Athletic Directors are supposed to raise money, give speeches, hire and fire coaches and do it mostly behind the scenes. They aren’t supposed to run onto the field and argue with officials.
In fine fashion, it was announced that Alabama and USC (yes, THAT USC, not the bogus USC in the SEC) would be kicking off the 2016 season in Dallas at the Jerry-Dome. Alabama has sort of made a habit of these types of games under Saban.
USC offensive coordinator Clay Helton, who guided the Trojans to a 45-20 victory over Fresno State on Saturday in the Las Vegas Bowl, will be retained by new coach Steve Sarkisan, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Sarkisian has hired three former Washington assistants — Johnny Nansen, Keith Heyward and Peter Sirmon — but is still in the process of assembling his Trojans staff.
A source at USC with knowledge of the hiring process told the Times that megarecruiter Tosh Lupoi’s chance of being hired by USC was now “less than zero,” as both USC and Washington are investing whether the ace recruiter violated NCAA rules by paying for private tutoring and online classes for a recruit.
Barring a last minute change of heart, blockbuster names like Nick Saban and Jim Harbaugh appear to be off the board for Texas.
Multiple sources tell us that Jimbo Fisher has emerged as the most likely target for the Longhorns. Other coaches like Baylor’s Art Briles and LSU’s Les Miles are also garnering interest according to informed sources.
HookEm247 reports Briles, Charlie Strong of Louisville, Jim Mora of UCLA, Pat Fitzgerald or Northwestern, Al Golden of Miami and James Franklin of Vanderbilt are among the candidates that could emerge as the search progresses.
Kentucky coach Mark Stoops expects his coaching staff to remain intact.
Florida has officially announced the departure of linebackers and special teams coach Jeff Choate. A former longtime Boise State assistant, Choate is expected to be heading to Washington to join Chris Petersen’s staff.
Will Muschamp added Coleman Hutzler as special teams coach on Friday.
Hutzler is a former Gators grad assistant that spent the last two years at New Mexico, where the special teams units made immediate improvements.
Sources tell us new Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson was very close to becoming the new offensive coordinator for the Gators.
Where is Muschamp now? It’s anyone’s guess.
Most of the initial names we heard (Anderson, Arizona State’s Mike Norvell, UCLA’s Noel Mazzone) have agreed to new deals. Nebraska’s Tim Beck may or may not still be on the board.
CBSSports.com’s Jeremy Fowler reports that Ohio State co-OC Ed Warinner has interviewed for the Army job. Warinner was an Army assistant and coordinator from 1987-99.
Tampa Bay Bucs offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan, a former Army player, is also expected to interview for the job.
Ohio State co-defensive coordinator Everett Withers accepted the James Madison head coaching position Friday.
Utah has hired former Wyoming coach Dave Christensen as its offensive coordinator.
Kyle Whittingham used both Dennis Erickson and Brian Johnson as co-offensive coordinators in 2013. Both Erickson and Johnson have been demoted to running backs and quarterbacks coach, respectively.
Boise State quarterbacks coach Jonathan Smith will join Chris Petersen‘s staff at Washington.
With the departure of offensive coordinator Blake Anderson, two names to watch are current tight ends coach Walt Bell and current Texas co-offensive coordinator Darrell Wyatt.
Wyatt was one of Fedora’s first hires when he first landed the Southern Miss job six seasons ago.
Texas A&M has promoted Jake Spavital to offensive coordinator and will take over play-calling duties.
Clarence McKinney, who served as the offensive coordinator, playcaller and running backs coach this past season for the Aggies, will remain on staff as the running backs coach.
USC and Washington are investing whether Huskies assistant and ace recruiter Tosh Lupoi violated NCAA rules by paying for private tutoring and online classes for a recruit.
According to an LA Times report, the allegations surround the recruitment of Andrew Basham, a former defensive lineman at Lynnwood (Wa.) High.
Basham signed a letter of intent with Washington last February but failed to qualify academically.
Mike Davis, a throwing coach who helped Basham win a state shotput title, told The Times that Lupoi, “gave him $3,000 to cover private tutoring for Basham through a test preparation company. Davis said he also received $1,500 from Lupoi to reimburse Basham’s father for online classes Andrew could use to raise his grade-point average.”
Lupoi, who played at Cal from 2000-05, joined new USC coach Steve Sarkisian’s staff at Washington in 2012 after serving as Cal’s defensive line coach for four seasons. He is widely regarded as one of the nation’s top recruiters.
The Times said Lupoi did not return phone calls for interview requests, but did respond to the allegations in a text message that read, “Well that’s certainly false. I deny such allegations of violating NCAA rules w/ the recruitment of Andrew Basham.”
