Greg Schiano

Update: Schiano close to deal to leave Rutgers for Bucs

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UPDATED 2:37 p.m. ET: Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti will address the media at 4:30 p.m. ET this afternoon and discuss the direction the football program will move in regards to the head coaching position. Two unnamed players will be available for comment as well.

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UPDATED 12:57 p.m. ET: A team meeting has been called for 2 p.m. ET Thursday afternoon, at which point the Scarlet Knight players will officially be informed that Greg Schiano is leaving the program for an NFL job.  Schiano is also expected to meet with his coaching staff prior to that meeting.

The school is expected to issue a press release confirming Schiano’s departure at some point shortly after that team meeting.

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UPDATED 10:54 a.m. ET: There is apparently a lot of meat to the Greg Schiano speculation.

Adam Schefter of ESPN is reporting that “Tampa Bay plans to hire Rutgers coach Greg Schiano as the next Buccaneers head coach. Two sides trying to finalize contract.”

CFT has reached out to Rutgers for a comment on the growing speculation, but thus far the school has declined to respond.

This apparently wasn’t Schiano’s first NFL flirtation this offseason; according to Schefter, Schiano interviewed with the St. Louis Rams and was a finalist for the job that ultimately went to Jeff Fisher.

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Reports emerged over the weekend that Chip Kelly had decided to leave Oregon to take the head coaching job with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

A couple of days after Kelly reversed course, another program at the collegiate level could find itself fending off advances toward their head coach from the same professional organization.

On its Twitter account Thursday morning, WDAE radio in Tampa wrote that it’s “[h]earing whispers that the #Bucs coach could be a college coach.”  Subsequent to that, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweeted that “620 WDAE in Tampa reporting that Rutgers coach Greg Schiano is possibly going to be the Bucs new head coach.”

“I have no confirmation of Rutgers coach Greg Schiano becoming the Bucs next head coach. Is it possible? Anything is,” Stroud wrote in a follow-up tweet.

Jason LaConfora of the NFL Network subsequently confirmed that report, tweeting that Schiano “is under consideration for Bucs job.”

Schiano has been the head coach of the Scarlet Knights since 2001, going 68-67 in his 11 seasons at the school.  His last job at the professional level was in 1998, serving as a defensive assistant with the Chicago Bears for three years.

Following the dismissal of Joe Paterno, Schiano, who coached at the school prior to his time with the Bears, was mentioned as a likely target of the school; he ultimately denied any interest in the opening.  He was also connected to the Illinois vacancy, but those rumors were swiftly knocked down.

Suffice to say, the school has no comment on the latest round of speculation regarding their coach.  As it’s now six days until National Signing Day, they might want to change that tack if there is no truth to the rumors at all.

Is this the year? Army jumps out to two-score halftime lead over No. 25 Navy

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 10: Army cadets take the field before the start of the Army Black Knights and Navy Midshipman game at M&T Bank Stadium on December 10, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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There are few traditions in college football quite like the annual Army-Navy game and the pageantry was in full force once again on Saturday afternoon from Baltimore.

Army kicked off the scoring for the third season in a row in this rivalry game after recovering a Navy fumble and marching right down the field with a 14 play, 66 yard drive that culminated in a touchdown.

While the early score was notable, turnovers dominated first quarter play with three of the first four drives from the teams ending in a giveaway. The quarterbacks combined to complete just a single pass to their own team all half but completed three to the opposing defenses in the form of three ugly interceptions. Army’s Xavier Moss forced the first fumble of the season from Navy fullback Shawn White for the first quarter’s other turnover as well.

Army’s triple option looked to be the superior attack for most of the half, with the Black Knights picking up six of their seven third downs and converting the other on fourth down. Andy Davidson punched it into the end zone both times and finished with 15 carries for 50 yards.

There’s still a lot of football left to be played but the best Army team in nearly a decade certainly is looking primed to end Navy’s long winning streak in convincing fashion based on how the first half went.

Texas HS coaches reportedly favored Major Applewhite over Lane Kiffin at Houston

HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 05:  Offensive Cooridator Major Applewhite of the Houston Cougars looks on during warm ups before the game against the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles on September 5, 2015 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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Texas high school coaches are a powerful lot. Tom Herman has one on his staff, Charlie Strong had one on his, and new Baylor head coach Matt Rhule‘s first hire in Waco was the president of the Texas high school coaches’ association.

