Appearing in his first press conference since the shooting that resulted in the death of two former players over the weekend, Auburn coach Gene Chizik had to address what he described as “an incredibly difficult 72 hours.”
“It’s a long road ahead of us,” Chizik said. “We’ve got a long road of grieving, and everybody has a different way of doing that….There were a lot of emotions spilled out. This is a grieving process. There’s no right and no wrong.”
The deaths of former players Ed Christian and Ladarious Phillips has cast a dark cloud over the Auburn community, which continues to hope for the capture of shooting suspect Desmonte Leonard following a fruitless “standoff” at a Montgomer, Ala., home that lasted well into the night. Two other arrests have been made in connection to the shooting, however.
Among those wounded in the incident is current offensive lineman Eric Mack, who sustained a wound in the buttocks near the hip. Chizik said he anticipates Mack will fully recover, but added that football is the last thing on his mind right now.
“I’m not worried about football season,” Chizik said. “I don’t care about football season. This is about young guys getting past a tragic event.”
When asked if he had any words for Leonard, who is facing three counts of capital murder, Chizik said “No… I don’t.”
Chizik added that any student-athletes who wanted to attend memorial services for the deceased would be provided transportation. Counseling services will also be available.
(Hat tip: al.com)
In the midst of reports that he had a physical altercation with one of his Tennessee players during summer camp this year, Butch Jones labeled the speculation “absolutely ridiculous.”
Apparently, his bosses agree with the head coach.
At a board meeting Thursday, UT-Knoxville chancellor Jimmy Cheek stated that he and athletic director Dave Hart had done their “due diligence” in investigating the accusations that Jones and senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder were involved in some type of physical skirmish during practice this past August. The end result of interviews with Jones, coaches and players was the conclusion that there was nothing to the reports and message-board rumors.
“There’s been a lot of rumor and misinformation on social media and message boards about an alleged incident during football practice,” Cheek said according to GoVols247.com‘s Wes Rucker. “It’s not our practice to respond to rumors, but I thought it was important to let you know that we’ve done our due diligence and Dave Hart and I are very confident there was no inappropriate conduct with any players or coaches.”
Shortly after Cheek spoke at the board meeting, Crowder took to Twitter with a series of missives that speaks around the issue.
Michigan played without its leading rusher in Week 5. The Wolverines are hoping there won’t be a repeat in Week 6.
De'Veon Smith sustained a lower-leg injury in the Week 4 win over BYU and didn’t travel with the team for last Saturday’s win over Maryland. Smith has been practicing with his teammates throughout the first few days of this week, and head coach Jim Harbaugh is guardedly optimistic that the running back will be available for what’s turned into a huge Big Ten matchup with Northwestern Saturday in the Big House.
“He’s practicing and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he’s going to stay good and be ready to play,” Harbaugh said during a radio appearance Thursday morning. “But we’ll (keep) looking at that every day.”
Despite essentially missing a game and a half, Smith currently leads the Wolverines with 331 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. He’s added four receptions for 35 yards and a touchdown coming out of the backfield the first four games.
Should Smith be unable to go again, the Wolverines have three other backs with at least 100 yards on the ground: Ty Isaac (187, 7.2 yards per carry), Drake Johnson (125, 4.2 ypc) and Derrick Green (100, 3.3 ypc).
In addition to Smith, Harbaugh is hopeful Channing Stribling will be available this weekend as well. The starting cornerback didn’t play against the Cougars because of injury