Making the morning rounds.
• Well, "debilitating knee injury" is all in the mind. Alabama defensive lineman Josh Chapman started seven of the Crimson Tide's last eight games in 2011 on a torn ACL and meniscus in his left knee, effectively anchoring the best run defense in the nation on one leg. Chapman initially injured the knee against Florida, but remained in the lineup even after a subsequent MRI revealed the extent of the damage, and even as the injury worsened over the second half of the season. He only missed one game: A 45-21 rout over Georgia Southern, the only team to score 20 points or gain 300 yards against the Tide all year.
"I didn't really want to give up like that," said Chapman, who also played through a shoulder injury that eventually required postseason surgery in 2010, and just turned down an invite to the Senior Bowl to undergo surgery on his knee. "I enjoyed playing. As long as it stayed right, I could play." [al.com]
• BV Defection. After an afternoon of conflicting reports, Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables confirmed Wednesday night that he is in fact on his way to Clemson to take over for outgoing defensive coordinator Kevin Steele in the wake of the Tigers' Orange Bowl debacle against West Virginia. Venables came to Oklahoma with head coach Bob Stoops in 1999, initially serving as a "co-coordinator" with Mike Stoops before assuming the title for himself when Mike left for the top job at Arizona in 2004. With Mike's return to the fold last week, Venables would have been forced to return to a "co-coordinator" situation at just the point in his career when he may be beginning to think about positioning himself for a head coaching job. [SoonerScoop.com, Tulsa World]
Elsewhere in the coordinator shuffle… As expected, Alabama confirms Doug Nussmeier as its new offensive coordinator. [TideSports.com] … Illinois hires Tim Banks from Cincinnati as its new defensive coordinator. [Associated Press] … And South Florida poaches Kansas State for its new defensive coordinator, Chris Cosh. [Tampa Bay Times]
• Settlin'. USC has reached an undisclosed settlement with former running back Stafon Johnson, who filed a lawsuit against the university and a former assistant strength coach earlier this year alleging negligence in the freak weight room accident that ended Johnson's college career in September 2009. In the suit, Johnson claims the coach was "distracted and not paying attention" when a bench press bar carrying 275 pounds slipped from Johnson's hands and landed on his neck, causing severe throat and vocal chord injuries that required emergency surgery and multiple followup surgeries. A scheduled hearing in the case was taken off the calendar Wednesday because a notice of settlement had been filed. [Los Angeles Times]
• A what-back? They still have those? Illinois fullback Jay Prosch — a Mobile, Ala., native who picked up a first-team All-America nod from Pro Football Weekly for his work as a blocker — is transferring to Auburn to be closer to his mother, who was diagnosed with brain cancer last year. Prosch has applied for a hardship that will make him immediately eligible this fall with two years of eligibility remaining. [AuburnSports.com]
Quickly… A former Florida defensive end lands at Norfolk State. … Auburn releases a cache of old e-mails from the 2010 season, to Joe Schad's chagrin. … Southern Miss adds its entry to the Mississippi billboard wars. … And Craig James' senatorial campaign is not off to a very good start.