Expected to be a massive force — literally at 6-5, 355 pounds — in the middle of Arizona State’s defensive line as a JUCO transfer, Mike Pennel was instead suspended for the Sun Devils’ Week 2 game because of a (sing along with me) violation of unspecified team rules.
Three weeks later? Lather, rinse, repeat.
First-year Sun Devils head coach Todd Graham announced that the defensive tackle has been indefinitely suspended from the football program. The reason? Like you actually need to ask.
“I’m not lowering our standards, period,” Graham said of the latest punitive measure to hit the mammoth lineman, according to the Arizona Republic. “Bottom line, that’s what it is. We’re never excited about stuff like (this). It’s difficult, but at the end of the day, we’re going to do things one way. We’re going to do things the right way.”
(Yes, drilling a “do things the right way” mantra into his current players is in no way, shape or form ironic.)
For his part, Pennel seemed to have a come-to-Jesus moment — “Now all I can do is pray” — with himself on Twitter following his latest suspension.
“It’s unbelievable I’ve done this to my family, teammates , and the
#ASU fans… Ill be a better person from this I have no choice but to be,” Pennel wrote. “You have to embrace change for it to happen… When your down to nothing god is up to something.”
Pennel has played in three of ASU’s five games this season.
(Photo credit: Arizona State athletics)
Ole Miss will be without a starting piece of its defensive puzzle for an extended period of time, both the player and the school revealed Tuesday.
With rumors swirling about his condition, C.J. Johnson confirmed on his personal Twitter account late this morning that he will be undergoing surgery at some point in the not-too-distant future. The linebacker sustained an injury to his left knee in last Saturday’s loss to Florida and did not return to the contest.
Subsequent to that posting, Ole Miss confirmed that Johnson underwent surgery earlier in the day to repair a torn meniscus in his knee. The procedure and rehab will sideline Johnson for a period of 4-6 weeks.
At the low-end of the prognosis, Johnson would miss the next four games — New Mexico State, Memphis, Texas A&M, Auburn — and return for the Nov. 7 game against Arkansas. The high-end would have him sidelined until the regular-season finale against Mississippi State.
Johnson had started all five games at middle linebacker for the Rebels. He started 26 games at defensive end the past three years before moving to linebacker.
Already in the crosshairs for his 2-3 team’s late-game failures, Butch Jones now finds himself under increasing scrutiny for something that allegedly happened a couple of months ago.
The website Gridiron.com, which features such respected journalists Tony Barnhart and Mike Huguenin among others, reported earlier today that the Tennessee head coach was involved in what was described as a “physical altercation” with senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder during summer camp this past August. The source close to the program added that practice film that day captured the alleged incident, although it’s unclear if that tapes still exists.
From the site’s report:
The incident occurred during fall camp, about the time that news started to come out about a few offensive linemen who were considering stepping away from the program. Crowder walked off the practice field one day and missed a day or two of practice, and Brett Kendrick and Dylan Wiesman were said to be contemplating their futures. Sources say the players’ actions stemmed from an incident between Jones and Crowder.
The website also made a Freedom of Information request seeking any correspondence between the university and the Crowder family be turned over, but writes that UT “administrators said any sort of letter or correspondence that may or may not have happened was covered under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.”
Monday, Jones labeled what began as message-board speculation that he had struck one of his Vols players as “absolutely ridiculous.” The Knoxville News Sentinel contacted Crowder’s father, with the paper writing that “he had no comment and did not want to give validation to message boards.”
At least publicly, the university has yet to address the allegations. Jones will get yet another chance to address the speculation with the media in the very near future.