It was expected and known that LSU would have a new offensive coordinator heading into the 2011 season. What wasn’t expected was that the new coordinator wouldn’t be Steve Kragthorpe.
Such is the case, unfortunately, as LSU announced Thursday afternoon that Kragthorpe has decided to step down as the team’s offensive coordinator. Kragthorpe was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, which prompted the decision to step aside.
Greg Studrawa will take over as the Tigers’ coordinator, although Kragthorpe will remain on the staff as the quarterbacks coach. Studrawa received what head coach Les Miles referred to as a “battlefield promotion” roughly two weeks ago.
“I hope for the next 8 to 12 years I can still be here coaching the QBs. At this point, it is best for me to only coach the QBs,” a statement attributed to Kragthorpe on the school’s official football Twitter feed read.
Kragthorpe was hired by LSU in January of this year to replace Gary Crowton, who left to take the same position at Maryland following the 2010 season. In July of 2010, and five months after he was hired for the position, Kragthorpe resigned as Texas A&M’s wide receivers coach due to medical issues involving his wife.
Our best wishes and prayers go out to Kragthorpe as he fights his way through this battle with Parkinson’s.
In the midst of reports that he had a physical altercation with one of his Tennessee players during summer camp this year, Butch Jones labeled the speculation “absolutely ridiculous.”
Apparently, his bosses agree with the head coach.
At a board meeting Thursday, UT-Knoxville chancellor Jimmy Cheek stated that he and athletic director Dave Hart had done their “due diligence” in investigating the accusations that Jones and senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder were involved in some type of physical skirmish during practice this past August. The end result of interviews with Jones, coaches and players was the conclusion that there was nothing to the reports and message-board rumors.
“There’s been a lot of rumor and misinformation on social media and message boards about an alleged incident during football practice,” Cheek said according to GoVols247.com‘s Wes Rucker. “It’s not our practice to respond to rumors, but I thought it was important to let you know that we’ve done our due diligence and Dave Hart and I are very confident there was no inappropriate conduct with any players or coaches.”
Shortly after Cheek spoke at the board meeting, Crowder took to Twitter with a series of missives that speaks around the issue.
Michigan played without its leading rusher in Week 5. The Wolverines are hoping there won’t be a repeat in Week 6.
De'Veon Smith sustained a lower-leg injury in the Week 4 win over BYU and didn’t travel with the team for last Saturday’s win over Maryland. Smith has been practicing with his teammates throughout the first few days of this week, and head coach Jim Harbaugh is guardedly optimistic that the running back will be available for what’s turned into a huge Big Ten matchup with Northwestern Saturday in the Big House.
“He’s practicing and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he’s going to stay good and be ready to play,” Harbaugh said during a radio appearance Thursday morning. “But we’ll (keep) looking at that every day.”
Despite essentially missing a game and a half, Smith currently leads the Wolverines with 331 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. He’s added four receptions for 35 yards and a touchdown coming out of the backfield the first four games.
Should Smith be unable to go again, the Wolverines have three other backs with at least 100 yards on the ground: Ty Isaac (187, 7.2 yards per carry), Drake Johnson (125, 4.2 ypc) and Derrick Green (100, 3.3 ypc).
In addition to Smith, Harbaugh is hopeful Channing Stribling will be available this weekend as well. The starting cornerback didn’t play against the Cougars because of injury