NCAA Football

South Carolina Spring Game 2014: Live Game Grades and Analysis

Keep it locked here for updates as Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks give fans a preview of the 2014 South Carolina Gamecocks. 

Pass Offense: As a whole, the passing game looked sharp, particularly when starting quarterback Dylan Thompson was  in the game. Thompson completed eight passes in 11 attempts for 129 yards and a touchdown. Connor Mitch also was sharp, completing five passes in six attempts for 99 yards. The quarterbacks did a good job of spreading the ball around. Seven different receivers caught one pass each in the first half.

Rush Offense: The running game also looked sharp.Redshirt freshman David Williams carried four times for 20 yards and a touchdown in the first half. Seldom-used Devin Potter has 22 yards on four carries. Collectively, the running game produced 102 yards on 26 carries.

Pass Defense: South Carolina's secondary, particularly at cornerback, looked weak. Of course the Gamecocks are thin at corner, so it was somewhat to be expected. Also, according to the rules of the spring game, blitzing was not allowed, which certainly didn't help the secondary.

Rush Defense: The Gamecocks rush defense fared a little bit better. JUCO transfer Abu Lamin looked good at defensive tackle.Otherwise, the rush defense did a good job of not allowing any long runs fro scrimmage. 

Special teams: The return game was more or less taken out of the equation. Place kicker Elliott Fry made one field goal from 22 yards and missed one from 48 yards. Tyler Hull punted once for 40 yards.

Final analysis

Pass Offense: Thompson sat out the second half, turning things over to Mitch, Perry Orth and Brendan Nosovitch. Mitch looked the best of those three and will likely head into the offseason penciled in as the backup to Thompson.

Rush Offense: With starter Mike Davis limited, redshirt freshman David Williams looked the best of the remaining tailbacks. However, Shon Carson must have had a better body of work over the course of the spring. Carson was honored as most improve tailback of spring practice.

Pass Defense: South Carolina's weakest area by far, although Jamari Smith, converted from tailback to cornerback in the spring, did have an interception. South Carolina will have to wait for more help at corner when the incoming recruiting class arrives.

Special teams: The Gamecocks did not punt or try a field goal in the second half. Look for punter Tyler Hull to face a challenge for his starting job in the fall.

 

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Ohio State Spring Game 2014: Live Game Grades and Analysis

The Gray team, led by redshirt freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett, defeated the Scarlet team 17-7 in Ohio State's spring game Saturday afternoon. Check out the final grades and analysis below.

Gray 17, Scarlet 7, Final

 

 

Final analysis for the Ohio State Buckeyes

Pass Offense: Both teams produced relatively pedestrian numbers. Cardale Jones had a very rough day, completing just 13-of-29 passes for 106 yards. J.T. Barrett made a number of good throws, going 15-of-33 for 151 yards, but neither quarterback completed a pass longer than 30 yards or threw a touchdown.

Run Offense: With Carlos Hyde and four senior starters along the offensive line gone, Ohio State wants to get the ball to the perimeter more this season. With few opportunities, though, the Buckeyes' ball-carriers showed good speed and vision.

Pass Defense: Ohio State's defense gave up 268 passing yards per game last season, which ranked No. 110 nationally, but the secondary looked very sharp running new co-defensive coordinator Chris Ash's aggressive scheme.

Run Defense: The Buckeyes ranked ninth nationally in rush defense last year, and that domination spilled over to the spring game. Ohio State was active up front as neither side gained much traction on the ground.

Special Teams: Freshman Sean Nuernberger and Junior Kyle Clinton are battling for the starting kicker spot. Meyer gave both a number of opportunities, but Nuernberger showed more accuracy and leg strength. Punter Cameron Johnston was sensational, much like he was last season.

Coaching: The offensive coaches were dealing with a depleted roster and a limited playbook, so the uninspiring stats are somewhat understandable. The defensive staff has to be thrilled with what they saw as their unit played very well. 

First half analysis for the Ohio State Buckeyes

Pass Offense: The Buckeyes went with a pass-heavy offense by design. Cardale Jones struggled to find a groove, completing just six-of-15 passes of seven yards, but J.T. Barrett and the Gray team moved the ball pretty well through the air. Barrett connected on 15-of-27 passes for 112 yards.

Run Offense: With the play-calling slanted toward the passing game, there weren't a lot of opportunities in the running game. The Gray team, led by Barrett and running back Bri'onte Dunn, got things going in the second quarter.

