Sidelines with John Clay

Before Louisville game, Notre Dame loses receiver for season

Tuesday links:

Notre Dame receiver out for season. Marek Mazurek of Fighting Irish War reports, “Notre Dame received another hit to its wide receiver depth Monday when Irish Illustrated first reported that sophomore receiver Kevin Austin will sit out the entirety of the 2019 football season. Austin — a four-star prospect who caught five passes for 90 yards in 2018 — is a talented player, but has consistently been in Brian Kelly’s doghouse for off-field issues.”

[Louisville opens season against Notre Dame]

Tennessee suspends cornerback. Blake Toppmeyer of the Knoxville News Sentinel reports, “Tennessee cornerback Bryce Thompson is suspended indefinitely following his arrest Saturday night on a charge of misdemeanor domestic assault. The Vols’ season opener is Saturday against Georgia State, and Thompson was expected to play a key role in UT’s defense this season after he was a Freshman All-American in 2018.”

Mississippi State quarterback not with team. Tyler Horka of the Clarion-Ledger reports, “Moorhead landed Tommy Stevens, a former Penn State QB, from the portal in May and on Thursday named the graduate transfer his starting quarterback. On Friday, junior Keytaon Thompson entered his name in the NCAA transfer portal.”

Alabama will start a true freshman linebacker. Rainer Sabin of the Birmingham News report, “There was no slash next to his name. No “or” either. On the first edition of Alabama’s 2019 depth chart, Christian Harris was alone atop his position, a stunning development that was even more jaw-dropping given that 2018 Biletnikoff winner Jerry Jeudy couldn’t even make that claim and had to share space with fellow receiver Jaylen Waddle on the same white sheet of paper.”

Georgia preparing for unique challenge. Jed May of the Macon Telegraph reports, “There will be no easing into the 2019 season for the Georgia Bulldogs. After opening with Appalachian State and Austin Peay the past two years, the team will kick off this campaign on the road Saturday night at Vanderbilt. While it still counts as just one game in the standings, the Bulldogs know this isn’t your average season opener.”

Quiet offseason speaks loudly for LSU. The Advocate’s Scott Rabalais writes, “So far. In coaching, and in the media, you’re always waiting for the next shoe to drop. And, believe it or not, we media folks don’t look forward to these controversies and off-the-field flare ups. We already have plenty enough to do.”

Miami offensive coordinator disappointed in Jarren Williams. The Miami Herald reports, “The question was simple enough: Can you give us a rundown of how Jarren Williams played, how he can improve and what he did really well? The answer was startling. University of Miami offensive coordinator and quarterbacks guru Dan Enos said what few expected Monday at a news conference two days after the Florida Gators defeated the Hurricanes 24-20 in the Camping World Kickoff in Orlando — that Williams wasn’t good.”

Florida State names starting quarterback. Ben Kercheval of CBS Sports reports, “Florida State has joined the ever-growing list of teams to announce their QB1 ahead of the 2019 college football season. On Sunday night, the Seminoles tweeted that junior James Blackman would start for the Seminoles in Week 1against Boise State. Blackman beat out transfer Alex Hornibrook, who joined the program in the offseason as a graduate transfer from Wisconsin.”

SEC FOOTBALL OPENING GAMES

Saturday, August 24

7:00 - Florida 24, Miami 20

Thursday, August 29

8:30 - Texas State at Texas A&M (SEC)

Saturday, August 31

12:00 - Toledo at Kentucky (SEC)

12:00 - Ole Miss at Memphis (ABC)

12:00 - Mississippi State vs. Louisiana (ESPNU)

3:30 - South Carolina vs. North Carolina (ESPN)

3:30 - Georgia State at Tennessee (ESPNU)

3:30 - Duke vs. Alabama (ABC)

4:00 - Portland State at Arkansas (SEC)

7:30 - Oregon vs. Auburn (ABC)

7:30 - Georgia Southern at LSU (ESPNU)

7:30 - Missouri at Wyoming (CBS Sports)

7:30 - Georgia at Vanderbilt (SEC)

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John Clay is a sports columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader. A native of Central Kentucky, he covered UK football from 1987 until being named sports columnist in 2000. He has covered 20 Final Fours and 37 consecutive Kentucky Derbys.
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