Riley Nelson’s stat line was just as ugly as BYU’s 7-6 loss to Boise State Thursday night: 4-of-9 passing for 19 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions.
Nelson was benched in the third quarter in favor of true freshman Taysom Hill, who led the Cougars to their only touchdown of the game. In fairness to Nelson, though, he’s been dealing with what the Deseret News describes as a significant back injury.
Because of that, head coach Bronco Mendenhall remains committed to Nelson as a starter. With the proviso, though, that the back issue isn’t impacting his performance.
“Riley is our quarterback. I love him. I want him to be healthy,” Mendenhall said. “I want him to be able to look me in the eye and say, ‘Coach, I’m absolutely ready.’ I don’t have any different feelings than I did going into this game. … There’s no tougher person on the planet in my mind. He’s a warrior. He won’t come out unless you drag him out. I like him a lot.”
Offensive coordinator Brandon Doman reiterated his boss’ thoughts, saying that switching to Hill full-time is “all dependent upon Riley’s health, and whether or not he can play like he’s capable of playing.” If he “can’t play Riley Nelson football?” “[W]e’ll have to go with an alternative plan,” Doman said.
It appears Auburn’s search for a new offensive line coach may not take very long.
Tuesday, reports surfaced that Herb Hand was leaving The Plains to take the line job at Texas. The veteran will also be adding to title of co-offensive coordinator with the Longhorns.
One day later, UConn confirmed in a press release that its line coach, J.B. Grimes, has resigned his position, effective immediately. It just so happens that Grimes spent three seasons (2013-15) coaching at Auburn before moving on to Cincinnati for the 2016 season and, ultimately, UConn.
“I want to thank J.B. for his efforts during his time with us,” head coach Randy Edsall said in a statement. “I wish J.B and his family nothing but the best.”
Grimes spent one season with the Huskies.
It appears the door is at least slightly ajar for Jauan Jennings‘ return to Rocky Top.
A University of Tennessee spokesperson confirmed to the Knoxville News Sentinel that Jennings is enrolled in classes for the current semester. Jennings has met with both new head coach Jeremy Pruitt and athletic directors Phillip Fulmer about the possibility of being reinstated to the Vols football program.
“I think (Pruitt has) put some parameters around it,” Fulmer stated during a radio interview late last week, “and I guess everybody has got to figure out what those are and if they’re really going to do it. That’s up to them.”
The wide receiver’s status with the football program remains up in the air, nearly two months after Jennings went off on a profanity-laced social-media tirade aimed at the coaching staff. The day after, he was dismissed by interim head coach Brady Hoke, who made the decision in concert with then-athletic director John Currie.
In early September, prior to the off-field issue, Jennings suffered what turned out to be a season-ending wrist injury that limited him to three catches for 17 yards in just one game.
Jennings, who originally came to the Vols as a quarterback, was second on the team in 2016 with 580 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. His 40 receptions were tied for second on the team as well.
So much for a Primetime renewal in Tallahassee.
Late last month, just prior to Florida State’s Independence Bowl matchup with Southern Miss, speculation surfaced that there was mutual interest in Deion Sanders joining Willie Taggart‘s first FSU staff as defensive backs coach. During an in-game interview, the College and Pro Football Hall of Famer was asked about the speculation but did little to quash it.
Nearly a month later, that potential reunion has reportedly been quashed.
Sanders, whose NFL career ended in 2005, has never coached at the collegiate level. He started his own ill-fated charter school in 2012 and coached the football team there, while he served as the offensive coordinator at a private school in Texas this past season.
The former Seminole great currently serves as an analyst for the NFL Network.
As the Washington State family begins to mourn and attempts to process this tragedy, several of Tyler Hilinski‘s teammates and coaches used social media to help sort through the tangled gamut of emotions they’re running through.
Overnight, word surfaced that the redshirt sophomore quarterback had been found dead of what’s believed to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. “He was an incredible young man,” head coach Mike Leach said in a statement, “and everyone who had the privilege of knowing him was better for it.”
On both Twitter and Instagram, heartbroken Cougar football players and coaches dealt with the devastation left in the suicide’s wake.
And this might be the most important message to come out of this tragedy. Maybe in death, Tyler Hilinski can help someone find the hope and the help they need.
R.I.P young man.