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News 5/6 - Virginia's starting QB is ... ?
The latest news stories and info from the Associated Press
Heisman winner Winston accused of taking crab legs
Greyson Lambert is officially Virginia's starting quarterback.
The redshirt sophomore is listed at No. 1 on the post-spring depth chart coach Mike London released Monday. Incumbent David Watford and sophomore Matt Johns are listed as battling for the backup role.
The anointing of Lambert does not come as a surprise. He was voted as one of four captains by his teammates during the spring and appointed by London to the 13-member player leadership council. He also got the bulk of the work in the Cavaliers' spring game.
The depth chart does have surprises.
Senior Miles Gooch, with just three career receptions, is listed as the starter at the `Z' wide receiver position, ahead of fellow senior Darius Jennings.
Jennings leads the returning Cavaliers with 106 career receptions.
Heisman winner Winston accused of taking crab legs
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston was issued a civil citation after sheriff's deputies said he walked out of a supermarket without paying for $32 worth of crab legs and crawfish.
The 20-year-old Florida State quarterback said he forgot to pay for the food. The offense was relatively minor but drew attention both because of his stature and because it was his latest brush with the law. Winston had been the subject of a much more serious, monthslong investigation into allegations that he had sexually assaulted a woman in December 2013. A prosecutor declined to charge him, citing a lack of evidence and gaps in the accuser's story.
Leon County Sheriff's Maj. Michael Wood said Wednesday that Publix employees called deputies, who went to Winston's apartment about three hours later. Winston was cooperative and told the deputies he forgot to pay for the food, but he did not contact the store or return there to pay for the items, Wood said.
''The facts are not in dispute,'' Wood said. ''He left without paying.''
Winston issued a statement through his lawyer saying he had intended to pay, ''but made a terrible mistake for which I'm taking full responsibility. In a moment of youthful ignorance, I walked out of the store without paying for one of my items.
''I realize that I am in the public spotlight and my conduct needs to be above reproach.''
The 6-foot-4, 235-pound Winston led Florida State to an undefeated season and national football championship. For the season, he passed for more than 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns, completing nearly 67 percent of his throws.
Florida State baseball coach Mike Martin suspended Winston, a relief pitcher, indefinitely until he completes community service. Football coach Jimbo Fisher said in a statement that he supports Martin's decision.
Although Winston was cleared in the sexual assault case, the university is facing a federal investigation into how it handled the woman's accusations.
The investigation lagged for months after Tallahassee Police Department officials said they were told the accuser wanted to drop the case, but the woman's lawyer denied that. The accuser's lawyers have said the police department botched the investigation because detectives didn't quickly identify possible witnesses or obtain surveillance tape from the bar where the victim says she was first approached by Florida State football players.
Winston also has had two other run-ins with police, though he was not charged in either case.
In November 2012, police were called to an apartment complex in which 13 windows had been damaged by BB guns. Winston and his roommate at the time said Florida State players were engaged in a series of ''battles'' with each other, although they denied shooting BB guns themselves.
In another incident, police records show Winston came into a Burger King with three men but did not order food, instead asking for a water cup he repeatedly filled with soda over an employee's objections. The report says Winston was never interviewed about the incident because the restaurant declined to prosecute.
BYU to face AAC in first Beach Bowl
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Brigham Young has agreed to play a team from the American Athletic Conference in the inaugural Miami Beach Bowl in December.
Bowl officials and BYU Athletic Director Tom Holmoe announced Tuesday the Cougars will play at Marlins Park the week before Christmas, assuming they are eligible and not playing a football playoff or other bowl game on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day.
An exact date is pending for the bowl created and owned by the AAC.
BYU plays three other AAC teams in 2014 - hosting Houston on Sept. 11, while playing at UConn Aug. 29 and UCF Oct. 9.
The last time the Cougars played a bowl game in Florida they lost to Ohio State in the 1985 Citrus Bowl in Orlando, 10-7.
Michigan State D ready for an encore
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - It was fitting that the Michigan State spring game began with an interception on the first play from scrimmage.
Yes, the Spartans have lost a few big names off their sensational defense from a season ago, but coach Mark Dantonio isn't planning on a major drop-off.
''We'll come up with turnovers and we'll compete,'' Dantonio said. ''Our defensive staff will have the guys ready to compete. We'll run at the ball. We'll play hard.''
Michigan State won the Rose Bowl last season behind one of the best defenses in the country, but the Spartans must now move on without linebackers Max Bullough and Denicos Allen and defensive backs Darqueze Dennard and Isaiah Lewis.
Defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi is back, and it will be up to him to build around lineman Shilique Calhoun and safety Kurtis Drummond.
''Our defensive goals are just executing, making no mental mistakes, flying around, and making plays,'' Drummond said. ''We look at each day as another day to get better. We are not exactly where we want to be as a complete team, so we use every day as a chance to get better. We just need to know what we're doing.''
Michigan State finished second in the nation in total defense and against the run in 2013.
