There’s only one surefire way a coaching staff can guarantee that one of its star players won’t be injured in an essentially meaningless spring game — don’t put him on the field.
And, as it turns out, that’s exactly the tack Bret Bielema has decided to take.
The Wisconsin head coach announced Monday evening that star running back Montee Ball will not participate in UW’s spring finale this Saturday. While not specifically mentioning the risk of injury, Bielema intimated that said risk simply wasn’t worth it for a player of Ball’s caliber.
“When you see him run in practice, you’ll know why he didn’t need the practice of getting hit,” Bielema said in quotes released by the team. “We will in the fall. He’ll take some shots in the fall.
“But in my six years as head coach, I think there are certain guys that you just realize they’re… Montee Ball’s the hardest worker, the hardest repper in practice. At this point we don’t feel it’s necessary to take him to the ground. He’s been in there, mixing it up, full go, pass protection, all that stuff. Yeah, just don’t need to.”
Coming off a season in which he was a Heisman finalist after leading led the country in rushing yards (1.923) and rushing touchdowns (33), Ball’s name will litter preseason stiff-arm trophy watch lists. The last thing Bielema needs, especially with the departure of Russell Wilson and utter uncertainty at the quarterback position, is for Ball to sustain any type of injury in an irrelevant exhibition game that would negatively impact what will be the back’s final season with the Badgers.
This might surprise you, but Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson looked up to Mike Vick when he was growing up, and his playing style has been modeled after The Mike Vick Experience. Now, Jackson even has Vick himself singing his praises. But Jackson knew from an early age he was capable of doing Vick things, and he left his youth football opponents in the dust as a result.
“I don’t feel sorry about it at all,” Jackson joked in a radio interview with Dan Patrick, referring to using his skill to his advantage so often.
Jackson was a guest on The Dan Patrick Show on Monday. During his interview segment, Patrick asked Jackson about his favorite moments from the 2015 season so far and whether he’s ever been to New York. Jackson said his trip to Syracuse was his first time in New York, to which Patrick joked he was no longer welcome back to Syracuse after what he did to them this season.
Jackson, the Heisman Trophy favorite, will be making another trip to New York in December.
Tennessee will be witout running back Alvin Kamara this weekend when they take on South Carolina in SEC East play. The details of the injury have not been disclosed by Vols head coach Butch Jones or the program.
“As of right now, he does not need surgery and we’re anticipating him being back here in the next week or two,” Jones said on Monday. Given that, it sounds like this is not a major injury for Kamara, and if Jones thinks there is a chance Kamara will be back in the next couple of weeks that should be encouraging.
The schedule also allows Tennessee to move on without Kamara without fearing too much about the result of the game. The Vols do have to go on the road to play the Gamecocks, so you never know exactly what will happen. But next week, Tennessee plays host to Tennessee Tech and the week after that they play the Kentucky Wildcats (in what is suddenly, potentially an important game in the SEC East race).
Kamara is Tennessee’s second-leading rusher this season behind Jalen Hurd with 313 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
After having a bit of a cloud of uncertainty floating above them the past few days, Georgia linebackers Natrez Patrick and Roquan Smith will not face any discipline from the university and football program. Georgia announced that decision on Monday, saying the legal manner has been resolved from an on-campus dorm search by campus police.
“After receiving an incident report last week, we determined that neither Roquan Smith nor Natrez Patrick had violated any Athletic Association rules that would require suspension,”Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity said in a released statement. “This included drug testing, which was negative for both student-athletes.”
Campus police were called to Patrick’s dorm room on October 15 to investigate a potential marijuana smell. No substances were discovered and no arrests were made.
Not losing Patrick and Smith is good news for the Bulldogs, as the two are the leading tacklers on Georgia’s defense, with 42 and 39 tackles, respectively. Each player released a brief statement in addition to McGarity’s statement.
“Since November 2015, I have dedicated myself to moving forward,” Patrick said in a released statement. “I’m blessed to have done that despite hurdles I’ve had to clear. This incident was simply another hurdle and I was confident I would successfully clear it. I’ll continue to move forward and I’m anxious to play on Saturday.”
“As a student at the University of Georgia and a member of the football team, I take this opportunity very seriously,” Smith said in his statement. “I have followed the rules of the Athletic Association and I am happy this situation has been rightfully resolved. I look forward to representing my school and my team on Saturday in Jacksonville.”
Northwestern cornerback Matt Harris is retiring from football after a series of concussions have put his health at risk.
“This is an incredibly difficult decision to reach, but it is the right one for me and for my future,” Harris said in a released statement. “There are few things I love more than playing the game of football and the game has provided me with so many opportunities, including the chance to attend this University. It has been a blessing to be a part of this community and learn so many lessons. Northwestern has given me so much, I look forward to taking full advantage of my chance to give back to the world around me in the future.”
Harris, a team captain in 2016, earned All-Big Ten honors in 2015 and has been named a two-time Academic All-Big Ten player during his time at Northwestern. Harris will retire having notched 161 tackles, six interceptions and three forced fumbles on the football field.
Harris is another name added to the growing list of football players making the decision to retire at such a young age. As time goes by, we learn more and more about the possible long-term effects of head injuries seen in sports, particularly in football. As a result, we are seeing players more frequently decide to step away from the sport in order to preserve their long-term health in the years to come. It is an unfortunate reality of the sport of football today, and one that continues to be addressed at all levels.