2013 October 23

Daily Archives: October 23, 2013

The Rumor Mill :: College Football Coaching News and Rumors – Thursday, Oct. 24

Steve Spurrier went 9-4 and won the Gator Bowl in his third season at Florida. The HBC won 9 and 10 his first years.

Florida Gators coach Will Muschamp (Photo: Dave Martin, AP)Ron Zook went 7-4 and was fired in the middle of his third season. However, it was obvious that he had recruited great players and it’d only be a matter of time before they’d compete for championships. (Zook recruited 22 of 24 starters on Urban Meyer’s 2006 National Championship team.) Zook’s tenure ended as the Gators beat FSU in Tallahassee, something even Steve Spurrier never did.

Urban Meyer went 9-4 in his third season. That’s after winning 9 in his first and the national championship in his second.

Will Muschamp went 7-6 in his first season, 11-2 in his second and is currently 4-3 in the middle of his third. The Gators gave one away at Miami, didn’t play well at LSU and were blown out at Mizzou. With Georgia, Vandy, South Carolina, Georgia Southern and FSU remaining, it’s not out of the question that Florida could have it’s first losing season since 1979.

Sources inside the program tell us there’s a lot of division on the team and teammates beginning to point fingers. Florida AD Jeremy Foley gave Muschamp a vote of confidence earlier this week, saying his coach is “not going anywhere.” For what it’s worth, he told Ron Zook he was “in the circle” and on “on the same team” the Friday before he fired him. So, his public support for Muschamp should be taken with a grain of salt.

We talked with a number of coaches this week and they all told us the same thing. They don’t see a lot of “energy” on the sideline and they don’t see the kinds of playmakers Florida has had in the past.

Muschamp deserves another year to get it fixed — but expect staff changes if he does. The head coach gave offensive coordinator Brent Pease a half-hearted vote of confidence this week, saying “This is the same staff that came a game away from playing for national championship, OK.” Well, Greg Davis was fired at Texas four seasons after winning the national championship and one season after winning 13 games and playing for another.

Assuming Muschamp is around after this season, Foley will insist on staff changes and you can take that to the bank. Sources close to Foley tell us he has had thoughts that maybe he pulled the plug too soon on Zook — and that he seems determined to give Muschamp a longer leash.

However, if the Gators implode down the stretch, don’t be shocked to see Foley do what Foley does best: protect himself. Just ask Ron Zook.

There has been chatter around Central Florida coach George O’Leary for some time. He had a player die on his watch and the Knights landed on NCAA probation. That’s not to mention his prickly personality — he’s not exactly warm and fuzzy. But fast forward to the present and UCF could land in a BCS Bowl as winners of the new AAC.

Duke has never been to back to back bowls, but David Cutcliffe has the Blue Devils one win away from being bowl-eligible for the second consecutive year. Things may look better now with Hugh Freeze at the helm, but maybe firing him at Ole Miss one season removed from winning ten games wasn’t such a smart move after all.

After a one-year respite, there are rumblings again at Georgia. If the Bulldogs lose to Florida, watch out. One prominent coach told us today that the coach that loses that game could lose his job. Cocktails, anyone?

Photo credit: Dave Martin, AP

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Ex-Oregon tight end Colt Lyerla arrested for cocaine possession

Colt Lyerla (Photo: Phil Connors, AP)Former Oregon tight end Colt Lyerla was arrested Wednesday night for unlawful possession of cocaine and interfering with a police officer.

According to reports, Lane County Sheriffs Department officers observed Lyerla sitting in a parked car in downtown Eugene and noticed a white substance.

Lyerla allegedly admitted to using cocaine, and agreed to accompany officers back to his apartment with the officers at which point he tried to run. He was later apprehended and booked into the Lane County Jail.

A former 5-star recruit in the 2011 class, the Hillsboro, Ore. native caught 32 passes for for 539 yards and 11 touchdowns during the 2011 and 2012 seasons.

He missed two games this season and left the team earlier this month after multiple team-related issues.

Photo credit: Paul Connors, AP

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LSU freshman defensive back suspended following second arrest

LSU defensive back Jeryl BrazilLSU freshman defensive back Jeryl Brazil has been indefinitely suspended following his second arrest in less than two months.

Brazil was arrested Oct. 18 for simple battery and simple criminal damage to property. Les Miles announced the suspension Wednesday.

According to the Daily Reveille, police claim that Brazil became upset at a campus apartment and then grabbed a woman by the neck and pushed her on to a sofa and punched a hole in a wall. He was issued a misdemeanor summons and released.

In September, Brazil was issued another misdemeanor summons when he and another man were cited for fighting at the loading dock of a campus dining hall.

Brazil was issued another misdemeanor summons on Sept. 11 when he and another man were cited for fighting at the loading dock of The 5 dining hall.

Miles told reporters that Brazil was suspended immediately after the team gained knowledge of the second incident. But according to the Reveille report, Brazil was active  on Twitter during the Tigers loss to Ole Miss on Saturday, just a day after his most recent run-in with the law. He even stated that he was tweeting from the press box.

A Loranger, La. native, Brazil appeared in just one game this season, playing running back in the Tigers 56-7 win over UAB. Brazil rushed two times for 10 yards against the Blazers.

Below is video of Miles discussing Brazil’s suspension:


Photo credit: LSU Athletics

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Florida loses another player for the year

Florida linebacker Jeremi Powell (Will Vragovic/Tampa Bay Times)When it rains, it pours.

