Skip to content

Monte Kiffin to resign following USC’s bowl game

Monte Kiffin Getty Images

With Lane Kiffin apparently surviving a season full of disappointments and distractions, it was thought that somebody on his staff would be forced to fall on the sword.

That person, it was widely believed, would ultimately be Kiffin’s father.  In the end, that’s precisely what happened.

The Trojans announced Thursday night that Monte Kiffin will step down from his position as assistant head coach following the team’s bowl game this season.  The school stated that the 73-year-old coach was resigning to pursue opportunities at the NFL level.

“I respect my father’s decision and his desire to return to the NFL,” the younger Kiffin said in a statement. “We are very appreciative of the hard work and effort that he put in at USC these past three years. He has a tremendous passion for coaching young men and he is a phenomenal recruiter.

“The timing of this allows us to move forward now in the hiring of a new coach.”

Monte Kiffin spent the past three seasons as part of his son’s staff, coming to the Trojans as one of the most respected defensive minds at any level.  Prior to his time at USC and his one season with the Tennessee Vols, he had spent the previous 26 seasons at the NFL level, the last 14 as defensive coordinator.

A season that began with high expectations, though, ended with the Trojans on the outside of both the conference and BcS windows looking in, thanks in large part to a sieve-like defense.  USC yielded 178 points while losing four of its final five games this season, plummeting out of the Top 25 after beginning the year at No. 1.

“I wanted to make this announcement now so that our players who are preparing for the bowl game and our recruits who will be visiting campus are aware,” said Kiffin. “I really enjoyed my time at USC and the opportunity I had to work with our players and coaches. The chance to work for my son, Lane, was unique and memorable, but we always treated each other professionally on a coach-to-coach basis.

“Although things didn’t always go as well as we would have liked this year from a defensive and win-loss standpoint, I will leave USC with the utmost respect for the University, the Trojan Family and, most importantly, the players I had the good fortune to coach. I see great things ahead for the USC football program.”

There’s no early word yet on which direction Kiffin will head in replacing his father.

Permalink 30 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Pac-12 Conference, Rumor Mill, Top Posts, USC Trojans
yo

‘Miscommunication’ led to Jameis Winston dressing for Clemson game

Clemson v Florida State Getty Images

Jameis Winston was highly criticized in numerous corners, including here, for an “incident” over the weekend.

The Florida State quarterback was suspended for the Clemson game because of a vulgar and obscene incident earlier in the week. Winston dressed out in full football gear for pregame warmups, much to the chagrin of an incredulous Jimbo Fisher, who sent his starting quarterback to the locker room to change into street clothes.

Monday, Fisher was asked about the situation. In falling on the sword, the head coach took the blame for what he called the “miscommunication” that led to the brouhaha.

“That was a miscommunication between us and the locker room,” the head coach said Monday. “He was scheduled to dress the next day and the stuff was in the locker. He assumed he was going to dress in warmups and he went out. It got miscommunicated from our part. We should have never had (his uniform) in the locker. We saw it, corrected it. He was great about it. He went in and came back out.

“That was one part that slipped through the cracks getting that communication to the equipment people.”

That said, Fisher continued taking Winston for his decision-making and judgments that have led to situations like the one that got him suspended in the first place.

“He’s got to be smarter about these decisions and the things he says and does,” Fisher said. “You can have fun but you can’t do it at the expense of others or circumstance or situations. There’s an example and a respect you have to have for your organization and your family.

“Jameis is not a bad individual. He makes some poor choices on spontaneous situations to make people laugh. He does like interacting with students (to show) that he’s not a guy that can’t relate with (the students because he’s a high-profile athlete). He needs to continue to do that but he needs to do it with better judgment.”

Winston was replaced by Sean Maguire for the Clemson game, with the first-time starter helping the Seminoles pull off the overtime win.  In the first extended action of his career, Maguire completed 21-of-39 passes for 304 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.  The redshirt sophomore’s scoring toss was a 74-yarder to Rashad Greene with 6:04 remaining in the fourth quarter that tied the game at 17-all and essentially forced overtime.

As expected, though, Winston will be back under center for this Saturday’s game against North Carolina State after serving his one-game penance.

Permalink 5 Comments Back to top

Three suspended Texas starters will remain that way

Daje Johnson AP

For those Texas fans looking for some offensive help to return this week, and as it looks to continue its run to the College Football Playoff, you’re going to have to wait a bit longer.

