The first weekend of the college football season is not quite in the books (two games on tap today and Louisville-Miami on Monday), but Georgia running back Todd Gurley and UCLA linebacker Eric Kendricks have been singled out for their individual performances by The Walter Camp Football Foundation. Each was named the foundation’s players of the week for week one.
Gurley was a monster in Georgia’s victory over Clemson in Athens. Gurley set a school record with 293 all-purpose yards with 198 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns, and a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. It was certainly a performance worthy of early Heisman hype. The Georgia back played a key role in allowing Georgia to pull away from Clemson in a 24-0 second half of a 45-21 victory over Clemson. Gurley is the ninth Georgia football player in school history to be honored by The Walter Camp Football Foundation’s weekly award since 2004.
The defensive weekly honor went to UCLA’s Kendricks. The redshirt senior linebacker led the Bruins with 16 tackles and forced a fumble on the road against Virginia. It was a particularly strong defensive showing for UCLA with 21 points scored in the second quarter. In that mix was an interception returned 37 yards for a touchdown by Kendricks. Kendricks is the fifth UCLA player to win the defensive weekly award since 2004.
Jalen Hurts (pictured, right) helped lead Alabama to the national championship game as a true freshman last season and is seemingly the Crimson Tide’s unquestioned starter as we trudge toward summer. Five-star 2017 signee Tua Tagovailoa (pictured, left), however, had an impressive first spring in Tuscaloosa, capped off with an excellent showing in the annual A-Day game this past weekend.
The true freshman passed for 315 yards and three touchdowns in what amounted to a glorified scrimmage, while the incumbent threw for 301 yards and a pair of scores. Hurts also tossed the lone interception between the two on the day.
Tagovailoa’s showing throughout the 15 spring practice sessions had led some to wonder whether there could be a quarterback controversy brewing at ‘Bama. According to Nick Saban, that’s just the media being the media.
“Jalen Hurts played a lot of good football for us last year, and he’s certainly made a lot of progress this spring,” the head coach said by way of al.com. “Even though all of you in the press are trying to make a quarterback controversy out of nothing, which is what you’re doing right now, there isn’t one.”
LOOK: Jim Harbaugh hooks Pope Francis up with Michigan helmet, pair of Jordans
There’s a series of words I’d never imagined I’d string together in a headline.
As you may have heard, Jim Harbaugh has taken his Michigan football team to Italy for an offseason European vacation. As part of the trip, the team is in the Vatican City today and took in the Pope’s Wednesday address to the masses in St. Peter’s Square — the players and athletic director Warde Manuel sat amongst the crowd while the head coach and his wife were seated on the same stage as Pope Francis.
Following the address, and after a wait of nearly a half-hour, Harbaugh was able to meet with and speak to His Holiness. The coach didn’t come empty-handed, either, as Pope Francis was gifted with a Michigan football helmet and a pair of Air Jordans. Michigan-themed, of course.
Last season, there was just one FBS team — Army and its triple-option (967) — that passed for fewer yards than Tulane’s 1,360. Tulane’s team passing efficiency rating of 93.12 was 128th of the 128 teams at this level of football. Their completion percentage of 42.2 was, again, 128th in the FBS. Their 5.3 yards per attempt was… 127th.
This season, the Green Wave’s passing hopes in a run-heavy offense will likely land on the shoulders of a junior college transfer.
Throughout the spring, Jonathan Banks had taken the majority of reps with the first-team offense. Tuesday, Willie Fritz confirmed that Banks will be his starter under center heading into summer camp and, presumably, for the program’s season opener against Grambling at home Sept. 2.
At least for now, Banks has staked his claim to the job after a competition that included Glen Cuiellette and Jonathan Brantley, the starter and backup, respectively, last season.
“He did a good job this spring picking things up,” the head coach said according to nola.com. “We evaluated practices 1 through 15 and I thought, for a guy coming into a new situation, he did a very good job. He provides us with both a passing and a running threat, which in our offense you need to have.
“We’re excited about his development.”
Drew O’Bryan leaves Western Kentucky, drops down to FCS level