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Jalen Mills Injury: Updates on LSU Star's Fibula and Return

LSU star safety Jalen Mills reportedly suffered a broken fibula during practice Wednesday, according to Jim Kleinpeter and James Smith of the Times-Picayune.  

Continue for updates.

Mills Expected to Be Out 4-6 Weeks Wednesday, August 19

While LSU sports information director Michael Bonnette would only confirm that Mills suffered an injury, a source told the Times-Picayune that Mills indeed broke his fibula and could be facing a six-week recovery. 

Mills is one of LSU's top defensive players and one of the better safeties in the country, so this is a big loss for the Tigers. The senior started 39 games for the program as both a corner and a safety, and he finished last season with 62 tackles and an interception. 

The one plus for LSU is that the team is deep in the secondary, and junior Rickey Jefferson has experience at safety and will step in for the injured Mills. Losing an experienced, talented player like Mills is always difficult to overcome, but LSU has the depth in the secondary to survive.


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Would a 24-Hour Marathon Work for College Football?

Twenty-four straight hours of college football you say? Where do we sign?

Nothing like this is in the works yet, but with the 2015 season so close to arriving, we here at Bleacher Report are always thinking of new ways to maximize the college football experience. And nothing would maximize it like a full day of college football from beginning to end. 

As it does every year, ESPN announced the upcoming schedule for its College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon, a full day of non-stop coverage for men's and women's college hoops games. For college basketball die-hards, this is the next-best thing to the first two days of the NCAA tournament. After roughly eight months of waiting, it's all college basketball, all the time. 

College football fans go through a similar offseason, wandering aimlessly through a desert of predictions, hot takes, preseason polls and the like. It's entertaining enough for the most part to bide time, but it's all pretty meaningless until the first kickoff. 

The first major game to kickoff the 2015 season will be North Carolina and South Carolina on Sept. 3 in Charlotte, North Carolina. If you're really desperate, North Dakota State and Montana will play on Aug. 29.

But what if college football decided to go the way of its basketball counterpart and provide viewers with 24 hours of non-stop action to open the season? Think of it like bowl season—except condensed into 24 hours. 

It could work. Here's how: 

First, you would only need 11, maybe 12 games at most, to broadcast. The College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon features 16 games, with only a handful of games overlapping one other. Otherwise, the schedule is straightforward. When one game ends, another one begins. On and on it goes in a line. Since college basketball games last about two hours, ESPN needs more inventory to fill its 24-hour block.

According to NCAA data obtained by Jon Solomon of CBSSports.com, the average college football game length in 2014 was three hours and 23 minutes. It's not uncommon to see a four-hour game, either, though. Lining college football games up one after the other, ESPN, the primary rights holder in college football, could get away with broadcasting about seven games from start to finish. Add in another four or five overlapping games on ESPN2, ESPNU and perhaps even ABC, and that's a full slate. 

Keep in mind, too, that Fox, CBS and conference-affiliated networks will be broadcasting their own games. Michigan at Utah on Thursday, Sept. 3, for example, will be played on Fox Sports 1. So don't worry: There will be plenty of games to follow.

Next, start it on the first Thursday night of the season and carry it over into Friday. These two nights are already loaded with games as it is, so finding teams to play wouldn't be a problem. This way, the first college football Saturday of the season and its major games are preserved. Louisville and Auburn in Atlanta? Wisconsin and Alabama in Arlington, Texas? They'd still be there. 

Here comes the tricky part, though: overnight scheduling. It's easy enough to find two teams to play at 8 p.m. ET. Even Pac-12 games kicking off at 10 p.m. ET are commonplace. As someone who regularly stays up past 1 a.m. CT on a college football Saturday, rest assured that going past midnight is no big deal. 

It's the 2 a.m. to 8 a.m. ET slot that poses problems. 

This is when television and conferences execs would have to get creative. You know those late-night games in Hawaii that regularly kick off at midnight? ESPN would need a home opener to be played in Honolulu, six hours behind ET, to fill the early morning hours. 

Overseas games would take some of the pressure off, as well. In 2014, Penn State and Central Florida played in Dublin, Ireland at 8:30 a.m. ET (Dublin is five hours ahead of ET). A game in Ireland at a similar time would take the marathon right up to a more normal noon slot on Friday (For the record, the first game on Friday, Sept. 4 between UNC-Charlotte and Georgia State is at 3:30 p.m. ET). 

That leaves a slot from around 4 a.m. to 8 a.m.

There's always the possibility of a college football game in London, something the NFL has experimented with. Additionally, the Pac-12 and Mountain West have flirted with the idea of playing a bowl game in Melbourne, Australia, which is 14 hours ahead of ET. But what about a regular-season game down under? A 6 p.m. game on Friday in Melbourne would be broadcasted at 4 a.m. ET in Bristol, Connecticut. 

“We’re selling the concept and the game. It’s competitive and it’s authentic,” Paul Sergeant, CEO of Melbourne Stadiums Ltd., told Ed Wyatt of SportsPressNW.com in June. If Melbourne is willing to host a college football bowl game, it would likely be willing to host a regular-season game as well. 

Is it ideal for coaches and players? Not at all, but when has that ever stopped college football from taking its product overseas for a game? And it would be just that: a single game. The overnight and early morning slots would be three games back-to-back-to-back to minimize the amount of hoop-jumping.  

Hypothetically, here's what a college football kickoff marathon could look like using games from the 2015 season-opening weekend (note that some games/times have been adjusted to make the schedule fit): 

Of course, with scheduling being the way that it is, a kickoff marathon for 2016, '17 or '18 would be far more appealing. There'd be more Washington vs. Boise State and less Charlotte vs. Georgia State.

Logistically, there are few hurdles to get through—though, the hurdles are admittedly big. If ESPN could (and would be willing to) get through the overnight and early morning slates, it would have quite a marathon of games to broadcast. 

And college football fans everywhere would rejoice. Or fall asleep at work. Either one. 


Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football. All quotes cited unless obtained firsthand.  

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Is It Time for Florida State Fans to Worry About 2016 Recruiting Class?

Considering that Florida State currently holds the nation’s No. 3 class, Seminoles fans would be unwise in worrying about the state of head coach Jimbo Fisher’s recruiting efforts.

However, over the last month, a handful of events have caused the optimism surrounding the 2016 ‘Noles class to dissipate. 

