Tag:Chip Patterson
Posted on: March 7, 2012 6:07 pm
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Spring Practice Primer: Clemson



Posted by Chip Patterson


Spring football is in the air, and with our Spring Practice Primers the Eye On College Football Blog gets you up to speed on what to look for on campuses around the country this spring. Today we look at Clemson.

Spring Practice Starts: March 7

Spring Game: April 14

Three Things To Look For

1. Raised expectations. The hope of returning the ACC title to Clemson had driven Tigers' programs for two decades until Dabo Swinney finally delivered the crown in December. But after the 2011 team "broke through the walls," as Swinney put it several times, the expectations changed completely for 2012. Bringing back all of the primary offensive skill players but Dwayne Allen, and hiring Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables has made 2012 a BCS or bust season. No longer will Clemson fans hope to avoid a letdown, instead they expect to compete for hardware from opening day. Not even a record-setting blowout loss in South Beach could shake the confidence of a new-attitude program hungry for more titles.

2. Improving the offensive line. With Tajh Boyd, Sammy Watkins, DeAndre Hopkins, and Andre Ellington all back, the Tigers are set with All-ACC talent at the skill positions. However, troubles along the offensive line prevented the unit from clicking during their late-season slide in 2011. The success of the offense relied too heavily on individuals like left tackle Phillip Price, and this spring should be an opportunity for offensive coordinator Chad Morris to get some depth and a solid rotation along the line. Price and fellow tackle Landon Walker are gone, leaving center Dalton Freeman as the only lineman with any significant game experience. Conditioning should no longer be an issue for offseason practice, either, with one full year of Morris' system under their belts.

3. Brent Venables' impact. The Tigers return just six starters on defense, and have a huge need on the defensive line to replace All-ACC graduates Brandon Thompson and Andre Branch. Former Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables enters as one of the most praised (and highest-paid) defensive coordinators in the ACC, but will have his work cut out with this young group of defenders. On one hand, it might be easier to teach a new system rather than have to un-teach Kevin Steele's complex scheme. On the other, he could end up seeing the same youthful mistakes that plagued the Tigers in 2011. Venables will have all eyes on his defense in 2012, and getting through to his unit this spring will be essential for Clemson's success in the fall.

For much more on Clemson as they go through Spring Practice, including the Top 3 Position Battles for the spring, follow Travis Sawchik's Tigers' RapidReports. For more spring previews around the ACC check out Spring Practice Home.

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Posted on: March 7, 2012 10:07 am
Edited on: March 8, 2012 10:25 am
 

Report: 4 Arizona players arrested in party brawl

Posted by Chip Patterson

UPDATE (3/8): Assault charges against Eric Bender-Ramsay have been dropped, though the trespassing charge remains.  Ebbele and Grandon, still facing assault charges, were held out the Wildcats' spring practice on Wednesday.   


Four Arizona football players have been arrested after a fight broke out at a party, according to a local report.

The Daily Wildcat, citing police reports, detailed the charges against sophomore cornerback Jourdan Grandon, sophomore offensive tackle Fabbians Ebbele, sophomore offensive lineman Eric Bender-Ramsay, and sophomore safety Jared Tevis.

Grandon, Ebbele, and Bender have all been charged with criminal trespassing and assault, while Tevis collected only a trespassing charge. According to the report, Tevis was invited to a party and showed up with his teammates and former Wildcat Joshua Robbins. When Tevis and the group were asked to leave because the others were not invited, Robbins reportedly shoved a woman and upon being slapped - punched her in the face.

A small brawl broke out at the party, and then things escalated. (via: The Daily Wildcat)

The players left after the brawl, but before leaving said, “We will be back with our homies.” A short time later, the players returned “in a group of between 10 and 30,” and a man later identified as sophomore offensive tackle Fabbians Ebbele forcibly entered the home and “began punching everybody he could reach,” according to the report, including the resident who was initially assaulted and her brother.

People at the party told officers the UA players entered the home and began assaulting male members of the party while several women attempted to stop another fight from happening. One woman was pushed up against the wall by Robbins. Robbins continued to push other female guests and residents.

Members of the party identified Grandon after he “punched a female guest in her face with a closed fist and began punching other females in the face.” Tevis was also present during the altercation but none of the victims observed him assaulting anyone.

When officers saw the Navigator speeding away from the house, they pulled the car over to the side of the road for a “high risk” stop. Everyone inside of the car, which included Tevis, Robbins, Grandon, and Ebbele, was removed from the car, along with junior defensive tackle Justin Washington, who was not charged in the incident.

The school has not released an official statement yet, but the assumption would be that some kind of suspension is in order for at least Grandon, Ebbele, and Bender. Ebbele is expected to start at tackle this season, and Grandon was expected to see significant playing time in the secondary.

Needless to say, this is not the kind of distraction new head coach Rich Rodriguez wants during spring practice. The Wildcats started Spring Practice March 5, for three things to look for check out the Arizona Spring Practice Primer.

