Sherman: ‘Do I feel I deserve to be terminated? No, I don’t’

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It wasn’t exactly as classless as learning you’d been fired on the way to your mother’s funeral, but the manner in which Mike Sherman‘s dismissal was handled by Texas A&M still left a bitter taste in the coach’s mouth.

Sherman was fired by the Aggies Thursday after four years on the job, and the coach confirmed rumors that he was fired by athletic director (for now) Bill Byrne over the phone as he was nearing the driveway of a recruit he was on the way to visit.  Sherman lamented the fact that “my family found out before I did, because it was released (through a leak in the media) before I was told. I think we’re better than that.”

In his four years with the Aggies, Sherman compiled a 25-25 record, but it was the final 6-6 season that led to his abrupt demise.  Sherman and the Aggies came into this season with high expectations — too high from this vantage point — ranked No. 8 in the Associated Press‘ preseason poll.  Six losses later, including a handful of embarrassing second-half collapses after building double-digit leads in the first half, too many question marks littered the football program ahead of its move to the SEC.

Despite the disappointingly below-average season, Sherman said he believed he deserved the opportunity to continue building the program.  Additionally, he decried the current culture of changing things instead of fixing them and the immediacy society demands.

“Do I feel I deserve to be terminated? No, I don’t,” he said. “I think this program is headed in the right direction. But I understand we live in a society where it’s easier to change than to fix. … We live in a society today that is motivated by anonymous people that write baseless texts and twitters and it gets things stirred up. There’s no accountability to that type of society, and the immediacy they request.

“I think it’s important that people make decisions based on facts, and what’s real. I think sometimes that gets skewed a bit. But I feel like the program is definitely headed in the right direction and I hope the next coach appreciates the opportunity he’s going to get to work with these players and I’ll support him however I can. Because I want to see A&M be successful.”

As far as a replacement for Sherman, who hinted that he could be headed back to the NFL as the next step in his coaching career, all of the signs are pointing southeast of College Station as the starting point in the search.  As Ben noted earlier this evening, it has been reported that Arizona State has ended its pursuit of Houston’s Kevin Sumlin.  This news comes a day after it was reported that ASU had officially offered the job to Sumlin, which CFT and other outlets were told was not the case.  However, CFT has been told by a source with knowledge of the situation that the pursuit was dropped because the Sun Devils, even with the newly-minted money the Pac-12’s television contract brings to the conference’s members, would be unable to get “into a bidding war” with the Aggies for Sumlin’s services.

Whether the Aggies will be able to pry Sumlin away from the Cougars remains to be seen.  One way or the other, the answer to that question should come in the days following UH’s appearance in the Conference USA title game Saturday.

Iowa LB Aaron Mends to miss extended time with injury

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Talk about a hard-luck story.

After never starting a game at Iowa, Aaron Mends (pictured, blocking punt) had earned a starting job at outside linebacker during practice this spring.  With football being the cruel mistress that it can be at times, the Hawkeyes announced Friday night that Mends “will miss an extended period of time due to injury.” The program offered no details as to the specific nature of the injury, although it’s believed to involve the knee.

According to the school’s release, the fifth-year senior suffered the injury during the final week of Iowa’s spring drills.

Mends was a three-star member of the Hawkeyes’ 2014 recruiting class.  He was the highest-rated linebacker in Iowa’s class that year.

After taking a redshirt as a true freshman, Mends has played in 38 games the past three seasons.  A baker’s dozen of those appearances came during the 2017 season.

Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, James Franklin and Clay Helton among 15 CFB coaches attending NFL Draft

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We’re less than a week away from former college players officially finding out their new homes with the start of the 2018 NFL Draft and the excitement is palpable no matter if you’re a Cleveland Browns fan or somebody who dons the cardinal and gold of USC.

Naturally this is a big deal for the players’ former programs as well and their recent head coaches will be taking full advantage of the marketing opportunity to future recruits by stopping by the draft itself at AT&T Stadium for the festivities. The NFL released a list of 14 college football coaches and one recent one on Friday as being confirmed to attend the event and there are a few notable names beyond the big ones we’re used to seeing every year:

In addition, Stanford head coach David Shaw will serve as a draft analyst on NFL Network for a seventh year in a row and even ESPN’s College GameDay is getting involved with a pregame show outside the stadium they are quite familiar with from big games over the years.

Georgia DB Mark Webb tears meniscus in practice but expected back before fall camp

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Georgia’s injury luck this spring isn’t getting much better as the defending SEC champions move toward their annual G-Day spring game over the weekend.

Head coach Kirby Smart confirmed with reporters after Thursday’s practice that sophomore defensive back Mark Webb suffered a knee injury earlier in the week and tore his meniscus. He already had the knee scoped and is expected back before fall camp after the rather minor procedure.

Webb originally landed in Athens as a wideout but made the move to the secondary just as the season was getting going. He appeared in 13 games in 2017, mostly on special teams, but was expected to challenge for one of the starting spots at cornerback heading into the upcoming campaign.

The absence of Webb in the lineup for the final week of spring adds to a growing list of injuries for the team during practice as they do a little bit of roster building toward the future. Receiver Michael Chigbu’s career may be over due to lingering injuries and defensive back Divaad Wilson tore his ACL not long after enrolling this semester.

Safe to say that G-Day on Saturday might not be as physical as Smart and the coaching staff would otherwise like as a result of trying to keep the team healthy as they prepare to head into a big offseason.

Old Dominion announces remodel, expansion plans for S.B. Ballard Stadium

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Old Dominion is making sure the first word in the school’s name is not the first thing you think of when you are playing against the Monarchs, joining a long list of their FBS peers with some significant upgrades for their home venue over the coming years. In plans approved this week by the university, ODU released renderings and an updated timeline on a $65 million remodel of S.B. Ballard Stadium that is set to begin as soon as this summer.

“We are excited to begin Phase 1 reconstruction,” said Greg DuBois, the school’s vice president for administration and finance. “Fan comfort and high-quality amenities are the primary focus of this phase. The project will help us create the type of game-day experience fans want and will set us up for future expansions.”

The stadium, some 81-years-old, will undergo a nearly complete teardown over the next two years in order to transform the place most know as Foreman Field. Both the east and west stands will be demolished and rebuilt, complete with new seating and a new press box. There will naturally be more restrooms and concession stands as part of the plan that includes plenty more bells and whistles for the Conference USA program. Seating is expected to grow beyond 21,000 or so capacity the current venue seats.

While construction will get started in the coming months, the bulk of activity will take place after the 2018 campaign is wrapped up at home and before kickoff of the opener in 2019. The Virginian-Pilot reports that funding will not utilize state funds but that the school is requesting that the legislature approve an added $10 million to the cost structure as a result of rising prices beyond the original $55 million forecasted.

2018 will be just the 10th season for the Monarchs (and fifth in FBS) since the football program was reinstated and it goes without saying that the new digs will be some of the nicest in CUSA when all is said and done. Few programs have been able to successfully navigate the transition as well as ODU has and it seems an updated stadium in the near future is the reward for head coach Bobby Wilder and others in Norfolk.