The more things change, right?
Former USC running back Dillon Baxter was hoping for a fresh start when he enrolled at San Diego State just months after being deemed “no longer part of the team” with the Trojans last October.
Instead, it looks like Baxter’s transition to a new school hasn’t resulted in new habits. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that Baxter will miss spring practice with the Aztecs because of a “variety of things” that haven’t met the expectations of coach Rocky Long.
“He’s working on personal issues and academics, and if all that turns out all right at the end of the semester, he’ll back with us at training camp (in August),” Long said.
Not that Baxter was going to have a huge, or even moderate, role in spring practices anyway. NCAA transfer rules are forcing Baxter to sit out the 2012 season and Long added that the running back’s main focus this spring was to be on watching others, not taking reps.
“The plan was for him to be out here in the spring, yes,” Long said. “He wasn’t going to get any reps, though. He would have been standing watching everybody else play. He wasn’t going to get handed the ball one time in spring practice. That was our agreement with him from the very start. So this extra time he’s spending on academics is very good for him.”
Indeed. We scoff a lot at the term “student-athlete” nowadays, and that’s fine, but there comes a point where you hope, for Baxter’s sake, he can get it together off the field as it’s becoming more and more apparent whatever talent he has isn’t carrying him.
You don’t have to be a rocket surgeon to go to college — trust me on that one — but it does take a certain level of maturity and readiness. By the sound of it, Baxter is still having a hard time with that.
With a loud protest taking place just outside, Temple’s board of trustees voted unanimously in favor of pursuing a new football stadium for the Owls program. A study to review potential stadium options could cost the school up to, but not exceeding, $1 million.
The latest plans for a new football stadium would have a proposed 35,000-seat stadium costing up to $126 million placed on Temple’s campus, thus eliminating the need to rent out space in Lincoln Financial Field. Temple’s football program has called The Linc home since the doors opened in 2003. Temple has not played its home games on its campus since leaving Temple Stadium in 1977, at which point it moved its home games to Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia’s sports complex. The vote to pursue a new stadium today is a giant step forward for Temple and the football program and perhaps a long time coming, but it is not one without its share of controversy.
The talks of a new football stadium at Temple have gone on for years, but are now finally seeming to take some steps forward despite a vocal objection from many around Temple’s campus and the Philadelphia community. Protests and demonstrations were planned as the board reviewed the next steps in a new stadium, which is still not a certainty for the university at this point. Among those voicing their opinions on Monday afternoon were students, Philadelphia citizens and more concerned about what a stadium dropped in the middle of North Philadelphia might mean for the community. Given the lackluster impact and results seen at similar campuses, there is legitimate reason for some concern at Temple, which is just now experiencing a new high in football success.
This is just one step out of many that needs to happen in order for Temple to construct a new football stadium. Approval from the city to build such a facility would have to be given, and that is no guarantee.
Former Oregon quarterback Morgan Mahalak is heading to the FCS for a chance to compete for a starting job. Mahalak will join the Towson Tigers of the Colonial Athletic Association, where he will be eligible to play immediately starting this fall.
“We are happy that we have secured a commitment from such a talented young quarterback,” said Towson head coach Rob Ambrose in a released statement. “Morgan brings a tremendous amount of potential and secures great competition at the quarterback position.”
Mahalak was released from his scholarship at Oregon in January, at his request. The former four-star recruit should be a nice addition for the Towson program. Mahalak had a tough time finding playing time in Eugene during his two seasons with the Ducks while Marcus Mariota was winning a Heisman Trophy and Vernon Adams was transferring to take the starting job for Oregon. Mahalak served on Orgeon’s scout team last season. With Oregon once again going the FCS transfer QB route this season with Dakota Prukop, it appeared unlikely Mahalak was going to get a chance once again.
For those planning ahead, Illinois has added a future game against Central Michigan to the 2022 football schedule. The Illini will reportedly host the Chippewas on September 24, 2022 in a one-game scheduling agreement. Illinois will pay Central Michigan $1.5 million for the game. The two schools have never faced each other on the football field, so this could very well end up being the first meeting barring any potential postseason matchups.
Big Ten teams are required to schedule at least one power conference opponent each year as part of its non-conference scheduling commitment. Central Michigan does not satisfy that commitment, but the Illini are already covered that season with a home game against Virginia. Illinois is scheduled to host Virginia from the ACC on September 10, 2022 in the second of a two-year home-and-home series. Virginia will host Illinois on September 11, 2021. Illinois has its power conference non-scheduling commitment fulfilled from 2021 through 2026, but will have to do some schedule tweaking if it is to satisfy the commitment before 2021. The Big Ten also already granted exemption status for some games due to schedules being booked years in advance. Illinois has their non-conference slate booked for 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2020 and has just one vacancy to fill in 2019.
Central Michigan has also added a future series against FAU. FAU will host Central Michigan on September 21, 2019 and Central Michigan will serve as host to the Owls on September 18, 2021.
Helmet sticker to the always schedule-aware FBSchedules.com.
The rebuilding of SMU is a project that is no easy task. As Chad Morris gets ready for his second season on the job, he continues to do what he can to build a foundation based on Texas recruits. For the second straight season, SMU assembled a recruiting class consisting of only Texas recruits.
“I’m extremely proud of that,” Morris said last week, per The Dallas Morning News. “You’ll hear a lot of talk about us being Texas tough.
“The toughest thing was trying to create the momentum that we had a year ago, especially coming off a season that wasn’t up to our standards. The majority of our kids were committed to us before the season ever started.
SMU is the only FBS program to land a recruiting class consisting of just players from the state of Texas over the past two recruiting classes. The state of Texas has always been a large and competitive recruiting state, and SMU is certainly facing some stiff competition left and right between traditional heavyweights like Texas and Texas A&M, emerging powers in Baylor and TCU and rising conference rival Houston in addition to other programs from the Big 12 and SEC and beyond making visits into the Lone Star state.
If restoring pride in the SMU program is going to succeed, installing a strong Texas connection is a smart way to go for Morris and the Mustangs.
“It was important for us to do that, to build that continuity, build that relationship with these guys,” Morris said. “The majority of them had big-time offers, so we were battling all the way up to the final hour.”