State’s attorney reportedly vows to ‘get to the bottom of’ Winston situation

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A Florida state’s attorney vowed Friday his office will “get to the bottom of it and do the right thing” as it relates to the Jameis Winston investigation, USA Today‘s Dan Wolken is reporting.

William Meggs told the paper that he’s only read half of the complaint forwarded to him by the Tallahassee Police Department, a complaint that was initially filed in December of 2012 while Winston was in the midst of a redshirt season as a true freshman.  Multiple media outlets reported that the TPD had received a complaint alleging sexual battery against the Florida State quarterback.

Meggs stated that he has assigned two investigators to the case, although the alleged victim has yet to be interviewed.  The state’s attorney also intimated that the case thus far hasn’t been investigated properly.

“Since it’s now been dumped in our laps, we’re going to make sure it is properly investigated,” said Meggs. “Whether it has been so far, I don’t know.”

Meggs intimated similar shortcomings in the probe to FOXSports.com.

“Obviously, we’ll work as fast as we can,” Meggs said. “There are things that have to be done that have not been done.”

Meggs, FOXSports.com reported, declined to elaborate further.

As was reported yesterday, Meggs “doubt[s] very seriously” that his investigators will “get a statement from Jameis Winston,” with the state’s attorney noting that Winston “has a right against self-incrimination.”  As is also his right, Winston has retained counsel, with attorney Tim Jansen telling FOXSports.com that he has two witnesses with information that could clear his client.  One of the witnesses spoke to investigators Thursday, while the other is scheduled to be interviewed today.

The lag time between the initial complaint and it surfacing publicly has caused concern from several corners — and spawned numerous conspiracy theories — as Winston is the presumptive front-runner for the Heisman while his Seminoles are poised for a berth in the BCS title game.  Meggs, via Wolken, explains the procedural norm in such a case:

Meggs said in cases like this one, law enforcement agencies are supposed to provide his office with a probable cause affidavit at the time of the incident, at which point the state attorney would decide whether probable cause exists to get a warrant. His office never got a probable cause affidavit in this case, which suggests either Tallahassee police decided there was nothing to prosecute or the alleged victim declined to cooperate after filing the initial complaint.

Another area of concern has been the heavily-redacted TPD report on the alleged incident.  In that report, the alleged perpetrator is listed as being between 5-9 and 5-11; Winston is listed on the team’s official online roster as 6-4.  “I would say what y’all have doesn’t tell you anything,” Meggs told Wolken of the physical discrepancy.

A determination on whether the evidence gathered shows probable cause and thus supports an arrest is not expected until next week at the earliest, Meggs said.  It should be noted that, if Winston were to be charged with what would be a felony, he would suspended from the football team by the university.  That suspension would last until the case was resolved.

As of now, Winston’s status with the football team has not changed and he will be under center when FSU takes on Syracuse Saturday.

LSU QB Danny Etling undergoes back surgery

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LSU quarterback Danny Etling has undergone surgery to relieve back pain, the program announced Monday.

“Danny had a minor back procedure this morning and everything went alright,” head coach Ed Orgeron said in a statement (and not in an Arrested Development way).

Etling has played through back pain for months, according to Ross Dellenger from The Advocate, and this procedure should remove that pain.

In a possibly related story, Etling went 4-of-11 for 53 yards in LSU’s spring game.

A transfer from Purdue, Etling appeared in 11 games for the Tigers last season, completing 160-of-269 passes (59.5 percent) for 2,123 yards (7.9 yards per attempt) with 11 touchdowns against five interceptions.

Etling’s recovery from Monday’s procedure is expected to be a short one.

Willie Taggart defends Oregon’s offseason workouts in interview

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Things got off to a rocky start for new Oregon head coach Willie Taggart. Among the issues Taggart was forced to deal with soon after accepting the job of head coach at Oregon was players falling ill during and after offseason workouts.