For starters, the ‘Noles unexpectedly lost a commitment from 5-star tight end Isaac Nauta in late July. 

Then, a pair of 5-star in-state prospects in defensive end Shavar Manuel and receiver Nate Craig-Myers—both of whom were believed to be leaning heavily toward Florida State—each stated that the ‘Noles were slipping in their respective recruitments.

Additionally, FSU has landed only one commitment—from 4-star running back Amir Rasul—in the last two months. 

What is the cause for these latest developments, and should fans be concerned about FSU fading down the stretch toward signing day? 

In the cases of Nauta, Manuel and Craig-Myers, each stud prospect had a different reason for their shifts regarding FSU.

Nauta told Josh Newberg of 247Sports that his desire to be closer to his hometown of Buford, Georgia, or to be in a town in which he has members of his family close by, was one of the reasons he decided to decommit.

Manuel referred to a “mess” at FSU, likely in reference to the off-field issues involving dismissed quarterback DeAndre Johnson and star running back Dalvin Cook, as to part of the reason FSU finds themselves outside of his top three.

Craig-Myers mentioned a lack of communication between he and the ‘Noles staff, which has helped rival Florida make a move on the nation’s top receiver.

However, it’s not exactly time to hit the panic button in Tallahassee.

That’s because Fisher has plenty of ammo to sell to recruits.

Over the last three years, Florida State has gone 39-3 and won the national title in 2013. In that same period, the Seminoles have set a record with 29 players being selected in the NFL draft, as noted by Scott Crumbly and Jake Hyman of Tomahawk Nation.

Also, Fisher’s average class rank since taking over in 2010 is No. 5 nationally—which suggests that FSU should be able to shake out of its funk in due time.

While Nauta appears to be headed elsewhere, the recruitments of Manuel and Craig-Myers are far from over—which means that FSU will have time to make up the ground they’ve lost.

Additionally, Florida State already has 18 commitments, which means spots in the 2016 class are extremely limited.

The ‘Noles are heavily involved with potential impact players such as 4-star corner Trayvon Mullen, 4-star tight end Naseir Upshur, 4-star offensive lineman Landon Dickerson and 4-star linebacker Devin Bush Jr.

If recent history is any indicator, the upcoming season could give the ‘Noles a shot in the arm if they continue to win big on the field.


Sanjay Kirpalani is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand and all recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.

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Florida Football: It's Time to Name Will Grier the Gators Starting QB

All right—enough is enough.

The writing is on the wall.

Will Grier will be Florida's starting quarterback eventually, even if head coach Jim McElwain won't say it at the midway point in fall camp.

In fact, McElwain is sitting on the fence in the offseason battle between Grier—a redshirt freshman pro-style passer from Davidson, N.C.—and true sophomore dual-threat and part-time starter Treon Harris.

"I like where they’re at, both of them," McElwain said on Tuesday, according to Scott Carter of GatorZone.com. "I feel comfortable with both of them, and we’ll see after this. I haven’t put a deadline [on naming a starter]. I want to see them take ownership."

Is that pure, unadulterated coach speak?

Absolutely. It's also an indication—albeit unintentional—that Grier has a lead.

Let's go back to SEC media days in July, when McElwain talked about his relationship with offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier and what philosophies the two share.

"I coached against him when he was a player at the University of Idaho and I was at Eastern Washington and watched him obviously shred a lot of defenses along the way by spreading it out and throwing it around the ballpark," McElwain said. "Both of us come from kind of that background."

That background is important, because if the battle is tight at this point, there's little doubt how the dominoes will fall. Grier's arm strength and ability to push it from sideline to sideline plays into the coaching staff's coaching strengths. 

For Grier's development, now's the time to name him the starter.

This isn't a seasoned backup who could ease into the season under an established system and gain chunks of the playbook game by game. This is Florida, a program in which an offensive identity has been more of a myth than reality for the last half-decade.

Florida needs an identity, and it needs to be developed during the latter portion of fall camp so that it can be tested and refined over the first two games of the season. The Gators open with New Mexico State and then a moderately tough East Carolina team that they played in last season's Birmingham Bowl before going on the road to Kentucky for the SEC opener.

Grier needs as much experience as he can get, and naming him the starter quickly will allow him unquestioned first-team snaps for the remainder of fall camp and a chance to get more of the playbook early in the season.

All quarterback battles aren't created equal.

Alabama and South Carolina have too many bodies competing for the top spot on the depth chart for the staff to make a proper decision midway through fall camp, and Georgia's most experienced contender in its three-man battle—Virginia transfer Greyson Lambert—just got to campus in late July.

Florida is in a different boat.

Grier came into fall camp with a slight edge on Harris anyway, and if he hasn't done anything to lose it through two-and-a-half weeks of fall camp, that should be enough to tell the staff that he's worthy of winning it.


Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports. Statistics courtesy of cfbstats.comBarrett 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.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Top 2017 College Football Recruits at Every Position Heading into 2015 Season

A fresh football season presents heightened expectations for the next crop of coveted college prospects. High school juniors who comprise the 2017 recruiting class will be asked to carry larger loads for their respective programs while pressure mounts to find the right university.

This star-studded group remains relatively new on the national radar, so we're highlighting the top-rated player at every position in 247Sports' composite rankings. Some athletes already announced collegiate commitments, but many remain undecided and open to opportuities across the country.

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Predicting Winners for Top Remaining College Football QB Battles

It's hard to argue that the quarterback position isn't the most important in college football. A great quarterback can lift his program's fortunes, elevating the talents of the offensive players surrounding him and boosting his teammates to heights they'd never have experienced without him.

The exact converse is true for a below-average signal-caller. Even if you have talented receivers, tailbacks and offensive linemen, their value is minimized when they're paired with a quarterback who can't execute the offense efficiently. Finding the right guy is paramount.

This summer, a number of prominent programs across the nation face that quandary. Powerful programs like Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Ohio State and Oregon are all running quarterback competitions, and the face of the College Football Playoff could change depending on who emerges victorious.

Here's a look at the projected winners of each major quarterback battle. Coaches' desire to keep information close to the vest and performance fluctuations could change these calls by the time September rolls around, but these are the best guesses as to who'll lead these prominent teams onto the field as 2015 begins.

