Friday Five: FSU’s E.J. Manuel Injures Ankle, Akron WR Transfers To Penn State, FCS Playoffs Expand, Jessica Dorrell Replaced and Idaho Seeking Independence
August 17, 2012
Here’s the start of what this Jockspin.com writer hopes will be an ongoing column each Friday on five happenings of interest within the realm of NCAA football that didn’t necessarily make frontpage headlines throughout the week.
Friday Five #1:
Florida State University fans lost much of their collective breathe – if only momentarily – this week, with head coach of the Seminoles, Jimbo Fisher, telling ESPN.com that starting quarterback E.J. Manuel injured his ankle during a closed practice Wednesday and was held out of the team’s first official scrimmage of fall camp on Thursday.
Fisher noted that another player rolled onto Manuel’s ankle Wednesday afternoon during two-minute drills, and though the senior was able to leave the field under his own power, team trainers and medical staff elected to place the passer in a protective walking boot in order to prevent swelling.
FSU’s head coach claims the ankle was not seriously injured, stating Manuel was “fine” and “he’d have played” if Wednesday’s scrimmage had been a game day situation.
Commented Fisher on the decision to hold Manuel out of Thursday’s scrimmage, “There was no sense to push [Manuel]. We got a chance to push some of these other quarterbacks. If we had a game, though, he’d have played. But the swelling, we wanted to get that out of it. He’ll be ready in two to three days.”
Meanwhile, playing in place of Manuel during Thursday’s scrimmage was backup quarterbak Clint Trickett, who apparently used the extra time leading the Seminoles’ first-team offense to solidify his hold on the No. 2 quarterback position ahead of redhsirt freshman Jacob Coker and true freshmen Jameis Winston and Sean Maguire.
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Friday Five #2:
In a strange reversal of the exodus from Penn State University ‘s football program of veteran players in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal, wide receiver for the the University of Akron Zips, Jared Fagnano, has announced he will be transferring to State College in order to play for the Nittany Lions.
A preferred walk-on at Akron, Fagnano asked to be released in early August after discovering he had not been invited to particpate in the Zips’ fall preseason camp.
Seeking to improve his position heading into his redshirt freshman season, Fagnano, according to Josh Moyer of ESPN.com, spoke with his parents and brother – Jake Fagnano, a safety for Penn State – about the possibility of a transfer, and, factoring in the nine players who have so far left the Nittany Lions as a result of sanctions handed down by the NCAA in connection with the Sandusky scandal, finally concluded looking for greener pastures at PSU was ultimately in his best interest
Comments Fagano on the subject, “With all those guys leaving [PSU], it opened up spots and gave me an opportunity. And I’ve just always wanted to play there.”
Unfortunately for Fagano, switching programs comes at a cost, with NCAA rules regarding transfer requiring the receiver to sit out a year before being declared eligible to play once again next season.
Still, all said and done, the 5-11, 182 pound pass catcher will enter 2013 with three years of playing time remaining.
Asked if he had any regrets about leaving his former program, Fagano stated no, but added, “I wouldn’t say it was an easy decision because I liked Akron, I fit up there.”
“But it was an easy decision in the sense I could play at Penn State and play with my brother,” Fagano concludes. “That’s always kind of been a dream for me, just to be on Penn State. I was real excited when I found out I had that opportunity.”
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Friday Five #3:
The Football Championship Subdivision announced Thursday of this week that in a move previously approved by the NCAA Division I Championship / Sport Management cabinet earlier this month, it will expand its current playoff format to include four additional teams, moving the total number of schools involved in post-season play in the FCS from 20 to 24.
In the new format, the top eight teams in the FCS rankings will be seeded, receive first-round byes and host second-round games, while the other 16 will bid to host first-round games.
Joining 10 other conference winners as automatic qualifiers for the playoffs will be the Pioneer League champion, which the Associated Press notes has never been allocated an automatic bid in its 20-year existence, nor ever fielded a participant in the FCS post-season.
The Pioneer League is a football-only, non-scholarship league comprised of the following programs: Butler, Campbell, Davidson, Dayton, Drake, Jacksonville, Marist, Morehead State, San Diego and Valparaiso.
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Friday Five #4:
The University of Arkansas has finally named a replacement for former on-campus recruiter and mistress of ex-head football coach Bobby Petrino, Jessica Dorrell, bringing in former defensive coordinator for the University of Washington and University of Southern California, Nick Holt.
Interim head coach for the Razorbacks, John L. Smith, told the Associated Press Wednesday, “Nick Holt is a tremendous addition to our program. He will be able to come in here and fit well within our staff, and he brings a tremendous amount of football knowledge. He is great interacting with student-athleties and truly wants to put them in a position to succeed. I have no doubt Nick will be successful in this role for us.”
Those familiar with Dorrell will recall she resigned from her position earlier this year after a motorcycle accident involving Dorrell and Petrino shed light on an affair which ultimately cost Petrino his job.
Holt will be responsible for recruiting for the team, including determining initial eligibility for each incoming athlete.
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Friday Five #5:
The University of Idaho is making a strong push to the Idaho State Board of Education to approve a proposed exodus from the Western Athletic Conference in order to achieve independent status for its football program.
An original member of the Big Sky conference, Idaho intends for all non-football sports to rejoin schools such as Montana, Montana State and Idaho State in the Big Sky, but for the Vandals’ football program to remain unaffiliated with a specific conference as a means of maintaining its “best long-term interests,” the Associated Press reports Thursday.
School officials are slated to present their case to the state education board Friday, with a ruling expected to be handed down shortly thereafter.