For all the talk of the Oregon offense, it is the Oregon defense that had made the most improvement this season.
The No. 2 Ducks came into their game with No. 15 Washington allowing just 11.8 points per game, good for second nationally. True to form, Oregon stifled the Huskies in the first half on Saturday, allowing just seven points and 159 total yards while forcing two turnovers.
And this was a Washington team that was averaging 557 yards of offense and nearly 38 points per game.
The Ducks did a great job containing Huskies running back Bishop Sankey, who entered the week fourth nationally in rushing at 146 yards per game. He managed just 47 yards on 16 carries in the first half. UW struggled through the air, too, as quarterback Keith Price had just 80 yards on 9 of 15 passing.
It’s a good thing that the Oregon defense is playing at such a high level as the Washington defense is also playing well, holding the Ducks to 21 first-half points. That doesn’t sound like a huge accomplishment until you remember that Oregon came into the game averaging 59 points per game.
If the Ducks defense continues to play like this, they might as well punch their ticket to Pasadena.
One thing’s for certain: Brandon Dawkins won’t be lacking suitors, including Power Five ones, in his quest to find a new college football home.
According to Adam Rittenberg of ESPN.com, Florida Atlantic, Indiana, Nebraska and UCLA have all expressed interest in the quarterback. Rittenberg adds that Dawkins has plans to visit the campuses of FAU and IU in the coming weeks.
On Twitter late last month, Dawkins announced that he would be transferring from Arizona.
Dawkins is set to graduate from UA this coming May, which will make him eligible to play immediately in 2018 at wherever he lands. The upcoming season will serve as Dawkins’ final year of eligibility at the collegiate level.
Dawkins started nine games in 2016 and the first four games this past season before the force of nature known as Khalil Tate took over. All told, he played in 23 games during his four seasons in the desert. The 13 starts previously mentioned were the only ones of his UA career.
For the Wildcats portion of his playing career, Dawkins completed just over 56 percent of his 334 passes for 2,418 yards, 15 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He ran for another 1,582 yards and 20 more touchdowns.
Michigan kicked off its on-field spring season Friday, and they did so without a legacy on the practice field.
Jim Harbaugh confirmed that Tyrone Wheatley Jr. will be sidelined for all of U-M’s spring practice because of injury. Specifically, the tight end “fractured the (metatarsal) in his foot” during that first spring practice session.
Just how Wheatley sustained the injury wasn’t detailed by the head coach.
The good news is that Wheatley, the son of former U-M running back great Tyrone Wheatley, should be fully healthy for the start of summer camp in early August.
The younger Whitley came to the Wolverines as a four-star member of U-M’s 2015 recruiting class. After redshirting as a true freshman, Wheatley has caught three passes each of the last seasons. On those six catches, he has totaled 61 yards and a touchdown.
It appears Lincoln Riley has all but officially gotten his man.
Earlier this month, reports surfaced that Bob Diaco was expected to take a job on Riley’s Oklahoma football staff. Friday, Pete Thamel of SI.com tweeted that Diaco has finalized a deal to join the football program. ESPN.com‘s Adam Rittenberg subsequently confirmed the initial report.
With all 10 of Riley’s on-field assistant slots filled, Diaco will serve as a defensive analyst for the Sooners.
Diaco spent the 2017 season as the defensive coordinator at Nebraska, let go after that one year following the firing of head coach Mike Riley. Prior to that brief stint in Lincoln, he was the head coach at UConn for three seasons before being fired after going 11-26 during his time with the Huskies.
Prior to that, he was the coordinator at Notre Dame for four seasons from 2010-13.
Dan Mullen is just breaking in his new office chair, but it will be a few more years until the new head coach to truly be able to get comfortable in his new digs. The University of Florida is scheduled to begin a complete overhaul of the athletics facilities in Gainesville this summer. When it is complete, a brand new state-of-the-art football training facility will be among the highlights of the $130 million project.
The new football facility is planned to occupy a space currently used by Florida’s baseball stadium. WOrk on the football facility will have to wait until the baseball program can move into its new stadium that is part of the renovation plans at Florida.
“With the change in facility locations for both baseball and football, we will now adjust the sequencing for these projects,” Florida AD Scott Stricklin said in a press release, according to Gridiron Now. “Baseball will need to be built first, which will allow us to repurpose the current baseball site and put the stand-alone football complex in that space.”
The new football training facility will take up a good chunk of the renovation costs with an estimated price tag of $65 million for a 130,000 square foot structure. Florida won’t have to wait until 2021 to use the facility, however, as the Gators should be expected to be able to start using the new complex as early as 2019 while the construction and renovation continues.