Well, this is unexpected. Maybe. I think. I honestly can’t tell. Either way, add another school to this year’s coaching carousel.
North Carolina State is only one day removed from a 27-10 win over Boston College to put the Wolfpack at a perennial 7-5 on the year. Perhaps it is for that very reason that Wolfpack coach Tom O’Brien is now out of a job. In a news release Sunday, the university announced that O’Brien has been fired after six years on the job.
Interestingly enough, O’Brien coached at BC from 1997-2006 before taking over as NC State’s head coach. Turns out, the Eagles would be his final opponent.
“Coach O’Brien’s service to NC State over the last six years has been sincerely appreciated by Wolfpack Nation,” athletic director Debbie Yow said in a statement. “We especially appreciate his attention toward NCAA rules compliance, a value that will continue to be held by NC State. We wish him well in future pursuits.”
“I appreciate the opportunity to have coached at North Carolina State University and I feel that the program is in a better place now than when I started,” said O’Brien. “I’m proud of the young men that I have coached here, for their accomplishments on the field and in the classroom. Wolfpack football is as sound academically as it’s ever been with a [single year] APR of 990 to be reported this spring. I appreciate all of my coaches and wish them the best and I look forward to life after football.”
O’Brien’s time at NC State was filled with ups and downs. For every win over a Florida State or Clemson, there was a loss to Virginia, Boston College or Wake Forest.
Offensive coordinator Dana Bible will serve as interim coach for the Wolfpack’s bowl game. A search for a new head coach will begin immediately. The first name being connected to the vacancy is Vanderbilt coach James Franklin. Franklin was Maryland’s offensive coordinator under Ralph Friedgen when Yow was the AD at the university. Franklin was supposed to be the coach-in-waiting before departing for Vandy.
O’Brien compiled a 40-35 overall record and a 22-26 record in the ACC during his time at NC State. His contract runs through Dec. 2015, and he will be paid a minimum of $1.2 million over those next three years.
Off the field, it’s not been a good last few days for the Class of 2017. Or for one SEC program in particular, come to think of it.
According to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, a member of Ole Miss’ 2017 recruiting class, Tae-Kion Reed, was arrested Tuesday afternoon on a burglary charge. Other than Reed attempted to burglarize a home, no details of what led to the arrest and charge have been released.
As of this posting, Reed remains jailed, a Lowndes County Jail official confirmed.
The football program is aware of the development. “We are gathering facts on the matter,” a spokesperson told the Clarion-Ledger.
Originally committed to Mississippi State, the three-star defensive tackle flipped to MSU’s Egg Bowl rivals on National Signing Day last month. He made waves with the manner of his commitment as he tossed a Bulldogs hat across the room before donning a Rebels cap at his signing ceremony.
It appears Nick Saban has added a former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback to his SEC juggernaut.
The Tuscaloosa News‘ Aaron Suttles is reporting that Chris Weinke has joined the Crimson Tide off-field football staff. Weinke subsequently confirmed the development.
The former Florida State signal-caller will serve as an offensive analyst for Saban. That was the same role expected to be manned by Clint Trickett, who instead opted for the tight ends coach job at Florida Atlantic under former UA offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin.
Weinke had spent the past two seasons as the quarterbacks coach of the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams. He was let go from that position in mid-January.
Prior to that, the former Carolina Panthers quarterback was the director of football at the elite IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., from 2010-2014. Bo Scarbrough, the Tide’s third-leading rusher in 2016 as sophomore, spent his senior season in high school at IMG.
The most productive player on the defensive side of the ball during Western Michigan’s breakout 2016 season is moving on.
The football program announced via its official Twitter account that Robert Spillane has asked for and been granted a release from his scholarship. A rising true senior, it’s unclear if the linebacker will be leaving WMU as a graduate transfer.
If he is, he’ll be eligible to play at another FBS program in 2017. If not, he’d have to sit out the upcoming season before using his final season of eligibility in 2018.
Last season, Spillane led the Broncos in tackles with 111 — next closest was Asantay Brown‘s 95 — while he was second in tackles for loss with 10.5 and tied for third in sacks with three. His three interceptions were tied for second as well. The last of those three picks came at the end of the MAC championship game that helped seal WMU’s win over Ohio.
The past three seasons, Spillane started 28 games for the Broncos. He started all 14 games last season.
In early November, a right shoulder injury knocked Brent Stockstill out for the remainder of Middle Tennessee State’s season. Four months later, a procedure on the other side of the same area has sidelined the starting quarterback yet again.
MTSU announced Tuesday that Stockstill will miss the whole of spring practice, which is set to kick off March 15. The rising junior recently underwent surgery on his left (throwing) shoulder.
The procedure is not expected to have any impact on his availability for the upcoming season.
“The doctors just went in and cleaned some stuff up in his shoulder but he should be ready to go this summer,” Rick Stockstill, MTSU’s head coach and the player’s father, said in a statement. “He will be held out of spring drills.”
After just two seasons as the starter, Stockstill already owns school records in touchdown passes (61), 300-yard passing games (14), 400-yard passing games (2) and passing yards per game (303.3).