MAACO Bowl Las Vegas - Arizona State v Boise State

It’s official: Brock Osweiler declares for the NFL

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Following up on the rumors and speculation that had been building over the last several days, Arizona State quarterback Brock Osweiler will indeed depart from Tempe a year early and head to the NFL Draft.

The announcement was made in a school release sent out Friday afternoon, which of course  mentions that he’s the tallest quarterback in the country (he’s 6’8″!).

Reports last night indicated Osweiler might hold a press conference for the announcement.

Osweiler finished a disappointing 6-7 season with 4,036 passing yards. He also set new school records for completions (326), attempts (516) and completion percentage (63.2), and threw for 26 touchdowns. He’s thrown for 5,082 yards and 33 touchdowns in his three-year career at ASU.

Below is a statement from the junior:

Winter Break was an important time for me and after much deliberation, I came to an important decision. In a lot of ways it was similar to my last year in high school. In high school, I was heavily recruited and visited a few of the top programs in the country. Of all of the recruitment trips, it was ASU that struck a lasting cord. Every person I encountered was so kind and it made my decision at the time more difficult to make. As a young man, I had some serious decisions to make, not even 18 years old and I had to make a choice that would ultimately impact my life forever.

As many of you know, before I chose to live in Arizona, I had a commitment to Gonzaga University to play basketball. For a over a year I was certain that this was my path, it wasn’t until May 16th of 2008 that I was certain I had to be ASU’s quarterback. My coach at the time, McCarvel stood by my decision and I graduated a semester early from my class. By January 2009 I was officially a Sun Devil.

ASU has taken excellent care of me and the city of Tempe has changed my life for the better. Not a single day has gone by where I have had to second guess or question my decision to enroll at ASU. I knew that in my heart this was part of my destiny. While I bleed and sweat Maroon and Gold I have now made the second-most difficult decision in my life. I have decided to declare myself eligible for the NFL draft. It was an exceptionally difficult decision to make, but having spoken to my family and close friends it became clear to me that this is the next path I must take to advance my personal and professional career.

I wish I could truly thank everyone that has helped me through my years at ASU, but there isn’t a proper way to match what everyone has done for me. I have been touched by the most amazing people and have made relationships I know will last my entire life. When I arrived in Arizona I was spellbound and culture shocked by Kush stadium. Seventy-two-thousand people could fit in the stadium which is 40,000 more people then the entirety of my hometown of Kalispell, Montana.

ASU has been my home for the last three years. I will never forget how many people have gone out of their way to make ASU home for me. I would like to thank the fans that have supported me through out all of the trials and tribulations. Sincerely, there is nothing like walking onto Kush Field before kick off and having the crowd erupt. There are so many things that I will miss about ASU, but I know that I will be a Sun Devil until I die. I have a pitchfork tattoo on my ribs to symbolize the BEST three years of my life. Thank you again for all of the support and positive wishes throughout this process.

Ole Miss announces co-OC Dan Werner won’t return in 2017

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Hugh Freeze‘s 2017 coaching staff at Ole Miss will have a decidedly different look than his 2016 version.

In late November, the football program announced that defensive coordinator Dave Wommack has decided to retire from coaching at the end of year after nearly four decades in the profession.  Nearly two weeks later, the rebels announced that co-offensive coordinator Dan Werner will not return as well.

Werner also served as quarterbacks coach.

“I am grateful to Dan for his contributions to our program,” Freeze said in a statement. “His leadership and experience were invaluable in the development of our quarterbacks. These are always very difficult decisions, but at this time, I believe it is best for our program to have a fresh approach. We wish Dan and his family the very best.”

In 2016, the Rebels were 13th nationally in passing offense and tied for 45th in scoring.  They were in the Top 10 in 2015 in both of those categories.

Matt Luke remains on staff as the other co-offensive coordinator while also holding the title of assistant head coach.  He’s also the Rebels’ line coach.

Werner has been in Oxford for all five year’s of Freeze’s tenure.  He was also the Rebels’ coordinator in 2006 and 2007 under Ed Orgeron, who is now the head coach at LSU.

In addition to the move on Werner, it was also announced that Barney Farrar, the assistant athletic director for high school and junior college relations, would not have his contract renewed.  Farrar had been on administrative leave prior to his dismissal.

Farrar was connected to the draft-day imbroglio involving former Ole Miss All-American offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil.  It was reported in October that an NCAA investigation into the football program is ongoing.

