In late December, the rest of the college football world found out what few outside of Florida State knew: that the mother of quarterback EJ Manuel had been diagnosed with breast cancer and undergoing chemotherapy treatments.
In a regular season-ending loss to Florida, Manuel had a tough game with three interceptions. According to Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher, Manuel was affected by his mother’s appearance when he saw her in the pregame ceremonies for senior day.
“It all culminated,” Fisher said. “His mama wasn’t supposed to come to the Florida game, and she walked out there on the field and he hadn’t seen her in eight weeks and she looked a lot different.”
Thankfully, it appears Manuel’s mother will return to a more normal life. She was scheduled to have surgery Friday, and in a tweet, Manuel said that his mother is now officially cancer free.
Congratulations to Manuel, his mother and their entire family. Here’s to a long, healthy life.
When Alabama lost defensive coordinator Kirby Smart to a head coaching position at Georgia, Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban stressed his program always manages to find good coaches to fill spots left by coaches going to accept other positions. Needing to fill out its staff following the latest changes in the coaching carousel, Alabama looks to have filled a defensive assistant role with the addition of Derrick Ansley.
According to a report Sunday morning from TideSports.com (a Rivals affiliate covering Alabama), Ansley will join the coaching staff at Alabama after serving as a co-defensive coordinator for Kentucky. While in Lexington, Ansley coached the secondary for the Wildcats. It is reported he is expected to fill the same role with Alabama under new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt. Ansley previously coached under Saban as a graduate assistant in 2010 and 2011 before moving to Tennessee for one season. He joined the Kentucky staff in 2013. At Alabama, Ansley will fill the vacancy left by Mel Tucker, who moved to Georgia with Smart. Tucker was Alabama’s secondary coach as well.
On the eve of the Super Bowl, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was named the Most Valuable Player of the National Football League. He is the first Heisman Trophy winner to win the NFL’s MVP award since Detroit Lions running back and former Oklahoma State star Barry Sanders was named the best player in the NFL in 1997. Sanders shared the MVP honors that season with Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre, which means Newton is the first Heisman Trophy winner to be the outright winner of the NFL’s MVP award since 1985, when Los Angeles Raiders running back Marcus Allen won the award (Allen was a Heisman Trophy running back for USC in 1981.
Newton becomes the first quarterback to win the top honor at the college and NFL level and joins a short list by becoming the sixth player to receive both awards. Newton was a Heisman Trophy quarterback for Auburn during the 2010 season, in which he fueled a BCS Championship Run. Newton now can become the first player in football history to win the Heisman Trophy, a college national championship, NFL MVP and a Super Bowl. To do that, Newton will have to lead the Panthers past the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning, who is perhaps one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time but was passed over for a Heisman Trophy by Michigan’s Charles Woodson in 1997 (Manning finished second in the voting that season).
It is somewhat amazing to think that grand slam of football has never been achieved once since the NFL MVP award was first awarded by the Associated Press in 1957, but it also goes to show that sometimes the best players in college and the NFL do not always achieve the top-level of championship success.
Players to win Heisman Trophy and NFL MVP
- RB Paul Hornung
- RB O.J. Simpson
- RB Earl Campbell
- RB Marcus Allen
- RB Barry Sanders
- QB Cam Newton
With the Cleveland Browns (again) changing regimes, George DeLeone found himself on the outside of the coaching profession looking in. A couple of weeks later, DeLeone is back on the inside, and in a familiar locale at that.
While the school has yet to officially confirm it, the Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting that DeLeone has been added to Matt Rhule‘s coaching staff at Temple. Bruce Feldman of FOXSports.com subsequently confirmed the report.
According to both outlets, DeLeone will serve as the Owls’ running-game coordinator.
The past two seasons, DeLeone worked as an assistant line coach with the Browns. Prior to that, however, the vast majority of his 46-year coaching career had been spent at the collegiate level. And a sizable chunk of that time was spent in the Northeast.
DeLeone’s first FBS job came at Rutgers from 1980-83. Two different stints at Syracuse (1985-96, 1998-2004) were sandwiched between his the job at the NFL level with the Miami Dolphins (1997). Temple was his home from 2006-07, and then UConn from 2011-13 before the Browns called.
A promotion in 2015 was quickly followed by a demotion a year later for Todd Fitch. Not long after the latter went down, Fitch left town for a fresh start to his coaching career.
Friday, Skip Holtz announced that Fitch has been hired as his offensive coordinator at Louisiana Tech. Additionally, Fitch will serve as the wide receivers coach for the Bulldogs.
Fitch had spent the past three seasons at Boston College, first as receivers coach and passing-game coordinator in 2013-14 before being promoted to offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2015. However, BC head coach Steve Addazio announced in mid-January that he had hired Scott Loeffler as his coordinator, effectively demoting Fitch back to receivers coach.
Three weeks later, Fitch headed south.
“I am excited to be joining a staff that is part of growing something special,” Fitch said. “This coaching staff has laid the groundwork for a program that has already done some great things and is building a foundation for future success. I am excited for the opportunity to be on a staff with Skip Holtz again and to keep growing this program.”
In addition to BC, Fitch had also been a coordinator at East Carolina and USF. Holtz was the head coach at both of those stops.