Alec Morris may have had the biggest impact of any Alabama quarterback during the Crimson Tide's spring game on Saturday. The problem, however, is that he stood out most as a punter, booming 15 kicks for an average of 38.4 yards per attempt.
Nick Saban visited with Peyton Manning at the Alabama football offices early last week. Saban also spent time with Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase on the same day and in the same location. But don't connect the dots any further, Saban says.
NCAA president Mark Emmert said Friday that he was happy to take pressure off the NCAA and its member schools as the governing body's legislative council voted earlier this week to eliminate all the previous restrictions on food.
Texas athletic director Steve Patterson said Thursday he doesn't support paying athletes nor a system in which they can market themselves and doesn't understand the recent quest by Northwestern players to unionize.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) The Charlie Strong era began at Texas with a shaky performance at quarterback and few questions answered about just how quickly the Longhorns can rebound in the Big 12 under their new coach.
The Charlie Strong era began at Texas with a shaky performance at quarterback and few questions answered about just how quickly the Longhorns can rebound in the Big 12 under their new coach. With next season's presumed starter David Ash not playing because of a foot injury, Tyrone Swoopes took all the snaps with the first-team offense in the Longhorns' annual spring scrimmage. Swoopes rallied from a poor start to finish with 229 yards and three touchdowns against the second-team defense.
Blake Sims' bid to replace AJ McCarron as Alabama's starting quarterback hit a snag Saturday afternoon when the Crimson Tide defense dominated the annual A-Day game at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Playing with the offensive starters on the Crimson Team, Sims completed 13 of 30 passes for 178 yards in a 17-14 loss to the White Team. Sims had a late touchdown and two interceptions. ''Nobody ever has a bad spring game, let's start with that,'' coach Nick Saban said.
Nick Marshall threw four touchdowns in two quarters as Auburn's first team routed its second team 58-3 on Saturday in a spring football game. Marshall, the Tigers' starter last season who occasionally struggled through the air, completed 13 of 22 passes for 236 yards. Wearing an orange non-contact jersey, Marshall kept only once on a zone-read play. ''(Marshall) is playing great right now,'' wide receiver Sammie Coates said.
Signing autographs and taking pictures for a gaggle of fans around him, Marvin Zanders seemed right at home. ''Just another day at the office,'' the Missouri quarterback said. Zanders could be in Jacksonville, Fla., finishing his senior year in high school, but chose to enroll early with the Tigers so he could make plays such as his 80-yard touchdown run Saturday to cap the team's annual Black and Gold Game. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound freshman scooted untouched through a seam in the middle of the offensive line and scored with 15 seconds left, right after sophomore Eric Laurent hauled in a 93-yard touchdown reception from freshman Trent Hosick.
John Harbaugh likes the pose on his bronze statue. The Baltimore Ravens coach was added to Miami University's Cradle of Coaches on Saturday. The Mid-American Conference school put Harbaugh's induction on the fast track after he won the Super Bowl for the 2012 season. A display of statues on a plaza outside the football stadium honors Miami graduates who were honored as national coaches of the year, inducted into the college or professional football football halls of fame, or who have won collegiate or pro championships.
Peyton Manning's never-ending quest to hone his game and Nick Saban's desire to decipher fast-paced offenses led to a recent meeting that the Crimson Tide coach called mutually beneficial. It also might have violated NFL rules because, according to Saban, Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase also was in attendance. The league doesn't allow players and their coaches to meet before the start of offseason workouts, which for the Broncos begin Monday. On-field instruction won't start until mid-May. The Associated Press left messages with the team and the NFL on Friday seeking comment.
Carl Pelini said Friday during a radio interview that his firing at Florida Atlantic last year was unjustified and the result of a new athletic director who wanted to hire his own football coach. I'm proud of what we accomplished,'' Pelini said on KFAB, the Omaha-based flagship station of the network that broadcasts Nebraska football. Pelini was defensive coordinator at Nebraska for his younger brother, Bo Pelini, from 2008-11. Florida Atlantic was his first head coaching job.
Northwestern University and a group trying to unionize college athletes are trading accusations as the National Labor Relations Board considers the school's appeal of a federal ruling that scholarship athletes essentially are employees of the university and therefore have the right to unionize, bargain collectively and even strike. The Illinois school fired back Wednesday by insisting the pro-union ruling by an NLRB regional director was flawed and the appeal should go ahead. Northwestern stood by its position that its scholarship athletes primarily are students, not employees, despite the amount of scholarship money they may be receiving. Last month's decision by the board's Chicago office ''was flawed because it overlooked or ignored key evidence that Northwestern presented showing that its student-athletes are primarily students, not employees,'' said Alan K. Cubbage, vice president for university relations at Northwestern.
Minnesota State football players ended their boycott of spring practice and said Thursday they will play for coach Todd Hoffner, who was reinstated after being exonerated of having child pornography on his cellphone. The players had refused to practice Wednesday as a show of support for interim coach Aaron Keen, who took over after Hoffner was arrested in 2012 because images of his naked children were found on a university-issued cellphone. The players had said on Wednesday they felt shut out of the process of Hoffner returning. ''We received the answers we were looking for, feel fit to practice and welcome Coach Hoffner as we head toward the end of spring drills,'' the players said after the team meeting.
