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Gundy: ‘We’d have thrown 50 times… I just think we could score’

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It was a performance for the ages, and LSU’s microscopic offensive numbers bore out Alabama’s defensive dominance in the BcS title game.

Zero points.  A miserly 1.4 yards per carry, and just 3.1 yards per pass attempt.  Converted just two first downs in 12 third-down attempts.  Four plays ran in Alabama territory, none until the fourth quarter and all coming on one drive.  Five first downs.  92 yards of total offense.  In every fashion imaginable, it was the Tide sawing on a Stradivarius while the Tigers plucked aimlessly on a stringless banjo.

Those numbers weren’t enough, though, to dissuade one coach from playing the what-if game.

Speaking to USA Today shortly after the Tide’s 21-0 thumping of the Tigers, Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy lamented the fact that his Cowboys, which finished third in both the major polls, didn’t get the opportunity to do what LSU couldn’t — put some crooked numbers up on the scoreboard.  And, according to Gundy, they would’ve done it by doing what they do best.

Fling footballs all over the field and see what sticks.

“We’d have thrown it 50 times,” he said. “You like to think Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon could have put together some touchdowns. Get the ball thrown down the field and open some things up. Try to make it exciting, and see what happens.”

“You sure would like to have had a shot at it,” Gundy said.

“It kind of hurts to watch it. I just think we could score. We’d use all 52 yards across (the width of) the field. Get people on the edges. Use the vertical game.”

“For the most part in the last couple of years, we’ve been able to move the ball and score points against about anybody we played. … It’s been talked about all year from coast to coast: Big 12 offenses, SEC defenses, how do we really know if anybody’s really any good? That (a showdown in the BCS title game) would have been the best way to find out.”

“I will say this,” Mike Gundy said as Alabama closed in on Monday night’s 21-0 win against LSU. “I bet you there’ll be a lot of people wish they’d given us a shot to see a different kind of game.”

Granted, there were certainly a lot people who may have preferred a different style of game, as the 14-percent dip in overnight ratings from last year’s Auburn-Oregon title game attests.  There are, however, a couple of teeny tiny flaws in Gundy’s logic.

First, the Cowboys would not have been facing the Tide, they would’ve been facing the Tigers.  LSU was the unquestioned No. 1 while the Tide squeaked into the title game by the narrowest of margins over the Cowboys.  Whether the Cowboys could’ve put scored X number of points by throwing it 50 or 100 points against the Tide simply doesn’t matter.

And secondly, they did have a shot at it…

Given the current system — as inherently flawed and bogus and exclusionary as it is — taking care of business against a team that finished the season 6-7 would not leave the door wide open for the lamenting that’s taking place after the fact.  Gundy has no one to blame but himself, his coaching staff and his players.

And, yes, the system that instead of leaning toward equity runs like hell away from it should shoulder some blame as well.  Alas, that’s another story for another day, a discussion that’s hopefully coming sooner rather than later.

In the interim, at least one member of the 2011 BcS champions would have no problem taking the situation to the playing field and settling whatever issues Oklahoma State may have with how the season ended.

“I could play them right now,” Tide offensive tackle Barrett Jones said after the win Monday night. “You don’t think we hear that talk? Line up, let’s go.”

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.

Florida QB Luke del Rio to miss spring practices following surgery

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - NOVEMBER 5:  Luke Del Rio #14 of the Florida Gators throws a pass during a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Razorback Stadium on November 5, 2016 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
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Florida quarterback Luke Del Rio will be out of action this spring in Gainesville, the school announced on Thursday. Del Rio will instead be taking time to recover from shoulder surgery.

Del Rio underwent surgery on his non-throwing surgery on Wednesday. The surgery was on his non-throwing shoulder, but it will still take some time to rehab following the procedure.

While Del Rio is expected to be available for the fall, his absence in the spring could open the door for Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask to make a potential run for the starting job. Both were expected to be ready to compete for the starting job for the Gators this season anyway, and now each will be able to get a few more reps in the spring to work on their case to win the starting job for the 2017 season.

Del Rio was 5-1 as Florida’s starting quarterback last season before going down with a knee injury. Austin Appleby took over as Florida’s starting quarterback and led the team to a blowout victory over Iowa in the Outback Bowl at the end of the season. Del Rio passed for 1,358 yards and eight touchdowns with eight interceptions.

San Diego State extends Rocky Long’s contract through 2021

SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 05: Head coach Rocky Long of the San Diego State Aztecs hoists the champion's trophy after winning the Mountain West Championship game against the Air Force Falcons at Qualcomm Stadium on December 5, 2015 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Kent Horner/Getty Images)
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Coming off a second straight 11-3 season, San Diego State has rewarded head football coach Rocky Long with a contract extension. The school announced a new contract that tacks on five additional seasons to the existing contract. Long is now under contract through the end of the 2021 season.

Long was under contract through the end of the upcoming 2017 season, so the contract extension provides a little more job security for Long and enables to him to show some stability for the future of the program.

Long replaced former San Diego State head coach Brady Hoke as the head coach of the Aztecs at the end of the 2010 season after Hoke was hired by Michigan. Under Long, San Diego State has gone 54-26 with six straight winning seasons. During that run, San Diego State has won back-to-back Mountain West Conference championships the past two seasons and gone 3-3 in bowl games. Long also coached San Diego State to a conference crown in his first season on the job, in 2011. San Diego State has ended each of the past two seasons with bowl victories against a team from the American Athletic Conference (Cincinnati in the 2015 Hawaii Bowl and Houston in the 2016 Las Vegas Bowl).