NCAA Football News

Clemson Spring Game 2016: Live Score, Top Performers and Analysis

Orange 14, White 9, Second Quarter

The Clemson Tigers came up just short in their chase for a national championship in 2015, but the same excitement and level of expectation awaits the 2016 football team. We will get our first look at that team in Saturday's spring game. 

The spring game will give us an opportunity to see a lot of young players try to prove themselves and also a first look at the freshmen who enrolled early. The game can be seen on ESPN3 at 2:30 p.m. ET, but follow along right here for live updates and analysis. 

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South Carolina Spring Game 2016: Live Score, Top Performers and Analysis

Black 7, Garnet 0. First Quarter.

The South Carolina Gamecocks are beginning a new chapter Saturday as they are on the field for their first spring game under new head coach Will Muschamp on the SEC Network.  

Stay here for live reactions and updates from the Garnet and Black game. Feel free to join the conversation in the comments section. 

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Cory Batey, Former Vanderbilt Football Player, Found Guilty of Rape

Former Vanderbilt football player Cory Batey was found guilty on one count of aggravated rape and three counts of aggravated sexual battery late Friday night.

Stacey Barchenger of the Tennessean confirmed the details of the retrial and noted Tennessee law required him to get taken into custody immediately.

Hayley Mason of WSMV provided a full breakdown of the charges and the jury's rulings:  

The jury also found him guilty on four "less severe but related charges," per Barchenger.

Batey, along with fellow former Vanderbilt player Brandon Vandenburg, was found guilty of aggravated rape in January 2015 in the case. Last June, Davidson County Judge Monte Watkins declared a mistrial in the case, stating one of the jurors was "was biased and not impartial," per Steve Almasy of CNN.

The retrial verdict came after Batey, 22, and the woman both took the stand Friday before the sides delivered their closing arguments, according to the Tennessean. The jury deliberated for around two-and-a-half hours before reaching a verdict based on the incident in 2013.

The Associated Press reported the five-day trail featured "graphic images and videos" taken during the sexual assault of an unconscious student. Batey testified he didn't remember the alleged actions because he had been drinking and was drunk at the time:

Batey told jurors Friday that he had been drinking heavily with friends on campus in June 2013 and had never consumed so much alcohol in his life. He would later estimate that he had between 14 and 22 drinks.

Batey, who was 19 at the time, said he woke up the next day and saw pictures on his phone of a woman that he had never seen before.

Vandenburg is scheduled to go through a separate retrial in June. Two other former players, Jaborian "Tip" McKenzie and Brandon E. Banks, face charges related to the incident. Their cases are pending, according to the Tennessean.

The report notes the aggravated rape conviction against Batey carries a sentence of 15 to 25 years in prison. His sentencing is currently set for May 20.

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Auburn Spring Game 2016: Date, Start Time, TV Schedule, Live Stream and More

A-Day 2016, otherwise known as the 2016 Auburn spring game, has a dramatically different feel to it compared to past years.

The Auburn Tigers don't roll into the event triumphant on the shoulders of head coach Gus Malzahn this time, not after a 7-6 campaign with plenty of jobs riding on the team's 2016 performance.

Those folks on the hot seat have to find new starters under center, in the backfield, in both trenches and yet again re-tool a defense.

With such a theme in mind, here's a look at everything to know about one of the most important Auburn spring games in recent memory.

 

2016 Auburn Spring Game

When:  Saturday, April 9, at 4 p.m. ET

Where: Jordan-Hare Stadium

TV: SEC Network

Live Stream: SECSports.go.com.

 

It's not hard to figure out where to start when it comes to Saturday's event.

John Franklin III, a transfer, is the man tasked with turning the offense around next season. Considering Jeremy Johnson only threw 10 touchdowns to seven picks last year and Sean White one and four, respectively, it's safe to assume Franklin has his hands on the starting gig.

That doesn't mean he isn't under the microscope. Franklin only comes in at 174 pounds. He's fast and a dual-threat option in every sense of the description, but he'll have to show he can get the most out of guys around him and also hold up under the rigors of play.

At the very least, everyone seems to love Franklin's versatility, as captured by SEC Football:

The offense will need to fall in around Franklin. Behind him, running back Jovon Robinson returns after a season in which he turned 117 totes into 639 yards and three scores. Good, but the rest of a committee will need to sort itself out.

It's a similar story at wideout. The top two wideouts from last season (Ricardo Louis and Melvin Ray) are gone, so it will be interesting to see which former depth players can emerge as the best fit for the Franklin-led offense.

Again, same story in the offensive trenches. Xavier Dampeer is the focal point at center. A senior, he'll get the nod as starter with Austin Golson moving to left tackle to shore up the blind side.

“Dampeer is playing at a pretty good level at center right now,” offensive line coach Herb Hand said, according to Bryan Matthews of Rivals.com. “He's another guy that I've been very, very pleased with.”

The same pressure applies to the defensive side of the ball, which suffered last year under the much-hyped Will Muschamp. Now new coordinator Kevin Steele directs the attack, also inspired by the Nick Saban coaching tree.

