While Bob Stoops won’t be ready to publicly name a starting quarterback until Saturday, one report has decided to get ahead of signal-calling curve.
The Daily Oklahoman, citing a source close to the program, reported Wednesday that Trevor Knight will start for Oklahoma Saturday in its game against Kansas State. Blake Bell, who took over for Knight earlier this season, suffered a concussion early in the second quarter of last weekend’s win over Iowa State and has not been medically cleared.
Knight was the surprise starter coming out of summer camp, but gave way to Bell due to what was called a bruised knee suffered in the Week 2 win over West Virginia. Stoops allowed after that game, however, that Knight’s performance in the Mountaineers game — 10-of-20 for 119 yards and two interceptions — played as much of a role in the decision to go to Bell as did the injury.
Bell has started the past eight games, with the Sooners going 6-2 in that span.
The news of Bell being sidelined comes the same day it was reported that a pair of offensive starters — running back Damien Williams and wide receiver Lacoltan Bester — would not play against K-State. The speculation is that both have been suspended, although OU has yet to confirm either of the player’s statuses for the game.
In the midst of reports that he had a physical altercation with one of his Tennessee players during summer camp this year, Butch Jones labeled the speculation “absolutely ridiculous.”
Apparently, his bosses agree with the head coach.
At a board meeting Thursday, UT-Knoxville chancellor Jimmy Cheek stated that he and athletic director Dave Hart had done their “due diligence” in investigating the accusations that Jones and senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder were involved in some type of physical skirmish during practice this past August. The end result of interviews with Jones, coaches and players was the conclusion that there was nothing to the reports and message-board rumors.
“There’s been a lot of rumor and misinformation on social media and message boards about an alleged incident during football practice,” Cheek said according to GoVols247.com‘s Wes Rucker. “It’s not our practice to respond to rumors, but I thought it was important to let you know that we’ve done our due diligence and Dave Hart and I are very confident there was no inappropriate conduct with any players or coaches.”
Shortly after Cheek spoke at the board meeting, Crowder took to Twitter with a series of missives that speaks around the issue.
Michigan played without its leading rusher in Week 5. The Wolverines are hoping there won’t be a repeat in Week 6.
De'Veon Smith sustained a lower-leg injury in the Week 4 win over BYU and didn’t travel with the team for last Saturday’s win over Maryland. Smith has been practicing with his teammates throughout the first few days of this week, and head coach Jim Harbaugh is guardedly optimistic that the running back will be available for what’s turned into a huge Big Ten matchup with Northwestern Saturday in the Big House.
“He’s practicing and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he’s going to stay good and be ready to play,” Harbaugh said during a radio appearance Thursday morning. “But we’ll (keep) looking at that every day.”
Despite essentially missing a game and a half, Smith currently leads the Wolverines with 331 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. He’s added four receptions for 35 yards and a touchdown coming out of the backfield the first four games.
Should Smith be unable to go again, the Wolverines have three other backs with at least 100 yards on the ground: Ty Isaac (187, 7.2 yards per carry), Drake Johnson (125, 4.2 ypc) and Derrick Green (100, 3.3 ypc).
In addition to Smith, Harbaugh is hopeful Channing Stribling will be available this weekend as well. The starting cornerback didn’t play against the Cougars because of injury