Brandon Wegher

Waiver denied, ex-Iowa RB to sit out ’11 as Sooner walk-on


Brandon Wegher had been hoping he would be granted a waiver by the NCAA that would allow him to play for Oklahoma as a walk-on in 2011.

Instead, the former Iowa running back will have to wait until 2012 to hit the regular-season field as a Sooner.

Wegher received a release from his Iowa scholarship last month but, despite the fact that he sat out the entire 2010 season due to personal reasons, his request for a waiver from the NCAA was denied.  The sophomore was not enrolled at OU during the 2010 season, which led the NCAA to its obvious decision to force Wegher to sit out a transfer year.

Two weeks ago, Wegher revealed that he had opted to transfer to Oklahoma after receiving interest from, among other schools, Auburn and Penn State.  Wegher said he was a fan of the football program growing up, and worked with OU running backs coach Cale Gundy to get himself to Norman.

I grew up watching the Sooners,” Wegher told the Daily Oklahoman earlier this month. “I went through some issues, some personal things. Now I’m back on top of it. I’m looking forward to moving forward and being part of the Sooner family.”

Despite the fact that his waiver was denied, Wegher will be permitted to workout and practice with the team.  He will have two years of eligibility remaining starting with the 2012 season.

In 2009, Wegher set an Iowa record for freshmen with eight rushing touchdowns on his way to 641 yards rushing.

Was Washington loss the beginning of the end of the Steve Sarkisian era at USC?

Steve Sarkisian
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Steve Sarkisian’s win totals in his six previous seasons are both a positive and a negative.

On one hand, he resurrected a moribund Washington program that went 0-12 under Ty Willingham in 2008 and took them to four consecutive bowl games from 2010-2013. He won nine games his last year in Seattle, then led a talented-yet-thin USC team to a nine-win season and AP No. 20 finish in 2014.

Those are good accomplishments. But the flip side of the argument is Sarkisian has never won double-digit games in a season, something that’s a necessity to keep one’s job at USC. The Trojans’ 17-12 loss to Washington last night — at home, no less — means the road to 10 wins and a Pac-12 title will be awfully difficult.

And worse yet, there are plenty of arguments to be made Sarkisian doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt and a little more time in Los Angeles to turn things around (#SarkAfterDark, his drunken rant at a booster event, certainly doesn’t help). The reaction from national media to last night’s loss looked like this:

Mandel, in his column, argued USC is right where it was two years ago with Lane Kiffin as its coach. And there’s this embarrassing thought, that looks more and more like a truth, for Pat Haden:

This one, however, was the most damning by far for many reasons, most notably that it came at the hands of Sarkisian’s old team. The sense among many Washington fans nearly two years ago was that the Huskies managed to upgrade coaches when the school lured Chris Petersen from Boise State upon Sarkisian’s departure to USC.

They were right.

USA Today’s Dan Wolken similarly wrote that USC needs to drop Sarkisian and bring in Chip Kelly from the Philadelphia Eagles.

This is the state of USC, and it may not get better. The Trojans start a brutal three-game stretch next Saturday at Notre Dame in primetime, then welcome Utah to Los Angeles the next week. A Halloween trip to Berkeley to face Jared Goff and Cal finishes it up. There’s a very real chance USC, for all its talent and all its hype, limps into November with a 4-4 or 3-5 record.

Sarkisian will have to engineer and sustain a major turnaround in these coming weeks, otherwise he’ll give Haden all the ammo he needs to unceremoniously jettison him after two years.

Starting Navy S Kwazel Bertrand undergoes surgery, likely out for season

Kwazel Bertrand, Jacobi Owens
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Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.

Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.

And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.

“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”

Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.