Pass Defense: Ohio State's defensive front was very active in the first half, especially on the Scarlet Team, causing havoc when the quarterbacks dropped back. Neither team allowed a passing touchdown.

Run Defense: The Buckeyes weren't challenged very much on the ground, but even with the limited opportunities, Ohio State's defense played well against the run.

Special Teams: With no kickoffs or returns, Ohio State primarily worked on punting and field goals. Cameron Johnston had a number of excellent punts, including a 41-yard boot that pinned the Gray team at the 1-yard line. 

Coaching: The playbooks on both sides of the ball were very limited—the offense rarely ran and the defense didn't blitz—but the Scarlet team didn't execute their sets as well as the Gray team.

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Ohio State Spring Game 2014: Live Score, Top Performers and Analysis

Welcome, Buckeye Nation, to our live coverage of the Ohio State 2014 spring game.

We'll be bringing you all the action taking place in Columbus Saturday, as Cardale Jones leads the Scarlet squad against J.T. Barrett and the gray team.

For full spring game rosters, check out OSU's official release.

We'll break them down below leading up to the game, which is set for a 1:30 p.m. EDT kickoff and will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.

Thanks for clicking in. Comment below with your own thoughts and questions on OSU's spring and upcoming 2014-15 campaign.

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Tennessee Family Dresses in Style for Orange and White Game

If you're going to go to a sporting event, you might as well dress in style.

With the Tennessee Volunteers playing in their annual Orange and White game, one family decided to rock the team's colors, with the dad and kids wearing full suits complete with canes. 

It's safe to say that the Stubblefield family will turn some heads at the game.

[Twitter, h/t Extra Mustard]

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East Carolina Football Team Reveals New Logo on Helmets and Field

With so many teams revealing new logos this offseason, the East Carolina Pirates have unveiled their new logo for both their helmets and on the middle of their field.

You can see a few pictures of the logo below:

After a strong 10-3 season last year, the Pirates are looking to make another strong push in Conference USA.

[Twitter, h/t College Spun]

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Notre Dame Spring Game 2014: Live Score, Top Performers and Analysis

The Notre Dame spring game is finally underway!

Are you excited? 

Note: Scoring isn't traditional, as points will be scored various ways. Please make sure to follow along for score updates, news and anything else regarding the game. 

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Georgia Spring Game 2014: Live Score, Top Performers and Analysis

It's April and that means college football is back.

Well, it's back temporarily as spring football has taken over the college football world and the Georgia Bulldogs will have their annual spring game today at 1 p.m. at Sanford Stadium. The game will be televised regionally on CSS and it will also be aired on ESPN 3.

The game will give fans a chance to see quarterback Hutson Mason take over the offense full-time. Fans will also get a chance to see what the defense will look like under new coordinator Jeremy Pruitt. 

Be sure to keep this blog open for the latest scoring updates, top performers and analysis on the game.

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Ohio State Spring Game 2014: Date, Start Time, TV Info and More

The Ohio State Buckeyes will help turn the page on last season's disappointing finish, as they conclude spring practices with the annual LIFESports Spring Game. 

Essentially, a spring game is a glorified scrimmage. It provides an opportunity for the athletes to show coaches they are ready for a big role in the upcoming season. This game will factor into position battles, and it will be a chance for fans to get a look at some of the new recruits. 

Along with this, it should be an entertaining game. As ESPN's Austin Ward notes, the teams are typically evenly split to help provide a good product and put players in important situations. 

Here are the vitals to catching the action, and then I'll highlight some of the more interesting facets to keep an eye on. 

 

When: Saturday, April 12 at 1:30 p.m. ET 

Where: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati 

TV: Big Ten Network

Rosters: Ohio State tweeted the rosters for the teams: 

 

What to Watch

The Ash Impact

New co-defensive coordinator Chris Ash joined the Buckeyes after handling the defensive coordinator position for Arkansas last year. He will be in charge of the secondary, and the secondary needed a new direction. 

As the Buckeyes dropped two games to finish the season last year, they allowed Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd and Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook to combine to throw for 682 yards, eight touchdowns and three interceptions. 

Don't look for Ash to recite those putrid stats, however. 

