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Published: Monday, November 06, 2017 @ 6:10 PM
Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis hinted at personnel changes and updated the injury status of a couple of players during his Monday afternoon press conference.
Initial comments …
“Going back to yesterday, we failed to do a very good job. On offense, (we struggled with) making first downs. I felt that after the football game yesterday. When you look at it, we had some positive plays, but we didn’t convert the two early third downs. We lost those opportunities. We had field position in the first half, which was good, but we were unable to maintain it and sustain it. Defensively, we were putting them on long fields even when we had to punt. We put them on long fields, but we weren’t able to hold-serve back there. … You couple (those things) with the breakdowns we had — both on third down defensively, and some of the things on offense — it wasn’t a very good day. Then we had the breakdown in the punt coverage for the touchdown to start the fourth quarter, which basically put us out of the game at that point. It’s hard; we have to play better. We have to look at how we’re doing things, who we’re doing it with, and see what the best way to come out of this is.”
After the coordinator change, you said that the next change of jobs would be with the players. Is everything on the table as far as that is concerned?
“(Evaluating players) doesn’t change. It’s not like (we don’t do it) every week. We just have to make sure we are being effective with the people we have — that they can play and execute as best they can.”
So is your focus on how you’re doing it rather than who’s doing it?
“It’s a combination. But if we aren’t getting things done and executing properly, then (we ask), ‘Is there someone else who can do it better?’”
Do you feel that there are players on this roster who haven’t gotten much playing time that could contribute?
“I don’t know that, but we’ll just have to see.”
At what point before the game did Jeremy Hill tweak his ankle that kept him out of the game?
“It happened on Saturday.”
And with Jake Fisher, did he get food poisoning? Or what happened?
“No, he just wasn’t feeling well. He’s (dealt with this) as we’ve been going through the season. It’s something that the doctors are monitoring very closely. Yesterday they thought they needed to pull him from the game and run some tests, so they took him to the hospital to run tests.”
›› VIDEO: Watch A.J. Green fight and ejection
Is this something that could be potentially serious?
“It’s not as serious as I would think it is. Yet, it took him out of the game yesterday.”
Have you heard anything from the league as far as a possible discipline for A.J. Green?
Would they tell you if he wasn’t suspended?
They would just keep you wondering?
“No, I don’t wonder. You wonder — I don’t have to wonder (laughs). That’s what you do. You like to wonder, in fact (laughs). When you wake up in the morning, you love to wonder (laughs).”
But you have to game-plan though, right? How do you game-plan if you don’t know if you will have a player or not?
“If something were to happen, it would occur very quickly.”
Are you disappointed that A.J. took himself out of the game?
“Yes, and he is too. He’s disappointed and he apologized for his actions. I think he said that to you guys, which I wasn’t aware of.”
How concerning is the number of negative plays the offense has amassed? How do you stop that?
“I think you look at why it occurred, and I think that’s most important. The overall effect is — yes — we had some negative plays. But (we need) the ‘why,’ and it’s all fixable. We have to fix it. Whether it be the point of attack — wherever we are — whether it’s blocking, or running, throwing, catching, etc. We can’t have the negative plays, whether we have an assignment responsibility, miscommunication or (something else). We’re in close football games, and every one of those plays has an effect on the overall outcome — particularly in the field position, but no question on the overall outcome.”
Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor mentioned that he was disappointed in the outcome, considering that the practices leading up to the game went well. Do you agree that it was a good week of practice last week?
“I thought that there were some things that were improved (upon) as far as what we were trying to do heading into the game. But we come away as productive as we would’ve liked because of small miscues and (other) things, and we have to do better.”
A couple of veterans on both sides of the ball talked about the will to win. Is that concerning?
“That’s something players love to do (laughs). I’m the one has all the passion (laughs). It’s what should happen all the time. We played a very physical game and guys put things out there, and we didn’t play well enough.”
Do you feel like there is a lack of passion, or a lack of will or ‘want-to’ on this team?
We are at the midpoint of the season. What do you see that makes you believe that there’s a run left in them?
