After 29 years of analyzing college football games nearly every fall Saturday, Bob Griese has decided to retire from the television game, ESPN announced Thursday afternoon.
Griese spent the past 24 years at ABC/ESPN, but began his broadcasting career at NBC in 1982 as an NFL analyst after spending 14 seasons as a Miami Dolphins quarterback. He was also a two-time All-American at Purdue and finished second to Steve Spurrier in the balloting for the 1966 Heisman.
““I’ve had a wonderful career and now it’s time to experience new things,” Griese said. “I’ve had many highlights along the way, from working the NFL’s Super Bowl and college football’s championship games to covering many of my son Brian’s games during his undefeated season in 1997. I want to thank ABC, ESPN and the fans for their support and all the men and women on our TV crews for their patience and support thru the years.”
Griese teamed with the iconic Keith Jackson for 12 years, forming one of the most respected and knowledgeable college football tandems of any generation. The legend applauded Griese as both a broadcaster and as a human being.
“Bob is a great analyst and an even better man,” Jackson said in a statement released by the network. “We liked each other, became very good friends and remain so to this day seeing each other throughout the year. I’m terribly fond of him. I like to think he learned to enjoy it and laugh a little more as time went on. We had the ability to play off each other which isn’t always the case with announcer teams. It worked for us.”
Griese had several memorable moments on-air, including calling his son Brian’s final collegiate game as Michigan’s starting QB in the 1998 Rose Bowl as well as teaming with his son — now an ESPN analyst and dead ringer voice-wise for his dad — to work a game this past season. Griese’s career was remarkable for its lack of controversy, with the rather dubious exception of his infamous “out having a taco” remark during the 2009 season. He was suspended for one game following that “incident”.
While Griese’s on-air performance may have slipped in recent years, he remains one of the best college football analysts of all-time and will be missed in the booth. Especially whenever Craig James litters a TV booth.
One of college football’s most versatile players in the country is taking his game to the next level. Adoree’ Jackson of USC announced, via Twitter, he is declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft.
Jackson leaves USC as a highly-decorated player and leaves behind a legacy of versatility on the football field. Jackson was named the 2016 Jim Thorpe Award winner and was a consensus All-American and Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. He was a threat on defense and special teams and even dabbled in offense at times. In the NFL, it is expected he will stick to defense and perhaps get a chance to play some special teams, which makes him a valuable asset in the draft.
The football-playing career for Louisiana-Lafayette quarterback Anthony Jennings has officially come to a close. An appeal for an extra year of eligibility was denied by the NCAA, according to coach Mark Hudspeth.
“I’m very disappointed for Anthony,” Hudspeth told The Daily Advertiser. “I would’ve loved to have seen what he could’ve done with a year under his belt in our system.”
Getting an extra year for Jennings was believed to be a long shot, but there is no harm in trying. According to The Daily Advertiser, the case for Jennings was focused on Jennings being used sparingly during the 2015 season as a junior at LSU. Jennings appeared in two games for the Tigers in 2015 and recorded no stats. He transferred to Louisiana-Lafayette at the end of the 2015 season and was given a chance to play a significant role with the Ragin’ Cajuns.
Louisiana-Lafayette now has a bit of a concern at quarterback for the upcoming season. The program returns reserve options Jordan Davis, Dion Ray and Jake Arceneaux, who redshirted last season. All three will be expected to be given a chance to compete starting this spring for the starting job this fall.
Following a somewhat disappointing season in Knoxville, changes are in the air for the Tennessee Vols coaching staff. Among the first changes of the offseason comes at the defensive back coaching position.
Tennessee has announced the addition of Charlton Warren as the new defensive backs coach for the Vols. It is the same role he previously filled at North Carolina for the past two seasons. Warren will replace Willie Martinez, who will not be returning to the Tennessee staff in 2017, according to a released statement from the university’s athletics department.
“Coach Warren is a passionate, knowledgeable and driven football coach that has an outstanding history of developing defensive backs on the collegiate level,” Tennessee head coach Butch Jones said in a released statement. “He also has a great reputation as one of the top recruiters in the country with strong ties to our recruiting areas. We feel extremely fortunate to add someone of his caliber to our coaching staff and our defensive meeting room.”
Tennessee finished ranked 10th in the SEC in passing defense, allowing an average of 230.7 yards per game through the air to opposing quarterbacks. The Vols allowed the fifth-lowest opponent passer rating and picked off 11 passes while allowing 18 touchdown passes, which actually fared well among SEC peers even if just around the middle of the pack or just toward the bottom half of the conference in each category. For a school that prides itself on its defensive backs, a change was necessary.
North Carolina owned the ACC’s top pass defense in 2016, allowing just 180.8 yards per game and 11 touchdown passes. The one downside was having just one interception recorded in 13 games. Every other FBS program had at least three interceptions last season. How UNC only picked off one pass all season long is quite a remarkable feat considering how respectable the pass defense was last season.
With some room to work on the Alabama coaching staff this offseason, head coach Nick Saban has found the right opportunity to promote Mike Locksley to a full-time offensive assistant role in Tuscaloosa. The hiring was made official by Alabama on Monday.
Locksley spent the 2016 season as an offensive analyst for the Crimson Tide. He spent the previous four seasons as an offensive coordinator at Maryland and was previously the head coach of New Mexico from 2009 through 2011. Locksley previously spent time in the SEC as a running backs coach and recruiting coordinator for Florida in 2003 and 2004 as well. He is a well-known recruiting machine, as if Alabama needs any extra help in that department (I say this in a joking manner, because Alabama didn’t get to where they are today without having to grind on the recruiting trail).
“We are excited to add Mike Locksley to our staff as an assistant coach on the offensive side of the football,” Saban said in a released statement. “He is an outstanding offensive mind who brings a wealth of knowledge and experience as both a head coach and offensive coordinator. Mike is also one of the best recruiters in the nation and will be an excellent addition to our staff. His time as an analyst with us over the past season should also ensure a smooth transition and a full understanding of how our organization operates.”
The University of Alabama Board of Trustees still needs to approve the contract to make Locksley’s hiring official, but that should just be a formality.