Aug. 28 News: Ishaq Williams Declared Ineligible

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Notre Dame’s defense is down another player. Any hope coordinator Brian VanGorder had for getting back talented defensive end/outside linebacker Ishaq Williams was dashed Thursday.

Ishaq Williams — who was dismissed last offseason in an academic dishonesty case — was denied his waiver to the NCAA petitioning for eligibility in 2015.

The announcement of Ishaq Williams’ denied return to the lineup comes not long after cornerback KeiVarae Russell was granted his eligibility for 2015. Russell was suspended at the same time as Williams.

The only information head coach Brian Kelly divulged, per the Associated Press, was that the circumstances for each player were different.

Williams showed flashes of brilliance in three seasons with the Fighting Irish, particularly in their BCS runner-up campaign of 2012 when he had 3.5 tackles for loss, a quarterback hurry and forced a fumble.

Ishaq Williams never played in the overhauled, 4-3 scheme VanGorder brought over in 2014. The blitz-heavy style might have finally unlocked the talented, if not underachieving Williams’ full potential.

Ishaq Williams’ denied return is the second potentially big loss to the front seven Notre Dame’s sustained this month. Tackle Jarron Jones was lost to injury for the season just a few weeks ago.

Tennessee Safety LaDarrell McNeil Out With Neck Injury

Wes Rucker, GoVols247

Tennessee lost another piece from its defense Thursday. Head coach Butch Jones announced safety LaDarrell McNeil is out for an indefinite duration as he addresses “instability” of the neck.

Given the potential severity of McNeil’s situation, he shouldn’t rush his return. That’s unfortunate for the Vol secondary, however, which already lost one key contributor for the season in cornerback Rashaan Gaulden.

With Tennessee’s numbers depleting, the return of Justin Martin couldn’t come at a better time. Patrick Brown of the Times Free Press details the cornerback Martin’s efforts to return to full-strength and provide the Vol secondary so much needed support.

TCU Reminds Us: Don’t Invent Stupid, Unwritten Rules for College Football

Matt Zemek, The Student Section

Matt Zemek, editor of CFB Huddle’s kindred spirit site The Student Section, dives into the ridiculous rule of unwritten rules — and the consequences for breaking said rules.

In the crosshairs is TCU’s exclusion from the inaugural College Football Playoff — not the grounds the Horned Frogs lost to Baylor, but rather how they lost.

Giving up 61 points in a game in which TCU scored 58 became a rallying cry for those vehemently opposed to the Frogs’ inclusion.

Zemek uses this sentiment as a springboard to discuss the absurdity of applying concrete values to unwritten rules.

Time for P.J. Fleck and Western Michigan to Win Big

David Drew, MLive.com

Head coach P.J. Fleck has rowed Western Michigan’s boat back on course. The Broncos went from 1-11 in his first season, to eight wins in 2014 and seeking a Mid-American Conference championship in 2015.

Perception surrounding the Western Michigan Football program has changed, as quarterback Zach Terrell told MLive.com:

“At 1-11 people are like, ‘Row the boat clearly doesn’t work.’ Then you go 8-5 and go to the sixth bowl game in program history and you shock the nation and then people are like, ‘This row the boat thing might be for real.”

The energetic Fleck is at the forefront of the Broncos’ new-found attention and optimism.

With success at the Group of Five Level comes outside interest. And indeed, Sports Illustrated‘s Pete Thamel includes Fleck as one of his coaches to watch make a move at season’s end.

To combat the woos of other suitors, Western Michigan is paying Fleck $800,000, which MLive’s David Drew makes Fleck the highest paid coach in the MAC. With that salary comes a reasonable expectation Western Michigan can, and should, contend for the MAC title.