0

COLLEGE FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Mercer sells out inaugural game in minutes; Clemson's Boyd responds to Clowney's 'scared' comment

New Mercer head coach Bobby Lamb, left, is eager to get started leading the Bears in their first football season.

New Mercer head coach Bobby Lamb, left, is eager to get started leading the Bears in their first football season.

Clemson’s Boyd: No one’s scared of S. Carolina’s Clowney

GREENSBORO, N.C. — For the record, Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd is not afraid of South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. Boyd addressed Clowney’s recent comments that he, along with Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, fear the big-hitting Clowney.

“Am I scared?” Boyd repeated the question aloud at the ACC Media Days event in Greensboro, N.C. “No, I’m not scared.”

Boyd declined the opportunity to engage Clowney further.

“Honestly, those are things that I’m not really focused on at the moment,” said Boyd, himself an All-American. “We’ll see those guys in November, but in the meantime we’ve got a lot of work that we need to accomplish as a program and as a team before we reach that step.”

MACON — Mercer and Reinhardt will have a crowd totalling more than their combined undergraduate student bodies when they open the 2013 football season at Mercer.

Single-game tickets for the modern-era debut of Mercer football, as well as the first football game in Reinhardt history, were gone in less than 30 minutes Monday morning for the contest, scheduled for 6 p.m. on Aug. 31.

Mercer has sold more than 5,000 season tickets for the first fall of football at the school since the 1940s.

The stadium’s official permanent seating is almost 7,500, but the stadium can hold more fans between berm grass seating and portable bleachers. Mercer will list capacity at around 10,200, including temporary seating, which has been part of the plan for more than a year.

Tickets for Mercer’s other seven home games in its lone season in the non-scholarship Pioneer Football League will go on sale at a later date.

Mercer is off after the opener, and then hosts first-year program Warner — an NAIA team from Florida — on Sept. 14. Berry, also a first-year NAIA team, visits Mercer on Sept. 21. Drake is Mercer’s first Pioneer League opponent, coming to town Sept. 28.

Mercer has four other home games: Oct. 12 vs. Valparaiso; Oct. 19 vs. Carnegie Mellon; Nov. 9 vs. Jacksonville; and Nov. 23 vs. Stetson.

Reinhardt will bring a few Middle Georgians to the game: wide receiver Daryn Carter of Houston County, defensive lineman John ‘Tre Gunn of Westside, running back Rico Lyons of Mary Persons, offensive lineman Denarius Rutherford of Lamar County, running back L.J. Stegall of Jeff Davis, defensive lineman Craig Hart of Mary Persons, linebacker Alvarez Thomas of Monticello and defensive lineman Shaq Walker of Lamar County.

MARYLAND COACH WISHES HE COULD JOIN LAWSUIT VS. NCAA: If he were a player, Maryland coach Randy Edsall said he “most definitely” would join a lawsuit against the NCAA over the use of players’ likenesses.

“Because kids are committed to institutions and not to the NCAA,” Edsall said at the ACC Football Kickoff, “and the NCAA is using their likeness to make money, in my opinion, and that money is not going back to these kids.”

Former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon is seeking to sue the NCAA over an EA Sports video game, licensed by the NCAA, that uses players’ names, images and likenesses in the game. The NCAA ended the licensing agreement with EA Sports last week.

Clemson cornerback Darius Robinson, from College Park, recently joined the lawsuit with five other current players. His coach, Dabo Swinney, said he would “absolutely not” be a part of such a suit were he a player, though he supported Robinson’s right to join the lawsuit. Swinney said he supported enhancing athletic scholarships with stipends, but said he doesn’t want to “professionalize” college athletics.

“It’s a privilege to be a part of it,” Swinney said. “And anything that diminishes the value of an education, I’m against."


Johnson excited about Tech LB Watts

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson sent some optimism and praise the way of outside linebacker Brandon Watts at ACC Media Days on Monday.

“He's got a lot of athletic ability,” Johnson said.

Watts is coming into his second season as a starter after playing outside linebacker in Tech's 3-4 scheme. He'll stay at outside linebacker in the new 4-3 defense but is returning from an injury that kept him out of spring practice.

“We need for him to have a good year,” Johnson said. “He's a very talented young man.”

Talking option with Falcons: Johnson said he spent part of a day at the Falcons' facility in Flowery Branch earlier in the offseason, mostly with defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and the defensive staff, to share thoughts about option football. Johnson is also good friends with Falcons coach Mike Smith.

Johnson said he was “just watching and looking at what they were doing against it and (sharing) my thoughts on, 'Is this good?' 'Is this hard?’ ”

Option plays have become an increasingly common element of NFL game plans, with quarterbacks such as San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick and Washington's Robert Griffin III confounding defenses with their ability to run option plays.

The Falcons staff also went to Clemson to visit with coach Dabo Swinney's staff in the spring to learn more about running and defending the option.

Isaiah Johnson returning: Johnson said he expects safety Isaiah Johnson to be ready when the team begins practice Aug. 1. Isaiah Johnson is returning from a knee injury suffered in bowl practice that kept him out of the bowl game and spring practice. At the other spot, Chris Milton will compete with Fred Holton for the starting job.