Michigan’s spring game shows offense needs time to come together, and that’s OK

9 Comments

If there was one thing to take away from Michigan’s spring game, the first with Jim Harbaugh as the head coach, it should be the offense is going to take some time to come together. Michigan’s spring game saw just seven points in a live scrimmage, with the Blue squad taking the 7-0 victory over the Maize, and the offense looked shaky at times. This should be expected as Harbaugh and his staff put together a new offensive philosophy with a questionable quarterback situation. Also, help could be on the way.

Michigan’s true freshman quarterback, Alex Malzone, got the first crack under center with the Maize team getting the ball first. But it was running back De’Veon Smith that got things started with a nice run to the left following some blocks (yes, Michigan’s offensive line blocked well) on the first play of the scrimmage. The first possession ended on a failed fourth down attempt, with a trick play seeing wide receiver Jehu Chesson throw an incomplete pass down field. Shane Morris took the field to lead the Blue team on the ensuing possession. It was a short one, but Jabrill Peppers received a nice round of applause following his first tackle of the game.

It looked destined to be a scoreless first half in the spring game, but Morris connected with Jaron Dukes down the left sideline for a touchdown late in the first half. Morris had some nice throws at times and received little support from his receivers early on at times, so this was a nice way to end the first half. It turns out that was the only score Michigan fans got to see Saturday afternoon. Morris did have some good moments but there was nothing shown Saturday that would suggest the starting job will be his to lose moving forward.

It may have been a coincidence, or maybe it was not, but toward the end of the spring scrimmage Big Ten Network made the call to show some highlights of Iowa’s Jake Rudock. Rudock is expected to be heading to Michigan after graduating from Iowa this spring. With Morris and Malzone lacking in big plays, the Rudock highlights could be a reminder that better days could be coming for Michigan’s passing game.

Michigan’s 2015 season will begin on Thursday, September 3 at Utah. The Wolverines were defeated at home last fall by the Pac-12 South program.

I

Wendy Anderson, wife of Arkansas State head coach Blake Anderson, loses two-year battle with breast cancer

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The heartbreak that is cancer has, once again, impacted the world of college football.

Arkansas State announced Monday that Blake Anderson would be taking a leave of absence from his job as head football coach to be with his wife Wendy, who was battling an aggressive form of breast cancer for the second time in three years.  Tuesday morning, Anderson posted that his wife had lost her brave battle with the insidious disease shortly before midnight last night “with me laying right beside her.”

Wendy Anderson was 49.

Wendy Anderson was initially diagnosed with cancer in the spring of 2017.  In August of that year, Anderson had tweeted that his wife was cancer-free.  Sadly, cancer returned a few months later.

Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to Coach Anderson for his loss.

Defensive coordinator David Duggan will serve as interim head coach during Anderson’s indefinite leave of absence.  Arkansas State will open the 2019 season against SMU Aug. 31.

Arkansas loses starting WR to torn ACL

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Entering summer camp, Deon Stewart was the most senior member of a very young receiving corps. Unfortunately for all involved, Stewart will exit camp on the sidelines and will remain there for the foreseeable future.

Multiple media outlets in the area initially reported that Stewart suffered a torn ACL during Arkansas’ scrimmage this past Saturday; Monday, head coach Chad Morris confirmed the initial reports, saying that an MRI showed a tear in the ligament.

Suffice to say, the fifth-year senior, who posted an ominous one-word tweet over the weekend portending the development, will miss the entire 2019 season.

Morris also confirmed that Stewart will pursue a sixth season of eligibility.

Stewart played in 36 games the past three seasons, starting 14 of those contests in 2017 (six) and 2018 (eight). This past season, Stewart was fourth on the Razorbacks in receptions (22) and sixth in yards (178).

Of the 17 receivers listed on the Razorbacks’ preseason roster, 13 of them are either freshmen or sophomores. Stewart is one of two seniors at the position, the other being Jimmie Stoudemire, who didn’t catch a pass during his first season in Fayetteville after transferring in from a California junior college.

Iowa confirmed Jayden McDonald cannonballed into transfer portal

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Pardon me while I clean up a bit of personnel news from late last week during these early-morning hours.

Early last week, speculation was making the rounds that Jayden McDonald was considering a transfer away from Iowa. Friday evening, the speculation became a reality as the football program confirmed in a press release that the redshirt freshman linebacker has entered his name into the NCAA transfer database.

It’s at this point in the program where we remind our readers that entering a name into the portal doesn’t guarantee a departure, even as it allows other programs to contact the player without receiving permission from his current school. McDonald could also reverse course, pull his name from the database and return to the Hawkeyes.

Conversely, the university can take away McDonald’s scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered the portal.

After originally committing to Rutgers, McDonald signed with Iowa as a three-star recruit in 2018. The Georgia high schooler opted for Iowa over Kansas State, Ole Miss and Purdue.

McDonald didn’t see the field as a true freshman and, with the Hawkeyes moving to a 4-2-5 base defense this season, he saw his opportunities for playing time in Iowa City narrowed even further.

Arkansas State head coach Blake Anderson takes leave of absence as wife fights cancer

Photo by John Rivera/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
2 Comments

With his wife fighting cancer, Arkansas State head coach Blake Anderson is stepping away from the football part of his life temporarily to be with his family. Arkansas State announced the news Monday evening. Defensive coordinator David Duggan will take over as the interim head coach until Anderson is ready to return to the team.

“Coach Anderson has decided to take a leave of absence during this difficult time to be with his wife, Wendy, and his family,” a statement from Arkansas State Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics Terry Mohajir said in a released statement. “We will continue to pray for peace for his family and provide assistance any way we can.”

Anderson has been dividing his time between football and being with his wife, but there comes a time when you have to realize there is much more to focus on than football. This is certainly one of those times, and good for Arkansas State to allow their head coach to do what he needs to do during this troubling time for his family.

Cancer sucks, plain and simple.