Update: McCarney confirms stroke, leaning on vodka elixer

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UPDATED 2/14/2012 @ 3:27 p.m. ET: North Texas head coach Dan McCarney confirmed to the Des Moines Register that he had indeed suffered a stroke over the weekend.  McCarney told the paper that, after his daily workout Sunday morning, he “was just sitting down to eat a sandwich when my left side went numb.”

He remains hospitalized, but doctors told him he’s fine and that “[t]hey’re expecting a full recovery – no permanent damage.”  The health issue should not prevent McCarney from coaching his team in spring practice.

As for the steps he will take to get beyond the medical setback and ensure his presence at the sessions?

“Nothing wrong with me that a little Grey Goose won’t cure,” the 58-year-old coach said, quickly becoming the leader in the clubhouse for inspirational quote of the year in college football.

In a press release issued Tuesday afternoon, UNT confirmed that McCarney has been moved out of ICU and will continue to undergo medical treatment.  A statement from McCarney was also included in the release:

First, thanks to all the wonderful people who sent well-wishes during my time of illness.  I am reminded of how truly blessed I am by the number of family, friends and colleagues that have reached out to show support to Margy and myself with words of support and encouragement. 

After suffering numbness on the left side of my body Sunday, we called 911 and were subsequently rushed to the hospital.  I have been told by the doctors that the early recognition of the symptoms and the quick response of the paramedics indeed helped minimize the impact of the stroke.  Thanks to the care of the wonderful medical staff that I have been under, I am confident that there will be no long-lasting effects and I will be able to return my normal routine in time.

While I have a great passion for coaching and approach my job with a tireless effort, I’m sure that my doctors will ask that I come back at a slower pace.  I fully intend on leading the North Texas football program through spring drills and can’t wait to be back around my staff and players. 

If there is any lesson to be learned in all of this it is to make yourself aware of the signs of a stroke and act immediately when those signs become present.  I’m not sure if our quick reaction saved my life, but it definitely save the quality of my life. 

Thanks again for all the thoughts, prayers and signs of support.

______________________________

There’s some potentially unfortunate news coming out of Denton, Texas, today involving North Texas head coach Dan McCarney. 

According to the Twitter account of Iowa State women’s basketball coach Bill Fennelly, McCarney suffered a stroke. A spokesperson close to McCarney confirmed to CFT that the coach was admitted to a hospital yesterday and underwent “a battery of tests”, but could not provide any more details.

UNT athletic director Rick Villarreal offered the following statement:

“Yesterday afternoon after returning from Miami I spoke with Margy McCarney who said that her husband, Dan, had experienced some medical difficulties significant enough that he was taken to the hospital.  The details that we know at this time are that he was admitted and is currently undergoing a battery of tests and will continue to be under observation.

“The exact cause and nature of the symptoms of his illness are not immediately known by us at this time.  The family has asked until a complete diagnosis and a course of treatment is established that their privacy be respected.  We can’t comment any further at this time and will release information as it becomes available and approved by the family.”

McCarney led North Texas to a 5-7 season in his first year with the Mean Green after spending three years as the defensive line coach at Florida. McCarney also spent 12 years as the head coach at Iowa State.

Obviously, our thoughts are with McCarney and his family, and hopefully, we’ll be able to update this story with some more positive news soon.

Georgia loses second player to transfer in as many days

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On the same day they picked up a significant graduate transfer, Georgia has seen another player leave Kirby Smart‘s football program.

As all of the cool transfers are doing these days, Jaleel Laguins took to his personal Twitter account to confirm that, “[a]fter careful consideration with coaches and family, I’d like to announce that I will be transferring from The University of Georgia.” “Athens will always be a special place for me, but now it’s time to start a new journey,” the linebacker added.

A four-star member of the Bulldogs’ 2016 recruiting class, Laguins was rated as the No. 10 inside linebacker in the country and the No. 21 player at any position in the state of Georgia. He was the top-rated linebacker in UGA’s class that year, and only three signees on the defensive side of the ball — defensive tackles Julian Rochester and Michail Carter, and defensive end Chauncey Manac — were rated higher.

As a true freshman, Laguins played in six games. He took a redshirt for this past season, and would have to sit out the 2018 season if he moved on to another FBS program.

Laguins was the second Georgia player to transfer this week. Tuesday, Pat Allen, a four-star 2015 offensive lineman, announced on his private Twitter account that he too was moving on from the Bulldogs. Allen began the 2017 season as UGA’s starting left guard but lost it heading into Week 2 and never regained it.

