Vanderbilt could be opening their SEC schedule in professional style. According to a report by The Tennessean, it is expected Vanderbilt will announce a home game against Ole Miss will be moved to LP Field, home of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans. The announcement could come as early as this afternoon, as a press conference with Vanderbilt officials is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. (central) at LP Field.
The game is currently scheduled for September 6. Moving the game from Vanderbilt Stadium, with a seating capacity of 40,350, to LP Field, with a listed seating capacity of 69,143, gives an opportunity for more Vanderbilt fans to support their team, but there should be plenty of Ole Miss fans making the trip as well. It is possible Ole Miss could bring a larger crowd as well, which is a negative of moving a home game for Vanderbilt that is countered by extra potential ticket revenue.
As has been speculated by some on Twitter, moving a notable conference game to an NFL stadium in the year after James Franklin has left the program may not be much of a coincidence. Franklin had embraced the opportunity to create a true home field advantage at Vanderbilt Stadium, and for the most part that turned out to be a successful strategy.
LP Field could become a future home of some more early season college football as well. The stadium is being used for a sales pitch by the Music City Sports and Entertainment Group to start a brand new kickoff game in Nashville as early as 2016.
UPDATE (3:34 p.m.): As expected, the game being moved to LP Field has been formally announced.
Ole Miss will be without a starting piece of its defensive puzzle for an extended period of time, both the player and the school revealed Tuesday.
With rumors swirling about his condition, C.J. Johnson confirmed on his personal Twitter account late this morning that he will be undergoing surgery at some point in the not-too-distant future. The linebacker sustained an injury to his left knee in last Saturday’s loss to Florida and did not return to the contest.
Subsequent to that posting, Ole Miss confirmed that Johnson underwent surgery earlier in the day to repair a torn meniscus in his knee. The procedure and rehab will sideline Johnson for a period of 4-6 weeks.
At the low-end of the prognosis, Johnson would miss the next four games — New Mexico State, Memphis, Texas A&M, Auburn — and return for the Nov. 7 game against Arkansas. The high-end would have him sidelined until the regular-season finale against Mississippi State.
Johnson had started all five games at middle linebacker for the Rebels. He started 26 games at defensive end the past three years before moving to linebacker.
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.