“We’ve got enough ability to get it done, but we got to go do it. They’re going to work. We just need to continue to work smarter, play smarter, and eliminate the errors and the things that occur that we (have to overcome) in the scope of the game. We just need to get on the right track. We have to make things happen.”
Are you still evaluating where this team is?
“I don’t think so. We lost a football game yesterday. We have to come back and get back in order.”
Three weeks in a row, there have been special teams plays that have swung the games, which is uncharacteristic …
“It has been. Those are things you can’t let occur. We always like to make game-changing plays on the other side, but we’ve had three plays in three weeks where we’ve got to do a better job. No. 1, we have to get a good punt and get the ball where we need it, and then we need to get down and cover it, and free ourselves, and make sure we make a play on the ball.”
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Hypothetically, could John Ross play 80 percent of the snaps on Sunday, from a health stand point?
Would you bring him in for the sole purpose of creating a spark for this team?
“You guys ask this same question every week. John has had three weeks of practice now. Let’s let him practice and lets get him comfortable playing football again before we put him back in there. When he knows what to do and how to do it all the time, and when he can play productively, then he’ll play fast, he’ll play with confidence. But he wouldn’t be very confident (right now). Each day, he gets more confident with playing football. He hasn’t been playing football. That’s the thing. You have to (practice) 11-on-11 enough to be comfortable with it.”
Do you see John Ross getting better every day at practice?
“Oh yeah, there’s no question he becomes more comfortable. What he’s has to do is take what he practicing one-on-one and be able to play it 11-on-11. The more reps and time he has against the defense every day in practice and the more he’s part of the offense, those are good things, because he has to gain that confidence. It was three weeks ago, that every time he went on the ground, everybody held their breath. You’re going to get knocked down in football, and you’ve got to get up, go back to the huddle and do it again. He’s not made of glass — he’s not going to break every time he falls down —yet he’s got to practice football and continue to do it.”
Is John Ross’ path headed where you can see him contributing this season?
“Oh, I hope so. Yes.”
So, you can’t play fast if you’re not confident …
“You have to know what to do, make the proper adjustments, and so on. Even when he was in the game two weeks ago, he’s moving in one speed, while everyone else is moving in another. You got to get used to playing.”
Are you confident that K Randy Bullock will play on Sunday?
“I was confident in him last Sunday, but it didn’t work out very well.”
Was it still a question this past Sunday morning, before the game?
Can you afford to carry two kickers?
“If need be, but I hope to get it figured out one way or another.”
When you made that decision to waive a player, why Derron Smith?
“It wouldn’t be proper or fitting to explain anything in here that way.”
Is he someone you hope passes through waivers?
With how much the offense is struggling, it is more than disappointing that A.J. Green took himself out of the game …
Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 8:28 AM
INT. MICHIGAN FOOTBALL OFFICES
Two men. Two smiles. One warm handshake.
Welcome aboard, Jim!
Thanks! Wait. What’s this?
It’s a name tag, champ. You’re going to need it.
If we count Dan Enos (do we?) and Kevin Tolbert, the exit count is nine Michigan assistant coaches in over three seasons and change.
Accent on the change, kids.
“Unless you have a bad staff, which I don’t think they do, you really don’t welcome turnover in staff,” Big Ten Network analyst Gerry DiNardo says. “A little bit of turnover is OK, because you get new ideas and fresh ideas and all that.
“I don’t think a lot of turnover is ever very good. I haven’t followed all their turnover all that [closely]. It’s hard to get information out of there; you really never know what’s going on … if you have a really good staff, you’re going to lose guys for head-coaching jobs, that kind of thing. From an outsider’s point of view, it doesn’t look good. It looks a little unsettling.”
From the outside, it looks a little like fatigue. A relationship that’s white-hot at the beginning, passions raging at full-tilt, then, from out of the blue, it turns supernova and … dies. Kaput. A burned-out cinder. Which begs the question:
Harbaugh Fatigue — myth or mess?
