Wednesday Night One-Liners

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Pat Forde of ESPN.com rips the AFCA a new one for their decision to make all ballots unavailable for public consumption, says it’s “coaches being cowards“.Andy Staples of SI.com piles on the AFCA as well, albeit with a little less vitriol.Gainesville Sun: “Despite all the money that will be coming into the league starting next year with two lucrative, new 15-year television contracts, Mike Slive says the SEC is not recession-proof.”Joe Paterno reiterates that All-Big Ten linebacker Navorro Bowman will not miss any playing time due to suspension, provided he keeps his nose clean between now and the beginning of the season.New Mexico State coach DeWayne Walker has drunk driving charge dismissed.Birmingham News: “The SEC is considering sponsoring NCAA legislation to cap football signing classes at 28 players, or unilaterally make it a conference-wide rule.”The Eugene Register-Guard writes that with Darron Thomas moving up to No. 2 on Oregon’s depth chart, the chances are almost nil that the quarterback will be a redshirt this season.Florida State, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Ohio State and USF top the list of prospective schools for highly-recruited Tampa Catholic quarterback Christian Green.The San Jose Mercury News makes the case that while Justin Roper‘s decision to transfer from Oregon may not be making headlines now, it could be big news come September or October.Speaking of Roper, the quarterback explains to The Oregonian the reasoning behind his decision to leave the school.And speaking of Oregon transfers, head coach Chip Kelly talks about enduring three high-profile players leaving his squad in less than a month.Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis gives his thought his conference’s meetings last week: “The Big Ten meetings were, for all intents and purposes, boring, with no action taken on anything.”According to the Tampa Tribune, “the SEC has the top salary average for all of the 10 full-time coaching positions, with the exception of offensive coordinator.”Ole Miss’ Houston Nutt gives his two copper Lincoln’s on what it takes to beat Florida.The Idaho Statesman says let the Boise State-Oregon hype begin.Seven of the twelve verbal commitments in Florida’s 2010 recruiting class are nominees for the 2010 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.A shift in philosophy has West Virginia seeking throw-first quarterbacks on the recruiting trail.Second-year coordinator John Skladany is looking forward to the challenges the Conference USA’s offenses will present to his Houston defense.The Birmingham News has an extended Q&A with new Auburn head coach Gene Chizik.Four-star tight end Alex Welch chooses Notre Dame over home state Ohio State.230-pound Maryland running back Marcus Coker commits to Minnesota.Louisville Courier-Journal: “The University of Louisville football program gained commitments from two of the state’s top-10 Class of 2010 prospects in the past five days.”California high school cornerback Matt Simmons gives a verbal commitment to Washington State.Three-star cornerback Terrance Mitchell commits to Oregon.Organizers announce that the Motor City Bowl will be played on December 26 at Detroit’s Ford Field.Mark your calendars accordingly: First Annual Urban-Lane Grudge Match set for 3:30 EST on September 19.The Denver Post takes an extensive look at Colorado offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau.South Carolina’s new assistant strength & conditioning coach, Joe Connolly, had his puppy stolen during a break-in at his home last week.Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun is looking forward to his trip overseas to visit the troops.Marshall football players utilizing yoga as part of their summer conditioning program.St. Petersburg Times: “Former Florida State standout linebacker A.J. Nicholson was arrested by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday afternoon for a violation of probation in an infamous felony case from 2006.”Head coach Dan Hawkins‘ streak of landing the top in-state recruit could be coming to an end as quarterback Austin Hinder snubs Colorado in favor of a verbal commitment to Cal.New York high schooler Jerome Lewis chooses Virginia Tech over East Carolina, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Purdue and Syracuse.Birmingham News: “Curtis Luper says Auburn accomplished much during its recently-completed four-week recruiting tour of high school.”Illinois head coach Ron Zook to throw
out the first pitch at Wrig
ley Field
this Sunday. (Hopefully he doesn’t Baba Booey the sixty-footer.)Zook is also amazed at the longevity of Penn State head coach Joe Paterno, says he can’t imagine many, if any, current coaches reaching that level.Thanks to four decades of service to the Special Olympics of Oklahoma, former Sooners head coach Barry Switzer will receive the 2009 John F. Kennedy Community Service Award from Oklahoma Council Knights of Columbus.The father of University of Alabama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain has passed away.

Wazzu statement: ‘The tragic news today surrounding Tyler Hilinksi is devastating to all’

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Tuesday night, the Pullman Police Department confirmed that 21-year-old Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski was found dead in his apartment of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.  Very early Wednesday morning, the football program and athletic department released statements addressing the devastating developments.

