In the immediate aftermath of the Bret Bielema bombshell Arkansas dropped on the college football world Tuesday afternoon, it took, at most, nanoseconds for Paul Chryst‘s name to be brought up as a potential replacement at Wisconsin.
On multiple levels, that particular dot-connecting makes immense sense. Chryst was born in Madison and lived on UW’s home turf until he was in his mid-teens. He spent one year as an assistant on former head coach and current athletic director Barry Alvarez‘s UW staff in 2002, returning for Alvarez’s final season in 2005 and remaining on as Bielema’s offensive coordinator until landing the job as Pittsburgh’s head coach in December of last year.
In response to the aforementioned dot-connecting, Chryst has released a statement through his current employer that will do nothing to quell the speculation as it relates to his former employer.
“I understand the speculation surrounding my name given today’s developments,” Chryst said in the statement. “I am committed to the Pitt football program and the University of Pittsburgh. I am focusing all my time and energy on our team’s bowl game preparation and recruiting a great group of young men to join our program and this outstanding university. We are working hard every day to re-establish this program and I am excited about the future of Pitt football.”
Given one the schools involved and their recent coaching history, a Todd Graham-sized grain of salt may not only be necessary but warranted.
Other than an expression of being “very surprised,” Wisconsin has given no indication in which direction they may head for a replacement for Bielema.
A very disturbing story has emerged out of Dallas, where former Texas A&M wide receiver Thomas Johnson sits in a Dallas County jail cell after allegedly admitting to hacking an unsuspecting jogger to death with a machete.
Just before 8 a.m. Monday, authorities say Johnson went to White Rock Creek Trail, a popular jogging trail in northeast Dallas, and randomly slashed a jogger to death. “It appears Mr. Johnson picked this victim at random. Absolutely random,” Deputy Chief Rob Sherwin told the Dallas Morning News. “He just attacked him. … It’s just very unusual. It’s quite shocking.”
Johnson then walked away from the scene in search of a cell phone. An onlooker had already dialed 911, and when police arrived Johnson allegedly told them there was a man “laying down with a sword in his head and not moving.”
“I just committed capital murder,” Johnson said and then repeated, according to his arrest affidavit. The only motive police reported was that Johnson was angry at his situation in life at the time of the slaying.
The victim, an unidentified male between the age of 25 and 35, passed away at a nearby hospital.
Johnson, meanwhile, remains in a Dallas County jail in lieu of $500,000 bail.
Johnson was a highly-regarded member of Kevin Sumlin‘s first recruiting class at Texas A&M. As a true freshman in 2012, the Dallas native caught 30 passes for 339 yards and one touchdown through the Aggies’ upset of then-No. 1 Alabama and then simply… disappeared. He went missing for three days in November 2012 before turning up back home in Dallas. His mother told the San Antonio Express-News last April Johnson would like to return to college football, but a return to the game never materialized.
Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema will not be disciplined by the SEC office for his brief interaction with Alabama offensive lineman Cam Robinson last weekend. A video showing Bielema exaggerating his interaction with Robinson at the end of a play was reviewed by SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, and the commissioner has discussed the situation with the Razorbacks coach.
“I visited with Bret over the phone on Monday and we discussed the play that has now become widely reviewed through a brief video clip,” Sankey said in a released statement. “Football is played in an intense competitive environment and I reminded him of the need for head coaches to resolve with their own players issues that may arise, which was his intent. The unsportsmanlike penalty assessed on the play was not directly associated with Bret’s efforts to intervene at the end of the play and we are moving forward in a positive manner.”
That appears to be the end of the discussion regarding Bielema’s act. I personally think there should have been some more done here by the league’s commissioner, but we will see if Bielema avoids putting himself in a similar position moving forward.