LSU Georgia Football

Mark Richt talks possible UGA suspensions


Clemson has already suspended four players for its season opener against Georgia.  Depending on how things play out over the next couple of months, the Bulldogs could be in that same punitive neighborhood — if not a little higher.

Following practice Tuesday, potential suspensions for various players were a focal point in the media’s conversation with Mark Richt.  In the first order of business, the head coach all but confirmed that wide receiver Justin Scott-Wesley (pictured) will receive a one-game suspension for a marijuana possession arrest that occurred last October after he suffered a season-ending injury.

School policy dictates that a student-athlete arrested on such a charge would face the loss of 10 percent of their sport’s regular-season games. “We’ll stay with our policies on that,” the coach said, indicating that Scott-Wesley will be hit with the single-game suspension.

As for the four UGA players, including projected secondary starter Tray Matthews, who were charged recently with at least two counts each of theft by perjury?  Richt was non-committal as to whether suspensions would be the end result of the quartet’s stipend check scam, although he didn’t rule any punitive avenue out either.

“Ah, I wouldn’t put anything out of the realm of possibility right now,” Richt said according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Right now we’re just allowing them to continue to work. When the discipline is laid out — there’s some happening right now, just early-morning running and things of that nature — but there’s more to come. Just  thinking it through real good.”

All four players — wide receiver Uriah LeMay, defensive lineman John Taylor (no relation) and defensive end James DeLoach being the other three — have been permitted to practice with the team since their arrests early last week.

On the bright side personnel-wise, Richt did confirm that Shaq Wiggins will not be suspended for a January arrest on charges of driving on a suspended license and speeding.

Was Washington loss the beginning of the end of the Steve Sarkisian era at USC?

Steve Sarkisian

Steve Sarkisian’s win totals in his six previous seasons are both a positive and a negative.

On one hand, he resurrected a moribund Washington program that went 0-12 under Ty Willingham in 2008 and took them to four consecutive bowl games from 2010-2013. He won nine games his last year in Seattle, then led a talented-yet-thin USC team to a nine-win season and AP No. 20 finish in 2014.

Those are good accomplishments. But the flip side of the argument is Sarkisian has never won double-digit games in a season, something that’s a necessity to keep one’s job at USC. The Trojans’ 17-12 loss to Washington last night — at home, no less — means the road to 10 wins and a Pac-12 title will be awfully difficult.

And worse yet, there are plenty of arguments to be made Sarkisian doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt and a little more time in Los Angeles to turn things around (#SarkAfterDark, his drunken rant at a booster event, certainly doesn’t help). The reaction from national media to last night’s loss looked like this:

Mandel, in his column, argued USC is right where it was two years ago with Lane Kiffin as its coach. And there’s this embarrassing thought, that looks more and more like a truth, for Pat Haden:

This one, however, was the most damning by far for many reasons, most notably that it came at the hands of Sarkisian’s old team. The sense among many Washington fans nearly two years ago was that the Huskies managed to upgrade coaches when the school lured Chris Petersen from Boise State upon Sarkisian’s departure to USC.

They were right.

USA Today’s Dan Wolken similarly wrote that USC needs to drop Sarkisian and bring in Chip Kelly from the Philadelphia Eagles.

This is the state of USC, and it may not get better. The Trojans start a brutal three-game stretch next Saturday at Notre Dame in primetime, then welcome Utah to Los Angeles the next week. A Halloween trip to Berkeley to face Jared Goff and Cal finishes it up. There’s a very real chance USC, for all its talent and all its hype, limps into November with a 4-4 or 3-5 record.

Sarkisian will have to engineer and sustain a major turnaround in these coming weeks, otherwise he’ll give Haden all the ammo he needs to unceremoniously jettison him after two years.

Starting Navy S Kwazel Bertrand undergoes surgery, likely out for season

Kwazel Bertrand, Jacobi Owens
Associated Press
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Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.

Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.

And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.

“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”

Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.