Von Miller Butkus Award

Butkus Award adds its float to watch list parade

2 Comments

(Don’t worry folks.  There are only three more of these — Davey O’Brien, Doak Walker, Walter Camp — to go.  Hang in there.  We’ll get through this.)

The Butkus Award Thursday was the latest in a long line of awards/trophies releasing their preseason watch lists for 2011, with 51 linebackers from across the country receiving recognition by the award that annually honors the best player at their position.

Luke Kuechly of Boston College is the only returning finalist, while Dont’a Hightower of Alabama, Sean Spence of Miami (Fla.), Travis Lewis of Oklahoma, Keenan Robinson of Texas and Manti Te’o of Notre Dame are returning semifinalists.

The SEC and ACC topped all conferences with nine nods apiece, followed by the Big 12 with eight and five each for the Big Ten and Pac-12.

As far as individuals schools are concerned, Alabama was tops with three — Hightower, Nico Johnson and Courtney Upshaw.  Florida, Miami, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Southern Miss, TCU, Texas and Wisconsin all had two players apiece named to the list.

The Butkus Award is named in honor of Dick Butkus, the former Illinois and Chicago Bears linebacking great.  The 51 players on the initial watch list represent the number Butkus wore throughout his Hall of Fame career.

Semi-finalists will be named October 24, finalists November 22, and winners will be notified on or before December 7.  Last year’s winner was Texas A&M’s Von Miller.

Here is the complete list of 2011 preseason Butkus watch listers:

Dont’a Hightower, Alabama
Nico Johnson, Alabama
Courtney Upshaw, Alabama
Vontaze Burflict, Arizona State
Jerry Franklin,Arkansas
Luke Kuechly, Boston College
Dwayne Woods, Bowling Green University
Mychal Kendricks, Cal
Jon Bostic, Florida
Jelani Jenkins, Florida
Nigel Bradham, Florida State
Corey Paredes, Hawaii
Tyler Nielsen, Iowa
Jake Knott, Iowa State
Arthur Brown, Kansas State
Danny Trevathan, Kentucky
Ryan Baker, LSU
Kenny Tate, Maryland
Ramon Buchanan, Miami (Fla.)
Sean Spence, Miami (Fla.)
Zaviar Gooden, Missouri
Lavonte David, Nebraska
James-Michael Johnson, Nevada
Carmen Messina, New Mexico
Zach Brown, North Carolina
Kevin Reddick, North Carolina
Audie Cole, North Carolina State
Darius Fleming, Notre Dame
Manti Te’o, Notre Dame
Travis Lewis, Oklahoma
Tom Wort, Oklahoma
Josh Kaddu, Oregon
Michael Mauti, Penn State
Max Gruder, Pittsburgh
Miles Burris, San Diego State
Jamie Collins, Southern Miss.
Korey Williams, Southern Miss.
Shayne Skov, Stanford
Tanner Brock, TCU
Tank Carder, TCU
Tahir Whitehead, Temple
Emmanuel Acho, Texas
Keenan Robinson, Texas
Garrick Williams, Texas A&M
Marvin Burdette, UAB
Chris Galippo, USC
Bobby Wagner, Utah State
Chris Marve, Vanderbilt
Bruce Taylor, Virginia Tech
Chris Borland, Wisconsin
Mike Taylor, Wisconsin

ECU won’t be hiring ex-Purdue interim HC charged with drunk driving

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - NOVEMBER 19: Interim coach Gerad Parker of the Purdue Boilermakers looks on against the Wisconsin Badgers in the second quarter of the game at Ross-Ade Stadium on November 19, 2016 in West Lafayette, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

An off-field incident involving alcohol has unofficially cost an assistant coach a job.

It had been reported that Gerad Parker, who served as Purdue’s interim head coach last season, decided to leave his new job at Cincinnati to take another at East Carolina. That reported move was complicated after reports surfaced that, following a going-away party in West Lafayette early Tuesday morning, the coach was pulled over and charged with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.

Parker had been expected to take over the wide receivers coach job at ECU; Wednesday, multiple reports indicated that the Pirates are moving on from the coach in light of the recent development.

In a tweet that has since been deleted from his Twitter account, Parker apologized. “I’m sorry to all my friends and family,” the coach wrote. “Thanks to all that have reached out and shown support.”

