Report: pair of candidates to get second Penn State interviews

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With a report surfacing earlier Saturday that Mike Munchak may be privately vacillating on his very public denial of interest in the Penn State vacancy, the school is moving forward with a followup round of interviews with a couple of interviewees.

And, somewhat surprisingly, one of those two is very, very familiar to both the university and its fan base.

According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, interim Nittany Lions head coach Tom Bradley and Green Bay Packers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements will be interviewed a second time, perhaps as early as next Tuesday.  The paper notes that each of those two candidates has been vetted by the university’s search committee, which is code for “no Jerry Sandusky skeletons to see here”.

The inclusion of Bradley as what appears to be a viable candidate to replace Joe Paterno is somewhat surprising, due mainly to the fact that it was thought the football program would clean house in an effort to distance itself from the stain of the Sandusky child-sex scandal.  Bradley has been an assistant at Penn State since 1979, and was on the staff when the first allegations against Sandusky came to university official’s attention in the late 90s.

Clements, a western Pennsylvania native, has made it publicly clear that he wants the job.

In addition to Bradley and Clements, the Tribune-Review writes that “Penn State officials also hope to speak with at least one top assistant from a team playing in a BCS bowl game, though the assistant’s identity and team was not known by the sources.”

It would be safe to assume that “top assistant” means an offensive or defensive coordinator, or someone with an “associate” or “assistant” tag connected to his job title.  It would also be safe to assume we know the identity of the 10 teams participating in BcS bowls this season.  So, as a public service, we’ll list the coordinators on each side of the ball for every team playing in a BcS bowl, and then allow you to jump to your own conclusions.

Enjoy, but please, speculate responsibly.  And, if you can’t, please find a designated speculator:

OREGON
Offensive coordinator: Mark Helfrich —  has never coached east of Colorado.
Defensive coordinator: Nick Aliotti — more entrenched in the West than Helfrich.

WISCONSIN
Offensive coordinator: Paul Chryst — has been named as Pittsburgh’s new head coach.
Co-defensive coordinator: Chris Ash — an Iowa native, Ash’s coaching stops have included San Diego State and Iowa State.
Co-defensive coordinator: Charlie Partridge — prior to joining Bret Bielema‘s staff in 2008, he spent five years as an assistant at Pitt.

OKLAHOMA STATE
Offensive coordinator: Todd Monken — has coached at Notre Dame (grad assistant) and Eastern Michigan.  The Illinois native was a candidate for the Southern Miss and Tulane jobs earlier this year.
Defensive coordinator: Bill Young — he’s in his mid-60s; he’s likely not a viable candidate.
Associate head coach: Joe DeForest — Florida native who’s spent time on staffs at Duke and Rice in addition to OSU.

STANFORD
Offensive coordinator: Pep Hamilton — an NFL assistant from 2000-09, Hamilton has spent the past two seasons with the Cardinal.
Co-defensive coordinator:  Derek Mason — the Arizona native has spent his time in the western portion of the country since becoming an assistant in 1994.
Co-defensive coordinator: Jason Tarver —  has been strictly a West Coast assistant since becoming a coach in 1996

MICHIGAN
Offensive coordinator: Al Borges –56-year old who has, outside of a two-year stint at Indiana a decade ago, spent his coaching time around the West Coast prior to coming to Ann Arbor.
Defensive coordinator: Greg Mattison — despite his astonishing success in his first year with the Wolverines, see Bill Young above.

VIRGINIA TECH
Offensive coordinator: Bryan Stinespring — after a four-year stint at the high school level, the Virginia native has been a Hokies assistant since 1990.
Defensive coordinator: Bud Foster — an assistant at Tech since 1987, Foster tops the list of coaches when you call the “why the hell hasn’t he ever been a head coach?” roll.

CLEMSON
Offensive coordinator: Chad Morris — will be the highest-paid assistant coach in college football in 2012.  Has spent most of his coaching career at the high school level in Texas, but was a high-priority target of Urban Meyer as his first OC at Ohio State.
Defensive coordinator: Kevin Steele — head coach at Baylor from 1999-2002, and served on Nick Saban‘s Alabama staffs in 2007 and 2008.

WEST VIRGINIA
Offensive coordinator: head coach Dana Holgorsen serves as his own coordinator.
Defensive coordinator: Jeff Casteel — has been at WVU since 2001, and is one of the most underrated assistants in the country.  Graduated from a college in Pennsylvania.

ALABAMA
Offensive coordinator: Jim McElwain — has been named as Colorado State’s new head coach.
Defensive coordinator: Kirby Smart — has been a strictly Southern coach since finishing his playing career at Georgia in 1998.

