One month and one day after the start of spring practice, USC exited the 15 sessions Saturday somewhat battered and without any real handle on what to expect in 2011.
At least, that’s the assessment of their head coach.
Following yesterday’s spring game that “wasn’t a real game”, Lane Kiffin acknowledged that the number of injuries suffered by the Trojans — especially on the offensive side of the ball — makes it difficult to determine exactly where his squad stands as they enter the summer voluntary workouts portion of the college football calendar.
“It is hard to assess with so many people out for all of spring and so many people coming in that are going to have to play for us,” Kiffin said. “It’s really hard to address where we’re at and figure it out. …
“Hopefully, we’re really good on defense and really good on special teams. We’ve got a lot of work to do on offense.”
Quarterback Matt Barkley tossed two interceptions and barely completed 50 percent of his 42 passes, but there were mitigating factors behind that performance. Star wide receiver Robert Woods was held out of the game after injuring his ankle during a “basketball incident” Friday (“All the coaches had the same response – don’t play basketball anymore“) and then fellow receiver Brandon Carswell went down with what’s believed to be a concussion. And that’s on top of the uber-talented Kyle Prater still recovering from foot surgery.
“You’ve got to deal with what we have,” Barkley said. “I can’t wait to have all those guys back.”
It wasn’t all bad news on the day for the Trojans, however. By all accounts, the defense showed well throughout the spring, even when the injuries on the other side of the ball are factored in. And sophomore running back Dillon Baxter, hobbled for most of the spring by an ankle issue, broke off two of his longest runs of the past month as well as running for a touchdown.
The roller coaster career of Dylan Sumner-Gardner at Boise State is on a downward trajectory yet again.
Tuesday, Boise announced that Sumner-Gardner (pictured, No. 29) has been suspended for the first four games of the 2016 season. According to the school’s release, the suspension stems from the defensive back “failing to meet NCAA football academic eligibility requirements.”
Sumner-Gardner will kiss games against Louisiana-Lafayette, Washington State, Oregon State and Utah State. Provided the current timeline holds, Sumner-Gardner would be eligible to return for the New Mexico game Oct. 7.
After playing in 13 games as a true freshman, Sumner-Gardner started the first four games last year before going down with a season-ending ankle injury. In November he was arrested on a misdemeanor drug charge, then didn’t travel to BSU’s Poinsettia Bowl win over Northern Illinois in late December because of what was described as an unspecified violation of team rules. His status for the upcoming season has been a question mark throughout the offseason.
Sumner-Gardner, a four-star 2014 prospect who was the Broncos’ highest-rated recruit in that class, had been a projected starter at safety; with the junior sidelined, Cameron Hartsfield is listed as the starter instead.
Sadly, a non-football health issue will bring to an end Josh Mabin‘s football-playing career.
On his personal Twitter account, Mabin announced that he will be forced to retire from the sport due to a diagnosis of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The Mayo Clinic’s website describes the disease as one in which “the heart muscle (myocardium) becomes abnormally thick (hypertrophied),” with the thickened heart muscle making it harder for the heart to pump blood. The condition could cause “problems in the heart’s electrical system, resulting in life-threatening abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias).”
Oklahoma State has yet to publicly address the linebacker’s status with the program moving forward.
It’s likely Mabin will remain on scholarship at OSU, but won’t count against the Cowboys’ 85-man limit.
A four-star 2014 recruit, Mabin was rated as the No. 18 inside linebacker in the country and the No. 54 player at any position in the state of Texas. After redshirting as a true freshman, Mabin played in five games last season. He was credited with four tackles in that limited action.
Mabin was listed as the backup middle linebacker to starter Chad Whitener on the depth chart OSU released last week.
Facing the best quarterback in the country, Auburn will need all hands on deck in the secondary for the opener. Unfortunately for the SEC Tigers, that won’t be the case.
Late last week, Stephen Roberts was arrested following a traffic stop and charged with attempting to elude a police officer and possession of a firearm without a permit. Tuesday, head coach Gus Malzahn confirmed that the defensive back will be suspended for Saturday’s season opener against No. 2 Clemson.
It’s uncertain if Roberts will return for the following Saturday’s game against Arkansas State as Malzahn labeled the suspension “week-to-week.”
Roberts played in 13 games last season, starting the final four games of the year. He was expected to start at one of the safety positions for the Tigers this season.
Both of the charges Roberts is facing are misdemeanors. His first court appearance is currently scheduled for Nov. 17.
It appears the door is wide open for Alphonse Taylor‘s unfettered return to the playing field when Alabama kicks off the new season this weekend. Maybe
Stephanie Taylor of the Tuscaloosa News was the first to report that Taylor had been not guilty of driving under the influence. Al.com subsequently confirmed the news.
The offensive lineman was arrested and charged with driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident last month. It was subsequently reported that Taylor, who called police himself to notify them that he had hit another vehicle, took two breathalyzer tests and both came back at 0.0.
“Of course I am pleased with this verdict,” Taylor’s attorney, Jason Neff, told the News. “I hope Mr. Taylor will have an opportunity to move forward with his football career.”
Neff added that “[t]he judge is expected to issue a ruling on the leaving the scene of an accident charge after the vehicle that was struck has been repaired,” the News wrote.
It was announced the day after his arrest that Taylor had been indefinitely suspended, although he has since been permitted to practice with the team. His status for Saturday’s opener against USC is unclear at the moment.
A redshirt senior, Taylor has played in 35 games during his time in Tuscaloosa, starting 17 of those contests. 15 of his starts came at right guard during the Tide’s run to the title in 2015.
Last month, the media tabbed the redshirt senior as second-team preseason All-SEC.