UW ‘clarifies’ Stave situation, further muddies Madison waters

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A weird last few days for the Wisconsin football program took a turn toward the downright bizarre Tuesday evening.

In a press release yesterday morning, UW announced that No. 2 quarterback Joel Stave “has been dealing with some issues with his throwing shoulder for the last couple of weeks and we have come to a decision, after talking with Joel, that the best thing for him right now is to shut it down and give him some rest.”  The thing is, Stave’s not actually injured… and that’s according to both the head coach and the player.

“Injured is probably a bad word that I decided to use in the press release. He needs to just get himself … is he injured? No. Is he ready to play right now? No,” Gary Andersen said a few hours after the release stating Stave is injured was sent out.

Not only is Stave not injured, he’s not even shut down — at least not completely.  Stave is still attending practice and team meetings, but is limited to individual drills as he’s not practicing with the team as far as game prep is concerned.

So, what’s actually wrong with Stave? The player indicated that the issue is above the neck, not slightly below it.

“Structurally everything is good in my shoulder. I’ve just got to…right now my arm is just not working the way I’d like it to, I guess. I don’t know what it is.

“And this game is so incredibly important to me that when I miss a throw I start to think: ‘What can I do to fix it?’

“Sometimes I tend to over-think things. I like to think I’m a fairly intelligent kid who can figure stuff out. And sometimes you tend to over-think things.”

Citing unnamed sources, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel wrote that “Stave has struggled in practice since learning that [Tanner] McEvoy had been named the starter.” Stave, who started every game last season, and McEvoy, who played defensive back for the Badgers last year, had been engaged in a very close quarterback competition throughout spring practice and on into summer camp, with the latter getting the nod shortly before the season opener against LSU.

Regardless of why exactly Stave was shutdown, though, he will remain sidelined indefinitely as he works through the issues. And, for now, Bart Houston will continue to be the backup to McEvoy, who went 8-of-24 passing for 50 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions in the loss to the Tigers.

This Stave situation comes just a couple of days after an imbroglio involving Melvin Gordon.  In the first half of the LSU loss, Gordon ran for 76 yards on 12 carries, and followed that up with a 63-yard scamper on the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter.  After that?  The running back carried the ball just three times as the Badgers coughed up a 17-point lead.

“I was good, man,” Gordon said when asked about the lack of second-half touches. “I was all good. …

“They went with Corey [Clement] … but I’m A-OK,” Gordon added, with Clement stating that it was “[j]ust coach’s choice. … Melvin is perfectly fine.”

Andersen, however, said it was a hip flexor issue that prompted he and the coaching staff “to be smart with him as the rest of the game went on.”

Except, according to Gordon, neither Andersen nor first-year running backs coach Thomas Brown outlined that plan to him during the game.

“I didn’t ask questions,” Gordon said Monday. “When my number was called I went out there and did what I had to do.”

For what it’s worth, Gordon has been “cleared” to play in this Saturday’s game against Western Illinois.

WR son of Jerry Rice commits to Colorado over Michigan, Oregon, Arizona State

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Next up in the latest installment of “You Know You’re Getting Old”: Jerry Rice.

Or, more to the point, the son of the former San Francisco 49er great and NFL Hall of Famer, with Brenden Rice announcing Tuesday evening on Twitter that he has verbally committed to play his college football at Colorado.  The wide receiver chose Mel Tucker‘s program over three other finalists in Arizona State, Michigan and Oregon.

At one point in the recruiting process, it appeared Rice was ticketed for Oregon; Arizona State then became the front-runner over the summer.  Official visits to Michigan and Colorado further clarified the process, with the trip to the latter, for CU’s come-from-behind win over Nebraska, seemingly sealing the deal.

“Coach Tucker’s enthusiasm really stood out,” Rice told 247Sports.com. “He is only loud when he needs to be and it was great to be able to see him in the locker room at that game against Nebraska. It was just different and it gave me goosebumps. I think I could run through a brick wall for that guy and it definitely makes me feel like that vision is something special.”

The 6-2, 204-pound Rice is a three-star 2020 prospect, rated as the No. 70 receiver in the country and the No. 12 player at any position in the state of Arizona.

