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Two Fresno State players dismissed

Victor Dean

Early last September, wide receiver Victor Dean and defensive back Davon Dunn were two of six Fresno State players suspended for various lengths of time for various issues.

While both returned during the 2012 season, the same can’t be said for 2013.

In a very brief press release sent out Tuesday evening night, the Bulldogs announced that both players have been dismissed from the football program for what’s described as “violations of Athletic Department policy.”  Suffice to say, the specific nature of the issue or issues weren’t revealed.

The release stated that each player was informed of their dismissals Monday morning, and that there would be no further comment from the team.

Despite playing in just nine games because of a combination of the disciplinary issue and a season-ending injury, the 6-6, 209-pound Dean finished fourth on the team in receiving yards with 389 and fifth with 30 receptions.  He added two touchdown receptions as a redshirt sophomore as well.

Dunn played in 11 of the Bulldogs’ 13 games as a redshirt sophomore, with the two games he missed due to his suspension.  He was credited with 16 tackles, 1.5 tackles for a loss and a half sack, as well as returning eight kickoffs for a 20.2 yard average.

(Photo credit: Fresno State athletics)

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Alright, now how does Jameis Winston’s half-suspension affect the gambling line?

Jameis Winston

We’ve covered how Jameis Winston’s have-fun-explaining-this-one-to-your-grandmother half-game suspension affects Saturday night’s tilt between No. 1 Florida State and No. 22 Clemson on the field, and how it alters his chase for a second Heisman Trophy. Now it’s time for the important stuff: how does this affect the line?

According to TomahawkNation.com proprietor/SB Nation gambling expert Bud Elliott: not that much. The defending champion ‘Noles are still favorites, just not quite as heavy as before.

After hovering around three touchdowns before Wednesday morning’s news, Florida State is a consensus 16.5 or 17-point favorite. With an over/under at 60.5 points, Las Vegas expects a Florida State win hovering somewhere in the neighborhood of 38-21.

Oddly enough, this game has a very recent doppleganger. A year ago, the reigning Heisman winner was suspended for one half, and replaced by a little-used back-up. Back then, Matt Joeckel completed 14-of-19 passes for 190 yards and a touchdown in leading No. 7 Texas A&M to a 28-21 halftime lead over visiting and future Conference USA champion Rice. Johnny Manziel came on in relief, threw for 94 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for another 19 yards, leading the Aggies to a 52-31 win. The spread was 28. Make of that what you will.

Florida State has beaten Clemson in two straight games, rallying from a 31-21 third quarter deficit to score four unanswered touchdowns in route to a 49-37 win on Sept. 22, 2012, and absolutely ripping the Tigers for a 51-14 final on Oct. 19, 2013. Both times, Clemson was undefeated and ranked in the top 10 nationally. This time around, Clemson is hanging on to its Top 25 status after falling 45-21 to then-No. 12 Georgia on Aug. 30.

While Brent Venables and the Clemson defense figure to throw the book (and everything else they can grab) at backup-turned-emergency-starter Sean Maguire and his 26 career passes, the Florida State defense is still intact and facing the nation’s No. 66 rated passer, Cole Stoudt (and freshman phenom Deshaun Watson, whenever Dabo Swinney and Chad Morris decide to play him.)

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Kevin Sumlin confirms WR Speedy Noil will miss SMU game

Speedy Noil, Carl Harris

With reports stating wide receiver Speedy Noil would miss 3-5 weeks with an MCL sprain, Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin responded with the temperament you would great a cockroach in your cereal bowl.

Simply put, Sumlin despises divulging any information he does not absolutely have to with the press, so A&M scribes should consider themselves thankful that Noil would miss the Aggies’ trip to SMU on Saturday.

“He won’t play this weekend,” Sumlin said. And, about that 3-5 week prognosis, Coach? What’s his status for next week’s date with Arkansas?

“I’ll update you next week.”

Well, okay then. By simply ignoring an issue he clearly finds annoying in hopes that it goes away, Sumlin simply prolongs his agony. Maybe he secretly enjoys getting in passive-aggressive tussles with the press.