“I’m not concerned about what’s happened here in the past,” said Ash in a quote captured by Tim May in The Columbus Dispatch. “I’m more concerned about the direction we’re going to go and how we get the players aligned to what our vision is going to be, and that we get better.”

Ash has only had a handful of practices to make his mark, but that won't stop anyone from looking for improvement in coverage. 

 

Battle for Backup QB

Incumbent starting quarterback Braxton Miller had shoulder surgery at the end of last season and won't be suiting up. In the case of this game, his absence works out well. Ohio State has to figure out who will be his backup. 

Redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett and redshirt sophomore Cardale Jones are battling for the honor. AsAri Wasserman of the Northeast Ohio Media Group explains it, Jones has a slight edge in the battle, but the scales could easily tip. 

Clevelanddotcomosu caught the two signal-callers in this Instagram: 

Jones has all the physical tools. He is 6'5" and 230 pounds and has plenty of arm strength. Meanwhile, Barrett doesn't match up in tools, but Wasserman noted he has impressed coaches with his leadership. Wasserman passed along Barrett's thoughts on leadership:

My biggest thing is to just lead by example. You can't lead anybody if you're not doing right. You have to have that personal integrity, and I tell that to my guys. I wouldn't actually be able to do it if I didn't do it, so that's biggest thing. Then also developing that trust over time so they can believe in you and believe in what you say. 

The job of Miller's backup is a valuable position for the Buckeyes. Hopefully, Miller will be able to make it through the season, but his style of play puts him in harm's way. The Buckeyes need one of these two talented youngsters to grab the backup job and run with it. 

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Notre Dame Spring Game 2014: Date, Start Time, TV Info and More

After losing two of their last four to end the season, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish eagerly look to next season as the team wraps up its spring practices with the annual Blue-Gold Game at Notre Dame Stadium on Saturday.

This will give fans a chance to see the ability of some of the new recruits and the progress of returning players who look to play a big role on the team. 

NBCSN will be broadcasting the game live, and it should be a fun and revealing day of football. In the end, the importance of this day is not about which team wins, but which players step up and make coaches and fans take notice. 

 

When: April 12 at 12:30 PM ET

Where: Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Ind.

TV: NBCSN

TV Notes:

This scrimmage will get the full TV treatment. According to Broadwayworld.com, Paul Burmeister and Mike Mayock will be in the booth, and Alex Flanagan will be patrolling the sideline. 

During the broadcast, fans will not mistake it for a regular game. That is because fans will have an opportunity to listen in on the action. Head coach Brian Kelly and his quarterbacks will be mic'd up.

In an especially revealing opportunity, Kelly will be talking during the game directly with Mayock and Burmeister. 

 

What to Watch

The Quarterbacks

There is no doubt that Everett Golson has the edge in winning the starting quarterback's job, but it is no certainty. Just ask redshirt freshman Malik Zaire, who is gunning for Miller's job. 

Zaire flashed his self confidence in the following quote tweeted by ESPN College GameDay:

In The Associated Press article in the above tweet, Kelly made it clear that no starting quarterback has been named. Golson is returning from a suspension that cost him all of last season, but he certainly has the experience edge after throwing for 2,405 yards in 2012. 

This will be Zaire's second spring game, and the only other time Irish fans have had a real chance to get a glimpse of him was in last year's spring game. 

Commenting on the same Zaire quote, Black Hat Football's Richard T. Estrada highlights that Zaire made an impression in his limited time with the team heading into last season: 

Unlike last year, Zaire will have all season to try and prove he can be the starting quarterback, but if he wants to make his own prediction of starting the first game of the season come true, he would be well advised to rip it up in this game. 

 

Is Greg Bryant the Real Deal? 

Sophomore running back Greg Bryant entered Notre Dame last year as one of the most sought-after recruits in the nation. He then had three carries for 14 yards in three games before missing the rest of the season with a knee injury.

In his absence, classmate Tarean Folston surged to end the season to steal the spotlight that seemed destined for Bryant. Bryant would appear eager to take that spotlight back, and the coaches are noticing. Apparently, as the tweet from CSN Chicago's JJ Stankevitz explains, so did Folston: 

No matter who emerges as the lead back next season, this is wonderful news for the Irish. Bryant is a possible threat in the run and pass game. Whether he starts or not, if his talent starts to shine on the college field, coaches will find a way to get him in the game.

Now we will see if he is ready to grab attention, not just in practice, but in this game setting.  

