Butch Davis

Butch Davis’ admission of responsibility hollow unless UNC takes action


North Carolina coach Butch Davis says he’s responsible for the NCAA fiasco in Chapel Hill. “Fully and completely” responsible as a matter of fact.

He’s right. Fully and completely.

After all, it was Davis who willingly hired former assistant John Blake. The same John Blake who has been accused of leading players to former agent Gary Wichard. The same John Blake who put UNC in a bind for allegedly not cooperating with the NCAA’s investigation.

It was Davis who had ties to ex-tutor Jennifer Wiley, who tutored Davis’ own son and allegedly provided benefits to students-athletes.

Yet, it was Davis’ name that was left out of the Notice of Allegations against the program.

But Davis is, by his own admission, fully and completely responsible for the current pickle in which UNC finds itself.

I’m the head football coach,” Davis said today during ACC Media Days. “And things that happen, anything I can do to make sure these things don’t happen…anything that we can do to make sure that doesn’t happen again, that’s part of my responsibility.”

So why isn’t he being treated as the one responsible?

He hasn’t considered resigning, and North Carolina hasn’t indicated they plan on firing him because — as of last November — there is no evidence “that Coach Davis knew about or took part in any of the things that happened”.

If that’s their logic, fine. Davis still deserves to be fined and suspended from having any contact with his team until the school realizes their fate at the hands of the Committee on Infractions. If, for nothing else, he deserves it on the very grounds that is saving his job.

He didn’t know. Allegedly.

Butch Davis, the head football coach of North Carolina, didn’t know one of his assistants was potentially causing some major problems for his program — completely oblivious; ignorant; out of the loop.

Coaches can’t always keep tabs on their 100-plus football players 24/7, but they sure as hell can keep tabs on their coaching staff.

If Davis won’t be suspended for the allegations, he should be suspended for not seeing the possibility ahead of time.

Coaches are control freaks, micro-managers. They are the captain of the vessel. Their job is to know what’s going on in their program.

Need proof? Ask a coach during, say, conference media days.

It amazes me time and time again how coaches aren’t held to the highest of standards for their actions. Oh, sure, programs talk a big game about holding their coaches accountable, but those statements ring hollow until they follow through.

If UNC wants the NCAA to take them seriously, they’ll do more than stand idly by watching Davis express his remorse.

Because words are worthless.

Show them he is accountable. After all, Davis admitted he was.

Fully and completely.

Kentucky QB Patrick Towles to transfer

Patrick Towles

Kentucky quarterback Patrick Towles will transfer, he announced in an Instagram post Sunday afternoon.

Towles leaves school as Kentucky’s sixth-most prolific passer, completing 427-of-759 passes for 5,099 yards with 24 touchdowns and 24 interceptions.

Once compared to Ben Roethlisberger, Towles’ career peeked in a 2014 game with then-No. 1 Mississippi State, as he completed 24-of-43 passes for 390 yards with two touchdowns in a 45-31 loss to the Bulldogs.

But Kentucky stumbled down the stretch, starting 5-1 and finishing 5-7, and Towles stumbled through a 2015 campaign in which he threw nine touchdowns against 14 interceptions.

He’d been passed by freshman Drew Barker by the end of the season, and threw only four passes in a loss to Louisville on Saturday.

A junior, Towles will complete his political science degree in December and be eligible for immediate playing time at a new destination in 2016.

Penn State fires offensive coordinator John Donovan

Penn State football practice, Sept 9, 2015

Penn State has fired offensive coordinator John Donovan, the program announced Sunday.

“I have tremendous respect for John and the work he has put in the last five years,” head coach James Franklin said in a statement. “I wish him and his family nothing but the best in the future.”

Donovan originally hooked up with Franklin when the two were at Maryland, then coordinated his offenses at Vanderbilt and later Penn State.

Despite playing with what many project to be a future first-round pick in quarterback Christian Hackenberg, Penn State ranked 101st nationally in scoring, 108th in total offense and 80th in yards per play.

Penn State dropped its final three games of the regular season and averaged only 14.6 points in its five losses.

Purdue retains head coach Darrell Hazell, fires both coordinators

Markell Jones
AP Photo

It’s never a good thing when a head coach has to fire both of his coordinators on the same day. Of course, it’s never a good thing to be 6-30, either.

Both are realities at Purdue, as the Boilers announced Sunday head coach Darrell Hazell will return for a fourth season in 2016, but offensive coordinator John Shoop, defensive coordinator Greg Hudson and defensive line coach Rubin Carter will not.

“I appreciate the efforts of each of those guys over the last three years,” Hazell said in a statement. “They are quality men who are well respected by their players and their peers, and I am disappointed that things didn’t work out better. But I believe that in order to turn around this program, we need to make some significant changes and move in a different direction at those positions.”

Purdue, 2-10 in 2015, ranked 115th nationally in yards per play and 112th in yards per play allowed.

Virginia Tech announces Justin Fuente as head coach; Bud Foster to stay on as DC

Associated Press

Justin Fuente is officially Virginia Tech’s new head coach. A day after reports linked the two parties, the Hokies made the match official by announcing the 39-year-old as their new head coach on Sunday afternoon.

“Justin is a very impressive individual who also happens to be one of the brightest offensive minds in college football,” Virginia Tech AD Whit Babcock said in a statement. “He elevated Memphis to unprecedented heights. His recruiting philosophy is progressive and comprehensive. Coach Fuente has displayed tremendous talent in evaluating players and developing young men as they strive to reach their full potential. Simply put, Coach Fuente exudes all the qualities that Hokies hold near and dear. We are excited to officially welcome Justin Fuente as the leader of the Virginia Tech football program.”

Fuente went 26-23 in four years as Memphis’s head coach, but his success runs far beyond a simple won-loss record. After going 7-17 in his first two seasons, Fuente guided the Tigers to a 19-6 mark in 2014-15, which included a 15-game winning streak, a No. 13 national ranking and a win over rival Ole Miss within that run.

Simply put, it was the absolute peak of modern Memphis football.

And now Fuente is tasked with taking Virginia Tech to new heights. The Hokies dominated the ACC throughout much of the 2000’s, taking conference crowns in 2004, 2007, 2008 and 2010. But as Florida State and Clemson have risen, Virginia Tech has fallen.

After posting 13 top-25 finishes in 14 seasons, the Hokies are set to conclude their fourth straight campaign outside the national rankings, going just 16-16 in ACC play over that span.

The offensive numbers state exactly why Fuente was hired, and what he must do in Blacksburg; Memphis ranks seventh nationally in scoring offense and eighth in passing efficiency, while Virginia Tech sits at 64th and 59th, respectively.

The cupboard is not bare, though. Virginia Tech is in the midst of a 23-year bowl streak, and Fuente has already secured one key commitment — longtime defensive coordinator Bud Foster has agreed to stay on staff.

“I’ve been privileged to work for a legendary coach who always did it the right way,” Foster said. “I enjoyed that chapter and the success we’ve had, however, I am equally excited for the next chapter and working for Justin. Justin and I share a vision for the future of our program. After spending time together, I’m convinced he’s the right person to continue building on the standard we’ve established at Virginia Tech. I’m truly looking forward to working with him and supporting him.”

Clearly, Babcock and the VT brass believe, a Fuente offense and a Foster defense are what the Hokies need to catch Clemson and Florida State.

Now it’s Fuente’s job to make that happen.