You just knew it was coming, right? You just knew that, in the week leading up to the biggest game of the season thus far, Lane Kiffin would say something to work his way into the Championship Week conversation.
Of course, the Tennessee head coach didn’t disappoint. And, of course, that something was yet another dig in the general direction of his BFF Urban Meyer.
During an interview with WNML-AM in Knoxville, Kiffin was asked about the upcoming SEC Championship game between Florida and Alabama.
“It’s kind of hard to call,” Kiffin said by way of the Mobile Press-Register. “There’s a bunch of great players on both teams. Florida has so much speed. I think you’ll see Alabama will outscheme Florida, and Florida has given up 28 sacks this year when a bunch of guys come free. But the problem is Superman (quarterback Tim Tebow) is back there. It comes down to can you tackle him.
“It will be a real interesting matchup. Florida has better players, and Alabama has better coaches, so we’ll see.”
Simply put, Kiffin just can’t control himself when it comes to the Florida head coach. It’s almost as if he’s the third-grade boy sitting in class behind a girl with pigtails.
He just has to yank on those pigtails, even though the girl outweighs him by 120 pounds and has kicked his ass in the past for doing that very thing.
While Meyer may not agree, I’m slowly turning the corner and beginning to believe that Kiffin is good for college football in general and the SEC specifically.
If he can coach and build a football program half as well as he runs his mouth, the Volunteers have themselves a keeper. And Meyer will have a verbal thorn in his side for years to come.
UCLA head coach Chip Kelly may have his offensive line coach. According to multiple reports on Thursday, UCLA will add Justin Frye to the coaching staff to fill the vacancy at offensive line coach. Football Scoop was among the first to report the news, and Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated has also reported the same development via Twitter.
Frye served as the offensive line coach at Boston College, where the Eagles have established themselves with a strong running game behind an improved offensive line. Frye will be expected to produce similar results with the Bruins as Kelly looks to bring the program up to a conference championship pedigree as quickly as possible.
Phil Trautwein was recently named as a new member of the Yale coaching staff in the Ivy League, where he was to be the offensive line coach. Now, he will instead return to Boston College, where his coaching career started. Trautwein was a graduate assistant at Boston College from 2013 through 2015 before spending two seasons as a special teams coordinator and tight ends coach at Davidson. The former NFL player and Florida Gator spent four seasons in the NFL with brief stops with the St. Louis Rams, Cleveland Browns, New Orleans Saints and San Diego Chargers.
UCLA’s previous offensive line coach, Hank Fraley, has moved on to the NFL to coach the position with the Detroit Lions.
The SEC may be packing up their media day extravaganza and moving from Alabama to Atlanta, but this year’s media day schedule shows the SEC will still carefully roll out plenty of storylines over the course of a four-day love fest for the conference.
The SEC is setting up shop at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, which feels like a great landing spot for the new media day fun for the SEC. The conference has established Atlanta as a destination point for the end of the regular season and the city just played host to the first College Football Playoff national championship game between two teams from the same conference, the SEC (Alabama and Georgia). So why not kickstart a new football season with the media in Atlanta too?
New Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher will be the headline act for the first of the four media days for the SEC. Fisher will make his SEC Media Days debut as head coach of the Aggies on Monday, July 16. Other coaches speaking that day will be LSU’s Ed Orgeron and Kentucky’s Mark Stoops. Day 2 will be an interesting one with Georgia’s Kirby Smart in the spotlight coming off the SEC championship last fall and new Florida head coach Dan Mullen addresses the media for the first time as the Gators coach, although the former Mississippi State head coach is no stranger to the SEC media day circuit by now. Day 2 will also be the first SEC Media Day introduction for new Arkansas head coach Chad Morris and second-year Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke (Luke took over as head coach in Oxford after SEC Media Days last summer following the removal of Hugh Freeze not long after media days).
But when is Alabama head coach Nick Saban speaking, you ask? Day 3 (Wed., July 18 for those keeping track). Saban headlines the third day of the media day event for the SEC. Two other coaches speaking that day will be new head coaches in the SEC with former Saban assistant Jeremy Pruitt representing Tennessee and Joe Moorhead of Mississippi State stepping to the SEC podium for the first time. Missouri’s Barry Odom is also scheduled on day three. Day 4 will feature Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, South Carolina’s Will Muschamp, and Vanderbilt’s Derek Mason.
Player representatives for each school in addition to any other speakers will be announced at a later time.
After stepping down from his position as head coach at South Alabama, Joey Jones will remain in the coaching game this fall. According to a report from Steve Robertson of 247 Sports, Jones will join the Mississippi State coaching staff and serve as the special teams coordinator for head coach Joe Moorhead.
Jones was the head coach of the upstart South Alabama program from 2008 through 2017. As head coach of the Jaguars, Jones was 52-50 and the program played in two bowl games. Among the highlights for Jones during his time at South Alabama, ironically, was a 21-20 upset victory over Mississippi State to open the 2016 season. South Alabama was a four-touchdown underdog against the Bulldogs and survived for an upset win after Mississippi State kicker missed an extra point attempt. Mississippi State held leads of 17-0 and 20-7 in the game before letting it slip away.
The hiring of Jones continues a trend for Moorhead in building his first coaching staff with the Bulldogs. Although Moorhead has his own experience as a head coach prior to his arrival at Mississippi State, Moorhead has been building his coaching staff with assistants with previous head coaching experience as well. Tight ends coach Mark Hudspeth and quarterback coach Andrew Breiner each bring head coaching experience to the program that, in theory, will make for a more competent coaching staff on the sidelines this fall and moving forward.
Jones will replace Scott Fountain, who left Mississippi State for Georgia amid the coaching carousel this offseason.
In filling a hole on his Rutgers coaching staff, Chris Ash turned to a fellow Big Ten school to do it.
RU confirmed Thursday morning that Ash has added Noah Joseph as one of his 10 Scarlet Knight assistants. Joseph has been named as the football program’s co-defensive coordinator and will also serve as safeties coach.
Joseph had spent the past four seasons coaching safeties at Indiana. He was also that program’s defensive recruiting coordinator.
“I’d like to welcome Noah and his family to our football program,” said Ash in a statement. “His extensive experience coaching defensive backs in the Big Ten will be a tremendous asset for our players. He is a great teacher and outstanding recruiter.”
Prior to his time in Bloomington, his first on-field job at the FBS level was at North Texas as safeties coach from 2012-13.