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Michigan Football: Is Brady Hoke Going Cold on the Recruiting Trail?

Wins on the field are at a premium, but victories on the recruiting trail are, for the most part, plentiful for Michigan coach Brady Hoke.

Since taking over Wolverines football in 2011, his national signing days have become blessed hours of joy, full of wish-granting for the loyal Maize and Blue faithful.

At one point, it seemed as if every 4- and 5-star prospect had Michigan on his list. And, at one point, it seemed as if Hoke had a legitimate chance to land just about anyone he targeted.

Whether it was defensive tackle Ondre Pipkins in 2012, or running back Derrick Green in 2013, Michigan’s cupboards have been healthily stocked with blue-chips thanks to the efforts of the J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family Football Coach.

However, lately, things have been at a relative standstill—partly because of the recruiting period’s idle time, but also due to plummeting stock caused by 8-5 and 7-6 finishes.

Three years ago, recruits looked at Michigan as a true national contender. Today, some of them are changing their minds and looking elsewhere.

Unfortunately for Hoke, some college football pundits view the Wolverines as pretenders, evidenced by Athlon Sports’ recent ranking of Hoke—who finished at No. 38 in the country and No. 8—yes, No. 8!—in his own league.

Leaders and the best, or (bottom) feeders like the rest? For all intents and purposes, the Big Ten belongs to Mark Dantonio’s Michigan State Spartans and Urban Meyer’s Ohio State Buckeyes.

Don't agree? Well, once another team says otherwise, the anti-Spartans or -Buckeyes talk carries no weight. It's "put up or..."

Well, you know the rest—right?! 

Nationally speaking, Hoke’s slipping; and the only way to avoid the moderate descent is to remain in line with his recruiting philosophies, which continue to woo prospects regardless of Team 135’s current predicament.

The allure of running onto the field at The Big House remains strong. With Doug Nussmeier—a force in living rooms of 5-stars everywhere—providing a boost, the Wolverines won't (can't?) stay down for long. 

As illustrated by the following table, Hoke's been consistent when measured against the Big Ten. 

Keep in mind that 2015 recruiting will get kicked into high gear this summer. Team 136 is a five-man class at the moment, but it has quality components, such as Shaun Crawford, a 4-star corner back out of Lakewood St. Edward who's ranked among the top 100 juniors (No. 5 in Ohio, No. 9 CB/No. 82 overall). 

Garrett Taylor, a 4-star corner out of St. Christopher's in Richmond, Va., was the latest to give a verbal to Michigan (March 24, 2014). 

Class Battles via 247Sports: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015.

 

Adios

Every school and coach has the "almost" recruit. You know the type; he's the guy who says he loves the program and the staff, can see himself playing at said school, graduating and having athletic and personal success. 

It all sounds great. But sometimes, it's just talk. 

Instead of going to Michigan, a school he reportedly really liked, Da'Shawn Hand chose Alabama. Apparently, the Tide offered the comprehensive curriculum that Hand, the No. 1 strong-side defensive end of 2014, sought after.

Great for him. Sometimes, it's not all about football (sure...).  

Laquon Treadwell was a must-get. Instead, he joined Ole Miss' Super Class 2K13. 

One of the biggest names of 2015, quarterback Josh Rosen once had mild interest in Michigan. However, his visit was fishy. It was basically a formality before committing to UCLA. Arriving in secret, Rosen's meeting with the Wolverines was short and not sweet. 

Of course, circumstances dictate the outcome of recruiting processes. Rosen, a California kid, was never really an option. Hand was, but his choice to join Alabama shouldn't have shocked anyone. Treadwell was the only "surprise," but even he seemed just beyond Hoke's reach. 

 

Fueling the Fire

It's not all doom and gloom for Hoke, but a quick reminder of the bad news is in order. 

George Campbell, a 5-star wideout from East Lake Tarpon Springs (Fla.), was in the bag. Then he wasn't. He's yet to commit elsewhere, but he doesn't appear to be head over heels in love with the Wolverines.  

Damien Harris, a 5-star running back who happens to be No. 1 of 2015, also gave his word to Hoke. 

But then he decided to explore options. The good news is this: Harris isn't completely out of the picture. 

 

Flexing in the Great Lakes State

It was a near-miss, but Hoke successfully separated Drake Harris, a 2014 early enrollee, from Michigan State.

