New recruiting rule will restrict coaches-in-waiting

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Right about now, there are probably quite a few upset people in the offices of the Texas football program.

According to the Dallas Morning News, the NCAA recently approved a new rule that limits the amount of contact a designated coach-in-waiting can have with recruits.  Basically, the coach-in-waiting will be forced to recruit under the same guidelines as head coaches, meaning less visits with potential recruits than other assistants on the staff.

Here’s the relevant information from the NCAA on the restrictions that have previously applied to head coaches, and will now apply to their designated successors: Head Coach Restrictions — Bowl Subdivision Football. Assistant Coach Publicly Designated as Institution’s Next Head Coach. Aninstitution’s assistant coach who has been publicly designated by the institution tobecome its next head coach shall be subject to the recruiting restrictions applicable to theinstitution’s head coach.

B. Bylaws: Amend, as follows: Limitations on Number of Evaluations — Football. In football, institutional staff membersshall be limited to three evaluations during the academic year during which the prospective studentathletecompetes or practices on any team. Not more than one evaluation may be used during the fallevaluation period and not more than two evaluations may be used during the April 15 through May 31evaluation period. An authorized off-campus recruiter may use one evaluation to assess theprospective student-athlete’s athletics ability and one evaluation to assess the prospective studentathlete’sacademic qualifications during the April 15 through May 31 evaluation period. If aninstitution’s coaching staff member conducts both an athletics and an academic evaluation of aprospective student-athlete on the same day during the April 15 through May 31 evaluation period,the institution shall be charged with the use of an academic evaluation only and shall be permitted toconduct a second athletics evaluation of the prospective student-athlete on a separate day during theevaluation period. Head Coach Restriction — Spring Evaluation Period. In bowl subdivision football,during the April 15 through May 31 evaluation period, the head coach [and any assistant coachwho has been publicly designated by the institution to become the next head coach (seeBylaw] shall not engage in off-campus recruiting activities, participating in off-campus recruiting activities, participating in an off-campus coaching clinic, visit a prospectivestudent-athlete’s educational institution for any reason or meet with a prospective studentathlete’scoach at an off-campus location.

Obviously, this new piece of legislation will affect Texas more than any other program in the country.

Will Muschamp was designated as the Longhorns’ coach-in-waiting in November of 2008.  He’s also one of the top recruiters in the country and one the reasons why the Longhorns pull in a Top Ten recruiting class year in and year out.

For those institutions and fans of the college football game who are against the idea of designating a coach-in-waiting, this is good news and one that we would think would all but eliminate the practice.

For Texas?  It sucks, to be blunt (Maryland too, I guess.).  But it will really have more of an impact on the Longhorns and seems to be a rule directed squarely at the school, even though it wasn’t as it was proposed by the Big East.

And Florida State can feel fortunate that it didn’t go into effect until after their best recruiter, Jimbo Fisher, officially took over for Bobby Bowden.

Kentucky QB Patrick Towles to transfer

Patrick Towles

Kentucky quarterback Patrick Towles will transfer, he announced in an Instagram post Sunday afternoon.

Towles leaves school as Kentucky’s sixth-most prolific passer, completing 427-of-759 passes for 5,099 yards with 24 touchdowns and 24 interceptions.

Once compared to Ben Roethlisberger, Towles’ career peeked in a 2014 game with then-No. 1 Mississippi State, as he completed 24-of-43 passes for 390 yards with two touchdowns in a 45-31 loss to the Bulldogs.

But Kentucky stumbled down the stretch, starting 5-1 and finishing 5-7, and Towles stumbled through a 2015 campaign in which he threw nine touchdowns against 14 interceptions.

He’d been passed by freshman Drew Barker by the end of the season, and threw only four passes in a loss to Louisville on Saturday.

A junior, Towles will complete his political science degree in December and be eligible for immediate playing time at a new destination in 2016.

Penn State fires offensive coordinator John Donovan

Penn State football practice, Sept 9, 2015

Penn State has fired offensive coordinator John Donovan, the program announced Sunday.

