Nearly four weeks after his hiring, Gus Malzahn is now two coaching additions away from completing his first Auburn staff.
Thursday, the Tigers announced that Malzahn has hired Rich Bisaccia to serve as his running backs coach and special teams coordinator. Bisaccia will also carry the title of assistant head coach.
“Rich is widely regarded as the one of the top special teams coaches in all of football and has coached several elite running backs, so we’re thrilled to have him join our staff,” said Malzahn in a statement. “Rich’s resume speaks for itself. He has been a part of some outstanding teams, including a Super Bowl Champion in Tampa Bay. He has coached several running backs and special teams players that were among the very best in the game at both the collegiate and professional level.”
Bisaccia spent the past 11 seasons at the NFL level, including the last two years with the San Diego Chargers as well as a nine-year stint with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Prior to that, he spent time on collegiate coaching staffs at, among others, Ole Miss (1999-2001), Clemson (1994-98) and South Carolina (1988-93).
“This is a tremendous opportunity for me to return to the college game at a program like Auburn,” Bisaccia said. “I have an incredible amount of respect for Auburn and Coach Malzahn. I met Gus in the spring of 2010 and have followed his cutting edge offense and what he’s accomplished as a coach since he started coaching in college. He’s a man of character and I had previously worked with Ellis Johnson and Charlie Harbison, so I knew the type of staff that Gus was putting together. I’m excited and ready to help Auburn return to a championship caliber team.”
Two of the most successful programs in all of college football may be set to renew their rivalry on the gridiron.
In a tidbit that can make every fan of the sport giddy with excitement, the Tuscaloosa News is reporting that Alabama is negotiating with Notre Dame about a potential home-and-home series in football. Nick Saban‘s program is also apparently pursuing a home-and-home with another big name as well in a somewhat stark scheduling philosophy change from the school after years of big neutral site games at places like AT&T Stadium in Texas and Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
“I’ll say that we are exploring some home-and-homes,” Crimson Tide athletic director Greg Byrne told the paper.
That’s not exactly denying the story…
Of course the Tide and Irish have a lengthy history in the sport, famously playing back in the 1970’s during several key bowl games and most recently contesting the 2012 BCS National Championship Game against each other (which both sides probably can’t forget about in two very different ways). Amazingly, Alabama has only played two home-and-home series since Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa and let’s just say that a trip to Duke isn’t exactly the same as going to South Bend.
As for the Irish, they’ve shown an increased appetite toward playing SEC teams in recent years. Notre Dame hosted Georgia last season and has also recently added Arkansas and Texas A&M to the docket in future years. Given how schedules are locked in so far in advance it seems doubtful we’ll be able to stage a rematch between Saban and Brian Kelly but, either way, these two programs getting together is a welcome bit of offseason news.
A quiet offseason is a good offseason for college head coaches but that does not appear to be the case at Georgia for Kirby Smart.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s DawgNation site, the school has fired associate equipment manager Kevin Purvis after he was arrested and charged on Friday night for four felonies (three of which were for “illegal eavesdropping or surveillance”) and a misdemeanor possession of marijuana.
“As soon as it learned of the incident, the Athletic Association notified the University of Georgia Police Department, who began their investigation,” a statement from the program to the AJC said. “The University took immediate action, and the employee was terminated early in the investigation. Based on the findings of the police investigation, no student-athletes were victims in this incident.”
Purvis had worked for the program since 2006. The paper later said that he was “accused of using a hidden camera to capture images of at least one individual showering in the Bulldogs locker room” and was being held on a $8,500 bond. The incident that led to an investigation apparently happened in late February, with the arrest being executed by police on Friday night.
Needless to say, this is not the kind of headline that the Bulldogs would like to see just as spring practice gets going.
One thing’s for certain: Brandon Dawkins won’t be lacking suitors, including Power Five ones, in his quest to find a new college football home.
According to Adam Rittenberg of ESPN.com, Florida Atlantic, Indiana, Nebraska and UCLA have all expressed interest in the quarterback. Rittenberg adds that Dawkins has plans to visit the campuses of FAU and IU in the coming weeks.
On Twitter late last month, Dawkins announced that he would be transferring from Arizona.
Dawkins is set to graduate from UA this coming May, which will make him eligible to play immediately in 2018 at wherever he lands. The upcoming season will serve as Dawkins’ final year of eligibility at the collegiate level.
Dawkins started nine games in 2016 and the first four games this past season before the force of nature known as Khalil Tate took over. All told, he played in 23 games during his four seasons in the desert. The 13 starts previously mentioned were the only ones of his UA career.
For the Wildcats portion of his playing career, Dawkins completed just over 56 percent of his 334 passes for 2,418 yards, 15 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He ran for another 1,582 yards and 20 more touchdowns.
Michigan kicked off its on-field spring season Friday, and they did so without a legacy on the practice field.
Jim Harbaugh confirmed that Tyrone Wheatley Jr. will be sidelined for all of U-M’s spring practice because of injury. Specifically, the tight end “fractured the (metatarsal) in his foot” during that first spring practice session.
Just how Wheatley sustained the injury wasn’t detailed by the head coach.
The good news is that Wheatley, the son of former U-M running back great Tyrone Wheatley, should be fully healthy for the start of summer camp in early August.
The younger Whitley came to the Wolverines as a four-star member of U-M’s 2015 recruiting class. After redshirting as a true freshman, Wheatley has caught three passes each of the last seasons. On those six catches, he has totaled 61 yards and a touchdown.