UAB AD says 2017 a more ideal target for football revival

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Nothing is certain at this point, but it sounds as though the return of UAB’s recently revived football program will have to wait until 2017. That target return date appears to be the most ideal timeline for UAB Athletics Director Mark Ingram.

It’s more ideal if we tried to do it in (2017), so we didn’t do it so rushed,” Ingram said, per Al.com. “Let’s do it right rather than fast so that we keep all these things at the forefront – the safety (of players) and the respect of our peers. But if we found out through various channels that playing in (2016) was our only option, that’s what we’ll do.”

Ingram is absolutely right when suggesting the school should take as much time as needed to make sure all the pieces are in place for bringing the football program back in good form. If that means staying away for an extra year rather than rush to get back on the field in 2016 (we already knew 2015 would be impossible), then so be it. It may not be what fans will want to hear, but if it means better long-term security as a football program then it will be something the Blazer faithful —  and they have been plenty faithful in the past eight months — will have to accept.

Of course, shutting the program for one year when it may not have been necessary in the first place is a big pill to swallow. What about two years of a needless shutdown?

UAB could apply for a waiver to sign a recruiting class (or two?) that exceeds the NCAA limit of 25 scholarships per year. Another option would be to bring in 25 junior college transfers as early enrollees followed immediately by a regular signing class. Applying for extra years of eligibility for players remaining on campus is also another option the school should pursue. Ingram knows that could cause for some tension with UAB’s Conference USA rivals, but it is a short-term issue that will have to be dealt with one way or the other.

“If we tried to sign 50 players in the upcoming signing class, that’s going to give heartburn to our peers in the league,” Ingram said. “Whether it should or it shouldn’t, the reality is it does and we respect that. They’ve been very generous to us and supportive of us as wanting us to stay in the league, so we want to do all this respectfully to them, too.”

Conference USA did the right thing in stating it will not remove UAB from the conference since football will, eventually, be returning to the conference. And with Bill Clark keeping close with the program, I’ll echo the sentiment shared by John the other day by suggesting the Blazers should be in good hands as it starts putting everything back together after having it put on life support.

WVU RB Donaldson in concussion protocol, out for Baylor game

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) West Virginia running back CJ Donaldson is in concussion protocol and will miss next week’s home game with Baylor after he was injured in a loss to Texas, coach Neal Brown said Tuesday.

Donaldson remained on the ground after he was tackled on a short gain in the third quarter of Saturday’s 38-20 loss to the Longhorns. His helmet and shoulder pads were removed and he was carted off the field on a stretcher. After the game he was cleared to travel home with the team.

“He’s recovering,” Brown said. “There is a strict return-to-play (policy) that we have to follow here and I’m zero involved in it. All I do is ask the question. They don’t even start the return-to-play until they’re symptom free.”

Donaldson, a 240-pound freshman, leads the Mountaineers with 389 rushing yards and six touchdowns, with an average of 6.9 yards per carry.

West Virginia (2-3, 0-2 Big 12 Conference) is idle this week and hosts Baylor (3-2, 1-1) next Thursday, Oct. 13.

Taulia Tagovailoa says he visited brother, Tua, over weekend

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa was able to visit his brother, Tua, last weekend after the Terrapins’ game against Michigan State, he said Tuesday in his first comments to reporters since Tua left the Miami Dolphins’ game against Cincinnati last Thursday with a frightening head injury.

Taulia played in Maryland’s win over Michigan State on Saturday but was not made available to the media afterward. He said Tuesday he was able to go to Florida and spend some time with his brother, who suffered a concussion four days after taking a hit in another game but was cleared to return.

“He’s doing good, everything’s fine,” he said. “My biggest thing was just seeing him and spending as much time as I can with him. I came back Sunday night.”

Tagovailoa said he appreciates the support for his brother.

“My brother’s my heart. He’s someone I look up to, someone I talk to every day,” he said. “It was just a hard scene for me to see that.”

Tagovailoa said he was in constant contact with his mother about his brother’s situation, and he was finally able to talk to Tua on Friday night.

“I really just wanted to go there and just spend time with my family, hug them and stuff like that,” Taulia Tagovailoa said. “But he told me he’s a big fan of us, and he’d rather watch me play on Saturday. … After that phone call, I was happy and getting back to my normal routine.”

Tagovailoa indicated that his brother’s injury didn’t make him too nervous about his own health when he took the field again.

“I guess when that happens to someone like my brother, or when anything happens to one of my family members, I don’t really think of how it will be able to affect me,” he said. “I just think of: `Is he OK? How’s he doing?”‘

Although it was a short visit to Florida, he said he and Tua made the most of their chance to be together.

“I just wanted to make sure he’s healthy and stuff, which he is,” Taulia Tagovailoa said.