Bill O’Brien close to naming Penn State starting quarterback; more camp notes
By Zac Ellis
With just more than a week remaining until college football’s opening weekend, here are a few news and notes from fall camps around the country:
• The competition to replace outgoing quarterback Matt McGloin at Penn State might soon have a winner. Nittany Lions coach Bill O’Brien told ESPN’s “Mike and Mike” radio show that the team’s next starter could be announced by the end of this week.
“I’d say it’s pretty close right now,” O’Brien said. “I’d say by the end of the week we’ll probably make a decision. But whatever we do we’ll do what’s best for the team. We have two really talented guys there.”
Juco transfer Tyler Ferguson and highly-touted true freshman Christian Hackenberg are vying for the starting job.
• UCLA’s quarterback situation is set in stone with redshirt sophomore Brett Hundley as the Bruins’ starter, but the team will have to make do without one of its backups. Redshirt sophomore T.J. Millweard asked coach Jim Mora for his release on Sunday and plans to transfer elsewhere, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Millweard was competing with Jerry Neuheisel and Asiantii Woulard for the No. 2 quarterback position behind Hundley. Millweard will now be forced to sit out a season due to NCAA transfer rules and will have three years of eligibility remaining. He said he holds no ill will toward Mora or UCLA.
“He was great,” Millweard said of Mora. “He tried to make it work this summer. But this was a different college experience than I wanted it to be.”
• Michigan will be without one of its projected starters at wide receiver for the entire season. Coach Brady Hoke announced on Wednesday that Amara Darboh will be sidelined for the fall with a foot injury.
Darboh was injured during a scrimmage on Saturday, and Hoke confirmed in a statement that the Wolverines will be without his services this fall. “I love Amara, and just hate it for him, how hard he worked through the offseason and fall camp to earn a starting role,” Hoke said. “We’ll rally around him like a family does and help him get through this difficult time.”
Darboh did not catch a pass as a freshman in 2012, but he was expected to line up opposite No. 1 wideout Jeremy Gallon as a starter for Michigan’s season opener against Central Michigan on Aug. 31. Senior Joe Reynolds could be pegged for an increased role in Darboh’s absence.
• Miami announced that it has cut ties with defensive lineman/tight end Dyron Dye, the last remaining on the ‘Canes’ roster with any ties to the Nevin Shapiro scandal, the Associated Press reports.
Dye met with investigators three times over the course of the NCAA’s probe of the Hurricanes. He was alleged to have received extra meals and housing at the homes of former coaches Aubrey Hill and Clint Hurtt when he was a recruit, though Dye denied those allegations.
Dye, who played tight end last season but was considering a move back to the defensive line, had been coming off Achilles surgery and was awaiting medical clearance. But Dye’s attorney, Darren Heitner, told the AP that Dye was released because Miami “determined he would be too much of a distraction.”
• Virginia Tech hasn’t experienced much luck on the injury front in recent weeks, but it sounds like good news finally made its way to Blacksburg. Tailback J.C. Coleman told The Virginian-Pilot that he will “definitely” be ready for Tech’s opener against Alabama after suffering two sprained ankles last week.
The sophomore rolled both his ankles in a drill last Wednesday and said he initially “thought both of them were broken.” But Coleman, who led the Hokies’ running backs with 492 rushing yards last season as a freshman, was walking freely over the weekend and expects to be back in time to take on the Crimson Tide.
• Auburn’s defensive line will be a little thinner when the Tigers open the season against Washington State. Defensive end Dee Ford, who led Auburn with six sacks in 2012, will miss the Aug. 31 matchup against the Cougars, according to AL.com.
A knee injury kept Ford out of practice for the past week, and defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson hinted that Auburn could be without Ford for an “extended” period of time.
Ford injured his left knee in a scrimmage on Aug. 10, but the injury is not expected to require surgery. The Tigers have been ailing on defense in fall camp: Johnson told AL.com that five defensive linemen, including Ford, have been injured at some point during the preseason.
• Florida starting running back Matt Jones is improving after a viral infection kept him on the sidelines for all of preseason camp, reports GatorSports.com.
Gators coach Will Muschamp said the staff had been preparing as if Jones would miss the opener against Toledo on Aug. 31, but the tailback’s weight has bounced back — he lost 10 pounds while fighting the infection — and Florida isn’t ruling Jones out for the first game.
“All I know is he is progressing very well,” Muschamp said. “I get a daily update. He feels good, he’s doing more and more every day from a workout standpoint and that’s all I know. We’re playing it by ear.”