Florida coach Will Muschamp announced Wednesday that the Gators lost another player for the season to injury.

Reserve linebacker Jeremi Powell tore the ACL in his left knee while attempting to block a punt against Missouri on Saturday. He will undergo season-ending surgery.

“Unfortunate for him,” Muschamp told the media. “He’s a guy who was really emerging special teams-wise.”

The redshirt freshman from Pinellas Park, Fla. saw action in all seven games this season, mostly on special teams. He totaled four tackles.

Powell is just the latest in a long line of Gators to suffer season-ending injuries.

Others out for the rest of the year include starters quarterback Jeff Driskel (broken leg), defensive tackle Dominique Easley (knee), right tackle Chaz Green (labrum), running back Matt Jones (knee), wide receiver/kick returner Andre Debose (knee), linebacker Matt Rolin (knee) and defensive back Nick Washington (shoulder).

Photo: Will Vragovic, Tampa Bay Times

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Nick Saban to Texas rumors gaining momentum

Nick and Terry Saban (Photo: Vasha Hunt, AL.com)The “Nick Saban to Texas” rumors continue to gain steam — at least in the state of Texas.

This time it’s a host of media outlets reporting that Saban’s wife Terry and her daughter-in-law recently visited Austin on a house hunting expedition.

Burnt Orange Nation, a Texas fan site, cites reports from both Inside Texas’ Jesus Shuttleworth and multiple ESPN Austin radio 104.9 personalties who claim to have knowledge of the situation — complete with details of realtors, dollar figures and potential neighborhoods. Here’s an excerpt:

The original report on Inside Texas gives more details about Terry Saban’s trip to Austin, including realtor information, ties with that agent to the athletic department, shady real estate dealings in Alabama, and Saban’s relationship with Texas athletic department employees who likely helped set up the meeting. However, the report concedes that Mrs. Saban stated that she was only interested in purchasing a “vacation home” in the area.

As we mentioned in Monday’s Rumor Mill, there’s no doubt that if Mack Brown is out, Saban will be the first person called. But, as the Burnt Orange Nation piece pointed out, the whole Terry Saban house shopping story seems, well, a little odd.

Why would Saban, the most methodical man in the country, allow his wife to travel to Austin at a time when the Texas coaching vacancy is all but announced? Did Saban think that this trip could have been done in secrecy? Does he really care if it gets out? (We’ve seen how he’s treated job exits before.) Is Austin actually a city where people vacation?

Regardless of what comes of that particular story, one thing is unquestioned — if Texas makes a move, Saban’s name will be part of the discussion until the job is filled.

Photo credit: Vasha Hunt, AL.com/AP

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Bobby Bowden will make his return to FSU ahead of schedule

Former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden (Photo: Phil Coale/AP)Former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden will return to a Seminoles game a couple of years ahead of schedule.

Bowden has purposely maintained distance from the program since he retired following the 2009 season, an attempt to let Jimbo Fisher build his own identity as leader of the program. Bowden had planned to stay away for at least five years, but with the Noles at 6-0 and No. 2 in the BCS standings, he feels safe speeding that up a couple of years.

“Jimbo’s got control real good, now, and has established himself,” Bowden told The Sporting News. “It’s probably time for me to get back.”

Bowden will attend Saturday’s game against N.C. State and will plant the flaming spear at midfield as part of the pregame ceremonies.

Though he still lives in Tallahassee, has been on campus to teach some classes and this summer signed a two-year, $500,000 deal with the university to assist in the school’s fundraising efforts, the last time Bowden was on the field for a Florida State game he was being carried off in his final game as the Seminoles coach. He’ll be back later in the season to serve as Homecoming grand marshal before the Syracuse game Nov. 16.

“It’s what’s right about the world,” Fisher said of Bowden’s return. “He made Florida State. He was Florida State. That’s why we have this stadium, the facilities. That’s why we have academics, that’s why we have the school. That’s why we have everything.

“It’s what’s right for Florida State and it’s great for college football. I’m extremely excited because he was my hero, too.”

Photo credit: Phil Coale, AP

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TCU offensive staff will stick with new setup vs. Texas

TCU co-OC Rusty Burns will be in the box as lead play caller Saturday vs. Texas.

TCU co-OC Rusty Burns will be in the box as lead play caller Saturday vs. Texas.

TCU co-offensive coordinator Rusty Burns moved to the box and assumed the lead play-calling role in the second half of last week’s game against Oklahoma State with fellow co-OC Jarrett Anderson moving down to the field.

The change seemed to pay off, and the Horned Frogs moved the ball much better in the second half, gaining 263 yards and 14 first downs compared with 63 yards and three first downs in the first half.

TCU head coach Gary Patterson says the staff will stick with that new setup Saturday against Texas.

“The calls will still be from coach Anderson and coach Burns, but [Burns] will be the lead caller,” Patterson told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “We felt like it would be a great chance for coach Anderson down [on the field] as far as our communication and dealing with things on the sidelines. But they’ll be the same as they’ve always been.”

The 3-4 Horned Frogs rank seventh in the Big 12 scoring 25.3 points per game and have averaged just 16 points per game in their four losses.

Asked if the move was made to get Anderson on the field or to turn the play-calling over to Burns, Patterson said the answer was simple.

“It was just about winning. Trying to find a way to win,” he said. “Whatever it was that made a difference, that’s what we’re trying to get accomplished.”

Photo credit: Paul Moseley, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

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