NCAA Football

Troy Smith Arrested for OVI: Latest Details on Former Ohio State QB

Former Ohio State and NFL quarterback Troy Smith was arrested and charged with "improper display of license tags, OVI and possession of marijuana" early Sunday morning, according to

Smith tested .143 after being pulled over by police. According to Cpl. Greg Franey of the Westerville Division of Police, the 31-year-old was pulled over on S. State Street at 2:38 a.m., per the Columbus Dispatch.

The 2006 Heisman Trophy winner last appeared in an NFL game in 2010 with the San Francisco 49ers. He began his NFL career as a backup for the Baltimore Ravens before stints with the Niners and Pittsburgh Steelers.

He compiled 1,734 passing yards, eight passing touchdowns, five interceptions, 230 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns in 20 NFL games, completing 51.7 percent of his passes.

Smith also spent time with the Omaha Nighthawks of the UFL in 2011 and the Montreal Alouettes in 2013 and 2014. His excellent college career ended after he led the Buckeyes to the 2007 BCS Championship Game, where they lost to the Florida Gators, 41-14.

Smith is currently a free agent.

Read more College Football news on

Why Boston College FS Justin Simmons Could Be Huge Draft Steal

We're nearing the end of the NFL draft evaluation process, and the majority of the elite prospects have been analyzed from every angle over the past 12 months. 

But inevitably, late risers emerge, such as Boston College Eagles safety Justin Simmons. 

Understandably, many fans are skeptical of these so-called late risers. After all, Simmons hasn't set foot on the field since November, so what could he possibly have done to go from off-the-radar prospect to one of the hottest names in the draft?

Simmons will inevitably be labeled a workout warrior thanks to his impressive NFL combine numbers, but his rise is a result of far more than his numbers in Indianapolis. 

Every year a handful of players put on a combine performance that forces evaluators to go back and give a prospect who may not have been a priority a more serious look.

This was exactly my experience with Simmons this season.

Having not watched much Boston College football during the year, Simmons never made his way into my notes during the season. He was a former cornerback converting to safety, so he didn't enter the season with any significant draft buzz to make him a prospect worth seeking out during the year. But his combine performance forced many evaluators, myself included, to go back and give him a serious assessment—and the results were impressive. 

To appreciate Simmons' potential value in the NFL, it helps to have an understanding of the role safeties play in different defensive schemes. 

On a very basic level, regardless of scheme, the free safety is generally the deepest defensive back on the field, responsible for covering the most ground in the deep secondary. The strong safety tends to play more man coverage and act as the eighth defender in the box in certain alignments.

Simmons is capable of playing the free safety role in any scheme, but his highest value is specific to the Cover 1, which has become the predominant base coverage for most NFL teams. 

Every team mixes up their looks throughout the game to confuse the quarterback, but the Cover 1 scheme heavily relies on a single-high safety (the free safety). 

To provide an example, we'll use the Detroit Lions due to their apparent interest in Simmons. According to Bleacher Report's Matt Miller, the Lions have met with Simmons three times this offseason. 

This particular play starts out with a Cover 1 look with Glover Quin operating as the free safety, while Isa Abdul-Quddus is the strong safety in the box. 

As the play unfolds, Quin drops back and becomes responsible for providing protection in the shaded region of the image below, which features two Oakland Raiders receivers on this particular play. 

As the free safety, Quin is arguably the most important defender on the field in this situation. His ability to read the quarterback and get to either receiver in time to contest the reception is critical to the success of this defense. 

Ultimately, quarterback Derek Carr checked down to an underneath receiver on this play, potentially due to Quin's positioning on the field, threatening both receivers in his area. 

In a Cover 1 defense, the free safety's ability to provide help over the top allows cornerbacks to play more aggressively near the line of scrimmage. Typically cornerbacks are instructed to try to force receivers to the middle of field, which complicates the read for the quarterback and leads to more turnovers. But none of that is possible without a reliable rangy free safety as protection. 

Simmons played a variety of roles in the Boston College defense, but the single-high free safety was one of his primary responsibilities in 2015. 

Here's a look at his positioning as a Cover 1 free safety on a 1st-and-10 play against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish:

As the deep safety, Simmons' range and ability to read the quarterback is what sets him apart. 