LSU
Offensive coordinator: Greg Studrawa — for most of his 23-year coaching career, the Ohio native has been a head coach in the Midwest.  Like Clemson’s Morris, was rumored to be a candidate for the OC job at Ohio State under Urban Meyer.
Defensive coordinator: John Chavis — after playing his college ball at Tennessee, Chavis has spent his entire 33-year coaching career in SEC country.

My best guess as to the top assistant on a BcS bowl team that may have piqued PSU’s interest? “Foster, Pennsylvanian for Coach”.

Also, any coach with a connection to Saban — Steele, Smart — should be kept in mind; the Tide head coach is highly respected by a key member of the PSU search committee, and will go to great lengths to espouse the virtues of assistants who have worked under him in the past/present.

Suspended Michigan State staffer receives another contract extension

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Michigan State has added another one-month extension to the contract of suspended football staffer Curtis Blackwell as the school continues to investigate several sexual assaults involving the Spartans.

A schools spokesman confirmed the extension to the Detroit Free Press on Friday.

The move comes on the heels of a previous one-month contract extension for Blackwell that came at the end of March. His official title is that of the team’s director of college advancement and performance and he was hired by head coach Mark Dantonio back in 2013 after running a number of major recruiting camps in the region.

Blackwell was originally suspended back in February as the school and police began multiple investigations related to sexual assaults. According to reports, one Michigan State staff member had an arrest warrant issued for obstructing an investigation but he was never publicly identified by the school.

Probes into the matter, including a Title IX investigation, remain ongoing in East Lansing. The football team recently wrapped up practice missing over a dozen players in the spring game so it appears this wide-ranging scandal that has embroiled the Spartans is not going to be over anytime soon.

Ex-USC coach finally lands court date with NCAA over Reggie Bush case

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After years and years of meandering through the court system, former USC running backs coach Todd McNair finally has his day in court with the NCAA.

ESPN is reporting that the two parties will meet in Los Angeles County Superior Court on April 18, 2018. The trial will finally get underway next year after nearly a decade of appeals on both sides.

McNair was the Trojans’ running backs coach during the glory days under Pete Carroll and responsible for coaching or recruiting many of the team’s top players. He was one of the few links to the program that the NCAA cited when determining that former star Reggie Bush received extra benefits, later leading to brutal sanctions back in 2010. McNair was given a one-year show-cause as a result of the Committee on Infractions findings and never coached again after the school let his contract expire shortly thereafter.

That wasn’t the end of the story however, as McNair later filed a defamation lawsuit against the NCAA in which he accused the association of violating protocol and showing bias against himself and the program in order to level unprecedented sanctions. Documents in the case have continued to seep out that have given credence to McNair’s case and the NCAA’s lawyers have fought bitterly at every turn in order to prevent the trial from actually getting underway.

Those efforts were unsuccessful however and it appears an already nasty legal battle is still not over. It remains to be seen if the trial will even happen, as a settlement could eventually take place between now and next April. If it does indeed go in front of a jury though, it just might be one of the most fascinating insights into one of the biggest NCAA scandals of the past few decades.

Biletnikoff Award semifinalist Jonathan Giles announces transfer from Texas Tech

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Thursday may have been a high point for the Texas Tech football program upon learning that former quarterback Patrick Mahomes was taken in the top 10 of the 2017 NFL Draft.

On Friday afternoon though, the Red Raiders dipped right back down as star wide receiver Jonathan Giles took to Twitter to announce that he was leaving the program and transferring out of Lubbock.

Giles was a Biletnikoff Award semifinalist a season ago after catching 69 passes for 1,158 yards and 13 touchdowns. Those numbers led the team in each category despite trailing off a bit down the stretch as Tech missed out on a bowl game.

Playing time could have been a big factor in the decision to leave the program as both Cameron Batson and Keke Coutee emerged as the top receiving targets and Giles was relegated to second-team status coming out of spring practice.

Tech’s Air Raid system and NFL quarterbacks had a lot to do with Giles’ big numbers but it’s fairly rare to see such highly touted and productive wideouts hit the transfer markets. While the decision probably isn’t what some Red Raiders fans wanted to hear on Friday, the receiver probably won’t be lacking for options when it comes to his next stop.

Pitt dismisses senior defensive tackle for disciplinary reasons

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Bad news in college football is typically reserved for Friday and it appears the Pitt Panthers just got a taste of some.

Per Pittsburgh Tribune-Review beat writer Jerry DiPaola, head coach Pat Narduzzi has dismissed starting defensive tackle Jeremiah Taleni for disciplinary reasons.

Taleni emerged as a starter down the stretch for the Panthers and will be a big loss up front for the team as they already have to replace the stellar production from the soon-to-be-drafted Ejuan Price.

No further comments were given when the school confirmed the news so it might be a while before we find out what led to Taleni’s dismissal and whether he plays college football at all next season.