Nick Saban

2012 spring practice dates

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The 2011 season is still somewhat visible in the rear-view mirror, and already preparations for the 2012 season are set to commence in earnest.

All 124 Div. 1-A (FBS) programs — UMass (MAC), South Alabama (Sun Belt), Texas State (WAC) and UT-San Antonio (WAC) will make the jump to big-boy football this season — will begin spring practice at some point this month and next — some West Coast schools such as Oregon State won’t start until April — culminating in the respective program’s spring game.

Army has already begun using their allotted 15 spring sessions, while Texas, TCU, Texas Tech and Duke are among the handful of schools that start in February as well.  The vast majority, however, will begin spring practice next month.

Below the jump is a list of the start dates for each individual school plus the date of its spring game, separated by conferences.  Some programs have yet to announce their spring dates, so we will add them to this list as they become available:

ACC

Boston College: first practice — Feb. 18; spring game March 31
Clemson: first practice — March 7; spring game — April 14
Duke: first practice — Feb. 21; spring game — March 31
Florida State: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 14
Georgia Tech: first practice — March 26; spring game — April 20
Maryland: first practice — March 10; spring game — April 21
Miami: first practice — March 3; spring game — April 14
North Carolina: first practice — March 14; spring game — April 14
North Carolina State: first practice — March 23; spring game — April 21
Virginia: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 14
Virginia Tech: first practice — March 28; spring game — April 21
Wake Forest: first practice — March 1; spring game — April 14

BIG EAST

Cincinnati: first practice — March 1; spring game — April 14
Louisville: first practice — March 21; spring game — April 14
Pittsburgh: first practice — March 15; spring game — April 14
Rutgers: first practice — March 20; spring game — April 28
Syracuse: first practice — March 20; spring game — April 21
Temple: first practice — March 12; spring game — April 14
UConn: first practice — March 20; spring game — April 21
USF: first practice — March 21; spring game — April 21

BIG TEN

Illinois: first practice — March 7; spring game — April 14
Indiana: first practice — March 3; spring game — April 14
Iowa: first practice — March 24; spring game — April 14
Michigan: first practice — March 17; spring game — April 14
Michigan State: first practice — March 27; spring game — April 28
Minnesota: first practice — March 21; spring practice — April 21
Nebraska: first practice — March 10; spring game — April 14
Northwestern: first practice — March 3; spring game — April 14
Ohio State: first practice — March 28; spring game — April 21
Penn State: first practice — March 26; spring game — April 21
Purdue: first practice — March 6; spring game April 14
Wisconsin: first practice — March 22; spring game — April 28

BIG 12

Baylor: first practice — March 6; spring game — April 14
Iowa State: first practice — March 20; spring game — April 14
Kansas: first practice — March 27; spring game — April 28
Kansas State: first practice — April 4; spring game — April 28
Oklahoma: first practice — March 8; spring game — April 14
Oklahoma State: first practice — March 12; spring game — April 21
TCU: first practice — Feb. 24; no spring game
Texas: first practice — Feb. 23; spring game — April 1
Texas Tech: first practice –Feb. 17; spring game — March 24
West Virginia: first practice — March 11; spring game — April 21

CONFERENCE USA

East Carolina: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 14
Houston: first practice — March 21; spring game — April 13
Marshall: first practice — March 27; spring game — April 28
Memphis: first practice — Feb. 22; spring game — March 31
Rice: first practice — March 6; spring game — March 30
SMU: first practice — April 2; no spring game
Southern Miss: first practice — March 5; spring game — April 14
Tulane: first practice — Feb. 22; spring game — March 24
Tulsa: first practice — March 6; spring game — April 7
UAB: first practice — March 28; spring game — April 21
UCF: first practice — March 13; spring game — April 14
UTEP: first practice — Feb. 28; spring game — April 6

INDEPENDENTS

Army: first practice — Feb. 13; spring game — March 9
BYU: first practice — March 5; spring game — March 30
Navy: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 14
Notre Dame: first practice — March 21; spring game — April 21

MAC

Akron: first practice — March 20; spring game — April 21
Ball State: first practice — March 27; spring game — April 21
Bowling Green: first practice — March 16; spring game — April 13
Buffalo: first practice — March 20; spring game — April 14
Central Michigan: first practice — March 13; spring game — April 14
Eastern Michigan: first practice — March 13; spring game — April 15
Kent State: first practice — March 27; spring game — April 21
Miami: first practice — March 28; spring game — April 28
Northern Illinois: spring practice — March 28; spring game — April 21
Ohio: first practice — March 27; spring game — April 21
Toledo: first practice — March 14; spring game — April 13
UMass: first practice — March 27; spring game — April 28
Western Michigan: first practice — March 16; spring game — April 14

