Shannon Leach

FAU eyeing Leach, Shannon as Schnellenberger replacement


Before the start of the 2011 season, Howard Schnellenberger announced that this would be his final year of coaching.

With Schnellenberger’s retirement looming on the horizon, FAU is wasting no time in searching for a successor. And wasting no time in preparing to swing for the coaching fences.

FAU athletic director Craig Angelos told the Miami Herald earlier this week that his school is interested in both Mike Leach and Randy Shannon as potential replacements for Schnellenberger.  It doesn’t appear that Angelos has reached out to either former coach as of yet, with the A.D. saying only that he “would consider Mike” and would, speaking of Shannon, “want to see if he’s interested.”

A source close to Shannon, who was dismissed by Miami following the 2010 season, told the Herald the coach would prefer a head-coaching job out west, specifically mentioning the Arizona opening as desirous to Shannon.  On Monday, UA announced that Mike Stoops had been fired after seven-plus years at the school.  Interestingly, and apropos of just about nothing, Shannon and Stoops share the same agent.

After Shannon was canned by the ‘Canes in late November, he was mentioned as a potential candidate for openings at Minnesota and Vanderbilt.  He also interviewed for the defensive coordinator jobs at Texas, UCLA and Maryland — he turned down the latter opportunity after the job was offered to him — and has spent the 2011 season on the coaching sidelines.

On the Leach front, the former Texas Tech head coach plans to return to coaching as soon as possible and did not close the door on the FAU job if it were to be presented to him.

“I do plan to coach,” he said. “Craig is a great man and FAU is a great program. Anything negative that happens to Miami can only help FAU and FIU.”

Leach, who currently calls Key West home, has been out of coaching since his messy split from the Red Raiders following the 2009 regular season.  While he was in the mix for the Maryland opening when Ralph Friedgen was fired following the 2010 season, his less-than-amicable split from Tech — and the subsequent lawsuits — prevented many a school with a vacancy from pursuing him.

The Herald writes Leach’s previous “issues” would not be a major concern for FAU.

Starting LB C.J. Johnson reveals surgery on social media, Ole Miss confirms

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Ole Miss will be without a starting piece of its defensive puzzle for an extended period of time, both the player and the school revealed Tuesday.

With rumors swirling about his condition, C.J. Johnson confirmed on his personal Twitter account late this morning that he will be undergoing surgery at some point in the not-too-distant future.  The linebacker sustained an injury to his left knee in last Saturday’s loss to Florida and did not return to the contest.

Subsequent to that posting, Ole Miss confirmed that Johnson underwent surgery earlier in the day to repair a torn meniscus in his knee.  The procedure and rehab will sideline Johnson for a period of 4-6 weeks.

At the low-end of the prognosis, Johnson would miss the next four games — New Mexico State, Memphis, Texas A&M, Auburn — and return for the Nov. 7 game against Arkansas.  The high-end would have him sidelined until the regular-season finale against Mississippi State.

Johnson had started all five games at middle linebacker for the Rebels.  He started 26 games at defensive end the past three years before moving to linebacker.

Butch Jones labels rumor of ‘physical altercation’ with Vols player ‘absolutely ridiculous’

ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Head coach Butch Jones of the Tennessee Volunteers yells at Marquez North #8 during the game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on September 27, 2014 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Already in the crosshairs for his 2-3 team’s late-game failures, Butch Jones now finds himself under increasing scrutiny for something that allegedly happened a couple of months ago.

The website, which features such respected journalists Tony Barnhart and Mike Huguenin among others, reported earlier today that the Tennessee head coach was involved in what was described as a “physical altercation” with senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder during summer camp this past August.  The source close to the program added that practice film that day captured the alleged incident, although it’s unclear if that tapes still exists.

From the site’s report:

The incident occurred during fall camp, about the time that news started to come out about a few offensive linemen who were considering stepping away from the program. Crowder walked off the practice field one day and missed a day or two of practice, and Brett Kendrick and Dylan Wiesman were said to be contemplating their futures. Sources say the players’ actions stemmed from an incident between Jones and Crowder.

The website also made a Freedom of Information request seeking any correspondence between the university and the Crowder family be turned over, but writes that UT “administrators said any sort of letter or correspondence that may or may not have happened was covered under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.”

Monday, Jones labeled what began as message-board speculation that he had struck one of his Vols players as “absolutely ridiculous.” The Knoxville News Sentinel contacted Crowder’s father, with the paper writing that “he had no comment and did not want to give validation to message boards.”

At least publicly, the university has yet to address the allegations.  Jones will get yet another chance to address the speculation with the media in the very near future.