At his weekly Monday press conference, head coach Charlie Strong confirmed that any player who is currently suspended will remain that way.  That means wide receiver Daje Johnson as well as offensive tackles Desmond Harrison and Kennedy Estelle will not play in Saturday’s game against Kansas.

Harrison and Johnson were two of three Longhorn players — the other safety Josh Turnersuspended indefinitely in early August by Strong for violating unspecified team rules.

Turner has since dug his way out of Strong’s doghouse, while Estelle, Harrison and Johnson have yet to play in a game this year.

Getting Johnson back would certainly help the Longhorns’ offense — provided he stayed on the straight and narrow, which has proved to be elusive during his time in Austin.

Last year, Johnson missed two different late-season games because of off-field issues. He and teammate Chet Moss were suspended for the Thanksgiving gameagainst Texas Tech, then he was declared academically ineligible for the Alamo Bowl against Oregon.

When healthy — and staying out of trouble — Johnson totaled 757 all-purpose yards in 2013 and started six games in 2013. Johnson scored three touchdowns — one each rushing, receiving and on a punt return — along with being one of the team’s top return specialists.

An ankle injury cost Johnson playing time early last season as well.

Estelle and Kennedy were the projected starters at both tackle positions prior whatever issue it was that led to their suspensions.

Permalink 0 Comments Back to top

Beavers lose leading receiver for at least a game

Oregon State v Hawaii

Thanks to an injury, Oregon State’s receiving corps will be missing a key component for the Pac-12 opener this coming weekend.

Sunday night, head coach Mike Riley revealed that Victor Bolden will be out for a period of 10-14 days with a finger injury.  Bolden suffered the injury in the first half of the win over San Diego State last Saturday night.

The timeline means the receiver will definitely be sidelined for the USC game this Saturday.  He could also miss the Colorado game the following weekend as well.

The injury news is a significant blow to the Beavers’ offense.

Bolden currently leads the team with 18 for 192 yards.  Because of Bolden’s injury, The Oregonian writes, “OSU coaches are considering burning true freshman Xavier Hawkins‘ redshirt.”

Bolden’s backup, Rahmel Dockery, suffered a hip injury in the same game but is expected to practice this week and, barring a setback, play against the Trojans. Dockery has one catch for 49 yards this season.

Permalink 0 Comments Back to top

QB decision coming Tuesday for Michigan

Michigan v Connecticut Getty Images

Will Michigan have a new starter under center when it takes the field this weekend?  In 24 hours or so, UM Nation should know for sure.

Tuesday, head coach Brady Hoke said Monday, he and his offensive coaching staff will decide whether Devin Gardner, the incumbent, or Shane Morris, the people’s choice, will start Saturday’s game against Minnesota.  Gardner was yanked in the fourth quarter of the 26-10 home loss to Utah in favor of Morris, laying the groundwork for this development.

Gardner has been a lightning rod for criticism for the past year and a half, with his play on the field giving critics plenty of ammunition.

In 16 starts the past two seasons, Gardner has thrown 17 interceptions versus just 26 touchdown passes.  He’s also been sacked a whopping 43 times, and while that’s a byproduct of a porous offensive line it’s also an indicator that Gardner struggles in the pocket with his reads and progressions and the like.

Gardner started every game last season before a foot injury he suffered in the loss to Ohio State in the regular-season finale sidelined him for the Wolverines’ bowl game.  In his first career start, and as a true freshman no less, Morris completed 24-of-38 passes for 196 yards and an interception as UM dropped a 31-14 decision to Kansas State in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.

While Gardner was at one time quoted as saying that “it was amazing how much better [quarterback competition this spring] made me,” the incumbent at the position –despite his pre-spring proclamation— exited the 15 practice sessions without a firm grasp on the starting job.  That thought was buttressed as, at the end of spring practice in mid-April, Hoke acknowledged that Morris had narrowed the gap on Gardner.

While Gardner ultimately “won” the starting job, he’s had a tenuous hold on it as he’s thrown more interceptions (six) than touchdowns (five) through four games.

As for how Round 2 of the competition will be decided?

Efficiency, that’s part of it,” Hoke said when asked what will go into the decision-making process. “Competing and challenging. Who comes out of the week with the best practices and who gives us the best chance to go in and win the football game.

“There’s also the leadership end of it, too. Who commands the offense (better)? And they’ve both done a really good job all year with that, I don’t expect any of that to change.”

