Skip to content

Bill O’Brien announces 2013 Penn State signees

Penn State football coach Bill O'Brien addresses a news conference before his first spring practice as Penn State's head football coach, in Pennsylvania Reuters

(Below is Penn State’s press release on the players added as part of its 2013 recruiting class.)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; February 6, 2013 – Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien announced the Nittany Lions’ 2013 recruiting class on Wednesday. In all, the Nittany Lions welcome 17 new student-athletes who signed National Letters of Intent to join the football program.

“Recruiting is about a fit and relationships,” O’Brien said. “We started working early on this class and they visited us multiple times. This is a group of high character kids who are tough, go to class and do things the right way. Our coaches deserve a lot of credit. They worked hard to develop relationships with the families and the prospects and it turned out well for us.”

Penn State’s 2013 recruiting class features nine defensive signees and eight offensive signees from seven different states and one from the District of Columbia. Breaking down the class by position, the signees include four defensive backs, three defensive linemen, three offensive linemen, two linebackers, two quarterbacks, one running back, one tight end and one wide receiver.

The list includes four high school players who graduated early to enroll at Penn State, and one junior-college signee, who began classes in January and are participating in winter conditioning with the team.

O’Brien led Penn State to an 8-4 record (6-2 Big Ten) during his first season as the Nittany Lions’ head coach and was selected the 2012 Bear Bryant, Maxwell Football Club and ESPN Coach of the Year and the Big Ten-Dave McClain Coach of the Year. The Nittany Lions begin spring practice March 18 and the Blue-White Game is April 20 in Beaver Stadium.

(Writer’s note: below the jump are the complete bios of all 17 members of Penn State’s 2013 recruiting class.)

Richy Anderson
RB | Frederick, Md. | Governor Thomas Johnson High School | Ht: 5-11 | Wt: 171
The son of former Nittany Lion great and NFL running back Richie Anderson, Richy Anderson is a 5-11, 171-pound versatile all-purpose back. The Frederick, Md., native produced more than 1,700 yards of offense and 15 touchdowns as a junior at Governor Thomas Johnson High School. Rated a three-star prospect on Scout.com, Rivals.com, ESPN.com and 247Sports, Anderson helped lead Thomas Johnson High School to the Class 3A state title game in 2011. Anderson’s father lettered at Penn State from 1991-92, rushing for 1,756 yards and 31 touchdowns before embarking on a 12-year NFL career with the New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys. Anderson is one of five signees already enrolled in classes and participating in winter workouts.

Brandon Bell
LB | Mays Landing, N.J. | Oakcrest High School | Ht: 6-1 | Wt: 222
Brandon Bell will bring depth to the Nittany Lion linebacker corps and could help contribute very early on special teams. Bell is a 6-2, 215-pound linebacker, who was also very productive at running back at Oakcrest High School in New Jersey. Bell was tabbed a three-star recruit and is ranked among the top 20 linebackers in the 2013 class nationally. The Mays Landing, N.J. native recorded 124 total tackles during his senior season, along with one sack, three forced fumbles, and one interception. Bell was a First Team Cape Atlantic League Linebacker, First Team All-Atlantic City Press Linebacker, and Second Team All-South Jersey Linebacker. Bell along with three other Penn State commits played in the Chesapeake Bowl. During his junior year, Bell had 117 tackles and six sacks. Bell recorded 22 tackles for loss and three fumble recoveries while also rushing for 429 yards and five touchdowns on offense.

Adam Breneman
TE | Camp Hill, Pa. | Cedar Cliff High School | Ht: 6-4 | Wt: 230
Rated among the nation’s top tight ends, Camp Hill, Pa., native Adam Breneman brings a versatile skill set to the Nittany Lion program. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Breneman possesses great speed and quickness for a player his size. A crisp route runner with good hands, the Cedar Cliff High School standout has the tools to line up in a variety of locations on offense. Breneman’s traits will fit nicely into the Bill O’Brien tight end-friendly offensive scheme. Rated a five-star prospect by Rivals, Breneman caught 72 passes for 1,120 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior. As a sophomore, Breneman made 60 receptions for 863 yards and eight touchdowns. Off the field, Breneman played an instrumental role in a fundraising effort, “Catch the Cure”, which helped raise more than $80,000 for Project A.L.S. Breneman is one of five Nittany Lions already enrolled in classes. He was elected an officer of Penn State’s Uplifting Athletes chapter last month.

