There is a simple solution for college football’s first Division I playoff. If they really want to bring the best four teams to the table to duke it out for the closest thing we’ve ever had to something that isn’t a mythical national championship, then why not invite the top four teams from the SEC West Division? Of course, they won’t do that because the folks at Oklahoma, Oregon and Florida State would suddenly go into a state of apoplexy, but you can make a strong case that the Southeastern Conference deserves two seats at the Final Four table and both of those teams should be from the SEC West.
Remember when being told you had to wear braces sent horrifying visions of being locked in a disastrous 6th grade playground kiss? Yes you do. Don’t lie.
Well, now you can willingly open yourself to schoolyard taunts by being one of the idiot Arkansas Razorback fans that has—put in their mouth—the team mascot.
Orangebloods.com reports that former Super Bowl champion head coach and current ESPN analyst Jon Gruden is open to hearing from the Texas athletic department about its football head coaching vacancy.
Our sources confirm that report is true. Texas’ interest in Gruden is unknown.
The Gainesville Sun’s Pat Dooley reports that Charlie Strong would not be interested in the Texas job, but our sources indicate that’s not necessarily so.
On the record, Strong gave the typical “coach speak” response.
“I don’t even think about it,” he told the Louisville Courier-Journal. “I don’t even worry about it. I have a good job here. … The only thing I can control is what’s happening right here.”
There are lots of rumors that Arizona State head coach Todd Graham could be a backup candidate at Texas — despite a legal agreement AD Steve Patterson signed when he left Arizona State for Texas that he wouldn’t hire any ASU coaches.
The guess is the two sides could come up with some sort of compensation for Graham should the ‘Horns get that far. We doubt they do.
Ex-Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe told CBS Charlotte that he’d be interested in Army job.
“Absolutely, mainly because I love the academies,” Grobe said. “I spent eleven years at the Air Force Academy with Fisher DeBerry and those kids are in my heart. I have not talked to them, so whether that’s something they would want, it’s certainly something I’m interested in.”
Sources indicate former USC offensive coordinator Clay Helton has emerged as a very strong candidate to replace the fired Brent Pease at Florida. We’re told head coach Will Muschamp is getting a lot of “not interested” as he calls around.
The Newark Star-Ledger reports that Rutgers coach Kyle Flood filled one of the three vacancies on his staff today, naming 34-year coaching veteran Mitch Browning as the team’s new offensive line coach.
Arizona State announced Wednesday morning it has promoted offensive coordinator Mike Norvell to role of Deputy Head Coach.
Sources indicate Norvell had been a top target to be the new offensive coordinator at Florida.
Arkansas State is interviewing a whole slew of candidates, so nobody seems to know where the search will end. Sources indicate they feel really good about Arizona State’s Norvell and UNC’s Blake Anderson.
CBSSports.com’s Bruce Feldman reports that Red Wolves officials spoke to Butch Davis but that he was not interested.
New UConn head coach Bob Diaco confirmed to the Hartford Courant that only offensive line coach Mike Foley had been retained.
Mike Szvetitz of the Opelika-Auburn News reports that other than the initial terms of Auburn coach Gus Malzhan’s new contract extension, no other details have been finalized – including the buyout.
Arkansas coach Brett Bielema isn’t in any hurry to hire a defensive line coach to replace Charlie Partridge, who left to be the head coach at FAU.
“I have half a dozen names that have come across my desk in the last 48 hours that are very intriguing that I’m definitely researching,” he told ArkansasNews.com. “I probably won’t bring anybody in until after the first of the year.
“I might talk to about half a dozen guys by phone, kind of off the record, and see where it’s at.”
Former Wake Forest defensive coordinator Brian Knorr joined the Air Force coaching staff on a retreat Tuesday and the is in talks to join the Falcons as a defensive assistant.
New Miami (Ohio) coach Chuck Martin has announced three additions to his coaching staff: Co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach George Barnett, co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Eric Koehler and tight ends coach Pat Welsh.
