Take solace, Hog fans. Your coaching savior’s white horse is just a couple of months down the road. Maybe.
Speaking at a Little Rock Touchdown Club gathering Monday afternoon, athletic director Jeff Long gave his preferred timeline for hiring a permanent replacement for the fired Bobby Petrino — roughly two weeks following the conclusion of what’s highly likely to be a bowl-less regular season. As the Razorbacks last game is Nov. 23, Long would like to have a new head coach in place sometime in early December.
While Long obviously didn’t get into any specific names, he did relay some of the characteristics he’s looking for in a new coach. Suffice to say, given the scandal that swept Petrino out of Fayetteville in disgrace, character is high on the AD’s to-do list.
“[D]iscipline and accountability,” Long said when asked about the traits he will be looking for, adding UA’s new coach will have “honesty and integrity on and off the field.”
Petrino was fired April 10 after an April 1 motorcycle accident led to the revelation that the coach had been involved in an illicit relationship with a female member of the football staff.
Long told the assembled audience that neither the stain of that scandal nor the rough first half of the 2012 season would dissuade high-quality candidates from pursuing the job, pointing to the program’s facilities among its selling points. The conference to which UA is attached certainly won’t hurt as, Kentucky notwithstanding, being the head coach at an SEC school is just about as plum of a job as there is in the game of college football.
And what of the current interim head coach? John L. Smith was hired on a 10-month contract in the wake of the Petrino scandal and Long said he hasn’t ruled him out for the permanent job; we’re assuming the AD said that with a straight face and wasn’t chuckling over such a laughable proposition.
Back in mid-April, the betting favorites to replace Petrino on a permanent basis included Arkansas State’s Gus Malzahn, USF’s Skip Holtz — who’s now on the hot seat at his current school — and FIU’s Mario Cristobal among others. One name to keep an eye on and an ear out for? Louisiana Tech’s Sonny Dykes, who more than a couple of individuals with insight into the situation have been mentioned to us as someone UA will heavily pursue — if they haven’t already through back-channel conversations.
LSU got the best of John Chavis on the field in November, but the former Tigers defensive coordinator could gain revenge in the court room.
According to Ross Dellenger of The Advocate, Chavis has turned over phone records from November 2014 through Feb. 13, 2015, the key period in detailing whether Chavis violated his contract agreement with LSU in leaving for a lateral position with Texas A&M. At stake is a $400,000 buyout the school says it is owed.
LSU contends Chavis started working for the Aggies before his contract expired on Jan. 31, 2015, a stance seemingly buoyed by the fact Chavis was photographed in Aggie gear while on recruiting trips with A&M coaches.
Chavis filed a countersuit in Texas alleging the school owes him more than $200,000 in unpaid vacation wages and $400,000 in bonuses. Chavis also accused LSU of altering his contract after he signed it — which the school admitted, though in a “nominal” way.
Should the case go to trial, LSU administrators and coaches could be deposed, which every media member in the country should actively root for. Considering the last such suit led to Charlie Strong forgetting his own quarterback’s name and Texas assistants contradicting each other on the stand during Oklahoma State’s similar suit with its former offensive line coach Joe Wickline, LSU coaches and Chavis hitting the stand could lead to absolute gold.
Maybe the third time will be the charm for Brian Kimbrow? Or maybe there’ll be no third time, period?
That appears to be the case Kimbrow confirmed to Rivals.com earlier this week that he has walked away from the Middle Tennessee State football team. Not only that, but the running back has walked away from the sport, period.
“I just didn’t love football like I used to and wanted to focus on school and my forensics career,” Kimbrow told the recruiting website. “Just burned out for real.”
Kimbrow began his collegiate career at Vanderbilt as a four-star recruit in 2012. He ran for 748 yards and six touchdowns his first two seasons with the Commodores before he was indefinitely suspended early on in the 2014 season for conduct detrimental to the team. A month later, the then-junior was dismissed from the Vandy football program.
Kimbrow joined MTSU as a graduate transfer earlier this year and participated in spring practice with his new Blue Raiders teammates.
Once at 26, North Carolina’s 2016 recruiting class has been pared by one.
According to a report from 247Sports.com, 2016 signee James Pierre has been given a release from the National Letter of Intent he signed with UNC. The recruiting website reports that Pierre was denied admissions by the university, leading to his full release.
Because he has not attended any classes at UNC, Pierre would be eligible to play immediately at another FBS program. He’d then have the standard five years to use four seasons of eligibility.
A three-star 2016 recruit, Pierre was rated as the No. 48 safety in the country. In addition to UNC, Pierre held scholarship offers from, among others, Cincinnati, Kentucky, Louisville, Miami, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Arkansas lost, at least temporarily, a running back to injury last month. This month, they’ve lost one permanently, for a whole other reason entirely.
Thursday, Bret Bielema confirmed that Denzell Evans plans to transfer out of his Razorbacks football program. No specific reason for the parting of ways was given.
The running back will remain enrolled in school until he graduates, then move on to an undetermined location. As Evans will be a graduate transfer, he’ll be eligible to play immediately if his new college football home plays at the FBS level.
As a bonus for his new program, Evans will actually have two years of eligibility left to use.
The past two seasons after redshirting as a true freshman in 2013, Evans had played in 15 games. Evans rushed for 84 yards on 13 carries in his Razorbacks career; 48 of those yards and six of the carries came in the fourth quarter of an Oct. 31 win over UT-Martin this past season.
Evans, a three-star 2013 signee, scored a pair of rushing touchdowns in the spring game last month.