Kiffin on 'Bama vs. Gators: 'I think one poll got it right'

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If you were to look up the phrase “lightning rod” in a collegiate football dictionary circa 2009, there’d be a good chance you’d see the boyish visage of Lane Kiffin staring back at you.

Love him, hate him, despise him, the new Tennessee head coach has proven to be nothing short of sheer entertainment for his supporters and despicable fodder for his voluminous detractors during his ten months in Knoxville.

Since the regular season began, though, and with his team eventually toddler-walking to a middlin’ 3-3 record, Kiffin has pretty much kept his collegiate coaching precociousness to himself.

Until now.

Following an offseason highlighted by charges of illegal recruiting shenanigans levied by Kiffin toward Urban Meyer and his Florida program — and a sheepish mea culpa — Kiffin has made his feelings known as to who the best team in the country should be ahead of his first showdown with Alabama.

And it’s not the program that’s been the target of his most pointed barbs and happens to reside at the top of the current BcS standings.

“I think one poll got it right,” Kiffin said, obviously referring to the Associated Press poll pushing ‘Bama over Florida. “If you watch football and pay attention, I don’t think there’s any doubt who the No. 1 team is. Alabama has a great team — very well-coached, extremely talented, great special teams, great on offense, great on defense.”

Certainly, Kiffin is being somewhat self-serving in pumping up an upcoming opponent at the expense of a previous foe he had publicly dissed.  But, still…

“I think one poll got it right.”

That’s good.  Damn good.

The more I hear from Kiffin, and the more I see what he’s doing on Saturdays, I’ll be damned if that lil’ ankle-nipper might not be putting together a football program whose bite can match the coach’s yelp.

Eventually.

Seth Collins leaving Oregon State a second time

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Seth Collins‘ winding journey in Corvallis has taken yet another twist.

After asking for it, Collins has been granted a release from his Oregon State scholarship, the school has confirmed. The junior wide receiver has already parted ways with the team, and no specific reason for the departure has been given.

This marks the second time that Collins has left the Beavers football program.  In January of 2016, Collins, amidst speculation that he would be moved from quarterback to wide receiver, made the decision to transfer; three months later, he returned to OSU — as a receiver.

Last season, Collins was second on the team in catches (36) and yards (418).  After three games this season, Collins was ruled out indefinitely because of what was described by the team as a health-related issue; he didn’t play again for the Beavers in 2017.  In the three games in which he played this season, he caught 12 passes for 130 yards and a touchdown.

That illness was unrelated to the unspecified health event last season that left him hospitalized and caused him to miss not only the last two games of 2016 but spring practice this year as well.

If Collins moves on to another FBS school, it’s believed he’ll have to sit out the 2018 season.  That would leave him with one season of eligibility that he can use in 2019.

It was thought that, when Collins left the first time, he was headed to Northern Illinois, so that’s certainly something to keep an eye on moving forward.

Minnesota assistant Ed Warinner tweets he’s ‘never been contacted’ about Kent State job

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You just have to love the vagaries of the annual coaching rumor mill.

The offensive line coach and running-game coordinator at Minnesota, Ed Warinner has been mentioned as a potential replacement for Paul Haynes as the head coach at Kent State.  In fact, just yesterday, the former Ohio State and Notre Dame assistant had been labeled as a “strong candidate” for the opening.

Thursday night, however, FootballScoop.com tweeted that Warinner is no longer a candidate.

Less than 20 minutes after that tweet, Warinner took to his personal Twitter to confirm he is not only not a candidate for the job but claimed that he has “never been contacted by anyone involved with the school.” Left unsaid is whether those representing or associated with him had been in contact with the university.

Kansas defensive coordinator Clint Bowen (HERE) and Syracuse offensive coordinator Sean Lewis (HERE) are the latest names du jour connected to the opening at the MAC school.

Kent State’s one of two jobs at the FBS level that remain open, although the other, Louisiana, could be closed in short order.

Report: Louisiana offers head coach job to Arizona State OC Billy Napier

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So much for that plan.

The odd marriage of Arizona State and long-time but not-in-a-long-time NFL coach Herm Edwards was made even odder by the fact that Edwards was retaining Todd Graham‘s entire offensive coaching staff.  Less than two weeks into his tenure, however, there could be a glitch in the plans to help ease Edwards’s return to coaching as 247Sports.com is reporting that Louisiana (the school formerly known as Louisiana-Lafayette) has offered its head-coaching job to Billy Napier.

The 38-year-old Napier had just completed his first season as ASU’s offensive coordinator.  He was also given the title of associate head coach upon Edwards’ hiring.

Penn State defensive coordinator Brent Pry was also one of the potential candidates for the Louisiana job who interviewed for the opening.

Whoever gets the job with the Ragin’ Cajuns will be replacing Mark Hudspeth, fired earlier this month after seven years with the program.

Arkansas assistant Vernon Hargreaves added to Mizzou’s staff

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Vernon Hargreaves wasn’t retained by the new coaching staff in Fayetteville, but he’ll end up remaining in the SEC anyway.

Missouri confirmed Thursday that Hargreaves has been hired by Barry Odom and added to the second-year head coach’s staff.  The veteran assistant will serve as Odom’s inside linebackers coach.

“I’ve known Vernon for a number of years and have always respected the way his position plays the game,” said Odom in a statement distributed by the school. “He will be a great teacher and mentor for our student-athletes. His experience will be so valuable for our program; I’m excited about Vernon and his family joining our Mizzou family.”

Hargreaves spent the past three seasons as the linebackers coach at Arkansas.  Most notably, he served in the same capacity at Miami from 1998-2005.

Hargreaves also spent time on staffs at Houston (2013-14), South Florida (2010-12), East Carolina (2007-09), Florida International (2006) and UConn (1985-97).  He was also the special teams coordinator at USF and ECU in addition to being a position coach.