead becomes a black cloud that hangs over their spring drills and results in half-hearted efforts from player and coach alike, the Tigers don't have to look any further than the previous team to lose a national title game to Alabama -- Mack Brown's Texas, still struggling to recover from their loss in Pasadena -- to see how damaging the consequences can be.

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

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.

Get CBSSports.com College Football updates on Facebook   

Posted on: March 1, 2012 12:04 pm
 

Jordan Whiting transferring to Louisville

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Linebacker Jordan Whiting is going home.

The Ohio State linebacker announced via Twitter on Thursday morning that he would be transferring from Ohio State to Louisville to finish his college career. Whiting is from Louisville.



Whiting, a sophomore, only had 1 tackle for Ohio State in 2011 and found himself buried on the depth chart at linebacker. Obviously, given this recent development, he doesn't foresee those circumstances changing under the new regime in Columbus.

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.

Get CBSSports.com College Football updates on Facebook  
Posted on: March 1, 2012 11:15 am
 

Barack Obama weighs in on the playoff issue

Posted by Tom Fornelli

After being elected President in 2008, Barack Obama mentioned that he might use his power to push college football toward a playoff system. A little over three years later, here we are with a plus-one seemingly headed our way shortly, though you can't give the President credit for getting it done.

Though he is aware of the winds of change in the sport, as President Obama sat down for an interview on Bill Simmons' podcast, The B.S. Report, and the playoff subject was broached.
BS: Tell me about the college football playoff system that you once upon a time pushed for.

Obama: Looks like — I hear there’s talk that they’re going to at least start maybe with a four-team playoff, which —

BS: So you’re happy about this?

Obama: Well, I’d rather see it eight teams, but four is a good place to start. I think that gets us on the right trend. Nothing is more frustrating than at the end of the season, nobody knows who won. And what, there is some poll? Coaches make a decision? Nobody knows what that means. Because part of what makes sports great, part of what makes March Madness great, the NFL playoffs great, is every once in a while something happens during the playoffs that shows the character of a team.

Look at the Giants this year. Nobody would have picked them. They wouldn’t have been crowned as champions if you had a coaches' poll at the end of the year. But they made the plays when it counted. 
Well, while the President might like to see the playoff at eight teams right now, not many others do. Which is fine with me. I've long been a proponent of college football having a playoff, and if the conferences are only willing to give me a four-team playoff, that's fine with me. I'll take what I can get.

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.

Get CBSSports.com College Football updates on Facebook
Posted on: February 29, 2012 7:51 pm
 

Report: SDSU dismisses Dillon Baxter

Posted by Tom Fornelli

A hundred years from now, scholars will still gather and debate the greatest moments of the Dillon Baxter Era at San Diego State, and it'll be a sad sight to behold. It just shouldn't take a century to dissect an era that failed to last even 60 days.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported on Wednesday night that Baxter had been dismissed by the team not even two months after transferring to the school from USC. Baxter had been suspended last week for what head coach Rocky Long referred to as a "variety of things."

While the school has yet to confirm Baxter's dismissal, the report says a source close to the situation told the Union-Tribune those "things" haven't stopped happening.

Baxter said he "couldn't talk about it" when contacted by the paper.

School seems to be the main culprit, as Baxter reportedly had issues with attendance and sleeping through study halls. The report also says that Baxter recently became a father, which may be playing a role in his ability to attend class and desire to find sleep whenever and where ever he can.

Baxter carried the ball only 9 times for 29 yards at USC last season, failing to receive any playing time in any of USC's final eight games.

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.

Get CBSSports.com College Football updates on Facebook 
Posted on: February 29, 2012 6:36 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2012 7:47 am
 

Miami QB Morris to face competition this spring

Posted by Chip Patterson

UPDATE: Stephen Morris was listed as OUT for spring practice when Miami released their pre-spring depth chart Wednesday night.  Ryan Williams was No. 1, with early enrollees Gray Crow and Preston Dewey as No. 2 and No. 3, respectively.


After injuries and turnovers led former Miami head coach Randy Shannon to flip frequently between Jacory Harris and Stephen Morris in 2010, Harris - a senior - kept a strong hold on the starting position for most of Al Golden's first year in 2011.

Golden opened up the quarterback competition upon his arrival in Coral Gables, and let the two quarterbacks compete all the way until the end of fall camp. According to Golden the race for the starting position was neck-and-neck for nearly six months, and several teammates confirmed that observation heading into last season.

