Well, that certainly didn’t take long. And, you can apparently breathe again, Happy Valley
Just a couple of hours after it was reported that Penn State’s Bill O’Brien had interviewed for the Cleveland Browns vacancy earlier this week, and after it reported that O’Brien interviewed with the Philadelphia Eagles today, Jason La Confora of CBS Sports is reporting that “O’Brien is staying at Penn State” after what was by most accounts a very brief flirtation with the NFL.
“O’Brien has informed the school he is staying put,” La Confora subsequently tweeted. Additionally, Adam Caplan of SiriusXM Radio tweeted that O’Brien will not do any additional interviews with NFL clubs.
The news is huge for a Nittany Lions football program that could’ve been facing the loss of their first-year head coach heading into the second year of stifling NCAA sanctions.
O’Brien’s decision to remain in Happy Valley also comes shortly before a critical recruiting stretch commences, and will allow the Nittany Lions staff to retain what’s shaping up to be an above-average class. That’s critical for O’Brien & Company as part of the NCAA sanctions included deep cuts in scholarships available annually.
UPDATED 10: 34 p.m. ET: In an interview with David Jones of the Patriot-News, O’Brien himself confirmed that he will remain at Penn State.
“I’m not a one-and-done guy,” said O’Brien. “I made a commitment to these players at Penn State and that’s what I am going to do. I’m not gonna cut and run after one year, that’s for sure.”
Jones also reported that, per high-level PSU sources, O’Brien will receive a raise of $1.3 million annually that will bump his salary to $3.6 million. If that’s the case, O’Brien would become the third-highest paid head coach in the Big Ten behind Ohio State’s Urban Meyer and Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz.
Baylor’s on-going scandal over reported sexual assaults looks like it is about to get even uglier.
Former head coach Art Briles has filed a lawsuit for libel and slander against three school regents and a vice president, according to the Associated Press, accusing them of falsely stating he knew of sexual assaults by players and didn’t report them.
Perhaps most eyebrow-raising is that the lawsuit also accuses the officials of conspiring to keep him from getting another coaching job. Briles has been connected to openings such as the one at Houston but school officials quickly denied reports that he was formally considered for the vacant head coaching spot.
Briles was fired in the spring by Baylor after an investigation from law firm Pepper Hamilton determined the school mishandled reports of alleged sexual assaults, some of which involved numerous football players. The coach denied he knew about the alleged assaults but several regents — including the three named in the recent lawsuit — told the Wall Street Journal on the record that Briles failed to report alleged assaults.
While the football team may be looking to move on from all of this with the recent hire of Matt Rhule as the new head coach, it appears the school itself will continue to deal with the fallout from one of the worst scandals in college football history.
College football recruiting has kicked into full gear the past few weeks and one of the more interesting decisions this month that could have a big impact on next season is finding out which school former Baylor quarterback Jarrett Stidham will be playing for in 2017.
The signal-caller threw for 12 touchdowns and over 1,200 yards after taking over as the Bears starter midway through last year but he opted to transfer away from the program this summer when Art Briles was fired as the result of a sexual assault scandal at the school. While many have considered SEC schools such as Auburn, Texas A&M and Florida to be the favorites to land the coveted junior college QB, there may be another school that is in the running too: whichever program hires Baylor offensive coordinator Kendal Briles.
“KB is my dude,” Stidham told ESPN.com. “I’m super tight with him. I still talk to him all the time. I’m still waiting to see what happens with him and where he might go and just take it into consideration.”
It remains to be seen if new head coach Matt Rhule will retain the younger Briles but it seems unlikely given the events in Waco the past six months and the school likely wanting a complete divorce from the previous regime. Kendal Briles own job prospects seem a bit unknown given everything at play but it could be an interesting combination for a head coach looking to jump start an offense.
There’s always talk of package deals in college basketball but this would be a potential one in football that may draw some interest.
And that’s the way it was, at least as it pertains to the Florida portion of Jordan Cronkrite‘s collegiate playing career.
Thursday, the Gators announced that Cronkrite has been granted permission to pursue other opportunities. The release from his scholarship will afford the running back the opportunity to transfer elsewhere.
If that elsewhere is at the FBS, the sophomore would have to sit out the 2017 season. He’d then have two seasons of eligibility remaining beginning in 2018.
Cronkrite was a four-star 2015 recruit who was rated as the No. 34 player at any position in the state of Florida.
As a true freshman, Cronkrite ran for 157 yards and three touchdowns on 44 carries. This past season, he carried the ball 31 times for 145 yards and a touchdown. His 20 receptions were fourth on the Gators.
Brady Hoke had a miserable one-and-done at Oregon, and this piling on just adds to it.
Brought in to turnaround the Ducks’ defense, Hoke instead was in charge of one of the worst units in the country. Their play, in very large part, helped bring an abrupt end to Mark Helfrich‘s three-year tenure in Eugene.
Helfrich was officially replaced by USF’s Willie Taggart earlier this week. The boss of Taggart’s boss, UO president Michael Schill, had one piece of advice and one piece of advice alone for his new head football coach.
Can we take that as confirmation that Hoke won’t be retained by the new regime? At least statistically, though, the president has a point, no matter how clumsily or ill-advised it may have been.
Out of the 128 teams listed on the NCAA’s official stats website, the Ducks were 126th in scoring and yards allowed; 121st in third-down percentage and rushing yards allowed; 117th in turnovers forced; and 114th in passing yards. Last season, the Ducks were 114th in scoring and 116th in yards.
And Taggart’s defense this season? The Bulls were 86th in scoring defense and 120th in yards allowed. So, there’s that.