MOUNTAIN WEST

Air Force: first practice — Feb. 24; no spring game
Boise State: first practice — March 12; spring game — April 14
Colorado State: first practice — March 21; spring game — April 21
Fresno State: first practice — Feb. 27; spring game — March 25
Hawaii: first practice — March 20; spring game — April 28
Nevada: first practice — March 30; spring game — April 21
New Mexico: first practice — March 24; no spring game (subject to change)
San Diego State: first practice — Feb. 21; spring game — March 18
UNLV: first practice — March 12; spring game — April 20
Wyoming: first practice — March 21; spring game — April 21

PAC-12

Arizona: first practice — March 5; spring game — April 14
Arizona State: first practice — March 13; spring game — April 21
Cal: first practice March 13; no spring game
Colorado: first practice — March 10; spring game — April 14
Oregon: first practice — April 3; spring game — April 28
Oregon State: first practice — April 3; spring game — April 28
Stanford: first practice — Feb, 27; spring game — April 14
UCLA: first practice — April 3; spring game — May 5
USC: first practice — March 6; spring game — April 14
Utah: first practice — March 20; spring game — April 21
Washington: first practice — April 2; spring game — April 28
Washington State: first practice — March 22; spring game — April 21

SEC

Alabama: first practice — March 9; spring game — April 14
Arkansas: first practice — March 14; spring game — spring game — April 21
Auburn: first practice — March 21; spring game — April 14
Florida: first practice — March 14; spring game — April 7
Georgia: first practice — March 20; spring game — April 14
Kentucky: first practice — March 21; spring game — April 21
LSU: first practice — March 2; spring game — March 31
Mississippi State: first practice — March 21; spring game — April 20
Missouri: first practice — March 6; spring game — April 14
Ole Miss: first practice — March 23; spring game — April 21
South Carolina: first practice — March 13; spring game — April 14
Tennessee: first practice — March 26; spring game — April 21
Texas A&M: first practice — March 31; spring game — April 28
Vanderbilt: first practice — March 16; spring game — April 14

SUN BELT

Arkansas State: first practice — March 14; spring game — April 14
FAU: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 14
FIU: first practice — March 2; spring game — March 30
Louisiana-Lafayette: first practice — Feb. 28; spring game — March 30 or 31
Louisiana-Monroe: first practice — March 5; spring game — March 24
Middle Tennessee State: first practice — March 17; spring practice — April 14
North Texas: first practice — March 26; spring game –April 21
South Alabama: first practice — Feb. 15; spring game — March 24
Troy: first practice — March 18; spring game — March 31
Western Kentucky: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 14

WAC

Idaho: first practice — March 22; spring game — April 20
Louisiana Tech: first practice — March 16; spring game — April 14
New Mexico State: first practice: March 29; spring game — April 28
San Jose State: first practice — March 6; spring game — April 13
Texas State: first practice — Feb. 25; spring game — March 31
UT-San Antonio: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 15
Utah State: first practice — March 27; spring game — April 28

Iowa DE says he was held at gunpoint while playing Pokemon Go

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01:  Christian McCaffrey #5 of the Stanford Cardinal runs past Faith Ekakitie #56 and Cole Fisher #36 of the Iowa Hawkeyes in the 102nd Rose Bowl Game on January 1, 2016 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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Iowa defensive lineman Faith Ekakitie (No. 56, above) nearly became a tragic combination of two of this nation’s hot button topics, according to a post on his Facebook page.

Ekakitie says he was in an Iowa City park playing Pokemon Go when officers approached him with guns drawn, suspecting him of being involved in a nearby bank robbery. Ekakitie wrote his profile — a large black man dressed in black clothes — led five Iowa City officers to approach him, but the Hawkeye defender did not hear their approach due to having headphones in his ears — which led the officers to draw their guns. Ekakitie wrote police searched him before letting him go.

“My pockets were checked, my backpack was opened up and searched carefully, and I was asked to lift up my shirt while they searched my waistband,” Ekakitie wrote. “Not once did they identify themselves to me as Iowa City Police officers, but with four gun barrels staring me in the face, I wouldn’t dare question the authority of the men and woman in front of me. This is what happened from my point of view.”

Sgt. Jorey Bailey confirmed Iowa City offers stopped Ekakitie, and an Iowa spokesman confirmed Ekakitie’s version of events.

“In this situation, what the media would fail to let people know is that the suspect had his headphones in the entire time the Police Officers approached him initially,” Ekakitie wrote. “The suspect had actually just pulled up to the park because he was playing a newly popular Game called Pokémon Go. The suspect didn’t realize that there were four cops behind him because his music was blaring in his ears. The suspect had reached into his pockets, for something which was his phone, but for all the cops could have known, he was reaching for a gun. The suspect could very well become another statistic on this day.

