Tennessee v Vanderbilt

James Franklin tweaks ‘Nicky Satan’ during high school visit

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Since coming to Vanderbilt as head coach in December of 2010, James Franklin has never been shy in voicing an opinion, whether it be in regards to an opposing defensive coordinator or an opposing head coach or how the hotness of a coach’s wife correlates to recruiting success.

Now, the loquacious coach has taken to tweaking the tail of the biggest tiger in the best conference in college football.

Speaking at a Georgia high school’s fall sports banquet, Franklin decided to use a common message-board colloquialism for the three-time BCS title-winning head coach at Alabama during his address.

“There’s this guy at Alabama, I think his name is Nicky Satan. You guys have probably heard of him before,” Franklin said in a video clip posted to the website of WMAZ-TV.

“I’m gonna outwork him, I’m gonna outwork him.  And that’s kind of our plan every single day,” Franklin added before dropping to his knees to mock the vertically-challenged Nick Saban*.

(*No, not really, but would you have been surprised?)

Here’s the video from WMAZ, with the pertinent portion beginning just a few seconds in:

 

Thanks to Vandy being situated in the SEC East and “Bama in the West, the Commodores and Tide have only faced each other once during Franklin’s two seasons in Nashville; in October of 2011, Lucifer’s Tide whitewashed Franklin’s ‘Dores 34-0 in Tuscaloosa.

In fact, the only place that Franklin and Beelzebub will go head-to-head for the foreseeable future, thanks to an expanded SEC sticking to eight conference games, is on the recruiting trail.  During Franklin’s two-plus years at the school, Vandy’s recruiting rankings have gone from 70th in 2011 to 29th in 2012 to 20th in Rivals.com‘s current team rankings for the Class of 2013.  Alabama’s during that same stretch?  First, first and third.

Outwork a recruiting workaholic?  Good luck, Coach Franklin.

UPDATED 5:04 p.m. ET: Well, that was fun while it lasted.

Shortly after the video of James Franklin referring to Nick Saban as “Nick Satan” went viral, the Vandy head coach got in touch with his Alabama counterpart and personally apologized to him.  From The Tennessean:

“Obviously, tremendous respect for Coach Saban,” Franklin said. “I just got off the phone with him. Tremendous respect for them. I’ve got tremendous respect for what they’ve done. Everybody is chasing them. The guy has won three or four national championships.

“(I was) really talking about the work ethic that he has a reputation for, and that we’re going to outwork them. I made a joke. And in today’s society with all the media and social media and people with tape recorders and things like that, that doesn’t come off that way. I know people have tremendous pride in Alabama, and their fans are fanatical. So I understand. But it was a joke and I didn’t mean to offend anybody.”

Franklin added that Saban said he has “a lot of respect for what you guys are doing up there at Vanderbilt.”

ECU transfer Kurt Benkert wins Virginia’s starting QB job

In this photo taken Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015 East Carolina quarterback Kurt Benkert rolls out to pass during NCAA college football practice in Greenville, N.C. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
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Four months ago, Kurt Benkert was one the losing end of a quarterback competition at East Carolina.  Fastforward to today, and he’s now the trigger man in a Power Five offense.

First-year Hoos head coach Bronco Mendenhall announced Wednesday that Benkert will start the season opener against Richmond.  Benkert had been involved in a competition that included returning starter Matt Johns and Texas/Arizona transfer Connor Brewer.

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Benkert came to the Cavaliers as a graduate transfer, but is not a one-year stop-gap as he has two years of eligibility remaining.

Named the Pirates’ starter in early August of 2015, Benkert sustained a right knee injury a couple of weeks later that knocked him out for the entire season.  Blake Kemp took over and kept a stranglehold on the starting job through spring practice this year, triggering Benkert’s decision to move on.

Benkert has attempted 10 passes in his collegiate career, all in 2014.

In starting all 12 games for the Cavaliers last season, Johns’ 2,810 passing yards were third in school history while his 20 touchdowns were tied for fourth.  His 17 interceptions, though, were the most of any FBS quarterback in 2015.

Cassius Peat granted release by Mich. St., appears headed to JUCO

COLLEGE PARK, MD - NOVEMBER 15:  A Michigan State Spartans helmet on the bench during a college football game against the Maryland Terrapins at Byrd Stadium on November 15, 2014 in College Park, Maryland.  The Spartans won 37-15.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
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Earlier this month, Mark Dantonio stated that Michigan State was giving Cassius Peat “an opportunity to work on his academics and get himself in order” as his status with the program was “in flux.”

A week or so later?  He gone.

MSU confirmed Wednesday that Peat has been granted a release from his scholarship and will transfer from the Spartans.  And, in fact, the defensive lineman may have already found a new home, one at the junior college level.

Peat, initially a UCLA commit, was a three-star 2015 recruit who was rated as the No. 3 player at any position in the state of Arizona.  He took a redshirt as a true freshman, and had been listed as the No. tackle heading into summer camp.

However, according to mlive.com, Peat did not report for camp amidst his academic issues.

Ex-Oregon St. DB goes home to LaTech as grad transfer

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Running back Justin Davis #22 of the USC Trojans is defended by safety Cyril Noland-Lewis #17 of the Oregon State Beavers in the second half at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 27, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. USC defeated Oregon State 35-10.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
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A week after transferring from Oregon State, Cyril Noland-Lewis has found a new home that happens to also double as his hometown.

The Ruston News Star, among others, has reported that Noland-Lewis is transferring into the Louisiana Tech football program.  As he is coming to Tech as a graduate transfer, he will be eligible to play for the Bulldogs in 2016, his final season of eligibility.

The defensive back, who went to high school in Ruston, was at the Bulldogs’ practice Tuesday as Tech continues preparations for the season opener Sept. 3 against Arkansas.

Noland-Lewis started 10 games for the Beavers last season.  Six of those starts came as a safety, the others as the nickel corner.  OSU moved Noland-Lewis to cornerback this offseason, where he ultimately found himself buried on the depth chart in summer camp.

The 6-0, 198-pound fifth-year senior, who began his OSU career as a linebacker, played in a total of 37 games during his time in Corvallis.

Tyler Rodgers, NMSU’s starting QB, arrested on battery charge

BATON ROUGE, LA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Tyler Rogers #18 of the New Mexico State Aggies drops back to pass against the LSU Tigers during the first quarter of a game at Tiger Stadium on September 27, 2014 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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It’s not been a good day for a couple of starting quarterbacks at Group of Five programs.

The Las Cruces Sun-News has reported that New Mexico State’s Tyler Rogers turned himself in last Friday on a warrant that had been issued for him Aug. 14.  The junior was booked on one count of misdemeanor charge of battery against a household member.

The alleged victim is Rogers’ girlfriend. A verbal altercation at a party allegedly turned physical in a vehicle later on. When police arrived, the woman, who was initially crying, “downplayed the incident and said that it wasn’t really anything and that the altercation did not get physical and didn’t consider Mr. Rogers grabbing her arm as being a physical altercation.”

The woman decided against completing a domestic violence supplement report, and, according to the Sun-News, it’s unclear if the woman is cooperating with police.

“I was very disappointed in hearing the news but we are in the information gathering stage,” NMSU athletic director Mario Moccia said in a statement. “These are allegations that we take very seriously and we look forward to getting as much detail as possible so the university can be informed and the athletic department can make an informed decision moving forward.”

Because “it is a misdemeanor, there isn’t a suspension coming forth right now,” head coach Doug Martin said.

Rogers has started 15 games the past two seasons for the Aggies.