For a while, the Spartans were winning in spite of an offense that struggled to find its footing, but by the end of the season, they were able to move the ball more consistently, and the result was a team that finished ranked No. 3 in the AP poll after beating Stanford in the Rose Bowl.
The Spartans may not have to lean on their defense quite as much this year. Quarterback Connor Cook returns, and so does Jeremy Langford, who rushed for 1,422 yards last season.
''I think now when you look at our football team, our offense is measuring up. The defense is measuring up as well,'' Dantonio said. ''Maybe the defense isn't as dominant right now, but maybe that's because the offense is a better offense.''
Calhoun returns at defensive end after leading the team with 7 1/2 sacks. Marcus Rush, another defensive end, had five sacks and is also back.
''We've got a lot of guys. We've got (Lawrence Thomas) who can play. He's very versatile, so he knows multiple positions, but he's very strong at defensive end and so is Demetrius Cooper,'' Calhoun said.
''Marcus Rush ... it just shows that we've got guys on this team who can play. We have a lot of depth at the defensive end position.''
The secondary, meanwhile, may have been the strongest part of the Michigan State defense at the end of last season.
The Spartans will miss Dennard and Lewis, but cornerback Jermaine Edmondson had the interception at the start of the spring game, and Drummond gives Michigan State plenty of experience.
''We just need to know what we're doing,'' Drummond said. ''We've got a lot of guys who can make plays, who can make plays consecutively. Guys in the spring are just trying to learn more, to take steps forward, and be consistent in tackling.''
The Spartans may not need their defense to be as dominant this season, but good luck convincing Calhoun, Drummond and the rest of this group that expectations have dipped.
''We've got a lot of great competitors on offense and a lot of great competitors on defense. It's time for them to show their stuff,'' Calhoun said. ''We've got high flyers, people who can come downhill and fill the gap and I would finally say it's at a point where offense is clicking early and so is our defense. It's going to be nice to see how the season starts out for us.''
SEC sticks with eight-game slate
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - The Southeastern Conference has decided to stick with its current football scheduling format of eight league games and a permanent non-division rival.
The conference's presidents and chancellors approved the so-called 6-1-1 format Sunday at a special meeting in Atlanta. SEC teams will continue to play each of their six division rivals, plus one permanent crossover rivalry game and another non-divisional opponent that will rotate.
The one change to format will affect nonconference scheduling. Starting in 2016, all SEC teams will be required to play at least one game against a team from one of the other Big 5 conferences - the Atlantic Coast Conference, Big Ten, Pac-12 and Big 12. But even that rule shouldn't change much. SEC schools routinely play at least one team from those conferences per season.
This season Mississippi, Mississippi State, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt do not play nonconference games against another Big 5 school. Only Arkansas, Texas A&M and Kentucky did not play a Big 5 nonconference game last year. The Wildcats' main in-state rival, Louisville, joins the ACC this season.
The SEC had been considering adding a ninth conference game and doing away with permanent inter-division opponents such as Alabama-Tennessee and LSU-Florida.
''Critical to maintaining this format is the nonconference opponent factor which gives us the added strength-of-schedule we were seeking while allowing continued scheduling flexibility for institutional preferences, and acknowledges that many of our institutions already play these opponents,'' Commissioner Mike Slive said in a statement.
''The concept of strength-of-schedule is based on an entire 12-game schedule, a combination of both conference games together with nonconference games. Given the strength of our conference schedule supplemented by at least one major nonconference game, our teams will boast of a strong resume of opponents each and every year.''
Alabama coach Nick Saban was one of the few vocal proponents of moving to a nine-game conference schedule, the way the Pac-12 and Big 12 have and the Big Ten is going to. Otherwise there was little support from athletic directors for adding another conference game.
The permanent crossover rivalries have also been a point of consternation for some in the conference. LSU has been the most vocal opponent. The Tigers have Florida as their permanent rival. Their West Division rival, Alabama, has Tennessee, which has been down for much of the last decade. Still, the storied rivalry is highly valued by each school.
''The announcement from our conference office regarding future football scheduling assures that the Tennessee-Alabama game, one of college football's most historic rivalries, will continue on an annual basis moving forward,'' Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart said in a statement. ''Chancellor Cheek and I have strongly and consistently advocated that this rivalry be preserved regardless of any other outcomes resulting from conversations about football scheduling.''
Punt Bama Punt star David Langner dies
AUBURN, Ala. (AP) - Former Auburn football player David Langner, who starred in one of the most memorable games in Iron Bowl history, has died. He was 62.
Auburn teammate Mac Lorendo said Langner died early Saturday morning after battling cancer.
Bill Newton blocked two punts in the final minutes of the 1972 game with previously unbeaten Alabama, and Langner returned both for touchdowns.
The Tigers won 17-16 in what became known as the ''Punt Bama Punt'' game.
''David Langner was one of Auburn's greats who will be remembered by generations to come,'' Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs said. ''He was a fierce competitor who fought cancer as hard as he fought any opponent he faced.''
