Devon Walker

Tulane AD: Devon Walker is ‘alert and responsive’


Tulane defensive back Devon Walker underwent spine stabilizing surgery Sunday evening to repair a fractured spine he sustained in Saturday’s game against Tulsa. Walker was involved in a collision near the end of the first half of the game and laid motionless on the field before eventually being taken by ambulance to a hospital.

Doctors still say it’s too early to tell what the long-term ramifications of Walker’s injury will be, but there is at least some good news today as Walker continues to stay in intensive care in St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa.

Tulane athletic director Rick Dickson said during a press conference that Walker is alert and verbally responsive. He is also apparently in good spirits. Tulane coach Curtis Johnson reportedly said earlier today that Walker was moving his shoulders, but Dickson could not confirm that development.

“Without question Devon Walker and his family have been treated as one of Tulsa’s own,” Dickson said. “We’ve seen absolutely the best of people and the best of human nature.”

Walker’s family, which is staying with him in Tulsa, released the following statement on Tulane’s website:

“We have been overwhelmed by the amount of concerned well wishes we have received from all over the world. Although we cannot respond individually to all, we thank everyone for the love and support shown to Devon and our family.  The medical care that our son has received so far has been outstanding. We are also very grateful for the care and concern shown to us by those here at Tulsa University, in the City of Tulsa,  at Tulane University and of course by everyone at home in New Orleans.

We appreciate you respecting our family’s request for privacy. We do ask that you continue to keep Devon in your prayers.”

We certainly will. It’s just good to hear that Walker got out of surgery alright and is recovering well.

(Information posted here is credited to Tammy Nunez of the New Orleans Times-Picayune.)

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

Steve Sarkisian

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
Associated Press
Leave a comment

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.