Saban disputes McCarron’s comments on offensive leadership

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Is there a little bit of tension brewing between Nick Saban and his most successful college quarterback?

During a radio interview Friday night, AJ McCarron lauded Alabama’s leadership on defense.  Offensively, though, the current Cincinnati Bengal questioned from where the leadership was coming.

“But they have to find that leader on offense, I don’t know if that’s Austin Shepherd or, with Ryan [Kelly] being out [with an injury], somebody needs to establish that,” McCarron said, before singling out his replacement. “Blake [Sims] needs to step up and do it. It’s going to be a tough road.”

A day later, Saban took part in the SEC coaches teleconference and, as expected, the head coach was asked about McCarron’s comments. Not surprisingly, Saban disagreed.

“I don’t know how AJ would really know, but I don’t necessarily see that as the case,” Saban said, pretty much nailing the situation very succinctly with the first part of his sentence. The coach, though, went on to expound on the leadership “issue” brought up by his former player.

From al.com:

“I think that leadership is something that we have several guys that have played a lot of football around here that do a good job. I think sometimes people look at the quarterback position as the guy that has to be the leader and I think sometimes when you have a new quarterback and that guy is really concerned about what he is supposed to do, maybe he doesn’t look to be perceived as the guy that’s affecting other people.

“But actually, I think Blake does a pretty job of (being) very well-liked by his teammates. He’s a very positive, high-energy guy that has shown leadership. I don’t think we played real well last week for whatever reasons, I don’t know that that’s all leadership. I’m sorta responsible for all that as coaches and players to make sure we’re ready to play our best against good teams in tough environments on the road.”

During the Tuesday night interview, McCarron also addressed first-year Tide offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin and the focus on wide receiver Amari Cooper, wondering if “that’s Lane doing that or if coach Saban is kind of putting the handcuffs on Lane like I’ve known Coach to do in the past on his offensive coordinator and we’re going to be very bland and run this play and do this and we’ll throw it on third down if we have to.” Saban did not address that aspect of McCarron’s interview.

Because of the imbroglio he stirred up, McCarron will be back on the radio Wednesday night commenting on his previous comments.

Yep, that pretty much sums it up.

Kansas JUCO the landing spot for Oregon transfer LB Ge’mon Eaford

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An erstwhile member of the Oregon football program has decided on a new collegiate home.  And at a much lower level of the sport.

According to James Crepea of The Oregonian, Ge’mon Eaford has elected to transfer to Fort Scott Community College in the great state of Kansas.  An Oregon football official subsequently confirmed that the linebacker left the Ducks for the JUCO.

Crepea wrote that Eaford “left Oregon to return to his native Deerfield Beach, Florida two weeks ago [and] posted several cryptic messages to Instagram alluding to playing in Kansas.” It’s expected that Eaford will spend the 2020 season (if there is one) at that level before moving back to the FBS.

Eaford was a four-star member of the Oregon football Class of 2019. The Sunshine State native was the No. 10 outside linebacker in the country on the 247Sports.com composite.  Only three defensive signees in the Ducks’ 26-man class that year were rated higher than Eaford.

As a true freshman, Eaford appeared in 10 games.  Most of that action, though, came on special teams.  He did, however, see 28 snaps on defense and was credited with a tackle in that limited action.

Eaford is one of the few Ducks who have flown the Oregon football coop the past few months.  Running back Darrian Felix opted to enter the NCAA transfer database following the Pac-12 championship game last year.  He transferred to USF, where he was granted immediate eligibility.

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott tests positive for COVID-19

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It was quite the eventful day for the Pac-12 on the news front.  Not exactly the kind of headlines the conference wants, though.  At all.

Earlier this evening, the Pac-12 announced that, like the Big Ten, it will be going with a conference-only schedule for fall sports, including football.  Not long after, the conference announced that its commissioner, Larry Scott, has tested positive for COVID-19.

After experiencing mild flu-like symptoms late this week and out of an abundance of caution, Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott was tested for COVID-19.  The test for Commissioner Scott came back positive, and as a result he is self-quarantining at the direction of his physician.  Commissioner Scott is continuing to carry on his duties remotely as normal.

The 55-year-old Scott took over as the commissioner of the conference in July of 2009.  Prior to that, he was the chairman and CEO of the Women’s Tennis Association.