After losing in the NCAA tournament, I needed to clear my mind. I was incredibly disappointed and blamed myself. I didn't watch basketball or go to the gym for several days. But I soon realized the real test is how we handle defeat and I laced my shoes and headed to the student rec center to play some pick-up.
Duke sophomore Rodney Hood is entering the NBA draft. Hood said in a statement Friday that playing for the Blue Devils and Mike Krzyzewski ''helped me grow and develop as a player and a person'' to prepare him for the NBA. ''Now it is time to move on to the next level and chase my dream of becoming an NBA player,'' Hood said. The 6-foot-8 Hood averaged 16.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists after sitting out last year following his transfer from Mississippi State.
Even as the NBA prepares for a draft that could be headlined by freshmen, Commissioner Adam Silver remains committed to keeping them in college. So much so that NCAA President Mark Emmert was invited to discuss his involvement with owners. Freshmen Andrew Wiggins of Kansas and Jabari Parker of Duke are expected to be top-five picks in June, but Silver believes teams are taking those players young because of the system in place, not because it's their preference. Silver and predecessor David Stern have long spoken about the desire to increase the limit to 20.
Forward Jordan Tolbert is transferring from Texas Tech to SMU, with the Mustangs hoping he will be eligible to play next season. Tolbert averaged 10.7 points and 5.7 rebounds in three seasons as a starter. He led Texas Tech at 11.5 points and 5.7 rebounds per game as a freshman. Texas Tech coach Tubby Smith released Tolbert from his scholarship, and SMU is seeking a waiver that would make him eligible next season.
Tulsa hired Frank Haith of Missouri as its men's basketball coach Friday, landing a major-conference coach to lead the Golden Hurricane's transition from Conference USA to the American Athletic Conference this summer. The 48-year-old Haith said the move came quickly: He was contacted Thursday and was particularly interested by Tulsa's upcoming move to the home of national champion UConn and teams like Memphis and Cincinnati. ''There's no question that Tulsa's move into the American Athletic Conference was a big part of making the decision to come here. It's a basketball league.'' Haith was 76-28 at Missouri, which plays in the SEC.
In a change of mind that took about two weeks, Chris Obekpa has decided not to transfer from St. John's. Obekpa led the Big East in blocked shots the last two seasons. On Friday, the school announced Obekpa will return for the 2014-15 season. Obekpa has averaged 3.9 points and 5.5 rebounds.
Mississippi continued its roster overhaul on Friday with the signing of Tennessee State transfer M.J. Rhett. The 6-foot-9 Rhett adds more depth to the Rebels' frontcourt. He averaged 10.9 points and a team-leading 9.1 rebounds per game last season at Tennessee State. Rhett is expected to graduate from Tennessee State in May, which would make him eligible to play immediately for his senior season.
North Carolina star freshman Diamond DeShields plans to transfer, coach Sylvia Hatchell said Thursday. In a statement from the school, Hatchell said she did not know ''or understand'' why DeShields was leaving. Hatchell, who was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame before the season, didn't coach this year as she focused on treatment for leukemia that is in remission. ''It breaks my heart that I will not have the opportunity to coach Diamond and help develop her on and off the court,'' Hatchell said.
A'ja Wilson, considered one of the nation's top women's basketball recruits, announced Wednesday she will play for South Carolina. Wilson told a national television audience that she had decided to stay close to home, rejecting overtures from national champion Connecticut, North Carolina and Tennessee. ''It's just really a great program and it's like I'm wearing this shirt, there's no place like home,'' Wilson said. ''They're on the rise and I would love to be a part of it.'' Wilson said the hardest part of the process was telling the coaches at the other schools of her decision.
Gonzaga assistant women's basketball coach Lisa Fortier was promoted to head coach on Monday, replacing Kelly Graves, who left for Oregon after 14 seasons with the Bulldogs. Fortier has coached at Gonzaga for seven seasons, including the Bulldogs' current run of six consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament. The Bulldogs won the West Coast Conference for the 10th straight year and earned a bid to the NCAA tourney, where they lost to James Madison in their first game.
With students, faculty and alumni beaming with pride following the men's and women's basketball team's national titles, the university administration is looking far beyond the Gampel Pavilion sports arena for a payoff. It lets everyone know we're something special here,'' said Danielle Deschene, an 18-year-old freshman from Norwich who was sporting a Huskies sweatshirt while picking up a UConn T-shirt for her dad at a campus bookstore. ''People are thinking about UConn and when they get to me with congratulations, then, I have to talk about our health center, our excellence in education, our student success.'' Brian Otis, vice president of development at the University of Connecticut Foundation, said the national titles have contributed to a major hike in fundraising from less than $20 million annually in the 1990s to $63 million last year. That's no longer the case.'' Veteran UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma also made the point during a campus victory rally for his team Wednesday afternoon.