Texas A&M punter Drew Kaser has been hyping his self-initiated Heisman campaign all offseason following the departure of former quarterback Johnny Manziel. Kaser might have a case with what he did last night.
During a practice session, the first-team All-American punter apparently broke a light fixture hanging in Texas A&M's Indoor Practice Facility with a punt. That low-hanging video board at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas better watch out when Texas A&M face Arkansas on Sept. 27 this season.
Nebraska came through for Jack Hoffman last year when the boy scored a touchdown during the team's spring game after his battle with cancer.
On Wednesday, after learning Hoffman's cancer had returned, the Cornhuskers showed their support once again, uploading a video of encouragement from coach Bo Pelini and the players as the boy prepares to start another round of treatment.
"Hey Jack, as a football team, as a group of your friends ... we're here to support you," Pelini said. "Remain strong. You're in our thoughts and prayers all the time no matter what, and obviously we wish the best for you, your family and you're gonna come out of it on top. There's no doubt. You're a strong young man."
CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Obum Gwacham wants one more chance to make an impact at Oregon State.
Having struggled at wide receiver his entire college career, the 6-foot-5 senior is switching to defensive end for the Beavers.
He jokes that maybe his biggest catch is ahead of him -- in the form of an interception.
"We actually have the dime package in now, and I'll probably be back there if any team tries to throw a Hail Mary," he laughed. "I'll try to bat the ball down or get an interception. You know, just using my skills."
Defensive line coach Joe Seumalo planted the idea of coming over to the defense last season, Gwacham said. Following Oregon State's victory over Boise State in the Hawaii Bowl, he started seriously considering the possibility for his final year.
Gwacham always had an uneven career at receiver. During three seasons plagued by injury and inconsistency, he'd had just 11 catches for 65 yards and a touchdown. He also played on special teams.
Gwacham talked it over with his family, but really it was a no-brainer. If he didn't try the defense, would he always wonder, "What if?"
"I had no problem saying yes," he said.
Born in Nigeria, Gwacham and his family came to the United States when he was 7 and settled in Chino Hills, California. Gwacham was captain of both the football and track teams at Ayala High School. His big brother, Nnamdi, played receiver and was on the track team at Utah State.
Gwacham redshirted in football his freshman year at Oregon State, but took part in track and field events. He has moonlighted as a high jumper off and on for the Beavers, even though the school doesn't have an official men's track and field team. Back in 2010, Gwacham finished fourth at the conference championships with a leap of 7 feet, 1 1/2 inches.
It was always hoped that because of his height and athleticism (in addition to his jumping ability he's also fast), Gwacham would become an easy red-zone target for quarterback Sean Mannion. But instead, Markus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks -- both now in the NFL -- developed into Oregon State's go-to receivers. This season, junior Richard Mullaney is poised for a breakout at the position.
“It's a new position but a lot of things still apply.” Obum Gwacham
So now Gwacham is competing for the spot opposite starting DE Dylan Wynn. Oregon State is shoring up the position after Scott Crichton decided to leave school a year early for the NFL.
"I think Joshua James and Obum Gwacham are doing well. I think Titus Failauga is doing well. I think we're gonna maybe not have one, have two or three guys who can play," coach Mike Riley said. "We've always been historically a good rotating team, if indeed we can rotate. That's our goal."
Riley said Gwacham is likely to be used in third-down pass-rush situations, although he's made enough progress to be worked into a number of scenarios.
Gwacham is hopeful he'll be able to make his mark for the Beavers, who went 7-6 last season, capped by the Hawaii Bowl victory.
"It's a new position but a lot of things still apply. As a receiver you're going up against a defensive back, now I'm going up against an offensive tackle or a tight end, someone who is a little bigger," he said. "You're still trying to get by them. But I'd say the hardest part is going against someone who is twice your size."
Gwacham worked hard to gain weight and add muscle in the eight months since his decision. He's added more than 12 pounds since last season.
He said what has helped him most is being a quick learner, as well as Gwacham's work on special teams.
But there are still some things that surprise him.
