Former Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien is no longer under the governance of the NCAA, so he is as free as he has ever been to speak his mind about the situation Penn State’s football program is in. Speaking with NFL media at the NFL meetings in Orlando, Florida on Tuesday, O’Brien said it is ridiculous Penn State is currently serving a postseason ban.
“The fact that there is a bowl ban at Penn State, is ridiculous,” O’Brien said, according to the quote sheet provided by the Houston Texans. The quote came mixed in to a question about his decision to not leave Penn State without informing his players of the decision. O’Brien explained the team was on Christmas break because of the postseason ban, but he attempted to make contact with every player before leaving to be named the head coach of the Texans.
“I didn’t ever want to be somebody that just rode off in the middle night and never said a word,” O’Brien said. “I mean, I love those kids and had a great relationship with all those guys. I don’t know if I reached every one of them but I at least left a message for all of them.”
Penn State was issued a four-year postseason ban in the summer of 2012, just as O’Brien was getting prepped for his first season on the job in State College. The sentence was part of larger sanction parameters including a $60 million fine, significant reduction in football scholarships and the vacating of all wins dating back to the 1999 season. The landmark sanctions were dropped following the release of the Freeh Report, an investigative look at how the Jerry Sandusky crimes were handled by the university leadership in place, including former university president Graham Spanier and former head coach Joe Paterno. Penn State will enter the 2014 season, the first for new head coach James Franklin, with two full seasons remaining on the postseason ban.
The NCAA has already taken measures to restore football scholarships. Penn State jumped up to 20 available scholarships for the Class of 2014 and will return to the 25-scholarship limit in the Class of 2015. Penn State will be able to get back to a full-scholarship count by 2017. The decision to return scholarships was inspired by the latest annual report by George Mitchell to the NCAA, which complimented Penn State in acting on improvements within the structure of the university. If the NCAA is to make any other adjustments to the sanction terms in the event of another positive report from Mitchell later this year, a reduction in the postseason ban would appear to be the most likely possibility at this point.
Wisconsin will need all hands on deck if they hope to contain LSU’s Leonard Fournette in the 2016 opener at Lambeau field. Unfortunately for the Badgers, a key hand may be unavailable.
A report emerged late last week that T.J. Edwards would be sidelined indefinitely because of a foot injury. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote that “Edwards was seen wearing a walking boot this week and a source confirmed the redshirt sophomore is out” for the foreseeable future.
During the Big Ten Media Days Tuesday, head coach Paul Chryst somewhat addressed the linebacker’s status.
Paul Chryst said in local media session that there isn’t a timetable for ILB T.J. Edwards’ return from an injured foot. #Badgers
Leidner was one of the Gophers’ player representatives at the Big Ten Media Days Tuesday, and decided he’d share a post-operation picture of his surgically-repaired foot. Again, if your squeamish, look away.
Here’s what Minnesota QB Mitch Leidner endured this offseason. It’s amazing he’s healthy. This photo is likely NSFW. pic.twitter.com/3HmVyb9f0x
As if the photo doesn’t paint this picture, head coach Tracy Claeys acknowledged that the starter was worse off health-wise than the football program let on last year.
“We hid his injuries pretty good a year ago,” Claeys said according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “He was banged up pretty good. The foot injury he had was tough and really limited him.”
Now, though, Leidner proclaims himself, “[p]hysically, I’m in the best shape of my life, by far.” The fifth-year senior, projected by some to be a first-round quarterback prospect in the 2017 NFL draft, added that he feels “like I’m throwing the ball better than I ever have before.”
VIDEO: Body cam footage shows Iowa football player’s encounter with police
The story of an Iowa football player, Pokemon Go and Iowa City police now has some visuals to go along with the oral narrative.
Over the weekend, officers in that police department were searching for a suspect in a bank robbery. Hawkeyes defensive lineman Faith Ekakitie (pictured, No. 56) just happened to be in a park in that area and seemingly matched the description of the suspect — black man in black clothing wearing something on his head — prompting the officers to approach the lineman. When Ekakitie failed to respond to the officers’ commands, because he was wearing headphones, weapons were drawn.
Because of the national attention the incident has received, the ICPD on Tuesday released two body cam videos that shows exactly how the encounter between their officers and Ekakitie went down.
“I think it’s critical we get the information out so people can actually see the events as they actually occurred in real time,” says ICPD Sgt. Scott Gaarde in regards to releasing the videos.
In his social media missive, Ekakitie thanked the police officers involved for how they handled the situation.
“I would like to thank the Iowa City Police department for handling a situation very professionally,” the lineman wrote. “I would also urge people to be more aware of their surroundings because clearly I wasn’t.
“Lastly, I would urge us all to unlearn some of the prejudices that we have learned about each other and now plague our minds and our society. I am convinced that in the same way that we learned these prejudices, we can also unlearn them.”
Arrest on UCLA campus led to USC CB’s suspension for opener vs. Alabama
The Los Angeles Times reported that USC cornerback Isaiah Langley was arrested back in May at a frat party at rival UCLA on three misdemeanor charges — suspicion of trespassing, intoxication and resisting arrest. USC head coach Clay Helton subsequently confirmed that Langley will be suspended for the opener against Alabama because of the incident.
From the Times on the events surrounding the arrest:
Langley was attending a fraternity party at UCLA when he was arrested, according to Greenstein. She said Langley gave responding officers the wrong age and resisted arrest.
“When he was asked to leave, he refused,” Greenstein said. “Police were called and he was arrested for misdemeanor trespassing.”
As a true freshman last season, Langley appeared in 11 games as a backup corner. He was credited with 12 tackles in limited action.
On his official bio, the school wrote that “Langley will battle for key playing time at cornerback as a sophomore in 2016.”