It is the biggest challenge of the season so far for the Oregon Ducks, and it looks as though they will be equipped for battle with Washington. Running back De’Anthony Thomas will play for the Ducks in Seattle, according to a report by The Oregonian‘s John Canzano.
A source from Oregon told Canzano “(Thomas will) give it a try. It’s an ankle so you don’t really know ’til you know.”
Ankles are always tricky to predict, especially for running backs who need to make cuts in the field more often than most players. When you run an offensive style like Oregon’s quick adjustments are key for opening up big plays on slower defenses. An ankle sprain suffered against Colorado last week has left some doubt about the running back’s status. Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich has been hesitant this week to say if Thomas would be available.
Even if Thomas does play, the question will be how much of a factor in the offense he is for the Ducks. Will he jump right back in to a leading role to lead the ground game for Oregon, or will his role be reduced. This could all be some gamesmanship as well, although it is highly unlikely Washington practiced this week as though Thomas would not be available.
Oregon’s offense may have been able to survive even if Thomas was unavailable, but going on the road to one of the most hostile environments Oregon will visit this season certainly is easier to manage when you have your best players available.
Thomas has 368 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns in four games this season.
ESPN recruiting analyst Gerry Hamilton provided a massive public service through his Twitter account on Tuesday, releasing a data dump of fascinating information about the signing class of 2016.
In short, Texas was the most popular breeding ground for FBS prospects, but half of all signees came from a clean sweep from Texas, across the Gulf of Mexico to Florida and up to North Carolina.
The Lone Star State produced 359 players, with nearly half of those heading to Power 5 institutions. In fact, Hamilton reports, 72 of 128 FBS programs and 38 of 64 Power 5’s signed at least one player from Texas.
Florida trailed with 327 players, followed by California with 248 players and Georgia with 225. For what it’s worth, Ohio was not included in the study.
Data dump, begin!
The American Athletic Conference released its 2016 conference schedule highlighted by, oddly enough, non-conference games that pit league gem Houston against Oklahoma (on opening day at Houston’s NRG Stadium) and Louisville (in Houston on Nov. 19).
Those two games, more than any others, will sink or swim the conference’s chances of not only grabbing the Group of Five spot in the New Year’s Six, but a spot in the College Football Playoff itself.
The 2016 conference slate kicks off with Navy meeting Connecticut on Sept. 10 and concludes with the second annual AAC title game on Dec. 3 at a to-be-determined campus site.
The AAC led the way in scheduling Power 5 opponents — highlighted by a Week 3 schedule that will see the entire East Division punching up a weight class — and includes the likes of Florida State, Maryland, N.C. State, Virginia, Syracuse, Kansas, TCU and Oklahoma (for all intents and purposes) visiting AAC campuses.
View the full AAC slate here:
Just like we all thought when watching him play at Notre Dame, Tommy Rees will be in the NFL in 2016. Just not as a quarterback.
The San Diego Chargers announced his hiring as an obnoxiously vague offensive assistant, assisting with the club’s offense in some form that they aren’t inclined to elaborate on.
After completing a career in which he threw for 7,670 yards with 61 touchdowns against 37 interceptions from 2010-13, Rees was cut by the Washington Redskins in 2014, then spent the 2014-15 seasons as a graduate assistant at Northwestern.
The post-National Signing Day coaching carousel is now in full tilt.
According to a report from Adam Caplan of ESPN, Wisconsin defensive backs coach Daronte Jones is leaving to become the assistant defensive backs coach for the Miami Dolphins.
The Badgers already endured a significant loss this winter after defensive coordinator Dave Aranda took a lateral position with LSU. He was replaced in January by former USC defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox.
Jones spent but 13 months in Madison, a January 2015 addition to Paul Chryst‘s first staff after spending three seasons at Hawaii.
Wisconsin possessed one of college football’s top pass defenses in 2015; the Badgers ranked seventh nationally in pass defense, tied for sixth in yards per attempt allowed, placed third in opponent completion percentage and finished second in pass efficiency defense.