Lane Kiffin

Updated: Kiffin now working with media on injury updates

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Updated 9/13 @ 1:52 p.m. ET: And this is exactly what happens when you limit/ban media members for doing what they feel is their job.

Not only has Los Angeles Daily reporter Scott Wolf been allowed back to practice following a brief ban for reporting an injury, Trojans coach Lane Kiffin is now working with reporters on how to best report injuries going forward.

“I know it is not exactly the best thing for you, but we are trying to protect our team too.”

He also apologized to Wolf.

“What Scott was trying to get done wasn’t against what we were trying to say. Scott’s back. I apologize if that was taken the wrong way. We viewed it differently. We are trying to get together to come up with the best situation for all of us.”

Again, it’s understandable that Kiffin doesn’t want to release injury news because he feels it would be a competitive disadvantage. He’s not the only coach to have done it, either. But when you ban someone for doing what they think is their job, there’s going to be a media backlash and it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks of that reporter on a personal basis. It’s like Nick Saban‘s rant last week. Throw a jab at the media and they’ll throw one back.

Self-righteous? Yeah, there’s a lot of that on both sides, but that’s the nature of the business. Now, Kiffin’s in a position where he has to play nice.

If coaches release mandated weekly injury reports, then there’s not an issue whatsoever.

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USC and coach Lane Kiffin made headlines (again) Wednesday for the wrong reasons (again).

According to the Los Angeles Times, USC imposed a two-week ban on Los Angeles Daily reporter Scott Wolf because Wolf published a report that Trojans kicker Andre Heidari underwent knee surgery last week and was expected to be sidelined for about three weeks. Additionally, according to the Times, the school decided it would not issue Wolf a credential for the Trojans’ Sept. 22 home game against Cal.

The problem, per a fairly new USC policy, is that reporters aren’t allowed to publish “strategy or injury-related news observed during in-season practices.” That led to another problem: Wolf apparently wasn’t reporting what he saw during practice.

“From our standpoint, Scott was doing his job,” Daily sports editor Gene Warnick told the Times. “This wasn’t something that was part of practice. We were just trying to report the news.”

It was bad press, but it was also short-lived. As of Wednesday night the ban was lifted after a discussion was had with USC athletic director Pat Haden. Policy or not, there is such a thing as bad publicity when it involves banning media interaction.

“I am happy to say my football practice ban was lifted after talks with Pat Haden and area sports editors. Practice policy talks continue,” Wolf tweeted Wednesday night

It’s understandable if coaches don’t want to share injury information for competitive disadvantage purposes. Two other Pac-12 coach, Utah’s Kyle Whittingham and Washington’s Steve Sarkisian, have taken similar approaches. But Wolf has a beat to cover and fans/readers want pertinent information. You know, like injuries and stuff.

But we’re not here to take sides on this issue. If every program was required to release weekly injury reports, this wouldn’t have been a topic of discussion.

New Mexico State’s leading receiver joins Maryland as grad transfer

Teldrick Morgan
New Mexico State athletics
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Teldrick Morgan had been a significant part of New Mexico State’s passing game the past two seasons.  In 2016, he’ll try to play the same role at a Big Ten school.

Maryland announced in a press release that Morgan, a native of Hanover, Maryland, has transferred to the university and will continue his collegiate playing career with the Terps.  As Morgan is coming to College Park as a graduate transfer, he will be eligible to play immediately in 2016.

The upcoming season will be the wide receiver’s final year of eligibility.

“Teldrick brings a great deal to our program and we’re excited that he’s a part of our family,” first-year Terps head coach DJ Durkin said in a statement. “It’s always great to bring a local kid back home, and on top of that he’s very skilled and brings a wealth of experience to our receivers unit.”

Each of the past two seasons, Morgan led the Aggies in receptions.  He caught 75 passes in 2014, although that production dipped to 45 in 2015.  A part of that drop was due to a groin injury that cost the 6-0, 195-pound receiver three games, as well as the continued emergence of Larry Rose III (1,651 yards rushing).