His current contract is set to expire in 2022.  However, there is talk that league leaders are discussing buying out Scott’s contract prior to that.

There’s serious talk amongst the Pac-12 CEO Group,” said one high-level conference administrator, “to end his contract ahead of the expiration date to have a fighting chance to save the (conference) Networks.

PAC-12 joins Big Ten in going conference-only for 2020 football season

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Thanks to the Pac-12, the Big Ten has football scheduling company.

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.  It was expected that the ACC and Pac-12 would quickly follow suit.  The ACC, though, released a statement earlier Friday in which that conference revealed it won’t make a decision on. Fall sports until late July.

The Pac-12, however, isn’t waiting as that league announced Friday evening that it too will be going to a conference-only football schedule.  As was the case with the Big Ten, this will apply to all fall sports as well.

“The health and safety of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports continues to be our number one priority,” said Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott in a statement. “Our decisions have and will be guided by science and data, and based upon the trends and indicators over the past days, it has become clear that we need to provide ourselves with maximum flexibility to schedule, and to delay any movement to the next phase of return-to-play activities.”

“Competitive sports are an integral part of the educational experience for our student-athletes, and we will do everything that we can to support them in achieving their dreams while at the same time ensuring that their health and safety is at the forefront,” said Michael Schill, Pac-12 CEO Group Chair and President of the University of Oregon.

According to the conference, “student-athletes who choose not to participate in intercollegiate athletics during the coming academic year because of safety concerns about COVID-19 will continue to have their scholarships honored by their university and will remain in good standing with their team.”

The Pac -12 expects to announce its conference-only schedules, including for football, no later than July 31.

Among the games impacted by this decision are Alabama-USC and Texas A&M-Colorado. It had previously been discussed that Alabama could replace USC with TCU for the opener. Whether that is still in play remains to be seen.

Both the Big 12 and SEC are expected to announce its plans by the end of the month.

Toledo announces creation of GoFundMe page to assist the family of Jahneil Douglas, the Rockets DL who was shot and killed earlier this week

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Toledo is doing what it can for those close to one of its fallen football players.

According to reports coming out of the area Wednesday, a man was shot dead following an argument outside of a pizza joint in the city.  It was subsequently confirmed that the victim was Rockets defensive lineman Jahneil Douglas.

“The University and all of Rocket Nation mourn the death of junior football player Jahneil Douglas, who was shot in an incident in Toledo last night,” UT’s athletic department wrote in a tweet.

Subsequent to that, Toledo head coach Jason Candle issued his own statement on the 22-year-old Douglas’ death.

“The Toledo football family is heartbroken by the loss of Jahneil,” the fifth-year coach wrote. “He was a bright and hard-working young man who was loved by all his teammates and coaches. Our sincerest condolences go out to Jahneil’s family and friends during these difficult times. Jahneil will forever be a part of the Rocket football family.”

Thursday, the Toledo football program announced that a GoFundMe page has been created to support Douglas’ family.  Below is the school’s release:

The fund will help pay for funeral costs, as well as assist Douglas’ children.

The page was started by former teammate Mitchell Guadagni, the Rockets’ starting quarterback the past two seasons.

“We all loved Jahneil and we loved his family,” said Guadagni. “(Former Rocket teammate) Nate Childress and I were talking about Jahneil and decided we wanted to do something to help his family and his beautiful children. Jahneil will always be a Rocket and he will always be in our hearts.”

Toledo Head Football Coach Jason Candle said he is proud of the way the players have come together to help their teammate’s family.

“Yesterday was a terrible day for the Rocket Football family,” said Candle. “We are still reeling from the loss of JD. Coming together as a family is important during these trying times, and I am happy to see our Rockets step up like this. JD’s impact will be forever felt on Toledo Football.”

UToledo Vice President and Athletic Director Mike O’Brien added that a scholarship fund in Douglas’ name will be forthcoming.

“This has been such a tragic loss for Jahneil’s family and for our football program,” said O’Brien. “Jahneil was a fine young man and a great Rocket, so we felt it was only fitting to create some kind of lasting legacy to honor his memory.”

Click HERE to access the link to the GoFundMe page for Jahneil Douglas’ family or go to: https://www.gofundme.com/f/22ey4h9x6o