The last time we checked in on Tennessee defensive end Jacques Smith, the sophomore was on the receiving end of his second foot surgery following the end of the Vols’ spring practices.
At the time, UT coach Derek Dooley said the procedure — which in Dooley’s own words was more “precautionary” than anything else — to Smith’s left foot (the first surgery was for his right foot) was an “insurance policy” to ensure Smith would be ready for the start of fall camp.
You could say Smith cashed in on that insurance policy, as he is has been listed as “full-go” by Dooley for the start of preseason practices.
Smith had a huge impact on defense for the Vols last season as a true freshman, starting all 13 games. Heading into 2011, Dooley called Smith “the best defensive lineman we have so far this spring.”
In other roster news, linebacker Austin Johnson looks like he will also be able to participate fully in fall camp and the 2011 season following a July 24th arrest for public intoxication and disorderly conduct.
Is that decision based on the fact that there is practically no depth at the linebacker positions for Tennessee? Listen to the sweet, sultry words of Dooley and determine for yourself.
“We were all disappointed when we read the news, and we’re disappointed any time a player makes a bad choice that puts a negative light on our program,” Dooley said. “There are several things that we’re going to do with Austin, and I’m comfortable with where we are on that.
“He’ll be out there for the first day and he’s eligible to play. We hope that we don’t have any more headlines like that again.”
When Alabama lost defensive coordinator Kirby Smart to a head coaching position at Georgia, Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban stressed his program always manages to find good coaches to fill spots left by coaches going to accept other positions. Needing to fill out its staff following the latest changes in the coaching carousel, Alabama looks to have filled a defensive assistant role with the addition of Derrick Ansley.
According to a report Sunday morning from TideSports.com (a Rivals affiliate covering Alabama), Ansley will join the coaching staff at Alabama after serving as a co-defensive coordinator for Kentucky. While in Lexington, Ansley coached the secondary for the Wildcats. It is reported he is expected to fill the same role with Alabama under new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt. Ansley previously coached under Saban as a graduate assistant in 2010 and 2011 before moving to Tennessee for one season. He joined the Kentucky staff in 2013. At Alabama, Ansley will fill the vacancy left by Mel Tucker, who moved to Georgia with Smart. Tucker was Alabama’s secondary coach as well.
On the eve of the Super Bowl, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was named the Most Valuable Player of the National Football League. He is the first Heisman Trophy winner to win the NFL’s MVP award since Detroit Lions running back and former Oklahoma State star Barry Sanders was named the best player in the NFL in 1997. Sanders shared the MVP honors that season with Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre, which means Newton is the first Heisman Trophy winner to be the outright winner of the NFL’s MVP award since 1985, when Los Angeles Raiders running back Marcus Allen won the award (Allen was a Heisman Trophy running back for USC in 1981.
Newton becomes the first quarterback to win the top honor at the college and NFL level and joins a short list by becoming the sixth player to receive both awards. Newton was a Heisman Trophy quarterback for Auburn during the 2010 season, in which he fueled a BCS Championship Run. Newton now can become the first player in football history to win the Heisman Trophy, a college national championship, NFL MVP and a Super Bowl. To do that, Newton will have to lead the Panthers past the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning, who is perhaps one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time but was passed over for a Heisman Trophy by Michigan’s Charles Woodson in 1997 (Manning finished second in the voting that season).
It is somewhat amazing to think that grand slam of football has never been achieved once since the NFL MVP award was first awarded by the Associated Press in 1957, but it also goes to show that sometimes the best players in college and the NFL do not always achieve the top-level of championship success.
Players to win Heisman Trophy and NFL MVP
- RB Paul Hornung
- RB O.J. Simpson
- RB Earl Campbell
- RB Marcus Allen
- RB Barry Sanders
- QB Cam Newton
With the Cleveland Browns (again) changing regimes, George DeLeone found himself on the outside of the coaching profession looking in. A couple of weeks later, DeLeone is back on the inside, and in a familiar locale at that.
While the school has yet to officially confirm it, the Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting that DeLeone has been added to Matt Rhule‘s coaching staff at Temple. Bruce Feldman of FOXSports.com subsequently confirmed the report.
According to both outlets, DeLeone will serve as the Owls’ running-game coordinator.
The past two seasons, DeLeone worked as an assistant line coach with the Browns. Prior to that, however, the vast majority of his 46-year coaching career had been spent at the collegiate level. And a sizable chunk of that time was spent in the Northeast.
DeLeone’s first FBS job came at Rutgers from 1980-83. Two different stints at Syracuse (1985-96, 1998-2004) were sandwiched between his the job at the NFL level with the Miami Dolphins (1997). Temple was his home from 2006-07, and then UConn from 2011-13 before the Browns called.
A promotion in 2015 was quickly followed by a demotion a year later for Todd Fitch. Not long after the latter went down, Fitch left town for a fresh start to his coaching career.
Friday, Skip Holtz announced that Fitch has been hired as his offensive coordinator at Louisiana Tech. Additionally, Fitch will serve as the wide receivers coach for the Bulldogs.
Fitch had spent the past three seasons at Boston College, first as receivers coach and passing-game coordinator in 2013-14 before being promoted to offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2015. However, BC head coach Steve Addazio announced in mid-January that he had hired Scott Loeffler as his coordinator, effectively demoting Fitch back to receivers coach.
Three weeks later, Fitch headed south.
“I am excited to be joining a staff that is part of growing something special,” Fitch said. “This coaching staff has laid the groundwork for a program that has already done some great things and is building a foundation for future success. I am excited for the opportunity to be on a staff with Skip Holtz again and to keep growing this program.”
In addition to BC, Fitch had also been a coordinator at East Carolina and USF. Holtz was the head coach at both of those stops.