Curtis Cothran
DE | Newtown, Pa. | Council Rock High School North | Ht: 6-5 | Wt: 235
Curtis Conthran, a 6-5, 230-pound defensive end brings great size and upside to the defensive line of the Nittany Lions. The Newtown, Pa. native made 35 tackles and eight sacks as a senior at Council Rock North High School. Cothran, who was rated a three-star recruit according to Scout.com, Rivals.com, and 247sports.com, was rated AP Class AAAA First Team All-State, Pennsylvania Football News First Team All-State and First Team All-Bucks County Courier Times ALL Golden
Team. Cothran is one of four Penn State signees who played in the Chesapeake Bowl.

Parker Cothren
DT | Hazel Green, Ala. | Hazel Green High School | Ht: 6-5 | Wt: 265
Parker Cothren will look to add depth to the interior of the defensive line following the departures of seniors Jordan Hill and James Terry. Hailing from Hazel Green, Ala., Cothren has good size at 6-5, 265-pounds to evolve into a contributor for defensive line coach Larry Johnson. A three-star prospect according to Rivals.com and Scout.com, Cothren is a skilled athlete with the tools to add depth to the Nittany Lion offensive line. During his senior season, Cothren recorded 22 tackles with six and a half tackles for loss. Cothren was also a very versatile player, playing defensive end, defensive tackle and offensive tackle for Hazel Green High School.

Tyler Ferguson
QB | Bakersfield, Calif. | College of the Sequoias | Ht: 6-3 | Wt: 199
A standout quarterback at The College of the Sequoias in Visalia, Calif., quarterback Tyler Ferguson enters the spring semester with three years of eligibility at Penn State. Ferguson, who threw for 2,614 yards and 22 touchdowns in 10 games during 2012, is a 6-3, 199-pound signal-caller. He completed better than 55 percent of his passes and was the second-leading passer in the CCCAA’s Central Valley Conference. The Bakersfield, Calif., product threw for 1,275 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior at Ridgeview High School. He fueled a 6-0 start during his senior season in 2011 before suffering a broken collarbone. Ferguson is an accurate passer with good pocket awareness and the ability to tuck the ball and run when he needs to. Ferguson is one of five Nittany Lions already enrolled in classes.

Kasey Gaines
DB | Loganville, Ga. | Grayson High School | Ht: 5-10 | Wt: 160
Loganville, Ga. native Kasey Gaines will look to add some depth to the secondary and special teams unit when he arrives on campus. During his junior year at Grayson High School, Gaines had 93 tackles along with five interceptions during a season where he helped lead Grayson to the Georgia 5A state title. The defensive back earned First Team All-State honors during the 2011 campaign. Gaines was also named 2011 All-Metro Defensive Player of the Year. Gaines brings a high football IQ and good ball skills to the Nittany Lion program.

Christian Hackenberg
QB | Palmyra, Va. | Fork Union Military Academy | Ht: 6-3 | Wt: 215
Rated among the nation’s top incoming quarterbacks, Christian Hackenberg brings outstanding size and a superb skill set to the Bill O’Brien-led offense. A 2013 Under Armour All-American Game selection, Hackenberg has superb arm strength and mobility to play an instrumental role in leading the Penn State offense. A standout at Fork Union Military Academy, Hackenberg led his prep school to a state title as a sophomore. The Division 1 first-team VISAA All-State quarterback, threw for 2,144 yards and 24 touchdowns in 2012. Additionally, Hackenberg rushed for 436 yards and three scores on the ground. He was invited to “The Opening”, an all-star summer prospect camp held on the Nike Campus. Additionally, Hackenberg was a 2012 Elite 11 Finalist. The Virginia native is a skilled athlete with a high football IQ. Hackenberg has a quick release and all the tools necessary to be a prototypical passing quarterback for the Nittany Lions.