Houston AD goes papal amidst reports of Lane Kiffin hiring

HOUSTON, TX - NOVEMBER 19: University of Houston Frontiersman hold the UH flag and the American flag during the University of Houston school song before the Houston Cougars played the Southern Methodist University Mustangs on November 19, 2011 at Robertson Stadium in Houston, Texas. Houston defeated SMU 37-7.  (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)
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Even in the midst of a coaching search that will determine your football program’s fortunes for the foreseeable future, you gotta have a little fun.

Late Wednesday, it appeared that Houston was zeroing in on a replacement for Tom Herman, who left to become the head coach at Texas late last month.  Thursday morning, it was reported that Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin had been hired by UH.

In response to the reports of a final decision being made, Cougars athletic director Hunter Yurachek offered a little papal levity, replete with non-white smoke indicating no football pope has been hired.

The Houston Chronicle, citing a source with knowledge of the situation, subsequently reported that “the University of Houston has not made a decision on its next football coach.”

That said, it’s expected that Kiffin is Yurachek’s man, with an announcement coming as early as tonight. University officials will meet later on today to finalize the search and come to a consensus.

In addition to Kiffin, ex-LSU head coach Les Miles and interim Houston coach Todd Orlando and offensive coordinator Major Applewhite have been under consideration.  ESPN.com‘s Brett McMurphy writes that “[w]hoever the next coach is, Houston is trying to require an excessive buyout so he can’t leave after a couple of seasons without paying a substantial penalty.”

As a reference point in that aspect of the situation, Herman’s buyout was $2.5 million.  Herman spent two seasons with the Cougars before leaving for the Longhorns.

Jay Norvell reportedly set to be named head coach at Nevada

Jay Norvell, Jerrod Heard
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Yet another FBS opening is reportedly on the verge of being closed.

According to a report from FootballScoop.com, Jay Norvell “will be the next head coach at Nevada.” The Reno Gazette-Journal writes that “Norvell, the third and final candidate to interview for the Wolf Pack football head-coaching vacancy, was so impressive he didn’t even leave Reno before being offered the job, which he quickly accepted.” Norvell was offered the job late Wednesday night.

The other two interviewed were Eastern Washington head coach Beau Baldwin and Vanderbilt offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig. The former interviewed Monday, the latter Tuesday.

If/when hired, Norvell would replace Brian Polian, who “mutually parted ways” with the football program last month after four seasons. This would be Norvell’s first head-coaching job at any level.

Norvell just completed his first regular season as an assistant on Todd Graham‘s Arizona State coaching staff.  With the Sun Devils, Norvell served as wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator.

Norvell has spent most of his nearly three decades in coaching at Power Five programs, with stops that included Texas (2015), Oklahoma (2008-14), UCLA (2007), Nebraska (2004-06), Iowa State (1995-97), Wisconsin (1989-94) and Iowa (1986-87).  He also spent six seasons as an assistant in the NFL — 1998-2001 as the wide receivers coach of the Indianapolis Colts, 2002-03 as tight ends coach of the Oakland Raiders.

Jim Harbaugh is looking forward to seeing Chief Osceola and Renegade at the Orange Bowl

TALLAHASSEE, FL - SEPTEMBER 15:  Chief Osceola, mascot of the Florida State Seminoles plants a spear at midfield prior to a game against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Doak Campbell Stadium on September 15, 2012 in Tallahassee, Florida.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh and Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher got together for a joint press conference in Miami today as the two coaches prepare to face one another in the Orange Bowl on December 30. Harbaugh said he is looking forward to the matchup but seemed to be much more interested in getting a chance to witness one of the pregame traditions of Florida State; Chief Osceola riding on Renegade and planting a spear in the turf.

“I’ve never been to a game at Florida State,” Harbaugh said. “I’ve always wanted to go there and see what that atmosphere was like in person. This will be as close as I’ve ever been to that. I’m excited for that. I know I’m going to get some chills when that Appaloosa comes riding out there.”

Of course, this isn’t exactly a home game for the Seminoles, so sometimes pregame traditions are put on ice for the bowl season. Knowing this, Harbaugh made his case and made sure everyone listening knows just how cool he thinks it is.

“I want to see that. That’s one of the cool things,” Harbaugh said. “We have cool things and other teams have cool things, but that is right up there as one of the coolest things.”

Fortunately for Harbaugh, he will indeed get a chance to witness this pregame routine in person. Florida State Associate Athletics Director Jason Dennard said on Twitter Chief Osceola and Renegade will make the trip to Miami from Tallahassee.