For this week at least, Texas A&M should be fine without Noil. Though the freshman has snagged 12 passes for 197 yards and stands as the Aggies’ leading punt returner, No. 6 Texas A&M would be fine against SMU even with Speedy’s less-gifted cousin at wideout, Moderately Sluggish Noil.

SMU has been outscored 88-6 this season and still hasn’t scored with time remaining on the clock, notching its only score in a 43-6 beatdown at North Texas on a 33-yard heave as time expired. The Aggies are listed as 33-point favorites in most books.

Texas A&M is expected to start sophomore Edward Pope, a Rivals 250 prospect in his own right, in Noil’s place.

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WVU CB Worley charged with battery following altercation with female

West Virginia v Kansas

Just days after word broke West Virginia had suspended starting defensive back Daryl Worley for a violation of team rules, a warrant for his arrest has been issued by Morgantown police.

As reported by The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, a warrant was issued Wednesday afternoon. Worley has been charged with battery as a result of an altercation with a female outside a nightclub early Sunday morning. As the sports world is constantly reacting to various headlines regarding physical abuse of women by football players, West Virginia suspending Worley was an easy decision to make while the legal process plays out. As reported, citing information from police reports, Worley allegedly put his hands around the neck of a woman and pushed her down. There is no report on any serious injuries, but the incident as described is certainly not a good luck.

West Virginia is set to host Oklahoma this weekend. The loss of Worley is a hit to the Mountaineers on defense, but this issue is clearly more important than football.

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Former TCE DE Fields plans on FBS return before NFL

Devonte Fields, Wes Lunt

If you think Devonte Fields is going to play football this fall at a junior college and get set to enter the NFL Draft in 2015, that may not quite be the plan. The former TCU defensive star is currently playing his college football at Trinity Valley Community College but his plan appears to be going through the recruiting process with the intent of playing at least one more season at the FBS level before taking a chance at the NFL Draft.

“Everything he has said to me and everything his family has said to me is the plan is for him to get his (Associate’s Degree) and to play Division I again,” Trinity Valley CC head coach Brad Smiley said to The Dallas Morning News this week. “He is excited about going through that process and playing Division I again. He has not said anything about coming out to play in the NFL.”Brad Smiley said to said to The Fort Worth Star-Telegram this week. “He is excited about going through that process and playing Division I again. He has not said anything about coming out to play in the NFL. He is excited about going through that process and playing Division I again. He has not said anything about coming out to play in the NFL.”

Fields was forced to relocate to the junior college level this fall after a promising career at TCU spiraled out of control. The former defensive freshman of the year in the Big 12 was involved in an incident reportedly involving pointing a gun and making a threat to an ex-girlfriend. That led to an investigation over the summer and TCU removed Fields from the football program. Fields later surrendered after a warrant for his arrest had been issued and it looked as though Fields would drop down to the FCS to play at Stephen F. Austin. TCU blocked the transfer and then officially separated from any association with Fields.

As noted by The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Fields currently has 17 tackles, 1.5 sacks and one tackle for a loss through the first three games of the season. This comes with double team coverage routinely as Fields is a superstar on the junior college playing field.

“Everybody he sees knows who he is,” Smiley said. “He is their Super Bowl.”

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The long countdown to Michigan-Texas is officially on

91st Rose Bowl Game: Texas Longhorns v Michigan Wolverines

Get ready to make your plans well in advance, Michigan and Texas fans. The Wolverines and Longhorns have made official a home-and-home series that had been in the works.

As confirmed today, Michigan will host Texas in Michigan Stadium on August 31, 2024. Texas will host the Wolverines three years later on September 4, 2027. Plan accordingly.

“A match-up of this magnitude doesn’t come along all that often, and when it does it’s special for both programs and the great fans that support each institution,” said Michigan head coach Brady Hoke said in a released statement about the series. “This also is a special series for all fans of college football, and I anticipate great games just like the first contest played between the two programs.”

