Water wet, sky blue, Penn State QB issues in spring game

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Penn State may have a new coach, Bill O’Brien, but this is a headline we’ve had filed away for the better part of the last year.

In the first spring game for the football program since 1949 that didn’t involve the legendary Joe Paterno, and despite O’Brien’s reputation as a QB/offensive guru, it was the new coach’s defense that stole the spring show, albeit with a very basketball-esque score of 77-65.  While the defense stole the show in front of 60,000-plus fans at Beaver Stadium, it will be the play of the quarterbacks that will be much discussed and dissected in the coming days.

Nittany Lion QBs threw five interceptions on the day, and were sacked eight times for good measure.  The three contenders for the starting job — Matt McGloin, Rob Bolden and Paul Jones — each threw at least one pick, with Bolden tossing three of them.

That performance prompted BlueWhiteIllustrated.com to write “McGloin may have continued to separate himself from the three-part quarterback race, but it wasn’t because he blew away his competition.”

Despite McGloin appearing to up his status as the front-runner, QBs coach Charlie Fisher did not indicate that his boss is ready to tab anyone as the starter heading into summer camp.

We’ll continue to evaluate them,” Fisher said. “We’ll take a look at this tape and grade it and get a great look at it.”

Even as the statistical numbers were gaudy in an unseemly kind of way, O’Brien, at least publicly, is comfortable with the state of the most important position on the field.

“I feel pretty good where we’re at quarterback-wise,” the former New England patriots offensive coordinator said. “I really have to watch the film, I really do. I’ve got to see the film. It’s hard to see from the sideline. But, all three of those guys made some plays today.

“And again, I have to reiterate, all three of these guys, we’ve asked a lot of them. We’ve asked them to learn a system that’s totally different than anything they’ve ever learned, and that takes time. And different guys learn at different rates, and some guys get it right away, other guys get it the next day, other guys get it two days from now.

As for when a decision on a starter will be named, O’Brien explained that “we have to let it soak a little bit, let it soak for ourselves as a staff, and then we’ll make a decision headed into training camp on who we’re going with or who the top two are.”

Perhaps the most interesting development came after the game, when McGloin seemed to take a shot at the previous coaching staff.

“We’re communicating more. We’re having more fun out there,” the senior said according to the Rivals website. “The most important thing is, we’re being told the truth. Coach [O’Brien] is being honest with us. In the past, that really hasn’t happened too much.

“They’re telling you what you’re doing wrong each and every day and they’re telling you where you’re at each and every day. That’s something that didn’t really happen in the past. I’m happy about that, and I really appreciate it.”

(Photo credit: Penn State athletics)

Central Michigan loses one of its highest-rated 2018 signees to the transfer portal

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One of the highest-rated signees for Central Michigan football a couple of years ago is leaving the MAC program.  Or, at least, he is exploring the option of doing as much.

According to 247Sports.com, George Pearson is listed in the NCAA transfer database.  That would be the first step in the redshirt sophomore quarterback’s potential departure from the Central Michigan football team.

Now, for what’s seemingly becoming a daily disclaimer when it comes to transfers.

As we’ve stated myriad times in the past, a player can remove his name from the portal and remain at the same school. At this point, though, other programs are permitted to contact a player without receiving permission from his current football program.

NCAA bylaws also permit schools to pull a portal entrant’s scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered it.

Pearson was a three-star member of the Central Michigan football Class of 2018.  Only one offensive signee in that cycle for CMU, wide receiver Keonta Nixon, was rated higher than the New Jersey product.  As a true freshman, Pearson completed 12 of his 24 passes for 94 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Pearson didn’t play a down for the Chips in 2019.

In 2018, Central Michigan lost a school-record 11 games.  In Jim McElwain‘s first season in 2019, CMU won went 8-6.  Included in the losses was a New Mexico Bowl beatdown at the hands of San Diego State.