Parker would’ve replaced Phil McGeoghan, who left ECU in late January for a job with the Buffalo Bills. ECU’s search for a replacement will continue.

Kentucky OC Eddie Gran gets contract extension and raise

LEXINGTON, KY - AUGUST 30:  The Kentucky Wildcats take the field before the game against the Tennessee- Martin Skyhawks at Commonwealth Stadium on August 30, 2014 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Leave a comment

After making some changes to the coaching staff this offseason, Kentucky is locking in offensive coordinator Eddie Gran for the next few seasons. Kentucky has signed Gran to a contract extension good through the 2019 season, according to The Courier-Journal.

According to the reported contract extension, Gran will be paid $825,000 in the 2017 season and will be given a $25,000 raise each of the next two seasons. A buyout cost of $150,000 per years is also added to the contract should he leave for another job during that span. Gran was originally under contract through the 2018 season, so his new deal tacks on an extra year in Lexington. The extended contract also bumps Gran’s pay by $175,000 compared to his previous contract.

Kentucky may have finished the 2017 season ranked 9th in the SEC in total scoring, but the Wildcats bumped up their average points per game by roughly six points in 2016 compared to the 2015 season. Kentucky also had the SEC’s third-most productive rushing attack with an average of 234.15 rushing yards per game and 30 rushing touchdowns. Only Auburn and Alabama had better averages and touchdown totals (and Alabama had two more games to pad the stats).

Kentucky has room to improve in the passing game after finishing the 2016 season ranked 13th in passing offense in the 14-team SEC. Kentucky also had an SEC-high 28 turnovers lost in 2016, with 16 fumbles and 12 interceptions thrown.

Gran joined the Kentucky program last year after a three-year stint at Cincinnati as offensive coordinator. Gran has previously been an assistant at Florida State, Tennessee, Auburn, and Ole Miss as well.

Nebraska WR coach Keith Williams sentenced to 30 days in jail for August DUI

LINCOLN, NE - SEPTEMBER 22: A cheerleader waves a flag after the Nebraska Cornhuskers score against the Idaho State Bengals during their game at Memorial Stadium on September 22, 2012 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska won 73-7. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images
1 Comment

Nebraska wide receivers coach Keith Williams pled no contest to charges from a DUI incident last August. On Wednesday, he received his sentence from a county judge and learned he would be sentenced to 30 days in jail and three years of probation.

According to The Lincoln Journal-Star, Williams was also fined $1,000 for his latest DUI charge. Williams has until March 3 to apply for house arrest, although prosecutors made a push for Williams to serve his time behind bars after not being locked up for two prior DUI charges.

Nebraska opens spring football practices on March 4. If he is ruled eligible for house arrest, that would allow Williams to continue coaching in the spring. Otherwise, he could have to miss at least some of Nebraska’s spring practices depending on when his jail sentence would begin.

Williams was pulled over for driving under the influence last August with a BAC above .15. Further complicating things was the fact Williams also had two previous convictions for DUI. Nebraska head coach Mike Riley suspended Williams without pay through the end of August and was prohibited from coaching in Nebraska’s first four games of the 2016 season.

Michigan adds former Hawaii defensive cooridnator Kevin Lempa as defensive analyst

12460678
Michigan Athletics
1 Comment

Former Hawaii defensive coordinator Kevin Lempa has landed in Ann arbor with a new job. Michigan announced Lempa has joined the staff as a senior defensive analyst under Jim Harbaugh and defensive coordinator Don Brown.

“Kevin is a great addition to our football program and defensive staff,” said Harbaugh in a released statement. “He adds a wealth of experience and knowledge on the defensive side of the ball, and Kevin’s working relationship with Coach (Don) Brown will be a big asset for our team.”

“I am very excited and honored to become part of Coach Harbaugh’s staff,” Lempa said in his released statement. “I am also fired up to be working with Coach Brown again.”

Lempa resigned from his position with the Hawaii program following the 2016 season. He previously served as a defensive backs coach at Boston College from 2013 through 2015, when Brown was the defensive coordinator of the Eagles.

As a defensive analyst, Lempa will not have any hands-on instruction with the Michigan roster but will assist in film breakdown and other orders of business in preparing Michigan’s game plan.