Cross Houston’s Rhoades off A&M’s AD to-do list

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(Probably… maybe)

Just a day or two after Bill Byrne announced his “retirement” as Texas A&M’s athletic director earlier this past week, Mack Rhoades, Byrne’s contemporary at Houston, was mentioned as a potential successor.

Not so coincidentally, reports subsequently emerged that UH had been proactive in guarding against an attempted pilfering.

According to Mark Berman, sport director of KRIV-TV in Houston, Rhoades and the university reached an agreement on a new five-year contract earlier this year.  The Houston Chronicle confirmed the new contract as well.

The new deal will pay Rhoades $500,000 annually, up from $350,000 a year in his old deal.  Berman also writes that “the deal includes an incentives package”, presumably above the $75,000 annually for which he’s currently eligible.

While the new contract, signed in January, doesn’t necessarily preclude Rhoades from bolting for the Aggies, the AD said in a statement that he hasn’t spoken to anyone about a job at another school and doesn’t appear particularly interested if they were to call.

“I am very happy at the University of Houston and certainly appreciate how diligently our student-athletes, coaches and staff have worked to create a championship culture,” Rhoades said in the statement provided to local media outlets.

“One byproduct of that success is other programs take notice and it’s flattering. We have schools reach out about our people all the time, but as for me, I have not spoken to anyone about another job. My complete focus is on the University of Houston. We have accomplished a great deal in a short period of time, but the road is just beginning.”

During his three years at UH, Rhoades has, among other things, spearheaded the effort to raise funds for a new stadium, which is scheduled to begin construction in December.  He will also lead UH from Conference USA to the Big East in 2013.

This would’ve been the Aggies’ second attempt in six months at raiding UH’s athletic department.  The first attempt was successful as the Aggies hired Kevin Sumlin away from the Cougars as the replacement for Mike Sherman.

Florida is opening spring practices to fans

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What’s one easy way to get fans on board with a new head coach? Invite them to practice.

Florida head coach Dan Mullen wants the doors to be open to fans to come watch the Gators practice during the first two spring practices the Gators will conduct next month. Seats will be limited at the practice field, of course, but Mullen seems optimistic this will help get the energy going for the program from the jump this spring, and that could potentially lead to a good crowd at Florida’s spring game to wrap up the spring practice schedule.

Florida is scheduled to begin their spring football practices on March 16. That practice and the next day will be open to fans to attend practice, which likely will lead to some personal interactions with coaches and players for any fans who take Mullen up on his offer. Florida’s spring game is scheduled for April 14.

Florida fans may be getting a chance to see a hard-working bunch of Gators. Early indications are Florida players are already claiming to be working harder than they have in years in the offseason workout routine.

But it won’t be just the fans that will be given some exclusive first-hand looks at the Gators this spring. Mullen will also look to extend an open invitation to Florida faculty and staff to some spring practices. Those dates are yet to be determined.

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Clemson commit wins free Chick-fil-A for a year

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Who doesn’t love a good meal from Chick-fil-A? Hopefully Clemson commit BT Potter does because he just won free Chick-fil-A for an entire year.

Potter was voted the Chandler Catanzaro Kicker of the Year, and to the victor go the waffle fries. In addition to a $1,000 scholarship, Potter will have a one-year supply of Chick-fil-A meals on the house. That could add up to a lot of chicken sandwiches for the second-ranked kicker in the Class of 2018, according to Rivals.

This wasn’t a contest won by asking for retweets on Twitter, but Potter did have Clemson fans come to his support by stuffing an online ballot box. Maybe Potter can use his Chick-fil-A year-long supply to hand out some milkshakes.

The best part about all this? There doesn’t seem to be any way for the NCAA to come in and ruin the fun, as there are no NCAA violations in play here. Score one for the good guys.

Potter, a native of South Carolina, committed to the Tigers back in June 2017.

WATCH: Penn State players danced to Backstreet Boys and Nicki Minaj at THON

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Everybody, rock your body! Penn State football players put on an impressively choreographed performance during a brief skit at Penn State’s annual THON dance marathon.

Although Penn State players were unable to participate in a separate THON-related event due to a scheduling oversight and an NCAA rule, a handful of representatives from the football program took the stage to show off their best dance moves (as did every other Penn State sports team, and more). The mix started off with some Backstreet Boys and ended with some Nicki Minaj, with one player dressed for the part.

The results from Penn State’s annual dance marathon are in too. Penn State students raised $10,151,663.93 to put toward fighting pediatric cancer.

Florida players say they are working harder than ever before in offseason workouts

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It did not take very long for Dan Mullen to prove his way of working in the offseason is going to be a little different from what Florida players had become accustomed to. Judging by a few tweets from Gators players coming out in recent days, Mullen has Florida players working harder than they have in quite some time.

It is not all that uncommon to have a completely new approach to training and physical conditioning any time there is a coaching change at a football program, and the mere change in workout approach alone can be enough to send a jolt through an entire program. Not to suggest workouts under former head coach (and new Michigan offensive assistant) Jim McElwain were easy, but some players on Florida’s roster are claiming on Twitter the workouts they are going through now are getting the job done.

Mullen brought strength and conditioning coach Nick Savage with him from Mississippi State, and you probably see why. Savage has quickly earned the respect of a number of the Florida football players after some intense workouts. Mullen and Savage are out to raise the bar when it comes to both toughness and physical endurance. That could have been seen as an area of weakness for Florida the past couple of years against certain teams (Alabama and Michigan, for example).

The work being put in now is just the beginning for how Mullen wants to get Florida back to the top of the SEC. Getting the team stronger now will have to lead to on-field development as well, especially on offense. Fortunately for Mullen, the offense has been one of his specialties.

Helmet sticker to SEC Country.