Three Ducks were hospitalized in January to treat symptoms of rhabdomyolysis, a product of overworking leading to soft tissue and possible kidney damage. Oregon suspended strength and conditioning coach Irele Oderinde following the hospital treatments to players, and questions about his certification were thrust under a microscope. Despite the unfortunate situation in Eugene, Taggart has defended his program’s workout routine in an interview with Stewart Mandel of FOXSports.com.

“We know we didn’t do anything to try to hurt our kids. We’d done [the same program] everywhere we’ve been and never had a problem,” Taggart explained in the interview. “I think our guys just overworked themselves and didn’t hydrate. … They were trying to impress the new coaches.”

It seems Taggart has been trying to raise the bar at Oregon and find a way to make his new players tougher overall. That is a common strategy for a new coach in a new program, so Taggart’s mission is not unique in that sense.

Maybe it was just a tough physical transition in the approach to workouts after years of Chip Kelly and Mark Helfrich running the show. Will this all pay off in the end? Taggart sure hopes so.

Ohio State claims 2017 national championship… for spring game attendance

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For the third consecutive year, Ohio State is your national champion in the all-important category that is spring game attendance. The Buckeyes once again had the largest attendance for its spring game this month despite stadium renovations cutting out 20,000 seats from Ohio Stadium. After a weekend that saw Alabama and Penn State prove to be the final hurdles necessary to clear, the Buckeyes can once again boast about having the highest attendance this spring, for whatever that is worth.

Alabama (73,426), Penn State (71,000) and Georgia (66,133) made their final push to round-out the top five spring crowds this year over the weekend. The only power conference programs remaining on the spring game schedule are Arkansas, Oregon, Virginia, and UCLA this coming weekend. If you took the combined spring attendance of each of those schools, they would collectively fall shy of Ohio State’s spring crowd total for this season.

Spring Game Attendance Top 10 for 2017 (as of 4/24/2017)

  1. Ohio State – 80,134
  2. Nebraska – 78,312
  3. Alabama – 74,326
  4. Penn State – 71,000
  5. Georgia – 66,133
  6. Clemson – 60,000
  7. Michigan – 57,418
  8. Florida – 48,000
  9. Auburn – 46,331
  10. Oklahoma – 43,723

How valuable the attendance figures for the spring game varies from fanbase to fanbase, and even within each fanbase there is a wide range of opinion on what the significance of the spring game attendance really is. It does help inject some reason to be enthusiastic about the program on the recruiting trail, but it ultimately is open to interpretation just like so many other recruiting tools. Remember, the majority of schools out there hardly make an effort to promote their spring game and make it an event fans look forward to. There may be no conference that demonstrates the wide range of affection for the spring game than the Big Ten.

The Big Ten is led by Ohio State, Nebraska, Penn State and, recently, Michigan when it comes to spring game crowds, but then there is the curious case of Wisconsin. The Badgers have a loyal following, but have not cracked the 10,000-fan mark since 2014, when I began tracking spring game attendance figures. Northwestern has never even kept track of its spring scrimmage numbers, and neither has Indiana for the past three years.

You can check the updated spring game attendance numbers and sort them by conference HERE.

Edgerrin James’ nephew to transfer from Miami

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Last season, Jeff James was one of seven players  suspended for Miami’s Russell Athletic Bowl game against West Virginia.  Nearly four months later, he’s gone.

In a press release, Miami announced that the defensive back “is no longer a member of the football program.” No reason was given for the nephew of former Hurricane great Edgerrin James deciding to leave The U.

“I talked to Jeff and we both felt it was in his best interests to get a fresh start somewhere else,” head coach Mark Richt said in a statement released by the school. “We wish him all the best in his future plans.”

James was a three-star member of UM’s 2016 recruiting class.  247Sports.com had the Orlando high school product rated as the No. 112 safety in the country and the No. 1,678 player in its composite rankings.

The defensive back played in one game as a true freshman, the season-opening win over FCS Florida A&M.