Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Catching up: Everybody's out for the season

* Matt Grothe, who has been the sole source of South Florida's offense for the past three and a half years, is done for the season after tearing his ACL on Saturday in a win over Charleston Southern. As a senior, Grothe's career is over. Also over: USF's hopes of winning the Big East. The offense was already severely lacking at the skill positions, and things won't be any better with freshman B.J. Daniels at the helm (he's athletic, but you've gotta be able to throw the ball, too). As for Grothe, he'll probably never make it in the NFL -- not very many 6-foot quarterbacks do -- but as the Big East's all-time leader in total offense and the QB for four consecutive bowl teams, he should take solace in knowing that he and coach Jim Leavitt are almost entirely responsible for USF being nationally relevant.

* Arizona tight end Rob Gronkowski, a third-team All-American last year who hasn't played yet this season because of a strained back, won't play again until 2010. Arizona has already begun adjusting by handing the ball to Nic Grigsby as much as possible (which is probably wise when your quarterbacks are Matt Scott and Nick Foles), but you'd be safe to bet against Arizona getting to 30 points in any Pac-10 game ... and no, Washington State doesn't count.

* Speaking of Washington State, leading rusher and former Cal transfer James Montgomery will miss the remainder of the season with a leg injury. Last year's starter, Dwight Tardy, was platooning with Montgomery and will likely pick up the remainder of the carries, but it doesn't matter much in the big picture. It's not like a team that just lost to SMU at home can get much worse.

* Boise State running back D.J. Harper ... yeah, you get the idea. He's out for the season with a torn ACL. Harper had been splitting carries right down the middle with Jeremy Avery, but a statement from Chris Petersen made it sound as though Avery would continue in his role while third-stringer (and sometimes defensive back) Doug Martin would slide into Harper's spot. Boise will probably end up in some shootouts this season, but this shouldn't be a huge blow -- Kellen Moore and his 166.59 pass efficiency ensure that the Broncos never have to really too much on their running game.

* Michigan center David Molk will miss four to six weeks (yay for non-season-ending injuries) with a broken foot. Molk is one of UM's top linemen, but guard David Moosman has played center in the past and will slide over in his place. The problem for Michigan is that Molk's injury comes just before an extremely tough stretch: After Indiana this week, UM travels to Michigan State and Iowa before returning home to play Delaware State and Penn State. There are two automatic wins in that stretch regardless of Molk's condition, but there are also three huge conference games that could determine whether Michigan wins seven games or nine this year.

* Nobody's out for the season at Florida, but a whole bunch of guys are missing practice because of the flu. Urban Meyer expressed some concern about his team's health Tuesday, and while Lane Kiffin might consider that a convenient excuse for Tennessee staying close on Saturday, Meyer is right to be worried. A virus ripping through a locker room and causing weeklong illnesses could be devastating for a football team -- especially one that plays at No. 7 LSU in 11 days.

* I think Kiffin has gotten a little bit of a bad rap at times -- things have snowballed since his arrival at UT to the point where anything even remotely controversial causes a media firestorm -- but a lot of that is his own doing, and the comments he made about Meyer's flu concerns Monday are a perfect example.
... asked whether he was worried about the flu also hitting Tennessee, he said: "I don't know. I guess we'll wait and after we're not excited about a performance, we'll tell you everybody was sick."
When players are sitting out practice and wearing surgical masks around the team training facility, they're obviously sick. I find it unlikely that Meyer and his staff spent their week planning a flu conspiracy in case the Gators actually had to play a close game. Kiffin knows this, of course, but he's been talking smack ever since he arrived and will continue to do so until the product on the field is worth paying attention to. I don't necessarily have a problem with that philosophy in general, but when he talks the talk -- "I'm looking forward to singing 'Rocky Top' all night long after we beat Florida" -- and his team doesn't walk the walk, it'd be nice if he'd show some humility and shut the fuck up for once.

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