Charlie Strong said Shaw
n Watson and Joe Wickline will split play-calling duties. (Eric Schlegel/Getty Images)
With spring football taking place across the country, Campus Union has decided to round up all of the important news and notes from each week in practice.
• Spring football is a time for teams to evaluate their rosters, integrate new coaches and implement new schemes. It’s also a time that players do things that will possibly get them in trouble and cause them to miss early-season action. Four Georgia players -- safety Tray Matthews, wide receiver Uriah LeMay and defensive linemen James DeLoach and Jonathan Taylor -- were arrested on Monday night and charged with misdemeanor theft deception. All four took part in the Bulldogs’ first practice on Tuesday. From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Safety Tray Matthews, receiver Uriah LeMay and defensive linemen James DeLoach and Jonathan Taylor all were dressed out in practice gear and participated in Tuesday’s 90-minute workout, the first of the 15-practice spring session. All four were booked in Athens-Clarke County Jail just 18 hours earlier.
Matthews is the most notable of the bunch. He made six starts last fall and finished with 36 tackles, one interception and one forced fumble.
Georgia opens against Clemson on Aug. 30. Clemson announced on March 4 that coach Dabo Swinney suspended four players for that game for a violation of team rules.
• Florida began spring practice on Thursday, and all eyes are on the offense. This does not require much explanation, but Will Muschamp looked back in an interview with ESPN’s Edward Aschoff.
“We could have managed it better -- done something differently, changed more,” Muschamp said. “There are a lot of things that I look back and thought we could have done this, but at the end of the day, sometimes it was hard.”
For more coverage of the Gators' spring practice, check out Martin Rickman’s conversation with Alligator Army’s Andy Hutchins and friend of the blog Celebrity Hot Tub’s healthy optimism. Spring!
• Florida State received its BCS championship rings. They are quite flashy.
• Josh Rosen, the top-ranked quarterback recruit in the class of 2015, committed to UCLA on Thursday afternoon. Current Bruins star and preseason Heisman Trophy candidate Brett Hundley is expected to enter the NFL draft after his redshirt junior campaign, which means Rosen could enter an open competition for the starting job from the moment he arrives on campus.
Rosen passed for 3,200 yards with 39 touchdowns to lead St. John Bosco (Calif.) High to a 16-0 record and CIF Open Division title last fall.
Thursday was a big day for Rosen.
• Charlie Strong finally cleared up speculation surrounding who will call the plays for Texas’ offense this season. It will be Joe Wickline and Shawn Watson. Per an interview with ESPN:
"When you talk about play-calling duties, they're mature enough. They've been around it enough. Neither one has an ego," Strong said. "Wickline is going to be involved in it. He's going to make some calls. Shawn is going to make some calls. When we go down the stretch and we have to have a call made, I think Shawn, because he's been doing it for a long time and I'm comfortable with him.”
This sounds confusing, but it’s probably less bizarre than it seems. After all, Strong pointed out that Florida employed a similar system from 2005-07, when he and co-defensive coordinator Greg Mattison split play-calling duties.
Meanwhile, Mack Brown wished everyone a happy St. Patrick’s Day.
• Ball State’s Pete Lembo agreed to a new five-year deal, sources told CBSSports.com’s Bruce Feldman. The deal will make Lembo, 43, the highest-paid coach in the MAC.
• Texas A&M defensive tackle Isaiah Golden has withdrawn from school. Golden, who registered 32 tackles and three tackles for loss last season, was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana on Feb. 23. He was suspended indefinitely and has yet to practice this spring, though Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin expects him to return to the team this summer.
"He played about every snap last year," Sumlin said. "Certainly everybody would want him here at practice, but I think what's more important is that he just gets himself together and get back in the right frame of mind and be ready to go summer school-wise."
• Fresh off a worst-to-first turnaround and an SEC championship, Auburn's players are bulking up. Per AL.com, 58 players have gained weight, headlined by offensive lineman Shane Callahan. Callahan, a redshirt sophomore, put on 29 pounds and could factor into the race to replace projected first-round NFL draft pick Greg Robinson.
The biggest changes this spring? Look no further than offensive lineman Deon Mix, who lost 12 pounds and weighs 298, and offensive lineman Shane Callahan, who gained an incredible 29 pounds to bulk up to 304.
• It hasn't been an offseason to remember for Denzel Nkemdiche. The junior linebacker was already suspended for Ole Miss' season opener against Boise State on Aug. 28 stemming from an offseason arrest last month, and now he could be set to miss more time. Rebels coach Hugh Freeze saw a spring break video featuring Nkemdiche "directing a profanity-laced tirade" at a group of opposing fans and is considering extending his suspension. From the The Daily Journal:
Freeze said the video will be “considered” in the big picture of how Nkemdiche progresses in his efforts to regain his status with the team.
“I’m not happy with him, not proud of it, hope he’s not. It’s definitely not what we want to be about and the way you want to handle (a situation) regardless of what initiated it or caused it,” Freeze said. “There’s a way to handle adversity and controversy, and it’s certainly not that, and that’s been made clear to him.”
The video has since been removed from YouTube. Nkemdiche finished last season with 35 tackles and two tackles for loss.
• In (almost entirely) non-football related news, former USC coach and current Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin sold his Manhattan Beach house for $6.5 million. More notable? The buyer is Vince Vaughn, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The Manhattan Beach house features vaulted ceilings, a stone fireplace, six bedrooms and seven bathrooms. The three-car garage opens to a gated driveway.Vaughn has starred in moves such as Old School, Wedding Crashers, The Break-Up and The Internship. Two of those films are about Kiffin’s tenure at USC. The other two are about his new gig in Tuscaloosa.
The half-acre lot has a swimming pool and spa, a guesthouse and an outdoor kitchen.