Barnett and Koehler were at Illinois State last season while Welsh was a GA at Notre Dame.
Illinois coach Tim Beckman announced that offensive coordinator Bill Cubit has agreed to a one-year contract extension that includes an increase in annual salary to $500,000 per year and keeps him on the Fighting Illini sideline through the 2015 season.
GigEm247 reports that Texas A&M co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach Marcel Yates will be defensive coordinator on Bryan Harsin’s Boise State staff.
Yates has been part of Kevin Sumlin’s staff for two seasons. He played his college ball at Boise and was defensive backs at his alma mater for nine seasons from 2003-11.
New Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson announced on Monday that Kevin Higgins, the head coach at The Citadel, will be joining the Demon Deacon coaching staff.
Higgins will serve as the assistant head coach and will coach a yet to be determined position on offense.
“I am extremely excited that Kevin Higgins has accepted our offer to join our football staff at Wake Forest,” said Clawson. “Kevin has wealth of football knowledge gained as a head coach and also through his experience in the NFL as a quarterbacks and wide receivers coach. He will be a great addition to our staff.”
Higgins was a 99-83-1 record in 16 years as a head coach. He was the head coach for seven seasons at Lehigh from 1994-2000, leading the Mountain Hawks to 56-25-1 record and three appearances in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema says that Auburn isn’t playing fair when it comes to game tape.
“There are just some clips that haven’t — shall we say, the TV copy doesn’t match the film copy,” Bielema told reporters Monday. “And it’s something we have kind of been aware of now for the last week and half in getting our preparation.
“So we can use other film and stuff like that to make sure we are getting the full picture.”
The missing clips Bielema is referring to involve Auburn’s “swinging gate” formation used on extra points. The Tigers used the formation on extra points to convert two-point conversions early in the season.
Bielema said the Arkansas staff was not aware of the formation until it compared TV and game footage.
“So, if I hadn’t watched the TV copy, or if our guys hadn’t had a the time to go back and review, we would have never known that to happen,” Bielema said. “I’m sure it’s a glitch. I know Gus stands for everything that’s right and (has) great faith in doing things right. So I’m sure it’s just a glitch that they’ll get to the bottom of.”
Bielema brought up the matter unprompted by reporters, and, as an al.com report pointed out, he appears to have violated an SEC rule by doing so.
“If teams believe violations of the video exchange policies have occurred, it should be reported immediately to the SEC supervisor of officials and not be discussed in the media,” according to the rule in the SEC’s bylaws.
This isn’t Bielema’s first issue involving game film. Last season at Wisconsin, he refused to share film with Oregon State because the Beavers’ film of their season opener was lost due to a hurricane.
For its part, the SEC office considers any discussions concerning film discrepancies confidential and will not comment publicly, but a league source told al.com that it did not have a major issue with the film discrepancy.
[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hen Alabama’s offensive line job came earlier this month, one of Nick Saban’s first calls was to Arkansas assistant Sam Pittman.
Pittman, who had joined Bret Bielema’s staff just two months before, stayed loyal to his new boss and the move paid off with a contract extension and hefty raise.
According to Robbie Nieswanger of the Northwest Arkansas Times, Pittman will now be paid $500,000 (up from $275,000) and received a two-year contract extension through June 30, 2016.
Bielema was excited to hang onto his new line coach, especially when Saban was the one calling.
“It’s been good to keep some guys, especially when you get in some in-conference battles,” Bielema said. “I know this: my coaches think we have a great situation here. I think they like being here. I think they’re very intrigued and excited about the environment, the culture.”
Pittman is now the third-highest paid member of the Razorback staff. Coordinators Jim Chaney and Chris Ash earn $550,000 per year.
Pittman spent the 2012 season on Derek Dooley’s staff at Tennessee. Before that, he had a five-year stint at North Carolina (2007-11).
A 19-year coaching veteran, Pittman’s career also includes stops at Northern Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Western Michigan, Oklahoma and Cincinnati.
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[dropcap]F[/dropcap]ormer Wisconsin offensive line coach Bart Miller has been named offensive line coach at New Mexico State.
