It’s not that Baylor just lost Heisman trophy winner Robert Griffin III. The Bears are moving forward without leading rusher Terrance Ganaway and leading receiver Kendall Wright. Add in Baylor’s defensive woes last season and we thought Art Biles was going to have a rebuilding year in Waco.
That might still be the case — it’s just Week 1 — but Baylor showed no signs of slowing down from a 10-win season last year in a 59-24 debut over SMU Sunday night.
Nick Florence, RGIII’s successor, was sharp against the Mustangs, throwing for 341 yards and four touchdowns. And what about the departures of Ganaway and Wright? Say hello to Jared Salubi and Tarrence Williams. Depth at the running back and wide receiver position is a luxury for the Bears this year, especially with the arrivals of Darryl Stonum and Lache Seastrunk from Michigan and Oregon, respectively.
Baylor’s defense still gave up some yards to SMU and Texas transfer Garrett Gilbert (34-of-59, 286 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions), but was able to force enough turnovers to get the game out of hand early. The Big 12 isn’t a conference that plays great defense so it’s not necessary to win a league title, but if the Bears can continue to force turnovers like they did tonight, they can be a an upper-tier Big 12 team.
This game was never in doubt in terms of the better team, but Baylor was impressive and could be the most underrated team in the Big 12 this season.
It’s becoming a regular occurrence around Madison this time of year but Wisconsin has renewed head coach Paul Chryst’s contract once again.
The UW Athletic Board approved the deal on Friday and keeps Chryst around with a five-year contract that runs through January 31, 2023. Other terms of the contract were not announced but this is pretty standard operating procedure for the school after the board did the same back in 2017 and 2016 to keep the coach on what amounts to a rolling five-year deal.
Based on his upgraded deal that agreed to last winter, Chryst is set to set make $3.3 million in 2018 with additional annual raises of $100,000 each year through 2023.
Chryst is 34–7 at his alma mater (53-26 overall as a head coach) and is coming off the team’s best season several years after going 13-1 in 2017 and capping things off with a victory over Miami in the Orange Bowl. The Badgers could be even better in 2018 given what returns to the starting lineup and were slotted in at No. 5 in CFT’s Way-Too-Early Top 25 for next season as a result.
Mike Bobo finally has his defensive coordinator as Colorado State announced on Friday that long time coaching veteran John Jancek was hired to run the Rams’ defense.
“I’ve had the opportunity to coach on the same staff with John at Georgia, and I’ve coordinated offenses that have gone up against his defenses,” Bobo said in a statement. “He has a great deal of experience coaching and winning at the highest levels of college football, and I’m very excited he is part of the Ram Family.”
The hire of Jancek comes a little over a week after the program nearly brought in former Alabama assistant Derrick Ansley, who was set to head to Fort Collins to take the DC job before getting hired by the Oakland Raiders and their new coach Jon Gruden. The team had an opening at the position after Marty English retired following the 2017 season.
Jancek most recently was a defensive consultant at Kentucky this past season but spent the three years prior as the coordinator at SEC rival Tennessee. All told, this is his fifth stop as a defensive coordinator at the FBS level — including a stint at Georgia that overlapped with Bobo’s tenure in Athens from 2005-2009. He also spent one season as the safeties coach at South Florida in 2016 in his last full-time on the field role as a coach.
Jancek’s move west caps off a busy week for Colorado State’s staff after Dave Johnson was hired as run game coordinator and offensive line coach on Tuesday.
Zach Rogers ended the 2017 season as a starter at Arkansas. Now, he’s set to begin the next first phase of his life post-football.
Rogers’ father confirmed to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that his son has decided to give up playing college football. According to the dad, the offensive lineman is pursuing a career in law enforcement, with the Democrat-Gazette reporting that Rogers has already interviewed with two police agencies in Washington County (Ark.).
A three-star member of the Razorbacks’ 2015 recruiting class, Rogers was rated as the No. 27 offensive guard in the country and the No. 48 player at any position in the state of Texas. After redshirting as a true freshman, Rogers played in three games in 2016.
Last season, when Frank Ragnow, a third-team All-American, went down with a season-ending injury, Rogers started the final five games of the year. Those were the only games he started in his collegiate career, although he would’ve entered summer camp this year as the favorite to land the starting job in the middle of the Hogs’ line.
Now, as the Democrat-Gazette notes, new head coach Chad Morris oversees a roster without a player who’s ever played the center position at this level.
The postseason coaching carousel continues to spin, with Lovie Smith the latest to make a key addition to his staff.
Rod Smith, it was confirmed by the school Friday, has been hired by Smith to serve as the next offensive coordinator at Illinois. In addition to his coordinating duties, Smith will also serve as quarterbacks coach as well.
Smith replaces Garrick McGee, who was fired two days before Christmas after two seasons with the Fighting Illini.
“Rod Smith brings terrific and exciting offensive experience to our staff at Illinois,” Smith said. “His background and development of dual-threat quarterbacks and multiple-threat offenses is the direction we are going here. Rod has developed explosive quarterback play and offensive performance at each of his coaching stops.”
Smith had spent the past six seasons as the co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Arizona. With Rich Rodriguez‘s dismissal earlier this month, it was expected Smith wouldn’t be retained by new boss Kevin Sumlin, whose hiring was confirmed over the weekend.
Smith heads to Champaign armed with experience in the Big Ten, coaching quarterbacks and co-coordinating Indiana’s offense in 2011 as well as spending 2008-10 as Michigan’s quarterbacks coach.