August 19, 2009
• What? We badly injure teammates in locker room showdowns all the time. Miami defensive end Adewale Ojomo, a likely starter on the very deep 'Cane line, underwent surgery Monday night to repair a broken jaw suffered while "horsing around in the locker room," according to coach Randy Shannon. But the Miami Herald suggests today that "horsing around" may just be Shannon's euphemism for "being blindsided by an angry teammate":
... two team sources said Ojomo was punched by a teammate. The sources said an altercation took place, and one said Ojomo was "sucker punched.''
Shannon was asked whether Ojomo had been involved in a fight.
"No,'' Shannon said. "[It was] horsing around in the locker room. That always happens in the locker room. Guys always get that two-a-day swing where they want to mess around, horse around and things happen like that. You got to move on.''
The Herald's Manny Navarro confirms that "wrestling and rough play" have been common in the UM locker room for years, occasionally leading to separated shoulders and assorted "bruises and nicks," according to former offensive lineman Derrick Morse. Personally, I think Ojomo and Co. were just looking up to their role models in the NFL.
Shannon insisted Ojomo is not suspended but has no timetable for his return; he's not likely for the Labor Day opener with Florida State. In better injury news for the 'Canes, starting running back Graig Cooper was already out of the boot he wore Tuesday and "appear[ed] fine" during early-morning drills.
• Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Aaron Corp has been missing from USC practices all week with a cracked fibula, but may actually have a larger lead over Matt Barkley for the most coveted starting job in America after the latter's surprising flop in Monday night's scrimmage. Worse than the numbers -- 5-for-18 with a couple of passes that reportedly should have been intercepted -- was the response from Pete Carroll, who clearly left with a new perspective on his freshman phenom:
The performance also reminded Trojans coach Pete Carroll that Barkley is a true freshman - despite the rave reviews the 18-year-old earned since last spring.
"It was the first time Matt showed he could have a day like that," Carroll said. "He hadn't had a day like that before."
It's obvious Carroll put a lot of stock in that scrimmage: He spent all day Monday hyping it on Twitter and went out of his way to get the players pumped for a game-like atmosphere in the Coliseum. When Corp returns next week, it's a good bet at this point that he'll resume his position with the first team, unless Barkley has a scorching finish to the week.
Quickly ... Nick Saban does what he does best: Berate reporters for speculating on Alabama's depth chart. ... Michigan freshman Tate Forcier will live with his brother, Jason, a former QB at Michigan and Stanford, for part of the season. But the older Forcier won't suit up for the Wolverines, after all. ... Quarterback Corbin Louks, the surprise loser in Utah's quarterback derby, is transferring to Nevada, where his athleticism may be exploited in the Wolf Pack's Pistol sets. ... Florida is losing a pair of back-up offensive linemen: Jim Barrie's career is over following a devastating ACL injury, and Byran Jones is planning to transfer. ... A minor injury to linebacker Eltoro Freeman, who apparently secured a starting job in the spring out of junior college, is causing some depth problems in Auburn practices. ... Running back Caleb King was among six players who missed Georgia's practice on Tuesday. ... Oregon back LeGarrette Blount missed practice for "personal reasons" but is expected back today. ... Barron Batch may return to practice sooner than expected after an arm injury. And 6'7" Tech receiver Adrian Reese is transferring from the Raiders. ... North Carolina safety and special teams ace Matt Merletti is out for the season with an ACL tear. ... Injuries at UCLA sent a couple offensive linemen to the defensive line. ... Colorado defensive end Nick Kasa could redshirt with a knee injury, but Dan Hawkins may like the freshman enough to try to get him on the field if he returns in the second half of the year. ... Bobby Bowden will still take Charlie Ward over Tim Tebow. ... Two years in the Orlando Sentinel reviews Florida State's 2007 recruiting class, and the results are mixed at best. ... Following North Carolina's lead, Texas is the latest team to swallow those freaky heat pills. ... And the key to writing good headlines? Understatement.