Citing personal reasons, Mizzou’s OC steps down

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While rumors of Gary Pinkel‘s demise at Missouri never came to fruition, there were rumblings that, coming off a subpar season in the Tigers’ first season in the SEC, a shakeup to the coaching staff could be forthcoming.

Monday morning, that speculation officially turned into a reality, and a rather stunning one at that.

In a release, Mizzou announced that offensive coordinator David Yost has resigned his position, effective immediately.  Yost cited “personal reasons” for his decision, saying he felt it was the proper time to turn the keys to the offense over to someone else..

“First off, I want to thank Coach Pinkel for an amazing 17 years,” said Yost.  “He has done so much for me and I’m just so grateful for the faith that he showed in me and all of the opportunities that he sent my way.  I also want to thank Mike Alden for the support he has given me personally, and to our program.  Mizzou is a special place, and I know that we’re positioned to do great things going forward.

“There are a lot of factors that played into the process of coming to my decision. I feel like I’ve had a great run here and that it’s just the right time to turn it over to someone else.  On one hand, it’s a really hard decision to make, but on the other hand, I feel good that it’s the right decision at the right time for me.”

Yost has been on Pinkel’s staff at Mizzou since the coach came to Columbia in 2001, serving first as quarterbacks coach before being promoted to coordinator in 2009.  Yost’s relationship actually extends back to 1996, serving as a grad assistant on Pinkel’s Toledo coaching staff.

Given that relationship, and at least for public consumption, Pinkel said he asked Yost to reconsider his decision.

“It is very difficult to imagine not having David as part of our staff,” said Pinkel.  “I asked him to reconsider, but I respect his decision.  He has been such an instrumental part of our program and everything we‘ve built since we came here.  There’s hardly an aspect of our program that he hasn’t had a hand in, and we’re going to miss his leadership and energy.  He was responsible for a lot of things, and he did them all very well.  He was an outstanding representative of Mizzou who busted his tail for our program.   He’s going to be tough to replace.”

Following Mizzou’s move from the Big 12 to the SEC, the Tigers saw a precipitous drop in production on the offensive side of the ball.  After finishing 30th in the country at 32.8 points per game, the Tigers somehow lost a touchdown and an extra point on their way to a new conference, dipping to 81st nationally at 25.7 ppg.  They lost nearly a quarter of their total offense, going from 12th nationally (475.5 yards per game) to an alarming 96th.

In fairness to Yost, the combination of much better defenses in the SEC and injury issues with the starting quarterback played a significant role in that startling offensive decline.

While Mizzou will launch a national search immediately, there’s no specific timetable for hiring a replacement.

After stops at TCU, Arkansas State, Cameron Echols-Luper to give WKU a try

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Maybe the third time will be a charm for Cameron Echols-Luper?

On his personal Instagram account Wednesday, Echols-Luper revealed that he has decided to continue his collegiate playing career at Western Kentucky.  According to the Bowling Green Daily News, the decision was made following a visit to the school earlier this week.

As a graduate transfer, the wide receiver will be eligible to play immediately in 2017 for the Hilltoppers. However, he has to finish up some schoolwork at his former school, Arkansas State, before officially moving on to WKU.

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Echols-Luper began his collegiate career at TCU in 2013, transferring to ASU in 2015. After sitting out that season, he was third on the Red Wolves in receptions (26) and receiving yards (407). His 15.7 yards per reception was second on the team.

Ex-USC DL Noah Jefferson won’t be transferring to Arizona after all

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In early March, Noah Jefferson announced on Twitter that he would be transferring from USC to Arizona.  Nearly five months later?

Never mind.

Wednesday, UA head coach Rich Rodriguez announced that Jefferson will not, as previously expected, be playing for the Wildcats this season.  No reason for the abrupt and unexpected about-face was given.

The coach did, though, intimate that a future pairing between the player and the program isn’t out of the question.

Jefferson wouldn’t have been eligible to play in 2017 for the Wildcats even if his move to the desert had come to fruition. He would’ve, though, had two years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2018 at his disposal.

A four-star member of USC’s 2015 recruiting class, Jefferson played in 14 games, starting one of those, as a true freshman. After starting the season-opening loss to Alabama last season, Jefferson never played another down for USC.

Hugh Freeze makes first public comments since exiting Ole Miss in disgrace

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For the first time since his unceremonious exit from Ole Miss, Hugh Freeze has spoken publicly.  Somewhat.

In what was described as a brief interview with USA Today Sports Wednesday, the former Ole Miss head coach said his family and church have helped him get through the storm of the last few days. When asked if his family was standing by him, Freeze responded, “Oh, gosh, yeah.”

“God is good, even in difficult times,’’ Freeze told the website. “Wonderful wife and family, and that’s my priority.”

“I got some good friends,” the former head coach added.

The stunning news dropped last Thursday night that Freeze’s tenure as the head coach at Ole Miss had come to an end because of at least one call from his university-issued cell phone to a known escort service.  While Freeze blamed the call on a misdial, the administration found a “pattern of misconduct” during a deep dive into his phone records, leading the school to confront the coach about the situation.

After meetings with Freeze Wednesday night and then again Thursday morning, it became apparent that, if he didn’t resign, the school was going to fire him.

Because of a moral turpitude clause in his contract, there was neither a buyout nor a settlement.

Five-star 2017 Auburn signee undergoes ‘minor procedure,’ should be a go for start of summer camp

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It appears Auburn has dodged what could’ve been a significant injury bullet.

Citing a person familiar with the situation, Brandon Marcello of the Auburn arm of 247Sports.com is reporting that Calvin Ashley underwent a procedure on one of his eyes recently.  SECCountry.com described it as “a minor procedure”; both websites stated that the touted offensive tackle will be ready for the start of summer camp on July 31, this coming Monday.

The reports come a few days after Ashley posted a picture on social media of what appeared to be him in a hospital room.

The football program has not yet, at least publicly, addressed what if any type of health issue with which Ashley is dealing.

A five-star member of the Tigers’ 2017 recruiting class, Ashley was rated as the No. 6 tackle in the country; the No. 1 player at any position in Washington D.C.; and the No. 27 player overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board.  Ashley was the highest-rated player in AU’s class this year, the only five-star recruit pulled in by Gus Malzahn and company this cycle.

The 6-6, 310-pound Ashley is expected to compete immediately for the starting job at left tackle.