When the coaching carousel awoke from its nearly 11-month slumber and slowly began churning its gears a couple of weeks ago, Cincinnati coach Butch Jones was not among the more popular names being thrown into the mix in hopes that it would stick somewhere.
But now that the carousel has picked up some momentum, so has Jones’ name. Bill Koch of the Cincinnati Enquirer confirms that Purdue has “a strong interest” in Jones. It’s been rumored over the past day or two that the Boilermakers were interested in Jones, now in his third year as the Bearcats’ head coach.
Among the chief concerns for Purdue — if the Boilermakers are in fact attempting to land Jones — would be a possible contract extension from UC (which the university has not confirmed) and Jones’ ability to grow a handsome mustache.
That’s where Colorado comes in, where stylish upper lip hair may be preferred but not required. Woody Paige of the Denver Post reports that the Buffs have also expressed interest in Jones. Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn declined to discuss candidates, but did tell the Post this week had a particular candidate in mind. Former Kansas coach Mark Mangino has already taken his name out of consideration.
Cincinnati has not commented on the possibility of Jones leaving for another job, and it’s likely no one will until Jones takes another job. If he takes another job. So far there’s been no real indication that Jones is reciprocating the interest some schools are reportedly showing him. But Jones’ name is (rightfully) getting more attention as the coaching silly season (see: Jon Gruden, all the time) rolls along.
Ole Miss will be without a starting piece of its defensive puzzle for an extended period of time, both the player and the school revealed Tuesday.
With rumors swirling about his condition, C.J. Johnson confirmed on his personal Twitter account late this morning that he will be undergoing surgery at some point in the not-too-distant future. The linebacker sustained an injury to his left knee in last Saturday’s loss to Florida and did not return to the contest.
Subsequent to that posting, Ole Miss confirmed that Johnson underwent surgery earlier in the day to repair a torn meniscus in his knee. The procedure and rehab will sideline Johnson for a period of 4-6 weeks.
At the low-end of the prognosis, Johnson would miss the next four games — New Mexico State, Memphis, Texas A&M, Auburn — and return for the Nov. 7 game against Arkansas. The high-end would have him sidelined until the regular-season finale against Mississippi State.
Johnson had started all five games at middle linebacker for the Rebels. He started 26 games at defensive end the past three years before moving to linebacker.
Already in the crosshairs for his 2-3 team’s late-game failures, Butch Jones now finds himself under increasing scrutiny for something that allegedly happened a couple of months ago.
The website Gridiron.com, which features such respected journalists Tony Barnhart and Mike Huguenin among others, reported earlier today that the Tennessee head coach was involved in what was described as a “physical altercation” with senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder during summer camp this past August. The source close to the program added that practice film that day captured the alleged incident, although it’s unclear if that tapes still exists.
From the site’s report:
The incident occurred during fall camp, about the time that news started to come out about a few offensive linemen who were considering stepping away from the program. Crowder walked off the practice field one day and missed a day or two of practice, and Brett Kendrick and Dylan Wiesman were said to be contemplating their futures. Sources say the players’ actions stemmed from an incident between Jones and Crowder.
The website also made a Freedom of Information request seeking any correspondence between the university and the Crowder family be turned over, but writes that UT “administrators said any sort of letter or correspondence that may or may not have happened was covered under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.”
Monday, Jones labeled what began as message-board speculation that he had struck one of his Vols players as “absolutely ridiculous.” The Knoxville News Sentinel contacted Crowder’s father, with the paper writing that “he had no comment and did not want to give validation to message boards.”
At least publicly, the university has yet to address the allegations. Jones will get yet another chance to address the speculation with the media in the very near future.