NCAA Football News

Florida Gators Football: Complete Spring Game Preview

The Florida Gators spring game is only one day away. We’ll finally get to see firsthand what the coaches have been talking about and what the players have been working on.

Questions on both sides of the ball will be answered, while concerns in certain areas are bound to remain just that until fall camp rolls around. All in all, the spring game is still one of the more exciting events of the offseason. The score may not mean much and it’s a little weird watching players tackle their teammates, but it’s still football.

Are you excited yet?

Here’s a complete breakdown of the Florida Gators 2014 spring game. 

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USC Football: Week 4 Spring Practice Stock Report

The spring game quickly approaches at USC, as the Trojans completed another week of spring practices on Thursday. Things are really starting to come together for Steve Sarkisian, and despite the new offense, the atmosphere around practices feels like the old USC style.

In a week, we will get our first true glimpse of what we can expect from the Trojans come the fall, but for now, let's revisit the standout moments from this installment of spring ball.

 

The Future of Adoree' Jackson

Easily USC's biggest catch of the 2014 season, Adoree' Jackson has many anxiously anticipating his arrival to the Trojan ranks. On Thursday, Sarkisian volunteered some insight about how Jackson could be used next season, and it's a pretty exciting development:

There hasn't been a notable two-way player at USC in recent memory, with the exception of Marqise Lee, who briefly lined up at cornerback against Oregon in 2012. Jackson's place at USC has been debated since the 5-star athlete signed with the cardinal and gold, and playing him at both wide receiver and cornerback solves that dilemma.

Furthermore, Jackson isn't the only one that could pull double-duty:

Sark did say they would revisit these options over the fall, but it's a promising possibility to think about nonetheless.

If Jackson, Juju Smith and Rahshead Johnson (or any of these three, for that matter) truly do end up playing on both sides of the field for USC, the Trojans become that much more dynamic of a team in 2014. 

 

QB Battle in the Homestretch 

At the beginning of spring camp, Sarkisian said he didn't have a timeline for naming a starter and that he would do so when it felt right. As practices went on, the head coach alluded to separation between returning starter Cody Kessler and his challenger, Max Browne, with Kessler having the advantage. On Tuesday, Sark all but declared the competition over:

Sark reiterated that after Thursday's practice as well:

Kessler and Browne will have their final showdown next Saturday, and at some point after that, we can expect Sark to announce that Kessler has retained his job. 

To Garry Paskwietz of ESPN.com, Sark elaborated about having (mostly) reached a decision:

I would suspect we’ll name one before the end of spring. As I’ve said before, when I have a pretty good feeling for it I’m going to let it sit for a little bit, maybe watch for a bit and view it that way, see what that feels like. I feel like that’s a good way to go about it.

Choosing a starting quarterback has been Sark's most important, most pressing issue since he got hired, and with that in the bag, he can move on to further shaping the offense around that athlete's skill set. 

 

Defense Rising to the Occasion 

During the third week of spring practices, defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox told the media that while the defense would start strong against the uptempo offense, productivity would taper off throughout the scrimmage sessions. This week, it appears the defense has responded.

Sark lauded the unit after practice on Tuesday:

 On Thursday, more positive feedback came from the coaches about their effort:

Rahshaun Haylock of FoxSports.com outlined just how important Woods is to USC's defense and what his progression means to the team going forward. 

The fact that the defense is starting to gel is particularly good news, as the Trojans have kept contact in practices to a minimum due to injury and depth concerns. 

With the veteran Trojans that Sark mentioned stepping up to lead the defense, we can expect an even more spirited and competitive fall camp in four months. 

 

Other Notes

 A handful of former Trojans attended Thursday's practice:

Sark plans to baptize the incoming freshman by fire:

Sark praises the efforts of strength coach Ivan Lewis, who previously worked with Sark at Washington:

The Trojans will hold another light scrimmage Saturday, before the annual spring game takes place in the Coliseum next Saturday, April 19, at 3 p.m. PT. 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

12 Starting Quarterbacks Most Likely to Lose Their Jobs Before the End of 2014

Forget the old adage about quarterbacks getting too much credit and blame in today’s college football.

If programs want to win, they are best advised to field dynamic playmakers and fantastic decision-makers at the sport’s most important position.

Case in point: 2014 Florida State.

The Seminoles graduated first-round draft pick E.J. Manuel but upgraded with redshirt freshman Jameis Winston.

Fourteen games later, Winston and his teammates lifted the BCS National Championship trophy.

The team across the field—Auburn—had suffered through a 0-8 SEC campaign in 2012. Junior college transfer quarterback Nick Marshall can’t take all the credit, but he played no small role in turning the Tigers around to within mere seconds of a national title.

Backup quarterbacks have long been the biggest fan favorites on rosters because they, like the start of a new season, represent the unknown and—more importantly—hope.

Today we examine 12 starting quarterbacks who could lose their jobs during the 2014 season.

To be considered for the list, the quarterback in question must have started at least half the 2013 season, or there has to be reason to believe he will be the starter in 2014.