These two legendary programs may be playing through some hard times right now, but in 10 years Michigan and Texas could be a huge match-up, as it should. Unless the two collide in a postseason game in the next 10 years, the series will mark just the second and third times Michigan and Texas have met on the playing field. The only other meeting in the series history took place in the 2005 Rose Bowl, with Texas taking a 38-37 victory.

Who knows what the college football postseason will look like a decade and 13 years from now, but under the current format for the College Football Playoff it would seem Michigan and Texas are making an effort to increase the attractiveness of the non-conference schedule. Texas is already playing a nine-game conference schedule and by then Michigan will be fully engrained in a nine-game Big Ten schedule. As it is currently set-up, Michigan will play either Texas or Oklahoma annually between 2024 and 2027 with a home-and-home series with the Sooners sandwiched between the Texas games. Texas will be coming off a home-and-home with Michigan’s rival, Ohio State, as the Longhorns head into the series with the Wolverines. Texas and Ohio State have a home-and-home series set for 2022 and 2023.

As of now, Texas has no non-conference games scheduled for 2025 or 2026. Perhaps another Big Ten school could fill that void. If so, how about Nebraska? It would be nice, but unlikely. Nebraska is already locked into a home-and-home those seasons with Tennessee. Wisconsin? Penn State? Both are available if Texas is interested.

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Jameis Winston suspension may cost 2013 winner a shot at history

Jameis Winston

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is looking to make some college football history this season. Not only is he looking to lead Florida State to back-to-back national championships, but he is also the latest player to have a chance to win the Heisman Trophy in back-to-back seasons. That accomplishment has only been done once, and in light of Wednesday’s news about serving a suspension for the first half of this weekend’s game against Clemson, it looks like legendary Ohio State running back Archie Griffin will remain sitting at a table for one in New York City.

Winston may still be the best player in college football, but the Heisman Trust Mission Statement is held in high regard by some of the voters. Winston’s actions off the field carry more weight for some voters than others, but his recent outburst of vulgarity on campus may be enough for some voters to wipe Winston off their ballots starting today. Perhaps some voters were waiting for a reason to eliminate him from the conversation. That remains to be seen.

Winston was already fighting history enough as it is for a defending Heisman Trophy winner. With just one repeat Heisman winner in the history of college football’s highest individual honor, the odds may have been stacked against Winston from the start. A handful of other worthy contenders have also emerged in the early going of the season, like Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, Georgia running back Todd GurleyAlabama wide receiver Amari Cooper and Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall. And do not forget about Texas A&M quarterback Kenny Hill.

Winston winning a second straight Heisman Trophy may not be impossible, but the road to travel just became filled with additional potholes and was covered in ice. If Winston continues to win and make incredible plays, as he did in the opener against Oklahoma State, and other candidates take a hit or two along the way (two losses did in Mariota last season, for example), then Winston will remain in the hunt as a leading contender. Until then, at least Winston will be able to vote for himself.

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Jameis Winston’s suspension won’t cost Florida State a win vs. Clemson

Jameis Winston, Josh Furman

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston has been suspended for the first half of this weekend’s contest with Clemson. For the Seminoles to suspend their starting quarterback for the entire first half of a key division game against a top 25 team should send a message to Winston and anyone else watching that the bar is supposedly being set high for Florida State’s student-athletes. So, is one half enough of a message?

Considering the circumstances revolving around the reasoning for this suspension, it would seem appropriate enough. Winston was not in violation of any laws and he did not harm anybody in the process from the information reported at this point. He did, however, not act accordingly as a student-athlete, represent the football program or university in an expected manner and that is reason enough to issue some sort of punishment. Missing the first half of a game should be enough to deliver that message to any player on the football roster, even he just so happens to be one of the best

Critics are running wild suggesting Winston needs to grow up (and yes, he does), so hopefully this is the final straw for Winston and the off-field shenanigans. The time to know what is right and what is wrong or inappropriate in a public setting is now for Winston.

