John Harbaugh on brother’s future: ‘You just have to see what happens’

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Based on where Stanford football was before Jim Harbaugh came to town — one win in Walt Harris‘ final year — to where it is now — four wins his first season, 11 this year plus a BcS berth — it’s hardly a surprise that the coach’s name has been attached to many coaching jobs at both the collegiate and NFL level.

Last year it was Notre Dame and Kansas, and Michigan if that position had come open.  This year, it’s been Florida and Miami, and Michigan again if/when it comes open following the bowl game.

This type of speculation is just something that the Cardinal and their fan base will have to deal with as long as Harbaugh is there.  And as long as he’s successful.

With a new year of coaching rumors still very visible in the rear-view mirror, John Harbaugh was asked by Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post what direction he thinks his brother’s coaching career will take.  While saying that he thinks he would lean toward staying at Stanford, he also added the “but” qualifier that makes Cardinal fans uneasy every time their coach’s name is attached to an opening.

“I have no idea what he’s going to do,” Harbaugh said. “We do talk about it all the time. He’s having a baby … he’s not, Sarah’s having a baby, in four or five days, and they’ve got the bowl game, so he’s just swimming right now. So, he’s not even thinking about it right now.

I think he wants to stay at Stanford, I think he’d love to stay there, but then again, you just have to see what happens. He’s not the kind of guy that’s going to make any kind of commitment until he’s ready to make a commitment. I think his commitment right now is having a baby and winning the Orange Bowl. So, we’ll see what happens.”

We think we can very safely and accurately translate what Harbaugh’s brother was attempting to relay: he’s very happy on The Farm.  Until Michigan calls.  Or until an NFL team dials him up.

You hear a lot of things this time of the year as it pertains to the coaching carousel, and there are two tidbits that come up in frequent conversations with multiple people that relate directly to Harbaugh.  One, it’s very likely Rich Rodriguez will be dismissed* following the Wolverines’ bowl game and Harbaugh is at the very top of David Brandon‘s list of replacements.  In fact, you could say he’s No. 1 and No. 2, and possibly even No. 3.

Secondly, we’re hearing that, above all else, Harbaugh’s preference is for his next job — if there is a next job — to be at the NFL level.  And that is really where you hear the rumors fly, with his name being attached to San Francisco, Cleveland and Dallas among others.  Regardless of the rumored destination, though, many are convinced that Harbaugh’s next move will be to the NFL.

The thing is, nobody that’s creating or relaying this chatter really knows what would happen if Harbaugh were offered the opportunity to return to Ann Arbor, or had an NFL job dropped in his lap.  By all accounts, he loves where he’s at now and is not actively seeking another job.  Obviously, nothing Harbaugh says publicly will cause the chatter to cease.  Nor would it keep his agent from picking up the phone if it rings.

And, of course, all it would take is one phone call to change the entire dynamic of the situation.  Especially if the call originated from the 734.

(*just wanted to make things perfectly clear: we are not saying that RichRod will be fired; rather, that’s the overwhelming chatter coming from sources with connections to the situation.)

Jeff Banks looks to make Alabama’s special teams a strength

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If there is any crack in Alabama’s championship foundation, it may be on special teams. Looking to patch things up with the special teams, Alabama head coach Nick Saban has brought on new special teams coordinator Jeff Banks. The former Texas A&M special teams coordinator was officially announced as Alabama’s new special teams coach on Thursday.

“We are pleased to be able to add a coach the caliber of Jeff Banks to our staff as special teams coordinator,” Saban said in a released statement. “Jeff is well-respected across the country for his knowledge of the game and his ability to recruit. He is a great teacher and someone who will help our football team be successful.”

Banks comes to Alabama after five years at Texas A&M under former Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin, who was recently hired by Arizona. Special teams was one of the more consistently reliable aspects of the Aggies program under his watch, so Alabama hopes that can carry over to Tuscaloosa.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to join Coach Saban’s staff at The University of Alabama and work with such a talented group of student-athletes,” Banks said. “Coach Saban has built an unbelievable program that has a long tradition of success. I’m really excited to get out on the road recruiting, and I look forward to doing my part to help continue the success this program has enjoyed.”