"It's funny because the other day we were running a fly sweep. Being on the other side I was usually watching the fly sweep run past the defensive end," he said. "This time I was the defensive end and he ran right by. When that happened I was like, 'Ah, now I know what they feel like.' "
Sometimes, all football coaches need is a new perspective to see things a little more clearly. Thanks to the help of a new techonology called Schutt vision, head coach Kyle Flood can get inside the heads of his players -- quite precisely. Similar to a GoPro camera, special helmets are constructed with a camera lens above the bridge of the nose, creating a feed that shows viewers directly what the players are seeing.
In other words, a coach can watch how a quarterback went through his progressions or where a safety was looking when they got beat on a pass play. The technology is currently utilized by 33 NFL and college football teams, including Michigan, Auburn Texas, LSU, the Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers.
While defensive players like linebackers and safeties have worn the helmets at Rugers practices, coaches have focused the resource on quarterback play and improving how QBs read defenses and offensive progressions.
"No matter who is wearing them, whether it's your quarterback, whether it's your safety. What it is he is looking at before the play, at the snap and then post-snap -- I think all those things are valuable," Flood said. "And then when you are trying to make decisions and trying to coach players at an elite level, any information you can get and all the information you can get, you want it. It's really another added piece of information for you."
SEATTLE -- Bishop Sankey totaled so many rushing yards and scored so many touchdowns for the Washington Huskies the past two seasons, it might have been easy to forget what very well could have been Sankey's most important accomplishment.
He never missed a game because of injury. And he carried the ball 327 times in 2013, setting a school record.
That's what makes replacing him this season -- or attempting to, anyway -- such a multi-faceted proposition. Sankey wasn't just talented. He was durable, the kind of back who could carry the ball 30 times and still report to practice the next Monday, ready to roll.
"Running back is a tough position," said fifth-year senior Deontae Cooper, one of four Huskies backs vying for playing time in 2014. "Credit to Bishop for doing what he did last year. I'm not sure if we're going to have that."
Coach Chris Petersen has made it clear that he doesn't mind a by-committee approach, though he obviously would prefer for one player to emerge as the No. 1 option and be able to carry the ball enough times to develop an in-game rhythm.
"I know we're going to need 'em all and they're all going to get an opportunity," Petersen said. "And then when the game's played, those that stay healthy, those that produce, are going to get more carries. We have a big sign in our training room: 'Durability (is) more important than ability,' and I certainly believe that at that position."
To that end, the Huskies are in what qualifies as a unique position considering recent history. Sankey was a bit of an unknown entering his sophomore season in 2012, but prior to that, Chris Polk gave the Huskies three consecutive years of consistent, straight-ahead running, starting 38 games and carrying the ball 779 times. And former coach Steve Sarkisian has not been shy about boasting that in each of his five seasons at UW, the Huskies had a 1,000-yard rusher.
None of this year's competitors are as established, but each seems to offer something different. Cooper and fifth-year senior Jesse Callier are the veterans, players whose careers were at one point sidetracked by injuries -- four ACL tears among them, three of them for Cooper -- but who enter the 2014 season healthy and eager to contribute. Each had strong performances during UW's most recent open scrimmage. And Cooper's 11-carry, 166-yard performance last season at Oregon State suggests he could still prove to be a valuable asset in the backfield.
There's Dwayne Washington, the 6-foot-2, 219-pound freshman whose combination of speed and size best manifested itself in that same OSU game, in which Washington carried 11 times for 141 yards and two touchdowns. If not for early-season fumble troubles as a freshman, he might have seen more carries, and surely will in 2014.
The mystery candidate is redshirt freshman Lavon Coleman, the only player of the four who hasn't played in a college game. But his size (5-foot-11, 217 pounds) and physical running style adds a unique element to the mix, and he's made the most of his practice repetitions throughout spring and fall.
"I think he brings some of that old-school run game mentality, being kind of a thicker guy, big, downhill, bruiser-type kid," running backs coach Keith Bhonapha said. "I think he's going to be exciting, him being so young and developing where he's at from the spring as far as really starting to get in with the offense and now coming into fall camp, as we work into the season."
And, of course, star linebacker Shaq Thompson is expected to get at least a few opportunities to carry the ball. He's been insistent that defense will forever remain his priority, though he's spent enough time working with the running backs during practice to believe Petersen plans to use him there.