As for the game, Winston’s absence for one half should have an impact. Will it be enough for Clemson to take advantage and steal a win while they can? It is not as though Florida State is shallow on talent around the field. Redshirt sophomore Sean Maguire should be capable of handling things for one half even against Clemson, and it is not as though Jimbo Fisher will put Maguire in any position he feels uncomfortable with if it means risking the game. Florida State has too much to play for to put Maguire in a situation to blow it for one half before Winston takes the field at the start of the third quarter. It is not so much a suggestion Fisher will avoid trying anything pivotal with Maguire under center, but knowing Winston will be available in the second half means the urgency to force something with the back-up quarterback should never pop up even if things look bad.

Florida State can more than weather a storm for one half of football, even against Clemson. Now Winston just needs to show he can avoid creating a storm in the future.

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UPDATED: Florida State suspends Winston for first half vs. Clemson

Jimbo Fisher Jameis Winston

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston may be disciplined by Florida State for his behavior reported Tuesday, although the extent of any punishment to the reigning Heisman Trophy winner is unknown. Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher said during the weekly conference call the school was considering some sort of punishment for Winston.

“It was not a good decision,” Fisher said, per USA Today. “You can’t make certain statements that are derogatory or inflammatory to any person, race or gender. You have to understand that.”

On Tuesday it was reported Winston had jumped on a table on campus and shouted out a sexually-explicit phrase in what by all accounts to date suggest was nothing more than a joke. Winston’s outburst mimicked an Internet meme and was not directed at any particular individual, but it was just the latest reason to roll your eyes at the actions of Winston over the past year. Fisher probably did just that upon learning about this specific incident.

“You have to be very intelligent about what you say, (because) it matters,” Fisher said.

Florida State takes on Clemson this weekend in a key ACC Atlantic Division match-up.

UPDATE: Winston has been suspended for the first half of this weekend’s game against Clemson.

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Alabama’s Amari Cooper in the spotlight this weekend vs. Gators

Amari Cooper, Quentin Hayes

The last time a wide receiver won the Heisman Trophy was 1991, with Michigan’s Desmond Howard striking his Heisman pose (inaccurately, mind you) three years before the TV series “Friends” hit the airwaves. Yeah, it was a long time ago. The Heisman Trophy may still be a quarterback’s to lose but Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper is starting to receive some consideration as a candidate.

Cooper is third in the nation in receiving yards through the first three weeks of the season with 454 yards and he leads the nation with 11.0 receptions per game. The Florida recruit in the Class of 2012 will get a chance to show the Florida Gators what they missed out on. According to the offer sheet for Cooper reported by Rivals.com, the Gators did not extend an offer to the in-state four-star recruit. That is a shame, because if there is one thing the Gators could use it is a game-changing receiver. This weekend Florida heads to Alabama for a crossover SEC match-up, and Cooper should be ready to make a statement.

Is Cooper the best wide receiver in the country? He may be. What he does in one of this weekend’s spotlight games will tell us whether or not he will continue to be a player worth considering for the Heisman Trophy. Here is a look at a few of the spotlight games around college football this weekend.

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Rutgers QB Nova now all-time leader in 5 interception games

Gary Nova, Anthony Zettel

Rutgers gave Penn State a good fight on Saturday night in its first Big Ten conference game. If not for a five-interception night from quarterback Gary Nova, Rutgers may very well have been celebrating its first Big Ten conference victory as well, instead of looking to rebound from a 13-10 loss to the Nittany Lions. Nova’s awful stat line Saturday night put him in a league of his own, sort of.

Nova was intercepted five times in a game for the second time in his career. Since 2000, according to the play index on College Football Reference, six different quarterbacks have been intercepted five times in a single game. Nova is the only player appearing on the list twice.

Nova was intercepted six times by Kent State in a 2012 loss. That is tied for the most single-game interceptions since 2000 with Travis Wilson of Utah. Wilson was picked off six times by UCLA in a 44-22 loss last October. The other quarterbacks to throw five interceptions in a game since 2000 are Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty (2013, vs. Tennessee), SMU’s Garrett Gilbert (2012, vs TCU), Houston’s David Piland (2012, vs. UCLA) and Mississippi’s Zack Stoudt (2011, vs. Vanderbilt). (EDIT: As reminded on Twitter, Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin was intercepted five times in a bowl game against Florida. Because that game was not vacated by the NCAA, that should count as well.)

