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Conference USA News Blog

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Sep 2, 2008


The latest news, nuggets and information from Conference USA.

Conference USA News Blog

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By Greg Vacek

UCF

George O'Leary said he hopes to settle on his depth chart for UCF's season opener against South Carolina State by Wednesday or Thursday.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Nate Tice has decided to transfer from the UCF program in order to find an opportunity where he will receive more playing time. 

Senior LB Cory Hogue will likely be sidelined for a few weeks with a leg injury.  Sophomore DE Darius Nall is expected to join the team on Aug. 22. He is recovering from surgery to remove a growth in his chest.

The Knights will have a decal on their helmets this season honoring teammate Ereck Plancher, who died March 18th, collapsing after a workout in preparation for the opening of the Knights' spring practice.  The autopsy revealed Plancher had a sickle-cell trait, a medical condition that could cause death under when exposed to physical stress.

EAST CAROLINA

The plan for Saturday’s scrimmage was to start filling out ECU’s depth chart. "The biggest competition going on right now is between the seconds and thirds, who's going to make up the list," said fourth year head coach Skip Holtz, "With as many players as we have with returning experience, a lot of those positions are kind of set."  “Today really wasn’t about where we stood as an offense, today was about trying to fit the pieces of the puzzle around those guys that are already cemented in as starters.”

Holtz said his team’s biggest concern at this point in the season is the kicking game.  Matt Dodge, Ben Ryan and Nathan Przestrzelski are sharing the place-kicking duties for the Pirates because kicker Ben Hartman is nursing an injury.

Season tickets are close to sellout, according to sources less than 500 tickets remain.

MARSHALL

John McCain spent about 20 minutes with the Marshall University football team Wednesday and he received a Marshall jersey with a number 1 on it, got a chance to call a few plays with the team, and spoke to the players about his time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

The Herd defense will be going through numerous changes this season with new defensive coordinator Rick Minter.  "We're throwing a lot of stuff on the wall right now and we're going to figure out what sticks, and that's what we'll go with. But we're very diversified on defense” Coach Snyder commenting on new coordinator Rick Minter’s defense.

Senior DT Montel Glasco is expected to be sidelined at least three games after tearing a rotator cuff while lifting weights. Junior CB Zearrick Matthews will miss the first two games with a broken bone in his foot.

MEMPHIS

After the first week of fall camp, Memphis coach Tommy West said Saturday he was relatively pleased. "We've gotten a lot done in a week,'' West said. ''For what we've asked out of them so far, it's been good.”  West should know more about his team after evaluating Monday’s scrimmage.

Two key members of the football team -- running back T.J. Pitts (ankle) and linebacker Josh Weaver (shoulder) -- continue to rehabilitate from offseason surgeries.

AD R.C. Johnson announced Friday that $1.5 million -- or about half the cost -- has been raised toward the construction of a 12,000 square-foot weight room for the football team. The project, which will be privately funded, will be part of a $10 million fund-raising campaign that will include a covered indoor practice field.

SOUTHERN MISS

First-year coach Larry Fedora was disappointed in speed during 1st scrimmage Saturday.   Quickness that is required for his fast-paced spread offense.  "It's a mental deal. We were very slow," Fedora said after the closed scrimmage, “We wanted to find out where we were, we did that.”

Southern Miss is expected to pass the school record for season football tickets this week with about 10,500 sold as of Friday.

UAB

In UAB’s first scrimmage the Blazers ran the ball with success.  "I think the first offense did a good job against the second defense, scored a lot of points and had a lot of big plays," said UAB coach Neil Callaway. "I'm not really sure how many points the second offense scored but the first defense has got to play better. For the second offense to be that effective against our first defense, that's not good."

Senior receiver Sylvester Mencer had surgery on his left shoulder and could be out the entire season.  Mencer who appeared in 11 games in 2007 could medical redshirt 2008.

By Bryan Finck

Tulsa – Running back Tarrion Adams was recently named to the watch list for the Doak Walker Award, which is given every year to the most outstanding running back in the country.  Adams joins such BCS-league stars as Chris Wells from Ohio State and Georgia’s Knowshon Moreno.

Adams saw plenty of action this week but went down with a right leg injury in the third quarter and did not play for the rest of the game.  No word on the severity of the injury as of yet.  Tulsa also had starting Free Safety Charles Davis leave the game in the first quarter with an unspecified injury.  He did not return to the game.

Houston – During this week’s victory over Southern, Cougars’ starting OL Mike Bloesch hyperextended his knee and left the game.  Afterwards, Bloesch said his knee felt fine and he anticipates being able to play against Oklahoma State this week. 

When SirVincent Rogers, talented OL for the Cougars, goes up against Oklahoma State, he can be forgiven for having some bad memories.  In 2006, Rogers tore all three major ligaments in his knee in a game against Oklahoma State.  That was his last football game until he suited up this past Saturday for the Cougars’ season opener against Southern University. 

Rice –Owls’ QB Chase Clement and WR Jarett Dillard now have a total of 35 touchdown connections in their careers, putting them 3 touchdowns short of tying the all time career record for touchdowns from a QB/WR combination. 

Jarett Dillard is on the verge of becoming the NCAA all-time leading touchdown receiver.  The current record-holder is Troy Davis, with 50 touchdowns.  Dillard now sits at 43 touchdowns for his career. 

SMU – Despite his true freshman quarterback’s four interceptions in the season opening loss, June Jones is sticking with his man going forward.  Jones believes the young QB will get better and says the rest of the team needs to get better around him. 

The Mustangs will be looking for their first win in more than a year on Saturday, against a team that represents their best chance for such an outcome.  Texas State comes into Dallas and the Mustang fans hope to celebrate for once against an opponent that June Jones hopes will be easier to stop than the Rice Owls proved to be this past Saturday.

Tulane – Tulane’s opening game against Alabama was never going to be easy, but weather has made it even more difficult than normal.  With New Orleans anticipating a possible direct hit from Hurricane Gustav, the football team has evacuated New Orleans, arriving in Birmingham at the campus of Samford University on Saturday afternoon.  The Green Wave will practice at Samford’s stadium and will use all of the school’s facilities to get ready to face the Crimson Tide on Saturday. 

UTEP – The Miners got an extra practice day thanks to their Thursday game against Buffalo, and they used it to work on the many problems that arose from the opener.  Said Mike Price, “We’ve got to learn from the mistakes, and there’s a lot to learn from…”.  The general feeling is that a lot has to change for the Miners to keep pace with the Longhorns coming up this weekend.

UTEP is hoping a trend in recent years plays out this year.  In 2000 and 2004, when the Miners lost their opening game of the season, the team went on to record 8-4 records in the end.