Marqise Lee, Lane Kiffin

Marqise Lee surprised by timing of Kiffin’s firing


Nursing an injured knee, All-American Marqise Lee will now be forced to deal with an interim head coach for what’s expected to be his final season at USC.

The star wide receiver addressed the firing of Lane Kiffin early this morning, telling the Los Angeles Times it was “rough” hearing the news.  Like most, Lee was surprised by the timing of the dismissal, although he didn’t seem overly shocked that his now-former head coach actually got the ax.

“I didn’t think, if it was going to happen, that it would happen early,” Lee told the Times. “My whole thinking was finishing out the season at least. I don’t know. Now we just see where we go from here. I don’t know what to expect. …

“Everybody’s just like, ‘We don’t know as far as coaching-wise how that works.'”

At least for the remainder of the season it will work with assistant coach Ed Orgeron assuming the role of head coach until a permanent successor is found, presumably after the regular season.  At a press conference that’s been called for 4 p.m. ET this afternoon, athletic director Pat Haden will address Kiffin’s dismissal, and is expected to confirm during the course of that conversation with the media that Orgeron will indeed serve as the interim head coach.

A meeting with the players is also scheduled to take place, likely before Haden’s press conference.

As for Lee’s health, the paper reported that the receiver was walking around campus with the aid of crutches.  It’s yet to be determined the severity of the injury and what if any game time he may miss.

Video: There’s nothing wrong with Cardale Jones

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In the minds of some in the media and even more in the fan base, Ohio State in general and Cardale Jones specifically have been underwhelming through the first five games of the 2015 season.

Jones, in particular, has been a rather large target of much of the angst.  Coming off a Cinderella-like three-game postseason run that helped OSU to a national championship, the perception is that Jones has been underwhelming and underperforming; even head coach Urban Meyer appeared to be leaning in that direction as he considered making the switch to J.T. Barrett prior to the Western Michigan win before reaffirming his commitment to the redshirt junior.

Is that perception valid?  Statistically, he’s not that far off from where he was in the 2014 postseason, at least in a couple of categories.

He’s completing 61.3 percent of his passes this season compared to 59.4 percent in the games against Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon.  It was 9.9 yards per attempt in that three-game stretch last season, 8.2 in five games this season.  When it comes to scoring and turning the ball over, however, that’s another matter entirely.

He threw a touchdown pass every 15 pass attempts in the 2014 postseason; this season, it’s one every 21 attempts.  Even more glaring, he’s currently throwing an interception every 21 attempts as well.  During the run that made him a household name, it was one pick every 37.5 throws.

So, fewer touchdowns plus more turnovers equals validation of the angst, right?  Not so fast, at least as far as the college arm of Pro Football Focus goes.

UCLA suspends P Adam Searl following arrest on rape charges

Tre' Hale, Adam Searl
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A very serious allegation has triggered the latest resetting of the “Days Without An Arrest” ticker.

UCLA confirmed in a statement that Adam Searl (pictured, No. 39) has been indefinitely suspended from the football program.  The move comes nearly a day after the punter was arrested on three counts of rape.

He was released a handful of hours after his arrest on a $300,000 bond.

“We have been informed of the situation involving Adam Searl, and we take these accusations very seriously,” UCLA head coach Jim Mora said in a statement. “Adam has been suspended from the team indefinitely while the legal process runs its course. Due to the ongoing police investigation, we are unable to discuss this matter further at this time.”

The arrest stems from an incident that allegedly occurred in the middle of last October, and is the result what the Los Angeles Police Department described as “an exhaustive investigation.” As for what led to the charges, here’s the Los Angeles Daily News‘ account of the alleged incident:

The victim, a student at UCLA, reported the alleged assault to the LAPD on Oct. 14, 2014. She told police that she had met the suspect outside of an off-campus house party in Westwood. They went to another residence, where she fell asleep and awoke to find him assaulting her. She was able to identify Searl following the police investigation.

Searl punted 11 times as a redshirt freshman last season. He had punted five times this season as the backup to Matt Mengel.