Budmayr setback puts O’Brien squarely on Badgers’ radar


As if he wasn’t already.

Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema confirmed Wednesday that quarterback Jon Budmayr suffered a setback in his recovery from an issue with his right (throwing) elbow that’s plagued him since last summer camp, casting further doubt on his short- and long-term future with the Badgers.  And making it more likely that, once again, UW will look outside the current roster for experienced help at the position.

The Wisconsin State Journal, not surprisingly, writes that “[t]he situation is desperate enough that the Badgers are expected to make a strong push to land” Danny O’Brien, the former freshman All-American who announced last month that he’s transferring from Maryland.  O’Brien has privately expressed interest in the Badgers, but UW will not be the only program vying for the QB’s services.

Todd Willert, O’Brien’s high school coach who maintains contact with the family on an almost daily basis, told CFT during a phone conversation Wednesday that at least 15 schools have expressed an interest in his former player.  O’Brien, Willert said, will “take three or four official visits” beginning in the next week or so, and hopes to have a decision on where he will play in 2012 made no later than late April.

The East Forsyth (NC) High School head coach would not divulge the names of any of the schools O’Brien is considering “out of respect to Danny and the family.”  The rumor mill, however, operates under no such restrictions.

While numerous schools have been mentioned as potential landing spots, the current scuttlebutt is that there are three quasi frontrunners: Wisconsin, Penn State and Vanderbilt, with the latter widely viewed as O’Brien’s likely destination due in large part to his close relationship with Commodores head coach James Franklin.

The only certainty in where O’Brien will land, Willert said, is that they must run some type of pro-style offense.  The fact that Bill O’Brien will be installing such an offense is a significant reason why the Nittany Lions are on the QB’s radar and its chances should not be underestimated.

Regardless of where O’Brien ultimately lands, his team will be getting more than the on-year rental the Badgers got out of Russell Wilson in 2011.  O’Brien will graduate from Maryland in May and will have two years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2012.

NCAA grants South Alabama TE Andrew Reinkemeyer a sixth season

Getty Images
Leave a comment

South Alabama recently received some positive news on the personnel front.

A USA spokesperson (for the university, not the country) confirmed to al.com that Andrew Reinkemeyer has been granted a sixth season of eligibility by the NCAA. The tight end will use that additional season of eligibility, his last, to play for the Jaguars in 2018.

The decision to grant Reinkemeyer an extra season of eligibility was seemingly a no-brainer.

As a true sophomore at a Kansas junior college, Reinkemeyer suffered an injury in the 2015 season opener and didn’t play again that year. After transferring to USA, Reinkemeyer missed the entire 2016 season because of the torn Achilles tendon that cost him most of the previous season at the JUCO.

Finally healthy last season, Reinkemeyer caught 10 passes for 75 yards for the Sun Belt Conference program. He was the leading receiver amongst Jaguars tight ends in 2017.

North Carolina formally announces hiring of ex-Tennessee RBs coach Robert Gillespie

Getty Images
1 Comment

The latest addition to Larry Fedora‘s North Carolina coaching staff has been confirmed.

Following up on reports that surfaced earlier this month. UNC announced Wednesday that Fedora has hired Robert Gillespie. While not confirmed by the football program in the release, it’s expected Gillespie will serve as the Tar Heels running backs coach, a position he’s held for most of his coaching career.

“We are excited to welcome Robert and his family to Chapel Hill,” Fedora said in a statement. “He has a well-earned reputation as a great offensive coach and recruiter, and he has a wealth of experience working with running backs at a very high level. We are happy to have him join our staff as we get into the bulk of spring practice.”

Gillespie fills the hole created by the departure of Gunter Brewer, who left as the Tar Heels’ wide receivers coach for a job with the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this month. It’s expected that Luke Paschall, currently the running backs coach, will assume Brewer’s role with receivers.

Gillespie, a former Florida running back, spent the past five seasons as the running backs coach at Tennessee. He was originally retained by new UT head coach Jeremy Pruitt before parting ways with the football program shortly after National Signing Day.

In addition to UT, Gillespie has spent time on coaching staffs at South Carolina (2006-08), Oklahoma State (2009-10) and West Virginia (2011-12). He was the running backs coach at each of those stops.

Report: Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa’s thumb injury ‘just a sprain’

Getty Images
Leave a comment

It appears Alabama can breathe a sigh of relief on the injury front.

Tuesday, after the reigning national champions had put the finishing touches on its first practice of the spring, Nick Saban confirmed that quarterback Tua Tagovailoa had suffered an unspecified injury to the thumb on his LEFT (throwing) hand.  It was expected that the quarterback would travel to Birmingham for further evaluation of the injury.

While there’s been nothing official yet from the football program or head coach, al.com, citing unnamed sources, writes that the injury “is believed to just be a sprain and he should be able to return to practice in at least a limited capacity at some point soon.”

Until then, Jalen Hurts will take the majority of the reps as the Crimson Tide continues its march through their 15 spring practice sessions.

The rising true junior Hurts, who has started every game but one the past two seasons, and the rising true sophomore Tagovailoa, the national championship game hero who replaced Hurts at halftime of the overtime win, are engaged in a competition for the starting job that, barring a post-spring transfer, is expected to extend into summer camp.  That said, most observers outside of the UA football program fully expect Tagovailoa, because of his proficiency in the passing game relative to Hurts, to earn the job at some point before the Tide opens the defense of their title against Louisville in Orlando Sept. 1.

John Calipari takes page out of Nick Saban’s playbook by warning of (rat) poison

Getty Images
Leave a comment

One’s a dot, two’s a line and three’s a trend as the old adage go and it appears rat poison for college players is now a burgeoning trend.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday ahead of Kentucky’s NCAA tournament game against Kansas State, Wildcats coach John Calipari took a page straight out of Nick Saban and Lane Kiffin’s playbook by warning his team of drinking the media “poison” the past few days.

“My challenge is making sure these kids don’t drink that poison. That poison being we have an easy road. There are no easy roads in this tournament,” said Calipari. “If they drink that poison, we’ll be done Thursday. If they don’t drink the poison, it’ll be a dog fight Thursday — let’s see what happens. Sometimes you wonder why they’re (the media) trying to paint that picture with my team — probably because they’re young and they know they don’t know better.”

Ok then.

At least the term Calipari is using isn’t out of thin air given that Saban infamously ranted on his team buying into the media’s discussion of being a good team as “rat poison” last season. For the record though, the rant by the basketball coach was prompted by a question that didn’t at all involve Kentucky having an easy path to the Final Four but was rather about team and individual goals.

It’s not often you think of Saban as a trendsetter but it seems he was certainly ahead of the curve when it came to labeling media talk as poison.