It appears the NFL’s attempts at poaching the collegiate coaching ranks are not yet complete.
According to the Los Angeles Times, and citing multiple people familiar with the situation, the San Diego Chargers have contacted representatives of UCLA head coach Jim Mora about their coaching vacancy. Mora, who just completed his first season with the Bruins, has previously been a head coach at the NFL level with the Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks.
In that first season, Mora led the Bruins to a 9-5 record and the program’s second consecutive Pac-12 South title. It was just the second time since 1998 (10 wins in 2005) that UCLA has won more than eight games in a season.
It doesn’t appear, though, that the Bruins have much to worry about in the way of losing Mora after just one season. The Times writes that, per individuals in the athletic department, “Mora is likely to remain in Westwood” as the university is in the process of tweaking the contracts of the head coach and his assistants as well as making improvements to the football program’s facilities.
Already this year, NFL teams have made runs at a handful of college coaches.
Most notably, the Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles made strong runs at Chip Kelly, who, after reportedly being close to a deal with the latter, returned to Oregon. Bill O’Brien as well was pursued by those two organizations before returning to Penn State.
Alabama’s Nick Saban has also been the subject of speculation, although he’s stated on numerous occasions, most recently after the Tide’s second consecutive BCS title, that he will remain in Tuscaloosa.
The NFL’s lone successful pursuit involved Doug Marrone, who left Syracuse for the Buffalo Bills. The Chargers also had an interest in Marrone.
(Tip O’ the Cap: SBNation’s Scott Enyeart)
As if this day wasn’t busy enough, Ole Miss announced late Monday evening star-crossed offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil‘s suspension has been capped at seven games, meaning he’ll miss Saturday’s trip to Memphis but return in time for Texas A&M visit to The Grove on Oct. 24.
From the university:
The University initially withheld Tunsil from competition at the start of the season as both the NCAA and the University examined several alleged improper benefits. During the course of the process, it was determined by the NCAA that Tunsil received impermissible extra benefits that included the use of three separate loaner vehicles over a sixth-month period without payment, a four-month interest-free promissory note on a $3,000 down payment for purchasing a used vehicle, two nights of lodging at a local home, an airline ticket purchased by a friend of a teammate, and one day use of a rental vehicle. In addition, it was determined that Tunsil was not completely forthcoming when initially questioned by NCAA investigators regarding the loaner vehicles. He later corrected his account and since apologized.
As part of his reinstatement conditions, the NCAA imposed a seven-game suspension, ordered Tunsil to pay the value of the extra benefits to a charity, perform community service, and he will also make the vehicle down payment.
Said Tunsil: “I take full responsibility for the mistakes I made and want to thank everyone for their continued support. I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and the entire Ole Miss family for how my choices affected our program. This was a learning experience, and I’m looking forward to being back on the field with my team and redeeming myself. The last 10 months have been a physical and mental battle for me, but I love playing this game more than anything else. I want to be here for my teammates who are depending on me to finish what we started together.”
The news is, obviously, great for Tunsil and head coach Hugh Freeze personally, as well as the entire Ole Miss football program. It’s also a nice plus for NFL scouts, as it means Tunsil’s first live action of 2015 will come against possible future No. 1 draft pick Myles Garrett.
Hope he’s been practicing.
Say it ain’t so, Steve.
According to a report from Thayer Evans of Sports Illustrated Monday evening, Steve Spurrier is set to retire.
Spurrier, 70, is a legend the likes college football has never seen before and never will again.
He was a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback at Florida, then returned to his alma mater and turned the program into a juggernaut, leading the Gators to 122-27-1 record from 1990-01 and a national championship in 1996. After a stint with the NFL’s Washington Redskins, Spurrier landed at South Carolina, where since 2005 he’s racked up a school record 86 wins.
But those wins slowed down of late. After an SEC East championship in 2010 and three straight 11-2 seasons from 2011-13, the Gamecocks fell to 7-6 in 2014, and are off to a 2-4 mark this fall. With the possibility of losses to nemeses old and new like Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Florida and Clemson ahead, Spurrier, it appears, would rather fade away quietly to the putting green.
Perhaps no two sentences summarize Spurrier, then and now, more precisely than this:
Combined with his three years at Duke, Spurrier closes up shop with a 228-89-2 mark, and a bust in the coaches’ wing of the Hall of Fame waiting for him.