These skills were on display throughout his game against Notre Dame—NFL Network's Mike Mayock is among those who have praised his performance against the Irish—but his rage showed up at an elite level on this interception in particular:

The range Simmons shows on this play is obvious, but his ability to quickly read and react to the quarterback is really what sets up this play. Plenty of defensive backs have the ability to cover the ground Simmons does on this interception, but his quick reaction to the quarterback's decision is a skill that sets him apart from other free safety prospects in this draft class. 

Simmons also showed off his playmaking ability with an interception off the Clemson Tigers' Deshaun Watson. Once again, Boston College shows a Cover 1 look with Simmons as the single-high free safety. As Watson drops back, he appears to underestimate Simmons' range, as he cuts in front of the Clemson receiver for the interception.

In addition to his range in coverage, Simmons shows off an impressive closing ability in the run game. His athleticism gives him the ability to cover ground, but it's his quick reaction to the developing play that allows him to reach another level with his playmaking ability. 

While free safeties are most valuable for their skills in coverage, the ability to step up against the run is also a critical skill in the Cover 1. 

The Cover 1 allows for teams to stack the box, but it also puts them at risk of allowing longer run plays. If the linebackers get sealed off or drawn out of position by misdirection, a crease can open up for the running back, which forces the free safety to essentially become the last line of defense.

This scenario plays out against against Notre Dame, with Simmons as the free safety in Cover 1. Fortunately for Boston College, Simmons quickly diagnoses the play and the running lane he needs to step into, then he closes the gap with impressive speed and makes a strong wrap-up tackle. 

Simmons' ability to break down in space makes him an elite open-field tackler. He's capable of making these plays charging in from his deep safety position against the run and also makes many similar plays on quick-strike passing plays underneath. 

In terms of his NFL draft stock, Simmons' place on draft boards likely falls in a wide range depending on the role teams see for him in the NFL. 

While this evaluation has been focused on Simmons' value as a free safety in Cover 1, it's also worth noting his prowess against the run and his man coverage skills from his days as a cornerback could lead some teams to view him as an option at strong safety. 

Teams that view Simmons as a free safety in Cover 1 could potentially justify him as a first-round selection based on his range, reaction skills and the value of the position in a Cover 1 defense. However, teams evaluating him as strong safety may have concerns about his size limiting him lining up in the box and may have a much lower grade. 

As a result, Simmons' place on draft day will be determined by whether a team falls in love with his skill set and sees an immediate starting role. If a team does view Simmons as an instant-impact rookie, the late first round is a reasonable landing spot.

Regardless of when Simmons comes of the board, if he finds himself in the right system, he has all the tools necessary to carve out a long career in the NFL.

Read more College Football news on

Jim Harbaugh Sings the National Anthem on Stage at a Lil Dicky Concert

There are few things more American than Jim Harbaugh singing the national anthem at a rap concert.

The Michigan Wolverines football coach hopped on stage with Lil Dicky for the hip-hop artist's stop at Hill Auditorium on the Ann Arbor campus Saturday and belted out "The Star Spangled Banner."

As it turns out, Lil Khaki has some serious pipes.


Read more College Football news on

Alabama Football: Takeaways and Stats from Tide's 1st Spring Scrimmage

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The Bo Scarbrough hype officially reached liftoff Saturday. 

Scarbrough had a statement performance during the Crimson Tide’s first spring scrimmage, with 132 rushing yards on nine carries, according to statistics released by the University of Alabama.

He also scored three touchdowns, including one on a 95-yard carry.

Moreover, Scarbrough was the first of three playmakers that head coach Nick Saban specifically mentioned after the closed session at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

“I was encouraged by some of the guys out there,” Saban said. “Bo Scarbrough ran pretty well.”

The buzz among Alabama fans about Scarbrough has been building for years, dating back to even before he was considered since one of the top running back recruits in the nation.

Scarbrough hails from the Tuscaloosa area, and at 6’2” and 230 pounds, he physically reminds many of last year’s Heisman Trophy winner, Derrick Henry.

With Henry and Kenyan Drake having moved on, Alabama has little proven depth in the backfield, which is led by second-year players Damien Harris and Scarbrough.