In other words, fans shouldn't expect to see much difference Saturday compared to last year, except in the effort department.

“We’ve kept it pretty vanilla because we wanted to find out who would play with toughness, who would play with great effort and if you’re thinking and worried about making mistakes and busting then that’s pretty hard to do,” Steele said, according to Brandon Marcello of SECCountry.com. “We’ve kept it very, very vanilla.”

It's hard not to sense the positive vibes around the unit even though the team is on its third defensive coordinator in as many years. With major names such as Carl Lawson returning and high-upside guys like Byron Cowart continuing to emerge, the growth and development in a familiar scheme should pay dividends.

If budding positivity around a defense and a general nervousness about a Malzahn-directed offense seems odd going into a spring game, it most certainly is.

That won't stop fans from flocking to the event, nor should it. While not the bottom line in how a season will play out, should the spring game provide reassurances about both sides of the football, the SEC might have a sleeper on its hands. 

While an odd position, it sure makes for quite the interesting A-Day.

 

Stats and info courtesy of ESPN.com unless otherwise specified. Broadcast and spring game info via AL.com.

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Clemson Spring Game 2016: Date, Start Time, Schedule, Live Stream and More

Defense takes center stage at this year's Orange & White Game.

"Clemsoning" is dead. The Clemson Tigers gave the Alabama Crimson Tide all they could handle in the title game and get key contributors on the offensive side of the ball back, highlighted by Heisman Trophy contender Deshaun Watson under center.

In a spring game perhaps ready to break records, the Tigers will look to ease new starters into spots on the defensive side of the ball to round out what could once again be one of the nation's most well-rounded rosters.

Here's everything to know about the must-see event.

 

2016 Clemson Spring Game

When:  Saturday, April 9, at 2:30 p.m. ET

Where: Memorial Stadium

TV: N/A

Live Stream: WatchESPN

 

Folks know what to expect from a Clemson spring game—traditional rules and a major turnout.

This time, as usual, a normal clock monitors the proceedings until the second possession of the third quarter, where a running clock gets implemented to speed things along.

Orange and White shared the roster split for the event:

For head coach Dabo Swinney, Saturday is a chance to get his younger guys in front of a major crowd, a factor that will really help the coaching staff slot in the best possible players at positions of need.

Swinney spoke with the Independent Mail about his expectations:

I really want to challenge our crowd and our fans to show up. If we can have 30,000 people show up for a pizza party, we ought to have 50,000 show up, at least, for a spring game. A lot of new guys, new faces, so I really want to challenge our fan base to come and enjoy a great day at Clemson.

Rest assured, fans have every reason to help Swinney hit the goals. 

Fresh off a season in which he threw for 4,104 yards and 35 touchdowns, and added another 1,105 yards and 12 scores on the ground, Watson will orchestrate an offense getting most of its notable weapons back for another go at a title tilt, including leading wideout Mike Williams after a scary neck injury last year.

Starters won't stay on the field too long, of course, but when the depth of the team is so important, fans should want to see the younger future playmakers, too.

Really, though, this one is all about defense. The Tigers lost a laundry list of contributors, including lineman Kevin Dodd and defensive backs Mackensie Alexander, Jayron Kearse and T.J. Green, among many others.

Clemson boasts big names to replace the big names, too. One focal point is defensive lineman Christian Wilkins, who continues to flash in practice at every spot along the line. Wilkins' new partner in crime, freshman tackle Dexter Lawrence, gets even more hype, even from his own teammate, as the Post & Courier's Aaron Brenner captured:

New faces line the linebacking corps, too, with Tre Lamar and Shaq Smith fighting over a starting gig.

In the secondary, Mark Fields, Van Smith and many others will compete for the right to play with Cordrea Tankersley.

As Brenner noted, the new-look secondary attempted to learn from its past mistakes:

It all comes to a head Saturday, when the defense has to face not only one of the nation's most potent set of offensive weapons, but do so in front of what might be one of the biggest crowds ever to grace a Clemson spring game.

Times have changed around the Orange & White Game. Clemson isn't working its way back from a wildly disappointing finish to the season this time around, but attempting to one-up itself and get back on the hunt for a College Football Playoff berth.

Easier said than done, but these Tigers aren't strangers in the face of adversity ahead of a spring game.

 

Stats and info courtesy of ESPN.com unless otherwise specified. Broadcast and spring game info via ClemsonTigers.com.

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Florida Football: Winners and Losers from Gators' 2016 Spring

The quarterbacks have taken the final snaps, bringing 2016 spring practice to a close for the Florida Gators football team.

During recent weeks, the mini-competition under center dominated the attention paid to Jim McElwain's team, which is working to build off of a 10-4, SEC East-winning campaign.

In order to repeat as division champions, though, the Gators must improve an offense noticeably lacking playmakers—especially due to Antonio Callaway's suspension.

However, if Florida's defense matches expectations—as it did Friday night—the program will at least challenge for another East title while hoping the offense's production catches up.