Morgan totaled 120 receptions for 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns

Two years after ‘parting ways’ with Baylor, WR Robbie Rhodes dismissed by Bowling Green

Robbie Rhoads
Associated Press
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Some kids/young adults will simply never learn, at least not the easy way.  Case in point: Robbie Rhodes.

In June of 2014, reports surfaced that Rhodes had, ahem, “parted ways” with Baylor “for undisclosed reasons.”  That move came a month after Rhodes was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and tampering with physical evidence, even as charges were never filed against him.  Two months after “parting ways” with BU, Bowling Green announced that the wide receiver had transferred into its football program.

Nearly two years later?  He gone.  Again.

According to the Toledo Blade, Rhodes has been dismissed from the Falcons football team.  The only stated reason was an unspecified violation of team rules.

Rhodes, a four-star 2013 recruit rated as the No. 8 receiver in the country that year, appeared in 11 games as a true freshman for the Bears, recording 10 receptions for 157 yards.  After sitting out the 2014 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules, Rhodes played in seven games for the Falcons last season, recording three catches for 130 yards.

Rhodes’ departure leaves the Falcons with just two receivers who have caught passes at the collegiate level — Ronnie Moore (third on the team in 2015 with 72 receptions for 954 yards and six touchdowns) and Scott Miller (7-29 last season).

Five-star ‘Bama signee set for second surgery in three months

Lyndell Wilson
Rivals.com
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Even as Lyndell Wilson has yet to play a down of college football, the highly-touted 2016 signee simply can’t buy an injury break.

In late March, Wilson announced via Twitter that he would be undergoing surgery in short order to repair a torn labrum in one of his shoulders.  Three months later, the linebacker announced via the same social media site that he has to undergo a medical procedure to repair a torn meniscus in one of his knees.

Per Wilson’s tweet, that has since been deleted for whatever reason, the surgery will be performed Tuesday.  There’s no prognosis on how much time Wilson will miss, including whether he will be available for the start of summer camp in early August.

While the tweet announcing the surgery no longer appears on his Twitter feed, a retweet and another of his own tweets suggests he has yet another injury hurdle to overcome.

For what it’s worth, the school has yet to address any potential health issues with which Wilson may be dealing.

Wilson was one of five Rivals.com five-star recruits signed by the Tide this recruiting cycle. The Montgomery, Ala., native was rated as the No. 4 outside linebacker in the country; the No. 3 player at any position in the state of Alabama; and the No. 26 player overall by that recruiting service. 247Sports.com had the 6-1, 235-pound high schooler as the No. 15 overall prospect in the Class of 2016.

Art Briles played a role in Auburn landing ex-Baylor signee

WACO, TX - SEPTEMBER 06:  Head coach Art Briles of the Baylor Bears during play against the Northwestern State Demons at McLane Stadium on September 6, 2014 in Waco, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Art Briles may be out as Baylor’s head football coach, but he still has some influence over at least one member of his last recruiting class.

Over the weekend, Kam Martin announced via Twitter that he had committed to play his college football for Gus Malzahn at Auburn.  The running back chose Auburn over another contender in TCU.

Malzahn and Briles are good friends who, prior to Briles’ dismissal in the wake of the sexual assault scandal in the football program, brainstormed together this offseason.  When Martin received a release from his BU National Letter of Intent, he turned to Briles for advice, with his former coach advising him that Auburn would be “a great fit.”

“He helped me — I still have a great relationship with him,” Martin told 247Sports.com. “He just told me Auburn is a great fit for me with Coach Gus Malzahn and his coaching staff. He said if I was going to Baylor and he was there, it would be the same type of vibe (as at Auburn). He told me Coach Gus would take care of me. He said with him, it’s about the player, about the university.

“And shoot, he’s an offensive guru.”

A four-star 2016 prospect, Martin will be eligible to play for said guru’s squad this coming season.