Memo to Longhorn Nation: do not book flights to Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex or reserve hotel rooms in that area for the time around Jan. 12, 2015; you’re head coach says your team won’t be there.
While not exactly a statement that goes against conventional wisdom when it comes to the 2014 college football season, Charlie Strong surprised some observers Monday when he talked about expectations for his first season at Texas. Or, more to the point, he significantly lowered the first-year expectations of the media and fans alike.
“We have everything available, and I don’t know why we can’t be successful,” Strong said while speaking to fans on his tour of Fort Worth. “There’s no reason for us not to be. Now, I can’t tell you how soon it’s going to be. Don’t hold me to that. Don’t say, ‘Ooh, coach said next year we’ll be in the national…’ We will not be in the national championship game.”
While some will criticize Strong for a defeatist attitude, others — myself included — will applaud the first-year UT coach for injecting some reality into a fan base that ofttimes suffers delusions of grandeur.
The Longhorns haven’t been a factor nationally since the 2009 season. The past four years, they’ve sported a 30-21 record and earned three postseason berths — two to the Alamo Bowl, one to the Holiday Bowl. While they played for a Big 12 title the final day of the regular season, that had more to do with other conference teams stumbling.
In other words, UT has a tough row to hoe to get back to where they belong nationally — especially with an unsettled quarterback position heading into his inaugural season in Austin. Good on Strong — not an overwhelmingly popular hire to begin with — for shooting straight with his new fan base and not blowing the kind of rectal sunshine for which most coaches are infamous.
Duke quarterback Thomas Sirk‘s senior season is over before it started.
The Blue Devils announced Saturday Sirk suffered a partial tear of his left Achilles tendon during Thursday’s practice and will undergo surgery at an undisclosed date.
A fifth-year senior, the injury will end Sirk’s career unless the NCAA grants him a medical redshirt. Which, to be clear, there’s no reason — on the surface, at least — he wouldn’t receive one. This is the third Achilles injury Sirk has suffered in the last three-and-a-half years. He missed the 2013 campaign with an Achilles rupture in his right ankle during the spring, and ruptured his left Achilles in February of this year.
Sirk led the Devils to a Pinstripe Bowl victory last season. On the year, he completed 59 percent of his throws for 2,625 yards with 16 touchdowns.
Parker Boehme, a redshirt junior and Sirk’s backup last season, figures to start in Sirk’s stead. He completed 43-of-78 throws for 579 yards last season.
Miami has dismissed veterans Al-Quadin Muhammad and Jermaine Grace for violations of NCAA rules, the program announced Saturday.
The reason for the investigation, per the Palm Beach Post, was the pair’s use of luxury rental cars.
The statement from ‘Canes head coach Mark Richt:
“The University of Miami announced today that red-shirt junior Al-Quadin Muhammad and senior Jermaine Grace have been permanently dismissed from the Hurricanes football program for violating NCAA rules. The University will, however, continue their financial aid through graduation. The decision was made in consultation with outside counsel and after discussions with the NCAA enforcement staff. As no staff members or boosters were involved in the violations, the program will not be subject to sanctions and, at this time, the University deems this matter closed.”
Muhammad (pictured, 98) was one of Miami’s top returning players on the defensive line. An Irvington, N.J., native, he registered 54 tackles while leading the club with 8.5 TFLs and five sacks a season ago.
Grace was also penciled in to start along the Hurricanes’ defensive front. The Miami Gardens native posted a team-high 79 tackles from his linebacker spot with six TFLs, two sacks and five pass breakups, which also ranked third on the club.
The suspensions could have an impact beyond affecting defensive coordinator Manny Diaz‘s unit as well.
The Hurricanes’ probation doesn’t end until October.
Miami will have time to ease Muhammad and Grace’s replacements into the lineup. The Hurricanes open with Florida A&M and Florida Atlantic at home, then visit Appalachian State and take a week off before opening ACC play at Georgia Tech. Florida State comes to Miami on Oct. 8.
Marshall has dismissed safety Tiquan Lang, the program announced in a statement Friday.
The dreaded “violation of team rules” is the culprit here. Draw your own conclusions from there.
“Marshall senior safety Tiquan Lang has been dismissed due to a violation of team rules and policies,” said head coach Doc Holliday.
Lang ranked second on the team last fall with 91 tackles. He also posted two interceptions, six pass break ups and a tackle for loss.
He posted a career day in the 2015 opener, posting 17 tackles and returning two interceptions for touchdowns in a 41-31 win over Purdue. Lang was named Conference USA’s Defensive Player of the Week for becoming the first C-USA player since 1998 to record two pick sixes in the same game.
One of the most enviable jobs in Group of 5 football has been awarded.
Western Kentucky head coach Jeff Brohm has announced Mike White will be the Hilltoppers’ starting quarterback this season. A transfer from South Florida, White defeated Louisville transfer Tyler Ferguson and sophomore Drew Eckles to win the job.
“Mike has done a nice job preparing himself for this moment and operates our offense well,” Brohm said, via the Louisville Courier-Journal. “All three of our veteran quarterbacks worked extremely hard and will be prepared if we call their number. On Thursday, Mike will be our starter and I’m excited for his potential to lead our team.”
A native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., White, a redshirt junior, started off and on for the Bulls in 2013 and ’14 (oddly enough, the Bulls’ down years before taking off in 2015), tossing a total of 11 touchdowns against 16 interceptions. The Bulls 2-12 in games where he saw significant action though, to be fair, he was hardly South Florida’s only work in progress at that time.
White inherits the job from Brandon Doughty, who ranked second and third nationally in passing over the past two seasons. Doughty is now with the Miami Dolphins.
Western Kentucky opens its season Thursday against Rice.