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NCAA Football

ACC Coastal Preview

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We stay in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic where this division features coaching changes, this is the ACC Coastal.

North Carolina Tar Heels

Our first stop is Chapel Hill, where the Tar Heels won 11 games and the Coastal division last season. Despite key departures, they’re the favorite again. No Marquis Williams, no problem, Mitch Trubisky is a capable dual threat quarterback, throwing zero interceptions last year. Preseason all-ACC running back Elijah Hood and backfield mate T.J. Hogan are a monstrous combo. Mack Hollins, Ryan Switzer and Bug Howard are a veteran, dynamic receiving corps.

The defense was one of the most improved in the nation last season, but there’s still room to grow. Defensive end Dajuan Drennon and tackle Nazair Jones need help to pressure up front as the Heels were near the bottom of the ACC in sacks. Preseason all-ACC cornerback Des Lawrence and fellow corner M.J. Stewart are one of the top secondary tandems in the conference.

They face Georgia in the Georgia Dome to start off the year. They host Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech. They must play Florida State and Duke on the road.

Miami Hurricanes

Mark Richt is back at Miami as their new head coach, and he could be the missing link into getting “the U” back to being a power. He’ll have talent to work with, including quarterback Brad Kaaya, who finished top three in the ACC last season in categories such as passing rating and fewest interceptions. The offensive line MUST keep him upright. Stacy Coley and tight end David Njoku lead a strong receiving corps. Joe Yeardley, Mark Walton and Gus Edwards, who’s coming back from a foot injury, lead a bruising backfield.

Veteran defensive coordinator and Miami native Manny Diaz takes over and Miami will be switching to a 3-4 defense. Ends Chad Thomas and Al-Quadin Muhammed, tackle Gerald Willis and linebacker Jermaine Grace will be able to run the 3-4, but they need other unproven guys to step up, as well.

They host Florida State, North Carolina, Pittsburgh and Duke. They face Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Notre Dame on the road.

Virginia Tech Hokies

To Blacksburg, we go next, where a new era begins as Memphis head coach Justin Fuente takes over. He brings a more up tempo spread offense to the Hokies. Travon McMillian rushed for 1,000 yards last year, and he just started in mid-October. Wide receivers Isaiah Ford and Cam Phillips and tight end Bucky Rodgers are as good of a corps as any in the ACC. We’ll see who starts at quarterback as it could either be fifth year senior Brendon Moxley or junior college transfer Jerrod Evans, who Fuente recruited to take over for Paxton Lynch at Memphis.

Bud Foster returns for his 21st season as defensive coordinator. After his defense allowed all-time highs in total yards allowed, points allowed and rushing yards allowed, he wants to redeem himself. They also only had 26 sacks and 10 interceptions, both all-time lows during Foster’s tenure. Injuries and youth were the problems last season. Defensive end Ken Ekenam, tackle Woody Baron, linebacker Andrew Motuapuaka and safety Chuck Clark have talent and with Foster’s experience can help turn the defense around.

They play Tennessee to start this season at Bristol, they host Miami and Georgia Tech. They must face North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Duke and Notre Dame on the road.

Pittsburgh Panthers

In Pittsburgh, expectations are high for head coach Pat Narduzzi and the Panthers. Running back James Conner is not only coming back from a season-ending MCL injury from last year, he’s also in remission after receiving treatments for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Once he’s back at full strength, he and Qadree Olson, who rushed for over 1,100 yards in Conner’s absence can be a dangerous one, two combo. Quarterback Nathan Peterman threw only one interception in league play last year and finished third in the league in touchdown passes.

The strength of the team is their defense. They ranked third in the ACC and 16th in the nation in sacks. End Ejuan Price finished in the top ten in sacks. Remember the name Jordan Whitehead, he can play linebacker, safety, and even some offense. Whitehead just missed setting the record for most tackles in program history and won ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year.

They host Penn State, Georgia Tech, and Virginia Tech. They must go to Oklahoma State, North Carolina, and Miami.

The Rest of the ACC Coastal

In Atlanta, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets will try to rebound from winning just one conference game and a disappointing 3-9 last year. Quarterback Justin Thomas is back for one more year. He needs his supporting cast to step up if the Jackets want to go back to a bowl game. They didn’t have a single 1,000 yard rusher last season and the defense only forced 17 turnovers.