Last season, Miller was in his second year as a graduate assistant at Wisconsin when he was promoted to offensive line coach.
The Badgers had one of their worst rushing performances in years against Oregon State in week two, gaining just 35 yards on 23 carries and scoring only seven points in a 10-7 loss.
Bret Bielema promptly fired coach Mike Markuson and promoted Miller.
“There wasn’t a lot of time to think about it,” Miller said. “We had to get ready to go.”
Slowly but surely the Badgers’ line came around.
Wisconsin gained 467 yards on the ground vs. Purdue and a few weeks later rushed for a school-record 564 yards and seven touchdowns at Indiana. In the Big Ten title game, Wisconsin piled up 539 yards on the ground and eight touchdowns in a 70-31 rout of Nebraska.
“He got us all back on one page, got us all together as a unit instead of five individuals, which we lost there for a little bit,” sophomore offensive tackle tackle Rob Havenstein said. “We started getting back to trying to be the best in the country.”
The turnaround helped Miller earn the title of Big Ten’s Best Assistants by ESPN.com.
“Obviously, with his experience in taking a team all the way to the Rose Bowl is a big plus for our program,” interim NMSU head coach Doug Martin said in a release. “We are excited to have Bart (Miller) as a member of our staff.”
A native of Omaha, Neb., Miller played his college ball at the University of New Mexico. He worked in the Chicago Blackhawks’ front office before becoming a graduate assistant at New Mexico State in 2010.
South Carolina hires Deke Adams
Steve Spurrier has hired North Carolina assistant Deke Adams as defensive line coach. Adams replaces Brad Lawing, who less than 48 hours ago became defensive line coach at Florida.
Details of his South Carolina contract are not yet known, but he was scheduled to make $315,000 at North Carolina in 2013. Adams made $300,000 in total compensation in 2012.
Adams came to North Carolina in 2012 with head coach Larry Fedora. Before that, he spent three years under at Southern Miss, where he also played (1991-94).
Adams began his coaching career in 1997 when he accepted a position at Jacksonville State. He coached at Pearl River Community College (1998-2002), Ouachita Baptist (2002-05), North Carolina A&T (2006-07), and Louisiana-Monroe (2008).
Syracuse announces new staff members
New Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer introduced several members of his new staff at a press conference Monday.
Incoming offensive coordinator George McDonald and defensive coordinator Chuck Bullough met with members of the the media. Shafer also officially announced the hiring of DeAndre Smith, who, as we reported in last Thursday’s Daily Scoop, left New Mexico to become running backs coach. Also introduced were new quarterbacks coach Tim Lester and linebackers coach Clark Lea.
Both of ‘Cuse’s new coordinators have previous experience working with Shafer. Bullough coached linebackers at Western Michigan in 2005 under Shafer, who was defensive coordinator, while McDonald served alongside Shafer as receivers coach at Northern Illinois from 2001-03, and as offensive coordinator at Western Michigan in 2005-06. McDonald had been hired by Bret Bielema as receivers on the new Arkansas staff, but left after a month for the chance to become a coordinator.
“It’s just great to get the band back together with people that have the same philosophical values as to how you develop young men,” Shafer said.
Lester spent the past five years as head coach of D-III Elmhurst (Ill.) College in New York. Lester starred at quarterback at Western Michigan from 1996-99 his coaching career at Elmhurst in 2002. His first Division I job was at Western Michigan in 2005 where coached quarterbacks under head coach Bill Cubit, on the same staff with McDonald as offensive coordinator and Shafer running the defense.
Lea spent last season at Bowling Green. Prior to that, he spent three seasons coaching linebackers at UCLA (2009-12) and was an assistant coach at South Dakota State in 2007-08. He was a graduate assistant at UCLA in 2006 and a defensive intern in 2005.
Steve Morrison, who coached linebackers last season, left the program for personal reasons. Receivers coach Rob Moore and defensive line coach Tim Daoust are expected to be retained.