Louis van Gaal

Soccer players not a fan of Michigan Stadium’s turf


Michigan Stadium, the largest stadium in the United States, is hosting two of international soccer’s most recognizable clubs, Manchester United and Real Madrid. The early reviews from the soccer world are not glowing for Michigan Stadium’s temporary turf. Michigan installed a natural grass turf specifically for this event but will return to an artificial turf before the start of the college football season.

“The pitch is not so good, and that’s a pity,” Manchester United coach Louis Van Gaal said. This came after a two-hour practice session, according to MLive.com. “We have fantastic teams, and we have to play on a bad pitch. The ball is not rolling, it’s not bumping as usual.”

Maybe Michigan’s football team can use that same excuse?

It has been quite the offseason for Michigan Stadium. The historic venue hosted the NHL’s Winter Classic between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs on New Years Day, Michigan’s spring game and now a soccer match. Michigan football is just around the corner as well.

The field may not be ideal for footballers, but it is still a pretty neat view to see…

The soccer match has been months in the making. We first heard of the possibility of the match back in late January. Hosting the match is just the latest attempt made by Michigan AD Dave Brandon to make more use of Michigan Stadium when not in football season. If Michigan can overcome the criticisms about the turf, then this will not be the last big time match we will see in Ann Arbor.

Note: As has been pointed out, Michigan installed a natural grass field specifically for this event and will return to the artificial turf before the start of the college football season.

Starting Navy S Kwazel Bertrand undergoes surgery, likely out for season

Kwazel Bertrand, Jacobi Owens
Associated Press
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Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.

Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.

And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.

“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”

Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.

Unitas Award whittles watch list in half down to 15

FORT WORTH, TX - OCTOBER 03:  Trevone Boykin #2 of the TCU Horned Frogs looks for an open receiver against the Texas Longhorns in the second quarter at Amon G. Carter Stadium on October 3, 2015 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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You know how I know we’re gradually creeping up on the end of another regular season?  Watch lists are being whittled.

The first major honor to do so is the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is given out annually to the best quarterback who is a college senior or fourth-year junior.  The preseason watch list was 30 quarterbacks strong; the newest list has been cut in half to 15.

The most recent list includes one of the top Heisman contenders (TCU’s Trevone Boykin) and the top two nationally in passing yards (Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson, Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty), as well as a quarterback who’s closing in on the all-time FBS record for rushing touchdowns (Navy’s Keenan Reynolds).

The Pac-12 leads all conferences with three watch listers, followed by two each from the AAC, ACC and Big Ten.  The SEC has as many players (one, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott) as the FCS (North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz).

Last year’s winner was Marcus Mariota of Oregon.

Trevone Boykin, TCU
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
Connor Cook, Michigan State
Brandon Doughty, WKU
Everett Golson, Florida State
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
Cody Kessler, USC
Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana
Carson Wentz, N. Dakota State
Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Travis Wilson, Utah