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Posted on: March 6, 2012 4:40 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2012 4:43 pm
 

NCAA denies redshirt for Clemson LB Steward

Posted by Chip Patterson

Clemson linebacker Tony Steward had his request for a medical redshirt from the NCAA denied last week, according to Tigers' head coach Dabo Swinney.

Swinney met with the media on Tuesday to discuss several team issues heading into Wednesday's opening of spring practice, and called the NCAA's decision "a shame."

A five-star prospect coming out of high school, Steward was one of the many true freshman to contribute immediately for the Tigers, but his action was cut short by a torn ACL in the fifth game. NCAA rules allow for players to redshirt for medical reason if they had played in 30 percent or fewer of the team's games in a season. While the fifth game put the sophomore linebacker over the limit, the school hoped only playing 36 snaps in those games would result in an exception.

Steward is still recovering from successful knee surgery to repair the damage, and will miss all of Clemson's spring practice. He is expected to be fully cleared to participate in team activities in May.

Another member of that same recruiting class will be returning to practice on Wednesday: sophomore running back Mike Bellamy. Bellamy showed bursts of potential during his freshman campaign, but the on-field time was reportedly limited by off-field conduct and attitude issues.

Bellamy received criticism from the coaching staff during the season, and was suspended indefinitely for violation of a team rule before the ACC title game in December.

"[Bellamy has] been doing OK," Swinney said on Tuesday. "This is a big spring for him."

Starting running back Andre Ellington returns for the Tigers, looking to build on a junior year that saw him collect 1,178 yards despite missing time due to injury. Ellington has had to miss time because of injury in each of his last two seasons, and there should be opportunity for Bellamy to move up to the No. 2 spot on the depth chart this spring.

For more on the Tigers' updates heading into spring practice, check out Travis Sawchik's Tigers RapidReports.

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Posted on: March 6, 2012 2:22 pm
 

Spring Practice Primer: Wake Forest



Posted by Chip Patterson


Spring football is in the air, and with our Spring Practice Primers the Eye On College Football Blog gets you up to speed on what to look for on campuses around the country this spring. Today we look at Wake Forest.

Spring Practice Starts: TBD (March 1 and March 3 practices were delayed, March 6 is the next scheduled practice) 

Spring Game: April 14

Three Things To Look For:

1. Tanner Price finding new favorite target. One of the things that made Wake Forest quarterback Tanner Price so successful in 2011 was his ability to distribute the ball from the spread and allow the skill position players to make plays in the open field. No player did so more prolifically than wide receiver Chris Givens, who led the ACC with 1,330 yards and totaled nine touchdowns before deciding to leave a year early for the NFL. The Demon Deacons return junior wideout Michael Campanaro - who racked up 833 receiving yards of his own - but will be looking for another player to step up as that second option in the spread attack. Head coach Jim Grobe has already singled out Terence Davis, a redshirt senior who has battled through injury during his first season's at Wake Forest, as one player expected to step up this season.

2. Replacing four starters on the offensive line. Wake Forest's biggest offensive concern heading into the year lies along the offensive line. The Demon Deacons aren't just replacing four starters, but three redshirt seniors and All-ACC second team guard Joe Looney. Center Garrick Williams is the only returning starter, and the coaches will be looking for some players to step up this spring. Grobe believes this is a talented and athletic group, but nearly every other position will be up for grabs this spring. Redshirt junior Steven Chase is one player to keep an eye on this spring. The 6-foot-7, 305 pound left tackle will be an important piece in establishing the line and pass protecting for Tanner Price.

3. Breaking in new faces on the coaching staff. Head coach Jim Grobe is one of the most tenured coaches in the ACC at his current post, and staff shakeups have not been normal since his arrival in Winston-Salem over a decade ago. The Demon Deacons entire 2012 with a pair of new hires, and some slight rearranging of the duties on the coaching staff. Jonathan Himebauch, of the CFL's Toronto Argonauts, will coach the offensive line, allowing Steed Lebotzke to focus on his responsibilities as offensive coordinator. Derrick Jackson has also been brought on to assist with the outside linebackers, which should take some weight off of defensive coordinator Brian Knorr. Grobe feels confident these additions will be improvements, but spring practice will be crucial as the entire staff adjusts to the new responsibilities.  Steve Russ recently left Wake Forest to return to his alma mater Air Force, and the defensive back duties will reportedly be taken by soon-to-be hired Tim Duffie from Colorado State

Catch up on the rest of the ACC and BCS conferences at the Spring Practice Home

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Posted on: March 6, 2012 12:37 pm
 

Spring Practice Primer: Miami



Posted by Chip Patterson


Spring football is in the air, and with our Spring Practice Primers the Eye On College Football Blog gets you up to speed on what to look for on campuses around the country this spring. Today we look at Miami.

