While some college football rivalries can get heated on the field — and in the stands and tailgates and amongst certain trees — there’s generally a great deal of respect on both sides off if it.
The latest example of that comes in the midst of a true tragedy.
The weekend before last, Navy running back Will McKamey collapsed during a practice session and lapsed into a coma following brain surgery. Sadly, the 19-year-old Midshipman never awoke from the coma and passed away last Tuesday.
Monday, McKamey was laid to rest in his home state if Tennessee. One of the mourners who came to pay their respects to the family? Army head coach Jeff Monken.
In a statement, the first-year coach explained his decision and how the historic Army-Navy rivalry simply doesn’t matter in a time like this.
“It’s more than just a rivalry on the field. There’s something beyond that. I really felt it was important that our academy and our football team was represented there. We were all just amazed at how remarkably strong his parents were and what a great example of leadership they were for their other children and for all the people that were there. It was great to be there and be around their players and coaches and be there together with the same sense of spirit to support his family and their loss.”
The Navy football program returned to the practice field Tuesday for the first time since McKamey collapsed March 22. That came a day after more than 80 players and coaches attended McKamey’s funeral.
Navy had missed a total of four spring practice sessions. Head coach Ken Niumatalolo said those sessions won’t be made up as it was and is far more important for his team to have time to heal.
“t’s been tough on us, but it’s really been tough on the [McKamey] family,” Niumatalolo said following yesterday’s practice. “Last week we took some time off to mourn. There’s nothing that prepares you for that. …
“I thought it was most important … for our team to heal. It’s obviously still ongoing. There are things way more important than football, things way more important than spring ball.
When Derwin James went down with a torn meniscus in Week 2, Florida State had the Clemson game circled as a potential date for a return. Unfortunately for both the player and the team, that won’t be the case.
On his weekly call-in show Wednesday night, Jimbo Fisher confirmed that James and his surgically-repaired knee will not play in the Seminoles’ game this Saturday against the Tigers. There is still no timetable for the sophomore safety’s return.
“Hopefully Derwin will be back here soon,” the head coach said.
One thing apparently off the table is a redshirt for James as Fisher said if the defensive back can return at any point this season he will.
The Clemson game will mark the sixth straight missed by James. FSU will close out the regular season against North Carolina State (Nov. 5), Boston College (Nov. 11), Syracuse (Nov. 19) and Florida Nov. 26).
In less than two full games this season, James was credited with 11 tackles and also has an interception.
As a true freshman last season, James’ 91 tackles were second only to Reggie Northrup’s 94. He was also second on the team in tackles for loss (9.5) and sacks (4.5).
For that, he was named a consensus freshman All-American and third-team All-ACC. This offseason, he was named to the Bednarik Award, Nagurski Trophy and Thorpe Award watch lists, and is widely considered one of the most talented players on the defensive side of the ball in the country.
As Florida Atlantic looks to put a halt to a six-game losing streak, tied with Bowling Green, Fresno State and Kansas for the longest such streak nationally, they’ll have to do so without a starting piece of their offensive line.
Head coach Charlie Partridge announced Wednesday that Bryan Beck will miss the remainder of the 2016 season because of injury. Specifically, the right tackle has an unspecified knee injury.
Beck was pushed into the starting lineup because of a knee injury to senior Kelly Parfitt.
“We’ll attack this challenge like we have the rest of them,” Partridge said of the latest injury setback for his offensive line.
According to the Sun-Sentinel, the Owls will be using their eight different line combination this weekend. Saturday’s game against Western Kentucky will be FAU’s eighth this season.
A redshirt freshman, Beck has started four games this season. Three of those starts came in the last three games in place of the injured Parfitt.
Former Penn State tight end Brent Wilkerson will serve five years of probation and must register as a sex offender after pleading guilty to indecent assault on Tuesday.
Wilkerson was accused of pushing a woman upstairs to her bedroom back in February. The two fell asleep but the woman claimed to wake up to discover she was being kissed and fondled by Wilkerson. A police report said Wilkerson was drunk but the woman was not.
Wilkerson was slated to be a key contributor to Penn State’s offense in 2016, but after initially being suspended by the program in the spring, he was dismissed by the program weeks later.
Notre Dame may be going through a disappointing college football season, but quarterback DeShone Kizer says the players have not lost their faith in their head coach, Brian Kelly.
“We have complete confidence in coach Kelly,” Kizer said, according to The Indy Star. “He has experience, he’s a winning coach, he knows how to win and he’s going to figure out whatever it takes to win. And as long as we continue to have the mentality that he is the successful coach that he is and trust in that, we’re going to be fine.:
Notre Dame is just 2-5 this season, with their bowl hopes fading quickly. As Notre Dame has struggled, Kelly has come under some fire for how he has handled the season thus far, which has included throwing others under the bus, a change at defensive coordinator and poor coaching decisions along the way. The preseason expectation of being a potential playoff contender in the eyes of some set the bar high for Kelly and the Irish, and so far Notre Dame has come nowhere close to living up to those standards.
Kelly has already received a vote of confidence from Notre Dame athletics director Jack Swarbrick. Now he has his starting quarterback behind him.
“We’ve been all over the place in this first half of the season from different motivational speeches to different mindsets each week trying to figure out what’s the best way of getting a win and doing whatever we can,” Kizer said. “But from here on out, it’s just having a good time, taking this opportunity to play for Notre Dame and doing whatever you can to bring home wins.”