“I am not one to usually rant on Facebook or anywhere else, but with all of the crazy things that have been happening in our world these past couple of weeks it is hard to stay silent. I am thankful to be alive.”

A senior from Brampton, Ontario, Canada, Ekakitie recorded 13 tackles in 12 appearances last season.

Georgia Southern vacates three wins from 2013-14 seasons

STATESBORO, GA - SEPTEMBER 12:  Players of the Georgia Southern Eagles sing the school's alma mater after defeating the Western Michigan Broncos 43-17 on September 12, 2015 at Paulson Stadium in Statesboro, Georgia.  (Photo by Todd Bennett/GettyImages)
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Georgia Southern has vacated three wins from the 2013-14 seasons stemming from a two-year investigation into its football program, the school has announced.

The violations occurred when the Eagles played an ineligible athlete in three games over those seasons. The wins came against Savannah State and St. Francis in 2013 and Louisiana-Monroe in 2014. Georgia Southern’s 2014 Sun Belt championship will not be impacted by the ruling.

“While it is disappointing to vacate these three victories, we get to put this chapter behind us,” Georgia Southern AD Tom Kleinlein said in a statement. “The student-athletes on this year’s football team, and teams moving forward, are not affected by the NCAA’s ruling and our goals are still in front of us. In addition to graduating student-athletes and developing leaders, we look forward to competing for conference championships and bowl berths this season and in the future.

“Compliance and academic integrity are of the utmost importance here at Georgia Southern; we will continue to reinforce these values and ensure that our department is operating in a manner that consistently upholds the proud tradition of this University.”

The player — who was unnamed — will also have his statistics removed from the record books, while Jeff Monken will have his Georgia Southern win total reduced by two and Willie Fritz by one. Each coach has since moved on to a new school; Monken is at Army and Fritz at Tulane.

 

BYU says it would be open to football-only Big 12 membership

PROVO, UT - SEPTEMBER 1:  BYU  Athletic Director Tom Holmoe announces that BYU football will become independent in football in 2011 separating from the Mountain West Conference, September 1, 2010 in Provo, Utah. The remaining BYU sports will become affiliated with the West Coast Conference in 2011. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
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While not preferred, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby has said his conference would be open to football-only membership as it pursues expansion.

That would work for BYU, too.

“We’re obviously open to listening to what they want to do. We’re going to go through this process with an open mind to listen to what they have to say,” BYU AD Tom Holmoe told ESPN.

A football-only addition of the Cougars would solve a number of problems for the Big 12:

1) The conference is starting a championship game in 2017 and, as an independent, BYU would be available immediately. Holding a title game with 10 teams is a clunky option the conference would prefer to avoid if possible, so the Cougars’ immediate availability helps both sides.

2) Adding only BYU’s football program eliminates the question of what to do with the Cougars’ no-Sundays policy.

3) Stretching a conference from Morgantown to Provo is, obviously, geographically challenging. Sending your football team across two time zones is one thing, asking your women’s basketball team to do the same on a Wednesday and turn around and play again on Saturday is something else entirely. It may serve both parties well to keep the Cougars’ Olympic sports in the West Coast Conference.

However, if the Big 12 is interested in bringing BYU aboard as an all-sports member, Holmoe is confident the two sides can make it work. After all, they’ve done it in the WAC, the Mountain West and now the WCC.

“I believe that’s something that can be worked out,” he said. “We’ve been in a lot of leagues through the years, and we’ve been able to work it out.

“There would be a difference in the Big 12 because that would be a Power 5 conference. They’re going to ask questions. We’ll have our solutions, creative ideas of what we can do. We’re going to do everything we can.”

Florida LB Cristian Garcia stops sexual assault behind Gainesville bar

GAINESVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 13: The Florida Gators take the field before the game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 13, 2014 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
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Florida linebacker Cristian Garcia stopped a sexual assault behind a popular Gainesville bar, according to a police report.

Garcia told police he was taking out the trash early Thursday morning at 101 Cantina, where he works security, and witnessed a couple having sex by the dumpsters. Upon closer inspection, he says, Garcia noticed the woman was unconscious. He and a coworker approached the man, a 34-year old named Christian Shaw, who managed to escape but has since been arrested on sexual battery charges.

“I was taking out the garbage, and I saw the man pressing the woman up against the Dumpster. At first the guy said she was his girlfriend, but about five seconds later I realized the girl was unconscious,” Garcia told the Gainesville Sun. “I turned around and pulled the guy by the shoulder and said ‘get off.’ That pretty much ended the situation then. He was intoxicated and attempted to throw some punches, but he slipped and busted his face on the wall.”

The Sun notes that police video shows “the victim was mentally and physically unable to give consent due to her level of intoxication.”

Garcia is a walk-on from Miami who appeared in one game in 2015.