T. Boone denies Mike Leach-Oklahoma State rumors

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Apparently, rumors have been making the rounds that are connecting former Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach with Oklahoma State.  

Specifically, there’s been speculation that Cowboys owner booster T. Boone Pickens dispatched his private jet earlier this year to pick up Leach and fly him back in order for Pickens’ to pick the offensive mastermind’s brain regarding OSU’s new offensive coordinator, Dana Holgorsen.

According to Pickens, that’s simply not the case.

I haven’t talked to Mike Leach in at least three years,” Pickens told Tulsa World. “When I do see him, he’s always very friendly. But I wouldn’t be looking to him for advice.”

While on the subject of speculation, there’s a growing sentiment that current head coach Mike Gundy could be on the hot seat — if he’s not already — if 2010 turns into a fair-to-middlin’ season.  As Pickens has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into OSU’s athletic coffers, his opinion on the current state of football at his university carries as much or more weight than anyone else.

In his conversation with Tulsa World, Pickens did not exactly give Gundy a ringing endorsement as the coach heads into his sixth season in Stillwater with a sub-.500 conference record on his résumé.

“That day I gave the money I said I knew we’re not going to win every game,” Pickens said. “But I’m tired of leaving the stadium with my head down. And I darn sure had my head down after the (2009) game in Norman and after the Cotton Bowl. I’m 82, so I’m not on the 20-year (rebuilding) plan.

“Gundy has assembled a good staff, our program is stronger and our recruiting is better. But the Big 12 South (division) is a tough place to hang out.”

Pickens can say all he wants that he’s “not interested in [Leach] as a football coach”, but, if the Cowboys stumble early out of the gate, the Leach rumors will most certainly grow in both frequency and volume.

What does Gundy have to do to quash the Leach-to-OSU speculation?  Just win.  And make T. Boone a happy billionaire.

No problem for a 40-something man, right?

Longtime UCLA staffer Angus McClure’s hire one of two announced by Nevada

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The departure of a longtime UCLA staffer has officially been confirmed.

Late last week, reports surfaced that Angus McClure was leaving UCLA for a position at Nevada.  Tuesday, the Mountain West Conference football program confirmed that McClure has been hired as Jay Norvell‘s new offensive line coach.

McClure had been with the Bruins since 2007, serving at various times as position coach for both sides of UCLA’s lines as well as special teams.  Most recently, McClure had served as recruiting coordinator for the Pac-12 school.

McClure and Norvell have a prior working relationship as they were both on the same staffs at Nebraska and UCLA.

In addition to McClure, David Lockwood was announced as Nevada’s new safeties coach.  Lockwood was on the UNLV staff last season after spending the previous three years as the cornerbacks coach at Arizona.

“I think we made our staff stronger with these two veteran hires,” Norvell said in a statement. “I’m excited about the experience and expertise that we have added to the Wolf Pack coaching staff.”

Former Kansas State head coach Jim Dickey dies at 84

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Former Kansas State head coach Jim Dickey died on Saturday night at the age of 84.

A Texas native, Dickey played quarterback at Houston in the 1950’s and started his coaching career as an assistant at his alma mater. From there he took assistant jobs at Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Kansas and North Carolina before landing the K-State job ahead of the 1978 season. He went 25-53-2 in seven-plus seasons on the job, which doesn’t look like much at first blush until one takes stock of where the Wildcat football program was at the time.

Dickey took Kansas State to the Independence Bowl in 1982, a 14-3 loss to Wisconsin, which was the first bowl appearance in program history. He was named the Big 8’s Coach of the Year for that season.

After back-to-back 3-win seasons in 1983 and ’84, he was let go after an 0-2 start to the 1985 campaign. The program would remain historically down until future College Football Hall of Famer Bill Snyder built the program up in the 1990’s.

Dickey finished out his career as an assistant on the pre-Steve Spurrier Florida teams before retiring in 1989. He lived at a rest home in Houston at the time of his passing, according to the Manhattan Mercury. Dickey’s son, Darrell Dickey, is the former head coach at North Texas and currently the offensive coordinator at Texas A&M.

Mario Cristobal reportedly reuniting with former assistant in Eugene

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The Oregon coaching staff is going to have a specific South Florida flavor to it. Head coach Mario Cristobal is a Miami native, a former Hurricanes player and assistant, and the former head coach at Florida International. On Tuesday, Cristobal moved to bring a fellow South Floridian with him to the Pacific Northwest.

According to Grant Traylor of the Huntington (W. Va.) Herald-Dispatch, Marshall offensive line coach Alex Mirabal is leaving the staff to reunite with Cristobal in Eugene.

Sports Illustrated‘s Bruce Feldman added Mirabal will work under Cristobal, who will handle the offensive line.

Mirabal is also a native of Miami and a Florida International graduate. He spent the first decade-plus of his career working in Miami’s high school ranks before joining Cristobal’s FIU staff as tight ends and later offensive line coach from 2007-12. He landed at Marshall in 2013 after Cristobal was forced out at FIU, where he remained until Tuesday.

Under Mirabal’s guidance, Marshall finished fourth nationally in sacks allowed at just 0.85 per game. Oregon finished 54th nationally in that same metric.

Trio of players transferring from Missouri

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As we trudge deeper into the college football offseason, roster attrition across the sport has shown no signs of slowing down.

It was confirmed Tuesday that three players have decided to take their leave of the Missouri football program.  Two of the departees are defensive backs (redshirt freshman Jerod Alton, redshirt sophomore TJ Warren) while the other is a wide receiver (redshirt junior Ray Wingo).

All three of the transferring players were three-star recruits coming out of high school.  Wingo, who moved to receiver after his redshirt season in 2014, was the highest-rated of the group, with 247Sports.com pegging him as the No. 24 cornerback in the country and the No. 4 player at any position in the state of Missouri.

After catching five passes for 143 yards and a pair of touchdowns in 2016, Wingo didn’t record a reception at all in 2017.  He’ll finish the Mizzou portion of his playing career with 167 yards and those two touchdowns on his nine receptions.

Warren played in 18 games the past two seasons, including six last year.  He started one of those games, with that coming during the 2016 season.

Alton took a redshirt as a true freshman last season.