COLLEGE FOOTBALL NEWS, SEASON IS UPON US

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A potentially quiet silly season for coaching moves can quickly turn into whirlwind of big openings.

That was the case last year when Nebraska and Florida descended into tumultuous seasons and fired third-year coaches who had winning records in 2016. Multimillion dollars buyouts be damned.

The reality is most FBS coaches are one truly terrible season away from being fired. Now more than ever changes throughout an administration can trickle down to the coach’s office and be the catalyst for change.

That’s why Bobby Petrino enters an interesting season at Louisville. Not only has Lamar Jackson moved on to the NFL, but the basketball-related scandals at Louisville have led to a new athletic director and university president. Could Petrino decide it’s time to move on as well? Continue reading by Associated Press

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Maryland has placed members of its athletic staff on administrative leave pending the outcome of an external review into the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair, who died in June after his family said he suffered a heatstroke during offseason practice in late May. The number of staffers suspended, along with any additional details which staffers are away from the program, have not been released.

The statement from the university is as follows, per the Baltimore Sun.

Following the death of Maryland football player Jordan McNair in June, the University of Maryland commissioned an external review of the procedures and protocols surrounding athletes’ health and safety. Pending the final outcome of this review, the university has placed members of the Athletics staff on administrative leave. We will be able to speak in greater detail when the review is complete and shared with the public. Our thoughts remain with Jordan McNair’s family, friends and teammates.

McNair’s death is one of many incidents detailed a lengthy ESPN report that paints the Terrapins program under coach D.J. Durkin in a harmful light. The focal point of the report is the “toxic coaching culture” said to be created and fostered primarily by Durkin and Maryland’s strength and conditioning coach, Rick Court.

Court was one of Durkin’s initial hires nearly three years ago and reportedly the first call he made after taking the job. Maryland’s longtime head football trainer Wes Robinson was also mentioned in ESPN’s report. “It did seem like he was trying to become someone he really wasn’t,”a former staff member said of Robinson, who allegedly yelled, “Drag his ass across the field!” during McNair’s 10th sprint during his final workout.

According to interviews with both current and former players, as well as former football staffers and people close to the program, Maryland’s culture consisted of alleged acts of verbal and physical abuse, belittlement and fear tactics. As one ex-Maryland staff member told ESPN, “I would never, ever, ever allow my child to be coached there.” Continue reading by 

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Everyone’s favorite part of fall, college football opening weekend, is only two weeks away with the season officially beginning on August 25.

There’s a packed schedule, so we’ve highlighted the best games to watch and where to catch them each day of opening weekend. We hope this guide helps you make the most of college football’s kickoff.  Continue reading by Molly Sequin and Shannon Scovel

In the past decade alone, the SEC has erected 31 new statues of college football icons. In 2008, the University of Georgia memorialized Hall of Fame coach Vince Dooley, who said of the statue, “At least I was retired.” Courtesy University of Georgia

Forty years after his death, Ulysses S. Grant, the former Union Army general and two-term POTUS, was immortalized with a statue on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning? He got his statue outside Lucas Oil Stadium less than two years after retiring.

First, though, he had to pose. And so in August 2016, five months into his post-NFL life, the quarterback was in Nashville, Tennessee, standing for sculptor Ryan Feeney inside a small office at a private airport. After joking about his vital signs — “Thought you had to be dead to get a statue,” Manning mumbled — the former Colts QB, already memorialized at Tennessee with a road named after him, tugged on his full NFL uniform one last time. Knowing the image would be captured in bronze forever, Manning made sure it was perfect, down to the tiniest detail.

The jersey came straight from the Colts museum. The wristbands were game-ready. And when Feeney told him that the knee brace probably wasn’t necessary, that he was in no danger of getting sacked by one of his assistants, Manning knelt down and strapped it on anyway. “I’ve always worn it,” he said, looking up. “It’s a part of me.” Continue reading by David Fleming

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Ohio State’s investigation into football coach Urban Meyer now has a timeline. According to a release Sunday night, the investigation is expected to wrap within the next two weeks.

That release also revealed that former Securities and Exchange Commission chair Mary Jo White will lead an investigative team that will be directed by the members of the six-person working group Ohio State empaneled last week to look into whether Meyer properly handled allegations of domestic abuse against former receivers coach Zach Smith. So what does all this mean? Continue reading by ANDY STAPLES

Coach Urban Meyer’s forced break from the Ohio State football program is a total one.

Meyer is on paid administrative leave while a six-person committee investigates his actions regarding the domestic-abuse allegations against fired receivers coach Zach Smith.

On Thursday, Ohio State clarified the terms of his administrative leave. Meyer is not permitted to have any contact with Buckeyes coaches or players, a university spokesman confirmed to The Dispatch.

He also is not permitted to use university-issued communication devices or enter any campus building. That includes the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, the site of the football program’s offices and practice fields. Continue reading by Bill Rabinowitz

With just three weeks until its opening game against Austin Peay, Georgia received major news regarding transfer wide receiver Demetris Robertson.

The university confirmed to Seth Emerson of The Athletic that Robertson will be eligible to play immediately for the Bulldogs. The NCAA granted a waiver request for Robertson, who transferred from Cal in June before announcing he was joining the defending SEC champs the following month.

This is huge news for Georgia when it looked like Robertson would originally have to sit out the season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules. Now the Bulldogs get an immediate impact player — and a home-grown product, no less — who was once the No. 1 wide receiver recruit in the 2016 class.

As a true freshman, the 6-foot, 190-pounder caught 50 passes for 767 yards and seven touchdowns. His breakout performance came in Week 4 vs. Arizona State when he caught four passes for 103 yards and two touchdowns. His best game, however, came in mid-November when he caught six passes for 141 yards and a touchdown in a loss to Washington State. His sophomore campaign was immediately cut short due to injury.

Photo: Robert Franklin

Brian Kelly shuns the word “surprise” to describe the players who are unexpectedly emerging during the early stages of Notre Dame football training camp.

That doesn’t mean that surprises don’t exist.

And not all of them are freshmen.

Senior Nick Coleman, displaced in the spring as a viable option to hold onto the starting status he earned in 2017 at the free safety position, has added another layer to the collective happy surge by the safety position as a whole. So far.

Whether they’re surprises, flashes or even revelations, not all of early August’s ascenders will be sustainable, but Coleman is among those worth keeping an eye on.

Some others? Converted freshman cornerback Joe Wilkins Jr., freshman offensive tackle Jarrett Patterson, freshman wide receiver Lawrence Keys III, and — perhaps not a surprise but a rapid riser, nonetheless — freshman rover Shayne Simon. Continue reading by 

 

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