“I have tremendous respect for John and the work he has put in the last five years,” head coach James Franklin said in a statement. “I wish him and his family nothing but the best in the future.”

Donovan originally hooked up with Franklin when the two were at Maryland, then coordinated his offenses at Vanderbilt and later Penn State.

Despite playing with what many project to be a future first-round pick in quarterback Christian Hackenberg, Penn State ranked 101st nationally in scoring, 108th in total offense and 80th in yards per play.

Penn State dropped its final three games of the regular season and averaged only 14.6 points in its five losses.

Purdue retains head coach Darrell Hazell, fires both coordinators

Markell Jones
AP Photo

It’s never a good thing when a head coach has to fire both of his coordinators on the same day. Of course, it’s never a good thing to be 6-30, either.

Both are realities at Purdue, as the Boilers announced Sunday head coach Darrell Hazell will return for a fourth season in 2016, but offensive coordinator John Shoop, defensive coordinator Greg Hudson and defensive line coach Rubin Carter will not.

“I appreciate the efforts of each of those guys over the last three years,” Hazell said in a statement. “They are quality men who are well respected by their players and their peers, and I am disappointed that things didn’t work out better. But I believe that in order to turn around this program, we need to make some significant changes and move in a different direction at those positions.”

Purdue, 2-10 in 2015, ranked 115th nationally in yards per play and 112th in yards per play allowed.

Virginia Tech announces Justin Fuente as head coach; Bud Foster to stay on as DC

Associated Press

Justin Fuente is officially Virginia Tech’s new head coach. A day after reports linked the two parties, the Hokies made the match official by announcing the 39-year-old as their new head coach on Sunday afternoon.

“Justin is a very impressive individual who also happens to be one of the brightest offensive minds in college football,” Virginia Tech AD Whit Babcock said in a statement. “He elevated Memphis to unprecedented heights. His recruiting philosophy is progressive and comprehensive. Coach Fuente has displayed tremendous talent in evaluating players and developing young men as they strive to reach their full potential. Simply put, Coach Fuente exudes all the qualities that Hokies hold near and dear. We are excited to officially welcome Justin Fuente as the leader of the Virginia Tech football program.”

Fuente went 26-23 in four years as Memphis’s head coach, but his success runs far beyond a simple won-loss record. After going 7-17 in his first two seasons, Fuente guided the Tigers to a 19-6 mark in 2014-15, which included a 15-game winning streak, a No. 13 national ranking and a win over rival Ole Miss within that run.

Simply put, it was the absolute peak of modern Memphis football.

And now Fuente is tasked with taking Virginia Tech to new heights. The Hokies dominated the ACC throughout much of the 2000’s, taking conference crowns in 2004, 2007, 2008 and 2010. But as Florida State and Clemson have risen, Virginia Tech has fallen.

After posting 13 top-25 finishes in 14 seasons, the Hokies are set to conclude their fourth straight campaign outside the national rankings, going just 16-16 in ACC play over that span.

The offensive numbers state exactly why Fuente was hired, and what he must do in Blacksburg; Memphis ranks seventh nationally in scoring offense and eighth in passing efficiency, while Virginia Tech sits at 64th and 59th, respectively.

The cupboard is not bare, though. Virginia Tech is in the midst of a 23-year bowl streak, and Fuente has already secured one key commitment — longtime defensive coordinator Bud Foster has agreed to stay on staff.

“I’ve been privileged to work for a legendary coach who always did it the right way,” Foster said. “I enjoyed that chapter and the success we’ve had, however, I am equally excited for the next chapter and working for Justin. Justin and I share a vision for the future of our program. After spending time together, I’m convinced he’s the right person to continue building on the standard we’ve established at Virginia Tech. I’m truly looking forward to working with him and supporting him.”

Clearly, Babcock and the VT brass believe, a Fuente offense and a Foster defense are what the Hokies need to catch Clemson and Florida State.

Now it’s Fuente’s job to make that happen.