Reasons to believe someone has a chance to start include participation as a starter in past seasons or games started during injury situations.

Fill-in moments—such as when Texas A&M quarterback hopeful Matt Joeckel stepped in for Johnny Manziel—are not considered.

Many quarterbacks on the list will have either endured struggles or injuries at times during their careers. Having former highly rated prospects as backups can also impact a player’s spot on the list.

Here is our list of quarterbacks on the hot seat.

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Reviewing Vinnie Sunseri's ACL Tear, Impressive Recovery and NFL Draft Stock

In January, former University of Alabama safety Vinnie Sunseri declared for the 2014 NFL draft—a move AL.com's Andrew Gribble called a "stunner"—about three months after tearing the ACL in his left knee.

Tuesday, at Alabama's second pro day, Sunseri proved just how far he'd come. Gribble notes that the former Crimson Tide standout posted 40-yard dash times between 4.48 and 4.52 seconds—while also completing multiple agility drills—less than six months after rupturing his ACL.

In short, that's impressive.

Despite recent, nearly incomprehensible recoveries—such as that of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson—ACL tears remain a threatening knee injury for any football player.

Then again, for Sunseri, it seems the stars aligned.

For instance, Gribble mentions that his injury involved only the ACL:

Sunseri's therapist, Kevin Wilk, worked with Peterson and has told Sunseri that he's following a similar path back to 100 percent health.

Working in Sunseri's favor is that his ACL tear was "clean" and did not affect any of the other ligaments.

The fact that Sunseri's medical team consisted of experts such as Wilk and orthopedic surgeon Dr. Lyle Cain—among others—certainly didn't hurt, either.

Ordinarily, an average elite athlete will work back from an ACL tear between seven or eight months to well over a year after suffering the dreaded injury. The slow, wide-ranged timeline is necessary to allow the reconstructed ACL—usually a piece of the athlete's own hamstring muscle tendon—to safely meet the progressively increasing demands of rehab and, eventually, top-level competition.

Yet just how well is Sunseri doing?

While sprinting in a straight line and performing basic drills does not necessarily constitute game-readiness, doing so marks the penultimate steps. As such, there is no reason to think the defensive back will not be ready for action in advance of the 2014 NFL season.

Given his current draft stock, his excellent recovery may carry even more weight than other surefire NFL prospects who are rehabbing comparable injuries.

According to multiple analyses—such as Rotoworld, NFL.com and Rob Rang of CBSSports.com—Sunseri projects to be, at best, a late-round draft pick in May.

Originally, Sunseri's ACL injury likely significantly influenced such projections—perhaps even knocking him off most big boards altogether—but his rehab success may be assuaging some of those fears.

Will Carroll, Bleacher Report's lead writer for Sports Medicine, notes that for some athletes, everything simply falls into place.

"Healing response is individual," Carroll said. "For some, it's hard work. For others, it's a bit of luck with genetics. Every injury is different, and every surgery is different, so we shouldn't expect every result to be the same."

In other words, some injuries just, well, heal.

In the end, when NFL teams look at Sunseri, one may see a football-smart safety coming off an injury that will end up proving merely a minor speed bump, and another might focus on his injury risk and relative football shortcomings.

A third might question his decision to opt out of his senior year with so many unknowns still swirling, and a fourth may fall somewhere in between them all.

All told, when draft weekend rolls around, Sunseri's ACL tear will undoubtedly come up in all 32 draft circles. However, if Tuesday's pro day proves anything, it's that he's making every attempt to minimize its impact.

And doing a darn good job, at that.

 

Dr. Dave Siebert is a resident physician at the University of Washington who plans to pursue fellowship training in Primary Care (non-operative) Sports Medicine. Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Penn State Football: Complete Spring Game Preview

On Saturday, James Franklin will take the Beaver Stadium turf for the first time and officially debut as Penn State's head coach. 

Since his hiring in early January, Franklin has excited fans with his active presence on social media. While his engagement has been welcoming, he's yet to showcase the football side of things. 

Weeks of spring practice sessions will culminate with the annual Blue-White game, an event that brings thousands of fans and alumni back to Happy Valley. It will be the public's first time watching the Nittany Lions under the tutelage of Franklin and his staff.  

Here's a comprehensive preview of Penn State's 2014 spring game. 

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South Carolina Football: Complete Spring Game Preview

Gamecocks fans, football season is finally here.

Well, sort of. 

South Carolina ends its spring season with the annual Garnet and Black spring football game, and it's the first dose of big-stage South Carolina football since the 2013 season's bowl game. 

The Gamecocks have been hard at work this spring trying to find answers to fill the defense and turn the offense into a finely tuned machine. 

This Saturday, the public catches a first glimpse of the team's progress, while head ball coach Steve Spurrier can experiment by testing his players on a bigger stage despite the fact it's just a spring game. 

Spring football is a great way to learn about your team for the next season.

Here is your complete preview for South Carolina's Garnet and Black Spring Game. 

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