Citing personal reasons, Mizzou’s OC steps down


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.

UCF, Lane Kiffin, Neal Brown among college football underdogs celebrating NCAA Tournament madness

Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament has been a joy to watch over the course of the first few days. Highlighted by some significant upsets and some thrilling finishes, this year’s tournament has everybody talking, including college football coaches. This is especially true for college football’s non-power conference programs, who seem to be celebrating the upsets performed early on by schools like Marshall, Loyola-Chicago and, of course, UMBC.

UCF took to Twitter to extend congratulations to the University of Maryland Baltimore County after the 16-seed Retrievers became the first team in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament’s history to upset a No. 1 seed, in which UMBC throttled No. 1 Virginia by 20 after an unbelievable second-half performance that left Virginia clueless how to respond.

UMBC has been the story of the first round for the historic upset of the Cavaliers, but FAU head coach Lane Kiffin claims he picked UMBC to win the game. In fact, Kiffin showed off a bracket in which he picked UMBC to win it all. Of course, such a bracket cannot be taken too seriously, especially after closer inspection reveals Kiffin went heavy with the underdog mentality throughout his bracket. Perhaps such a bracket strategy plays into the kind of mentality Kiffin is attempting to build at FAU.

Troy coach Neal Brown also used the UMBC upset to make a case for the Group of Five representation in college football to get more of a fair shake in the sport of college football.

Brown is not the only person to have this thought, although the idea has just as many on the other side of the fence as well. The College Football Playoff is a much smaller system to determine a college football champion and expansion is a hot-button topic of conversation for a variety of reasons. The current format allows for one guaranteed spot in a major bowl game for the highest-ranked conference champion from the non-power conferences, but undefeated UCF was still left out of the College Football Playoff last season and it may be a long time before a non-power conference champion gets a shot at the playoff.

Washington State head coach Mike Leach has proposed a 64-team college football playoff, but the most likely step for expansion of the playoff system will double the field to eight teams. That would still likely leave out some top non-power conference options, but it would leave the door open just a little wider for a team like UCF last year.

Former Navy LB Caleb King killed in fighter jet crash

Getty Images

A routine U.S. Navy training flight that ended in tragedy had a college football connection.

Earlier this week, two Navy aviators were killed when a fighter jet crashed off the coast of Key West, Florida, this past Wednesday.  Those who lost their lives were, according to the Associated Press, Lt. Cmdr. James Brice Johnson and Lt. Caleb Nathaniel King, who served in the “Blacklions” of Strike Fighter Squadron Two One Three (VFA-213).  Johnson was the pilot of the aircraft.

“[T]he aircraft crashed on final approach to Boca Chica Field following a training mission,” wrote.  While details are scant at the moment, below is from that website’s report:

The crash happened around 4:30 p.m., Hecht said. Both pilots onboard the Super Hornet ejected, he said. Initially, Hecht said a search-and-rescue effort for the aircrew was still ongoing around 6 PM, but later he said the pilots were recovered within minutes and taken by ambulance to the medical center.

An eyewitness, Barbie Wilson, told the crash “looked like something out of a movie.”

Wilson, who lives on the back side of the air station, said she stopped to watch an F/A-18 flying overhead, as she often does, and was shocked to see what appeared to be a massive malfunction in midair.

“Literally, the wings went vertical, and there was a fireball, and it just literally dropped out of the sky,” Wilson said.

King (pictured, left) was a linebacker for the Midshipmen football team from 2009-11.  He played in 38 games during his time at the military academy.

“Our hearts and deepest condolences go out to the entire King family,” Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo said in a statement. “We lost a dear brother and warrior. The entire Navy Football Brotherhood mourns the passing of a great American. We love you Caleb!”

Temple’s on-campus stadium plans stall after city council meeting

Getty Images
1 Comment

The dream of Temple football playing in an on-campus stadium appears as though it’s on hold after a Philadelphia city council meeting got heated once again and resulted in the pulling of support by a key local leader.

Per KYW 1060, City Council President Darrell Clarke told the radio station that he would not support the reported $125 million project at a meeting earlier this week. Though the university leadership remains focused on making the new stadium happen eventually, the dwindling support from those in the community have basically stalled the effort and puts into question where the team will play football in 2020 and beyond.

Protestors against the stadium being built already interrupted a town hall meeting on the project last week.

“We do not feel that a 35,000 seat stadium fits in a residential block,” said Reverend Bill Moore, who is part several local groups pushing to ax the project.

Temple had signed an extension on their lease with nearby Lincoln Financial Field (the home of the Philadelphia Eagles) but that agreement runs only through the 2019 season. The hope had been to get the new on-campus stadium built by the time the 2020 campaign rolled around but that is looking increasingly unlikely as local residents — and now city council members — become more and more vocal in their opposition to the project.

The university has not issued a formal statement on their next steps after this latest setback but at least the team itself is moving forward as usual with spring football already under the way in Philly.

Study says War Memorial Stadium needs millions in upgrades to remain in use for Arkansas games in Little Rock

Getty Images

Just like an old house, older stadiums require tons of money to keep them up to date. Those in the state of Arkansas are very aware of that when it comes to War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.

The Arkansas Democrat Gazette reports that a study commissioned by the state has found that roughly $17 million worth of repairs, maintenance work and improvements are needed at War Memorial if the 70 year old venue wants to remain in operation. The timeline for such changes were listed as anywhere from three years for “critical” issues to five years for other items, which come as part of a whopping $160,000 study from Conventions Sport & Leisure International LLC.

The millions of dollars of work required is notable because the Fayetteville-based Razorbacks have annually played a game at the stadium in Little Rock dating back to 1948. The team will not only host their first spring game under new coach Chad Morris at the venue but will also play Ole Miss in Little Rock during the upcoming season. That contest is the last scheduled game for Arkansas at War Memorial however as the contract to hold games there is expiring in 2018.

It remains to be seen what the next steps are for UA football, the state and the venue are. Even prior to this most recent study being commissioned, the Razorbacks were looking to have as much as $10 million worth of work done at the stadium to meet their own requirements and those of the SEC in general for conference play.

“Discussions are continuing” Kevin Trainor, associate athletics director at Arkansas, said in an emailed statement to the paper.

Could this be the last we see of the Razorbacks in Little Rock? Given the history between the city, stadium and team it would seem doubtful but somebody’s got to pay for renovations and it may be a while before anybody ponies up the cash needed to get the venerable old building up to date.