Quarterback isn’t the only position under a cloud of uncertainty for Rutgers.
Starting linebacker Jamal Merrell surprisingly did not play in the Scarlet Knights’ win over Eastern Michigan. Head coach Kyle Flood had declined to discuss Merrell’s absence, which included the fifth-year senior not even being on the sidelines for the non-conference game.
Monday, the Newark Star-Ledger reported, the mystery was solved as Flood acknowledged that it was a kidney issue that knocked Merrell out of the game. The specific nature of the issue, obviously, was not divulged.
Merrell’s absence will likely bleed into this weekend as he’s doubtful for the game against Arkansas.
“I don’t really want to discuss it but it is a kidney situation and Jamal was with us (Sunday) in the meetings, but he is not at this point able to practice,” Flood said. “I do expect him back after the bye week.”
RU will have a bye week the Saturday after the Razorbacks game.
Losing Merrell would be a significant blow to a Rutgers’ defense that will be charged with the task of stopping a Razorbacks’ rushing attack that’s No. 11 in the country (294.3 yards per game) and feature a pair of running backs who have each rushed for 100-plus yards the first three games of the season.
Merrell has started 28 of the past 29 games for the Scarlet Knights, finishing the 2013 season third in tackles (83) and fourth in tackles for loss (8.5).
‘Scuffle’ led to broken nose, two starting Houston LBs missing game
Shortly before the start of what would become Houston’s win over UConn Thursday night, UH announced that a pair of starting linebackers, Tyus Bowser (head injury) and Matthew Adams (coaches’ decision), were among the four who would be sidelined for the AAC contest. And now we know that, when it came to those two, the head injury and coaches’ decision were intertwined.
In his postgame press conference following the win, head coach Tom Herman acknowledged that there had been what he described as a “scuffle” between Bowser and Adams on Wednesday. The former suffered a broken bone in his face in the “freak accident,” resulting in both starters being sidelined last night.
“[Wednesday], during our weekly tradition of ‘Family Fridays,’ where we go out on the field and play some silly games just to loosen the thing up, dodge ball, whiffle ball, two-hand touch football, the two got over-competitive and things briefly got out of hand during one of the games and resulted in a scuffle between Tyus and Matt, two brothers,” Herman said. “Our culture is one of love and the two are very close, remain very close and definitely consider [each other] brothers.
“They’re both very remorseful for what happened in yesterday’s incident.”
Bowser is expected to be out of the lineup “for a few weeks.” Herman said Adams, the Cougars’ third-leading tackler heading into the game, will be allowed to play against Navy in Week 6.
LISTEN: Steve Spurrier left Dabo Swinney the quintessential HBC voicemail
And we come to Reason No. 1,844 why college football is a lesser sport without Steve Spurrier in it.
As the head coaches at South Carolina and Clemson, Spurrier and Dabo Swinney traded their fair share of public barbs on more than one occasion, admittedly more so the former than the latter. Hell, on individual even suggested a rasslin’ match pitting the two coaches against other. There was also, though, a deep and mutual respect between the two, as evidenced by a voicemail Spurrier left for Swinney in 2014 after both the Tigers and Gamecocks lost their opener.
And, of course, he left the message for the rival coach in the most HBC way possible. From James Bates (follow him on Twitter HERE):
As always, pitch perfect, Coach Spurrier.
Nick Saban’s dad ‘would’ve kicked me out of the house’ if he quit team
Unofficially? The Nicktator appears to be somewhat agitated by not only the move itself but the overall transfer climate in the sport.
Shortly after releasing the statement on Barnett, Saban appeared on his weekly radio show. While the quarterback’s name wasn’t specifically mentioned, it wasn’t hard to crack the code Saban was using in dropping pearls of wisdom from the lessons his West Virginia-born father had taught him.
It’s one of those things where I think the culture has changed a little bit,” Saban said. “I think there’s a certain pride people have in competition. There’s certain things that I was taught growing up about not quitting and seeing things through. I think if I would have come home and told my dad that I was going to quit the team, I think he would have kicked me out of the house. I don’t think I’d have a place to stay.
“My dad used to always say ‘The grass is always greener on top of the septic tank,'” Saban said. “So it always looks better someplace else. So you think, instead of facing your fears and really overcoming adversity and making yourself better through the competition, you go someplace else thinking it will be better there. But until you face your fears, you’re always going to have some of those issues or problems.
Exactly what Saban’s father would’ve thought of his son leaving the Miami Dolphins after just two years and his first losing season as a head coach to make the move to Alabama is unknown.
No determination yet for ‘appropriate discipline’ of arrested ‘Bama LB
An off-field incident involving one of his Alabama football players has drawn a public response from Nick Saban.
Very early Thursday morning, Tim Williams was arrested university police officers and charged with carrying a pistol without a permit. Williams and another unidentified male were sitting in the linebackers’ vehicle in a Publix parking lot when an officer who approached the vehicle smelled marijuana. A search revealed said marijuana, which the other man, who was seated in the driver’s seat, claimed; a gun was also found, which Williams claimed.
However, Williams could not produce a permit, leading to the misdemeanor charge.
In a statement, Saban said that “[t]his kind of behavior is not condoned in our program.” That said, the head coach was not ready to say one way or the other what if any punitive measures the senior may face.
“This kind of behavior is not condoned in our program,” the coach’s statement began. “We are currently in the process of reviewing all of the information. Once we have a complete understanding of the situation, we will determine what we need to do in terms of the appropriate discipline.”
Entering the 2016 season, Williams was viewed by many as a potential, or even likely, first-round pick in the 2017 NFL draft. He has just 1.5 sacks in four games this season after totaling 10.5 in 15 games in 2015.