Curt Phillips

Phillips, not O’Brien, to reportedly get start at QB for Badgers


Suffice to say, Danny O’Brien‘s short time at Wisconsin has not gone as planned.

After transferring from Maryland to UW in the offseason and winning the starting job, uneven performances led head coach Bret Bielema to yank O”Brien in favor of Joel Stave.  After Stave suffered a season-ending injury, it was thought that O’Brien would again be back in the Badgers’ offensive saddle.

Apparently, at least for now, that won’t be the case.

Citing a source close to the program, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Wednesday afternoon that senior Curt Phillips will make his first collegiate start this weekend against Indiana.  The paper writes that Phillips has gotten the majority of the snaps with the No. 1 offense during practice this week.

UW has yet to announce who will start Saturday in a game against the Hoosiers that, amazingly, will have a significant impact on the Big Ten Leaders division.  If UW wins, they will claim the divisional title and a spot in the conference championship game with two regular season games remaining.  If Indiana wins, the Hoosiers would control their own destiny in the Legends, needing a pair of wins — at Penn State, at Purdue — for an improbable early-December trip to Indianapolis.

Charged with the clinching task will be Phillips, who has suffered three significant knee injuries during his time in Madison.  He did not play in 2010 and 2011 due to torn ACLs, and has yet to attempt a pass this season.

In fact, he’s only thrown 12 in his career, with all of those coming in 2009.

When an official announcement will be made by the Badgers regarding the quarterback situation is unclear, although the Journal Sentinel reported that the players were expected to be informed of Bielema’s decision Tuesday.

(Photo credit: UW athletics)

Starting LB C.J. Johnson reveals surgery on social media, Ole Miss confirms

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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.

Butch Jones labels rumor of ‘physical altercation’ with Vols player ‘absolutely ridiculous’

ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Head coach Butch Jones of the Tennessee Volunteers yells at Marquez North #8 during the game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on September 27, 2014 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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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, 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.