Langner had retired from the car business in Tuscaloosa last November. He told The Associated Press in late 2013 that people still brought up the game daily and ''it's just been part of my life since that day.''
''He was very grateful of the fact that he had been in the right place at the right time, that he had something about him that people would remember forever,'' Lorendo said.
Langner, an All-Southeastern Conference defensive back, also preserved the victory over Alabama with an interception.
The 1972 Auburn team dubbed ''The Amazins'' went 10-1 and finished the season ranked fifth in the AP poll.
Langner had blocked three punts on Auburn's freshman team in 1970 and returned one for a touchdown. He is still Auburn's career record holder with 287 interception return yards, including 108 yards in a 1971 game with UT-Chattanooga.
His 12 career interceptions is tied for fifth in Auburn history.
Lorendo's father, Gene, recruited Langner when he was Auburn's offensive coordinator partly because he was so competitive, if undersized.
''David backed down from nothing and no one,'' Mac Lorendo said. ''That was one of the reasons my Dad recruited him.''
Duke QB transferring to Fresno State
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) - Former Duke quarterback Brandon Connette is transferring to Fresno State and will be eligible to play this upcoming season.
Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter said Friday that Connette has signed a scholarship agreement. Connette graduated with a degree in economics from Duke last December, making him eligible to transfer without having to sit out a season.
DeRuyter said Connette will compete to replace the departed Derek Carr as the starting quarterback on the Bulldogs. Brian Burrell, Myles Carr and Zack Greenlee took most of the work with the first team in spring ball.
Connette played in 39 career games at Duke, drawing four starts. He completed 106 of 182 passes for 1,410 yards with 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He also ran for 31 scores at Duke.
Iowa's offense looking to match strong defense
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's defense was back among the nation's elite last season.
The Hawkeyes' offense failed to follow suit.
Getting both units to play at an equally high level will likely be crucial to Iowa's hopes of competing for a Big Ten West title.
The Hawkeyes, who wrap up spring practice Saturday with a scrimmage at Kinnick Stadium, will be among the league favorites because they have a lot of returning starters and what appears to be a manageable schedule.
But Iowa will need to score more than the 26.3 points it averaged a year ago to aid a defense coming off one of the better seasons in school history.
Quarterback Jake Rudock believes the unit's continuity will be a big plus next season.
''We've all gotten more comfortable with (the offense),'' Rudock said. ''Now there are really no excuses when we make mental mistakes. We should know better.''
Iowa's defense still has major holes to fill at linebacker and some open spots in the secondary.
But for the most part, the Hawkeyes appear to be in good shape with spring ball set to close.
Senior Quinton Alston has solidified his hold on middle linebacker, according to defensive coordinator Phil Parker. The lone open spot along the defensive line has apparently come down to ends Mike Hardy and Nate Meier, and returning starter John Lowdermilk has been working to hold off fellow senior Nico Law at strong safety.
Those position battles, along with Jordan Lomax's transition to free safety, will likely carry over to practice in August.
But it appears as though Alston has proven he's ready to anchor a linebacker corps down three starters from last season.
''He's done a great job up to this point of being the leader and he's kind of the guy that takes control of the huddle,'' Parker said.
Though the numbers weren't great, Iowa's offense also improved greatly from a disastrous 2012 - when it ranked among the nation's worst in a number of categories. Iowa has a chance to moving forward again in 2014, provided it can keep Rudock upright.
Rudock, who missed time late in the season with knee issues, has looked like his old spry self during spring practice, offensive coordinator Greg Davis said Wednesday. Davis acknowledged concerns about the offensive line's depth after losing seniors Brett Van Sloten and Conor Boffeli, but he's also been impressed by Rudock's progress in his first spring as the clear starter.
Though backup C.J. Beathard has gotten plenty of work this spring, he hasn't done enough to threaten Rudock's job.
''Jake is an extremely bright guy, he's gifted. He's healthy again. He's running around, making plays,'' Davis said. ''He has a great understanding of everything that's going on. Nothing rattles him. He handles himself like a quarterback. And he could make all the throws. He's just got more experience.''
Though Iowa has plenty of experience at wide receiver, the unit lacked explosiveness a year ago. A handful of young wideouts could help the Hawkeyes stretch defenses more than they did in 2013.
Redshirt freshman Derrick Willies has emerged in spring practice as a likely candidate for significant snaps next season. Davis also pointed to unheralded sophomore Matt VandeBerg as a receiver who has opened eyes this month.
''Willies has really had a good spring. He's getting more confidence,'' Davis said. ''Matt is a guy that can play more than one spot. When you're playing with tempo, and for the receivers to play in the run and the pass game, the way you want, you have to rotate some players in there.''
The Hawkeyes, however, did lose a promising young player in the passing game. Coach Kirk Ferentz announced Wednesday that redshirt freshman tight end Jon Wisnieski injured his knee in practice last week and could be out for all of 2014.