Nova’s five interceptions is misleading though. The fifth interception came in the final minute of the game with Rutgers in desperation mode. Two other interceptions may fairly be accredited to the shortcomings of Nova’s intended targets failing to bring in a pass. Nova will receive the bulk of the blame, a responsibility that comes with the territory of being a starting quarterback. There is no indication head coach Kyle Flood is ready to make a change under center though.

Helmet sticker to Reddit for the find.

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Swinney still says Clemson would split 10 games with FSU in 2013

Dabo Swinney

Last year’s biggest game in the ACC turned out to be more of a dud than anyone would have sensibly predicted. Clemson was trounced at home by the eventual ACC and BCS champions from Florida State and it was never a contest despite the Tigers fielding one of their best teams in years. The Seminoles silenced a crowd going for a stadium noise record with a 51-14 beating that may as well have been 61-14 or 71-14. Every team is bound to have a bad game at some point, and Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney believes if his Tigers from 2013 had another crack at Florida State then they would have been much more competitive.

In fact, Swinney went so far as to say Clemson would win five out of 10 games against Florida State if the 2013 teams were to play so many games. He made that statement shortly after Clemson was steamrolled at home, but Swinney has not backed down from the statement.

“Lord have mercy, I caught enough grief on that,” Swinney said this week, according to The Post and Courier in Charleston, South Carolina. “I gave an answer that I really truly believed about that team, last year’s team. I still believe that. It was absolutely nothing negative.”

“I really thought we had a heck of a football team, a really good team,” Swinney added. “We finished 7th in the country. That’s the reality. There ain’t a lot of difference between 1 and 15, to be honest with you. It’s a play here or there.”

Clemson rebounded from that loss to Florida State to go 10-2, with the only other loss coming in the final weekend of the regular season to in-state rival South Carolina. The Tigers accepted an invitation to play in the Orange Bowl as Florida State played for the BCS Championship. Clemson defeated Big Ten runner-up Ohio State, 40-35 to end the season on a high note.

Clemson travels to Florida State this weekend for a primetime match-up against the top-ranked Seminoles.

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Can you kick a football? Fresno State wants you!

Garrett Swanson

Fresno State has a need to improve on special teams, and fast. The Bulldogs will be holding an open try-out for all full-time students with previous kicking experience later this week. Just three weeks into the season, it is that desperate of a situation for the defending Mountain West Conference champions.

Earlier this month Fresno State lost kicker Colin McGuire, who left the team to deal with personal issues according to head coach Tim DeRuyter. That left DeRuyter to have to rely on freshman walk-on Kody Kroening for place-kicking duties. Punter Garrett Swanson continued with his responsibilities on special teams. Kroening has successfully connected on all five of his PAT attempts and one of two field goal attempts.

Kroening and Swanson are the only two kickers on the roster, which puts Fresno State in even more of a bind in the event either should happen to go down. Kroening can handle the punting duties if needed, but having Swanson take over place-kicking duties may not be the most ideal situation considering the circumstances for Fresno State.

Fresno State is one of three schools yet to record a touchback on a kickoff (SMU and Wisconsin are the others).

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Pac-12 releases 2015 football schedule

USC v Stanford

The Pac-12 will open the 2015 college football season with a pair of noteworthy games on Pac-12 soil. Utah will host Michigan and Arizona will play host to UTSA on Thursday, September 3, 2015. The rest of the Pac-12 schedule, including a nine-game conference schedule and a championship game in Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, was unveiled Tuesday night.

As confirmed by the Pac-12, one-third of the conference’s schedule will be played against other Power 5 conferences, including five against their Rose Bowl partners from the Big Ten. As usual, the Pac-12 will reserve the final two weeks of the season for traditional rivalry games between conference members. One exception to the schedule will be a regular season finale between Arizona State and California (instead of Stanford-Cal and Arizona State-Arizona). This was done in order to protect contracts between Stanford and USC with Notre Dame.

