Ex-Michigan LB sorry for threats at Harbaugh

Ex-Michigan LB sorry for threats at Harbaugh

Former Michigan linebacker Elysee Mbem-Bosse apologized Sunday in a statement posted online for a string of threatening Twitter messages directed at coach Jim Harbaugh.

Mbem-Bosse said he felt that he was kicked off the Wolverines without reason and that his rights were violated by university police.

Mbem-Bosse said he takes full responsibility for a series of messages posted last Monday that referenced Michigan’s open carry law for firearms and made other vague references to violence, such as “calling the morgue.”

Mbem-Bosse also tagged Harbaugh’s Twitter handle in the same thread. Police were notified about the messages Monday night and opened an investigation. A spokeswoman for the university’s police department said Sunday that officers “actively continue to assess and evaluate the situation,” but they did not a believe a crime had been committed.

The sophomore linebacker from Georgia said the past several months have been “very hard on me mentally, physically and emotionally.”

Michigan confirmed that Mbem-Bosse has not been a part of the football program since the middle of November. He briefly left school around that time to deal with a family emergency. Mbem-Bosse said Sunday that he was given no explanation for why he was kicked off the team. He said multiple people at the university did not return his phone calls when he tried to figure out his standing with the program and how to make a return.

Harbaugh told the Detroit News last week that he considered the situation “a serious matter.” He declined to answer a question about whether he felt his safety was in doubt because of the messages.

“I’m confident our administration and university officials will take the proper steps and are taking the proper steps,” he told the Detroit News.

Athletic director Warde Manuel told reporters last week that he was concerned about the threats and also concerned about Mbem-Bosse “and where he is as a student.”

Mbem-Bosse also said he was “harassed by the university police” and was told he was mentally ill without a proper evaluation, which he claims is a violation of his civil rights. Police declined to confirm that they had spoken to Mbem-Bosse or provide any details about their interactions with him because it is against policy to speak about an ongoing investigation.

He ended his statement Sunday by saying, “at the end of the day, I want to play football.”

New coach Pruitt grades Vols' spring game 'D'

New coach Pruitt grades Vols' spring game 'D'

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Jeremy Pruitt, offering a brutally honest assessment of his first spring football game as Tennessee‘s head coach, didn’t hold back Saturday on some of his players or some of the fans.

Pruitt praised those players that he said did their best to compete, but lamented that others “flat-out quit.”

And while he said the Vol Walk prior to the game was “spectacular,” he wondered aloud why there weren’t more people in Neyland Stadium than the announced crowd of 65,000, which was a generous estimate.

“I don’t know how many fans we had. What was it? Anybody know the number?” Pruitt asked.

When told it was 65,000, he said, “To me, it’s kind of like our football team for the fans. The ones who were here, I’m proud they were here. They’re fired up. They’re ready to get going. Then there were some people who weren’t here that had legitimate reasons. They couldn’t be here. And then there were some people that (weren’t) here … why (weren’t) they here?

“It’s kind of like our football team. I think we all need to look in the mirror and see who we want to be.”

Pruitt earlier in the week had asked the fans to show up in force for the spring game and noted that it was going to “take everybody to get Tennessee football back to the way it’s supposed to be.”

Pruitt, taking over a Tennessee team that was 0-8 in the SEC for the first time in history last season, emphasized several times that he was looking for more competitors and that nobody on the team was entitled to anything.

“Some guys went out there and competed and tried to do it to the best of their ability, and then we had some guys … that ain’t what they did,” Pruitt said. “You can look at it all the way down — total yardage, third-down conversions. After 15 days, to me, with some of the guys, that’s very disappointing, but it’s probably a good indication of who they are. … It doesn’t say much for them.

“The good thing is that in a couple of weeks, we’ll have a bunch of guys who aren’t on the injury report anymore. We’ll have 14 new guys here and maybe more. Some of these guys who don’t want to do it and don’t want to do it right all the time, then they’re just going to be watching. There’s nothing any better than peer pressure. It’s easy to stand out there with your chest stuck out and pretend you’re somebody that you’re not. It’s easy to do, but the film don’t lie.”

Pruitt did not make any players available to the media after the game.

The Orange team (consisting of the first-team offense and second-team defense) defeated the White team (consisting of the first-team defense and second-team offense) 34-7 with quarterback Jarrett Guarantano passing for 226 yards and two touchdowns. Gaurantano was named the MVP of the game by the media, but Pruitt made it clear that the Vols’ quarterback situation is a long way from being settled, especially with Stanford transfer Keller Chryst arriving this summer.

“We’ll know who our quarterback is probably when we go to Charlotte (in the season opener against West Virginia) about halfway through the fourth quarter,” Pruitt said.

Overall, Pruitt said he would give his team a grade of D in terms of having a grasp of the new offensive and defensive schemes.

“We’d be about a D, which is not their fault,” Pruitt said. “There are lots of things we’re coaching. Not only are we installing an offense and a defense, but we’re teaching them how to practice, teaching them how to compete, teaching them how to lift (weights). I could fill up a wall with things we’re teaching them here. There’s lots of things to learn. I think our guys have learned enough this spring that they will do a good job this summer when the other guys get in here.”

UCF unveils 2017 national champions banner

UCF unveils 2017 national champions banner

ORLANDO, Fla. — UCF unveiled a 2017 national champions sign before its spring game on Saturday, keeping a promise athletic director Danny White made after the Knights finished last season undefeated.