Permalink 13 Comments Back to top

Tyrone Swoopes expects Texas to make playoffs… this year

UCLA v Texas Getty Images

Charlie Strong raised some eyebrows earlier this year when he stated the obvious by saying that Texas “will not be in the national championship game” this year.

That made sense on multiple levels, including the fact that the Longhorns have a 30-21 record over the last four years and simply don’t have the talent yet to compete with the game’s heavyweights. Don’t, though, tell that to UT’s starting quarterback.

Despite the 1-2 start to the season that includes a 37-point blowout loss at home to BYU, Tyrone Swoopes maintains very, very lofty goals for the Longhorns in 2014. A goal that most, even those wearing burnt orange-colored glasses, would find irrational and downright laughable.

OK then.  Are we sure the right Texas quarterback retired from the game because of concussion issues?

Either Swoopes doesn’t understand how the new system of determining a national champion or how many teams are involved, or he’s transferring because there is no way in hell UT is qualifying for this year’s College Football Playoff. Well, I guess there’s a chance the Longhorns could run the table on the remainder of their schedule, which includes Top 10-ranked Oklahoma and Baylor, and Florida State, Alabama, Oregon, Auburn, Texas A&M, etc. could all stumble twice each, clearing the way for Swoopes to make a liar out of Strong’s preseason proclamation… sorry, couldn’t finish typing that sentence with a straight face.

It’s one thing to be confidant in yourself and your teammates; it’s another to turn a blind eye to the reality of your situation. Or, as Mike Finger of the San Antonio Express-News put it…

Permalink 7 Comments Back to top

Surgeries on both shoulders ends UCLA’s Randall Goforth’s season

UCLA v Virginia

One of the top returning members of UCLA’s defense has seen his season come to a premature end.

According to the Los Angeles Times, safety Randall Goforth will undergo surgeries on both of his shoulders, with the first procedure expected to be performed at some point this week.  Because of the twin surgeries, Goforth will miss the remainder of the 2014 season.

Goforth had separated his left shoulder during summer camp but returned for the opener.  In Week 2, he separated his right shoulder against Memphis.

Not only will Goforth miss the remainder of the 2014 season, it appears likely he’ll be unavailable for spring practice as well.  The Bruins, for what it’s worth, have yet to officially announce the player’s status moving forward, although head coach Jim Mora hinted recently this could be the case.

The good news is that Goforth will be eligible for a medical hardship waiver.  A successful appeal would leave the junior with two years of eligibility remaining.

Goforth started all 13 games in 2013, finishing second on the team with three interceptions and fourth with 78 tackles.  In the opener against Virginia this year, he returned a fumble 75 yards for a touchdown as one of three second-quarter defensive scores for the Bruins.

He started five games as a true freshman in 2012.

With Goforth sidelined for the remainder of the year, it’s expected sophomore Tahaan Goodman will remain the starter at safety.

Permalink 0 Comments Back to top

Urban Meyer opens up about time at Florida: ‘Mentally, I was broke’

Florida v Alabama Getty Images

Urban Meyer coached Florida to two BCS title games in his six years at Florida and amassed a 65-15 record, but did so at a cost.

The now-Ohio State coach opened up to HBO Real Sports’ Andrea Kramer about the stress that came with his dedication to winning, which ultimately led to chest pains and him losing 37 pounds during the 2009 season. He said he had to take two Ambien and drink a beer to fall asleep, too.

The full interview will air Tuesday, Sept. 23 at 10 p.m. ET on HBO. Below is a preview:

Permalink 37 Comments Back to top

Louisville will wear some interesting uniforms vs. Florida State

Miami v Louisville Getty Images

Everybody prepare your #HotUniformTakes, since Louisville has a bold/controversial/awesome/ugly new design for its Oct. 30 home game against Florida State.

The Thursday night game at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium already had all the makings of a trap for the Seminoles. Florida State will come off a bye week, and also could be coming off an Oct. 18 home win over a Notre Dame team that very well may head to Tallahassee at 6-0. The first College Football Playoff poll comes out Oct. 28 and you’d figure the stadium will have a rowdy atmosphere the day before Halloween.

Now add these uniforms to the mix, and maybe they’ll somehow give Louisville a bit of a boost, too:

It’s worth noting recruits love these bold uniform designs and so do current players, too. So with that in mind…what do you think of this look?