Initially, the former Grand Rapids Christian standout wideout wanted to play basketball for Spartans coach Tom Izzo. But then decided against it. 

Then he reopened his recruitment.

Then he committed to Michigan, which was a monumental win for Hoke. If Harris develops as forecast, great. If not, no big deal. These types of moves are far more complicated and calculated than meets the eye. If anything, getting Harris sent a message to high schoolers in Michigan: The best go to Ann Arbor, regardless. 

Southfield's Lawrence Marshall, a 4-star defensive end, was recruited by the Buckeyes and Spartans. But he chose to "go blue" instead. 

However, his teammate, Malik McDowell, did not. The 5-star defensive end picked Dantonio.

Securing Brian Cole of Saginaw Arthur Hill would help ease the pain of losing McDowell. Cole is No. 1 in the Mitten, and he's the No. 6-ranked athlete in the country. According to 247Sports, he has "warm" interest in Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State. 

Needless to say, that's tough competition for Hoke, who can't win them all—right? 

Most, but not all. 

 

Follow Bleacher Report's Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81.

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Ed O'Bannon Lawsuit Will Go to Trial After Judge Denies NCAA's Request

Compounding the litany of legal issues already facing the NCAA, a federal judge ruled a lawsuit against college sports' governing body spearheaded by former forward Ed O'Bannon will go to trial in June if a settlement is not reached.

U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken rejected the NCAA's motion to throw the case out and rule in the governing body's favor before trial, per Reuters' Dan Levine. Without a settlement, the case will be heard by an antitrust court, which will then render a ruling.

More than 20 plaintiffs, each of whom will have file a lawsuit on his or her own behalf, are suing the NCAA for what they claim is unlawful use of their likenesses in video games and other forms of media. The O'Bannon plaintiffs had previously sued Electronic Arts, which used to produce the NCAA Football and NCAA March Madness video games series, before the two sides settled last year.

The NCAA has since sued Electronic Arts.

More than past likenesses, the O'Bannon case is a potential landmark victory for student-athletes—past and present. With the NCAA raking in billions of dollars annually from television rights, merchandising and other revenue forms without compensating the players, a verdict in the plaintiffs' favor would give players—specifically those who play basketball and football—an undetermined piece of the pie.

Donald Remy, the NCAA's chief legal officer, told Reuters he expects the governing body to win the case. 

"The model we have today enables nearly half a million student-athletes at over a thousand schools to compete on the playing field while getting a college degree," Remy said. 

In her ruling, Wilken both opened the door for a full-fledged trial while paring down some of the legal matters in the case. The judge ruled out the NCAA's attempt to use its First Amendment right by claiming live broadcast of games fall under its jurisdiction, per Jon Solomon of AL.com. Wilken also noted some possible culpability from television networks and other forms of media, which use player likenesses in numerous ways beyond live telecasts:

Because the record does not demonstrate that all Division I student-athletes validly transferred all of these rights, the First Amendment does not preclude student-athletes from asserting rights of publicity in live broadcasts or re-broadcasts of entire games. Accordingly, the First Amendment does not preclude the existence of a market for group licenses to use student-athletes' names, images and likenesses in those broadcasts.

The ruling noted that there needs to be a better-established agreement on what constitutes likeness use. Per Solomon, Wilken wrote the signing away of a player's likeness would have to be "a condition of playing so the representative could license the right to televise the athletes' games."

While this is far from a monetary ruling in O'Bannon's favor, an oncoming trial is just the latest piece of litigation that stands to change the college sports landscape as we know it. The National Labor Relations Board granted a motion from Northwestern University football players requesting college athletes be able to form a union. The board ruled that athletes were already university employees due to the long work hours and performance-based contingencies worked into their scholarships.

“It cannot be said that the employer’s scholarship players are ‘primarily students,’” the decision said.

Players have to vote via a majority to form a union. The NCAA has also appealed the ruling, so the litigation in that case is far from over.

Nevertheless, some form of change is afoot whether the NCAA agrees with it or not. The mountain of litigation is only going to get higher as players see revenue made on their hard work going anywhere but their pockets. 

"I don't feel student-athletes should get hundreds of thousands of dollars, but like I said, there are hungry nights that I go to bed and I'm starving," Connecticut point guard Shabazz Napier told reporters at the Final Four.

With any luck in the courtroom, the Shabazz Napiers of the future won't have to go to bed "starving" for much longer.

 

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