A few minutes before kickoff, the video board played season highlights, then another video with clips from UCF’s 34-27 win over Auburn in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl to cap a 13-0 season. Then a black tarp covering the sign was uncovered at Spectrum Stadium to cheers from the crowd.

White made national headlines after UCF’s win because he decided to declare the Knights national champions, as the only undefeated team in FBS football. He promised parades and banners, and both have now happened.

UCF got a parade at Walt Disney World in January and a street party in Downtown Orlando to celebrate, and national championship T-shirts were quickly printed up. National champion signage covers the fences around the UCF practice field as well. All that was left was placing the sign inside the stadium.

UCF fans in Central Florida embraced White’s bold move, while others across the country questioned why he’d claim a mythical national championship when Alabama had won it on the field. The Crimson Tide beat Georgia 26-23 in the College Football Playoff National Championship game a week after UCF beat Auburn, earning the trophy and banner that comes with it.

White explained in January: “We’re trying to build our program, and we feel very strongly as the only undefeated team and having beat Auburn, who beat both teams competing for the national championship, that we have an extremely sound case to claim the crown.”

Saban 'not disappointed' by Hurts' spring game

Saban 'not disappointed' by Hurts' spring game

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama coach Nick Saban said he wasn’t disappointed by the performance of quarterback Jalen Hurts, who threw for 195 yards, no touchdowns and one interception during the Crimson Tide‘s spring game on Saturday.

Tua Tagovailoa, who is competing with Hurts for the starting job, dressed out for the game but never made an appearance. He broke his finger during the first practice of the spring and further aggravated the injury a week ago.

Hurts, who led the first-team offense, was inconsistent for much of the game, completing 19 of 37 passes.

“I was not disappointed in the way Jalen played,” Saban said. “I think we have some guys that can rush a little bit … and there was way too much pressure on the pocket for the quarterback to operate like we like.”

The first-team offensive line, which was charged with protecting Hurts, struggled mightily during the game, surrendering seven sacks and three QB hurries. There were at least three dropped passes as well. But Hurts did struggle with his accuracy, overthrowing receivers.

“He has a good understanding of the offense,” Saban said of Hurts, “and I think his ability to make decisions and trust the pocket are things we want him to work on.”

Saban has been in no rush to name a starter, telling reporters that there is no timeline to decide between Hurts and Tagovailoa.

Tagovailoa never started a game as a true freshman last season, serving as Hurts’ primary backup until the second half of the national championship when Hurts was benched. Tagovailoa then came on and led the come-from-behind win with three passing touchdowns, including the game winner in overtime.

Hurts is 26-2 as a starter. The Houston native won SEC Offensive Player of the Year as a true freshman in 2016 and followed that up with 17 passing touchdowns and just one interception as a sophomore last season. He also rushed for eight touchdowns.

In an article published by Bleacher Report last Thursday, Hurts’ father insinuated that his son would transfer if he didn’t win the starting job. If he were to leave Alabama, Hurts’ father said his son would become the biggest free agent in college football history.

Saban addressed the comments from Hurts’ father prior to A-Day, insisting that the two have a good relationship and are on the same page in terms of the competition. But, Saban acknowledged, “At the end the day everybody has career decisions that they’ll have to make.”

With Tagovailoa sidelined and Hurts struggling, a third quarterback shined brightest during A-Day. Mac Jones, the unheralded backup from Jacksonville, Florida, won a share of the spring game MVP honors by completing 23 of 35 passes for 289 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

Alabama opens the season against Louisville on Sept. 1.

Tagovailoa's brother, also QB, commits to Tide

Tagovailoa's brother, also QB, commits to Tide

Taulia Tagovailoa, the younger brother of Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, committed to the Crimson Tide on Saturday.

The Class of 2019 quarterback, a three-star prospect, is originally from Hawaii. He and his family moved to Alabaster, Alabama, and began playing at Thompson High School shortly after Tua enrolled at Alabama last year.

Tua served as Jalen Hurts‘ backup as a true freshman last season until Hurts was benched during halftime of the national championship game. Tua came on and helped orchestrate the come-from-behind victory with three passing touchdowns, including the game-winner in overtime.

Tua and Hurts have been battling for the starting position this spring.

Taulia held offers from Florida, Ole Miss, Michigan and Tennessee, among others.

“I want to be my own person and do my own thing,” Taulia told ESPN’s Tom VanHaaren before his commitment. “I’ve always seen my brother as the best quarterback, the best runner. So every time I do things, I try to compete with him and try to do better than him.

“When I talk to coaches, I tell them I want to be my own person, and I just try to control what I can control and show it on the field.”

NC State trustees approve new Doeren deal

NC State trustees approve new Doeren deal

The NC State Board of Trustees on Thursday approved a new five-year deal for football coach Dave Doeren, who agreed to the deal with the Wolfpack in November after being courted by Tennessee for its coaching vacancy.

The deal, which runs through the 2022 season, is worth $3 million a year — an increase of $800,000 from the previous deal, which still had three years remaining. Doeren can also earn $1.35 million in incentives.

NC State went 9-4 last season, and Doeren is 34-30 in his five seasons with the Wolfpack.

“We are on an exciting upward trajectory in football under the leadership of Coach Doeren,” NC State AD Debbie Yow said in a statement on Friday. “He has assembled a terrifically talented coaching staff, as well, and that continuity and stability has been important to our current student athletes and recruits. We are pleased that Dave will continue to lead NC State football, playing in one of the most challenging divisions in college football, the Atlantic Division of the ACC.”