Permalink 12 Comments Back to top

The Orange Bowl has a new sponsor

MetroPCS Orange Bowl Basketball Classic Getty Images

The Orange Bowl will be known as the Capital One Orange Bowl for the next six years.

On Monday morning — 100 days before kickoff of the Dec. 31, 2014 game — the Orange Bowl announced its new title sponsor, replacing a four-year deal with Discover. The Orange Bowl was first sponsored by FedEx, a deal which ran from 1989-2010.

The New Year’s Six bowl’s new logo:

The newly-minted Capital One Orange Bowl will host a College Football Playoff game in 2015 and 2018.

Permalink 4 Comments Back to top

Injuries to starting DT, reserve linebacker add to Virginia Tech’s tailspin

North Carolina v Virginia Tech Getty Images

Virginia Tech had some injury lopped on to insult: defensive tackle Luther Maddy and linebacker Dahman McKinnon will each undergo surgery for meniscus injuries and miss two to four weeks, the school announced Monday morning.

Maddy is the biggest loss for now, as the senior started all four games for the Hokies and tallied nine tackles. He actually tore his meniscus in Virginia Tech’s 28-21 loss to East Carolina Sept. 13, per the Roanoke Times’ Andy Bitter, but attempted to play through the injury as the Hokies fell to Georgia Tech, 27-24, on Saturday. As a general rule of thumb, it’s never a good idea to try to play through a knee injury against a cut-blocking triple option team.

McKinnon, a redshirt sophomore, appeared in three games this year and made one tackle.

Virginia Tech should have a good chance to right the ship this weekend against Western Michigan before beginning a critical three-game stretch against ACC coastal opponents North Carolina, Pitt and Miami. The two-to-four week timetable for Maddy and McKinnon could mean Frank Beamer could have them back for the Pitt game, which comes after a bye week and will be played Thursday, Oct. 16 at Heinz Field.

Additionally, freshman offensive lineman Colt Pettit will undergo season-ending surgery. The Deshler, Ohio native came to Virginia Tech as a three-star recruit.

Permalink 0 Comments Back to top

Maryland loses DE Quinton Jefferson for the season

Wake Forest v Maryland

As good as Saturday was for the Maryland Fighting Edsalls, defeating ever-so-brief ACC rival Syracuse, 34-20, it’s been an equally bad Sunday for the program.

The Terps already suffered the loss of tight end Andrew Isaacs for the year, and now they’ve lost Quinton Jefferson. The junior will undergo season-ending surgery after injuring his knee in last week’s loss to West Virginia, head coach Randy Edsall confirmed on Sunday.

Jefferson recorded eight tackles and a sack this season, and posted 47 tackles, 7.5 TFLs and three sacks as a sophomore in 2013.

Senior Keith Bowers started in Jefferson’s place during Maryland’s defeat of Syracuse and registered three tackles.

Maryland (3-1) begins life in the Big Ten Saturday at Indiana.

Permalink 2 Comments Back to top

UCLA QB Brett Hundley is practicing, but Jim Mora won’t commit for Thursday

Brett Hundley

We already know No. 15 Arizona State will be without starting quarterback Taylor Kelly for Thursday night’s massive Pac-12 South showdown, but what of UCLA’s own starting quarterback.

Brett Hundley has returned to practice after leaving the Bruins’ 20-17 win over Texas with a left elbow injury, wearing a brace on his left arm. Though observers believe Hundley is on track to play, head coach Jim Mora wasn’t offering the media -and the Arizona State coaching staff – any information.

“All of our players who are out, what we try to do is make the best decisions for them based upon the knowledge we have,” Mora told the Los Angeles Times. “We depend on our doctors to get us good information, and we got the best doctors in the nation in my opinion. If they clear him, and they say he can play, just like everyone else, then we’ll play him.”

In the event Hundley is not ready to go, UCLA appears to be in good hands with backup Jerry Neuheisel. In the sophomore’s first significant action as a collegian, Neuheisel completed 23-of-30 passes for 178 yards with two touchdowns, including the 33-yard game-winner with three minutes remaining in UCLA’s come-from-behind win over Texas on Sept. 13.

Hundley has completed 57-of-81 passes for 686 yards with three touchdowns and one interception this season.

