October 20, 2009
• Next, please. Aside from the consistently ridiculous stats, Mike Leach's offense has always been a quarterback's best friend in another way: Coming into the season, no QB in a Leach offense had ever missed a start due to injury, at Texas Tech or in his stints as offensive coordinator at Oklahoma and Kentucky in the late nineties. Suddenly, he's had two starting quarterbacks knocked out in less than a month, according to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal:
... [Q]uarterback Steven Sheffield will be out at least two to three weeks with a foot injury he suffered in Saturday’s 31-10 victory at Nebraska. Sheffield had a medical procedure performed Sunday on the foot he was limping around on at the end of the game.
He’s expected to miss home games the next two Saturdays, against Texas A&M and Kansas before Tech has an open date. The earliest he’s likely to return is for a Nov. 14 road game at Oklahoma State.
Sheffield had two outstanding games, a merciless shredding of Kansas State in his first start and an efficient, turnover-free effort in the win in Lincoln since taking over for concussed Taylor Potts against New Mexico. Sheffield's exit opens the door for Potts' return in the inevitable 100-point barrage against A&M, if cleared by doctors; if not, third-stringer Seth Doege will come on to throw for a mere 350 and five touchdowns.
Nebraska came out of the game mulling its future at quarterback, too, but not because of injury: When asked Monday if he'd consider benching starter Zac Lee for true freshman Cody Green after Lee's accurate (16 of 22, no interceptions) but very pedestrian (128 yards, no touchdowns) effort against the Raiders, Husker coach Bo Pelini said, "Yeah, absolutely." The decision between Lee or Green is likely a game-time call.
• I've got two words for you, kid: "Fifth year." Sam Bradford definitely will not play in Oklahoma's game at Kansas this Saturday, and won't even decide on how to proceed with treatment on his re-injured shoulder until the end of the week. That doesn't bode well for his eventual return this year, and another extended absence doesn't bode well for his draft stock next spring:
"The negativity will build. It already has," said Todd McShay, an NFL Draft analyst for ESPN. "Since last season, there hasn’t been anything positive from him, and the concerns will grow as we get closer to the draft."
Depending on when — or if — Bradford has surgery, NFL teams might not get to see him work out before the draft. That would cause an almost-imminent fall down the draft boards. ... That might lead to a $10 million to $20 million pay cut.
"He'd go from Mark Sanchez money to Josh Freeman money, basically," said Daniel Mogollon, president of NFL Draft Bible, a Web site devoted to covering the draft.
The only way to avoid that kind of drop is to either a) Hustle back to finish this season and risk another injury; b) Undergo season-ending surgery that would allow him to begin throwing again just in time for the workout/combine rounds in early spring; or c) Take it slow and return healthy for a killer senior year. McShay recommends option c), which only carries one substantial risk: That the "real" Sam Bradford won't be able to match the heights of the 2007-08 editions without the exceptional protection and playmakers he enjoyed in his first two seasons. We should know something by Thursday.
• Tragedy, continued. Police made one arrest Monday in the weekend stabbing death of Connecticut cornerback Jasper Howard, but didn't charge that suspect with the murder, and in fact may have another suspect in their sights, according to his attorney:
Deron Freeman said that he represents a man who was questioned Sunday in connection with the killing of Jasper Howard. He declined to identify his client, but did say that he is one of four men UConn police view as "main suspects."
The man's family contacted Freeman on Sunday because "police were questioning him for quite some time," Freeman said. He contacted police, told them he represented the man and told them to stop questioning him.
He said he believes that his client will be arrested. UConn police said they "had evidence connecting my client to the stabbing," Freeman said. "They said they had an eyewitness."
Freeman, of course, says his client wasn't involved in the stabbing, and UConn police said there is no suspect. In the meantime, the team has announced plans to honor Howard, and the university Co-op can't keep No. 6 t-shirts in stock.
• When does Minnesota get here? Tony Pike or no Tony Pike, Cincinnati is relishing perhaps the first opportunity in the history of the program to assert its unquestioned supremacy by pretty much every possible metric over in-state overlord Ohio State, beginning with the "bUCkeye State" t-shirt design and a series of promos on Southern Ohio's Home of the Bearcats, 700 WLW The BIG ONE!
Etc. Yeah, there are 10 of those, and they were made before OSU's loss to Purdue. It's going to be a long week for the Buckeyes.
Quickly ... Alabama denied Tennessee's request to wear orange jerseys Saturday in Tuscaloosa. ... Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes is likely to play at Mississippi State after missing most of the Arkansas game with a groin injury. ... Utah safety Joe Dale, a senior starter, is out for the next three to four weeks with a knee injury. ... Florida State defensive tackle Budd Thacker will miss at least two games with a knee injury, according to his mother. ... USC fullback Stanley Havili is iffy to play against Oregon State. ... Officials almost cost gamblers money at the end of the Louisville-UConn game, when gamblers were the only people still paying attention. ... Angst over sketchy calls in the Arkansas-Florida game apparently aren't going to die any time soon. ... Your midseason leader in the Big 12 North? Kansas State. The Wildcats should host a panel with ACC Coastal leader Virginia. ... And a grainy picture of Ed Orgeron in a cherry-red helicopter is always worth a click.