Well, that certainly didn’t take long.Less than three days after Jon Gruden was unexpectedly fired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the New York Daily News over the weekend raised the same trial balloon we floated in the immediate aftermath of the Chucky firing.According to the Daily News, and based on talks with a Tampa “peep”, rumor has it Notre Dame would buy out head coach Charlie Weis‘ contract as soon as the next recruiting class becomes official. The school would then hire Gruden, who has been linked to the job several times over the last seven years.Additionally, the paper reports, there’s a “weird vibe” going on around the Irish football program according to someone close to the team.While it seems farfetched that the Fighting Irish would make a change this long after the season had ended, the same could’ve been said for Gruden even being an available option at this point in time.
Not surprisingly, the Ol’ Ball Coach is coming home again.
Last month, Florida announced that it would be naming the field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in honor of Steve Spurrier, something the coach considered “to be the biggest, most special honor I have ever received.” Friday morning, UF announced that Spurrier’s name would continue on in another official capacity, revealing that Spurrier has been named “Ambassador and Consultant for the Florida Gators Athletic Department.”
Spurrier played at Florida from 1963-66, becoming the first player in Gators history to win the Heisman Trophy. He returned to Gainesville as the Head Ball Coach in 1990, going 122-27-1 in his 12 seasons with eight SEC East titles, six SEC championships, 10 top-10 finishes and a national championship in 1996.
He abruptly retired as the head coach at South Carolina in early October of 2015, finishing his coaching career with a record of 228-89-2 (.718). In February of this year, it was announced that Spurrier would serve as a special assistant for South Carolina president Harris Pastides and athletic director Ray Tanner.
Below are the pertinent quotes surrounding his latest appointment:
UF ATHLETIC DIRECTOR JEREMY FOLEY
“It’s a great day for the Gator Nation to be able to welcome Coach Spurrier back home. He has served as a tremendous ambassador to the University and the athletic department for 50-plus years and it’s only fitting that at this point in his career, he is back in Gainesville. Being a Gator has always meant so much to Coach Spurrier, but it means just as much to us have him come home.”
UF HEAD COACH JIM MCELWAIN
“I look forward to visiting with him on a lot of occasions and picking his brain on a number of issues. It’s a credit to Jeremy to get him back home where he belongs. More than anything I look forward to actually talking to him and being around him rather than just saying hello to his statue on my way to work every day.”
“My wife, Jerri, and I are extremely thrilled to be returning home to our alma mater, and to Gainesville where we met on campus over 50 years ago. I’m very appreciative to Athletic Director Jeremy Foley, Head Coach Jim McElwain and Phil Pharr of Gator Boosters for their role in making this happen.
“I also want to say thanks to the University of South Carolina for allowing me to be their coach from 2005 to 2015. Also a special thanks to all of the Gamecock players, coaches and fans that allowed our teams to set so many school records. I will now pull for South Carolina to win every game but one, just as I did when I pulled for Florida to win every game but one as the Gamecock coach. I will try my best to promote and assist in any way I can to help the Gators to continue to be one of the very best athletic programs in America. I admire what Coach McElwain and his staff accomplished last year. I’m anxious to watch the Gator football team as they strive to be the best in the SEC and the nation in the years ahead.”
I don’t care where your allegiances lie, this is a pretty damn cool story.
Earlier this week, ESPN‘s Chris Low took a poll of Big 12 and SEC head coaches, 23 in all, and asked them the following question: If you had a son who was an elite football prospect and could play for any coach in America other than yourself, who would be your first choice?
The usual suspects were mentioned, among them: Alabama’s Nick Saban, Clemson’s Dabo Swinney, Miami’s Mark Richt, Ohio State’s Urban Meyer. That venerable list received one vote apiece. Then there was Ole Miss’ Hugh Freeze and Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald with two votes apiece, and Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio and Stanford’s David Shaw with three each.
The top vote-getter? Bob Stoops of Oklahoma with five.
In an interview with Guerin Emig of Tulsa World in part regarding this poll specifically, Stoops relayed just how much it meant to him to be that respected by his counterparts.
It means more to me, maybe, than anything,” he said Thursday.
“That my peers, coaches, feel I treat kids the right way,” he said, “I don’t know, hopefully a good role model and mentor to them and coach, as well. It means a great deal to me.”
“I have such respect for all the coaches out there at all levels,” Stoops said. “So yeah, there’s no doubt that that’s very flattering. I’m honored they feel that way.
It’s one thing for a parent outside your profession to say they’d want you to coach/mentor/instruct/oversee/supervise your child. When it’s members of your own profession? As evidenced by the OU coach’s response, it doesn’t get any better or more humbling than that.
Being buried on the depth chart will ofttimes lead a player to move on and search for playing time elsewhere, and that’s what appears to be happening to the quarterback position at Tulane.
According to a report from the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the newspaper has learned that Devin Powell has decided to transfer out of the Green Wave football program. It also appears a destination for the redshirt season is known: Nicholls State.
As the Colonels play at the FCS level, Powell would be able to play immediately in what will be his final season of collegiate eligibility.
For what it’s worth, Tulane officials have yet to address Powell’s status with the team moving forward.
Over the past four seasons, Powell started four games. He finished his Green Wave career by completing 51 percent of his passes (116-229) for 1,204 yards, seven touchdowns and eight interceptions. The New Orleans product also rushed for minus-43 yards on 42 carries, and was sacked 21 times.
According to the Times-Picayune, Powell exited the spring third on the Green Wave’s depth chart.
The bad news for San Diego State is that its backfield has taken a hit. The good news? They still have Donnell Pumphrey.
On the negative front, head coach Rocky Long indicated that, more than likely, Marcus Stamps will miss the entire 2016 season. The redshirt junior running back recently underwent surgery on his back, the nature of which wasn’t specified by the coach.
“He won’t be back this season, probably,” Long said according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. “He felt something in his back during spring practice. They kept checking him out, then they suggested he get it operated on.”
Stamps played in the first eight games of the 2015 season before a knee injury essentially sidelined him the the remaining three regular season games plus two in the postseason — the Mountain West Championship game and Hawaii Bowl. During the time he was healthy, Stamps ran for 33 yards on 16 carries.
As long as Pumphrey is healthy, though, the Aztecs’ running game should be in fine shape.
Pumphrey’s 1,651 yards rushing were seventh nationally last year. Entering his senior season, Pumphrey needs just 318 yards to surpass Marshall Faulk (4,589 from 1991-93) for the most in school history.