NCF Nation: Shane Murray

Posted by's Brian Bennett

Pittsburgh starting linebacker Adam Gunn has been suspended by coach Dave Wannstedt following a weekend arrest.

According to a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review report, Gunn was chaged with resisting arrest, failure to disperse, disorderly conduct and public drunknenness.

"On Monday morning I met with Adam Gunn to discuss his involvement in a weekend incident that occurred off campus," Wannstedt said in a statement released by the school. "At the conclusion of our discussion, I told Adam he would be suspended from our team pending the resolution of this matter.

"This incident is both surprising and disappointing. Adam has always been a strong representative of our program and his involvement in this type of situation is very out of character. However, he knows and respects the fact that every member of our team must be accountable for their actions."

It is definitely surprising. Gunn is a senior who received a sixth year of eligibility this winter after breaking his neck in the first game of 2008. He has already earned his bachelor's degree and is pursuing his master's. I wrote a story about Gunn last month in which he talked about starting his own foundation for underprivileged kids. He seemed to have all of his priorities together. Still, we don't know all the facts yet in this case.

Should Gunn miss any time this season stemming from this suspension, Pitt will likely turn to Shane Murray or Steve Dell at the middle linebacker spot. It's a crucial position on the Panthers defense, and one that Scott McKillop played so well the past two years.

This is the latest in what's become a disturbing offseason trend at Pitt. Receiver T.J. Porter was arrested in February on a DUI charge, his second in a year. Receiver Jonathan Baldwin was recently charged with indecent assaul for an alleged incident involving a woman on a campus bus.

Wannstedt's program hasn't been known for off-the field disciplinary problems, but three high-profile problems in such a short period of time will definitely raise questions.

Big East internal affairs

October, 1, 2008

Posted by's Brian Bennett

West Virginia: The Mountaineers have been strong in most areas on special teams, except for kickoff coverage. They're allowing more than 30 yards per return, ranking 115th out of 119 FBS teams. They gave up two long returns to Marshall last weekend. Head coach Bill Stewart, who oversees special teams, said he will concentrate on that area in practice. The loss of special teams headhunter Jim Lewis to a broken foot has hurt the unit.

Cincinnati: The decision on a starting quarterback this week may go all the way up until game time on Friday at Marshall, head coach Brian Kelly says. Kelly will choose between redshirt freshmen Zach Collaros and Chazz Anderson to replace the injured Tony Pike. Kelly said the late decision isn't about being coy but about giving both quarterbacks more practice time in a short week. He said the offense will concentrate on specific plays for whichever quarterback wins out.

Rutgers: Redshirt freshman Jourdan Brooks appears to have cemented his status as the team's No. 1 running back. Brooks started the past two games, scoring five touchdowns combined against Navy and Morgan State. He had twice as many carries as Joe Martinek and three times as many as Mason Robinson in the Morgan State game. With Kordell Young possibly out for the year with a knee injury, Brooks may become the team's workhorse back.

Pittsburgh: Weakside linebacker Shane Murray finally played last week after a preseason knee injury, getting in on about 15 snaps versus Syracuse. Head coach Dave Wannstedt said he thinks Murray's role will increase this week against South Florida, though Austin Ransom has played well in his place. Wannstedt said more time from Murray would allow Ransom to be fresher in his special teams roles. Starting receiver Oderick Turner, last year's leading pass catcher, has struggled with drops and may lose playing time to Cedric McGee.

Connecticut: The Huskies' defensive front had to hang on against Louisville last week after losing tackles Alex Polito, Kendall Reyes and Rob Lunn to ankle injuries. All three are expected to be available Saturday against North Carolina. Quarterback Zach Frazer will make his first start, replacing the injured Tyler Lorenzen, and his strong arm could allow UConn to do more things in the downfield passing game. But head coach Randy Edsall said Frazer is also a good runner who can make plays with his feet like Lorenzen.

Posted by's Brian Bennett

Why are Louisville and Kansas State playing on a Wednesday night? Louisville officials thought they had scheduled a bye week to avoid conflict with the Ryder Cup, which will be played at Valhalla in eastern Jefferson County. But the event was switched to a different date, putting the Kansas State game in direct conflict. Thus we have Wednesday night football.