Ole Miss pulls in second transfer from a university in Canada

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From Oh Canada to Ole Miss football?  I’m thinking one recruit might be in for a little culture shock.  Actually, make that two.

Last month, a Canadian college football player, the University of Guelph’s Tavius Robinson, committed to Ole Miss football.  On Twitter Wednesday, Deane Leonard did the same. The cornerback comes to the SEC school from the University of Calgary.

“First off I’d like to thank my friends, family, and coaches that have supported me through this process,” Leonard wrote. “I can’t thank each and every one of you enough for all that you’ve done for me over the years. Love you guys!

“With the cancellation of the USports season I’ve decided it’s in my best interest to look at my options down south.

“With that being said, I’ll be transferring to Ole Miss to complete my collegiate career.”

During his time at That Country Up North, Leonard appeared in 23 games.  In that action, the defensive back was credited with 47 tackles, 19 passes defensed, six interceptions, two forced fumbles, one tackle for loss, one sack and one block.  He also returned five kicks for 124 yards (24.8 average) and 19 punts for 195 yards (10.3 avg.).  One of those punts was returned for a touchdown.

Both Leonard and Robinson are expected to be immediately eligible for new head coach Lane Kiffin and the Rebels.

SEC commish issues statement in wake of Big Ten’s seismic announcement

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It didn’t take long for the most powerful man in SEC football country to respond to what the B1G wrought.

As you may have heard, the Big Ten confirmed Thursday afternoon that it will be going with a conference-only football schedule for the 2020 season.  That was the first significant Power Five domino to tip, but it certainly won’t be the last.  In the coming days, or perhaps next week, the ACC and Pac-12 are expected to make a similar announcement.  The Big 12 and SEC, though, are widely expected to kick that football scheduling can down the road a bit longer, perhaps as late as the end of July.

Not long after the B1G announcement, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey released a statement addressing just where his conference is at decison-wise.

The Southeastern Conference will continue to meet regularly with our campus leaders in the coming weeks, guided by medical advisors, to make the important decisions necessary to determine the best path forward related to SE Fall sports.  We recognize the challenges ahead and know the well-being of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans must remain at the forefront of those decisions.

Again, it’s expected that the SEC will make a decision on the football path it will take later this month.  Barring unforeseen circumstances pushing up that timeline, of course.

Big Ten commish, Ohio State AD decidedly pessimistic on B1G having a 2020 college football season

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The Big Ten toppled the first significant domino earlier in the day.  Now, two of the most powerful men in the conference are expounding on the development.  And, if you’re a fan of the sport, you might want to close your eyes when reading the next few paragraphs.  Or take several shots of an adult beverage before proceeding.

Thursday afternoon, the Big Ten confirmed reports that it will be going with a conference-only football schedule for the 2020 season.  All other fall sports are impacted in the same way.

In television appearances following the announcement, the B1G’s commissioner didn’t put a positive spin on football’s immediate future.

“One thing we have to realize is that this is not a fait accompli that we’re going to have sports in the fall,” Kevin Warren flatly stated. “We may not have sports in the fall, we may not have a college football season in the Big Ten. …

“We made a vow early on that, first and foremost, we would put the health, the safety and the wellness of our student-athletes at the center of all of our decisions.

Gene Smith was equally pessimistic.

“I can’t reiterate enough the fact that we might not play,” the Ohio State athletic director said in discussing football in 2020. “We just might not, and I think people need to understand that.”

It’s expected that other Power Five conferences will follow the lead of the Big Ten.  In the coming days, both the ACC and Pac-12 will most likely announce a conference-only football schedule.  The lone exception will be the ACC including Notre Dame, which already has six games against the conference on its 2020 slate, in any revamped schedule.

The Big 12 and SEC are widely expected to kick the scheduling can down the road a bit longer, perhaps as late as the end of July.  In the end, however, both of those Power Fives are likely to come to the same scheduling conclusion.