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Tennessee Run Game Shaping Up to Be Major Threat with Addition of Alvin Kamara

Alvin Kamara has taken a long road to get to Tennessee but is having an immediate impact with the Volunteers. Look for Kamara to form a three-headed rushing attack with quarterback Joshua Dobbs and running back Jalen Hurd.

Bleacher Report's Adam Lefkoe and College Football Analyst Barrett Sallee discuss Kamara's impact on this 2015 Volunteers squad.  

What are Tennessee's chances of being a top-tier rushing team in 2015? Let us know below.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

How Michigan Transfer Blake Countess Answered Auburn's Call for Help

Every morning since the start of fall camp, Justin Garrett has watched his new roommate down an interesting beverage.

"He wakes up every morning and drinks a glass of pickle juice," the Auburn linebacker said Tuesday, per Ryan Black of Auburn Undercover. "That's the first time I had ever seen that."

Much like the pickle juice routine, Garrett's roommate—cornerback Blake Countess—is a relatively new sight for the Tigers this fall.

And the briny, green liquid is a fitting choice for a player who was brought in to help Auburn get out of the pickle it was in at defensive back.

Countess arrived at Auburn this summer as a graduate transfer from Michigan, where he was a first-team All-Big Ten cornerback in 2013 after leading the conference with six interceptions.

After making 30 starts during his Wolverines career, Countess decided to head elsewhere for his final year of eligibility—just as the program was beginning its transition to new head coach Jim Harbaugh.

The former 4-star recruit from Maryland fielded interest from schools all over the country, including Arizona, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

But Countess says Auburn stuck out to him before he even arrived on the Plains for his visit thanks to a call from a player he now lines up with in the Tigers secondary.

"I pretty much told him he needs to come to Auburn," senior cornerback Josh Holsey said, per Tom Green of the Opelika-Auburn News. "I really just contacted him and was like, 'Where you trying to—where you thinking about going and what not?' He told me where he was going, and I was like, 'If you come down here, you’ll have a chance to come in and help us, and have an opportunity to win a national championship.'"

Holsey's simple recruiting pitch made more of an impact to Countess than any of the ones he heard from a coach.

"Hearing it from a player is much different than hearing it from a coach," Countess said, per Green. "[Defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson and defensive coordinator Will Muschamp] both explained it to me. It kinda puts it in perspective when you hear it from a player.

"He said: 'We have a chance to be really good in the secondary, but we have no depth right now. You coming in is going to allow us to do some different things on defense that we really can’t do right now.'"

After an offseason in which plenty of defensive backs had transferred away from Auburn, it was more than a recruiting effort.

It was a call for help.

Safety Mackenro Alexander and cornerback Kalvaraz Bessent left before spring camp even began at Auburn. A few days before Countess announced his decision to become a Tiger, the program announced the departures of cornerback Cameron Melton, safety Derrick Moncrief and cornerback Joe Turner.

Auburn had reinforcements arriving from its 2015 signing class, but replacing players who had multiple years of college experience with ones fresh out of high school spelled trouble for Muschamp and Robinson. The Tigers needed a veteran presence in the secondary.

"He’s a guy that’s going to come in, step right in and play, right away," safety Johnathan "Rudy" Ford said, per Evan McCullers of the Auburn Plainsman. "He’s got a great IQ of football. That adds to our unit. He’s another guy that can be one of the guys that we count on in the fourth quarter, because he’s been there before."

After settling in at Auburn and hitting the practice field for the first time, Countess showed his new coaches and teammates he could provide more than just experience in the secondary—he could give Auburn some much-needed versatility.

"He can play corner and nickel. He's smart enough to play safety," head coach Gus Malzahn told Chris Low of ESPN.com. "It was a huge need for us after T.J. Davis got hurt in the spring."

When Auburn picked up Countess earlier this year, the biggest need was at cornerback, a position where injuries and transfers forced walk-on cornerback "Dirty" Mike Sherwood—now armed with a scholarship after Tuesday's practice, according to the team's official website—to start the annual A-Day Game.

But former Georgia transfer Tray Matthews, now eligible to play at Auburn, is still hampered in fall camp with a nagging hamstring injury, according to Brandon Marcello of AL.com. If health continues to be a concern for Matthews, Auburn may need some extra help at safety through Countess.

It wouldn't be the first time the newcomer has helped Auburn in an unexpected way.

After watching Countess drink pickle juice several times, Garrett tried it out in order to avoid cramping at practice. The result was a satisfying, yet sour, success.

"It don't taste too good," Garrett said, per Black. "But I'd rather it taste bad and not cramp up rather than not [drinking] it all and experiencing the pain of cramping up."


Recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.

Justin Ferguson is a college football writer at Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @JFergusonBR.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Michigan Football: 2015 Game-by-Game Schedule Predictions

The Michigan Wolverines are assuredly looking forward to moving past the 5-7 campaign that ended Brady Hoke's tenure with the program, and beginning the 2015 college football season under new head coach Jim Harbaugh.

But instant success is far from a guarantee. While the Wolverines boast a stout defense, they also have uncertainty at quarterback and unproven potential all over the field.

Fortunately for Michigan, the schedule is reasonably favorable. The slate includes seven home games—two of which are against bitter rivals Michigan State and Ohio State—and five contests on the road.

Injuries, breakout players and poorer-than-expected performances may affect the judgments of individual games at a later date, but the following projections are the best guesses based on how Michigan and its opponents stand as of today.

Note: For the first time in 14 seasons, Michigan does not play Notre Dame.

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Jaleel Laguins Commits to Georgia: In-State 4-Star LB Perfect Fit for Bulldogs

The Georgia Bulldogs claimed another crucial in-state defensive commitment early Wednesday morning, landing local linebacker Jaleel Laguins.

He decided between a pair of SEC programs after exploring other opportunities in the conference.

"I can say it was a tough decision," Laguins told Chad Simmons of Scout.com. "Auburn was right there, and it was Georgia over Auburn for me with Florida and Tennessee next. It was not easy."

The 6'2", 213-pound playmaker is a senior at Oconee County High School, located a short drive away from campus in Athens. He broke the news to Georgia head coach Mark Richt shortly before an announcement ceremony, per Fletcher Page of the Athens Banner-Herald.

Laguins, rated 15th nationally among outside linebackers in 2016 class composite rankings, is considered one of the Peach State's premier prospects. His list of scholarship offers features universities far beyond the region, with Notre Dame and Penn State in the mix.

Ultimately, he elected to remain close to home as a Bulldog.

