Aug. 6 News: Auburn Readying for Championship Push

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After suffering some heartbreaking defeats in 2014 — namely late-season losses to Texas A&M and in the Iron Bowl to rival Alabama — Auburn is reloaded for a possible championship run in 2015.

Auburn’s one of many programs opening fall camp this week, and third-year coach Gus Malzahn is already a veritable veteran on The Plains, giving the fluctuation between his first two seasons at helm. He explained to AL.com’s Brandon Marcello:

“I experienced a little bit of everything the first two years, so that’s helped prepare me to do a better job this year.”

Malzahn’s new perspective isn’t the only different look Auburn’s getting ahead of the 2015 season. The Tigers’ Under Armour uniforms and helmets feature ever-so-slight tweaks, which were debuted this week:

Nothing outlandish, but certainly enough to garner a reaction from Auburn players.

Notre Dame QB Malik Zaire Welcomes Big Stage and Expectations

Mike Vorel, South Bend Tribune

South Bend Tribune‘s NDInsider.com has a feature on new Fighting Irish starting quarterback Malik Zaire and, well…he’s not lacking for confidence.

Zaire was interjected into the lineup of Notre Dame’s regular-season finale last season, a blowout loss at rival USC. Zaire tells Mike Vorel the conditions for making such an appearance were not ideal, but Zaire’s first start, in the Music City Bowl win over LSU, the quarterback was better prepared.

Now, he tells NDInsider he’s prepared for anything. Take the Irish’s trip to Death Valley to meet Clemson:

“We’re going to Clemson this year. So?” Zaire says, treating the final word like an exclamation point. “We could play you on the moon, and it wouldn’t matter. Your team is just not better than my team. I have faith in myself, and I have faith in my guys.”

Baylor DE Sam Ukwuachu to Stand Trial on Sexual Assault Charges

Tommy Witherspoon, Waco Tribune

Former Freshman All-American at Boise State Sam Ukwuachu will stand trial on charges of sexual assault in 2013, shortly after the defensive end transferred to Baylor.

This is a very bizarre case, as Ukwuachu was dismissed from Boise State for an unspecified violation of team rules, but attorneys are subpoenaing various entities, including Boise State University and Boise Police, for background on Ukwuachu.

From the Waco Tribune:

Records from Boise State filed in the case show Ukwauchu, who reportedly was drinking and using drugs, and the woman were involved in a dispute. Ukwauchu broke a window and cut his arm, requiring medical treatment and prompting a Boise police investigation.

Ukwuachu was expected to be eligible for the Bears this season after missing 2014, and add depth to what is already one of the best defensive lines in the country.

LSU OL Jevonte Domond Reinstated Despite Pending Legal Case

Jim Kleinpeter, The Times-Picayune

Les Miles told reporters following LSU’s practice Wednesday offensive lineman Jevonte Domond is reinstated from suspension. Per Jim Kleinpeter, Miles said:

“He’s in position to compete to play. We’re letting the disposition of whatever entanglement he’s involved in run its course. He’s not suspended.”

Domond’s “entanglement” is a pending case of allegations Domond assaulted his girlfriend. For context on why this is a noteworthy decision by Miles:

LSU had an offseason punctuated by several player runs-in with the law, which resulted in the dismissal of defensive tackle Trey Lealaimatafao and transfer of Maquedius Bain. Quarterback Anthony Jennings may have effectively removed himself from the competition with Brandon Harris for his part in the unlawful entry charge that preceded Bain’s transfer.

Miles’ deviation from standard disciplinary action might bring to mind memories of running back Jeremy Hill’s reinstatement before the 2013 season. Hill came to LSU with baggage, and was caught on tape sucker-punching a man outside a Baton Rouge bar.

Hill received a rather lenient form of probation, and Miles put his reinstatement up to a team vote. Hill rushed for 1,401 yards and 16 touchdowns on the 2013 campaign.