Penn State on verge of QB decision

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Exiting spring practice, Penn State quarterbacks coach Charlie Fisher indicated that his boss didn’t seem inclined to name a starting quarterback until summer camp.  That boss, first-year Nittany Lions head coach Bill O’Brien, would only go so far as to pare the three-man competition down to two heading into camp.

Before the calendar flips to June, however, that tack will likely change.

In a conversation with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review before a speaking engagement Monday, O’Brien acknowledged that he expects to name a starter at quarterback by the end of May.  The reasoning?  A summer camp competition now serves no purpose, at least in the eyes of the coach.

“You can’t waste time, in my opinion, with a quarterback battle during training camp,” O’Brien told the paper. “We’re not a wishy-washy place. We’ve got to make decisions and some people aren’t going to be happy with the decisions, but that’s our job. It’s about the team, and we’re doing what’s best for the team.”

Rob Bolden, Paul Jones and Matt McGloin are the pieces to the three-headed QB competition that commenced (again) with O’Brien’s first spring at the school, with the latter the presumptive front-runner heading out of the sessions and into the summer workouts.  Just which one it will actually be, though, remains to be seen as O’Brien is unwilling to tip his QB hand just yet, although it would be more than a mild surprise if it’s anyone but McGloin, who has shared starting duties with Bolden the past two seasons.

During his speaking engagement at the latest stop on the PSU Coaches Caravan, O’Brien once again reiterated the importance of naming a starter and getting that player a significant number of reps in what’s a brand-new offense for all involved.  And reiterated that just because Player X is named the starter two months or so ahead of the start of camp, that doesn’t mean that Players X and Y won’t have a shot at unseating him.

“I just think you have to have a starter and he’s going to get most of them reps,” O’Brien said. “The guy I name the starter, he’s got to do a great job every day to keep his job so that doesn’t mean he can’t get beat out, but I think that’s important for our team to know who our starting quarterback is going into camp.”

Penn State will open its first season under O’Brien Sept. 1 against Ohio at Beaver Stadium.  Aside from a road trip the second week of the season to Virginia, the Nittany Lions won’t face their first real test until traveling to Kinnick Stadium to take on Iowa — on Oct. 20 and six games into the 2012 season.  That schedule, more than anything else, gives O’Brien plenty of time to settle on a starter, regardless of when he first names one.  Optimally, however, whoever’s named the starter in May will take the job and run with it through the early cupcakes and firmly entrench as the man under center.

After leaving Miami, Darrion Owens lands at Houston

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Nearly three weeks after leaving Miami, Darrion Owens has found himself a new college football home.

Friday, Houston confirmed that it was officially added Owens to second-year head coach Major Applewhite‘s roster.  As the linebacker joins the Cougars as a graduate transfer from The U, he can immediately bolster UH’s defense in 2018.

This coming season marks the Florida native’s final season of eligibility.

Owens joined the Hurricanes as a three-star 2014 recruit.  247Sports.com had him rated as the No. 30 outside linebacker in the country.

After playing in 12 games as a true freshman, Owens opened 2015 as a starter but suffered a season-ending ACL injury in Week 2.  The past two seasons, Owens played in 25 games. In 13 games in 2017, he was credited with 35 tackles and 4.5 tackles for loss.

In announcing Owens’ transfer from The U, head coach Mark Richt stated that, after the two had talked, “he informed me that he feels his best opportunity to get the most playing time would be at another school.”

RB Tre Watson leaving Cal as grad transfer

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Cal lost one of their top running backs to a season-ending injury last year.  Now, they’ve lost him for good.

Tre Watson took to Twitter late Friday night to announce that, “after many months of discussion with my family and lots of prayers,” he has decided to transfer from the Bears.  He will be pursuing a master’s degree elsewhere, meaning he can play for another FBS school in 2018.

The upcoming season will be Watson’s final year of collegiate eligibility.

In a Week 2 win over Weber State this past season, Watson sustained a serious knee injury and didn’t play the rest of the year.  Prior to the injury, Watson’s 83 yards in less than five quarters worth of work this season were leading the team.

In 2016, Watson was second on the Bears in rushing yards with 709 and led the team with four rushing touchdowns.  he finishes the Cal portion of his playing career with 1,390 yards and eight touchdowns on 274 carries.

Frisman Jackson hired as Baylor’s WRs coach

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Matt Rhule has officially been reunited with one of his former assistant coaches.

Baylor Friday confirmed that Rhule has hired Frisman Jackson to be his next wide receivers coach.  In 2015 and 2016, Jackson served as Rhule’s receivers coach and passing-game coordinator at Temple.

This past season, Jackson was the receivers coach for the NFL’s Tennessee Titans.

“We are blessed to get Fris fresh off a successful playoff run at Tennessee,” Rhule said in a statement. “After having worked with him before, I know there is no one better suited to take our receivers group to the next level. His experience as both a college and pro player and coach gives him a unique perspective on developing our young men as elite football players, great students and quality men. His ability to teach and develop receivers is second to none. We are excited to welcome Fris, Lindsey, Anya and Forrest to the Baylor family.”

Jackson, who spent six seasons in the NFL as a wide receiver, has previously spent time on FBS coaching staffs at North Carolina State (2013-14), Northern Illinois (2012) and Akron (2010-11).  At each of those stops, Jackson was a receivers coach.

“I’m very excited to be back with Coach Rhule,” Jackson said. “I had a great time working with him at Temple. He’s a smart coach, he’s a fair coach and he’s a true family guy. I know he is going to do things the right way.

“Getting back with coaches I have worked with before makes the transition easy and smooth. Those two years at Temple were some of my best years as a coach. We had a great run and I’m looking forward to doing the same things at Baylor.”

Illinois DT Tito Odenigbo reportedly transferring to Miami

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Miami lost a pair of underclassmen starting defensive tackles to the NFL draft, putting a serious dent in the interior of its line.  A couple of weeks later, however, it appears The U has somewhat softened that early-entry blow.

247Sports.com reported Friday that Tito Odenigbo has decided to transfer from Illinois to Miami.  As Odenigbo would be coming to the Hurricanes as a graduate transfer, he would be able to play immediately for the ACC team in 2018.

The upcoming season would be the defensive tackle’s final year of eligibility.

This past season, Odenigbo started four of the 10 games he played for the Illini, and his 4½ tackles for loss were tied for second on the team in 2017.  All told, Odenigbo played in 21 games at Illinois, starting five of those contests.

Prior to the NFL’s deadline, tackles RJ McIntosh and Kendrick Norton confirmed that they would be leaving Miami early for the NFL draft.