Georgia was the favorite here throughout, evidenced by a 96 percent pledge prediction rate in 247Sports' Crystal Ball, but it was another strong recruiting effort by the Tigers' defensive staff. Don't expect Auburn to back off completely, even after this decision.

He is another ideal fit for Georgia defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, who helped the Bulldogs sign nine 4-/5-star defenders last national signing day. Pruitt and company now claim four such commitments on the 2016 recruiting trail.

Laguins, who tallied 64 tackles and four sacks last season, is another perimeter force for Georgia to utilize. Richt is a man of riches right now when it comes to edge defenders, and his latest pickup further enhances the stockpile.

With an array of elite, young linemen up front and more potentially on the way (5-star tackles Derrick Brown and Rashan Gary remain possibilities), there should be plenty of room for the back seven to maneuver at Georgia. Laguins is exactly the kind of athlete who can exploit those opportunities.

His blitzing abilities are a highlight at this stage of his career, as he fires downfield with tenacity. Laguins likely needs to gain at least 20 pounds to withstand the pounding that comes along with duties as an every-down SEC linebacker, but there are glimpses of that potential two to three years down the road.

Georgia now holds 16 commitments in a class that rates seventh nationally in composite class rankings.

The Bulldogs' attention will continue to focus on homegrown talent. Brown, 5-star athlete Mecole Hardman Jr. and dynamic wide receiver Kyle Davis are a few of several 2016 in-state targets still undecided.


Tyler Donohue is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. All player ratings are courtesy of 247Sports' composite ratings. Follow Tyler via Twitter: @TDsTake.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Georgia Fall Practice: Who Will Win Bulldogs' Starting QB Battle?

The Georgia Bulldogs have a big decision to make this upcoming season. Bleacher Report's Adam Lefkoe and college football analyst Barrett Sallee discuss the depth at the quarterback position and predict who will be the Bulldogs' leading man for 2015.

Who do you think should start for the Georgia Bulldogs? Hit the comment section below.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

More Likely to Be a Head Coach Next, Lane Kiffin or Will Muschamp?

The star power within the head coaching ranks has never been brighter in the SEC, and that has started to trickle down to assistants as well.

Most notably in the state of Alabama.

Lane Kiffin, former head man at Tennessee and USC, is entering his second season as Alabama's offensive coordinator. Fresh off a season in which he set the program record with 484.5 yards per game with a quarterback in Blake Sims who once was a running back for the Crimson Tide, Kiffin enters his second season looking to not only re-solidify himself as one of the nation's top offensive minds, but perhaps set himself up for a head coaching job in the near future.

According to TideSports.com, Kiffin commented on what he has learned as a member of head coach Nick Saban's staff that he didn't know when he was a head coach.

"I was so focused on the game, the players, especially the offensive players as a head coach, and the game plan all week and spring ball and recruiting," he said. "To delegate like coach [Saban] does, be in charge of everything like he is the CEO, but delegate enough so that he does everything else."

About 160 miles southeast in Auburn, new Tiger defensive coordinator and former hot-shot assistant Will Muschamp is looking to revitalize his career after a less-than-stellar four-year stint as the head coach of the Florida Gators.

According to Charles Goldberg of AuburnTigers.com, Muschamp made his long-term intentions known during his introductory press conference in December 2014.

"You'd always like to have that opportunity [to be a head coach] again," he said. "But you always want to be in a situation where they have the resources for you to be successful, they have the support like a place like Auburn for you to be successful and win championships."

Which high-profile assistant is more likely to be a head coach?

Without a doubt, it's Kiffin.

Nothing against Muschamp. He's a tremendous defensive mind, wonderful teacher and is the best in the business at his craft. His craft isn't as a head coach. At least, not for now.

The knock against Muschamp is the offensive ineptitude that Florida showed over all four of his years as head coach, including the 2012 season in which the Gators earned a Sugar Bowl berth and were in the national-title hunt deep into November. The stench of four years of offensive futility is going to be very hard for any future employer to get over next offseason, even if he turns around Auburn's defense and makes it more of a power than a punchline.

Kiffin doesn't have that kind of hurdle to clear.

His main issue is convincing athletics directors that he knows how to run a program, even though he wasn't exactly dealt a strong hand at USC thanks to the sanctions leftover from the Reggie Bush scandal.

As Rich Cirminiello of Campus Insiders and CollegeFootballNews.com noted earlier this summer, a strong offensive season for an Alabama team that lost nine starters would work wonders for Kiffin.

At least two years under Saban—with so many offensive question marks to answer—will go a long way toward calming the fears of future employers.

The question then becomes, where?

Kiffin—and most high-profile assistants at major programs—aren't as likely to jump to any old FBS head coaching job just to have it. As Michael Casagrande of AL.com noted this year when Kiffin didn't get a raise, USC is still paying his buyout, and his salary at Alabama is simply subtracted from that buyout. Since USC is a private school and doesn't have to release contracts, it's not clear whether that's also the case if he gets a head coaching job.

Regardless, it likely won't be about the money for Kiffin when the time comes to make a decision about his future; it will be about fit.

So let's look around at what fit could be out there. Miami head coach Al Golden is clearly on the hot seat, and the thought of Kiffin recruiting in the fertile recruiting ground of South Florida makes that a match made in Heaven.

Illinois? I can't see Kiffin following the Ron Zook path to anonymity despite the lure of the new and improved Big Ten.

He's not going to take a MAC or Sun Belt job just to take it, so if that means sticking around Tuscaloosa and fulfilling the third and final year of his deal in 2016, so be it.

Outside of Miami, there aren't many options that seem like good fits for Kiffin right now. After the season, though, that could change.

Even in that case, Kiffin is more likely to find a head coaching job prior to Muschamp.

He doesn't just have a head start on Muschamp, he's already lapped him in the race to fix his reputation. That will go a long way toward landing a head coaching job in the near future.


Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports. Statistics courtesy of cfbstats.comBarrett 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 Sirius 93 XM 208.

Follow Barrett on Twitter: @BarrettSallee.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

The SEC's Passing Problem: Why Can't NCAA's Top Conference Develop Top QBs?

ATLANTA — The SEC has just as many NFL quarterback regulars as you've got toes on your right foot.    

