Contributor to College Football Talk on NBCSports.com. Also a regular contributor to AthlonSports.com and host of the No 2-Minute Warning Podcast, heard on iHeart Radio, Stitcher and iTunes. FWAA and National Football Foundation member.
On Tuesday Ohio State had a few updates regarding the status of its defensive backfield. First, the bad news.
Sophomore safety Erick Smith will miss the remainder of the 2015 season due to a torn ACL injury. Smith was a backup safety, so this is a hit to the defensive depth of the Buckeyes. It is also a casualty for the special teams unit, as Smith had been a contributor on in various special teams assignments. Smith joins Cam Burrows on the list of Buckeyes lost for the season. Burrows suffered a season-ending foot injury last month.
Now the good news. Help is on the way.
Urban Meyer announced Tuesday sophomore cornerback Damon Webb has been reinstated from a team suspension. The details surrounding the suspension have not been shared, but his return to the team comes at a time when Ohio State needs some extra bodies to provide depth in the secondary. Webb has not been seen in action since Ohio State’s third game of the season.
“Damon is a guy who was playing well for us, a guy we have a lot of trust in and it’s a big plus as well as having him available for special teams,” Meyer said. Webb returned to the practice field Monday.
Ohio State takes on Minnesota in Columbus this Saturday night. Remember, the Buckeyes are also without J.T. Barrett at quarterback due to a one-game suspension.
Over this past summer Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh created a stir throughout the south with his satellite camp tour. Harbaugh had some fun with it by extending an open invitation to every football coach in the country to come and work at a football camp in Ann Arbor. Next March Harbaugh will be amping things up a bit with the help of his family.
Dubbed “The Greatest Coaching Clinic of All-Time” Michigan and Harbaugh will welcome John Harbaugh and the coaching staff of the Baltimore Ravens to Ann arbor for a coaching clinic. In addition to the Harbaugh brothers, the coaching clinic will also feature eight of the nation’s most successful high school coaches and two special guests yet to be named. Those attending the clinic will also be given a chance to observe a spring football practice for the Wolverines as well as a strength and conditioning demonstration.
That is a nice little sales pitch for the Michigan program, and Harbaugh should absolutely continue to use his brother to his advantage like this at every given opportunity. Anything that helps strengthen the Michigan brand alongside the NFL is a strong recruiting tool.
There seems to be an unwritten rule in sports that suggests stealing signs is a no-no. Generally, this topic is tends to be more common in the world of baseball but it has started to become a bit more of an issue in college football in recent years. Arizona State has become a target of accusations of sign-stealing and Washington State head coach Mike Leach thinks the Pac-12 should step in and investigate the situation.
“They probably ought to do an investigation on them,” Leach said this week. Washington State hosts Arizona State on Saturday. “You’ve got two-straight schools with a concern for it back-to-back. The conference probably ought to investigate it.”
Leach was referring to Arizona State’s two most recent opponents, Utah and Oregon. Utah center Siaosi Aiono said Arizona State had figured out Utah’s play signals the previous season, which led the Utes to working more out of the huddle in practices leading up to this season’s game, which Utah won at home. Utah went to the huddle for the majority of the fourth quarter in the win, which just so happens to be when Arizona State stopped being able to slow down the Utes. Last week, Oregon brought large sheets to help shield their calls from the sideline from wandering eyes of Arizona State. Ducks offensive coordinator Scott Frost said he had never come across a team as diligent in trying to steal signs as Arizona State was.
Here’s the thing. A coaching staff and players are entitled to do anything and everything they can within the rules to gain an edge in a game. There are no rules against stealing signs. If a team just so happens to be able to crack your codes, then that is on you to go to Plan B. If you don’t have a Plan B or Plan C lined up, that’s also on you.