The Courier-Journal's C.L. Brown says we'll finally learn something about both teams, as Kansas State has played nobody and Louisville's one real game against Kentucky was a disaster. Columnist Rick Bozich says Kansas State invented the idea of scheduling softies in order to make a bowl, hurting all of college football in the process.

I come to blame Kansas State, and its former coach Bill Snyder, for popularizing the increasingly gutless approach to scheduling that has become the absolute rage in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Pick a patsy. Pick two. Stuff your schedule with as many nobodies as possible. If you're good at it, as Kansas State usually is, you can find four slugs from outside your conference. Dominate the nobodies and then fool everybody by winning those four games as well as a few more inside your conference. Then you can call yourself a bowl team. A good time will be had by all.

* Jim Brown weighs in on the Syracuse situation with CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd. "Oh, it's terrible," Brown told Dodd. "I like the coach as a person but I think they're going to have to make a move. You can't let the program go so low."

* Rutgers has seen the Navy triple option each of the past five years, but that doesn't make it any easier to stop, Aditi Kinkhabwala writes in the Bergen Record.

* Matt Grothe for Heisman? The USF quarterback tells the Tampa Tribune's Brett McMurphy: "Honestly, I don't have a chance in hell. Not just this year, any year. It's politics."

* Pitt outside linebacker Shane Murray is ready to make his season debut against Iowa after recovering from an August knee injury, Paul Zeise notes in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

* UConn's defense needs to be disciplined against Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin, Desmond Conner writes in the Hartford Courant. Griffin ran for 217 yards last week against Washington State, and Huskies coach Randy Edsall compares the freshman to Pat White.

* The pace will be furious in the thin air Thursday, as West Virginia and Colorado both like to play without huddles, Mike Casazza writes in the Charleston Daily Mail.

Big East internal affairs

September, 10, 2008
Posted by's Brian Bennett

West Virginia: The Mountaineers' offensive problems could be about Schmitt. Head coach Bill Stewart has promised some changes after West Virginia lost 24-3 at East Carolina, including getting back to more intense practices. Stewart also wants to return to the zone-read option that made West Virginia's running game so devastating. In that regard, the team really misses graduated fullback Owen Schmitt, a former fixture in the backfield. The hard-nosed Schmitt made teams at least respect his inside power-running ability, and that helped spring Pat White and Noel Devine on the outside. There's not a player like that on this team right now, but Stewart may give Will Johnson more looks in that role.

South Florida: If the Bulls want to go far this year, they'll need to shore up their kicking game. Junior Delbert Alvarado has been erratic throughout his career and has made just one of his four attempts this year. One of the misses was a potential game-winner at Central Florida. He memorably missed four of five kicks at Auburn last year before tying the game with a 19-yarder. Coach Jim Leavitt will make a change if Alvarado doesn't gain more consistency.

Louisville: The Cardinals have some extra time off before playing Kansas State on Wednesday, and they need it. Four starting offensive linemen left Saturday's Tennessee Tech game with various injuries, but none are considered serious at this point. Louisville is hoping to get receiver Scott Long back soon. Long broke a bone in his foot during training camp and hasn't yet been cleared to return to practice. Fellow receiver Trent Guy, who has played in the first two games despite suffering a gunshot wound in his lower back on July 5, is getting back into shape and becoming a bigger part of the team's plans. Guy may be worked into special-teams return duties this week.

Pittsburgh: Weakside linebacker Shane Murray, who injured his knee in August and has missed the first two games, has returned to a limited practice schedule this week. If all goes well, Murray could be back in the starting lineup for next week's game versus Iowa. The Panthers have lost starting strongside LB Adam Gunn indefinitely to a broken bone in his neck. Austin Ransom and Greg Williams filled in and played well last week against Bowling Green. Williams, a promising redshirt freshman, could be the long-term solution at the weakside spot once Murray is back in full stride.

Syracuse: The Orange had to move a defensive back, Bruce Williams, to offense to shore up its depleted receiver position. Now, a former offensive player might be starting at safety. Senior Paul Chiara approached the coaching staff in the spring and asked if he could switch from running back to safety because the Orange had a lot of backfield depth. An injury to Randy McKinnon in the Akron game could thrust Chiara into a starting role at his new spot.