Based on a session with the Cincinnati media this afternoon, it’s safe to assume that Mike Zimmer and Bobby Petrino will not be exchanging Christmas cards this year, or at any point in the near or distant future for that matter.
Zimmer, currently the defensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals, served as the coordinator on Petrino’s Atlanta Falcons coaching staff in 2007. Petrino infamously pulled one of the biggest punk, below-the-belt coaching moves in the history of of the game, leaving the Falcons with three games remaining in the season — with barely a word in parting said to his staff or anyone in the organization — to take the head coaching job at the University of Arkansas.
With the Bengals traveling to Atlanta this weekend to take on the Falcons, Zimmer was asked about returning to the city for the first time since Petrino stabbed an entire organization in the back. Suffice to say, there was no biting of the tongue when it came to Zimmer’s opinions three years after the betrayal.
Here’s a sampling of Zimmer’s quotes, courtesy of the Cincinnati Enquirer:
“I was never even there. As far as I am concerned. I never even was there. When a coach quits in the middle of the year and ruins a bunch of people’s families and doesn’t’ have enough guts to at least finish out the year. I am not a part of that.”
“He is a coward. Put that in quotes. He ruined a bunch of people’s lives, a bunch of people’s families, kids, because he didn’t have enough nuts to stay there and finish the job. That’s the truth.”
“He came in and said he resigned, he would talk to us all at a later date, walked out of the office and no one has ever talked to him since. Not that anybody wanted to.
“He’s a gutless b—d. Quote that. I don’t give a s–.”
When told that we might might not be able to use the B word, Zimmer went one better: “How about this, gutless MF. You can use that.”
In summation, Zimmer feels that Petrino is a gutless, testicle-deficient coward/quitter who ruins people’s lives and families. With the exception of kicking puppies and spitting on the flag, I think he pretty much covered all the insult bases there.
We’ve sent an email to the university seeking comment on Zimmer’s diatribe toward their current coach, but as of this posting we’ve not gotten a response. Nor do we expect one, honestly.
It did not take very long for Dan Mullen to prove his way of working in the offseason is going to be a little different from what Florida players had become accustomed to. Judging by a few tweets from Gators players coming out in recent days, Mullen has Florida players working harder than they have in quite some time.
It is not all that uncommon to have a completely new approach to training and physical conditioning any time there is a coaching change at a football program, and the mere change in workout approach alone can be enough to send a jolt through an entire program. Not to suggest workouts under former head coach (and new Michigan offensive assistant) Jim McElwain were easy, but some players on Florida’s roster are claiming on Twitter the workouts they are going through now are getting the job done.
Mullen brought strength and conditioning coach Nick Savage with him from Mississippi State, and you probably see why. Savage has quickly earned the respect of a number of the Florida football players after some intense workouts. Mullen and Savage are out to raise the bar when it comes to both toughness and physical endurance. That could have been seen as an area of weakness for Florida the past couple of years against certain teams (Alabama and Michigan, for example).
The work being put in now is just the beginning for how Mullen wants to get Florida back to the top of the SEC. Getting the team stronger now will have to lead to on-field development as well, especially on offense. Fortunately for Mullen, the offense has been one of his specialties.
Helmet sticker to SEC Country.
Somebody needs a new fake ID.
Iowa State offensive lineman Sean Foster spent some time in jail overnight after being arrested for being in a bar while underage and interfering with an official. He was charged with two counts; one for “minors prohibited on certain premises” and another for “interference with official acts,” according to an Ames Tribune report. Foster was released from jail with $600 in total bonds for his two charges.
A redshirt sophomore right tackle, Foster started six games for the Cyclones in 2017, including the final four games of the season that concluded with the Liberty Bowl against Memphis. He remains in line for the starting job at right tackle again in 2018, beginning with a chance to start the spring as the expected starter. This particular incident may not affect that outlook all that much in the grand scheme of things, so long as Foster stays out of additional trouble and there isn’t more to the story behind the scenes.
According to the Ames Tribune, Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell was not expected to release any comment or statement about the incident. Foster’s status with the Iowa State program is unchanged until given further notice, although some form of internal discipline for an act like this is likely to occur in some capacity at some point in time.
The Jim McElwain watch in Ann Arbor is essentially done. ESPN reports the former head coach of the Florida Gators has signed a deal to join Jim Harbaugh as a new member of the Michigan coaching staff. Michigan has not formally announced the new addition yet, but McElwain told ESPN he is getting to work right away as a wide receivers coach.
“I’m excited to get back into it and am looking forward to going there and learning and helping Michigan get better,” McElwain said to ESPN‘s Chris Low, who reported the latest update in the ongoing McElwain-To-Michigan story. It has been quite a year for McElwain, who has now gone from wanting to “beat the heck out of Michigan” to joining Harbaugh as an offensive assistant (Harbaugh was 2-0 against McElwain in head-to-head meetings between Michigan and Florida).
McElwain was fired by Florida last October in the midst of a disappointing season after discrepancies in McElwain’s claims about receiving death threats could not be backed up by the coach. Florida bought out McElwain’s contract at a reported $7.5 million.
Michigan had been looking to fill the role of receivers coach following the abrupt departure of Dan Enos to Alabama. Enos joined the Michigan coaching staff for a cup of coffee, getting hired in January after the Arkansas coaching staff was given an overhaul with the firing of Bret Bielema only to leave for a job with Nick Saban. McElwain, of course, is one of many coaches to jump into head coaching off the Saban coaching tree in recent years, first with Colorado State and most recently with Florida.
Previous reports have floated the idea McElwain will call plays for the Wolverines, but that remains unconfirmed.
Mississippi State commit Nathaniel Watson has gotten himself into some legal trouble before his arrival at Mississippi State. Watson, currently a high school senior, was charged with assault first degree and a handful of traffic violations following a traffic accident earlier this month. Another student from Watson’s high school was arrested for reckless endangerment and other traffic violations as well. The two are accused of drag racing.
“The accident occurred after Tyrone Davis, also a student at [Maplesville High School], lined up in front of the school with his vehicle along with Nathaniel Watson’s vehicle for a race, witnesses stated that they lined up side by side and floored it, and both vehicles were squalling their tires and fishtailing up the highway heading into town,” according to an Maplesville Police Department press release (via The Clanton Advertiser). “As the racing vehicles topped a hill, an oncoming car caused Nathaniel Watson Jr. to swerve and lose control striking a power pole, cutting it in half and knocking power out to portions of Maplesville.”
A passenger in Watson’s vehicle suffered a crushed femur, fractured pelvis, a broken right arm and internal injuries. Neither vehicle involved in the accident was insured. Watson currently awaits a date in court in a county court. There has been no update or comment from Mississippi State’s football program or head coach Joe Moorehead about Watson or his status with the football program at this time.
Watson signed with Mississippi State on February 7. The wide receiver and two-sport athlete signed with Mississippi State over Auburn.