Morris, now the heir apparent to the starting quarterback position, will be limited during Miami's spring practice - which opens Saturday morning. According to The Miami Herald, Morris underwent back surgery in the offseason. Miami would not confirm the reason for Morris' limitations, but the junior quarterback is expected to meet with the media on Thursday.

Morris' limitation provides an opportunity for Memphis transfer Ryan Williams to make his case for snaps in 2012. Golden likely had no plans of naming a starting quarterback based exclusively on spring practice, but the extra experience Williams has gotten - and will get this spring - should put him in position to compete in the fall.

A native of Miramar High School, Williams decided to transfer back home after just one season with the Tigers. Williams played in all 12 games as a true freshman in 2010, starting in 10. He completed 165-of-290 passes for 2,075 yards and 13 touchdowns, winning the starting job on the field in the second game. The 6-foot-6, 220-pound quarterback led Miramar to its first ever Florida State Championship in high school, breaking a state record with an 85.7 completion percentage in the title game.

What Morris does have is game experience with the Hurricanes, and the advantage of competing for the job already. But with Williams hungry to produce for his hometown school, any steps made this spring could make for another interesting quarterback competition in the fall for Al Golden.

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.

Get CBSSports.com College Football updates on Facebook   
Posted on: February 29, 2012 3:45 pm
 

VIDEO: Roy Kramer talks possible BCS changes

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Former SEC commissioner Roy Kramer was the architect behind the BCS as we know it today, and like many of the current conference commissioners in recent weeks, he's shared his opinions on the possible changes the BCS could be making in the near future. Kramer talked to CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd about it a few weeks ago, and on Wednesday he stopped by the Tim Brando Show to further discuss the possibilities. 



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.


Get CBSSports.com College Football updates on Facebook
Posted on: February 29, 2012 2:11 pm
 

'12 College Football Hall of Fame ballot released

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The National Football Foundation has released the 2012 College Football Hall of Fame ballot, the pool of 76 former players and eight coaches that will make up the 2012 Hall of Fame class. And not surprisingly, there's several names on the ballot that even a cursory glance would force a That guy isn't in yet? double-take. 

Here's eight of them from our perspective, acknowledging that the Eye on CFB team are too young to have gotten a first-hand look at greats like Notre Dame tight end Dave Casper or Michigan State wide receiver-turned-baseball legend Kirk Gibson. With that disclaimer out of the way, the first eight names we'd tick off on our ballot, in alphabetical order:

Trev Alberts, LB, NebraskaA pulverizing force off the edge for the Huskers in the early '90s, Alberts won the 1993 Butkus and Big 8 Defensive Player of the Year Honors. 

Tommy Frazier, QB, NebraskaJust the best option quarterback we've ever seen who just so happened to lead the Huskers to back-to-back national championships. We wouldn't bother to rank all 76 players 1-76, but if we did, we feel comfortable saying we'd put Frazier at No. 1.

Raghib Ismail, WR/KR, Notre DameOne of the game's true superstars in the late '80s and 1990, "The Rocket"'s highlight-reel returns helped the Irish to the 1990 national title and earned him two-time All-American honors, the Walter Camp Award, and a runner-up finish in the '90 Heisman balloting.

Jimmy Johnson, head coach, Miami, Oklahoma State: Howard Schnellenberger put the Hurricanes on the map, but it was Johnson who made Miami Miami--arguably the most influential college football program in Division I from Johnson's hire in 1984 through their 2001 upset loss to Ohio State in the BCA championship.

Jonathan Ogden, OT, UCLAWon the 1995 Outland, but awards and numbers don't illustrate how Ogden became -- along with the next entry on this list -- the sport's prototype offensive tackle.

Orlando Pace, OT, Ohio StateIt actually makes sense that Pace hasn't been elected yet -- this is his first year on the ballot -- but that really shouldn't remain the case long for the game's only two-time Lombardi Trophy winner.

Vinny Testaverde, QB, MiamiYes, he was an NFL bust, and yes, he flopped in the de facto 1987 national title game vs. Penn State. But that shouldn't overshadow an explosive, thrilling career for the 'Canes that saw him throw for 6,058 yards and win the 1987 Heisman. 

Derrick Thomas, LB, AlabamaHow the FBS's all-time record-holder for sacks in a season -- Thomas had a mind-blowing 27 in 1988, the year he won the Butkus Award -- still isn't in the Hall is a mystery worthy of that Sherlock Holmes guy.

Who else should get a nod? Let us know in the comments or our Facebook page. For a look at the 2011 class -- which, remember, did not include Frazier, Alberts, Thomas, Ismail, or Ogden -- click here.

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.

Get CBSSports.com College Football updates on Facebook   

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