October 16, 2008
• Blue on Blue violence. A few hours after the start of puck season, Michigan hockey player Steve Kampfer sustained serious neck and skull injuries in the wee hours Saturday night/Sunday morning, in what the school initially described only as an "off-ice incident." The diligent student journalists at the Michigan Daily, not resting on that vague explanation, did a little digging, connected a few dots and uncovered the nasty truth: Kampfer was "body-slammed" on the sidewalk by a walk-on Wolverine running back, Mike Milano, in an early morning altercation:
University Police Lieutenant Robert Neumann said the victim was picked up and “body-slammed” to the ground by a man, who was accompanied by two other men. Neumann said police have a suspect, whom he described as a 22-year-old male University student from Ohio.
The witness said two of the men walked past Kampfer and his friend, shoving them aside, and then the third picked up Kampfer and slammed him into the sidewalk. Kampfer’s friend yelled at the group, but the men continued walking south on Church Street, the witness said.
He said Kampfer wasn't moving and appeared to be unconscious after the attack.
Hogan dropping Andre the Giant at WrestleMania III, this was not. Kampfer is listed at 5'11" and 195 pounds, and Milano, who even most Michigan football fans on either side of the Rodriguez divide have never heard of, is a relatively small guy by D-I gridiron standards at 5'7", 196. He did wrestle his first two years in Ann Arbor, although it was the "onesie, headgear and holds" sort of wrestling, not "I'm going to distract the dumbest referee in the world so you can hammer this guy with a folding chair" rasslin'. Maybe Milano has a future in the latter, if he doesn't follow his suspension from the team with an assault charge: Kampfer, a fourth pick of the Anaheim Ducks, is probably out for the season.
• It's all good when you're 7-0, Joe. Joe Paterno doesn't have much time to deal with his lingering leg and/or hip injury during Penn State's surprising ascent in the polls, but he will have it taken care of at the end of the season. In the meantime, he's taken to sporting a cane in public for the first time:
JoePa's looking all of his 81 years these days, but as long as the Lions are undefeated, the man's still a genius -- even it's only for knowing when to stay out of his perma-staff's way.
• Even a little optimism would have been bad for us, anyway. If there was any hope at all left in Washington's flailing, coach-killing season after an 0-6 start, it was the potential return of quarterback Jake Locker, who is credibly the best player the Huskies could put on the field at something like 20 of 24 starting positions. Turns out even that slim ray of light is disappearing behind the clouds of misery:
The sophomore quarterback was listed as out six to eight weeks after suffering a broken thumb against Stanford on Sept. 27, but offensive coordinator Tim Lappano said Tuesday he thought it was "highly unlikely" that Locker will play again this season.
Lappano said in an interview last week on KJR-AM that the injury "is a lot worse than people realized."
This isn't an attempt to "save" Locker for another year -- he played in four games before his injury, one over the limit for a potential medical redshirt. The next time you see him on a field, it will probably be for a new head coach, who'll have two years to mold Locker into a credible passer who can keep the Huskies in shootouts before the natives get restless with him, too.
Quickly ... Mack Brown has a fan in ... Bill Cosby?And the Horns' four-receiver set was a big hit against Oklahoma. . . . West Virginia and LSU have agreed to a home and home in 2010 and 2011. . . . Phil Fulmer is a facing the coaching terminator in Sylvester Croom. . . . Florida's Chris Rainey expects to return with no ill effects from a separated shoulder. . . . Georgia's Kiante Tripp is moving back to tackle after a brief stint at tight end, and UGA linebacker Dannell Ellerbe is not likely to play against Vanderbilt. . . . And Nick Saban goes old, ooooold school on Ole Miss' "Wild Rebel" formation with the Birmingham News' Ian Rapoport. And, rumors of his demise notwithstanding, the Tide are still worried about Greg Hardy off the edge.