As expected, rumors connecting Charlie Strong to various vacancies during the latest spinning of the coaching carousel have paid off in a big way for the Louisville coach.
According to ESPN.com‘s Brett McMurphy, the UofL and Strong have reached an agreement on a new eight-year contract that will pay the third-year coach an average of $3.7 million a season. That number marks a nearly 70-percent increase in pay for Strong; according to the USA Today salaries database, Strong earned $2.305 million in 2012.
If those numbers are accurate, Strong would become the seventh-highest paid head coach in college football, behind only Alabama’s Nick Saban ($5.5 million), Texas’ Mack Brown ($5.4 million), Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops ($4.5 million), Ohio State’s Urban Meyer ($4.3 million), LSU’s Les Miles ($3.9 million) and Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz ($3.8 million) (LOL).
The financial heights the new deal reached should come as no surprise as, during the 2012 season, athletic director Tom Jurich stated he was willing to make Strong the highest-paid coach at the FBS level if that’s what it took to retain him.
In early December, Strong turned down an offer to become the head coach at Tennessee. At the time, it was reported that Louisville was in the process of working up a revamped contract for the coach.
Strong had also been connected to the Auburn opening, speculation which the coach vehemently denied.
Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.
Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.
And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.
“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”
Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.
You know how I know we’re gradually creeping up on the end of another regular season? Watch lists are being whittled.
The first major honor to do so is the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is given out annually to the best quarterback who is a college senior or fourth-year junior. The preseason watch list was 30 quarterbacks strong; the newest list has been cut in half to 15.
The most recent list includes one of the top Heisman contenders (TCU’s Trevone Boykin) and the top two nationally in passing yards (Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson, Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty), as well as a quarterback who’s closing in on the all-time FBS record for rushing touchdowns (Navy’s Keenan Reynolds).
The Pac-12 leads all conferences with three watch listers, followed by two each from the AAC, ACC and Big Ten. The SEC has as many players (one, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott) as the FCS (North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz).
Last year’s winner was Marcus Mariota of Oregon.
Trevone Boykin, TCU
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
Connor Cook, Michigan State
Brandon Doughty, WKU
Everett Golson, Florida State
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
Cody Kessler, USC
Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana
Carson Wentz, N. Dakota State
Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Travis Wilson, Utah