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Luke Del Rio Makes Case to Be Florida's Starting QB in Spring Game

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — From journeyman to starting quarterback?

That is former Alabama and Oregon State quarterback Luke Del Rio's quest at Florida, and it looked like it was close to complete in the Orange & Blue Debut on Friday night at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

The redshirt sophomore, who sat out last year after transferring from the Beavers, completed 10 of his 11 passes for 176 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in the Blue team's 44-6 win over Orange. That performance has given Del Rio an edge on the competition exiting spring practice.

"Today, he did a really good job of sliding in the pocket, taking his eyes where he needed to based on the pressure and...you know what...I thought he was pretty good," head coach Jim McElwain said after the game.

"I think so," he said when pressed on whether Del Rio had a lead.

Del Rio was praised by McElwain as the front-runner in the four-man quarterback race, which also includes Purdue graduate transfer Austin Appleby and true freshmen Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask, one week into spring practice and has held serve through 15 practices.

The majority of Del Rio's damage came in the first half, when he completed six of his seven passes for 105 yards and a touchdown, working primarily with the first-team offense against the second-team Gator defense. It didn't matter what defense Del Rio faced, his ability to go through progressions is what mattered most after he went through a lull in that department midway through spring.

"I was pressing a little bit, not letting the offense work for me," Del Rio said. "[The coaches] do a great job of installing the plays and putting guys open for us. I just have to let the offensive line do what they do, the wide receivers do what they do and go through progressions. It's easier that way. Just run the offense. It works."

His primary competitor for the job, Purdue graduate transfer Austin Appleby, put up an impressive stat line as well, completing eight of his 11 passes for 80 yards against a defense that consisted mostly of first-team Gators.

"I took what the defense gave me for the most part," Appleby said. "I just wanted to come out here and make each play work and control the things I can control."

Make no mistake, though, Appleby hung several deep balls (one of which drew a defensive pass interference that should have been offensive), looked hesitant in the pocket and took three sacks in the game in which quarterbacks weren't live. 

Meanwhile, Del Rio completed several tough passes on time and on the money, including a tough 10-yard out across the field to junior college transfer Dre Massey on 3rd-and-6 near midfield. He routinely hit his check downs when appropriate and had command of the offense from the moment the annual scrimmage kicked off.

Did he knock the socks off of the estimated 46,000 fans at "The Swamp" and people watching on SEC Network? It wasn't something that will vault him into Heisman Trophy contention, but it certainly was enough to calm the fears of a Gator Nation that has been bitten by bad quarterback play ever since Tim Tebow graduated following the 2009 season.

Del Rio was effective, which is a major step forward for a Florida offense that got progressively worse last year after former quarterback Will Grier was suspended in mid-October.

A 6'1", 213-pounder who's the son of Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio, Luke Del Rio has been with the Gators since last summer and spent all offseason learning McElwain and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier's system. 

"You can always be more comfortable, I'll put it that way," Del Rio said. "I'm confident in my ability to execute the plays, but it's a never-ending cycle of learning the playbook."

That clearly paid off on Friday.

What's more, this has been a rather uncomfortable spring for the Gator offense.

Star wide receiver Antonio Callaway, who caught 35 passes for 678 yards and four touchdowns last season, has been suspended and hasn't been working out with the team since January. Senior Ahmad Fulwood missed some time in the middle of spring. And it's not like Florida—a team that hasn't had a 1,000-yard receiver since 2002 (Taylor Jacobs)—is dripping with proven playmakers outside.

With comfort and confidence under center, it's a good first step for McElwain—now in his second season at the helm—to finally create stability for his offense.

Del Rio provides that comfort and confidence, and he has established himself as the unquestioned leader in the clubhouse at the turn of the offseason.

That hasn't changed his mindset, though.

"I approach [the summer] the same as when first practice started. It's a competition."

It doesn't appear Del Rio has any intentions of losing this one based on his spring game performance. 

 

Quotes were obtained firsthand, unless otherwise noted. Statistics are courtesy of CFBStats.com, unless otherwise noted, and recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports.

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer and national college football video analyst for Bleacher Report, as well as a host on Bleacher Report Radio on SiriusXM 83. Follow Barrett on Twitter @BarrettSallee.

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Brandon Bourbon, Former Kansas Football Player, Dies at Age 24

Former Kansas Jayhawks football player Brandon Bourbon, 24, was found dead Friday, according to WIBW's Chris Lilly

Citing the Maries County Sheriff, Fox 4's Megan Brilley reported that Bourbon's death was ruled a suicide. A missing-persons report was filed on April 2. 

Chris Fickett of the Kansas City Star relayed a statement from University of Kansas head football coach David Beaty shortly after the news broke: 

JayhawksSlant provided comments from Kansas defensive coordinator Clint Bowen:

Former Kansas and current Oakland Raiders linebacker Ben Heeney posted a message on Twitter honoring Bourbon: 

According to Kansas' official website, the former Jayhawks halfback from Potosi, Missouri, earned first-team Academic All-Big 12 honors in 2013. Bourbon later transferred to Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, prior to the 2015 season, per Lilly.

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