Meyer ‘to push… real hard’ for Tebow/Braxton offseason summit

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At this moment in the wide world of professional sports, there might not be a more polarizing figure than Tim Tebow.  In fact, the gap between Tebow and No. 2 likely isn’t even really that close.

Love him or hate him, idolize him or loathe him, there’s at least one certainty laced amid the media-driven drama: Tebow was one of the greatest college football players of the past two decades, if not in the history of the sport.  And his former coach at that is and/or will be pushing for one of his current players to tap into that collegiate greatness once the curtain closes on the 2012 season.

In an outstanding piece by Doug Lesmerises of the Cleveland Plain Dealer — it’s well worth the handful of minutes it will take to read it all by clicking HERE — the Ohio State beat writer spoke to both Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer and Meyer’s former Heisman-winning quarterback at Florida, Tebow, regarding one subject: Braxton Miller.

Miller is the Buckeyes’ starting quarterback playing in his first season under Meyer and who has been, in essence and almost quite literally, the offense for OSU.  So much so, in fact, that the true sophomore has already seen his name bandied about in the Heisman discussion, something his head coach acknowledged in the positive for the first time earlier this week.

Something else acknowledged by Meyer?  He wants his current and former star quarterbacks, who at this point have a cursory relationship, to go deep in the offseason.

“In the off-season, I want it more,” Meyer said. “It’s so hard when they’re busy during the season. And Braxton is still figuring out how things work. But I would love for those guys to get face-to-face, even train a little bit together, work out together. Tim is so busy, but I’m going to push for that to happen real hard.”

“Tim’s greatest strength is something Braxton needs to work on,” Meyer said. “Tim is the ultimate competitor, the ultimate grinder. There is no harder-working guy. He’s just non-stop. His whole life was nothing but be in the office, study football, go out and practice. And that’s it. And Braxton is getting better. But to be a Heisman-type player, to be a first-round draft pick, especially at that position, the amount of time you need to commit to your trade is off the charts.”

It’s clear to even the lamest of laymen that, in any offseason get-together between Tebow and Miller, Meyer’s not looking for his former star pupil to fix any mechanics that may be ailing his current one.  Rather, Meyer’s hoping the intangibles Tebow possesses in abundance — leadership, work ethic, want-to, etc. — can rub off on Miller, who Meyer described in September of this year as possessing more talent than Tebow.

At the NFL level, Tebow hasn’t even remotely caught up to the Herculean hype heaped on him both entering and exiting the 2010 NFL draft — and after the improbable playoff run.  The attributes he possessed that propelled himself to a Heisman Trophy and were the driving force behind two BcS titles during his time with the Gators?  That and his expansive knowledge of Meyer’s system can do nothing but greatly aid Miller as he continues a trajectory hurtling straight toward a limitless physical ceiling.

Chris Ash plucks new Rutgers assistant from Indiana

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In filling a hole on his Rutgers coaching staff, Chris Ash turned to a fellow Big Ten school to do it.

RU confirmed Thursday morning that Ash has added Noah Joseph as one of his 10 Scarlet Knight assistants.  Joseph has been named as the football program’s co-defensive coordinator and will also serve as safeties coach.

Joseph had spent the past four seasons coaching safeties at Indiana.  He was also that program’s defensive recruiting coordinator.

“I’d like to welcome Noah and his family to our football program,” said Ash in a statement. “His extensive experience coaching defensive backs in the Big Ten will be a tremendous asset for our players. He is a great teacher and outstanding recruiter.”

Prior to his time in Bloomington, his first on-field job at the FBS level was at North Texas as safeties coach from 2012-13.

Marshall’s Larry Aaron, paralyzed in New Year’s Eve shooting, dies

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Sadly, what was already a tragic situation at Marshall has taken an even more heartbreaking turn.

The Thundering Herd confirmed Thursday afternoon that rising redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Larry Aaron died earlier in the day at a Maryland hospital.  Aaron was paralyzed from the waist down after being struck by a stray bullet during a New Year’s Eve party, and passed away as a result of complications connected to those injuries he sustained in the shooting.

According to reports at the time, Aaron had stepped in front of his girlfriend to shield her from the bullets.

“Marshall University lost a very special young man today and it has shocked and saddened us all,” a statement from Marshall head coach Doc Holliday began. “Our thoughts and prayers are with all of Larry Aaron’s family and friends, many of whom were his fellow Thundering Herd teammates. His loss will be felt in every corner of our program and his spirit will never be forgotten.”

After redshirting as a true freshman, Aaron played in eight games this past season.

Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to those impacted by Aaron’s senseless death.

Alabama confirms handful of staff changes, including addition of Miami’s DL coach

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An offseason of upheaval on Nick Saban‘s Alabama coaching staff has apparently come to an official end.

Early Thursday afternoon, the Crimson Tide announced the additions of two new assistant coaches as well as the promotions/new responsibilities for others on the staff last season.  As previously reported HERE and HERE, the new hires are Dan Enos as quarterbacks coach and Craig Kuligowski as defensive line coach.  Both coaches, who come to Tuscaloosa from Michigan and Miami, respectively, will also carry the titles of associate head coach.

“We are pleased and happy to have Dan Enos joining our coaching staff at The University of Alabama,” Saban said in a statement. “He brings a wealth of knowledge with five years of head coaching experience and numerous stops as an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Dan is a bright football mind and an outstanding recruiter who will strengthen our coaching staff and give our players the best chance to be successful.”

In addition to those hirings, Saban also confirmed that Mike Locksley (HERE) has been promoted to offensive coordinator and Tosh Lupoi (HERE) has been promoted to defensive coordinator.  Locksley replaces Brian Daboll, who left after one season in Tuscaloosa for the same job with the Buffalo Bills last month, while Lupoi takes over for Jeremy Pruitt, who left after Alabama’s win in the national championship game to take over as the head coach at Tennessee.

As had previously been announced, Jeff Banks will serve as special teams coordinator while also being in charge of the Tide’s tight ends.  Josh Gattis, who was confirmed as the new wide receivers coach late last month, will also carry the title of co-offensive coordinator, while Pete Golding, in addition to his duties as inside linebackers coach, has been given the title of co-defensive coordinator.

And, finally, Burton Burns will step away from his longtime role as running backs coach and take on an unspecified off-field position.  Replacing Burns in his on-field role is Joe Pannunzio, who had been in charge of tight ends.

NCAA grants Houston LB Austin Robinson another season of eligibility

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As it turns out, Houston will have the services of Austin Robinson a little while longer than originally expected.

The football program announced Wednesday that the NCAA has granted Robinson a sixth season of eligibility. While the school wrote in its release that the linebacker “received a legislative relief waiver” from The Association, the specific reasoning behind the waiver being granted is unclear.

With the NCAA’s decision, Robinson will now have eligibility he can use in both 2018 and 2019.

Robinson began his collegiate career at UT-San Antonio in 2014, playing in eight games as a true freshman before transferring to UH and sitting out the 2015 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules. He then played in 11 games in 2016 and 12 this past season, starting four contests in 2017.

This past campaign, Robinson was credited with 33 tackles, four tackles for loss and a sack. He also had a pair of quarterback hurries on his statistical resume.