September 22, 2009
• I picture him in a Cosby sweater. He's got his reputation and his career to consider, but as of last Thursday -- exactly two weeks after he flew off the handle on national television -- suspended/disgraced Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount has an even better reason to make good on his chance to finish his political science degree:
As I’ve noted, LeGarrette Blount was not at practice today, nor was he in attendance for Saturday’s win over Utah.
On Thursday, he became the father of a newborn son, which probably explains his absence. Merissa McCullugh gave birth to the baby boy at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Springfield.
Here is a young man growing up very quickly and hitting one of the crucial years of his life. You can follow his "growth, transformation and journey" on Twitter, if you're so inclined.
• Shoulders of the times. His replacement was feted by the Big 12 after a record-setting afternoon against Tulsa, but the spotlight at Oklahoma practice Monday was clearly on Sam Bradford, who practiced for the first time since having his shoulder mangled against BYU -- or something along those lines, anyway: Mr. Heisman reportedly only threw 5- to 10-yard passes in drills and didn't extend himself.
There's still two weeks to work up to that: The earliest possible date for Bradford's return is Oct. 3, for a suddenly verrrrry interesting trip to Miami after getting this Saturday off.
In other golden shoulder news, USC's Matt Barkley returned to practice Monday, too, taking twice as many snaps with the first team as Aaron Corp and getting the vote of confidence from Pete Carroll on Saturday's start at Washington State -- "if he's ready to go." That seems likely, given the amount of time Barkley was able to put in at full speed, but Carroll still suggested he still had some concerns about the freshman's velocity. Stay tuned, etc.
Other key additions to the infirmary: One of Boise State's two regular running backs, D.J. Harper, is out for the year with a torn ACL. ... Texas linebacker Jared Norton, a senior, will have season-ending shoulder surgery and attempt to appeal for an extra year from the NCAA. ... Penn State linebacker Sean Lee, just off an ACL tear that cost him all of 2008, may not play against Iowa thanks to a sprained knee. ... On the other side, three of Hawkeyes' best offensive players, Tony Moeaki, Bryan Bulaga and Derrell Johnson-Koulianos weren't listed on Iowa's initial depth chart for the week, but could be ready to play by the weekend. ... Kansas running back Jake Sharp is a game-time decision to play against Southern Miss. ... Already down three starters, Oklahoma State may be without two of its best players, Dez Bryant and Perrish Cox, against Grambling. ... Julio Jones and Roy Upchurch returned to Alabama practice Monday after sitting out against North Texas. ... And he's not hurt, but Oklahoma linebacker Mike Balogun apparently won't see the field again despite a tangled web of legal challenges to salvage his eligibility.
• Would you like a side of awkward recognition with that? I hope for your sake that this is only hypothetical, but imagine for a moment that you're a regular among the Wildcat fans at the Tucson Buffalo Wild Wings. For four years, you gathered amid various forms of improbable-sounding wings on fall Saturdays to watch Willie Tuitama slowly accumulate almost every career passing record at Arizona. Now you can give your gridiron hero your order:
Tuitama went home to Stockton, Calif., for the summer. He returned to Tucson to take four fall semester classes and even got a job at Buffalo Wild Wings on Irvington Road near I-19.
"It's weird," Tuitama said of the transition from BMOC to an employee at BW3. "You have so much time on your hands when you're used to having such a strict schedule. When you go to not having to do that, at first you get lazy — because it's so easy to."
NFL teams backed off for the usual reasons -- Tuitama was labeled a "system quarterback" in the Wildcats' Texas Tech-influenced spread, and he had the dreaded "character issues" after two DUI arrests, one just a few weeks before April's draft -- but he's still waiting on a call. You know where to find him.
Quickly ... The AP profiles America's worst college football team, an NAIA outfit in Texas just off a 40-year hiatus and outscored 287-12 through the first four games of a brutal schedule. ... A pair of NBA stars joined their alma mater's on-field celebration Saturday in Seattle. ... Doug Marrone awards the game ball from Syracuse's win over Northwestern to 'Cuse fans, who somehow are synonymous with the Chamber of Commerce. ... And how much has Rich Rodriguez's life changed over the last month? When you're 3-0, you can afford to crack jokes about your ongoing legal issues.