Wally Richardson, the former Penn State and NFL quarterback, offered up a particularly candid take on that point as part of a convo with veteran PennLive.com scribe Dave Jones last week. It paints a picture, the kind that makes Wolverines fans want to take a pair of thinning shears to the canvas:
He was a backup QB, first behind former Heisman winner Vinny Testaverde in 1997. And then, behind Jim Harbaugh in 1998.
When Richardson mentioned that up during a Wednesday phone interview, I couldn’t help asking: What sort of guy was Harbaugh? Just as strange as he is now?
Richardson paused a moment, then admitted:
“Yeah, he was.”
Laughter from both of us. Then Richardson clarified:
“I like Jim. He was a good teammate. But I think his personality just kind of wears on people.”
Richardson is not the first to make that observation. Assistants have come and gone like deliverymen in his college tenures at FCS San Diego, Stanford and now Michigan.
Richardson continued about his experience with Harbaugh in 1998 with the Ravens:
“Our quarterback coach was Don Strock who was Dan Marino’s [and Bob Griese’s] backup for a long time. Don was a great coach.
“Jim was on the last legs of his career then and his arm wasn’t as strong as it used to be. I remember going through about half of that season and Don was trying to coach Jim and tell him different things. And sometimes Jim would do his own thing.
“By the time we got to Week 9 or 10, it was kind of a toxic relationship. I saw it happen right before my own eyes.”
I mentioned then that the only assistant who’s figured out how to tolerate Harbaugh more than a handful of years – and it seems a matter of mutual loyalty that trumps even the current dysfunction of Michigan’s offense – is current coordinator Tim Drevno.
“Yeah, I can believe that. And I understand it.”
When Shemy Schembechler raised an eyebrow about Michigan’s staff continuity last month with Land of 10’s Rachel Lenzi, ya know what? The man might’ve had a point. And a good one at that.
In Harbaugh’s defense, you’re damned down either path. After an 8-5 mark in 2017 and with an un-Michigan-like 9-8 record over your last 17 contests, if you don’t shake the box, the natives get restless. If you do, it gets slapped by skeptics as rearranging of deck chairs on the Titanic.
Certain levels of consistent attrition — when rising stars such as D.J. Durkin are taking other head coaching gigs or promotions elsewhere — can be a good sign, the nature of the beast. But when the moves appear somewhat superficially lateral — John Baxter hopping from Michigan special teams coach to USC special teams coach, for example — and the pace of the exits starts to quicken, questions are inevitable.
And so are the presumptions of a pattern.
Harbaugh Fatigue — heresy or headache?
“I’m sure the rah-rah thing gets old with anybody,” college football coaching analyst Adam McClintock notes. “It probably plays a little bit better in the college game than in the NFL, especially. They’re grown men supporting their families.
“I don’t know if it has anything, if there’s any correlation of him running people off or not … I don’t know what goes on behind the scenes. But if there’s smoke, there’s fire. If he rubs people the wrong way enough, and people go on record saying he does, I don’t know if there’s any correlation or not.”
Wisconsin’s run through three different defensive coordinators — Dave Aranda to Justin Wilcox to Jim Leonhard — over three straight seasons (2015-17) and hasn’t missed so much as a beat on that side of the ball. Ohio State coach Urban Meyer has seen off six assistants over the past three years. During his first three Buckeyes campaigns, Meyer had to replace only one coordinator — former co-defensive boss Everett Withers, who, in December 2013, took the head football job at James Madison.
“You have to ask yourself, ‘If Harbaugh would’ve had similar success to what Meyer had, then would you be seeing this turnover?’” McClintock continues. “Is it [that] these guys are getting tired of Harbaugh and moving on? Or is it Harbaugh scrambling a little bit to get the correct puzzle pieces that will make this thing work?
“There are two ways to look at this as well. It could be a little bit of his brashness running people off. But it could be, a little bit, him just scrambling [in] trying to get this thing going to everybody’s expectations of everyone thought this was going to be. So far, it’s been underwhelming. Michigan fans have seen this song and dance before. A couple good recruiting classes and, ‘Hey, where did Michigan go?’