West Virginia loses ex-Alabama LB VanDarius Cowan to season-ending injury

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Suffice to say, VanDarius Cowan‘s second season in Morgantown after leaving Tuscaloosa hasn’t gone as planned.

In late August, it was confirmed that Cowan would have to sit out the first four games of the 2019 season because of unspecified eligibility issues.  After serving that suspension, Cowan made his WVU debut in the Oct. 5 loss to Texas; a week later, the linebacker suffered a knee injury in the loss to Iowa State.

Tuesday, first-year head coach Neal Brown announced that Cowan underwent surgery and will be sidelined for the remainder of the season.  The specific nature of the injury wasn’t divulged.

Cowan was originally a four-star member of Alabama’s 2017 recruiting class.  In July of last year, he was dismissed by the Crimson Tide after being charged with misdemeanor assault.  A month later, he landed at West Virginia.

The Florida native sat out the 2018 season to satisfy NCAA transfer bylaws.

In less than two full games this season, Cowan was credited with six tackles and a sack.

Weather postpones Game 4 of Astros-Yankees, pushing Ohio State-Northwestern from FS1 to Big Ten Network

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UPDATED 1:21 PM ET: Due to the weather-forced change in schedule for Game 4 of the American League Championship Series between the Houston Astros and New York Yankees, Friday night’s Ohio State-Northwestern game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.

The game had originally been scheduled to air on FS1.

Kickoff time for the Big Ten clash is still set for 8:30 p.m. ET.

__________

This isn’t exactly optimal.

Due to the forecast of inclement weather, Major League Baseball announced that Game 4 of the American League Championship Series Wednesday night between the Houston Astros and New York Yankees has been moved to Thursday night.  That means Game 5 of the ALCS, originally scheduled for Thursday night, has been pushed to Friday night and will be televised on FS1, with first pitch set for 7:08 p.m. ET.

So, why is news on the postseason of a stick-and-ball sport appearing on a college football website?

Ohio State is scheduled to travel to Evanston to square off with Northwestern Friday.  On FS1. With kickoff set for 8:30 p.m. ET.

The ALCS is airing on FS1 because FOX is televising its newly-acquired WWE Friday Night Smackdown franchise, so a network broadcast won’t be possible for the Big Ten matchup.  More than likely, the game will air on either the Big Ten Network or FOX business.

As of this posting, neither the conference nor FOX has offered up exactly where the game will air.

Regardless of how it ultimately plays out, this will be a huge black eye for a league that shouldn’t be hijacking high school football’s night in the first place, regardless of how few games there are on Fridays (for now).

Wake QB Jamie Newman’s status for Week 8 to be determined

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The defense wasn’t the only side of the ball that ran into injury issues during Wake Forest’s first loss of the 2019 campaign.

An injury to his left (non-throwing) shoulder knocked Jamie Newman out of the Week 7 loss to Louisville. An on-site X-ray, as well as other further testing, showed no significant structural damage to the joint.

As Wake looks to bounce back from that loss against Florida State Saturday, though, the sophomore’s status is officially to be determined.

“He’s kind of day-to-day,” head coach Dave Clawson said. “He got hurt at the end of the second quarter. We had X-Rays to try and eliminate the worst thing that could have happened to him and that was eliminated. He was able to return. He’s sore and we’ll just take it day-by-day and see how he feels later in the week. It’s been one practice and we’ll have a better feel later in the week.”

“And we won’t share that when we know it. I don’t have to,” Clawson added, presumably in a middle-school-boy-at-recess voice.

This season, Newman leads the ACC in passing yards (1,772), passing touchdowns (17) and passer rating (160.7).  He’s ninth, tied for sixth and 17th nationally in those respective categories.

Should Newman be unable to go against the Seminoles, Sam Hartman would get the nod.  In relief of Newman this past weekend, the sophomore threw two touchdown passes and ran for another as the Demon Deacons nearly pulled off a stunning comeback on the Cardinals.

Last season as a true freshman, Hartman started the first nine games before going down with an injury, opening the door for Newman to take over the job.