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.
Well, that explains it.
Oklahoma began the 2014 season a perfect 4-0 and was ranked fourth in the country before heading into Fort Worth for a showdown with No. 25 TCU. ESPN‘s College GameDay was in Oxford for the huge Alabama-Ole Miss matchup, with Katy Perry serving as that weekend’s epic guest picker.
At one point during the show, the pop singer famously — or infamously if you’re an OU fan — very seductively hit on Trevor Knight, telling the Sooners’ starting quarterback to “call her.”
Knight waited four months before publicly acknowledging the offer. Coincidentally or not, OU, including the 37-33 loss to TCU, went on to finish out the 2014 season on a 4-5 skid, including a 40-6 pasting at the hands of Clemson in the Russell Athletic Bowl. Knight missed three of those nine games because of injury, throwing nine interceptions in the six games he did play in after throwing three in his first four pre-Perry flirtation.
Monday, Baker Mayfield, the Sooners’ current starting quarterback who was a transfer from Texas Tech during that 2014 season, was asked what OU’s downfall that year was.
“I blame Katy Perry,” the 2017 Heisman front-runner said.
Way to go Katy. Or Trevor, for not immediately following up with a call and triggering the jinx that killed OU’s season.
That said, I’m fairly certain neither the call for action or the inaction to the call for a call had anything to do with the Sooners’ collapse that season. A defense that gave up more than 30 points in each of the losses, as well as once in one of the wins, though, is certainly a prime and more realistic suspect when it comes to laying blame for the collapse.
One final note: Katy Perry is easily Top 3 when it comes to all-time GameDay guest pickers. And that’s not up for debate.
One of the top players in the Class of 2015 will reportedly ply his football wares elsewhere.
As reported by 247Sports.com‘s Brandon Marcello and subsequently confirmed by al.com, Byron Cowart requested a release from his Auburn scholarship at some point Monday. Tuesday morning, the former reported, that release was granted.
There’s no word yet on what stipulations were attached to the release, or the reasons behind the original request.
Regardless of the why, there’s little doubt the defensive lineman’s on-field play failed to live up to his recruiting pedigree.
A consensus five-star signee, Cowart was rated by Rivals.com as the No. 1 player in the Class of 2014 while 247Sports.com had Florida product as the No. 3 player overall on its composite board. In 26 career games, Cowart was credited with 15 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss. He was one of four Tigers arrested for marijuana possession in May of last year.
This past spring, Cowart was moved from end to tackle in an attempt to jumpstart his career. In three games at his new position this season, he had three tackles and half a tackle for loss in three games.
Duke Dawson suffered a head injury in Florida’s wild win over Tennessee in Week 3. On his personal Twitter account, the Gators’ most veteran cornerback indicated that he will play in Week 4 against Kentucky despite the injury.
Dawson’s head coach, though, tapped the brakes on that notion.
Jim McElwain has, at least for now, labeled the fifth-year senior as “highly questionable” for the matchup against the unbeaten Wildcats in Lexington. The door, though, is not completely closed.
“We’ll see where that is as we go throughout the week,” the head coach said.
Dawson started seven of the 12 games in which he played last season. He returned an interception for a touchdown in the season-opening loss to Michigan, then had a key interception in the win over rival Florida.
So much for that wagering momentum, I guess.
Entering the 2017 season as not only the reigning winner but also as seemingly an afterthought, a pair of scintillating performances to open the year pushed Lamar Jackson to the head of Bovada.lv‘s Heisman Trophy pack. Coming off a 26-point Week 3 loss to now-No. 2 Clemson in which he totaled nearly 400 yards of offense and three touchdowns, the Louisville quarterback has seen his odds lengthen a bit from 7/4 a week ago to 11/2 in Bovada‘s latest Heisman release.
Bovada’s new betting front-runner? Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, who went from 4/1 to 7/4. Sam Darnold, 6/1, also saw his odds shorten slightly to a Jackson-match 11/2.
Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph, 10/1 in the previous odds release, is now at 9/1, same as the holding-steady-from-a-week-ago Penn State running back Saquon Barkley.
There’s also, interestingly, one true freshman on the board: J.K. Dobbins. The Ohio State running back went from off the board to 40/1 odds. His starting quarterback, J.T. Barrett, saw his odds go from 25/1 to 33/1.
Below is the latest set of 2017 Heisman Trophy odds, again courtesy of Bovada.lv.