DaeSean Hamilton
WR | Fredericksburg, Va. | Mountain View High | Ht: 6-1 | Wt: 182
Receiver DaeSean Hamilton will add depth to the talented Nittany Lion receiver corps. The 6-foot-1, 182 pound Hamilton is known for his quickness and consistent hands. As a senior at Mountain View High, Hamilton caught 64 passes for 1,073 yards and 10 touchdowns. As a junior, he caught 73 passes for 1,200 yards and 13 touchdowns. The versatile Hamilton also contributed as a safety in high school. Hamilton was rated a three-star prospect by both Scout and Rivals.

Tanner Hartman
G | Lynchburg, Va. | Lynchburg Christian Academy | Ht: 6-5 | Wt: 255
Guard Tanner Hartman brings good size and tenacity to the Nittany Lion offensive line. The 6-foot- 5, 255-pound Hartman played on both sides of the line at Liberty Christian Academy, but will look to contribute and provide depth on the Bill O’Brien-led offense. Hartman, who participated in the Chesapeake Bowl, played prep ball for former Penn State quarterback Frank Rocco. He earned first- team All-State (VISAA) honors as an offensive lineman during his senior season. Hartman is the son of Tom Hartman, a standout lineman at Virginia Tech. The Lynchburg, Va., native played against fellow signee Christian Hackenberg in a game during his senior season.

Zayd Issah
LB | Harrisburg, Pa. | Central Dauphin Senior High School | Ht: 6-3 | Wt: 215
Linebacker Zayd Issah will provide depth to the linebacking corps and will likely have an opportunity to contribute on special teams. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Issah is a versatile player, who contributed at multiple positions across the offense at Central Dauphin. Issah is a three-time all-state selection, and he earned Pennsylvania Class AAAA Co-Player of the Year as a junior. He registered 123 tackles and 14 sacks as a junior. Issah also had a big impact on the offensive end, rushing for 1,345 yards and 21 touchdowns while also catching 29 passes for 672 yards and 10 touchdowns. Issah also rushed for 1,653 yards and 26 touchdowns as a sophomore. A talented athlete with good size and speed, Issah will make an impact on the Penn State defense.

Brendan Mahon
G | Randolph, N.J. | Randolph High School | Ht: 6-4 | Wt: 315
Offensive guard Brendan Mahon will provide immediate depth to the offensive line. The 6-foot-4, 315-pound lineman brings terrific size to the Nittany Lion offense and is regarded for his sound technique. Mahon joined Garrett Sickels as one of two future Nittany Lions that participated in the U.S. Army All-American game, and he was a captain on the East squad. The Randolph, N.J. native was named second team all-state as a lineman. Mahon was rated a four-star prospect and the third- best guard in the nation by Rivals. The New Jersey Star-Ledger tabbed Mahon as the top offensive lineman in New Jersey.

Andrew Nelson
OT | Hershey, Pa. | Hershey High School | Ht: 6-5 | Wt: 295
A true offensive tackle, Andrew Nelson is highly regarded for his aggressiveness and quickness on the offensive line. The 6-foot-5, 263 pound lineman from Hershey High School will have an opportunity to add depth on a Nittany Lion offensive line that graduated two senior starters. Nelson competed in the Chesapeake Bowl and earned an invitation to the Big 33 Classic. The Hershey native was also named a third-team all-state selection for his efforts during his senior season. Nelson was rated a three-star prospect by Rivals.

Neiko Robinson
DB | Flomaton, Ala. | Northview High School | Ht: 5-11 | Wt: 170
Defensive back Neiko Robinson will look to have an impact in the Penn State secondary and on special teams when camp opens in the fall. The Flomaton, Ala. native is a smart and aggressive player. He is also versatile in the secondary, being able to play both cornerback and safety. As a junior at Flomaton High School, he was a first-team all-state selection. He transferred to Northview High School in Florida for his senior year. He finished his senior campaign with 95 tackles and seven interceptions, three of which he returned for touchdowns. Robinson was named first-team all-state after leading Northview to its first state championship in school history (Class A Florida state title). The three-star prospect is one of two signees in the class from Alabama, joining defensive tackle Parker Cothren.

