We knew already Ole Miss had suspended Denzel Nkemdiche from the team while a legal issue is sorted out. Now we know that suspension will carry over to the season opener for the Rebels against Boise State.
As spring practice opened in Oxford, Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze addressed Nkemdiche’s status with the team. Nkemdiche will sit out the first game of the season against Boise State.
“(Nkemdiche) will not be with us this spring,” Freeze confirmed. “He is still suspended from the team… He will be suspended at least for the first game next year. I’m hoping he can really learn from the mistakes that have been made and get back to being who he can be. He’s a good kid. It’s never fun when your kids make mistakes.”
Freeze also confirmed Serderius Bryant is also suspended from the team but will continue to practice. Freeze said Bryant will have some community service to do to help regain his position with the team moving forward, and part of that includes giving up time on his spring break to perform some mission work. The second team All-SEC linebacker was arrested for disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace at the same time as Nkemdiche. For now, Freeze has not determined if Bryant will miss the season opener as well, but he left the door open for that as a realistic possibility.
“He has a lot of things he has to do to be in good standing before the first ball game,” Freeze said about Bryant. “It could involve some being suspended, also, depending on how the rest of his stuff goes.”
There’s never a good time to lose a football game 52-0, but even by that scale it’s an especially bad thing to lose 52-0 in a game you had to win to keep your bowl hopes alive to a team so disgusted by its own season that it fired its head coach a month ago.
That’s what South Alabama did on Saturday in dropping a 52-0 decision to Georgia Southern, giving the Eagles their first win of the season.
And on Monday, South Alabama announced head coach Joey Jones will resign following the Jaguars’ Dec. 2 finale at New Mexico State.
“There comes a time in every program where there is a need for change. For this program that I love so much, that time is now,” Jones said in a statement. “One of the proudest days of my professional life was being the named the first head coach at South Alabama. Today is difficult, but it is the right step for me, my family and for this football program.”
Jones is the only head coach South Alabama has ever known, hired Feb. 15, 2008. He led the Jags for three seasons as an FCS Independent before joining the Sun Belt in 2012, taking the club to bowl games in 2014 and 2016.
The loss Saturday dropped the program to 4-7 this season, ending hopes of returning to a bowl game for the first time in the program’s short history.
“Joey Jones is the father of our football program. He, his wife Elise and his entire family put their arms around the program and committed to its establishment and growth,” said AD Dr. Joel Erdmann. “He has placed South Alabama Football on strong footing, which is something he and his family can be very proud of and we sincerely appreciate. His good, hard work and commitment will forever be recognized.”
A report broke over the weekend that Virginia head coach Bronco Mendenhall was a person of interest in the ongoing Oregon State coaching search. An Oregon State graduate with significant experience in the region as BYU’s former head coach, Mendenhall made a lot of sense for the Beavers. Problem is, the Beavers didn’t make a lot of sense for Mendenhall, and on Monday he effectively withdrew his name from the search.
No matter, Oregon State quickly moved on to a group of qualified, logical candidates. According to Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune, Oregon State interim head coach Cory Hall, Cal offensive coordinator Beau Baldwin and Washington offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith have interviewed for the post.
Eggers wrote that Hall is running significantly behind the other two, but that Oregon State AD Scott Barnes would work to influence the actual hire to retain Hall.
Baldwin has a decade of experience as a head coach in the Pacific Northwest, one 10-3 season at Central Washington and an 85-32 run with an FCS national championship in nine seasons at Eastern Washington. Baldwin left EWU to become Justin Wilcox‘s offensive coordinator in Berkeley last winter.
Smith doesn’t have Bladwin’s head coaching experience, but he does have more successful experience within the Pac-12 and at Oregon State in particular. Smith has been Chris Petersen‘s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for his entire run at Washington, and spent two years as Boise State’s quarterbacks coach before that.
Smith was also a record-setting quarterback at Oregon State and began his coaching career as a Beavers graduate assistant in 2002-03.
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield caused a stir with his antics during a road win at Kansas on Saturday, and Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley is addressing it this week. Riley announced Mayfield will not be a team captain for Oklahoma’s game against West Virginia this week, and Mayfield will start the game on the sideline instead of on the field.
Not having Mayfield as a team captain for the game will prevent him from being on the field for the pregame coin flip. Mayfield’s eventful afternoon at Kansas got started with a pregame handshake kerfuffle and later devolved to some trash talking with Kansas fans and obscene gestures directed at Kansas players following a touchdown. None of what Oklahoma is doing this week against West Virginia will necessarily prevent any similar events from happening, but it is somewhat interesting to see.
How long Mayfield stays on the sideline against the Mountaineers was not determined. It could be one half, one quarter, one series or just one play. Regardless of the length of this form of discipline, Mayfield enters some pretty uncharted territory for a Heisman Trophy favorite, and now he will be suspended for the start of a regular season game late in the season. Johnny Manziel and Jameis Winston are recent Heisman Trophy winners to serve a suspension during the regular season, but those suspensions were served the year following winning the Heisman Trophy. Could Mayfield be the first Heisman Trophy winner to serve some form of suspension during the same regular season?
We’ll find out soon enough.
Oklahoma hosts West Virginia at 3:45 p.m. ET this Saturday.
Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh confirmed starting quarterback Brandon Peters has been entered into the concussion protocol after being taken out of Saturday’s road loss at Wisconsin. Because of the concussion protocol, it is unknown if Peters will be available for Michigan’s regular-season finale at home on Saturday against Ohio State.
“He’ll be evaluated again by the doctors this week to see if he would be cleared for contact,” Harbaugh said, according to The Detroit News. “[John O’Korn] has remained diligent every single week to preparation and the game plan, always sitting on a spring ready to play.”
If Peters is unavailable for Saturday, the offense will be placed back in the hands of O’Korn. Wilton Speight has not been cleared to for contact practices yet as he continues to recover from fractured vertebrae earlier this season.
Michigan’s offense seemed to get a much-needed jolt when Peters was inserted in the offense in place of O’Korn, who had also replaced an injured Speight. Without Peters, Michigan’s offense has not been able to find much offensive success this season, and that could pose a significant problem this week against the rival Buckeyes, who will be playing to remain on the College Football Playoff radar.