Alabama ranked 90th in the nation last season in field goal percentage and 50th in the nation in punting average. Obviously, this has not hurt Alabama’s chances of competing for and winning national titles over the course of Saban’s time at Alabama, but it is somewhat remarkable just how many times special teams seems to make things just a little more difficult for the Crimson Tide. I suppose something has to at some point, right? In the recent College Football Playoff national championship, Alabama had to beat Georgia in overtime after a last-second field goal attempt at the end of the fourth quarter was missed.

The rich just keep getting richer at Alabama.

Temple prepares for next step in quest for new on-campus football stadium

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With time running out on the current lease at Lincoln Financial Field appearing on the horizon, Temple University continues to move forward with exploring their plans for a potential multipurpose facility that could be used to host Temple football on Temple’s campus. The school is now preparing to take the next step forward with the idea by presenting the plans to the City Planning Commission with the hope of being given the approval to continue pushing toward breaking ground on a new facility on Temple’s campus.

“We have said from the start that our first priority has been to engage with our neighbors and local leaders to determine the potential for, and impact of, this facility,” Temple president Richard Englert said in a released statement. “After more than two years of these discussions, and in light of the project’s tremendous value for Temple and North Philadelphia, I have concluded that the time is right to take this step.”

One of the biggest concerns about any on-campus football stadium is the reaction from the neighboring community that has been reluctant to embrace a football stadium being dropped right in the neighborhood.

Englert said in a released statement the university “will continue our conversations with neighbors to address concerns over the impact of the project.”

The football stadium would, in theory, be able to serve multiple purposes in addition to football and will be designed with surrounding economic opportunities in mind. Space for retail locations will be a part of the master plans to help inject some revenue into the surrounding area, and educational facilities will be included in the plans as well.

In all, the plan is currently estimated to cost roughly $130 million. Temple recently negotiated a short-term extension on their lease to use Lincoln Financial Field through 2019. If Temple is given the approval to move forward with their stadium plan, they could theoretically be able to play a true home game on their campus beginning in 2020.

Chuckie Keeton returns to Utah State as offensive assistant coach

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One of Utah State’s all-time best players is back with the program. Chuckie Keeton is joining the Utah State coaching staff, although his exact title has not yet been officially confirmed.

What role Keeton will take on remains to be officially announced, although the speculation is he will be an offensive assistant coach who will work with the Utah State quarterbacks. This will be Keeton’s second coaching job since his playing days came to a close. Keeton got started at Oregon State under former Utah State and Oregon State head coach Gary Andersen. Keeton joined the Oregon State coaching staff in 2016. With changes in the Oregon State program with a coaching change this offseason, now was as good a time as any for Keeton to return to Utah State, where he became one of the top players from a non-power conference program to become a bit of a household name.

Keeton shared his reaction to returning to his alma mater on Twitter.

Keeton holds a number of Utah State records including career records for completion percentage and pass efficiency and season records for most touchdown passes, passing yards, total offensive yards, and completion percentage. Utah State finished the 2017 season ranked 69th in the nation in passing offense and ended the year with 17 passing touchdowns to 13 interceptions.

Keeton’s college career was sidetracked by injuries far too often, but it will be good to see Keeton back with the Utah State program as he continues his coaching career.

Louisville, USF announce future three-game series

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This is one we would’ve liked to have seen when Lamar Jackson and Quinton Flowers would’ve been taking the field.

Be that as it may, Louisville and USF announced Thursday morning that the football programs have reached an agreement on a future three-game series.  The Cardinals will travel to South Florida for Sept. 21, 2024, for the middle game of the series.  The Bulls will head to Papa John’s Stadium Sept. 24, 2022, and Sept. 19, 2026.

“The USF and Louisville programs have featured some of the most exciting players in college football over the last few seasons,” USF athletic director Mark Harlan said in a statement. “We are excited to have Louisville returning to Raymond James Stadium and to add a three-game series with an exciting, top-level opponent with which we share a great deal of history.”

Tne two schools have met in football 11 times previously, most coming when both were members of the now-defunct Big East conference. They first played in 2003, with the last matchup coming in 2013.

The Cardinals hold a 6-5 lead in the mini-series.