That's how many regular NFL quarterbacks the SEC has produced in—check this out—17 NFL seasons. You know them because, really, how hard is it to remember five stinking names? Peyton Manning (Tennessee), Eli Manning (Ole Miss), Matthew Stafford (Georgia), Jay Cutler (Vanderbilt) and Cam Newton (Auburn).

The world-renowned—their fans say it is—college football conference called the SEC won seven straight national championships from 2006 to 2012, but just one of those ring-bearing slingers has stuck in the NFL as a regular starter (Newton).

The SEC has figured out 21 of 22 positions, but not the most important position on the field. Quarterback.

Ohio State by itself has three quarterbacks who could start for any team in the SEC in 2015. The QB position in the SEC is so thin going into the 2015 season that Jeremy Johnson, a backup at Auburn in 2014, was voted to the second team of the preseason all-conference team. Was there nobody else who showed anything in 2014? Georgia was so desperate for quarterback help it had to recruit the Virginia backup (Greyson Lambert) when he decided to transfer in the spring.

Maybe you are like me and appreciate college quarterbacks for what they accomplish on Saturdays. Their value should not be diminished by what they do or don't do on Sundays.

But doesn't it make you scratch your head that Tony Romo (Eastern Illinois), Ben Roethlisberger (Miami of Ohio) and Joe Flacco (Delaware), among others, are cashing big checks in the NFL while so many former SEC quarterback heroes are not? Doesn't it make you scratch your head that Philip Rivers had to leave his home state of Alabama to play college football at North Carolina State?

For nine straight years, the SEC has led the major conferences in draft picks. The SEC has had 81 players drafted in the first round those nine years. But the SEC quarterback? There is not so much love from the NFL.

I know you have theories. So do I.


Married too young

The Big Arm shows up on the radar by the ninth grade, sometimes sooner. The suitors line up. They project him four years forward. It's an Atlanta freeway bottleneck of texts on The Big Arm's phone with hosannas popping in from recruiters all over the South. The Big Arm's living room sofa is about to be worn out from so many recruiters sitting there handing mama her favorite piece of gum (because they researched it).

The big schools of the SEC think they invented the position, but they make a way-too-soon offer to The Big Arm.

Here's why it is way-too-soon. The intangibles do not catch up to The Big Arm. He stares down receivers. He waits too long to throw. He is shaky on his feet in a desperate pocket. He can't compete. Pretty soon he is out the door as a transfer because of the intangibles.

"Quarterbacks are the first to commit, sometimes two years in advance," said Tom Lemming, a national recruiting analyst for CBS Sports. "They are the first to go for every conference, but the recruiting is the fiercest in the Southeastern Conference, and they fight for these kids and press for a commitment. They don't always develop."

Just run down your school's roster of quarterbacks from the last five years and see the quarterbacks who sat the bench or transferred. Why name them here for more public shame? You know who they are. There are a bunch.

"Schools feel pressure to take the flyer on the 4- and 5-star recruit in ninth and 10th grade. They get married up with young quarterback," said Phil Savage, the executive director of the Reese's Senior Bowl and former NFL GM and scout. "There are quarterbacks that develop later who were under-recruited, like Tulane's Tanner Lee or the 6'7" Memphis quarterback [Paxton Lynch]."

Lemming said there is one other reason the SEC does not produce NFL-worthy quarterbacks. Goliath has big feet, but a small footprint.

"The traditional southern states of the SEC don't produce as many quarterbacks as California or Texas," he said. "There is a bigger population base out there than in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Florida."


My best friends

Savage said while they were in college, Romo, Flacco and Roethlisberger might have looked to their right before the snap and had to figure out a way to get the ball in the hands of a 5'9" receiver who had trouble beating press coverage. They might have had a 190-pound running back who was not so good at pass protection. They might have had a left tackle whose drop step was a tick too slow to pick up a marauding defensive end.

What did Romo, et al, do? They adapted. They slugged their way through.

The SEC quarterback, Savage said, is given every available asset to do battle with. There is not as much stress.

"The guy from a smaller school has learned how to figure out, how to play with a shorter, slower receiver," Savage said. "They have to manipulate and adapt their game to the circumstance they're in. That's why you see the success of a Roethlisberger. He learned how to play in college. He learned how to play an uphill battle.

"At the traditional football power, those quarterbacks are fighting downhill. I'm not saying it's easy, but it's easier."

But don't the SEC quarterbacks have to deal with the Baddest Men on the Planet, SEC defensive ends? Isn't that a hill to climb?

It is, but SEC programs also have three-deep offensive lines and players like Alabama guard Chance Warmack and LSU's La'el Collins, Savage pointed out.

We all loved Blake Sims, but when a wide receiver like Amari Cooper is creating three car lengths of space between himself and the defensive back and the pass just has to go through a picture window, not a kitchen window, the quarterback can shine. Sims had a spectacular 2014 season; he saved the Tide's season. But the NFL still didn't like him.

Lemming had another theory. "A lot of times, SEC teams will settle for an efficient game manager because their teams are so good at other at other positions," he said. The NFL does not covet game managers.

Indeed, the SEC might not have the superstar quarterbacks the NFL covets, but the conference will settle for just having the "winner" many programs covet (Tim Tebow, David Greene, Nick Marshall, Sims, and the list goes on).


A matter of cycle

We are beating down the SEC quarterback, but wasn't it just two seasons ago that the M&M boys were erasing numbers all over their school's record books and parading around as stars? In 2013, Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel threw for 4,114 yards and 37 touchdowns, Auburn's Nick Marshall collected 1,976 passing yards and 1,068 rushing yards, Georgia's Aaron Murray threw for 3,075 yards, Alabama's AJ McCarron threw for 3,063 yards and LSU's Zach Mettenberger had 3,082 yards passing. The M's were joined in an elite group by Missouri's James Franklin and South Carolina's Connor Shaw.

"When you have guys that started three and four years like McCarron and Murray, or Manziel and Mettenberger [two years], it is easy for fans to get spoiled and expect that trend to continue," said David Morris, a quarterback trainer in Mobile, Alabama, who runs QB Country. "In reality, those type guys don't come around often. That class may be the best class in SEC history as far as 'college careers' go."

Morris said the flak SEC quarterbacks are getting may be about to abate. He senses an uptick coming.

"If Dak Prescott continues to develop and grow, he can be one of those guys," Morris said. "Then there are guys oozing with talent like Jeremy Johnson. I think he has a chance to be special, but we won't know for sure for another six months. Across the SEC, besides Prescott, there is Joshua Dobbs at Tennessee, Brandon Allen at Arkansas, and Maty Mauk at Missouri.

