If there is one aspect of the offense that should be expected to improve for Michigan in 2014, it may be the running game’s effectiveness. The Wolverines ranked 11th in team rushing in the Big Ten in 2013. The competition for playing time in Michigan’s backfield has been taking on a bit of a spotlight this summer, with head coach Brady Hoke providing an interesting update on the status of the position on Sunday during the team’s media day.
“Right now, it would be Drake Johnson and [De’Veon Smith],” Hoke said Sunday, per MLive.com, when asked about who the top candidates for playing time this fall are right now. “So, you’ve got a No. 1 and No. 1-A (there), and then you’ve got a No. 2 with [Derrick Green].”
As noted by MLive.com, the spring saw Michigan’s running stable led by Smith and Green, so it seems as though the talented Green may have slipped a bit in the mix for the time being. Or perhaps Johnson has just really impressed in the early goings of fall camp to make it impossible not to put him ahead of the pack?
Michigan’s running backs as a unit are focused on improving pass protection this year. Johnson apparently has been excelling at pass protection, which could be another reason why he might be showing more to coaches and getting early praise from Hoke. A running back’s ability to help with pass protection could come in handy in attempting to keep quarterback Devin Gardner healthy.
“They know we can run the ball,” Green said earlier this offseason. “But you’ve got to be able to block first, and run second. Protecting the quarterback is the main thing for us. Running the ball is secondary, pass protection is first.”
While Walter Tucker has left Miami, it doesn’t appear he’l be leaving the state of Florida.
On social media over the weekend, Walter Tucker, by way of Matt Porter of Palm Beach Post, has indicated that he will continue his collegiate playing career at FIU. That football program has not announced one way or the other the fullback’s connection to the football program.
In his Instagram post, Tucker, in addition to revealing his father has cancer, posted a photo of himself superimposed over FIU’s football stadium as well as the hashtags “#FIUNATION,” “#PANTHERNATION.” and “#PANTHERPRIDE.”
It’s unclear if Tucker would be eligible to play immediately in 2016 with the Panthers.
Tucker played in 32 games the past three seasons, mainly on special teams. He carried the ball three times for eight yards in 2015, and caught one pass for eight yards the year before.
In February, new Hurricanes head coach Mark Richt announced that Tucker had decided to transfer from The U.
A couple of months before the start of summer camp, Nebraska is in the market for some interior line help.
According to a report from HuskerOnline.com, Stevie Tu’ikolovatu visited Lincoln over the weekend as he continues his search for a new football home. Tu’ikolovatu had decided very recently to transfer out of the Utah football program.
Tu’ikolovatu would provide immediate help to the ‘Huskers as he would be coming in as a graduate transfer.
Last season with the Utes, Tu’ikolovatu played in all 13 games, starting two of those contests. His four fumble recoveries were tied for the lead in the Pac-12 and second nationally.
How about some excellent news for a change?
Late Monday afternoon, Pittsburgh running back James Conner tweeted out the words he’s been waiting months to say: “Just got the call that my body is clean of cancer!!!” The news comes five months after Conner revealed that he had been diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkin’s lymphoma in his neck and chest.
It also comes less than two weeks after the back completed his chemotherapy treatments.
The treatment hadn’t kept Conner completely away from the Panthers, however, as the running back was seen on video working out with teammates last month while he has been doing some individuals drills since the start of spring practice this month. He’s also gotten the “celebrity treatment” during his battle as the back threw out the first pitch at a Pittsburgh Pirates game and made an appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi said earlier this offseason that he expects Conner to play in 2016.
As a sophomore, Conner was named the ACC’s Player of the Year in 2014. He was fully expected to leave for the NFL following the 2015 season before the combination of a season-ending knee injury suffered in September and the cancer diagnosis prompted a return to Pitt.
UPDATED 7:47 p.m. ET: Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi released a statement addressing Conner’s positive medical update.
Over the past six months, James Conner fought cancer the same way he plays football: relentlessly and without surrender. He has inspired and touched so many people in how he has handled this challenge. James is an incredibly special person, and I’m not even thinking about his football ability when I say that. Everyone at Pitt feels blessed to know him and we are tremendously thankful for the wonderful news he received today.
Thanks in very large part to his famous surname, this story will likely generate more headlines and attention than it would if it had involved a “normal” football player.
Be that as it may, Boston College’s Troy Flutie has found himself on the wrong side of the law, with the Metrowest Daily News reporting that the quarterback/wide receiver was arrested on multiple charges following a minor weekend car crash. Specifically, Flutie, the son of former BC wide receiver Darren Flutie and nephew of 1984 Heisman winner Doug Flutie, was charged with operating a vehicle under the influence of liquor, possession of an open container of liquor while driving and being a person younger than 21 in possession of liquor. He was also issued a citation for a marked lanes violation.
The Daily News writes that, “[a]ccording to police, Flutie hit a curb, which led to his arrest.” No other details have been made available.
Flutie began his BC career as a quarterback and, after redshirting as a true freshman, played in eight games in 2015. He completed 24-of-49 passes for three touchdowns and an interception during his limited action. Because of injuries at the position, Flutie was one of four Eagles quarterbacks to attempt at least 42 passes last season.
This spring, Flutie was moved to wide receiver.