After serving a four-game eligibility suspension, Scarbrough played in seven games and had 104 rushing yards on 18 carries with one touchdown last season. Despite the limited workload, his 5.8 yards per carry topped the Crimson Tide, just ahead of Henry’s 5.6.

Harris, who played in 12 games as a true freshman, had 157 rushing yards on 21 carries last year.

“I certainly think he’s capable of doing all the things that we need him to do,” Saban said when asked about Scarbrough. “I think part of it is confidence, knowledge, experience. Having confidence in what he’s supposed to do, how he’s supposed to do it, why it’s important to do it that way. I think when he understands that he plays fast and he’s very effective.

“I like his work ethic, I like his toughness. I think there are things that we need to improve on, but we’re encouraged by what he’s done to this point.”


A good day for one of the quarterbacks

The second player that Saban individually praised to reporters was quarterback David Cornwell, who is competing with Copper Bateman and Blake Barnett for the starting job.

Per usual during an Alabama quarterback competition, the program did not release passing statistics from the scrimmage to the media, but Saban said “some of the young quarterbacks made some plays. David Cornwell threw the ball fairly well.”

Although Saban declared that none of the quarterbacks has really stood out so far, they also haven’t had much of an opportunity to do so yet, as Alabama rotated the four on scholarship throughout the scrimmage.

The offense was missing some starters as well.

“There were some inconsistencies in the passing game,” Saban said. “When I say that, I’m not just talking about quarterbacks throwing the ball. I’m talking about the protection, the receivers running the right routes, the timing, all those things. I think the thing that affects the passing game and the kicking game as much as anything is the wind, and it was really windy.

“There were some good plays made today. I’m encouraged by all of those guys. I think the big thing they need to is each and every one of them can’t be thinking about where I am on the depth chart, what my position is and worry about that.”


Injury report

Alabama continues to bring the players who are coming off injuries along slowly. Defensive end Jonathan Allen (shoulder), left tackle Cam Robinson (shoulder), wide receiver Robert Foster (shoulder) and safety Eddie Jackson (leg) were among those in black no-contact jerseys and held out of the scrimmage.

Maurice Smith has been working at safety in Jackson’s absence, and early enrollee Jonah Williams filled in for Robinson during the scrimmage.

“Jonah Williams has really played nicely and actually played left tackle today with the first team and did a really nice job,” Saban said.

The coach also stated that reserve tackle Korren Kirven missed some time this past week with a foot injury.



• Saban indicated that the scrimmage format was simple, as the aim was for coaches to evaluate how the players competed. “I think that I can’t really ever say that I’m pleased with much of anything around here, but I guess, relatively speaking, this scrimmage was a lot like you would expect a first scrimmage to be,” he said. “There were a lot of good things and there were a lot of things that need to be cleaned up.” Overall, Saban said he liked the team’s effort and toughness.

• A third playmaker that Saban singled out was wide receiver ArDarius Stewart. He was credited with a team-high seven receptions for 100 yards and touchdowns of 40 and 18 yards.

• Saban didn’t comment too much on the defensive side, saying it “batted some balls down, got some turnovers, made some good plays.” Defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson and linebacker Rashaan Evans led all players with eight tackles, while linebacker Reuben Foster returned an interception for a touchdown.


Alabama spring scrimmage No. 1

Stats include 11-on-11, situational drills, red area, goal line, two-minute 

Rushing leaders

  • Bo Scarbrough: 9 attempts, 132 yards, 3 touchdowns
  • Jalen Hurts: 10 attempts, 57 yards
  • Damien Harris: 12 attempts, 36 yards


Receiving leaders

  • ArDarius Stewart: 7 catches, 100 yards, 2 touchdowns
  • Calvin Ridley: 3 catches, 50 yards


Defensive leaders

  • Dalvin Tomlinson: 8 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 passes broken up
  • Rashaan Evans: 8 tackles, 1 sack
  • Reuben Foster: 7 tackles, 1 interception (returned for a touchdown)
  • Ryan Anderson: 7 tackles, 1 sack


Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

Christopher Walsh is a lead SEC college football writer. Follow Christopher on Twitter @WritingWalsh.

Read more College Football news on