SEC Championship - Missouri v Auburn

Questions still surround Auburn DE Carl Lawson’s knee

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During spring practice there was talk that not only would Carl Lawson be a capable replacement for Dee Ford, but he could actually prove to be better than the All-American defensive end.

If Lawson hits the playing field from the get-go, that’s certainly a possibility.  That, unfortunately, appears to be somewhat of an if at the moment.

Lawson underwent surgery this offseason to repair damage in his left knee.  Other than it wasn’t an ACL issue, no details were revealed about the specific nature of the injury.  Lawson’s father told‘s Brandon Marcello that it is “not in the thought process” for his son to miss the entire 2014 season.

Whether Lawson is there for the opener against Arkansas or even the first couple of games, however, remains to be seen.

“He definitely wants to play this year and everybody wants to get a chance to right the wrong from that 13 seconds (against Florida State in the BCS National Championship), so I think the thing is he wants to be out there contributing and trying to help Auburn win a national title,” Lawson, Sr. said.

“When he’s ready, he’ll be out there,” said Lawson, Sr., who played running back at Georgia Tech from 1989 through 1992. “I’ve got full confidence in the staff to make sure he’s not only ready but he’s prepared. We’ve got a great team and we’ve got a good defensive line rotation. We’re in good shape.”

Interestingly, Ford, the player Lawson will be expected to replace, missed the first two games of the 2013 season due to a knee injury.  Ford, of course, went on to be named first-team All-SEC and tabbed on numerous postseason All-American teams after totaling 14.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks in 12 games.

As for Ford’s likely replacement, and at this point in time, defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson is putting on a positive face.

“The procedure went well, and Dr. (James Andrews) said it’s been phenomenal the way he’s responded,” Johnson said Thursday according to the Montgomery Advertiser. “But we don’t get anything else definitive. We’re still very optimistic.”

That said, Johnson said “nothing specific” when asked if they’ve been given a timetable for the defensive lineman’s return.

Butch Jones labels rumor of ‘physical altercation’ with Vols player ‘absolutely ridiculous’

ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Head coach Butch Jones of the Tennessee Volunteers yells at Marquez North #8 during the game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on September 27, 2014 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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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, 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.

Tulsa loses second-leading receiver to season-ending injury

NORMAN, OK - SEPTEMBER 14:   Wide receiver Keevan Lucas #2 of the Tulsa Golden Hurricane just misses a pass against the Oklahoma Sooners September 14, 2013 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. The Sooners defeated the Golden Hurricane 51-20.  (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
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One of the most productive pass-catching duos in the country has been cut in half.

Tulsa head coach Philip Montgomery confirmed Tuesday that Keevan Lucas sustained a torn patellar tendon  in the third quarter of Saturday’s loss to Houston.  As a result, the wide receiver will miss the remainder of the 2015 season.

“He’s such an emotional leader for us and such a great kid,” the first-year coach said. “We’ll have to make a few adjustments offensively and move some people around and try to make sure we’ve got guys in the right spot but also guys who will step up and be ready to play.”

Lucas is currently second on the team with 26 receptions and 409 receiving yards, behind Keyarris Garrett‘s 33 and 539. His five receiving touchdowns, though, are tops on the team.

Montgomery expects Lucas to be healthy enough to participate in spring practice next year.