Eliminate kickoffs? ‘No’ says Eric LeGrand

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Have we mentioned how much we love Eric LeGrand on this here blog?

In case you missed it earlier today — and if you did, you missed a hell of an interview — LeGrand was on College Football Live to talk about his recovery efforts from a kickoff tackle back in October that left him paralyzed from the neck down.

LeGrand spoke about the incident, the recovery, and his possible future as a broadcaster (he worked as a color commentator for Rutgers’ spring game).

But one issue that has gained some interest in the past couple of months is Rutgers coach Greg Schiano‘s proposal to eliminate kickoffs from college football. Clearly, Schiano has a vested interest in the matter after watching LeGrand be carted off the field, but in all, it hasn’t been met with a ton of support.

His life has been forever changed by the kickoff, but the LeGrand said in his interview that he supports keeping kickoffs as part of the game. It’s not a terribly surprising answer when you hear the kid talk; he’s all optimism and zero blame.

“I believe a lot of people make their money, in the NFL, off special teams,” said LeGrand. “Kickoffs and kickoff returns are a huge thing. But I can understand why he wants to change that, after seeing one of his players, like seeing one of his sons, go down.

“That was my thing. I used to run down there and make a lot of plays, stop ’em behind the 20-yard line. So, that was my thing to do out there.”

It’s an interesting aspect that perhaps not everybody thinks about. Player safety has become a top priority on every level of the sport, but we can’t forget what the sport’s identity is: a violent game. Part of that game is special teams, where plenty of kids who aren’t on the two-deep get a chance to make an impact on their team.

Update: Penn State’s Kevin Newsome ‘will be transferring as soon as possible’


Earlier Thursday, reports surfaced that Kevin Newsome was likely leaving the Penn State football program and would probably seek a transfer.

This evening, Newsome has erased the “likely” and the “probably” from the equation.

In a conversation with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the quarterback confirmed that he will be transferring from PSU sooner rather than later.  Newsome will be seeking a landing spot where he could immediately, which would suggest he may be looking at dropping down a level to Div. 1-AA.

I will be transferring as soon as possible. But that’s all I can say,” Newsome told the paper.

Newsome came to Penn State as a highly-touted recruit in 2009, but has been buried at No. 3 on the Nittany Lions’ depth chart for the better part of a year.

With Newsome’s departure, and the academic issues that will likely sideline Paul Jones for all of 2011, Penn State will likely have only walk-on redshirt junior Shane McGregor behind Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin, who resumed the battle for the starting job as summer camp opened today.

SEC in possession of UGA’s report on Jarvis Jones

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Last week, it was reported that Georgia was both close to completing its investigation into potential eligibility issues for Jarvis Jones and hopeful that the linebacker would be cleared before the start of summer camp.

While the former has come to fruition, the latter is still very much up in the air.

Speaking as his Bulldogs hit the practice field for the first time this summer, head coach Mark Richt confirmed that the investigation into Jones from the school’s end is complete and the report has been sent to the SEC.  If the conference finds anything untoward in the report, it will forward that information on to the NCAA.

It’s unclear when a final decision on Jones’ status will be made, or when the report was submitted to the SEC.

“The only thing I know is that we have submitted whatever we have found to the SEC offices, and we’re just kind of waiting,” Richt said according to the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. “That’s all I’m really allowed to say.”

As Ben had previously written, Jones was the subject of an investigation that is looking into the validity of a police report that alleges a Georgia Parks and Recreations Director opened up and used an impermissible bank account to illegally pay for airfare for Jones between Atlanta and Los Angeles in summer, 2009.  Other items could also be included in what may be construed as impermissible benefits, including a laptop.

Jones announced in June of 2010 that he was transferring from USC after he was not given medical clearance by the school’s medical team following what was described by Lane Kiffin as a career-threatening neck injury.  Two weeks later, however, he was cleared by UGA’s medical staff and transferred back to his home state.

Jones was a four-star recruit out of Columbus, Ga., in 2009 and was the No. 4 defensive end in the country according to Rivals.com.

Darrington Sentimore latest to leave the Tide


Rumored to be considering a transfer for the past month or so after being placed on indefinite suspension, Darrington Sentimore has reportedly pulled the trigger on a move out of Tuscaloosa.

The defensive coordinator at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College has confirmed to the Birmingham News that Sentimore has decided to move on from Alabama to the JUCO level.  Steve Davis added that the defensive lineman should be at his new school next Tuesday.

It was announced in late June that Sentimore and redshirt freshman wide receiver Keiwone Malone ”have been suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules and policy” according to a statement from head coach Nick Saban.

It was reported over the weekend that Malone would be transferring to Memphis.

As a redshirt freshman in 2010, Sentimore played in 11 games.  Based on his performance this spring and the praise he garnered from Saban, Sentimore was expected to see an increased role in the Tide’s line rotation.  Obviously, that will no longer be the case.

In addition to Sentimore and Malone, defensive lineman Brandon Moore, running backs Demetrius Goode and Corey Grant, defensive back B.J. Scott and linebacker Petey Smith have all, since the middle of January, left the football program we think — OK, I think — should be the No. 1 team in the country heading into the 2011 season.

South Carolina, Kansas newest members of ‘no tweets for you!’ club

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Boise State coach Chris Petersen has done it. So did former Miami coach Randy Shannon.

Coaches banning their players from using Twitter is slowly becoming enough of a trend on the popular social networking site that it deserves its own hash mark (#notweetsforyou). Now, you can add Kansas’ Turner Gill and South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier to the fraternity of coaches who have banned their players from using Twitter.

The Kansas City Star reports today that the Jayhawk players have been banned from Twitter only during the football season, effective immediately. During SEC Media Days, Spurrier mentioned that he wanted to ban his players from using the site because of the poor image it projects on the players and program.

“Well, we have some dumb, immature players that put crap on their Twitter, and we don’t need that. So the best thing to do is just ban it,” Spurrier said at the time. “When I get back and talk to the team tomorrow, we’re going to make that announcement.”

Not to mention there’s some team information coaches don’t want made public. Case in point, cornerback Victor Hampton, who tweeted that he had been abruptly kicked off the team back in June. Hampton was later reinstated to the team, but it was certainly an undesirable situation for Spurrier.

I’m not for keeping things under wraps just for the sake of it — CFT is part of the instant media world, after all — but there really isn’t a lot of upside to athletes using Twitter. Coaches already have a lot to worry about, and what their players say (which is often stupid) to the entire world shouldn’t have to be one of those things.