Willie Taggart

Taggart adds pair of Hilltoppers to USF staff


Slowly but surely, Willie Taggart is piecing together his first coaching staff at USF.  And, not so surprisingly, he’s reaching back to his old staff to do it.

USF announced Thursday evening that Taggart has hired Walt Wells and Nick Sheridan to his Bulls offensive staff.  The former will serve as Taggart’s offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, the latter as quarterbacks coach and passing-game coordinator.

Both coaches were members of coach Taggart’s staff at Western Kentucky and will remain with the Hilltoppers through WKU’s bowl game.

“Walt Wells and Nick Sheridan are great teachers and great mentors,” Taggart said. “Both played a critical role in building the foundation at WKU. They understand the way we will run our offensive system and our program.”

Wells had spent the past 10 seasons at WKU, while Sheridan continues his meteoric rise up the coaching ladder.

Sheridan played quarterback at Michigan from 2006-09 and graduated from UM in 2010 before embarking on his coaching career at the high school level.  After just one season at his alma mater — Saline High School in Saline, Mich. — Sheridan joined Taggart at WKU in the spring of 2011 as an offensive grad assistant.  He was promoted to quarterbacks coach and passing-game coordinator a year later, and has now moved on from high school to the Sun Belt to the Big East in just three short years.

Wells and Sheridan join Raymond Woodie (defensive assistant) and Larry Scott (offensive assistant) as members of Taggart’s initial staff.  Woodie was also a member of WKU’s 2012 staff, while Scott is the lone holdover from the Skip Holtz era.

Butch Jones labels rumor of ‘physical altercation’ with Vols player ‘absolutely ridiculous’

ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Head coach Butch Jones of the Tennessee Volunteers yells at Marquez North #8 during the game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on September 27, 2014 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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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.

Tulsa loses second-leading receiver to season-ending injury

NORMAN, OK - SEPTEMBER 14:   Wide receiver Keevan Lucas #2 of the Tulsa Golden Hurricane just misses a pass against the Oklahoma Sooners September 14, 2013 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. The Sooners defeated the Golden Hurricane 51-20.  (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
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One of the most productive pass-catching duos in the country has been cut in half.

Tulsa head coach Philip Montgomery confirmed Tuesday that Keevan Lucas sustained a torn patellar tendon  in the third quarter of Saturday’s loss to Houston.  As a result, the wide receiver will miss the remainder of the 2015 season.

“He’s such an emotional leader for us and such a great kid,” the first-year coach said. “We’ll have to make a few adjustments offensively and move some people around and try to make sure we’ve got guys in the right spot but also guys who will step up and be ready to play.”

Lucas is currently second on the team with 26 receptions and 409 receiving yards, behind Keyarris Garrett‘s 33 and 539. His five receiving touchdowns, though, are tops on the team.

Montgomery expects Lucas to be healthy enough to participate in spring practice next year.