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Pac-12 Notes

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    By Stuart

    [h=2][/h][h=2]Pac-12 Notes[/h]April 4th
    USC wide receiver George Farmer lost for the season
    An update from the April 2nd story, below
    From CBSSportsline.com … USC’s depth has taken another hit after wide receiver George Farmer tore his ACL at practice Tuesday. The former five-star recruit, who has dealt with injuries during his first two years with the Trojans, got the news Wednesday that he would need major knee surgery and will miss the 2013 season, a source told CBSSports.com. Farmer has not used his redshirt season yet, and is expected to use it this fall.
    The news of Farmer’s injury was first reported by Fox Sports West.
    The injury occurred after Farmer caught a pass during drills with no defenders around him, but he then dropped to the ground clutching his left knee.
    The 6-2, 210-pound Farmer, who also is a sprinter on the Trojans’ track team, was having a strong spring, coaches say and had been making a run at being the team’s No. 3 wideout behind star Marqise Lee and Nelson Agholor.
    April 3rd
    Auburn allegedly paid players; altered grades
    From the USAToday … Auburn’s football program altered grades to ensure eligibility, offered “several thousand dollars” to entice would-be draft picks to return for their senior seasons and knowingly violated NCAA recruiting rules, several ex-Tigers told former New York Times and Sports Illustrated columnist Selena Roberts, whose report appeared on her Web site, Roopstigo.com.
    Each of the allegations occurred under coach Gene Chizik, who led Auburn to the 2010 national championship – the program’s first since 1957 – but was fired after last season. He has since been replaced by Gus Malzahn, who served as Chizik’s offensive coordinator from 2009-11.
    According to three former players, the university changed the grades of as many as nine athletes leading into the 2011 BCS national championship game, when Auburn beat Oregon 22-19 to complete its undefeated season.
    “We thought we would be without (running back) Mike Dyer because he said he was one of them, but Auburn found a way to make those dudes eligible,” Mike Blanc, a multiple-year starter along the Tigers’ defensive line, told Roberts. Dyer would gain a game-high 143 yards on 22 carries in Auburn’s win.
    Auburn coaches offered cash payments to players, for reasons varying from a potential early entry into the NFL draft to simply having “a bad day at practice,” Roberts reports. Former wide receiver Darvin Adams alleged that coaches offered cash to lure him away from entering the draft; while Adams wouldn’t disclose the sum, both Blanc and another former teammate, Mike McNeil, put the total at “several thousand dollars.”
    Said Adams: “It was like, we’ll do this and that for you. But I’d rather do things the right way. I am happy I didn’t say yes to that stuff. That’s what I’d tell kids.”
    “Coaches would say, ‘Don’t tell anyone where you got it from,’” Blanc said. McNeil recounts a meeting with then-defensive coordinator – and current Florida coach – Will Muschamp in 2007:
    “I had no clue what it was about because I’d never directly asked him for anything,” McNell said. “He slid about $400 over to me. He went into a drawer and gave me money and said, ‘Is this enough? Is this good?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, I’m good.’”
    Muschamp denied making the payment through a spokesperson, Roberts said.
    The coaching staff also went well beyond the NCAA’s prescribed per diem when entertaining prospective recruits, said former Auburn defensive back Nieko Thorpe. He cites an instance involving star prospect Dre Kirkpatrick – an eventual Alabama signee: Auburn coaches gave student-athlete recruits $500 to entertain Kirkpatrick, while the NCAA limits such recruiting expenses to less than $50 per day.

