David Sills

Get your creep on: 14-year-old QB phenom talks USC offer

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Ever-lovable USC head coach Lane Kiffin made headlines — and by “made headlines” we mean “caused sane people to throw up a little bit in their mouths” — early last year when he extended a scholarship offer to 13-year-old quarterback phenom David Sills, who promptly gave his “verbal commitment” to the Trojans — for the Class of 2015.

Now that Sills is merely four years away from being allowed to legally vote, it’s of course the logical next step in the process for him to appear on an ESPN radio program for an interview.  So he did.

During the course of the interview on ESPN Los Angeles, the eighth grader, who hails from the state of Delaware, addressed concerns some have that this may be too much too soon.  Or that Chris Hansen should be involved in the recruiting process.

“There is definitely no thought from me that it is,” the kid said. “I’m just trying to get ahead so that when I do go to USC, I’m prepared for USC and prepared for whatever comes at me. So it’s just an early start for me, and I think it’s a full advantage for me, and I think my parents and my whole family like it as well.”

Sills talked about what is was like to be on the receiving end of a dream offer from Kiffin — “I mean, that was my dream my whole life — to go to USC and play football” — and also discussed something that’s a near-daily occurrence for most strapping young men his age in this great country of ours.

“Well yesterday I went to the quarterback meetings and I was with all the quarterbacks,” Sills said matter-of-factly. “And they treated me like I was one of the quarterbacks, I wasn’t any different. It was cool being in there.

“They went through things like they were on the field; they were calling cadences like they were on the field. It was just cool when they were going over and protections being like ‘wow, this is going to be me when I get older and can go to USC.’ And then we went and watched their practice and it was really cool. It was just really cool watching all the players do their positions.”

(Before you ask, it is entirely permissible for Sills to attend QB meetings as the NCAA does not consider a football player a potential recruit until he reaches the ninth grade.)

(Excuse me for a second: Hey, NCAA, pull down your skirt; your loophole is showing.)

Somewhat surprisingly, and with major kudos to the host of the show, the elephant-sized question in the room was addressed.

If he knows if it’s a possibility that he’d not have the same offer by a different head coach other than Kiffin:

“Well I’ll always love USC. And I think Coach Kiffin is a great coach, so I think he’ll be there when I get there in five years.”

But can some coach other than Kiffin potentially rescind on the offer?

“I guess so. I’m not quite sure.”

This is where the whole creep-tastic situation could potentially spiral into ugliness and disappointment for the young man.

Of course there’s a chance that Kiffin won’t be with the Trojans in 2015, and his successor will be well within his rights to pull the offer if he so desires.  Of course there’s a chance that, even if Kiffin is still with the Trojans when 2015 rolls around, he decides to rescind the offer.  Hell, National Signing Day 2015 is nearly four years away; anything can happen between now and then.

By most media accounts, Sills is a very accomplished quarterback for someone his age and has a ton of potential.  Hopefully, the kid realizes his dream of suiting up for the Trojans upon graduation and goes on to a long and prosperous collegiate career.

If he doesn’t?  Don’t blame Kiffin or the school or anything else along those lines.  If this grand plan doesn’t come to fruition, place the blame squarely where it belongs — with the parents and with the NCAA.

And, if Sills reneges on his verbal?  Just chalk it up to Lady Karma comin’ a callin’ on Coach Kiffin.

Local Auburn man arrested after setting Toomer’s Corner oak tree on fire

AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 10: Fans of the Auburn Tigers roll trees at Toomer's Corner after defeating the Arkansas State Red Wolves at Jordan Hare Stadium on September 10, 2016 in Auburn, Alabama. The Auburn Tigers defeated the Arkansas State Red Wolves 51-14.(Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)
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Police have identified and arrested a 29-year-old Auburn, Ala. man after he allegedly set fire to one of the oak trees at the famous Toomer’s Corner.

Fans traditionally celebrate a Tigers victory by “rolling” the trees with toilet paper and did so once again on Saturday night following an 18-13 victory over LSU. However, video surveillance showed a suspect lighting some of the paper on fire, setting the tree ablaze as he walked away.

The Auburn city police department, in a release obtained by USA Today, stated that “witnesses at Toomer’s Corner identified a suspect, who was immediately detained and taken into custody by police on an unrelated charge of public intoxication.” Several reports identified the suspect as Jochen Wiest.

Firefighters quickly responded to the fire and extinguished the burning tree but university officials are still evaluating the damage to the oaks.

“From the ground we can easily see damage to the leaves and base of the tree. It is significant,” Professor of Horticulture Gary Keever said in a statement released by the school. “I expect the foliage will continue to drop. The full extent of damage may not be known for several weeks. The best case scenario would be to see a flush of new growth next spring, but right now it’s too early to tell how the tree will respond.”

