Speculation surrounding Vanderbilt’s successor to Robbie Caldwell has literally been all over the map over the past couple of weeks.
Temple’s Al Golden reportedly pulled his name from the mix early on in the process. This week reports have emerged that Maryland’s James Franklin and Stanford’s Greg Roman are the two finalists for the job. Subsequent to that, it was reported that Vandy would hold off pulling the trigger on a hire until they could speak with Navy’s Ken Niumatalolo after the game with Army Saturday.
Now comes the biggest bombshell, financially, of Vandy’s search.
According to The Tennessean, Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn is “thought to have received” an offer in the neighborhood of $3 million annually to take over the reins of the Commodores. Not only would that number more than double what his predecessor was pulling in, it would also put him inside the top ten of the highest paid coaches in college football — in his first collegiate job at the collegiate level.
If Malzahn continues to shun overtures — he was in Nashville Wednesday according to the paper — the front-runner appears to be Franklin. Until tomorrow when a new report surfaces, of course.
In the midst of reports that he had a physical altercation with one of his Tennessee players during summer camp this year, Butch Jones labeled the speculation “absolutely ridiculous.”
Apparently, his bosses agree with the head coach.
At a board meeting Thursday, UT-Knoxville chancellor Jimmy Cheek stated that he and athletic director Dave Hart had done their “due diligence” in investigating the accusations that Jones and senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder were involved in some type of physical skirmish during practice this past August. The end result of interviews with Jones, coaches and players was the conclusion that there was nothing to the reports and message-board rumors.
“There’s been a lot of rumor and misinformation on social media and message boards about an alleged incident during football practice,” Cheek said according to GoVols247.com‘s Wes Rucker. “It’s not our practice to respond to rumors, but I thought it was important to let you know that we’ve done our due diligence and Dave Hart and I are very confident there was no inappropriate conduct with any players or coaches.”
Shortly after Cheek spoke at the board meeting, Crowder took to Twitter with a series of missives that speaks around the issue.
Michigan played without its leading rusher in Week 5. The Wolverines are hoping there won’t be a repeat in Week 6.
De'Veon Smith sustained a lower-leg injury in the Week 4 win over BYU and didn’t travel with the team for last Saturday’s win over Maryland. Smith has been practicing with his teammates throughout the first few days of this week, and head coach Jim Harbaugh is guardedly optimistic that the running back will be available for what’s turned into a huge Big Ten matchup with Northwestern Saturday in the Big House.
“He’s practicing and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he’s going to stay good and be ready to play,” Harbaugh said during a radio appearance Thursday morning. “But we’ll (keep) looking at that every day.”
Despite essentially missing a game and a half, Smith currently leads the Wolverines with 331 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. He’s added four receptions for 35 yards and a touchdown coming out of the backfield the first four games.
Should Smith be unable to go again, the Wolverines have three other backs with at least 100 yards on the ground: Ty Isaac (187, 7.2 yards per carry), Drake Johnson (125, 4.2 ypc) and Derrick Green (100, 3.3 ypc).
In addition to Smith, Harbaugh is hopeful Channing Stribling will be available this weekend as well. The starting cornerback didn’t play against the Cougars because of injury