Hokies offer up myriad injury updates

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Virginia Tech’s injury list last season was a lengthy and voluminous one.  Not so unexpectedly, the updates have followed suit.

On the BeamerBall.com website Wednesday, head trainer Mike Goforth provided updates on a whopping 14 Hokie football players as the team gets set to commence spring practice.  A total of four of those players will not participate in spring practice, including running back Marshawn Williams and defensive lineman Luther Maddy.

Williams sustained a torn ACL last November, an injury that, obviously, knocked him out for the remainder of the 2014 season.  At the time, he was Tech’s leading rusher, and still ended up being No. 2 in that category (475 yards) as well as leading the team in rushing touchdowns (four).

Beyond spring, the status of Williams, who underwent ACL surgery in mid-December, for summer workouts is to be determined, although, if he does miss those sessions, it doesn’t appear it’ll be because of a lack of effort.

“[H]e’s looking great and really pushing through his rehab,” Goforth said. “I’m confident he’ll be close for summer, and with the way he works, and his strength and attitude, I wouldn’t bet against him.”

As for Maddy, it looks as if he’ll be a definite go for the summer workouts.

“Very encouraged with him. He’s doing phenomenal,” said the trainer. “We’re going to hold him out of both Winter and Spring. We need him back healthy and ready to roll when summer rolls around.”

Maddy sustained a knee injury in September that was expected to keep him out of action for 2-4 weeks. A month later, however, the lineman was forced to undergo another surgical procedure on the knee and missed the remainder of the season.

Over the past three-plus years, Maddy has started 33 of the 43 games in which he’s played. After leading the Hokies with 13.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks and 16 quarterback hurries in 2013, Maddy was named third-team All-ACC by the coaches.

There was also some encouraging news for a pair of starting cornerbacks.

In December, Brandon Facyson suffered a broken tibia and fibula during bowl practice. While he had initially been ruled out of spring practice, Goforth wrote that the defensive back “will be ‘out’ for our Winter Workouts and then we’ll re-evaluate this status going into Spring.”

Facyson missed most of spring practice in 2014 because of a “stress reaction” in his left tibia, ultimately undergoing surgery a month later. He returned for summer camp and started the first three games of the 2014 season, but aggravated a lingering issue in his left leg and did not play the remainder of the regular season.

The other starting corner, Kendall Fuller, underwent wrist surgery in January.  He’ll be limited during spring practice, but should be fine moving forward for both summer workouts and summer camp.

The other two players definitely ruled out for the spring are center Kyle Chung (shoulder) and defensive end Ken Ekanem (shoulder).

Two-game suspensions for Louisiana Tech’s starting QB, star WR

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Suffice to say, Louisiana Tech’s offense will be at less than full strength when it takes the field in Week 12 later on today.

Thursday night, the Tech football program announced that three players, junior wide receiver Adrian Hardy, senior outside linebacker James Jackson and quarterback J’Mar Smith, have been suspended for Friday night’s game against Marshall.  Hardy and Smith will also be suspended for next Saturday’s road game against UAB.

Per the school, all three players were slapped with their respective suspensions because of violations of unspecified athletic department policies.

“This matter is being handled internally,” the program said in a statement. “Neither [head football coach Skip] Holtz nor athletic department officials will address this further.”

Smith is in his third season as Tech’s starting quarterback and has thrown for 2,483 yards, 14 touchdowns and four interceptions in 2019.  Smith will be replaced in the starting lineup by Aaron Allen, who has thrown nine passes this year and will be making the first start of his collegiate career.

Hardy leads the Bulldogs in receiving yards with 482 and is second in receptions with 39.

Tech is in the midst of an eight-game winning streak that has them sitting atop the West Division of Conference USA at a perfect 5-0.  Their only loss came in the season opener against No. 19 Texas.

Report: Florida State no longer considers Bob Stoops a candidate

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It appears you can put this particular piece of drama to bed.

In the days after Willie Taggart was fired as Florida State’s head coach, Bob Stoops‘ name was connected to the opening through various levels of speculation.  At one point, FSU’s athletic director, David Coburn, publicly stated that the current head coach and general manager of the XFL’s Dallas franchise is a candidate for the job; Stoops subsequently stated that “the rumors/reports of him being a candidate for the Florida State job opening are not accurate.”

Nearly two weeks later, and citing two sources familiar with the search, the Tallahassee Democrat is reporting that “Florida State has been in contact with representatives of former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops and does not consider him a candidate for its vacant football coach position.”

With the former Oklahoma coach out of the running — if he was even in the running in the first place — FSU could turn its attention to current FBS head coaches such as Memphis’ Mike Norvell, Penn State’s James Franklin and Iowa State’s Matt Campbell.  Interim head coach Odell Haggins is also drawing support from current Seminole football players to take over the job permanently.

Coburn has long maintained that the university is on track to have a replacement in place before the end of November.

Nick Saban says he suspended unnamed Alabama player for Miss. St. game for not going to class

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Let the sleuthing and/or Internet message-board speculating commence in earnest.

Thursday night on his weekly radio show, Nick Saban revealed that he had suspended one of his Alabama football players for this Saturday’s game against Mississippi State in Starkville.  The head coach even gave a specific reason for the suspension — the player didn’t go to class.

What Saban didn’t do?  Divulge the name of the player who has been suspended.

Alabama will be looking to bounce back from its first loss of the season last weekend against a Mississippi State squad that the Crimson Tide has beaten the last 11 times they have played, with the Bulldogs’ last win coming in 2007.  That, of course, was Saban’s first season in Tuscaloosa.

Robert Mathis, Erik Williams part of the Black College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2020

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A handful of the greatest Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU) players — and an administrator and coach as well — are set to be honored for their collegiate gridiron exploits.

The Black College Football Hall of Fame on Thursday revealed six individuals who will be a part of its Class of 2020. Four of the inductees are former players — Earl “Air” Harvey (North Carolina Central), James Hunter (Grambling State), Robert Mathis (Alabama A&M) and Erik Williams (Central State).

Joe Taylor, a former coach at FAMU, Hampton, Howard and Virginia Union,  ex-MEAC commissioner Dennis Thomas will be officially inducted next February.

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we congratulate the Class of 2020,” said BCFHOF Co-Founder and 2011 Inductee Doug Williams. “Everyone that has vote to determine the next class understands how difficult it is to only choose six. The Class of 2020 is a great representation of the talent that has come from Historically Black Colleges & Universities.”

Williams, a third-round pick in the 1991 NFL Draft, spent most of his professional career with the Dallas Cowboys, earning first-team All-Pro honors three times as an offensive tackle as well as being a part of three Super Bowl-winning teams.

The year after setting an FCS record with 20 sacks, Mathis was selected in the fifth round of the 2003 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts. In his 14 seasons with the Colts, Mathis was named to the Pro Bowl five teams and owns a Super Bowl ring as well.