Roster management is a term you often hear in SEC circles but the process of deciding who’s really on the team or not is certainly practiced far and wide across college football. The latest coach to make that very clear? None other than Jim Harbaugh.
Least you think the Michigan head coach is only about showing up on the sidelines of big games or taking players to Europe, he let it drop that some of the Wolverines’ 85 scholarship players could not be involved with fall camp later this year thanks in equal part to the play of some walk-ons with the team and because they aren’t making the cut.
“We posted it for the squad, so they know who was in the 110 as of June 1 and who is not in the 110 as of June 1. We do expect there will be movement, we hope it ignites competition in the summer,” Harbaugh said on his weekly podcast that was released on Tuesday. “Our guys know that 110 number is strictly based on merit. The team’s needs, talent, who is going to help at certain positions. Who the best players are.
“There already are scholarship players who aren’t in the 110 and there are walk-ons, preferred walk-ons and tryout guys who are in the 110.”
Talk about a big notice to the players to step things up for summer workouts.
Note that the 110 limit is just for UM’s fall camp and you can’t remove a player from scholarship if they didn’t to make the cut. You’re limited to just 85 scholarships in FBS football but Harbaugh noted there are a whopping 154 players in the program (including incoming freshman, preferred walk-ons and tryout players) right now. Eventually even that number will need to get pared down to around 135, which is generally the level the Wolverines have operated at the past few years and a figure that reportedly leads the Big Ten.
It will be a fascinating process to see play out given that Harbaugh has allowed this peak behind the curtain a bit. He mentioned nearly two dozen walk-ons by name on the podcast who had a chance to not only make the 110, but also crack the rotation. Given that, we could see a handful of transfers out of Ann Arbor come August without Harbaugh even having to reveal who didn’t make the fall camp roster and who did.
Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant will not get a chance to redeem himself against the team that knocked him out and handed the Tigers their only loss in the regular season last fall. Trevor Lawrence will be the new starting quarterback for Clemson when they face Syracuse at home this weekend.
The official roster decision was announced Monday, although head coach Dabo Swinney says the plan will still be to include Bryant in the game plan to some degree.
Through the first four games of the season, the freshman Lawrence has been the more productive of the two quarterback options for Clemson. Lawrence has completed 65.0 of his 60 pass attempts for 600 yards and nine touchdowns with two interceptions. Bryant has completed 66.7 percent of his 54 pass attempts for 461 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. Bryant has been more of an asset with his running ability, rushing for 130 yards and two touchdowns this season, but production and potential for Lawrence seemed to be too much to tie down in a backup or secondary role in a split situation for too long.
The Orange may not be on the same level as Clemson overall, but this Syracuse team is not one being taken lightly by Clemson, and for good reason.
Although the Tigers are clearly the more talented team, it was Syracuse that handed Bryant an injury that knocked him out of their meeting last year at Syracuse, and the Orange handed Clemson their only loss until meeting Alabama in the College Football Playoff. Syracuse is also off to a 4-0 start with 50+ points scored in three of the four wins. Syracuse also has a 30-7 victory over Florida State.
With news that Bryant will not start for Clemson this weekend, he becomes the second quarterback who started a College Football Playoff game last season to be reduced to the sidelines, joining Alabama’s Jalen Hurts.
Clemson hosts Syracuse at 12:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, September 29.
The 2018 season has not gotten off to the start Arkansas fans were hoping to see. After three straight losses have dropped the Razorbacks to a woeful 1-3 record, wide receiver Jonathan Nance has decided he is ready to move on from the program and look for a fresh slate.
Nance took to Twitter to announce his intention to transfer from the Razorbacks. He also noted he will use the 2018 season as a redshirt season, as he qualifies for that redshirt eligibility after appearing in the maximum games allowed before being forced to burn a year of eligibility under the NCAA’s new redshirt rule.
“I want to thank Arkansas and my coaches for giving me [an] opportunity to compete on this level,” Nance said in his Twitter statement.”It has been a great ride and have made life long friends that I will never take for granted.”
After leading Arkansas in receiving in 2017 with 37 receptions for 539 yards and five touchdowns, Nance caught just one pass for a loss of two yards in 2018. Nance will have one final year of eligibility to use wherever he lands next. There has been no indication of where his next stop may be at this time.
Nance’s announcement to transfer after four games may be a hint of things to come under the new redshirt rule. Because players can appear in up to four games before eligibility for the year is officially used up, it would not be shocking to see more players decide to make their transfer plans around this time of year after getting a sense of how the season may be going for them and having an idea where they fit in, or in Nance’s case, don’t fit in under a new scheme or a new coach.
Georgia starting right guard Ben Cleveland suffered a fractured left fibula in the Bulldogs’ 43-29 win at Missouri, according to Dawgs247.
According to the site, the injury will not require surgery or a cast, but Cleveland will miss “at least a month.” No. 2 Georgia hosts Tennessee on Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS) and Vanderbilt before a massive visit to No. 5 LSU on Oct. 13. They’ll take Oct. 20 before closing SEC play with Florida, No. 17 Kentucky and No. 10 Auburn.
The fibula is a non-weight bearing bone and, thus, a significantly less damage break than the tibia.
Cleveland is a redshirt sophomore from Toccoa, Ga. He has started Georgia’s last nine games at right guard.
The Cleveland injury is not the only ailment Georgia is dealing with at the moment. Dawgs247 noted starting left tackle Andrew Thomas, who missed the Middle Tennessee game with a left ankle injury and seemingly re-aggravated it in the first half, when a player rolled up on him. He did not return to the game afterward.
Fellow sophomore Justin Shaffer replaced Cleveland at right guard in the Missouri win.
On a night the Vols celebrated their 1998 national championship team, Tennessee played about as far away from national championship-caliber football as you’ll ever see a Tennessee team play. The Vols lost to Florida 47-21 in a game that was simultaneously better and worse than the final score. Tennessee was only out-gained 387-364 and won the first downs battle 18-14, but much of that was due all the short fields the Vols gave Florida after coughing up half a dozen turnovers. When fans started pouring out of Neyland Stadium early in the third quarter, the scoreboard read Florida 33, Tennessee 3.
And that’s not all.
Over the course of the game, head coach Jeremy Pruitt told linebacker Quart’e Sapp to leave the field after Sapp, Pruitt said, declined to enter the game.
“Since I’ve been here, Quarte has been a really good ambassador to our program, he’s done everything I’ve asked him,” Pruitt said. “He left the field because he wouldn’t go into the game when he was asked to go in. I don’t know how things were done before, but when you tell somebody to go in and they refuse to go in, we’re not going to do that around here. So I asked him to leave.”
On Sunday, Sapp released a statement on Twitter saying he did not refuse to go in the game. Sapp’s statement does not clarify exactly what happened, but he expressly denies he was asked to enter the game and refused.
“During the UT vs. UF game I was never asked nor did I refuse to go into the game. There was a sideline confrontation (I’m sure will be resolve internally that occurred and the other party had to be restrained.”
Sapp, a redshirt junior, was listed as Tennessee’s No. 2 weakside linebacker entering the Florida game. Given the praise Pruitt heaped upon Sapp above and the fact Tennessee can’t exactly turn away able bodies with Georgia, Auburn and Alabama coming up in its next three games, but bet here is this spat gets resolved internally and everyone moves on.