 

Permalink 1 Comment Back to top

Deshaun Watson will start at QB for Clemson Saturday vs. UNC

Deshaun Watson

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney finally admitted Sunday what the rest of us have known for the past four weeks: the Tigers are a better team when Deshaun Watson plays at quarterback over Cole StoudtSwinney announced Sunday that Watson would garner his first career start Saturday versus North Carolina.

Stoudt started the game and produced 64 combined run/pass yards on nine attempts, but did not produce points on any of his first drives and, thus, did not see the field again. Watson played the remainder of Clemson’s 23-17 overtime loss to No. 1 Florida State, completing 19-of-28 passes for 266 yards and rushing 12 times for 30 yards and a touchdown.

For the year, Watson notched a 201.1 passer rating with 29 completions in 41 attempts for 479 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions while adding 47 rushing yards and the aforementioned touchdown. For his part, Stoudt has not been bad, throwing for 486 yards with a touchdown and an interception and rushing for 20 more yards, but the offense just clicks better with Watson standing in the shotgun.

Watson was clearly the future of Clemson’s offense and, with the Tigers at 1-2 and all but eliminated from the ACC championship race, Swinney felt now was the time for the future to melt with the present.

Permalink 7 Comments Back to top

Old Dominion, North Texas made Conference USA history on Saturday

It was a record-breaking day for a pair of Conference USA teams on Saturday. In Houston, Old Dominion defeated Rice 45-42, thereby giving the Monarchs their first win in Conference USA play.

Taylor Heinicke led the way for Old Dominion, connecting on 27-of-43 throws for 430 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions. The Monarchs built a 28-14 lead at the half and extended it to 35-14, but saw Rice fight back to tie the game at 42-42 on a seven-yard Darik Dillard touchdown run with 1:05 to play. Heinicke responded by marching Old Dominion 67 yards in six plays, setting Ricky Segers up for a 25-yard game-winning field goal as time expired.

Considering this was also their first Conference USA game, Old Dominion now has a C-USA record 1.000 winning percentage. The program restarted football in 2009 after shuttling football in 1941, and has gone 49-15 under head coach Bobby Wilder in its six-year rise from the FCS independent ranks to Conference USA.

Old Dominion has a chance to keep its 1.000 winning percentage alive Friday night at home versus Middle Tennessee (8 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1).

As for real, official records, North Texas tied a C-USA record by notching 77 points in its 77-3 annihilation of FCS Nicholls State on Saturday. The 74-point margin of victory was North Texas’ biggest since 1948, and its 10 sacks of Colonels passers tied a school record.

Freshman Dajon Williams made his first start at quarterback and could not have had an easier debut, completing 11-of-14 passes for 176 yards and three touchdowns and rushing four times for 68 yards and two touchdowns. The Mean Green averaged 11.9 yards per pass attempt and 8.5 yards per rush, and also notched two pick sixes and one punt return for a touchdown.

Ironically, the Conference USA single-game points record North Texas tied was set against… North Texas. Rice set the record back in 2008 by demolishing then-Sun Belt member North Texas 77-20.

North Texas is off this week before visiting SEC killer Indiana on Oct. 4.

 

Permalink 1 Comment Back to top

Rutgers loses star RB Paul James for the year

Paul James

Rutgers is off to a strong 3-1 start to its first Big Ten season, and that’s in part because running back Paul James was off to such a strong start to his junior season. The Scarlet Knights, however, will have to play the final two-thirds of their season without him as head coach Kyle Flood confirmed Sunday James has been lost for the season to a torn ACL.

James had carried seven times for 96 yards and a touchdown until the helmet of a Navy defender collided with James’ right knee at the end of a 13-yard run during the second quarter on Saturday. The Scarlet Knights won, 31-24, but James was not seen again throughout the day. As it turns out, that will unfortunately be the last anyone sees of James in a Rutgers uniform this season.

James entered the day as the Big Ten’s fifth-leading rusher, and finishes his season with 63 carries for 363 yards (5.76 yards per pop) with five touchdowns. He started the year with a 173-yard, three-touchdown performance, leading the Scarlet Knights to a 41-38 win at Washington State. James rushed for 881 yards and nine touchdowns a year ago while playing on a broken fibula.

Rutgers will now turn to Desmon Peoples (46 rushes, 205 yards) and Justin Goodwin (26 carries, 104 yards, one touchdown) to carry its ground game for the duration of the season.

Rutgers hosts Tulane on Saturday (12 p.m. ET, ESPNews).

Permalink 2 Comments Back to top