Delonte Hollowell, Josh Furman, Thomas Gordon

Michigan safety suspended following arrest


Hinted at by defensive coordinator Greg Mattison last week, a member of the coach’s unit has officially albeit temporarily taken a forced sabbatical from the football program.

A UM spokesperson confirmed to the Detroit News Monday that safety Josh Furman (pictured, background) has been indefinitely suspended by the Wolverines.  Head coach Brady Hoke subsequently acknowledged in a statement that an off-field incident was behind the punitive measure.

“Josh was suspended indefinitely from team activities as soon as we became aware of the report,” Hoke said in a statement. “These are serious allegations. We will allow the judicial process to run its course before making a final determination on his status with the program.”

The serious allegations to which Hoke referred involve an arrest on Feb. 11 and resulted in charges of domestic violence, assault and breaking and entering, reported.  The lawyer retained by Furman told the website that his client “didn’t do anything” and that this whole situation is “much ado about nothing.”  According to the attorney, this is what led to the player’s arrest and charges:

Attorney Gerry Mason said the incident occurred when Furman, who was with two female cheerleaders at a campus apartment, started receiving “nasty” text messages from a man.

When Furman got up, “one [cheerleader] pulled a dreadlock right out of his head, because they thought he was going to somehow go looking for the third-party male, and pick a fight with him,” Mason said.

Furman then went back to his apartment voluntarily, but the police had already been called. He was arrested that night.

Mason said the case is a “misunderstanding,” and that the two women have asked for the charges against Furman to be dismissed. They prepared a statement to that effect and took it to the police, but were referred to the prosecutor’s office, then victim’s rights, which never got back to them.

Michigan will hold its annual spring game April 28.  It’s unclear if Furman will participate.

As a redshirt freshman in 2011, Furman played in 12 games, mainly on special teams.

Was Washington loss the beginning of the end of the Steve Sarkisian era at USC?

Steve Sarkisian
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Steve Sarkisian’s win totals in his six previous seasons are both a positive and a negative.

On one hand, he resurrected a moribund Washington program that went 0-12 under Ty Willingham in 2008 and took them to four consecutive bowl games from 2010-2013. He won nine games his last year in Seattle, then led a talented-yet-thin USC team to a nine-win season and AP No. 20 finish in 2014.

Those are good accomplishments. But the flip side of the argument is Sarkisian has never won double-digit games in a season, something that’s a necessity to keep one’s job at USC. The Trojans’ 17-12 loss to Washington last night — at home, no less — means the road to 10 wins and a Pac-12 title will be awfully difficult.

And worse yet, there are plenty of arguments to be made Sarkisian doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt and a little more time in Los Angeles to turn things around (#SarkAfterDark, his drunken rant at a booster event, certainly doesn’t help). The reaction from national media to last night’s loss looked like this:

Mandel, in his column, argued USC is right where it was two years ago with Lane Kiffin as its coach. And there’s this embarrassing thought, that looks more and more like a truth, for Pat Haden:

This one, however, was the most damning by far for many reasons, most notably that it came at the hands of Sarkisian’s old team. The sense among many Washington fans nearly two years ago was that the Huskies managed to upgrade coaches when the school lured Chris Petersen from Boise State upon Sarkisian’s departure to USC.

They were right.

USA Today’s Dan Wolken similarly wrote that USC needs to drop Sarkisian and bring in Chip Kelly from the Philadelphia Eagles.

This is the state of USC, and it may not get better. The Trojans start a brutal three-game stretch next Saturday at Notre Dame in primetime, then welcome Utah to Los Angeles the next week. A Halloween trip to Berkeley to face Jared Goff and Cal finishes it up. There’s a very real chance USC, for all its talent and all its hype, limps into November with a 4-4 or 3-5 record.

Sarkisian will have to engineer and sustain a major turnaround in these coming weeks, otherwise he’ll give Haden all the ammo he needs to unceremoniously jettison him after two years.

Starting Navy S Kwazel Bertrand undergoes surgery, likely out for season

Kwazel Bertrand, Jacobi Owens
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Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.

Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.

And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.

“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”

Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.