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State star quarterback Braxton Miller will miss the 2014 season, dealing a severe blow to the fifth-ranked Buckeyes' national title hopes.
Ohio State confirmed late Tuesday afternoon that Miller reinjured his throwing shoulder and will need surgery. The two-time Big Ten player of the year left practice in pain Monday after making a short throw.
''My goal is to come back from this injury stronger and better than ever,'' Miller said in a statement.
It's a huge blow to a team considered to be one of the best in the Big Ten and the country, one which already has several major holes to fill on offense.
''My thoughts and prayers are with Braxton and his family,'' Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said. ''This is an unfortunate injury to a young man who means so much to this program.''
The senior and three-year starter partially tore the labrum in his right shoulder in a loss to Clemson at the Orange Bowl. He had surgery, did not face contact in spring practice and was held out of several practices this month due to soreness.
Redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett is Miller's top backup and will likely be the starter in the Aug. 30 opener against Navy in Baltimore.
Miller said he was on schedule to graduate with a degree in Communications in December and that he also wanted to attend graduate school, ''and then return to lead the Buckeyes next season.''
Miller's options would include taking a medical redshirt and returning to Ohio State for one more season in 2015, or rehabbing the injury and making himself available for the NFL draft in the spring. He toyed with the idea of turning pro last spring but decided against it because of the shoulder surgery might hurt him with pro teams.
With a schedule that includes games at defending Big Ten champion Michigan State on Nov. 8, at Penn State on Oct. 25 and a Sept. 6 date at home against Virginia Tech, the Buckeyes are suddenly confronted by a lot of question marks.
Miller's injury in Monday's practice, first reported by The Columbus Dispatch, came on a routine, unrushed rollout pass. Miller reportedly left the field after screaming in pain but was upbeat later while getting his shoulder iced. He had his arm in a sling on Monday night.
Miller is one of the Big Ten's most decorated quarterbacks, and the falloff in experience compared to his backups is huge.
He has thrown 666 passes in his glittering three-year career, starting as a freshman. Barrett has never played in a game, and sophomore Cardale Jones threw his only two collegiate passes during a 56-0 rout of Purdue.
Miller has also run for 32 touchdowns and passed for 52, putting him in reach of many of Ohio State's career records at his position.
Barrett was an acclaimed four-star recruit out of Wichita Falls, Texas, who watched with Jones last year as Miller took most of the snaps in the Buckeyes' 12-2 season. When Miller was hurt for most of the San Diego State, California and Florida A&M games with a sprained knee, senior Kenny Guiton had big games while leading Ohio State to victories.
The Buckeyes are also replacing four of their five starting offensive linemen, their leading receiver (Corey Brown) and 1,500-yard rusher Carlos Hyde from last year's 11-2 team.
Barrett completed 17 of 33 passes for 151 yards with no interceptions and no touchdowns in Ohio State's annual spring intrasquad scrimmage. Because of Miller's problems with his shoulder, Barrett has gotten a lot of practice time with the Buckeyes' first-team offense in the spring and in recent weeks.
Miller hurt originally hurt his shoulder on the first possession against Clemson in the Orange Bowl, but played the rest of the way in the 40-35 loss. Soon after the injury was discovered, he had surgery in February.
Ohio State said at the time that Miller had ''minor, outpatient surgery.'' But he has had problems with the shoulder since.
Still, he has repeatedly said he would be ready to go in the opener, and did so again between practices on Monday. His workload had been reduced to avoid any ongoing soreness in the arm.
At the Buckeyes' media day, Miller said his arm felt good and he was able to throw as much as he liked.
The injury is perhaps the most crippling at Ohio State since tailback Keith Byars was second to Doug Flutie in the Heisman Trophy race in 1985 but then missed almost all of the following season with a broken bone in his foot.
The cold never bothered Ryan Switzer anyway. Dismissing any fear of common Internet mockery, North Carolina's punt returner decided to share a video of him singing to his little sister the lyrics of "Love Is An Open Door" from Disney's popular movie Frozen.
Where Switzer developed his love for Frozen is up for debate, but admittedly, the video is quite adorable. Credit to Switzer for sharing it with the Internet.
MANHATTAN, Kan. -- So many of their mannerisms are the same. So is the attention to detail, the toughness — the grit that has come to not only define them but also their football program.
