June Jones, Kyle Padron

Updated: Deal dead between June Jones, Sun Devils

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UPDATED 6:03 p.m. ET: Leigh Steinberg, agent for Jones, posted the following on his blog regarding the negotiations with Arizona State, and what’s been rumored as a pulled offer on the part of ASU.  The headline?  “Bizarre Experience in Negotiating”:

“Just had one of the most bizarre endings to a set of productive discussions to bring a client to a new situation. Everything was set, few tweaks left, and the principal decision maker yanks the deal w/no real explanation.”

UPDATED 5:14 p.m. ET: Jones-to-ASU is officially dead according to one high-ranking ASU official.

June Jone is not going to be our coach. The process continues,” said Steve Patterson, ASU’s Chief operating officer, in comments made to Fox 26 Sports in Houston.

No reason was given for the sudden and unexpected change from where talks were headed Wednesday morning.

UPDATED 4:48 p.m. ET: That process of hammering out the final details of a contract?  There’s apparently been a snag to the talks that threatens to scuttle Jones’ expected move to the desert.

On Twitter, Doug Haller of the Arizona Republic writes that ASU “has broken off talks (for now) with SMU coach June Jones.”  Schad tweeted that “[a] contractual agreement between June Jones and Arizona State has not been completed and now it may not be at all.”  For what it’s worth, we have been unable to confirm the talks have actually hit a snag.

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As Ben noted Tuesday, and amid rumors he was being wooed by Arizona State, the agent for SMU head coach June Jones was quoted as saying his client was “happy” in his current situation and no announcement was imminent.

Ladies and gentlemen, a day later we give you reason No. 3,784 why you should never believe anything an agent says publicly this time of the year.

A source with knowledge of the situation has confirmed to CFT that the hiring of Jones by the Sun Devils is indeed imminent and could be announced as early as today.  CBS Sports.com and ESPN.com‘s Joe Schad are also reporting that Jones will be ASU’s next head coach.

The two sides are currently in the process of hammering out the final details of a contract, or were as of late this morning.  How soon all of the i’s are dotted and t’s crossed will determine when the official announcement is made.

Jones would replace Dennis Erickson, who was dismissed by the school following a late-season collapse that saw the Sun Devils lose their last four games and a shot at a berth in the inaugural Pac-12 championship game.

After taking Hawaii to a BcS game during his nine years with the Warriors, Jones returned to the mainland in 2008 to take over at SMU.  A one-win first season with the Mustangs gave way to 22 wins the past three years and the football program’s first three bowl berths since being hit with the death penalty in the mid-80s.

Washington State coach Mike Leach fires a shot at the SEC

EUGENE, OR - OCTOBER 19: Head coach Mike Leach of the Washington State Cougars looks on from the sidelines during the second quarter of the game against the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium on October 19, 2013 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
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Washington State coach Mike Leach is known across the country as one of college football’s most interesting characters, rambling on from time-to-time about everything from pirates to the history of Geronimo. The latest subject the quirky head coach has turned his sights on? The big ol’ SEC.

The Jackson Clarion-Ledger spoke to Leach recently as part of a profile on new Ole Miss offensive coordinator Phil Longo, and let’s just say the Air Raid guru of the Palouse didn’t hold back when discussing the state of offenses in the league widely considered to be the best in the sport.

“I’ve got bad news for all these levels people,” Leach said. “Your level isn’t special, your conference isn’t special. All this different level this, different level that. That’s crazy.

 

“This is a great time to be in the SEC, everybody’s got the same offense: run right, run left, play action. And they tease themselves  and say we threw it four more times a game this year than we did last year.”

Leach, who coached in the league at Kentucky, also added some other, more colorful language to describe his impression of the SEC and the offenses teams run. While he did play at Auburn with the Cougars a few years ago, he clearly hasn’t kept up with the way things are trending down south as even pro-style stalwarts like Alabama and Arkansas are using more and more tempo and spread principles on a weekly basis.

Either way, let’s hope the Washington State athletic director is already making calls to schedule an SEC opponent in the coming years. If nothing else, any future appearance by Leach on the Paul Finebaum Show should be must-see entertainment.

Willie Taggart completes Oregon coaching staff with familiar face from USF

TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 26: South Florida Bulls head coach Willie Taggart during the third quarter at Raymond James Stadium on November 26, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Jason Behnken / Getty Images)
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It probably took a little longer than most to dot the I’s and cross the T’s, but Willie Taggart has completed his coaching staff at Oregon and the latest addition is a familiar face.

The school announced Thursday afternoon that Raymond Woodie would be taking over as the Ducks’ new special teams coordinator, having previously spent the past four seasons at USF with Taggart and three more before that together at Western Kentucky.

Woodie most recently served as the Bulls’ defensive coordinator this past season but has been a linebackers coach dating back to 2012. He is regarded by many to be a quality recruiter with good ties to the state of Florida in particular and has also coached the defensive line. While his title makes him responsible for the third phase of the game for Oregon, he figures to also help out new defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt in some fashion as well.

The announcement is a bit of positive news for Taggart and the Ducks this week after a considerable bit of bad press for the program stemming from the revelation that multiple Oregon players wound up in the hospital following offseason workouts. New strength coach Irele Oderinde (who also came over from USF) was eventually suspended for one month without pay by the school as a result..

Despite Auburn interest, Texas A&M OC Noel Mazzone staying put in College Station

COLLEGE STATION, TX - OCTOBER 14:  The Texas A&M Aggies offense huddles against the Missouri Tigers at Kyle Field on October 14, 2006 in College Station, Texas. Texas A&M won 25-19. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Gus Malzahn’s quest to find a new offensive coordinator has zigged and zagged in the past few days since the surprising departure of Rhett Lashlee to UConn. One place it will not be going however, is to a fellow SEC West school.

Brent Zwerneman of the Houston Chronicle reports that despite some interest in Texas A&M offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone, the Aggies’ coach is staying put in College Station.

Mazzone arrived at A&M prior to this past season from UCLA and found early success with the Aggies and transfer quarterback Trevor Knight before a late slide in 2016. Travis Haney of 247Sports reported earlier Thursday that he could be considered the leader in the search to replace Lashlee, but it appears that will not be the case.

The longtime coaching veteran’s name being linked to Auburn isn’t too surprising considering he was the OC there from 1999-2001 but Mazzone’s hefty salary and likely high buyout figure provided some big obstacles if he wanted to reunite with the school.

Instead, it’s on to the next one for Malzahn and company.

Jim Harbaugh, Michigan coaches ride go-karts with five-star recruit in Georgia

ANN ARBOR, MI - OCTOBER 17:  Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines reacts during the college football game against the Michigan State Spartans at Michigan Stadium on October 17, 2015 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Spartans defeated the Wolverines 27-23.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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National Signing Day is just around the corner and that means a flurry of in-home visits by coaches across the country trying to lock up the next class of impact players for their program.

We’ve seen plenty of unique attempts by coaches to impress prospects over the years as a result, from often used cookie cakes to sleepovers and limo rides. When it comes to this subject though, few have been as creative as Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh. This week, he certainly cemented that reputation.

According to the Detroit News, Harbaugh and several Wolverines coaches took an in-home visit with five-star defensive tackle Aubrey Solomon out of Leesburg, Georgia and went bowling with the recruit’s family before finally racing go-karts together.

And even better, there’s video via ESPN:

Solomon is also strongly considering Alabama and Georgia in addition to Michigan, but something says neither Nick Saban or Kirby Smart will be heading to the race track with the big defensive tackle on their visit. You have to love recruiting either way.