    April 2nd
    Another injury to a USC skill position player
    From the LATimes … George Farmer was enjoying the most productive stretch of his USC career this spring, displaying speed and making plays in a bid to become part of the receiver rotation this fall.
    But the former Gardena Serra High star suffered what appeared to be another setback Tuesday.
    Farmer, who was slowed by injuries throughout his first two seasons, caught a pass during a drill with no defenders and then fell to the ground and grabbed his left knee.
    Trainers attended to him on the field before calling for a cart that transported Farmer to the locker room. He is scheduled to have an MRI exam Wednesday.
    The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Farmer was among the most celebrated recruits in a 2011 class that included Serra teammate Marqise Lee.
    While Robert Woods — a 2010 signee from Serra — and Lee garnered immediate playing time and stardom, Farmer struggled to remain healthy and earn an opportunity. Last season, he caught one pass for seven yards.
    Sophomore Nelson Agholor is on track to start opposite Lee, but Farmer was making a push for the No. 3 spot. Senior De’Von Flournoy, sophomore Victor Blackwell, freshman Darreus Rogers also are competing for a role, and freshman Steven Mitchell will arrive during summer.
    If his injury is serious, it would be the latest in a string that have hit the Trojans this spring.
    Tailback Silas Redd suffered an knee injury a few weeks ago and is recovering from surgery. He has said that he expects to be recovered for summer workouts.
    Lee has not been cleared to practice since suffering a knee injury several weeks ago.
    Freshman safety Su’a Cravens was among more than 15 players who did not practice Tuesday. Cravens said he would have an MRI exam on his left knee.

    April 1st
    Oregon State will not have a quarterback decision until the end of fall camp
    Oregon State, like Colorado, has a quarterback issue.
    The only difference is that in Corvallis, the Beavers have to chose between two quarterbacks who both won numerous games for Oregon State last fall.
    While in Boulder …
    From the Corvallis-Gazette Times*… When Oregon State football coach Mike Riley released his depth chart for spring practice, the first position to check out was quarterback.
    Sean Mannion was listed first and Cody Vaz second. But Riley was quick to point out that he should have inserted “or” between their names.
    No offseason decisions had been made regarding a position that has been inconsistent for the Beavers. Instead, it’s the status quo, which means the unknown.
    “We have just been working hard this offseason,” Mannion said. “It’s all we can do. Spring hasn’t started yet, so it’s all about the weight room and throwing on our own.”
    Riley plans to let them play it out through spring practice, which begins today and through training camp, up until the first week of the season when OSU begins game preparations for Eastern Washington on Aug. 31.
    Underclassmen Brent VanderVeen and Richie Harrington will also get some looks, but they are in development for the future.
    “You can’t read anything into that,” Riley said of his depth chart. “We are going to spilt their time evenly. It will be one or the other.”
    Riley even asked the media to avoid daily questions about the QB competition. The three apparently grew weary of the situation.
    “I won’t make a decision until the end of fall camp,” Riley said. “I’m just going to let them play and grow. They’ll have even turns unless someone takes the bull by the horns and separates. And that has to be by a significant margin.”

    Cornerbacks a major concern at USC
    From the LA Times … After three weeks of spring practice, it’s evident that USC has a major position-group issue to address before its opener at Hawaii in late August.
    Yes, quarterback is still up in the air, though third-year sophomores Cody Kessler and Max Wittek showed Saturday that both are making progress if not separating themselves.
    Unfortunately for the Trojans, their highlights came at the expense of a secondary that has proved consistently vulnerable at cornerback.
    After a 52-play situational scrimmage at the Coliseum, Coach Lane Kiffin described the cornerback spot as “a huge concern.”
    Receivers Nelson Agholor, Victor Blackwell and George Farmer burned corners for touchdowns or long gains and outmuscled them for possessions.
    New defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast has indicated that he would like to play a more aggressive scheme that includes man-to-man coverage. But experienced cornerbacks such as Torin Harris and Anthony Brown struggled Saturday as did newcomer Chris Hawkins.
    “We’ve got the big men up front giving it all they got and then on the back end we gave up a few big plays, which can’t happen,” senior safety Josh Shaw said. “You’ll lose a ballgame like that.”
    Shaw said the problems were fixable and attributed some to inexperience. Hawkins and safety Su’a Cravens, for example, graduated from high school in December.
    Sophomore Kevon Seymour has been sidelined because of an ankle injury and Kiffin lamented the departure of Nickell Robey, who declared for the NFL draft with a year of eligibility remaining despite not being projected as a potential high-round pick.
    Kiffin hopes to find some solutions at cornerback in the final two weeks of spring practice and during training camp.
    “They’re not going to come out of somewhere,” he said, “so we’ve just got to play better with the guys we have, get them better and coach better.”



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