Garrett Sickels
DE | Little Silver, N.J. | Red Bank Regional High School | Ht: 6-4 | Wt: 238
Defensive end Garrett Sickels has the tools to potential join a long list of successful Penn State defensive ends. The U.S. Army All-American comes to Penn State from Little Silver, N.J. Standing at 6-foot-4, 238-pounds, Sickels racked up 25 career sacks at Red Bank Regional High School. With Sean Stanley and Pete Massaro graduating, Sickels will look to provide some needed depth at the end position. Rated a four-star prospect by both Scout and Rivals, Sickels picked up nine sacks in his senior season. As a junior, Sickels recorded 76 tackles, nine hits for loss, 10 sacks, and forced three fumbles. Sickels is a talented player who will bring speed and power to the defensive line.

Anthony Smith
DB | Randolph, N.J. | Valley Forge Military Academy | Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 184
Defensive back Anthony Smith will likely have an opportunity to make an early impact during spring drills in the Penn State secondary and on special teams. A 6-foot, 184-pound defensive back hailing from Randolph, N.J., Smith spent last season at Valley Forge Military Academy. In addition to playing in the defensive backfield, Smith spent time at quarterback and was the long snapper for Valley Forge in 2012. He earned second-team All-West Jersey honors during his final season at Pope John XXIII High School (Sussex County, N.J.) in 2011. Smith is an aggressive player with the size and speed to add depth in the Penn State secondary and special teams unit when spring drills begin in March. Smith is one of five Nittany Lions already enrolled in classes.

Jordan Smith
DB | Washington, D.C. | H.D. Woodson High School | Ht: 5-11 | Wt: 178
Penn State has had a long line of talented players from suburban Washington, D.C., and 5-foot- 11, 178-pound defensive back Jordan Smith will look to join that list for the Nittany Lions. Smith is an aggressive athlete with the skill set to play in a number of different spots in the secondary. Like Anthony Smith, Jordan Smith will likely have an opportunity to add depth and make an early impact in the secondary and on special teams during spring drills. Smith tallied two-straight 60-plus tackle seasons at Archbishop Carroll High School before moving to H.D. Woodson High School in Washington, D.C. Smith has known former Penn State cornerback Stephon Morris since they were young children. Smith’s older brother, Stephen, played high school football with former Nittany Lion great Derrick Williams at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Maryland. Smith is one of five Nittany Lions already enrolled in classes.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Articles, Big Ten Conference, Penn State Nittany Lions
yo

Michigan AD admits lack of communication regarding Shane Morris concussion, but statement raises more questions

Brady Hoke, Devin Gardner, Shane Morris

Michigan’s lack of communication on the sideline led to the mishandling of a head injury to quarterback Shane Morris on Saturday. As it turns out, Morris did suffer a concussion to go with a high ankle sprain. Michigan athletics director Dave Brandon says he has been thoroughly reviewing the situation the past few days and admits to a “serious lack of communication that led to confusion on the sideline.”

“Unfortunately, this confusion created a circumstance that was not in the best interest of one of our student-athletes,” Brandon said in the Michigan statement released overnight. “I sincerely apologize for the mistakes that were made. We have to learn from this situation, and moving forward, we will make important changes so we can fully live up to our shared goal of putting student-athlete safety first.”

Morris was on the receiving end of a big hit from Minnesota defensive end Theiren Cockran. The hit appeared to leave Morris wobbly, but the quarterback appeared to wave off trainers for assistance and remained on the field. During his Monday press conference, Michigan head coach Brady Hoke suggested that “tells you something” about the competitive nature of the player. Hoke said he did not see the hit and believed Morris was playing through pain in his ankle, which was injured earlier in the game. He was cleared to play through the ankle injury by medical staff at the time. The statement from Michigan released overnight states nobody on the Michigan sideline saw the hit to Morris, which led to the lack of response for care for possible head trauma.

“We now understand that, despite having the right people on the sidelines assessing our student-athletes’ well being, the systems we had in place were inadequate to handle this unique and complex situation properly,” Brandon said. “From the field level and without the benefit of replays, medical and coaching staffs did not see the hit. Because they did not see the hit, the athletic training staff believed Shane stumbled because of his ankle injury.”

Brandon said a team neurologist did not see the hit on Morris but did not notice the stumbling on the field. He determined Morris needed to be evaluated but because he did not see the hit he was unaware of the severity of the possible injury. Because he did not see the hit, the neurologist cleared Morris to return to the field after just one play, which is what led to the whole mess blowing up in Michigan’s face the past few days.