“It’s like the party’s over. It’s died down. It’s become a little laborious here, a little more labor intensive than the glitz and glamor of the first two years, for sure.”
Winter 2016: Say, have you met my pal Derek Jeter?
Winter 2018: So is that M-A-C or M-C on ‘McElwain?’
Harbaugh Fatigue — narrative or nothingburger?
‘It’s gone from one extreme [in February] to the next. There’s no middle ground. I don’t think it’s financial. I think this is Jim — he’s kind of all over the map. He’s unpredictable.’
— BTN analyst Gerry DiNardo on Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh
“I get the feeling that [the Wolverines] are almost grasping for straws, scrambling for answers,” McClintock says. “Defensively, they’ve been fine. Offensively, they’ve got to find some consistency on that side of the ball. That’s a result of the quarterback position being in flux.
“Name one quarterback [since 2015] who’s been average or above average? [Harbaugh has] been working with other people’s parts or flawed parts.”
With McElwain now in the picture, we’re assuming the chess pieces on the coaching side for 2018 are finally lined up on the board.
Then again, if we’ve learned anything at this point, it’s to assume at your peril.
“It’s hard to figure out what’s going on at Michigan; we’re all just guessing,” DiNardo says. “I think the only thing we can know is that it’s going to be unpredictable. It’s hard to tell.
“It’s gone from one extreme [in February] to the next. There’s no middle ground. I don’t think it’s financial. I think this is Jim — he’s kind of all over the map. He’s unpredictable. [He] works usually to extreme ends and not in the middle. So he could go back to making [recruiting] a big production next year. You just don’t know. Nothing will surprise me.”
The post Jim Harbaugh Fatigue looks real, and for Michigan fans, it’s been anything but spectacular appeared first on Land of 10.
Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 6:18 AM
Tim Quarterman, who played for LSU for three seasons from 2013-16, allegedly received payment from an agent during his career in Baton Rouge, according to a major report published Friday morning by Pat Forde and Pete Thamel of Yahoo! Sports.
Forde and Thamel report that a balance sheet from sports agency ASM shows that Quarterman “at the time a junior at LSU, received at least $16,000.”
In that season for the Tigers, Quarterman played in 33 games and averaged 11.2 points, 3.6 assists, and 4.6 rebounds per game.
While meeting with an agent is legal under NCAA rules, accepting money and other benefits from them is not. If Quarterman is found to have accepted money, he would be ruled ineligible for that time period, which could force LSU to vacate games it won while fielding an ineligible player.
He signed with the Portland Trailblazers after going undrafted and played in 16 games last season. The Houston Rockets acquired Quarterman in a trade and then waived him. He is currently in the NBA G League.
Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 6:17 AM
Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Alabama Crimson Tide podcast with Ryan Fowler. In this edition, we talk with SEC Country’s, Christopher Walsh about the current Alabama football dynasty and how the statistics compare to other football dynasties. Interview with Burton Burns about coaching at Alabama.
Miss a previous edition? Find every episode of SEC Country’s daily Alabama Crimson Tide podcast right here .
Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 8:30 AM
There are rock stars, and then there are Nebraska rock stars. Billy Joel is pulling as much as $590 per ticket this month at Madison Square Garden; Tim McGraw’s return to his Louisiana roots this summer will set you back up to $628 a seat.
Scott Frost’s first Nebraska show is going for $657.
In a game that doesn’t even freaking count.
