Gary Patterson deflects Arkansas talk

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It’s a combination of timing (which is awful) and availability (which is limited), but there just aren’t many coaching options for Arkansas right now in the wake of the Bobby Petrino firing. Athletic director Jeff Long said earlier this week in his press conference that he would begin a coaching search immediately with linebackers coach Taver Johnson serving as the interim leader of the team.

Long has said via his Twitter account he hasn’t been in contact with anyone yet about the vacancy; of course, that doesn’t mean someone from Arkansas hasn’t been making the phone calls for him. All that’s available now is speculation based on who we — meaning media and fans alike — think would be a good fit.

Gus Malzahn, Skip Holz and Bo Pelini — they’ve all said the same thing, more or less: “Thanks, but no thanks.”

That’s what you can expect, and TCU coach Gary Patterson is no different.

I’ve had my nose down,” Patterson told Cedric Golden of the Austin American Statesman about the UA job. “I’ve been working on two-days. Everyday we’re meeting on the stadium. Right now we’re concentrating on getting ready for the season at TCU.”

Questioning Patterson about Arkansas is completely warranted, though. If I was Long, Patterson would be at or near the top of my first-to-mind coaching list. Simply put, Patterson’s a hell of a coach and a big reason TCU is in the Big 12 right now (it’s certainly not because of the DFW TV market, already saturated by Texas and Oklahoma). His toughness would be perfect for the SEC.

I’d look at Paul Rhoads at Iowa State too. Rhoads just signed a huge extension with the Cyclones and may be perfectly content there, but if anyone has ever seen the way that team runs through walls for him, he’d at least be worth a phone call.

Both of those coaches certainly have had chances to take other jobs, and so far neither have. But coaching carousels typically revolve around windows. Patterson, Rhoads, Chris Petersen… they’re all in that window of hot coaching commodities. It’s about the right opportunity.

Arkansas is a good job too, and one that’s primed for success thanks to Petrino. Does that mean UA will be able to get someone in the next month or so? Possible, but Long’s options might be far more numerous and of higher quality in, say, December.

Alabama QB Jalen Hurts uses photo of Clemson celebrating title win as motivational phone background

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Nick Saban said last week that the loss to Clemson in the the national championship game earlier this year is one that he’ll never get over, although he didn’t go so far as to compare it to a death in the family. One playing member of Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide team is taking to steps to ensure that he never forgets, either.

Jalen Hurts was the Tide’s talented true freshman starting quarterback who helped lead ‘Bama into the title game and, with a 30-yard touchdown run with just over two minutes left, gave his team a 31-28 lead. That lead was short-lived, however, as Deshaun Watson led his Tigers on an epic 88-yard drive that was capped by his two-yard touchdown pass with just one tick left on the clock for the 35-31 win.

The stunning last-second loss is something that Hurts makes a conscious effort to remind himself of daily as the rising sophomore, as the background on his smartphone, has a picture of Clemson players celebrating their win.

“We’re obviously all on our phones all the time,” Hurts said according to al.com after this past weekend’s spring game. “Every time I unlock it, it’s kind of a reminder. It kind of humbles me and keeps me motivated. …

“It’s not a grudge at all. It’s just something that keeps it on the back of your shoulder like, yeah, it’s still there. Remember why you’re doing it because at the end of the day, the goal for this team is to win the national championship.

Father of former Florida State WR Travis Rudolph killed in accidental shooting

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The father of Florida State wide receiver Travis Rudolph was killed Friday in an accidental shooting, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement on Monday.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, Darryl Rudolph was working on repairs inside a West Palm Beach, Fla., when a gun accidentally fired in an adjacent room, hitting him in the back/neck area. He was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 55 years old.

The younger Rudolph was Florida State’s leading receiver over the past two seasons before becoming an early-entrant into this week’s NFL Draft. He gained viral notoriety after a photo snapped of him sitting at lunch with an autistic elementary school student hit Facebook.

“When I used to coach and help other kids with football, basketball and sports, Travis was small but he used to pay attention to what I was doing,” the elder Rudolph said in an interview with ESPN last year. “I told them get your education. You can be the best athlete in the world, but without an education, you’re not going very far. That’s what Travis followed through on.”

LSU QB Danny Etling undergoes back surgery

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LSU quarterback Danny Etling has undergone surgery to relieve back pain, the program announced Monday.

“Danny had a minor back procedure this morning and everything went alright,” head coach Ed Orgeron said in a statement (and not in an Arrested Development way).

Etling has played through back pain for months, according to Ross Dellenger from The Advocate, and this procedure should remove that pain.

In a possibly related story, Etling went 4-of-11 for 53 yards in LSU’s spring game.

A transfer from Purdue, Etling appeared in 11 games for the Tigers last season, completing 160-of-269 passes (59.5 percent) for 2,123 yards (7.9 yards per attempt) with 11 touchdowns against five interceptions.

Etling’s recovery from Monday’s procedure is expected to be a short one.

Willie Taggart defends Oregon’s offseason workouts in interview

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Things got off to a rocky start for new Oregon head coach Willie Taggart. Among the issues Taggart was forced to deal with soon after accepting the job of head coach at Oregon was players falling ill during and after offseason workouts.

Three Ducks were hospitalized in January to treat symptoms of rhabdomyolysis, a product of overworking leading to soft tissue and possible kidney damage. Oregon suspended strength and conditioning coach Irele Oderinde following the hospital treatments to players, and questions about his certification were thrust under a microscope. Despite the unfortunate situation in Eugene, Taggart has defended his program’s workout routine in an interview with Stewart Mandel of FOXSports.com.

“We know we didn’t do anything to try to hurt our kids. We’d done [the same program] everywhere we’ve been and never had a problem,” Taggart explained in the interview. “I think our guys just overworked themselves and didn’t hydrate. … They were trying to impress the new coaches.”

It seems Taggart has been trying to raise the bar at Oregon and find a way to make his new players tougher overall. That is a common strategy for a new coach in a new program, so Taggart’s mission is not unique in that sense.

Maybe it was just a tough physical transition in the approach to workouts after years of Chip Kelly and Mark Helfrich running the show. Will this all pay off in the end? Taggart sure hopes so.