Down second half of the season for Teddy Bridgewater may be overblown

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Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater entered the 2013 season as one of the top Heisman Trophy candidates but ever since the Cardinals were upset by UCF and knocked out of the BCS championship picture, regardless of how much of a shot they had to start with, it seems as though the college football world has sort of forgotten about Bridgewater. Bridgewater is still widely considered to be a potential top draft pick, if he does indeed decide to turn pro and skip on his final year at Louisville, so he has not exactly fallen off the map.

As far as the college football world is concerned, Bridgewater has been overlooked in the second half of the season.

He was not among the six players invited to New York for the Heisman Trophy presentation. The American Athletic Conference gave UCF quarterback Blake Bortles the nod as the conference’s offensive player of the year and all-conference first team despite Bridgewater having better number sin a variety of passing categories and actually turning in a better statistical game in their head-to-head match-up.

Some seem to think Bridgewater struggled down the stretch of the regular season because he failed to throw a 300-yard game. At a glance I felt that way as well. Watching Bridgewater in the second half of the season you saw some throws he would have liked to have back for sure, but he also had a handful of plays that show why he is so attractive to NFL scouts. The UConn game may have been the worst game of the year for Bridgewater, as he completed just 56.8 percent of his passes and he was intercepted once, but he led the team to victory with 288 yards. For the season though, Bridgewater was successful inside the red zone. Bridgewater only completed 55.6 percent of his passes inside the 20-yard line, but he tossed 16 touchdowns and zero interceptions. That prove he is smart with the football and avoids making mistakes at the worst possible time, and that means something at the next level as well.

Bridgewater’s completion percentage dipped about 11 points in November, but a completion percentage 64.7 in November was just three points lower than Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston at Florida State and was higher than Heisman finalists AJ McCarron of Alabama and Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M. As has always been the case for Bridgewater, and Louisville, being guilty by association has been the biggest detriment when it comes to appreciating what has gone right. Because Bridgewater and Louisville played a schedule without many challenges, our perception of the numbers can be skewed at times.

Bridgewater may be playing his final game as a Louisville Cardinal today against Miami. I encourage you all to just sit back, relax and enjoy it while you can.

Wazzu statement: ‘The tragic news today surrounding Tyler Hilinksi is devastating to all’

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Tuesday night, the Pullman Police Department confirmed that 21-year-old Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski was found dead in his apartment of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.  Very early Wednesday morning, the football program and athletic department released statements addressing the devastating developments.

HEAD FOOTBALL COACH MIKE LEACH
We are deeply saddened to hear the news of Tyler’s passing. He was an incredible young man and everyone who had the privilege of knowing him was better for it. The entire WSU community mourns as thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

INTERIM ATHLETIC DIRECTOR John Johnson
The tragic news today surrounding Tyler Hilinski is devastating to all. Tyler was a tremendous individual, great friend and teammate, and he will be deeply missed. Our hearts go out to his family and friends.

Earlier tonight, the football team was brought together and informed of the tragedy. There, they were met by campus and department counseling and psychological services, including athletics’ on-staff clinical psychologist and a licensed mental health counselor, along with WSU Athletics medical team. The university will continue to coordinate and provide ongoing counseling care for all student-athletes as long as needed.

Washington State QB Tyler Hilinski found dead in apparent suicide

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There is utterly tragic and horrific news coming out of Pullman Tuesday night.

According to the Pullman Police Department, Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski was found dead at his apartment late Tuesday afternoon of what was described as an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. “A rifle was discovered next to Hilinski and a suicide note was found,” the police stated in a release.

Police officers were called to the residence at 7:30 p.m. ET (4:40 p.m. local time) for a wellness check after the redshirt sophomore failed to show up for a team activity earlier in the day.

Hilinski was just 21 years old.

As of this posting, there’s been no official response from the football program regarding the passing of Hilinski.  Wednesday, the university had been expected to announce the new athletic director replacing Bill Moos, Florida Atlantic’s Pat Chun; because of the football player’s death, that press conference will be rescheduled for a later date.

In place of Luke Falk, Hilinski started Wazzu’s Holiday Bowl loss to Michigan State.  With Falk off to the NFL, Hilinski was expected to be the Cougars’ starting quarterback in 2018.

Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to all of those impacted by Hilinski’s way-too-early passing.

Former Nebraska OL coach Mike Cavanaugh hired by Syracuse

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Dino Babers has added a very experienced trenchman to his Syracuse coaching staff.

The school confirmed Tuesday that Babers has hired Mike Cavanaugh as his next offensive line coach. In a coaching career that spans 32 seasons, Cavanaugh has been a line coach in some form or fashion for 31 of them.

“Mike has an outstanding track record of teaching and developing quality offensive linemen,” Babers said in a statement. “He’s done it successfully at every level in college as well as the pros. This was an opportunity to add someone whose knowledge and experience will greatly enhance our staff and benefit our players.”

The past three seasons, Cavanaugh was the line coach at Nebraska. At the FBS level, he’s also served as a line coach at Oregon State (2005-14) and Hawaii (1999-2004).

From 1997-98, Cavanaugh was the assistant offensive line coach for the NFL’s San Diego Chargers.

“I’d like to thank Coach Babers for this opportunity and for welcoming me into the Syracuse family,” Cavanaugh said. “He and his staff have coached some of the most prolific offenses in college football. I’m excited to learn from them and to be part of the championship-caliber program they are building at Syracuse.”

The 2018 season will mark the first time since 2004 Cavanaugh is not a part of a Mike Riley-coached staff.

Kevin Stepherson one of four dismissed by Notre Dame

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At least in South Bend, Kevin Stepherson‘s freefall is complete.

According to 247Sports.com, Stepherson, along with three other Notre Dame football players — sophomore running backs CJ Holmes and Deon McIntosh as well as junior defensive tackle Brandon Tiassum — have been dismissed from the Fighting Irish program.  No specific reason or reasons for the dismissals were given.

Stepherson was one of four Irish players who were suspended for the team’s Citrus Bowl matchup with LSU, with the wide receiver’s suspension stemming from a handful of off-field issues.

Dec. 15, Stepherson was arrested for shoplifting.  The day before that arrest, Stepherson was pulled over on a traffic stop and charged with marijuana possession, driving without a valid license and speeding (he was clocked doing 80 in a 60 mph zone). To make matters worse, at the time of his twin arrests the receiver was already on probation for a marijuana-related arrest in August of 2016.

Adding to the off-field issues, Stepherson was suspended for the first four games of the 2017 season for reasons unrelated to the arrest in August of 2016.

At the time of the second suspension, Stepherson led the Fighting Irish in receiving touchdowns with five and yards per catch at 18.9 despite missing one-third of the regular season because of the first suspension.  His 19 receptions and 359 receiving yards were both good for third on the team.

Another of the players who were dismissed, Holmes, was arrested along with Stepherson in the shoplifting incident.  Holmes ran for 32 yards on eight carries this season.

McIntosh was the fourth of the four players suspended for the bowl game.  At the time of his suspension, McIntosh was third on the team in rushing with 368 yards and five touchdowns.

Tiassum played very sparsely this past season, and wasn’t looking at much more playing time in 2018.