In fact, the only real difference between them may be their ages.
Bill Snyder turns 75 in October. Collin Klein turns 25 next month.
So it makes sense that when Klein, a Heisman Trophy finalist for Kansas State just two years ago, gave up on his professional dreams and embarked on a career in coaching, he would return do it under the silver-haired sage who turned him into one of the best quarterbacks in school history.
"It's an honor. I mean, I love this place," Klein told The Associated Press recently, "and it really worked out, and I'm grateful coach gave me the opportunity. It's the place I wanted to be."
COLLIN KLEIN AS QB AT KANSAS STATE
Snyder actually tried to talk Klein out of a career in coaching, wary of the toll it has taken on his own family. The long hours and immense pressure can be unbearable. But Snyder also remembers seeing something in Klein, back when he was leading the Wildcats to a No. 1 national ranking and a BCS bowl berth, which made him believe that one day he'd be back on the sidelines.
It may have been the way Klein pored over game film. Or the way he grasped Snyder's complex offense. Or the way he could inspire his teammates when times got tough.
"It's great to have him back. He knows the system like the back of his hand, and having him back will help us a lot," said wide receiver Tyler Lockett, who once caught passes from Klein and is now picking his brain for tips and tricks as a star pupil.
"He's been there," Lockett said. "He knows what to expect."
Ironically, Klein's biggest anxiety these days is that he doesn't know what to expect.
His official title is "quality control assistant," but nobody can seem to give him a very good explanation of what that job entails. One day he may be breaking down game film, the next he may be doing a critique of the Wildcats' offense. Heck, he might be the one fetching Snyder's ever-present cup of coffee, and he insists that would be just fine with him.
"It's very different, but very similar at the same time," Klein explained. "As a quarterback and a player here, I had a decent feel for what went on behind the scenes, but I didn't have any idea of how much work and all the details that needed to get done."
Especially under Snyder, who is so fanatical when it comes to work that he once consulted with a hypnotist to learn whether it was possible to get by on less sleep.
No sense in wasting those eight — or seven or six, or five — hours every night.
"Collin's done it. He's been there. And he did it in a big way," said Del Miller, the Wildcats' longtime co-offensive coordinator. "It's important for me to have him around the players."
Klein is not unique in returning to Kansas State as a coach.
Co-offensive coordinator Dana Dimel, special teams coach Sean Snyder, wide receivers coach Andre Coleman, defensive line coach Mo Latimore and defensive ends coach Blake Seiler all played for the Wildcats, as did graduate assistant coach Zach Hanson.
"I read someplace that we have on our coaching staff more ex-players than anybody else in the country," Snyder said. "I think that's important because I know them. I know what kind of value system they have. And they know me. They know the program, and what the demands are, and they've experienced it. So for them to accept the opportunity to come back tells me they're humble."
Of course, the reason so many have come back is that they were also successful.
Klein threw for more than 2,600 yards as a senior, and his 4,724 yards passing ranks sixth on the school charts. He also broke records for career and single-season rushing touchdowns, and once ran for four touchdowns and threw for three more in a single game.
Little surprise he was a second-team All-American in 2012, winning the Johnny Unitas Award and making the finalist list for the Maxwell, Walter Camp and Davy O'Brien awards.
"What a great resource," said current Kansas State quarterback Jake Waters. "I'd be dumb not to annoy him, I guess. He's been through everything we're going through. He was such a great player."
There is no place on earth like a football locker room. Each locker room is unique, with its own set of rules, cliques and hierarchy. The head coach is the undisputed CEO of the locker room. When he speaks, players listen. Each coach has his own style to the locker room speech. Some are fire and brimstone, some are calm and collective. All have message.
In today's round, Mack Brown and Derrick Moore square off.
Mack Brown talks to his team moments after winning the national championship in 2006. Derrick Moore is not the head football coach for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. He is currently the team chaplin for the Yellow Jackets. His pre-game speeches have made him a YouTube sensation. In this clip, he motivates the team before the 2007 game against Notre Dame.
Now is your chance to select the best college football locker room speech. Vote in the right rail for today's speech. The winner will advance to the next round and a champion will be crowned right before the kickoff of the 2014 season.