USC officials confirmed that Lupoi is among the coaches that Sarkisian listed as potential candidates to become Trojans assistants, and the school said that all possible names were vetted. Last week, both USC’s compliance office and the Times received a tip from someone who said Davis had been the middleman in a transaction between Lupoi and a recruit.
After speaking with both Davis and also with Sarkisian, USC’s vice president for athletic compliance David Roberts told The Times that he does not believe Sarkisian knew about the alleged activity.
“We don’t have concerns about Steve’s involvement,” Roberts said.
Sarkisian has hired three former Washington assistants — Johnny Nansen, Keith Heyward and Peter Sirmon — but is still in the process of assembling his USC staff.
A source at USC with knowledge of the hiring process told the Times that Lupoi’s chance of being hired by USC was now “less than zero.”
Lupoi is currently part of Washington’s interim staff that is preparing for Dec. 27 Fight Hunger Bowl game against BYU. New Washington coach Chris Petersen has yet to finalize his staff.
Shondell Reed, Washington’s senior associate athletic director for compliance, said Lupoi informed him last Friday that The Times was about to publish an article about allegations regarding Basham’s recruitment. Reed then alerted the Pac-12 Conference office and was told that USC had received a tip and was investigating.
Reed told the Times that that he did not know the specifics of the allegations but that Lupoi “denies any wrongdoing or violations of NCAA rules. He said he doesn’t know why he would be accused of this and vehemently denies doing anything wrong.”
Davis is scheduled to meet with officials from Washington and USC in Seattle on Friday.
USC receiver Marqise Lee hasn’t officially announced that he’s skipping his final season with the Trojans, but it doesn’t take much reading between the lines to see that’s where he’s headed.
Here’s the full quote:
“Right now, you’ve still got a game going on. Thinking about that can affect the way I play. … I try not to think about it as much. Just go through this last little game not worrying about it because I am trying to have a great last game.”
With Lee twice referring to the LVB as his “last” game, you don’t exactly have to wait for the official announcement to begin thinking about where he fits in the 2014 NFL Draft. Lee, a true junior, is expected to be one of the first receivers taken.
In his first two seasons with the Trojans, Lee totaled 191 receptions and 25 touchdowns, including 118 catches and and 14 scores in 2012.
Following Matt Barkley’s departure and battling through injuries, a coaching change, Lee has just 50 receptions and two touchdowns in nine games this season.
For an updated list of college underclassmen that have declared for the NFL Draft, click HERE.
With Bryan Harsin named head coach at his alma mater Boise State, Arkansas State defensive coordinator John Thompson has been named the Red Wolves’ interim head coach.
ASU’s last three head coaches — Ole Miss’ Hugh Freeze, Auburn’s Gus Malzhan to Auburn, and Harsin — each stayed with the school just one season before moving on to bigger and better things, which should help the school attract some interesting candidates this time around.
A couple of interesting names to keep an eye on include Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee, an Arkansas native who was with Malzahn with the Red Wolves, former USC assistant Ed Orgeron and Cincinnati offensive coordinator Eddie Gran.
Ravens assistant offensive line coach Todd Washington has been offered the USC o-line job by new Trojans coach Steve Sarkisian.
As first reported by CBS’ Bruce Feldman, Hawaii has fired defensive coordinator Thom Kaumeyer and linebackers coach Tony Tuioti.
Maryland defensive line coach Greg Gattuso has hired as head coach at Albany, according to multiple media reports.
Kate Hairopoulos of the Dallas Morning News reports that Texas A&M’s Board of Regents will hold a special conference call at 2:30 p.m. Thursday. The school’s president is seeking permission to execute a new contract with the head coach Kevin Sumlin.
Sumlin and athletic director Eric Hyman have an agreement in place for $5 million annually, up from $3.1 million per season.
Details of the contract should become available by open record request soon after details are finalized.
Iowa State offensive line coach Chris Klenakis will interview for the vacant offensive coordinator position.
Ole Miss has announced a one-year extension for Hugh Freeze. His base salary to will increase to $3 million per year. The salary pool for Freeze’s assistants will also increase by $400,000.
The offensive coordinator job at Florida remains in flux. We’re told the leading three candidates are UNC’s Blake Anderson, Arizona State’s Mike Norvell and Nebraska’s Tim Beck.
Sources indicate UCLA’s Noel Mazzone had an early interest, but decided to stay in Westwood.
Ball State offensive coordinator Rich Skrosky will be named head coach at FCS Elon.
Skrosky was an assistant at Elon from 2006-10 under former head coach Pete Lembo.
Photo: Don Ryan, AP