Time will evaluate just what kind of legendary status Johnny Manziel left behind at the collegiate level, but the player that appears ready to step into the spotlight this fall, at least within the SEC, just might be Missouri quarterback Maty Mauk.
“He’s somebody that I want to — not necessarily be like — but I can model my game after him,” Mauk said at SEC Media Days on Wednesday, according to USA Today. “He can change a game so quick by being able to make plays, and that’s something I feel like I can do and something I have to do.”
Last season, as a freshman, Mauk filled in to lead Missouri’s offense when James Franklin had to be sidelined due to injury. The pressure was on as Missouri tried to keep an undefeated season going. In a four-game stretch in late October into November, Mauk passed for 10 touchdowns and 910 yards with just two interceptions. Missouri went 3-1 in that stretch, with the only loss coming against South Carolina in the final moments of the game. Mauk was not much of a rushing threat for Missouri, so he will have some work to do before envisioning doing some of the things that worked so well for Manziel.
“I can run, too. I think I put a dual-threat in there… that’s what people don’t know,” Mauk said. Mauk is already adapting to life without Dorial Green-Beckham as he prepares for the upcoming season. One thing Mauk will not be looking to follow in Manziel’s footsteps is the off-field attention. That should be comforting news for Missouri fans.
“I don’t like attention,” Mauk said. “I like to be able to go home and not have people following me. I want to be able to focus on football and get as good as I can and help this team succeed.”
Will anyone be able to live up to the hype machine driven by Manziel? Could Mauk be the new most electric player in college football? That seems pretty optimistic, but it is most definitely something to shoot for.
Penn State defensive tackle Antoine White will plug gaps and chase passers in a new destination next season. White revealed he will leave Happy Valley to play for Albany in 2017. As a redshirt sophomore in 2016, White would lose a year of eligibility if he left for an FBS school.
White announced the transfer on his Twitter account.
“My past 3 years at Penn State have been filled with so many great experiences as a student-athlete, in school, sports, as well as in life,” White wrote.
“I am forever grateful for all of these and I have built relationships that I know will last a life time.”
White collected 17 tackles with 1.5 sacks as a sophomore this fall. He was a second-team tackle for Penn State’s Big Ten championship squad in 2016 and was expected to assume the same role next season.
New Cal head coach Justin Wilcox‘s first hire is a big one.
Eastern Washington head coach Beau Baldwin has left his red field of fire to become the offensive coordinator in Berkeley. “This one is right, it’s an incredible opportunity,” Baldwin said, via the Spokane Spokesman-Review.
He leaves Eastern Washington with an 85-32 record, including six FCS playoffs appearances with four trips to the FCS semifinals and a national championship in 2010. Baldwin’s 2016 Eastern Washington team finished 12-2, won the Big Sky championship and reached the FCS semifinals.
Baldwin, of course, isn’t being hired for his head coaching acumen. He’s being brought to Berkeley to move the ball and score points — and on that front Baldwin is one of the best in college football. Eastern Washington finished the season ranked among the top three in FCS in total offense (529.6 yards per game), passing offense (401 yards per game), third down conversions (52.1 percent), completion percentage (67.9), passing efficiency (168.2) and scoring offense (42.4 points per game).
He’ll inherit an offense that finished tied for 54th in yards per play, 22nd in scoring and 51st in passing efficiency running Sonny Dykes‘s Air Raid system.
Baldwin joins a growing group of FCS or Group of 5 coaches leaving head coaching spots to become Power 5 coordinators, following Dan Enos (Central Michigan to Arkansas), Joe Moorhead (Fordham to Penn State) and Pete Lembo (Ball State to Maryland). Baldwin also interviewed for the Nevada head coaching job that ultimately went to Jay Norvell.
The Willie Taggart era at Oregon is barely a month old, and already the first crisis has arrived.
A report from The Oregonian uncovered that at least three Ducks football players have been sent to the hospital after undergoing grueling workouts administered by new strength coach Irele Oderinde, who followed Taggart from South Florida. Offensive linemen Doug Brenner and Sam Poutasi and tight end Cam McCormick are in “fair condition” at Springfield’s PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at Riverbend, where they have remained since late last week.
Poutasi has reportedly been diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis, a soft tissue condition triggered by overwork that can lead to kidney damage.
While those three players remained hospitalized, The Oregonian reports the rest of the team was required to complete the same workouts this week:
The sources said that some players “passed out” and others later complained of discolored urine, which is a common symptom of rhabdomyolysis. After testing, others were found to have highly elevated levels of creatine kinase, an indicator of the syndrome.
“The safety and welfare of all of our student-athletes is paramount in all that we do,” Oregon said in a statement to The Oregonian. “While we cannot comment on the health of our individual students, we have implemented modifications as we transition back into full training to prevent further occurrences.
“We thank our medical staff and trainers for their continued monitoring of the students and we will continue to support our young men as they recover.”
Taggart visited the players in Riverbend before leaving the state to recruit, the paper reported.
Brenner is entering his senior season, while Poutasi and McCormick redshirted last fall.
Tennessee is still in search of its next athletics director, which has become a point of contention lately — and especially over the past 24 hours.
Alabama hired Greg Byrne away from Arizona without ever letting the job hit the open market, which begs the question, just what the heck are they doing in Knoxville? Outgoing AD Dave Hart has been outgoing since before football season started. Getting outmaneuvered by their rivals to the south — their immensely more successful rivals to the south, at least in the sport that matters in Tennessee — has created turmoil for an athletics department that majors in it.
As an apparent slice of red meet to the fans, the Vols let it be known Monday Phillip Fulmer is a serious candidate for their AD job.
“Fulmer has grown close to Tennessee President Joe DiPietro and a group of influential boosters have been working behind the scenes to help install him as Dave Hart’s replacement, according to people close to the situation,” Wolken writes.
Fulmer has exactly zero athletics director experience, but he is a harken back to the glory days of yonder for the Volunteers. He went 152-52 in 17 seasons with six top-10 finishes, three SEC titles, six SEC East crowns and a national championship in 1998.
In fact, even the “bad” Fulmer seasons — a .531 SEC winning percentage with one top-15 finish and one SEC East championship from 2005-08 — compare favorably with the marks of his three successors. Lane Kiffin, Derek Dooley and Butch Jones have collectively posted a .349 SEC winning percentage with zero top-15 finishes and zero SEC East championships in the eight seasons since Fulmer’s dumping.
It’s not clear what Fulmer brings to the department beyond a familiar face and a living, breathing link to the glory days, but perhaps those attributes are good enough at Tennessee.