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Maryland places D.J. Durkin on administrative leave; Matt Canada to serve as interim coach

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Maryland has added head coach D.J. Durkin to the list of coaches who are now on administrative leave.

“I am extremely concerned by the allegations of unacceptable behaviors by members of our football staff detailed in recent media reports. We are committed to fully investigating the program,” athletic director Damon Evans said in a letter on Saturday. “At this time, the best decision for our football program is to place Maryland Head Football Coach DJ Durkin on leave so we can properly review the culture of the program.

“This is effective immediately. Matt Canada will serve as interim head coach.”

The Terps have been rocked by several reports over the past 24 hours from ESPN and other outlets regarding a “toxic” culture that has been established at the program under Durkin and others. The school moved earlier in the day to suspend three others (two athletic trainers and the assistant athletics director for sports performance) involved in the fallout from the tragic death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair after a workout earlier this summer.

While no timetable is given for Durkin’s absence, it could be a lengthy investigation for the school into the entire matter as several state officials have now started to weigh in on what’s been going on in College Park. The team opens the 2018 season against Texas on Sept. 1st.

It remains to be seen if Durkin, who was set to begin his third season in charge and has a 10-15 overall record, will even return amid the serious allegations. In a  Washington Post report published Saturday evening, it appears there is a growing sentiment that he will not be able to save his job given the numerous reports that have cast him and the program in such a negative light — to say nothing of a potential lawsuit from the McNair family.

One high-level booster close to the athletic department, who spoke on a condition of anonymity, said Saturday that “a lot of donors are of the opinion that Durkin must go” and that there is mounting pressure on Evans to fire Durkin. Other alumni believe that the independent investigation into McNair’s death must also thoroughly examine the allegations of a toxic culture within the program.

Canada has never been a head coach before but is thrust into a big spot after joining the team as offensive coordinator in January following a stint at LSU in 2017.

Ohio State may get two defensive starters back in Week 8 vs. Purdue

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Ohio State’s injury-hit defense bent but didn’t break (too much) in a closer-than-expected win over Minnesota this past weekend.  With a matchup against a more potent offense in the offing this weekend, the Buckeyes appear set to be a helluva lot healthier on that side of the ball this coming Saturday than they were the last.

Both defensive end Jonathon Cooper and linebacker Malik Harrison missed the 30-14 win over the Gophers because each was in concussion protocol.  With Purdue looming in Week 8, Cooper and Harrison have been cleared and are expected to play against the Boilermakers.

Through six games and before last Saturday, Harrison’s 25 tackles were second on the team.  Cooper replaced All-American Nick Bosa, who underwent surgery after suffering a core muscle injury in Week 3 and could be sidelined for another month at least, in the starting lineup.

Another two defensive starters could be getting healthier as well.  From the Associated Press:

In addition, starting defensive tackle Robert Landers, who has been limited by an unspecified injury, is probable for the game, while starting cornerback Damon Arnette, who was hurt in the Penn State game, is questionable, Meyer said.

Purdue is currently 42nd in scoring offense (33.5 points per game) and 10th in total offense (510.2 yards per game).

Thanks to Georgia’s loss, Ohio State moved up to No. 2 nationally in both major polls.

All-Freshman B1G TE Louis Dorsey tweets transfer from Illinois

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As he announced on Twitter, Bennett Williams left Illinois earlier this month because of a dismissal.  Because of a decidedly different reason (?), the Fighting Illini has felt yet another personnel loss.

On the same social media website utilized by his former teammate, Louis Dorsey announced that he has “decided it is in my best interest to transfer and continue my career elsewhere.” Dorsey gave no specific reason for his midseason move.

Dorsey was suspended during the spring of this year for violating unspecified violations of team rules.  He was also suspended for the first three games of the 2018 regular season for the same reason.

As a true freshman in 2017, Dorsey led the Illini with three receiving touchdowns; was second in receiving yards with 395; and fourth in receptions with 22.  His 18 yards per reception were tops on the team.  BTN.com named the 6-6, 225-pound Dorsey to its All-Freshman Team for that performance.

Because of his off-field issues, Dorsey has played in just one game and not caught a pass this season.

Tennessee loses LB Jonathan Kongbo to torn ACL

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Heading into this weekend’s rivalry game against Alabama in Knoxville, Tennessee’s linebacking corps has taken a hit that will be felt for the rest of 2018.

Late in the third quarter of Tennessee’s huge Week 7 upset of Auburn this past weekend, Jonathan Kongbo went down with an injury to his right knee and didn’t return to the game.  Over the weekend, Jeremy Pruitt confirmed that Kongbo was diagnosed with a torn ACL.

Obviously, Kongbo, who is expected to undergo surgery at some point this week to repair the damage, will miss the remainder of the 2018 season.  As this was his final year of eligibility, it also means that this effectively ends the linebacker’s collegiate playing career.

The fifth-year senior had started five of the six games this season for the Vols.  In that half of the regular season, he had accounted for 11 tackles, four quarterback hurries and an interception.  The pick came in the second quarter of the upset of the Tigers.

Last season, Kongbo started 10 games.

After throwing and landing punches on Mizzou player, Alabama DL Raekwon Davis will lose playing time

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An on-field incident in Week 7 will cost Raekwon Davis on the field in the future.  Just when and how much remains to be seen.

During Alabama’s romp over Missouri this past weekend, the defensive lineman was caught by the all-seeing television broadcast eye punching (x3) Mizzou offensive lineman Kevin Pendleton.  Not only did the cameras catch him, but so did the officiating crew, who flagged Davis for unsportsmanlike conduct.

While Davis very publicly apologized to Pendelton, and the human punching bag very graciously accepted…

… there will be, after Nick Saban spoke with SEC commissioner Greg Sankey about the incident, playing-time repercussions for the lineman.

“We will have him do some things and I think it should affect his playing time in the future,” the head coach said.

Again, just what effect specifically the incident will have on Davis on the field is unclear.

Davis is currently sixth on the Crimson Tide with 27 tackles while his three tackles for loss are tied for sixth.  Alabama will face rival Tennessee, coming off a huge upset of then-No. 21 Auburn this past weekend, in Knoxville this coming Saturday.