UT's Dooley says 'a good headline in March' won't 'win you any football games'

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During his first appearance as Tennessee’s head coach at the SEC spring meetings, Derek Dooley spent a good amount of time praising the head coach of the reigning national champs.  And also found time to take a lil’ jab at the “vocal stylings” of his Volunteer predecessor.

The first-year coach was asked if he followed the drama created by Lane Kiffin‘s first — and only — offseason as UT’s head coach while he was still the sideline boss at Louisiana Tech.

“Of course, I did,” Dooley said according to the Knoxville News Sentinel. “He was on the cover of Sports Illustrated. . . . I watch other coaches, how they handle themselves in tough situations.

“It wasn’t my style. That’s Lane’s style. I’m not here to criticize his style. Everybody is a little different.

“But I don’t think it helps you to win football games, getting in verbal attacks with each other. At the end of the day, a good headline in March isn’t going to win you any football games.”

(chuckle)

Then the talk turned to Saban.  Dooley spent seven seasons — five at LSU, two with the Miami Dolphins — on Saban-coached staffs, and there’s little denying that he sees the Alabama coach as a mentor and holds his former boss in very high regard.

“He probably has a tremendous amount of influence on my day-to-day operation of a football program,” Dooley said. “One of the reasons I really enjoyed working for Nick so long is that philosophically we’re cut from the same cloth.”

Saban was quick to respond with some praise of his own.

“Derek is a fine young coach,” Saban said. “He is a very good recruiter, very personable, and probably one of the most organized guys we’ve ever had on our staff.

“He made an outstanding contribution in every way. He understands the big picture.”

It’s understandable that a certain percentage of those residing on Rocky Top, given the circumstances that lead to Dooley’s arrival — Kiffin bolting for USC after one year, and Dooley being far from the school’s top choice as a replacement — were and still are a bit apprehensive about Dooley’s hiring, but something tells me that he’s going to be a success.

It may not happen immediately, and it may take a couple of years to rebuild, but, again, something tells me he’ll have the Volunteers back competing at a high level in the SEC sooner rather than later.

That might be my high regard for for his father Vince Dooley clouding my judgment, though, so take this potential Nostradumbass moment with a grain of salt the size of Mark Mangino.

Jasmin Hernandez reaches settlement with Baylor

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Jasmin Hernandez was not the first woman former Baylor football player Tevin Elliott raped, but she was the first one to go public. Hernandez, obviously, allowed her name to be used publicly, and with that put an identity on the sexual assault crisis at Baylor. And she was the first to insist Elliott be prosecuted.

Elliott has since been convicted and sentenced for his crimes, and on Saturday Hernandez reached a settlement with the people she accused of allowing Elliott’s assaults to happen.

Hernandez has reached a settlement with Baylor and requested former Bears AD Ian McCaw and former head coach Art Briles be removed from the suit.

“We’re moving on,” attorney Irwin Zalkin told the Waco Tribune. “Jasmin is very happy with that and pleased to be moving on with her life.”

“You kind of weigh the costs and benefits of continuing, and for her, it reached a point where she felt she could resolve the case and have some closure and move forward. It was the right time for her,” Zalkin told ESPN.

The settlement means Baylor has now reached settlements with seven plaintiffs; four Title IX suits with a total of 13 plaintiffs still remain.

McCaw, of course, has since moved on to become the AD at Liberty, while Briles — who admitted no wrongdoing in being removed from the Hernandez suit — said through an attorney he expects to coach in 2018.

Baylor, meanwhile, must now brace for the release of the Pepper Hamilton documents as ordered by a judge last week.

Oklahoma State puts up 1945 national championship signage at Boone Pickens Stadium

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Oklahoma State has decided that it was the 1945 national champion. It even has the photo to prove it.

While it is strange to name yourself a national champion more than seven decades after the fact, it is especially strange considering the banner comes significantly after Oklahoma State announced it is now the 1945 national champion. If you remember, Oklahoma State accepted the AFCA’s naming of the Pokes as the 1945 champions last year.

“After gathering all the pertinent information and doing our due diligence, it is the pleasure of our Blue Ribbon Commission of coaches to officially recognize Oklahoma State’s 1945 championship season with the AFCA Coaches’ Trophy,” AFCA executive director Todd Berry said at the time.

Known as Oklahoma A&M at the time, that ’45 Cowboys team was extremely good. They finished 9-0 on the year, opening with a 19-14 win at Arkansas, trucking Utah 46-6 in Salt Lake City, spanking Oklahoma 47-0 — the largest of OSU’s 18 wins over OU — and concluding with a 33-13 win over St. Mary’s in the Sugar Bowl.

The problem, though, is that the 1945 Army team hasn’t gotten any worse in the 72 years since. Led by College Football Hall of Famers Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis, the Black Knights allowed a sum of 35 points in their run to a 9-0 mark — and never more than seven points in any one game — with wins over four top-20 teams, including legacy programs in Eastern markets such as No. 9 Michigan, No. 6 Penn and No. 2 Notre Dame.

Oklahoma State doesn’t care, though. The signage is up, and you’ll have to bring your bayonets to take it down.

Kliff Kingsbury ‘not sure’ Da’Leon Ward will play this season

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Da’Leon Ward was the bell cow of Texas Tech’s running game the last month of the 2016 season.  With a new season fast approaching on the horizon, it seems highly unlikely he’ll do the same in the early portion of 2017 — if at all.

Ward has been a non-participant throughout the whole of Tech’s summer camp that kicked off earlier this month because of unspecified issues related to academics.  Kliff Kingsbury addressed the running back’s situation Tuesday, with the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal writing that the head coach’s “update sounded ominous, considering Tech’s second session of summer school ended” late last week.

In fact, Kingsbury allowed that, when it comes to Ward, he’s “not sure he’ll be back for this season or not.”

Last season, the sophomore led the Red Raiders with 428 yards rushing.  of that, 370 of the yards came in the last five games of the year.

Justin Stockton, whose 154 yards last season were fourth on the team, has been running with the first-team offense throughout camp.  Last season’s second-leading rusher, Demarcus Felton (354), is back for the 2017 season as well.

Duke starting safety Jeremy McDuffie out indefinitely after surgery on fractured thumb

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What we do know is that Duke will be without its starting piece of its defense.  What we don’t know is for how long.

The football program announced Wednesday that Jeremy McDuffie underwent surgery Tuesday to repair a fractured right thumb.  The junior sustained the injury during a recent Blue Devils practice.

As a result of the injury and subsequent surgery, McDuffie will be sidelined indefinitely.

McDuffie transitioned from cornerback to safety this past spring. Entering summer camp, the defensive back had been listed as a starter for the Blue Devils.  The past two seasons, McDuffie had played in 24 games.

Duke opens the 2017 season Sept. 2 against NC Central.  They will kick off ACC play three weeks later on the road against North Carolina.