"You have a number new guys that have to earn their stripes, guys like Kyle Allen at Texas A&M and Patrick Towles at Kentucky who showed spurts of brilliance. It's too early to predict anything this year."


A matter of style

SEC teams decided about four years ago that the wave of spread offenses and spitting the ball around to five different receivers was the next train to catch in college football. They thought, "Do we want to be on that train, or under it?" The SEC is on it with nine programs featuring the fluffy spread. So prep quarterbacks like Ross Trail went down, well, a different trail.

Trail, a 6'3" pro-style quarterback from Wynne, Arkansas, who graduated from high school in 2015 and was graded a 3-star recruit by 247 sports, said he visited some SEC schools, but he wasn't enamored with their style. Not all the SEC schools were enamored with him, either, so it was easy to look elsewhere for a college program.

"A lot of offenses—like Ole Miss, Auburn, Missouri—they run those gimmicky offenses," Trail said. "For me, I would rather play in a more pro-style offense, like Cincinnati. I feel like the scheme on offense is a big deal.

"The other thing is playing time. There seemed to be a lot more quarterbacks at the big schools in the SEC. More depth."

It wasn't just the style of play that turned off Trail. It was the style of recruiting. You get the impression Trail was slow-played by SEC coaches, held in reserve, while they dated the blue-chipper. Perhaps Trail caught the scent that he was the third or fourth choice, so he went for the love shown by two really charismatic coaches, Memphis' Justin Fuente and Cincinnati's Tommy Tuberville. He chose Tub and UC.

"I took a lot of visits—Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, Arkansas—and I felt like schools like Cincinnati and Memphis, the smaller schools, made you feel more important," Trail said. "They gave you more love. I don't know if it was 'We're the SEC we do what we want,' but schools like Memphis and Cincinnati were a lot more welcoming and warm to recruits."

Here is one more thing to consider: There are just 32 NFL teams. Thirty-two spots for hundreds of college chuckers.

The SEC has not seen one of its quarterbacks ascend into a regular starting role in the NFL since Newton left Auburn in 2010 and joined the Carolina Panthers. Ryan Mallett, who played at Arkansas, is competing to be the Houston Texans starting quarterback, but that could be temporary. There is a groundswell building for Alabama's AJ McCarron to eventually become the guy in Cincinnati over the embattled Andy Dalton. Who knows about Manziel and when (or if) he might bloom for the Cleveland Browns.

For now, the SEC will have to settle for owning a lot of real estate on NFL draft night…and little on the beachfront where the quarterbacks live.


Ray Glier covers college football for Bleacher Report.

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B/R CFB 250: Top 25 Cornerbacks

Bleacher Report's CFB 250 is an annual ranking of the best players in college football, regardless of NFL potential. Through interviews with B/R Experts Matt Miller, Michael Felder, Barrett Sallee and Adam Kramer, authors Brian Leigh and Brian Pedersen have studied, ranked and graded the top athletes in the country, narrowed that list to 250 and sorted by position. Today, we present the Top Cornerbacks.


Other CFB 250 Positions


The 2015 season is a strong one for cornerbacks.

If you'd like to know why, take a look at the 2013 recruiting class. Seven of that year's top 55 overall players were cornerbacks, per 247Sports' composite rankings, and six of those seven were full-time starters last season.

All six made the top half of this list.

Going forward, that leaves the position vulnerable. The 2013 recruiting class can declare for next year's NFL draft, and it's safe to say that many of them—especially of the six in question—will.

But for now, the position is in an excellent spot. And now is all that matters. The 2015 season is a strong one for cornerbacks.

FBS quarterbacks: Beware. 

But before we dig into that, a disclaimer. The cornerbacks who follow were graded as college prospects, not as NFL prospects.

Targeted skills, such as run defense, are important at both levels, but there is a difference between college run defense and professional run defense. If a cornerback can set the edge and make plays in the SEC or the Big 12, it doesn't matter if he can't set the edge and make plays in the NFC North. At least not here, it doesn't.

This is all about college performance.

Note: If two players finished with the same grade, a subjective call was made based on whom we would rather have on our team right now. Also, all recruiting info refers to the 247Sports composite rankings.

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Texas Football: 2015 Game-by-Game Schedule Predictions for the Longhorns

Texas is far too young to be a legitimate candidate in the Big 12 this season.

The Longhorns could start as many as eight redshirt or true freshmen to begin the season. And whatever the number is in the season opener, it's sure to go up as the year wears on.

But there should be no doubt that Charlie Strong's team is fighting to get better. The competitive freshman class has brought the intensity, and the entire team is responding to the extra push.

They won't be world-beaters, but reports indicate that the Horns can expect improvement from their quarterback, offensive line and running game in the up-tempo offense that's being installed. After finishing in the bottom-half of the Big 12 in every relevant offensive category, those developments will pay major dividends.

And with a defense coached by Strong on its side, there's no reason this team can't go 7-5 in 2015.

Begin Slideshow

UCLA Football: Week 2 Fall Camp Stock Report

Week 2 of fall camp in San Bernardino, California, has brought on considerable news in regard to head coach Jim Mora and the UCLA Bruins football team.

One position group has suffered multiple injuries—all to the starting unit. It's surely a cause for concern going forward.

A high-profile freshman returned to action after dealing with an ailment, and a rising sophomore has the look of a very dynamic receiving option. Lastly, an expected defensive leader on the team had a bit of an outburst at practice last week.

This piece will analyze the four aforementioned areas of interest and intrigue.

Begin Slideshow

UCLA Football: Week 2 Fall Camp Stock Report

Week 2 of fall camp in San Bernardino, California, has brought on considerable news in regard to head coach Jim Mora and the UCLA Bruins football team. One position group has suffered multiple injuries —all to the starting unit...

Begin Slideshow

Ohio State Football: Torrance Gibson Could Be Difference Maker at Wide Receiver

Torrance Gibson was one of the most coveted high school prospects during the 2015 recruiting cycle, but when it came time to make his collegiate choice, he spurned SEC schools such as Auburn and Tennessee because he wanted to play quarterback for Urban Meyer and Ohio State.