UNC and Minnesota line up future home-and-home deal

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While one football series between an ACC and Big Ten team may be hard to come by, North Carolina and Minnesota have put together a future home-and-home scheduling agreement to look forward to. The Tar Heels and Gophers will meet for the first time on the football field in 2023 and follow up with a second game in 2024, the schools announced on Wednesday.

North Carolina will host Minnesota on Sept. 16, 2023. The two schools will then open the 2024 season at Minnesota, either on August 31, 2024 or for a Thursday opener on August 29, 2024.

The ACC and Big Ten each require their members to play one game against another power conference opponent each season. North Carolina already satisfied that requirement in 2024 with a season-opener against South Carolina scheduled to be played in Charlotte, NC, but the 2024 game fulfills the power conference scheduling requirement for the Tar Heels. The home-and-home series will also satisfy Minnesota’s obligation to the Big Ten scheduling policy for both seasons (Minnesota is getting an exemption for 2018 and 2019 due to previous scheduling arrangements being in place prior to the Big Ten’s stance on strength of schedule in non-conference play.

Pitt leaves renewal of football series in Penn State’s hands

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Ever since the in-state rivalry between Penn State and Pitt came to a temporary end in 2001, it has been a struggle to get the two schools back on the field for any stretch of time. With the third in a four-game series upcoming this fall, Pitt is hoping to find a way to continue playing the Nittany Lions on future schedules, but the offer is now apparently in Penn State’s hands awaiting a response.

Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke told reporters Wednesday she has proposed a four-year series beginning in 2026 to her Penn State counterpart, Sandy Barbour, but Penn State has not responded to the offer.

“We’re going to wait a tad more patiently, but not much,” Lyke said, according to Trib Live. “We can’t. We have people who want to play us and good opportunities to play what would be a very attractive game.”

The four-game series currently ongoing between the Panthers and Nittany Lions comes to a close after their meeting in the 2019 season in Happy Valley. According to FBSchedules.com, Penn State will not have another opening for a non-conference game until 2021. That is also the first season Pitt will have scheduling availability for non-conference matchups. Both schools already have power conference opponents lined up through 2025 as well, perhaps eliminating the desire to add another power conference opponent to the schedule.

Both Penn State and Pitt have scheduling requirements for non-conference play from the Big Ten and ACC, respectively, to include at least one game against another power conference opponent. It seems like a natural solution for Penn State and Pitt to agree to a long-term scheduling commitment to satisfy their respective conferences’ scheduling requirements, but the old issue has always come down to the financial incentive of a game. With Penn State playing in a larger stadium, it would be losing out on potential revenue that could be gained by an extra home game when possible. And playing road games at Pittsburgh only helps another program in the state by filling the seats more than any other home game on Pitt’s schedules in just about any season (Notre Dame and West Virginia would be other candidates to help Pitt fill Heinz Field).

It took so long just to get the two schools together for a two-year series, which was later expanded to a four-year arrangement. Don’t count on this in-state rivalry being renewed for quite some time after the 2019 season.

QB Blake Barnett reportedly transferring from Arizona State

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Quarterback Blake Barnett is now on the graduate transfer market. According to Bruce Feldman of Sports Illustrated, via Twitter, Barnett will find a new program to wrap up his college football career as a graduate transfer. South Florida is reportedly set to get an official visit from the former Sun Devils and Alabama quarterback.

Barnett started his football career at Alabama, where he sat out the 2015 season as a freshman. During his redshirt freshman in 2016, Barnett appeared in just three games as Jalen Hurts rose to become Alabama’s starting quarterback that would lead the Tide for the next two seasons (until halftime of last season’s national championship game). Barnett transferred to Arizona State, leaving behind a seemingly tumultuous relationship with Nick Saban, and played in just two games for the Sun Devils last fall, while Manny Wilkins established himself as the quarterback for former head coach Todd Graham.

A former four-star recruit out of high school, Barnett has played in just five games and completed 14 of 24 pass attempts for 259 yards and two touchdowns with an interception. Barnett’s latest transfer news comes a day after former UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen took a swipe at Barnett, who was ranked ahead of Rosen in various recruiting rankings out of high school.

“Blake Barnett was the Elite 11 MVP,” Rosen said, per SEC Country. “He was the dude that was going to go to ‘Bama, win a couple championships, call it quits and go to the league as the first overall pick. You don’t really hear about him too much.”

As a graduate transfer, Barnett will be eligible to play immediately this fall.