The incident is all the more emotional for Auburn fans given that the tradition had just been revived this season following a three-year absence as a result of an Alabama fan poisoning the oaks. Hopefully the area around Toomer’s Corner can recover in time for the Tigers’ next win, which might be as soon as Saturday when they host Louisiana-Monroe.

Notre Dame officially parts ways with defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder

FILE - In an Aug. 29, 2014 file photo, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly, right, talks with defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder during practice during media day for a NCAA football team in South Bend, Ind. It was announced Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, that Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly has fired defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder following a 1-3 start. The school tweeted a new release saying VanGorder is being replaced by defensive analyst Greg Hudson.(AP Photo/Joe Raymond, File)
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Notre Dame has officially parted ways with embattled defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder.

“This is a difficult decision,” Irish head coach Brian Kelly said in a statement. “I have the utmost respect for Brian as both a person and football coach, but our defense simply isn’t where it should be and I believe this change is necessary for the best interest of our program and our student-athletes.”

Notre Dame has allowed 134 points through their first four games and are just 1-3 after extremely high preseason expectations. This was VanGorder’s third season in South Bend but the Irish have regressed significantly and ranked 101st in FBS scoring defense after Saturday’s home loss to Duke.

Defensive analyst Greg Hudson, a former Notre Dame linebacker who has served as defensive coordinator at Purdue, East Carolina and Minnesota, was elevated to fill VanGorder’s role.

“It’s never easy to make a change on your staff, but I’m confident in Greg’s ability to lead our defense,” Kelly added. “As a former player at Notre Dame and an experienced defensive coordinator, he not only understands the expectations necessary to compete at the highest level, but he’ll bring a fresh perspective to our sideline, practice field and meeting rooms.”

The move to make staff changes on the defensive side of the ball isn’t exactly surprising to Irish fans who have seen the team play this year but the timing is notable. Kelly remarked that the coaching was not the problem on defense after the loss to the Blue Devils but still opted to make a change on Sunday. It will be interesting to see if a very young defense will respond, and perhaps even rally, now that a big message has been sent.

Notre Dame plays Syracuse on Saturday at noon ET.

Florida International fires head coach Ron Turner after 10-30 run

HADLEY, MA - SEPTEMBER 17:  Head coach Ron Turner of the FIU Golden Panthers looks on during the game against the Massachusetts Minutemen at Warren McGuirk Alumni Stadium on September 17, 2016 in Hadley, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)
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The firing season in college football is getting started earlier and earlier. Just ask Ron Turner.

The Florida International head coach was fired early Sunday in a move that was hardly surprising aside from its timing.

“I want to thank Coach Turner for his contributions to the FIU football program, most importantly his commitment to academics and community service,” athletic director Pete Garcia said in a short statement. “At this time Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Ron Cooper has been named interim head coach.”

Turner went 10-30 over four years at the school but was 0-4 to begin the season after a 53-14 loss to Central Florida last week. While he is far from the first coach fired in 2016, Turner did become the first head coach to be fired after the season got underway.

Cooper had a 45–55 record in nine seasons as a head coach at Eastern Michigan, Louisville and Alabama A&M. He was elevated to FIU’s defensive coordinator prior to the season and notably served as LSU’s defensive backs coach when Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu starred in Baton Rouge.

The Panthers are set to play local rival Florida Atlantic on Saturday.

LSU head coach Les Miles, offensive coordinator Cam Cameron fired

AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 24:  Head coach Les Miles of the LSU Tigers looks on during the game against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on September 24, 2016 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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The Mad Hatter is looking for a new gig.

LSU has fired head coach Les Miles and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, the school announced on Sunday. The news was first reported by the Baton Rouge Advocate.

“Decisions like this are never easy ones to make,” athletic director Joe Alleva said in a statement. “Coach Miles has done a tremendous job here and he’s been a great ambassador for our University, which makes this even more difficult.

“However, it’s apparent in evaluating the program through the first month of the season that a change has to be made. Our commitment to excellence and competing at the highest level is unwavering, and our goals for the remainder of this season haven’t changed. We have an obligation to our student-athletes to put them in the best position to have success on the football field each week and we have great confidence that coach Orgeron will do just that.”

The move comes just hours after the Tigers lost to Auburn in the final seconds to drop to 2-2 after beginning the year as a trendy national championship pick and top five team in the polls.

Miles has been in Baton Rouge since 2005 and posted a 114–34 record at the school, including a national title in 2007 and a pair of SEC championships. He was nearly let go after the 2015 season but was retained following a huge wave of public support and potential implications with a large buyout.

Defensive line coach Ed Orgeron was named the interim head coach for the rest of the season. Former LSU quarterback and current tight ends coach Steve Ensminger is slated to become the new offensive coordinator, according to Fox Sports.