Middle Tennessee State quarterback Logan Kilgore, left, and teammate wide receiver Christian Collis walk off the field after their win over Georgia Tech in an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012, in Atlanta. Middle Tennessee defeated Georgia Tech 49-28. (AP Photo/Rich Addicks)
It’s been a rough few years for Maryland football but one of the bright spots for the Terrapins has been the stellar play of cornerback/receiver/return man Will Likely.
Unfortunately that time has come to an end as the school announced on Friday that the senior suffered a torn ACL in last week’s game against Minnesota and would miss the rest of the season.
“In the short time I’ve been here at Maryland, I understand and have a great appreciation for the significant impact Will Likely has had on our football program,” head coach D.J. Durkin said in a statement. “Will was one of the first people I met with when I accepted the job and it was quickly apparent how much he meant to his teammates and Maryland football. He will continue to play a vital role in our program as we lean on him for his leadership and experience. I am confident Will has the work ethic, drive and focus to overcome this injury and continue his football career at the next level.”
Likely was an All-Big Ten selection the past two seasons and contributed all over the board for the Terps. He was primarily the team’s lockdown corner but he was one of the best return men in the country with his combination of speed and quickness.
Likely stuck around College Park for his final season despite the coaching change last year and was one of the veteran leaders in a new defensive scheme under Durkin, ranking first on the team in pass breakups and third in tackles prior to his injury.
Sophomore RaVon Davis is expected to take his spot in the secondary while D.J. Moore is likely the next man up on kick and punt returns.
It’s a tough blow to lose any player halfway through a season but it sure seems like Maryland is going to be losing a lot more than a starter with Likely gone the rest of the year.
The Pac-12 announced on Thursday that the conference would be issuing a public reprimand and fining Washington State head coach Mike Leach $10,000 as the result of his earlier comments accusing Arizona State of stealing signs.
While that surprising decision from the league office to step in may have been enough for some schools, it appears the Sun Devils wanted to make sure they would be getting in one final parting shot at the Cougars.
“I fully support the Pacific-12 Conference Office and Commissioner Larry Scott’s decision on this matter,” athletics director Ray Anderson said in a statement on Friday. “Our professional integrity was questioned for two straight years by Mike Leach’s irresponsible comments and we will not allow that to happen. We are pleased with the outcome and for us the matter is closed.”
Leach accused ASU of stealing signs both last season and earlier in the week at his Monday press conference. Todd Graham defended his program and responded directly to the comments the next day and it appears that the Pac-12 decided to step in and put an end to the war of words going back-and-forth between the two coaches. It’s rare for one athletic director to call another coach in the league “irresponsible,” but you can understand why they would want to be defensive over such a touchy subject.
While Anderson says he considers the matter closed, something says this issue will be brought up again when the two teams meet on Saturday night in Tempe and both coaches square off from opposite sidelines.
An ongoing situation at Minnesota has ensnared three more Gopher football players.
Thursday, a report surfaced that two Gopher players, freshman defensive end Tamarion Johnson and sophomore running back Carlton Djam, had a temporary restraining order filed against them by a woman who alleged she was sexually assaulted back in September. Friday, the attorney for those two, Lee Hutton, confirmed to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that three other clients, cornerbacks KiAnte Hardin and Ray Buford and safety Dior Johnson, have been served the same restraining order in connection to the same allegations.
Because the woman who received the order is a student who works at TCF Bank Stadium on football game days, none of the five players will be permitted to play in Saturday’s homecoming game against Rutgers or even be in the stadium. The Star Tribune writes that the stadium’s “address is listed as one of two restricted addresses in the restraining orders.”
In mid-September, Hardin, Buford and both Johnsons were suspended in the midst of an investigation into an alleged sexual assault earlier in the month. Citing insufficient evidence in the case, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office announced in early October that no charges would be filed and the players were reinstated.
Djam’s connection to the alleged incident is unknown.
According to Hutton, there is a hearing scheduled for next Tuesday morning in which he hopes to have all five orders overturned.
“What we are going to do is aggressively defend this action,” Hutton told the paper. “We are going to go on the offensive to show she only used the courts to destroy my clients’ lives.”
“It would not be appropriate for the University to comment on this matter to the extent it relates to University students,” a Thursday statement from the school on the restraining orders began. “The University reaffirms, however, that it will honor and comply with court orders.”
Hardin, a true sophomore, played in 13 games last season. This season, he started the opener and, after sitting three games because of the suspension, had started the last two. He’s also listed as the team’s starting kick returner.
None of the other four players are listed on the team’s most recent two-deep chart.
Buford has played in two games this season after taking a redshirt for his true freshman season last year. The sophomore Djam has run for 33 yards on nine carries this season. A freshman, Tamarion Johnson was a likely candidate for a redshirt.
It appears that, once again, one of the oaks at famed Toomer’s Corner in Auburn will likely need to be replaced because of the actions of a lone dolt.
Following the win over LSU in late September, students and fans, as they have done for decades, rolled the oaks with toilet paper, only to watch as one of the trees go up in flames. A 29-year-old Auburn “man,” Jochen Weist, was identified on video using a lighter to set the toilet paper on fire and arrested.
Nearly four weeks later, it’s not looking good for the tree’s survival.
“Our message to the Auburn Family about the Magnolia Avenue tree remains the same as from the outset, that it is severely damaged from the Sept. 25 fire,” AU professor of horticulture Dr. Gary Keever said in a statement according to al.com. “We have conducted three assessments of its health, the most recent one showing 60-70 percent of the tree’s canopy is dead. A few new leaves have formed on some of the live branches, however, this does not indicate additional growth will occur or that those branches will be alive in the spring.
“Although the outlook is not promising, Auburn is doing everything possible to save the tree. We will continue to monitor the tree and provide updates as they become available.”
Weist was originally taken into custody on a charge of public intoxication. Additional charges of first-degree criminal mischief, a felony, and desecration of a venerable object were later added.
The case has been sent to a grand jury.
University officials have asked that the fire-damaged tree not be rolled. That tradition had just been revived this season following a three-year absence as a result of an Alabama fan poisoning the oaks.