Despite all the negative headlines being generated from the Quintez Cephus case, the news out of Madison is not all bad for Wisconsin this week as the team learned they could be on the verge of getting a very important weapon back in action with a week to go before the season opener.
We’re talking, of course, about one of the Badgers most prolific scoring threats in kicker Rafael Gaglianone. The Brazilian who has shown a knack for making clutch kicks in critical situations has been sidelined for most of this month as the result of back issues. It appears the healing process is going well however because the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says that he was just approved to resume kicking.
Those back issues are what originally cost Gaglianone most of his 2016 campaign after had to go under the knife to deal with the pain after starting that season 7-of-8. He went a robust made 16-of-18 on field goals last season and nailed all of his extra points as well as the program went 13-1 and won the Orange Bowl.
The return of Gaglianone not only comes just in time for the 2018 campaign but also takes the pressure off some of the inexperienced backups that were set to handle kicking duties in his absence. According to the paper, redshirt freshman Collin Larsh was taking most of the first team reps as a result but redshirt junior Zach Hintze is also in the mix.
Wisconsin probably doesn’t need Gaglianone given the relatively lackluster nature of the team’s non-conference slate but they will want him near 100% by the time Big Ten play rolls around. Having a healthy kicker like that could make all the difference in that those close Big Ten and College Football Playoff races after all and Gaglianone has proven himself as one of the best around in the league already.
Another day, another college football player has seen the wrong end of his head coach’s boot.
On that front, Oklahoma confirmed Tuesday that Tramonda Moore has been dismissed from Lincoln Riley‘s football program. The only reason given was the standard unspecified violations of team rules.
Moore had originally signed with Bedlam rival Oklahoma State in 2016 but didn’t qualify academically with the school and was forced to go the junior college route. After a couple of years at Independent Community College in Kansas, the offensive lineman transferred to OU over the summer.
Through 10 games, Moore hadn’t played a down for the Sooners.
Moore was a four-star recruit coming out of high school in Oklahoma City and was rated as the No. 1 player at any position in the state of Oklahoma in 2016. He was a four-star JUCO prospect as well, rated by 247Sports.com on its composite board as the No. 4 recruit overall at that level in 2018.
At least this week there won’t be any pre-kickoff drama.
Because of an injury suffered to his right knee in the Week 8 win over Navy, Ed Oliver has missed the past three games as he works through the issue. With a key AAC West matchup with Tulane looming Thursday night, head coach Major Applewhite confirmed Tuesday that the standout defensive lineman will be sidelined for the Green Wave game because of the same injury issue.
Double-teamed most times — and even triple-teamed on occasion — Oliver was held sack-less through the first six games of this season. The last two in which he played, however, he was credited with three — two against East Carolina, one against Navy.
In March of this year, Oliver announced that the 2018 season would be his last at the collegiate level as he will leave the Cougars early and make himself available for the 2019 NFL draft, where he is widely projected to be a Top Five selection at worst.
After a consensus Freshman All-American season that saw him land on numerous first-team All-American squads, Oliver was a consensus All-American in a 2017 season that saw him become the first underclassman to win the Outland Trophy in the 70-year history of the award.
In his first two seasons with the Cougars, the 6-3, 290-pound Oliver had totaled 39.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks. In addition to the three sacks, Oliver has 13.5 tackles for loss this season; his 1.9 tackles for loss were tied for third nationally prior to his injury.
At 4-2, Houston is currently tied for first place in the AAC West with SMU and Tulane. Houston has already lost to SMU this season, while they’ll face Memphis in the regular-season finale. Whether Oliver will (or should) play in that game, or any other for the Cougars for that matter, remains to be seen.
Brian Lewerke or Rocky Lombardi? Stay tuned to find out.
Lewerke, the starter for most of the last two seasons, has been working his way through an injury to his right (throwing) shoulder. His streak of 20 straight starts was snapped last month because of the injury as Lombardi took over in the win over Purdue, although Lewerke returned to start the last two games.
In that last game, a loss to Ohio State, Lewerke struggled mightily (again), leading to questions as to just who will get the starting nod this Saturday against Nebraska. Posed that very question, Mark Dantonio declined to give any indication as to which direction he may be leaning.
“We make decisions and as we go forward those decisions become complicated at times, but we do the very best we can and everybody’s involved,” the head coach said by way of mlive.com. “I don’t really think it’s in this team’s best interest to air those decisions prior to football games. I think that’s something that needs to be kept in-house for everybody’s best benefits.”
Prior to suffering the injury in the Oct. 13 win over Penn State, Lewerke was completing 60 percent of his passes. Since then, he’s completing just 35 percent.
In his lone start, Lombardi went 26-of-46 for 318 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Duke’s season of injuries continues unabated, with the Blue Devils’ defensive line the latest to suffer a hit.
Tuesday, Duke announced that Ben Frye has been diagnosed with a torn ACL and will, obviously, miss the remainder of the 2018 season. Per the school, the defensive tackle sustained the injury during practice last Wednesday.
The redshirt freshman has been credited with 3.5 tackles for loss and one sack in six games this season. Frye was a three-star member of Duke’s 2017 recruiting class.
This season alone, the Blue Devils have seen a dozen players with starting experience miss at least one game because of injury. Included in that group are defensive tackle Edgar Cerenord and defensive end Drew Jordan.