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Michigan’s o-line injuries should open up competition for spring

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Michigan will enter the spring practices without one of their returning starters on the offensive line available. Erik Magnuson will be kept out of the spring football schedule due to recovery from shoulder surgery.

As reported by MLive.com, Magnuson will be available for the Wolverines in the fall, and his starting job should be secure when he is back from surgery rehabilitation.

“He’ll be ready for fall, for sure,” Michigan head coach Brady Hoke said Monday. “He just won’t be ready for spring.”

Magnuson started at left guard for Michigan in seven games, including the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl against Kansas State. He is expected to make a move to offensive tackle for Michigan in 2014, where he would replace Taylor Lewan on the left side. The Wolverines will also be without some other linemen. Guard Chris Bryant (shoulder) and Joey Burzynski (knee) will also be unavailable this spring. Neither appeared on the team’s depth chart for the bowl game.

Without Magnuson, Bryant and Burzynski available there should be some good opportunities this spring for other players to improve their line skills and make a push for roster positioning on the depth chart for the fall. Michigan’s offensive line was a mess for much of the 2013 season, so heading in to the spring with a fresh take and increasing the competitive nature could pay off for Michigan in the long run later in the year.

For now, Kyle Bosch figures to receive the most benefit from some extra reps this spring. Bosch backed up Magnuson at left guard last season. Hoke touched on a few players to keep an eye on for competition for the vacant starting jobs on the line, but this spring should begin to focus on improving across the line for the starters and second team. Depth on the offensive line is critical for Michigan to run the type of offense Hoke would like to see put together. With new offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier coming from Alabama, the focus on getting a dominant offensive line will be one of the top priorities for Michigan.

Butch Jones labels rumor of ‘physical altercation’ with Vols player ‘absolutely ridiculous’

ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Head coach Butch Jones of the Tennessee Volunteers yells at Marquez North #8 during the game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on September 27, 2014 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Already in the crosshairs for his 2-3 team’s late-game failures, Butch Jones now finds himself under increasing scrutiny for something that allegedly happened a couple of months ago.

The website Gridiron.com, which features such respected journalists Tony Barnhart and Mike Huguenin among others, reported earlier today that the Tennessee head coach was involved in what was described as a “physical altercation” with senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder during summer camp this past August.  The source close to the program added that practice film that day captured the alleged incident, although it’s unclear if that tapes still exists.

From the site’s report:

The incident occurred during fall camp, about the time that news started to come out about a few offensive linemen who were considering stepping away from the program. Crowder walked off the practice field one day and missed a day or two of practice, and Brett Kendrick and Dylan Wiesman were said to be contemplating their futures. Sources say the players’ actions stemmed from an incident between Jones and Crowder.

The website also made a Freedom of Information request seeking any correspondence between the university and the Crowder family be turned over, but writes that UT “administrators said any sort of letter or correspondence that may or may not have happened was covered under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.”

Monday, Jones labeled what began as message-board speculation that he had struck one of his Vols players as “absolutely ridiculous.” The Knoxville News Sentinel contacted Crowder’s father, with the paper writing that “he had no comment and did not want to give validation to message boards.”

At least publicly, the university has yet to address the allegations.  Jones will get yet another chance to address the speculation with the media in the very near future.

Tulsa loses second-leading receiver to season-ending injury

NORMAN, OK - SEPTEMBER 14:   Wide receiver Keevan Lucas #2 of the Tulsa Golden Hurricane just misses a pass against the Oklahoma Sooners September 14, 2013 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. The Sooners defeated the Golden Hurricane 51-20.  (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
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One of the most productive pass-catching duos in the country has been cut in half.

Tulsa head coach Philip Montgomery confirmed Tuesday that Keevan Lucas sustained a torn patellar tendon  in the third quarter of Saturday’s loss to Houston.  As a result, the wide receiver will miss the remainder of the 2015 season.

“He’s such an emotional leader for us and such a great kid,” the first-year coach said. “We’ll have to make a few adjustments offensively and move some people around and try to make sure we’ve got guys in the right spot but also guys who will step up and be ready to play.”

Lucas is currently second on the team with 26 receptions and 409 receiving yards, behind Keyarris Garrett‘s 33 and 539. His five receiving touchdowns, though, are tops on the team.

Montgomery expects Lucas to be healthy enough to participate in spring practice next year.