Michigan’s statement does have some clarity and does explain how something like this could happen. If legit, it also raises some more questions. How did Brady Hoke not become aware of any of this internal reviewing when he went out for his Monday press conference? During his press conference on Monday Hoke said if not for the high ankle injury, Morris would have practiced with the team Sunday night. According to the Michigan statement, Morris was diagnosed with a mild concussion on Sunday. Did Hoke know that? If not, then why not? Hoke is still responsible for the actions of the football staff, including to a certain degree the medical staff. This does not clear Hoke entirely from guilt, but if we are to take this Michigan statement as the full and accurate explanation for what unfolded, Michigan left Hoke out to dry.

You can read the full statement from Brandon on Michigan’s website.

Permalink 2 Comments Back to top

Unauthorized selfies lead to Todd Gurley being falsely accused of punching Georgia student

Todd Gurley

At 3:18 a.m. Sunday morning, a 20-year-old Georgia student stood in his apartment and told police he had been punched by Bulldogs running back Todd Gurley. Police, however, had reviewed footage from Bourbon Street Bar and Grill and told the student that was impossible, because the person who punched him was white.

Strange as that is, it is not the strangest part of this story.

According to the Athens Banner-Herald, the whole thing started when the student began taking unauthorized selfies with Gurley in the background. The student then began getting pushed by what Gurley described as “other guys”, and the student lost his hat in the process. Gurley reached down to retrieve it, and the student repaid that kindness by tossing a racial epithet his way.

It was then that the unidentified white male punched the student, who was then ejected from the bar.

The Banner-Herald‘s report then offers this glorious sentence: “The student admitted he’d had been drinking that night, but contended he was not drunk, according to police.”

After an interview with police, Gurley has officially been cleared of all wrongdoing.

“In consideration of all the information, to include statements and video recordings from the incident location, Todd Gurley’s involvement in this report is unfounded,” the detective wrote in a supplemental report. “Based also on the information … I was able to see clearly that Todd Gurley had no involvement in this case other than trying to give an individual his hat back.”

Earlier that day, Gurley had rushed 28 times for a career-high 208 yards and two touchdowns while also catching four passes for 30 yards in Georgia’s 35-32 win over Tennessee, so he presumably followed up his early-morning altercation with some well-earned sleep.

Permalink 10 Comments Back to top

Hey Kansas, Ed Orgeron wants to be your next head coach

Ed Orgeron

Kansas is without a head coach. College football’s favorite coaching free agent, former USC defensive line coach-turned-interim head coach Ed Orgeron, is without a job.

Let’s make it happen, Jayhawks.

“It’s a Power Five (job),” Orgeron told George Schroeder of USA Today at a speaking engagement Monday in Little Rock, Ark. “(Mark) Mangino went 12-1 and went to the Orange Bowl. It’s in a great conference. His staff proved that you can do it.”

When asked if he really wanted to be Kansas’ fourth head coach seven years, Orgeron was undeterred.

“It’s a challenging job,” he said. “But most jobs you get, there’s gonna be some things you’re gonna have to fix.”

The popular longtime assistant holds a 16-27 career record as a head coach – 10-25 at Ole Miss from 2005-07, and 6-2 on an interim basis at USC last season. He believes the second job is more indicative of his ability as a head coach than the first. “I believe I put my résumé out on the TV those last eight games,” Orgeron said. “They know who I am and what I’ve done.”

Orgeron credits his success at USC with loosening the atmosphere inside Heritage Hall following Lane Kiffin’s ouster, famously putting cookies on the training table and pitting position groups against each other in tug of war. “Play with energy. Have fun. Loosen up,” Oregon said.

Kansas still has eight games to play before it can officially bring in a new coach, but Orgeron has nothing but time on his hands to watch football. He’ll be watching, and he’ll be ready.

Permalink 4 Comments Back to top

Former UCF DC Paul Ferraro accuses George O’Leary of racist remarks in wrongful termination suit

St. Louis Rams 2009 Headshots

Paul Ferraro worked under George O’Leary as Central Florida’s defensive coordinator for approximately two months this winter. According to a lawsuit Ferraro filed on Friday, those had to be the worst two months of his three-decade career.

