Oh, those football players with their rap music and scooters.
Because of the latter, UCLA starting linebacker Jordan Zumwalt will miss this weekend’s game against Colorado. According to coach Jim Mora — as we noted yesterday, media was allowed back at practice today after a blow-up by Mora Wednesday — Zumwalt was involved in a scooter accident this week that required “a lot of stitches” to his head. The result of the stitches meant Zumwalt was unable to wear a football helmet.
“He’s got the week off, and we’re hopeful and confident that he can be back next week,” Mora said. “He was not being reckless. It was just an accident that happened just off campus.”
Zumwalt was fifth on the team in tackles this season. In his absence, inside linebacker Damien Holmes will move over to the OLB spot.
“The thing you miss when Jordan is not out there is his energy,” Mora said. “He just plays with maniacal effort all the time but somebody else has to do that and that’s what we’re trying to preach.”
In all seriousness, however, it’s good to hear that Zumwalt will be okay.
(Hat tip: ESPN LA)
Neutral site kickoff games are a boon to all involved, and a number of cities are moving to join Atlanta, Dallas and Houston to get in on the action. One of those locales is Orlando, playing match-maker with its newly-renovated Citrus Bowl as a cherry on top.
Florida State and Ole Miss will open the 2016 season in the House of Mouse, and Alabama-Louisville following in 2018.
According to Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel, another game is in the works that would interest the entire Sunshine State: a renewing of the on-again/off-again Florida-Miami rivalry.
Bianchi writes a Gators-Canes reunion would open the 2019 season, but the deal “has not yet been signed.”
Florida has been notoriously hesitant to leave Ben Hill Griffin Stadium during the month of September, saying its annual Jacksonville game with Georgia and home-and-home rivalry with Florida State require the Gators to stay home as much as possible to balance its budget. Neutral site games are a nice hedge to that position, as they allow programs to go on the road while taking home a check comparable to a home game. Florida has already agreed to a 2017 game with Michigan at AT&T Stadium in the Dallas area, and playing Miami in Orlando would represent another step in that direction.
The Gators and Hurricanes have played 55 times previously in a series dating back to 1938, but only six times since ending a streak of annual games in 1987. Miami holds a 29-26 lead and has claimed seven of the past eight, including a 21-16 decision in South Beach in 2013.
Colorado had already lost one starting inside linebacker to injury. Now, the Buffs have lost another.
Kenneth Olugbode sustained an unspecified leg injury in the Week 5 loss to Oregon. As a result, Olugbode will miss 4-6 weeks.
At minimum, Olugbode will miss games against Arizona State, Arizona, Oregon State and UCLA, possibly returning for the Nov. 7 game against Stanford. Missing six weeks would see him miss the Stanford and USC games, returning, Nov. 21 vs. Washington State.
“It’s going to be a big loss,” defensive tackle Justin Solis said according to the Denver Post. “It starts up front with us, the D-line. Not having K.O. out there is a huge loss, but it’s definitely something we accept as a challenge as a D-line. We’re going to step it up while he’s out.”
Olugbode had started all five games this season after starting all 12 games as a sophomore last season. Ryan Severson is expected to take his place in the starting lineup.