With blazing 4.4 speed and a 6'4", 205-pound frame, a lot of coaches pitched Gibson their vision to play wide receiver. It was a tantalizing thought—with his game-breaking speed and off-the-charts athleticism, he could be a matchup nightmare on the perimeter and especially in the red zone.

He signed with Ohio State, though, because the staff recruited him as a signal-caller, and he reported to fall camp as a part of a deep stable of Buckeyes quarterbacks.

But it only took him one practice to make the move to wide receiver, and it didn't take long for him to showcase his playmaking abilities. That, simply put, is why he made the move. 

“Well, I just want to play,” Gibson said, according to Austin Ward of ESPN.com. “I don’t want to sit on the bench for a whole year, just wasting a whole school year. It just doesn’t make any sense. Just helping the team out, that’s basically what I am doing. Because if I sat on the bench for a whole year [just to play quarterback], that would be selfish."

Gibson's unselfishness could provide a huge boost for the Buckeyes.

One of Meyer's biggest concerns for the 2015 season was with Ohio State's wide receiver unit, which has to replace Devin Smith, college football's best deep threat a season ago, and Evan Spencer, who was the team's MVP and emotional leader.

That concern was amplified when the Buckeyes suspended three of their most dangerous perimeter playmakers—Jalin Marshall, Dontre Wilson and Corey Smith—for the season-opening clash with Virginia Tech. The Hokies, of course, forced Ohio State into one of its worst offensive performances last year because they bottled up the Buckeyes' receivers so effectively.

Having a deep-threat like Devin Smith is what the Buckeyes need for their Week 1 matchup. According to Meyer, Gibson has that potential.

“Torrance is a guy -- we still haven't found our ‘Inside Nine’ guy -- he's the Devin Smith,” Meyer said, via Ward.

So how is Gibson coming along in fall camp? Is he adjusting seamlessly to the perimeter after spending his high school career catching shotgun snaps instead of down-the-field receptions?

So far, Ohio State wide receivers coach Zach Smith has nothing but good things to say.

"He has skills that most human beings should not have," Zach Smith said, according to Eric Seger of Eleven Warriors. "His size and speed is very, very unique."

That size and speed was on full display during the Buckeyes' first scrimmage of fall camp. Gibson was featured heavily in Ohio State's video highlight of the scrimmage, most notably at the 39-second mark, when he hauled in a long touchdown pass from Cardale Jones, and at the one-minute mark, when he weaved through the defense for a huge play.

As far as Gibson's long-term future, he still envisions himself as a quarterback. But he doesn't see any point of riding the bench while he could be making an impact for the offense this year. And if he does make his way back behind center next season, that's something Zach Smith will be okay with.

"I think he can be one of the best quarterbacks in the country. That's a pretty important position," Zach Smith said, via Seger. "So if that's true, I don't know how you don't do that. But I know this: From what I've seen he can be a ridiculous receiver."

To his credit, Gibson is just taking things one day at a time. 

“If I have a great season, who knows? But it’s not a worry right now," Gibson said, according to Ward. "I just have to take it one day at a time, and I’m working at receiver right now, and I haven’t done any quarterback things since I changed position. I’m just going to focus on playing receiver now."

And with that development, Ohio State's already loaded offense has the potential to be even more dangerous.


David Regimbal is the Ohio State football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.

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The Under-the-Radar Heisman Trophy Favorite

COLUMBUS, Ohio — If the bizarre nature of Ohio State's upcoming season hadn't set in yet, it was impossible to avoid at the Buckeyes' annual media day on Sunday.

With tables spread across the practice field of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, reporters scattered about to prepare to meet with members of the Ohio State roster.

At the table marked for Braxton Miller, media members waited for the tardy quarterback-turned-wideout, willfully ignoring the players who had made their way to media day on time. If a reporter wasn't at Miller's table, it was a safe bet he or she could be found talking to either Cardale Jones or J.T. Barrett, the headliners of the most-talked-about quarterback competition in college football.

But while Miller was swarmed like a Kardashian on Rodeo Drive and Jones and Barrett answered the same questions that they have been since co-piloting the Buckeyes' run to the national championship last season, perhaps the most important member of the OSU roster went undetected as he made his way to his table.

As he began his interview session, no more than four of the 100 reporters in attendance surrounded Ezekiel Elliott, the rare front-runner for the Heisman Trophy who has somehow found himself flying under the radar this offseason.

"It's something I don't really pay attention to," Elliott said of the attention that's been paid to his teammates. "We take a team mentality. We just want to see each other shine."

That may be the case, but it doesn't make the situation Elliott finds himself in any less unique. Through the first week-and-a-half of Ohio State's fall camp, both media and fans have found themselves discussing the Buckeyes' quarterback conundrum and Miller the most, with Elliott falling somewhere between Ohio State's newest freshmen and the race to replace suspended star defensive end Joey Bosa for the season opener.

That's not to say that Elliott has been an enigma, however, as ESPN's E:60 documentary, The Rise of Ezekiel Elliott, showed Tuesday night. Chronicling the St. Louis, Missouri, native's childhood, decision to come to Columbus and breakout sophomore season, the documentary showed a side of Elliott that fans may have not otherwise been aware of.

It also thrust Elliott back into the same national spotlight that he occupied in January while carrying the Buckeyes to the first-ever College Football Playoff National Championship.

"It was a little bit different. I can't say I didn't like it," Elliott said of having a documentary crew following his life. "After a while, it got a little over the top."

Over-the-top coverage is what some may have expected for Elliott this offseason after the way he burst onto the national scene with a combined 696 yards and eight touchdowns in the Buckeyes' three postseason games at the end of last year. In football-crazed Columbus, there's no bigger celebrity than a star Ohio State football player, and in January, there was no bigger star on the Buckeyes roster than Elliott.

And although the Sugar Bowl and national title game MVP still can't leave his apartment without having to stop to pose for pictures with fans, the offseason attention he's received has hardly been proportionate for a player who, according to Bovada (via Odds Shark), is currently the co-favorite, along with TCU's Trevone Boykin, to win the 2015 Heisman Trophy.

One reason that may be is because Elliott is the one known commodity on a team otherwise lacking in that category. Yes, Las Vegas favors Ohio State to repeat as college football's champion, but how the Buckeyes will go about doing so remains unclear.

That, of course, starts with the rare quarterback competition between two qualified candidates, who have now each been dissected by fans and media alike for the past eight months. But the attention the battle between Jones and Barrett has received has actually been somewhat justified, considering that the winner will instantly become a Heisman Trophy contender in his own right.