Lone Star high school coaches’ power stretches even beyond simply getting on college staffs, however. They have the power to scuttle prospective coaching tenures before they happen.

That’s according to Houston board chairman/Cougars booster Tilman Fertitta. Speaking to KILT-AM in Houston on Friday night, Fertitta said high school coaches’ push for Major Applewhite is what put the Coogs’ offensive coordinator over the top of Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin.

“The Texas high school football coaches bombarded our athletic director (Hunter Yurachek) and said: We want our kids to play for Major Applewhite,” Fertitta said, via ESPN. “Here’s a guy that’s been on the big stage, he was the quarterback at the University of Texas, he has a great relationship with the coaches and high school football in Texas. Lane does not. That was an ‘X’ against Lane compared to Major.

“Continuity in the program, the kids, the recruits today playing wanted Major Applewhite. They let it be known. It was just one thing after another that had steamrolled to Major.”

Judging by Applewhite’s Twitter feed, it was hard to argue against that logic. The new Houston head coach tweeted support from two key Cougars recruits and a current Houston player who, incidentally, were rumored targets of Herman at Texas.

“I’ll be 100 percent honest with you. When this started, I thought that we needed to go out and get a name-brand coach, because, to me, it’s all about brands,” Fertitta said. “Nobody understands that better than me. And I wanted the University of Houston to stay relevant, OK? I think Les Miles is a fine coach and he’s going to be a great coach for somebody, and I think the same thing of Lane Kiffin. I was very impressed. But when I looked at the whole picture and totality, I truly think in my heart — and so did everybody else on the committee think — that Major Applewhite was the right fit.”

Pitt RB James Conner declares for NFL Draft

STILLWATER, OK - SEPTEMBER 17 : Running back James Conner #24 of the Pittsburgh Panthers is pursued by linebacker Devante Averette #40 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys September 17, 2016 at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma.  (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
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James Conner is taking his inspirational story and frightening running back skills to the NFL.

The Pittsburgh running back made the announcement Saturday afternoon through his Twitter account.

The Panthers immediately released a statement blessing the move.

Conner burst on the scene as a freshman, leading the Panthers with 799 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. He exploded as a sophomore for 1,765 yards and 26 touchdowns before missing his junior season due to Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He returned to the field this fall with a body free of cancer and promptly returned to form, carrying a team-leading 208 times for 1,060 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Conner was named the winner of the Disney Spirit Award on Thursday night.

The Pitt running back will join a growing list of running back early entrants, including D'Onta ForemanLeonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey.

Cincinnati formally announces Luke Fickell as new head coach

CHAMPAIGN, IL - OCTOBER 15:  Head coach Luke Fickell of the Ohio State Buckeyes watches as his team takes on the Illinois Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium on October 15, 2011 in Champaign, Illinois. Ohio State defeated Illinois 17-7.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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The worst-kept secret in college football is no longer a secret. Luke Fickell is Cincinnati’s new head coach.

The school made the announcement Saturday afternoon after word had begun trickling in the Buckeye State since last night.

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Fickell is a true son of Ohio State. Born in Columbus, he graduated from high school there, attended and met his wife at Ohio State, began his coaching career there and spent all but two seasons as a Buckeye — and those two seasons were at Akron.

Now he’ll move down state to a program that has placed Mark Dantonio at Michigan State, Brian Kelly at Notre Dame and Butch Jones at Tennessee.

The current occupier of the job Fickell surely wants announced his blessing of the move shortly after it went official.

As Tom Herman and Kirby Smart did before him, Fickell will remain with the Buckeyes through their College Football Playoff run.

“It’s with much pride and humility that I accept the awesome honor of becoming the head coach at the University of Cincinnati,” Fickell said in a statement. This city, this school and my family are all Ohio. It’s a tough blue-collar state with hard-working, blue-collar people that respect an honest and complete effort. That’s what they will get from me personally and what they should expect from this football program. This team belongs to this city and we will make you proud.”