Ducks could be down a starting offensive lineman vs. Utes

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What’s the last thing you want to happen when facing the top defense in the country in terms of sacks?  Lose a starting offensive lineman, that’s what.

Unfortunately, that’s the very situation Oregon could find itself in for its road trip to Utah Saturday night.  Late in UO’s blowout win over Stanford, starting right tackle Matt Pierson sustained an injury to his left knee.

An MRI performed Monday revealed a sprained MCL, which leaves Pierson’s status as “day-to-day” according to offensive line coach Steve Greatwood.

The reason that Pierson was still in the game in what would turn out to be a 29-point win is simple: injuries along the line have left the Ducks painfully thin at that grouping.  The lack of healthy personnel left O’s head coach lamenting the circumstances that helped lead to Pierson’s injury.

“When you have one less chess piece then another chess piece has to stay out on the board a little bit longer,” Mark Helfrich said. “That was very unfortunate. …

“We’re not trying to do anything other than get out, get the clock run out and get out of dodge.”

If Pierson is sidelined — that seems to be the case at this point — he would be replaced by either true freshman Tyrell Crosby or sophomore Cameron Hunt.  While Hunt has started at guard and Crosby has played this season, they will be facing what will likely be the line’s most formidable test this season Saturday.

As a team, the Utes lead the nation in sacks with 39, and they’re third in tackles for loss with 73. Individually, linebacker Hau’Oli Kikana is tops in the country in sacks (15.5) and tackles for loss (21.5).

(Photo credit: Oregon athletics)

SMU fills staff vacancy by hiring Texas staffer with Dallas ties

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SMU lost an assistant coach late last week when Brett Diersen left to rejoin Rod Carey at Temple, and now Sonny Dykes has filled that vacancy with a smart hire.

The Mustangs will hire Texas staffer Ra’Shaad Samples to coach the club’s wide receivers, a source tells CFTalk. The news was first reported by Pony Stampede and Inside Texas.

A former wide receiver at Oklahoma State and Houston, Samples has been on Tom Herman‘s staff since last February as assistant wide receivers coach and an on-campus recruiting specialist. The son of Reginald Samples, head coach of the powerhouse Duncanville High School located just south of Dallas, the younger Samples quickly became a key cog in UT’s recruiting machine, establishing ties in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Only 24 years old, Samples will now move on the field for the first time as a college coach, working to tutor the Mustangs’ wide receivers while also bolstering SMU’s recruiting efforts inside its own backyard. Only two of SMU’s 10 commits in its 2020 class hail from the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

Davey O’Brien Award releases 2019 watch list

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The Davey O’Brien Award released its 2019 watch list on Tuesday and, unlike the Maxwell and Bednarik awards, it did not seemingly include every player in college football. Only half of them.

In truth, 30 players were selected to the 2019 watch list, which means 100 eventual starting quarterbacks were not. Chief among them is Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts, possibly because the O’Brien Foundation took the directive from Lincoln Riley that Hurts is not OU’s starter, yet.

On the list are 2018 finalist Tua Tagovailoa as well as semifinalists Ian BookMason FineJake FrommJustin HerbertD’Eriq KingTrevor LawrenceJordan Love and Shea Patterson. The SEC led the way with six representatives, followed by the Pac-12’s five and the Big 12’s four. California had the most native sons with seven, followed by Texas’ six.

The list will be whittled down to 16 semifinalists on Nov. 13 and three finalists on Nov. 25. The winner will be named as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards show on Dec. 12.

The full list:

Jake Bentley, South Carolina
Ian Book, Notre Dame
Alan Bowman, Texas Tech
Charlie Brewer, Baylor
Joe Burrow, LSU
K.J. Costello, Stanford
J.T. Daniels, USC
Sam Ehlinger, Texas
Mason Fine, North Texas
Feleipe Franks, Florida
Jake Fromm, Georgia
Justin Herbert, Oregon
Kelvin Hopkins Jr., Army West Point
D’Eriq King, Houston
Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
Jordan Love, Utah State
Adrian Martinez, Nebraska
Cole McDonald, Hawai’i
Kellen Mond, Texas A&M
Steven Montez, Colorado
James Morgan, FIU
Shea Patterson, Michigan
Bryce Perkins, Virginia
Brock Purdy, Iowa State
Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati
Nathan Rourke, Ohio
Nate Stanley, Iowa
Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
Khalil Tate, Arizona
Zac Thomas, Appalachian State

Marshall, North Texas tabbed as C-USA favorites

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Conference USA released its preseason poll on Sunday, and the league’s media sees some change at the top. UAB topped Middle Tennessee to win the conference crown a year ago, but voters don’t see either team repeating atop their respective decisions this season.

In the East Division, Marshall is a moderate favorite, garnering 14 first-place votes, ahead of FIU’s nine and 2017 C-USA champion Florida Atlantic’s three. In the West, North Texas was far ahead of the pack with 20 first-place votes, far outpacing Southern Miss’ four. Defending champion UAB earned three first-place votes, but Bill Clark‘s Blazers actually came in fourth place overall, behind Louisiana Tech.

EAST DIVISION
1. Marshall (14)
2. FIU (9)
3. Florida Atlantic (3)
4. Middle Tennessee
5. Western Kentucky
6. Old Dominion
7. Charlotte

WEST DIVISION
1. North Texas (20)
2. Southern Miss (4)
3. Louisiana Tech
4. UAB (3)
5. UTSA
6. Rice
7. UTEP

North Texas has yet to win the conference since joining the league in 2013, though Seth Littrell did guide the Mean Green to the West title in 2017. Marshall won the conference in 2014 and took the East Division in ’13.

One Nebraska DB cited for weed, another for driving under suspension following traffic stop

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One of these days, every single state in the Union — along with the federal government — will fall in line and come to their senses when it comes to weed.  Until then, we’ll continue bringing you stories like this one.

According to the Omaha World-Herald, two Nebraska football players, safety Marquel Dismuke (pictured) and walk-on defensive back Jeramiah Stovall, were cited by Lincoln Police Department officers Friday night. Stovall was cited for possessing less than an ounce of marijuana while Dismuke received a citation for driving on a suspended license.

The twin citations came after Dismuke’s vehicle was pulled over for failing to display  a front license plate.

“We are aware of the incident and are addressing it,” a Nebraska official said in a very brief statement.

After playing in 19 games (one start) the past two years, Dismuke is a front-runner for a starting job entering summer camp. This past season, Stovall was named as NU’s Special Teams Player of the Year.