It’s at this point in the program where we’re compelled to state that the Charlie Strong era at Texas has gotten off on the wrong foot.
(Waiting for the groans to subside… and we’re good.)
In the run-up to the first Austin spring game for Strong next week, the Longhorns’ offense has suffered what will likely be a short-term blow as starting quarterback David Ash sustained a broken bone in his left foot during practice. As a result, Ash will undergo surgery next week and, obviously, miss the remainder of spring practice.
The good news is that the football program expects Ash to be rehabbed and fully recovered for the start of summer camp in early August. One of the negatives is the fact that Ash could use as many reps as possible, given the fact that the new staff is still installing coordinator Joe Wickline‘s offense. Another negative? The injury could be privately worse than the public prognosis, with speculation already making the rounds that this is an issue that could linger deep into camp and perhaps bleed into the regular season.
Regardless, and with Ash out for the foreseeable future, touted 2013 signee Tyrone Swoopes will move front and center for the Longhorns’ spring game a week from Saturday. This could also be yet another factor that sways erstwhile USC quarterback Max Wittek to transfer to UT, which was already the front-runner for the player even before Ash’s issues.
The foot issue continues a recent mini-string of negative injury news for Ash.
Ash missed most of last year due to a concussion suffered early on in the season. After incurring the original injury Sept. 7, Ash returned two weeks later only to see the concussion symptoms recur and sideline him yet again. In late November, Ash was officially shut down for what little was left of the season. In mid-January, he was cleared by the UT medical staff to resume football activities.
Because he missed most of last season, Ash has already applied for a medical hardship waiver that would give him an additional season of eligibility.
It appears Auburn’s search for a new offensive line coach may not take very long.
Tuesday, reports surfaced that Herb Hand was leaving The Plains to take the line job at Texas. The veteran will also be adding to title of co-offensive coordinator with the Longhorns.
One day later, UConn confirmed in a press release that its line coach, J.B. Grimes, has resigned his position, effective immediately. It just so happens that Grimes spent three seasons (2013-15) coaching at Auburn before moving on to Cincinnati for the 2016 season and, ultimately, UConn.
“I want to thank J.B. for his efforts during his time with us,” head coach Randy Edsall said in a statement. “I wish J.B and his family nothing but the best.”
Grimes spent one season with the Huskies.
It appears the door is at least slightly ajar for Jauan Jennings‘ return to Rocky Top.
A University of Tennessee spokesperson confirmed to the Knoxville News Sentinel that Jennings is enrolled in classes for the current semester. Jennings has met with both new head coach Jeremy Pruitt and athletic directors Phillip Fulmer about the possibility of being reinstated to the Vols football program.
“I think (Pruitt has) put some parameters around it,” Fulmer stated during a radio interview late last week, “and I guess everybody has got to figure out what those are and if they’re really going to do it. That’s up to them.”
The wide receiver’s status with the football program remains up in the air, nearly two months after Jennings went off on a profanity-laced social-media tirade aimed at the coaching staff. The day after, he was dismissed by interim head coach Brady Hoke, who made the decision in concert with then-athletic director John Currie.
In early September, prior to the off-field issue, Jennings suffered what turned out to be a season-ending wrist injury that limited him to three catches for 17 yards in just one game.
Jennings, who originally came to the Vols as a quarterback, was second on the team in 2016 with 580 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. His 40 receptions were tied for second on the team as well.
So much for a Primetime renewal in Tallahassee.
Late last month, just prior to Florida State’s Independence Bowl matchup with Southern Miss, speculation surfaced that there was mutual interest in Deion Sanders joining Willie Taggart‘s first FSU staff as defensive backs coach. During an in-game interview, the College and Pro Football Hall of Famer was asked about the speculation but did little to quash it.
Nearly a month later, that potential reunion has reportedly been quashed.
Sanders, whose NFL career ended in 2005, has never coached at the collegiate level. He started his own ill-fated charter school in 2012 and coached the football team there, while he served as the offensive coordinator at a private school in Texas this past season.
The former Seminole great currently serves as an analyst for the NFL Network.
As the Washington State family begins to mourn and attempts to process this tragedy, several of Tyler Hilinski‘s teammates and coaches used social media to help sort through the tangled gamut of emotions they’re running through.
Overnight, word surfaced that the redshirt sophomore quarterback had been found dead of what’s believed to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. “He was an incredible young man,” head coach Mike Leach said in a statement, “and everyone who had the privilege of knowing him was better for it.”
On both Twitter and Instagram, heartbroken Cougar football players and coaches dealt with the devastation left in the suicide’s wake.
And this might be the most important message to come out of this tragedy. Maybe in death, Tyler Hilinski can help someone find the hope and the help they need.
R.I.P young man.