Spring Practice Started: March 3

Spring Game: April 14

Three things to look for:

1. Replacing key defensive playmakers.  The Hurricanes have said goodbye to several upperclassmen who contributed significantly on the defensive side. With players like Sean Spence, Marcus Robinson, Micanor Regis, JoJo Nicolas gone; Al Golden will be looking to a collection of unproven defensive players to step up. Rookie standouts Anthony Chickillo and Denzel Perryman return for their sophomore campaigns, but the rest of the front seven will need to be filled in with to-be-determined playmakers. One player to keep an eye on along the defensive line is redshirt junior Shayon Green, who has received praise from the coaching staff for his offseason work.

2. Ryan Williams' chance to challenge Stephen Morris.  Offseason back surgery will keep junior quarterback Stephen Morris out of contact drills for Miami's spring practice. Morris battled with former quarterback Jacory Harris for the 2011 starting job for nearly six months before losing what nearly everyone close to the program called a "neck-and-neck" battle. But while game experience gives him an edge on freshmen Gray Crow and Preston Dewey, he will still likely have to beat Memphis transfer Ryan Williams for the job in the fall. As a freshman in 2010, Williams won the Tigers' starting job in the second game of the season. A former Florida 6A State Championship MVP, Williams will be looking to put on a show in his return to the South Florida area.

3. Settling on an offensive line.  Miami never settled on a single offensive line rotation during the 2011 season. As players battled through injuries and other setbacks, the coaching staff kept competition for snaps open in practice. The results were mixed, and the lack of continuity along the unit seemed to hold back the offense at points during the season. Spring practice has already started with trouble on the line, with tackle Seantrel Henderson getting hit with a brief suspension for a violation of team policy. Henderson, once considered the future of the unit, will face tough competition from one of the deepest positions in spring ball for the Hurricanes.

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Posted on: March 5, 2012 12:11 pm
 

GIF: Todd Graham in the ASU student section

Posted by Chip Patterson

Todd Graham has faced a good amount of criticism for his brief stint in Pittsburgh before jetting away to his "dream job" at Arizona State. In what was likely an attempt to display his commitment to the school, Graham joined the Sun Devils' student section for the season finale against Arizona.

The 10-20 Sun Devils were not fighting for an NCAA tournament bid, but got to play spoiler to the 21-10 Wildcats with an 87-80 victory. The television cameras caught Graham in the student section, and @bubbaprog caught the clip in all its high-octane goodness.

Former Tennessee head coach Bruce Pearl is probably wondering why Graham is wearing a shirt at all, especially two. [.GIF via Gifulmination.com]



Arizona State starts spring practice March 13, with the spring game scheduled for April 21. For the full list of Spring Practice dates and previews, check out our Spring Practice Home.

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Posted on: March 4, 2012 4:37 pm
 

Report: Oregon RB Tra Carson to transfer

Posted by Chip Patterson

Oregon running back Tra Carson intends to transfer, according to a local report.

The Eugene Register-Guard, citing a team source, confirmed Saturday reports that the talented sophomore running back will seek a playing opportunity elsewhere. Carson ran for 254 yards a touchdown on 45 carries as a true freshman in 2011, also contributing to the kickoff return team occasionally throughout the season.

The school has not confirmed Carson's departure, but the Texarkana, Texas native explained his situation on Twitter.



Carson attended the same high school as former Ducks running back LaMichael James, and was projected to enter spring practice as the primary backup to senior Kenjon Barner in the backfield. The 6-foot, 227-pound Carson is the third running back from Texas to leave Oregon since the end of 2010, along with Dontae Williams and Lache Seastrunk.

Oregon starts spring practice April 3, with the spring game scheduled for April 28. For the full list of Spring Practice dates and previews, check out our Spring Practice Home.

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Posted on: March 3, 2012 4:47 pm
 

Washington State LB dismissed after arrest

Posted by Chip Patterson

Washington State's defense lost another key piece for 2012 when linebacker Sekope Kaufusi was dismissed from the team on Friday for a violation of team rules.

According to The Seattle Times, Kaufusi was arrested by Pullman police Wednesday night and charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Officers responded to a complaint of marijuana smell at Kaufusi's apartment, and upon serving a search warrant discovered less than 40 grams of marijuana.

Kaufusi is the second linebacker to be dismissed by head coach Mike Leach in nearly a month. C.J. Mizell was dismissed on Feb. 7 as a result of his involvement in a fraternity house fight. Mizell (56 tackles, fourth on the team) and Kaufusi (42 tackles, seventh on the team) were both expected to start for the Cougars in 2012. Both dismissals, along with the graduation of leading tackler Alex Hoffman-Ellis, leave Leach and new defensive coordinator Mike Breske with few options at the linebacker position.

Washington State starts spring practice March 22, with the spring game scheduled for April 21. For the full list of Spring Practice dates and previews, check out our Spring Practice Home.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com