In Durham, the Duke Blue Devils will have a tough schedule to contend with. Jela Duncan and Shaun Wilson lead a talented backfield and Anthony Nash lead a solid receiving corps. Thomas Sirk tore his Achilles in February, so the quarterback position is a question mark. They must replace all-American Jeremy Cash at safety.

And finally to Charlottesville, where the most interesting coaching change was Bronco Mendenhall leaving BYU for Virginia. Only ten starters are back from last year’s team. Preseason all-American and all-ACC safety Quin Blanding could be one of the best in the nation.

That’s it for the ACC, next we preview the Pac 12 North.

NCAA Football

Ex-Oregon Duck Doug Brenner Sues Willie Taggart, NCAA, University for $11.5 Million

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Former Oregon Ducks offensive lineman Doug Brenner has filed a lawsuit against the NCAA, University of Oregon, former Ducks’ head coach Willie Taggart, and former Ducks’ strength coach Irele Oderinde, for $11.5 million in alleged damages, according to The Oregonian’s James Crepea.

Per the report:

“Brenner’s attorneys allege the University of Oregon was negligent for failing to prohibit, regulate or supervise the workouts, which they describe as ‘physical punishment regimens.’ The lawsuit also alleges that Taggart and Oderinde, both now at Florida State, were negligent in imposing and carrying out the workouts, and that the NCAA has failed to regulate such practices by coaches of its member institutions.”

Brenner was hospitalized last year, January 2017, with “rhabdomyolysis and subsequent injuries” after a series of intense offseason workouts, and is seeking damages for the medical bills he accrued due to the workouts, along with the “severe injuries, some of which are permanent, permanent renal injury, a shortening of his life span by upwards of 10 years, increased susceptibility of kidney failure, kidney disease, and death, severe physical and emotional pain, [and premature death] and an impaired opportunity to play football in college and thereafter.”

The report goes on to say that offensive lineman Sam Poutasi and tight end Cam McCormick were also hospitalized with rhabdomyolysis, but neither player has been named as being a part of the lawsuit.

Taggart is now the head coach, and Oderinde is currently the strength and conditioning coach for the Florida State Seminoles.

One of the lawyers representing Brenner, Mark McDougal, said the following about the workouts referred to in the lawsuit:

“The drills were done in unison, and whenever a player faltered, vomited, or fainted, his teammates were immediately punished with additional repetitions. A key goal of this lawsuit is to force the NCAA to ban these kinds of punishing, abusive workouts. These workouts are contrary to NCAA guidelines for protecting players from injury and death. The NCAA needs to enact and enforce regulations that outlaw these practices.”

 

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MLB

Hurricane Florence Could Impact A Number of Games

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Hurricane Florence could threaten a number of games scheduled this week as the major storm system continues to threaten the United States Eastern Coast.

According to USA Today Sports, here are the games that could be impacted by the pending storm:

NFL

Sunday, Sept. 16

Carolina at Atlanta, 1 p.m.
Philadelphia at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.
Indianapolis at Washington, 1 p.m.
New England at Jacksonville, 4:25 p.m.

College football

Wednesday, Sept. 12

Campbell at Coastal Carolina, 2:00 (rescheduled from Saturday)

Thursday, Sept. 13

Boston College at Wake Forest, 7:30

Saturday, Sept. 15 

Georgia Southern at No. 2 Clemson, 3:30
Middle Tennessee at No. 3 Georgia, 7:15
No. 13 LSU at No. 7 Auburn, 3:30
East Carolina at No. 11 Virginia Tech, 12:20
No. 15 West Virginia at North Carolina State, 3:30
No. 18 Central Florida at North Carolina, 12:00
Ohio at Virginia, 3:00
Southern Miss at Appalachian State, 3:30
Colorado State at Florida, 4:00
Old Dominion at Charlotte, 6:00
Norfolk State at Liberty, 6:00
Marshall at South Carolina, 7:30

MLB

Wednesday, Sept. 12

Miami at N.Y. Mets, 4:10, Game 2 TBA
Oakland at Baltimore*, 7:05
Washington at Philadelphia*, 7:05
Toronto at Boston, 7:10

Thursday, Sept. 13

Chicago Cubs at Washington*, 4:05
Oakland at Baltimore*, 7:05
Miami at N.Y. Mets, 7:10
Toronto at Boston, 7:10