As expected, the Pac-12 also has confirmed every game played by a Pac-12 school will appear on TV as a result of broadcast deals with ESPN, ABC, FOX and FOX Sports 1. Pac-12 Network will pick up any additional games not carried by any of the other networks. Broadcast schedules will be determined next year.

The date for the Pac-12 Championship Game will be either Friday, December 4, 2015 or the following day, December 5, 2015. The Pac-12 played its championship game on a Friday the first two years (2011 and 2012), but moved to Saturday night in 2013. This year’s championship game will move back to Friday night (December 5) for a more exclusive time slot that weekend.

Some of the more notable games on the Pac-12 schedule are:

Sep. 3 (Thursday) Utah vs. Michigan

Sep. 5 Arizona State vs. Texas A&M (Houston, Texas)

Sep. 5 Washington @ Boise State

Sep. 12 Oregon @ Michigan State

Sep. 12 Oregon State @ Michigan

Sep. 12 Washington State @ Rutgers

Sep. 19 USC vs. Stanford

Sep. 19 UCLA vs. BYU

Sep. 19 California @ Texas

Sep. 26 Arizona State vs. USC

Oct. 8 (Thursday) USC vs. Washington

Oct. 15 (Thursday) Stanford vs. UCLA

Oct. 17 USC @ Notre Dame

Oct. 29 (Thursday) Arizona State vs. Oregon

Nov. 14 Stanford vs. Oregon

Nov. 21 Oregon vs. USC

Nov. 27 (Friday) Oregon vs. Oregon State

Nov. 27 (Friday) Washington vs. Washington State

Nov. 28 USC vs. UCLA

Nov. 28 Stanford vs. Notre Dame

Dec 4 or Dec. 5 Pac-12 Championship Game (Levi’s Stadium)

You can see the full release about the Pac-12 schedule here.

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Baylor’s Shawn Oakman living on the outside edge

Sam B. Richardson, Shawn Oakman

If every player in college football is allowed a second chance, then Baylor defensive end Shawn Oakman is making the most of his. Oakman has become one of the nation’s top defensive ends. Motivation from his unfortunate end to his time at Penn State have served Oakman well as he continues to be a key contributor to Baylor’s defensive efforts.

Oakman was dismissed from Penn State in the spring of 2012 following an arrest over harassment and retail theft. Because Oakman was dismissed by the university months before the NCAA slammed Penn State with sanctions (which of course have been trimmed), Oakman was not eligible to play right away in the fall of 2012 once arriving at Baylor. Oakman did not qualify under the NCAA’s free transfer opportunity for current Penn State players at the time sanctions were levied.

The wait was worth it for Oakman and Baylor. In his first season with the Bears Oakman earned all-Big 12 honors. This season Oakman is considered an All-American candidate and appears on multiple watch lists. Through three games, Oakman has totaled three sacks and four tackles for a loss.

Oakman has many of the skills NFL scouts will pay attention to for a defensive end. He can be quick off the snap and is difficult to contain on the outside edge. This is why Josh Norris of Rotoworld believes Oakman is the best defensive end in the country coming off the edge.

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Golden Gopher QB grounded with turf toe

Mitch Leidner, David Cobb

The availability of Minnesota quarterback Mitch Leidner is in doubt for Saturday’s game against San Jose State. The Gophers quarterback is dealing with turf toe right now, and head coach Jerry Kill has no intention to use him until he is said to be at full speed.

“I would never play anybody that was 82.9,” Kill said Tuesday, per the Associated Press. “I’m not going to risk a kid or a quarterback or anything like that.”

Kill added he will only allow Leidner to see the field if the doctors say he is ready to go.

“They’ve got to be cleared by the trainer,” Kill said. “I always tell the trainer, ‘Can he play full speed?’ Because this is a full-speed game.”

Kill may not be ready to say Leidner will be back on the field on Saturday, but Leidner’s back-up seems more confident about it. Chris Streveler, who has replaced Leidner in each of the past two games, says if there is any chance Leidner will be available to play, he will play.

“I know if Mitch can play, he’s going to play,” Streveler said.

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