There’s love, and there’s Cornhuskers love. According to TicketCity.com, the asking price for the most expensive seat at Nebraska’s Red-White spring game on April 21 is $657. That means Frost’s first exhibition appearance as the Big Red’s coach is pricier than the most expensive regular-season football seat for 22 out of 64 — more than a third — of all Power 5 schools this fall:
1. Georgia: $5,070
1t. Iowa: $5,070
3. Oregon State: $3,346
4. Notre Dame: $2,365
5. Ohio State: $2,276
6. Michigan: $2,027
7. Alabama: $1,817
8. LSU: $1,799
9. Texas A&M: $1,622
10. USC: $1,521
11. Penn State: $1,447
12. Texas: $1,422
13. Miami: $1,277
14. Florida: $1,188
15. Oklahoma: $1,171
16. Mississippi: $1,068
17t. California: $1,013
17t. Michigan State: $1,013
17t. Mississippi State: $1,013
17t. NEBRASKA: $1,013
17t. Purdue: $1,013
17t. TCU: $1,013
17t. UCLA: $1,013
17t. Virginia: $1,013
25. Texas Tech: $966
26. Florida State: $960
27. South Carolina: $957
28t. North Carolina State: $929
28t. Washington: $929
30t. Auburn: $920
30t. Baylor: $920
30t. Utah: $920
33. Oregon: $901
34. Virginia Tech: $865
35. Clemson: $835
36. Tennessee: $828
37. Georgia Tech: $781
38. Arkansas: $751
39. Northwestern: $743
40. Maryland: $723
41. Wake Forest: $690
42. NEBRASKA SPRING GAME: $657
43. Washington State: $589
44. Pittsburgh: $588
45. West Virginia: $559
46. Oklahoma State: $558
47. Kentucky: $496
48. Missouri: $470
49. Syracuse: $461
50. Boston College: $430
51t. Arizona: $410
51t. Louisville: $410
53. Minnesota: $373
54. Kansas State: $346
55. Iowa State: $342
56. Vanderbilt: $335
57. Rutgers: $298
58. Stanford: $279
59. Colorado: $269
60. Illinois: $206
61. North Carolina: $148
62. Indiana: $136
63. Kansas: $97
64. Duke: $46
Arizona State: N/A
“Nebraska fans have been through the whole run — the good, the bad and the ugly,” Cornhuskers icon and former interim athletic director Dave Rimington told Land of 10 recently. “Nebraska fans — you can’t beat people like that anywhere. We’ve just got people [where] they love Nebraska, almost to a fault, where they just love it and they back them if they’re a .500 team or a great team.”
Now not everybody loves the price point, mind you. Or how we got there …
@Huskers nothing is more disappointing than a family of 6 trying for hours to get Spring Game tickets because it’s the only ones we can afford to take our whole family to, never get through, they get sold out & we look online to see people selling them for $50-$120/ticket
— Joan Safford (@joanrsafford) February 7, 2018
— John Farris (@JohnnyHustlerNE) February 7, 2018
There are a lot of families in Nebraska that can’t afford to donate a lot of money but cherish the opportunity to take the kids to Memorial Stadium every spring just to experience a game atmosphere. This year’s mentality took that all away. #huskers
— Joe Nebraska (@Joe_Nebraska) February 7, 2018
Literally the BEST part of spring game was seeing the smiles and happiness from the kids/adults who had NEVER previously been able to afford a game.
I can’t even count how many times I heard that in my 4 spring games as a cheerleader. I’m so angry about this. @Huskers
— Doma (@MissDomaa) February 7, 2018
Despise it or dig it — and both takes are more than justified — the whole thing’s been a head-scratcher for the TicketCity folks, who don’t usually expect such a crush on seats for a spring game. Nebraska’s sold out in less than two days, which went a long way toward making it the site’s most expensive college football spring game seat, on average, over the last three seasons, at $142.65 — topping the $132.07 average price of the Ohio State’s spring exhibition in 2017.
… and the Cornhuskers’ $124.09 average price from 2016:
If you’re curious, here was how prices for the six FBS spring games available at the TicketCity.com database compared as of early Tuesday morning, as ranked by minimum cost:
The record for attendance at the Cornhuskers’ spring game is 80,149, set in 2008, during Bo Pelini’s first season. It’s got about eight weeks left, you figure, to hang on to the top spot:
about seeing the Sea of Red again.
— Nebraska Football (@HuskerFBNation) February 19, 2018
“Nebraskans deserve a medal,” Rimington said, “for what they’ve been through.”
And when it comes to supply and demand right now, Big Red Nation is making a killer run for the gold.
The post Nebraska spring game more expensive than regular-season game tickets at 22 Power 5 programs appeared first on Land of 10.