Friday, Sept. 14

Chic. White Sox at Baltimore, 7:05
Miami at Philadelphia*, 7:05
Toronto at N.Y. Yankees*, 7:05
N.Y. Mets at Boston, 7:10
Washington at Atlanta*, 7:35

Saturday, Sept. 15

Washington at Atlanta*, 1:05
N.Y. Mets at Boston, 4:05
Toronto at N.Y. Yankees*, 4:05
Chicago White Sox at Baltimore, 7:05
Miami at Philadelphia*, 7:05

Sunday, Sept. 16

Chicago White Sox at Baltimore, 1:05
N.Y. Mets at Boston, 1:05
Toronto at N.Y. Yankees*, 1:05
Miami at Philadelphia*, 1:35
Washington at Atlanta*, 1:35

*- games with playoff implications

Minor League Baseball

Wednesday, Sept. 12
Carolina League: Potomac (Va.) at Buies Creek (N.C.), 1:05

Thursday, Sept. 13
Carolina League: Buies Creek (N.C.) at Potomac (Va.). 7:05
International League: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Pa.) at Durham (N.C.), 7:05

Friday, Sept. 14
Carolina League: Buies Creek (N.C.) at Potomac (Va.), 7:05
International League: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Pa.) at Durham (N.C.) 7:05

Saturday, Sept. 15
Carolina League: Buies Creek (N.C.) at Potomac (Va.), 6:35
International League: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Pa.) at Durham (N.C.), 7:05

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NCAA Football

Braylon Edwards Apologizes for University of Miami Tweets, Stand by his Stance

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Former NFL wide receiver Braylon Edwards, who currently works for the Big Ten Network, has been suspended by the Big Ten Network for tweets he made on Saturday night after the Wolverines lost 24-17 to Notre Dame.3

Edwards, a former All-America wide receiver at the University of Michigan, heavily criticized Wolverines’ offensive lineman Cesar Ruiz, calling him “weak,” and called Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson “scared.”

Edwards played wide receiver for Michigan from 2001 to 2004, and then was drafted to the NFL.

Edwards then went on to target the Michigan team as a whole, tweeting  “f—ing Michigan offense so predictable … Michigan football is sadly one thing … Trash.”

Edwards was criticized by Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh on Monday for his tweets and then was officially suspended indefinitely by the Big Ten Network.

“Effective as of Sunday, Sept. 2, Braylon Edwards has been suspended indefinitely from his role at the Big Ten Network due to a violation of the network’s social media guidelines”, the Big Ten Network wrote in a since deleted tweet, according to Chris Vannini of The Athletic.

“No. 1, first of all, it’s not true. It’s not factual,” Harbaugh said of the comments. “There’s nobody in our program who thinks those things about any player on our team, let alone the two players he describes. On the other level, I was disappointed a member of the Big Ten Network would choose to attack the character of two of our players. That’s disappointing.

“We’ll handle things within the program,” Harbaugh said. “That’s all we control.”

“And, I would say, if somebody wants to attack the character of anybody on the ballclub, then come after me. I don’t think it’s right. It’s not true. And nobody in the program thinks that about any player on our team. Just so you know that’s not coming from anybody inside the program.”

While Edwards admits that his tweets were “excessive”, he stands by his criticism of the Wolverines, and says that he plans to reach out to Ruiz and Patterson through his brother, Berkley Edwards, who is a running back for Michigan.

Edwards added that former Wolverines coach Lloyd Carr “called me out in the media” and he realizes now he shouldn’t have done the same to Ruiz and Patterson.

“I admit I was excessive and emotional and inebriated. Mix those together. But the focus of my tweets remains intact. I stand by that. I was over-excessive Saturday night at 10:29, but I don’t back down on my overall stance as an alum and a fan. I’ve always defended Michigan. Even this year, I was high on Michigan,” Edwards said according to the Detroit News.

“I’m a man. We make mistakes. I’m sorry. I should not have gone that way. I still agree with the overall message — what do we do now (as a program)? But I apologize — shouldn’t name individual players. They’re still kids. That’s what I apologize for,” Edwards told the media outlet.

Now that there is Legal sports betting in the USA it will be interesting to see what happens when Edwards returns. Some sportsbooks have started taking wagers on whether or not he will keep his job in the end and for how long.

For now, Edwards has a lot of time to sit at home and reflect before his return to the Big Ten Network.

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