HEAD FOOTBALL COACH MIKE LEACH
We are deeply saddened to hear the news of Tyler’s passing. He was an incredible young man and everyone who had the privilege of knowing him was better for it. The entire WSU community mourns as thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

INTERIM ATHLETIC DIRECTOR John Johnson
The tragic news today surrounding Tyler Hilinski is devastating to all. Tyler was a tremendous individual, great friend and teammate, and he will be deeply missed. Our hearts go out to his family and friends.

Earlier tonight, the football team was brought together and informed of the tragedy. There, they were met by campus and department counseling and psychological services, including athletics’ on-staff clinical psychologist and a licensed mental health counselor, along with WSU Athletics medical team. The university will continue to coordinate and provide ongoing counseling care for all student-athletes as long as needed.

Washington State QB Tyler Hilinski found dead in apparent suicide

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There is utterly tragic and horrific news coming out of Pullman Tuesday night.

According to the Pullman Police Department, Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski was found dead at his apartment late Tuesday afternoon of what was described as an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. “A rifle was discovered next to Hilinski and a suicide note was found,” the police stated in a release.

Police officers were called to the residence at 7:30 p.m. ET (4:40 p.m. local time) for a wellness check after the redshirt sophomore failed to show up for a team activity earlier in the day.

Hilinski was just 21 years old.

As of this posting, there’s been no official response from the football program regarding the passing of Hilinski.  Wednesday, the university had been expected to announce the new athletic director replacing Bill Moos, Florida Atlantic’s Pat Chun; because of the football player’s death, that press conference will be rescheduled for a later date.

In place of Luke Falk, Hilinski started Wazzu’s Holiday Bowl loss to Michigan State.  With Falk off to the NFL, Hilinski was expected to be the Cougars’ starting quarterback in 2018.

Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to all of those impacted by Hilinski’s way-too-early passing.

Former Nebraska OL coach Mike Cavanaugh hired by Syracuse

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Dino Babers has added a very experienced trenchman to his Syracuse coaching staff.

The school confirmed Tuesday that Babers has hired Mike Cavanaugh as his next offensive line coach. In a coaching career that spans 32 seasons, Cavanaugh has been a line coach in some form or fashion for 31 of them.

“Mike has an outstanding track record of teaching and developing quality offensive linemen,” Babers said in a statement. “He’s done it successfully at every level in college as well as the pros. This was an opportunity to add someone whose knowledge and experience will greatly enhance our staff and benefit our players.”

The past three seasons, Cavanaugh was the line coach at Nebraska. At the FBS level, he’s also served as a line coach at Oregon State (2005-14) and Hawaii (1999-2004).

From 1997-98, Cavanaugh was the assistant offensive line coach for the NFL’s San Diego Chargers.

“I’d like to thank Coach Babers for this opportunity and for welcoming me into the Syracuse family,” Cavanaugh said. “He and his staff have coached some of the most prolific offenses in college football. I’m excited to learn from them and to be part of the championship-caliber program they are building at Syracuse.”

The 2018 season will mark the first time since 2004 Cavanaugh is not a part of a Mike Riley-coached staff.

Kevin Stepherson one of four dismissed by Notre Dame

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At least in South Bend, Kevin Stepherson‘s freefall is complete.

According to 247Sports.com, Stepherson, along with three other Notre Dame football players — sophomore running backs CJ Holmes and Deon McIntosh as well as junior defensive tackle Brandon Tiassum — have been dismissed from the Fighting Irish program.  No specific reason or reasons for the dismissals were given.

Stepherson was one of four Irish players who were suspended for the team’s Citrus Bowl matchup with LSU, with the wide receiver’s suspension stemming from a handful of off-field issues.

Dec. 15, Stepherson was arrested for shoplifting.  The day before that arrest, Stepherson was pulled over on a traffic stop and charged with marijuana possession, driving without a valid license and speeding (he was clocked doing 80 in a 60 mph zone). To make matters worse, at the time of his twin arrests the receiver was already on probation for a marijuana-related arrest in August of 2016.

Adding to the off-field issues, Stepherson was suspended for the first four games of the 2017 season for reasons unrelated to the arrest in August of 2016.

At the time of the second suspension, Stepherson led the Fighting Irish in receiving touchdowns with five and yards per catch at 18.9 despite missing one-third of the regular season because of the first suspension.  His 19 receptions and 359 receiving yards were both good for third on the team.

Another of the players who were dismissed, Holmes, was arrested along with Stepherson in the shoplifting incident.  Holmes ran for 32 yards on eight carries this season.

McIntosh was the fourth of the four players suspended for the bowl game.  At the time of his suspension, McIntosh was third on the team in rushing with 368 yards and five touchdowns.

Tiassum played very sparsely this past season, and wasn’t looking at much more playing time in 2018.