What hasn't been quite as reasonable is the spotlight that's been placed on Miller's move to wide receiver, which was the subject of the first clip released from the Big Ten Network's upcoming Scarlet and Gray Days series.

Yes, Miller is an established name in the college football landscape, a two-time Big Ten MVP with two top-10 Heisman Trophy finishes on his resume. And sports fans have always been in love with the transaction, whether it be a trade, a recruiting commitment or, in this case, a position change

But Miller has yet to play an official down at his new spot, and even Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer has been doing his best to temper expectations for Miller's new role.

"As a quarterback, you don't run [in practice]. You run for maybe four or five minutes at practice, and you're doing other things," Meyer said Sunday. "This is a big week for him."

Nevertheless, images of Miller lining up beside Jones in the Buckeyes backfield for a speed option in practice last week sent fans into a tizzy, as it at one time had seemed like something only possible in a video game.

But for as exciting and new as Miller lining up as the player receiving a pitch instead of giving it may seem, it's worth remembering that the Buckeyes already possess arguably the best running back—if not player—in the entire country in Elliott. He may not be switching positions or numbers this offseason, but Elliott's historic production at the end of last season should have warranted more hype for 2015 than it's received in the past eight months.

With the start of the 2015 season, however, now less than three weeks away, all of the talk about position battles, new jersey numbers, role reversals and Heisman hype will be rendered irrelevant soon enough. All that will matter is the production that's put out on the field as Ohio State attempts to win its second consecutive national title.

And if Elliott's production is anywhere close to what it was when the Buckeyes captured college football's crown last January, there's little doubt over who Ohio State's most-talked-about player will be.


Ben Axelrod is Bleacher Report's Big Ten lead writer. You can follow him on Twitter @BenAxelrod. Unless noted otherwise, all quotes were obtained firsthand. All statistics courtesy of CFBStats.com. Recruiting rankings courtesy of 247Sports.

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Without Jonathan Williams, Is Arkansas' 2015 Season over Before It Begins?

You just don’t replace a running back like senior Jonathan Williams.

There’s no way for Arkansas to suddenly find his experience, talent or leadership on the roster midway through training camp, and it can’t just trade a future prospect for a comparable veteran like teams do in the pros.

Last year Williams accumulated 1,190 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns, even though every opponent was geared to try to stop him. His career numbers of 2,321 yards and 5.72 yards per attempt put him among the program’s all-time leaders in both categories.

Williams was optimistic about the 2015 team, voted second-team All-SEC and represented the Razorbacks at media days, which made him a good bet to be voted a team captain.

Only his season is already over after suffering a foot injury during a scrimmage over the weekend. Many wonder if the team’s hopes of getting out of the SEC West cellar are gone as well.

“I have no doubt that Jonathan will come back stronger than ever,” Bret Bielema said in a statement. “Anyone that knows Jonathan Williams knows this is just another opportunity for him to prove the man of character and substance that he really is.

"It's an unfortunate injury to a great young man, but we are in the process of gathering as much information as possible. There are short- and long-term impacts of how he proceeds, and we want to make sure he does what's best for him and his family and his career beyond Arkansas."

The latter part of that alludes to the strong possibly that even though Williams never had a redshirt season, he might have played his last game with the Razorbacks.

It was a tough decision for him not to enter the 2015 NFL draft, and as part of the league's "I am the SEC" promotion, Williams openly talked about his family’s financial struggles while he was in high school. After his mother and father both lost their jobs, the family came close to being evicted from their home in Allen, Texas.

"I prayed a lot about it," Williams said. "Coach Bielema helped me out. A lot of it was he preaches becoming a man on and off the field, and I just wanted to graduate. It would have been easier to go to the NFL.

"Just seeing the potential of this football team and seeing where we could be going this season, I definitely wanted to be a part of it. I didn’t want to be watching on Saturday mornings, Saturday evenings, and wishing I was part of the Razorbacks still."

Nevertheless, Williams is just one class short of finishing up his communications degree. He can take it while recovering from foot surgery and participate in the fall commencement ceremony.

If this discussion was about one of the other top running backs in the league—such as Nick Chubb at Georgia, Leonard Fournette at LSU or Derrick Henry at Alabama—the doom-and-gloom talk would be nothing short of deafening, with scores of fans writing off the season before it even started.

Arkansas fans won’t, though, at least not yet. Yes, Williams is a huge loss because quality 1,000-yard running backs aren’t easy to find, and yes, to use a medical analogy, the paddles have been brought into the room, just in case.

But the Razorbacks offense wasn’t expected to live or die with Williams alone this season, and there’s enough depth at his position that the Razorbacks can compensate for his loss.

Even with a new offensive coordinator, Dan Enos, this was supposed to be the year that Bielema really seemed to have all the pieces in place to field his kind of team: physical and nasty but also diverse.

The offense has an established veteran quarterback in Brandon Allen who looks poised and ready to do more. Although the personnel have been juggled, the Razorbacks have another massive offensive line. Tight end Hunter Henry is prepared to make bigger contributions, and the young receiving corps figures to only get better.

Still, all of that was expected to revolve around the running game. Williams and junior Alex Collins were the only returning 1,000-yard rushing tandem in the Football Bowl Subdivision, and junior tailback/fullback Kody Walker stole the show during the spring game with 174 rushing yards and three touchdowns.

That’s more than Walker accumulated all of last season: 31 carries for 149 yards and one touchdown.

Collins, who had 204 carries for 1,110 yards in 2014, will have to shoulder a bigger load, which he can do, but Williams was a better receiver and short-yardage option and had played in 36 games. He knew how to get through the grind.

One favorable thing about Arkansas' not facing an SEC opponent until the neutral-site game in Dallas against Texas A&M on Sept. 26 is it will give coaches time to get some players like freshman tailback Rawleigh Williams III and redshirt freshman fullback Tyler Colquitt extra work.

But then the Razorbacks go through a meat grinder, with seven of the final nine games against ranked opponents and the only relief being a bye sandwiched between at Alabama and Auburn and a Halloween matchup against the University of Tennessee-Martin. That sets up the unbelievable final month of at Ole Miss, at LSU, Mississippi State and Missouri.

That’s brutal by any standard and means that Bielema and Arkansas now have a new primary concern/enemy for the rest of the season: attrition.


Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

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

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