Hired in late December and gone by early March, Ferraro is accusing O’Leary of racist remarks and creating a work environment “permeated by bullying, threatening behavior, and repeated discriminatory epithets.” He accuses O’Leary of referring to the NFL as “one big ‘Ru-Ru’ tribe” and encouraging his assistants to “make sure (African-American players’) gums are blue, because they are bigger and stronger than (African-American players) with red gums,” according to a copy of the suit obtained by USA Today.

“No longer will I put up with your constant verbal abuse of both our coaching and support staff,” Ferraro emailed to O’Leary while copying the coaching staff. “Threatening coaches on a regular basis with their jobs and racial slurs mixed in to make a point is wrong.”

For its part, UCF is denying everything.

“UCF immediately investigated the allegations Mr. Ferraro made when he abruptly abandoned his job,” UCF vice president of communications and marketing Grant Heston emailed USA Today. “The university’s Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action office found the allegations to be untrue.

“None of the individuals alleged to have been the subject of, or to have overheard, these supposed statements corroborated Mr. Ferraro’s claims. In fact, until seeking compensation after abandoning his job, it does not appear he ever discussed this with anyone at UCF.”

Translation: “This dude is making the entire thing up.”

Of course, the basis for all of this is money. The school claims Ferraro resigned, and Ferraro claims he was fired without cause. He thinks he is owed $15,000 in salary on the two-year, $440,000 contract he signed. UCF maintains it has paid Ferraro what he is owed.

Ferraro was hired away from Maine in late December, just days before UCF’s win over Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl, and left the staff on March 5. He returned to the Maine staff as defensive coordinator on March 29.

Ferraro claims he because he “wanted to return to work in an environment free from O’Leary’s bullish and discriminatory tactics and that he did not and was not resigning.”

And around and around we go.

This is the type of suit that had better be true, otherwise Ferraro has damned his former boss to a lifetime of search returns pairing “O’Leary” with “racist”, all in the name of a money grab. In the always-online culture we live in, that’s (allegedly) one of the sorriest stunts a person can pull.

Permalink 13 Comments Back to top

Kentucky suspends four players for airsoft gun incident, police action pending

Ohio v Kentucky

Well, this got out of hand.

Kentucky has suspended four freshmen – wide receiver Dorian Baker, running back Stanley “Boom” Williams, quarterback Drew Barker, and defensive end Tymere Dubose – for a Sunday evening airsoft pellet gun incident that ended with Lexington police shutting down campus.

“Proper conduct is emphasized as a core value of our program,” head coach Mark Stoops said in a statement. “If we have a situation in which someone who does not act according to our standards, we hold him accountable.”

This story doesn’t end there, though. The chief of the University of Kentucky police department will meet with the Fayette County Attorney’s office Tuesday to “determine what next steps need to be taken” according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Police were called around 9:30 Sunday night to a residence complex on the south end of campus, near the football facilities, after fielding calls about possible shots being fired. UK and Lexington police searched the area for two hours and recovered three airsoft guns.

“We absolutely respect being part of a wonderful campus community,” added AD Mitch Barnhart. “It disappoints us when one of our student-athletes does not live up to our expectations. We respect the process of the University and are working hand-in-hand with the campus community on this issue.”

Williams has produced 174 yards and two touchdowns on 21 touches from scrimmage, and Baker has collected 11 receptions for 122 yards and a touchdown. Barker and Dubose are expected to redshirt.

All four will miss Kentucky’s date with South Carolina on Saturday. With the amount of eye rolling and hand wringing a suspension like this is sure to inspire, you half expect Saturday’s official roster to list these four as “Suspended: SMH.”

Permalink 3 Comments Back to top

John Harbaugh speaks, wants Brady Hoke to remain Michigan’s head coach

John Harbaugh

Straight from the desk of the “What would you expect him to say?” department, active Baltimore Ravens coach and Michigan alum John Harbaugh denied having any interest held by active Michigan head coach Brady Hoke. A report emerged Monday morning saying the same thing, but now we have the quote straight from the horse’s mouth.

Harbaugh told the Baltimore Sun that he “really didn’t know why” speculation linked he and his brother Jim to the job, which, c’mon coach, you can’t play that dumb. But he did speak for his brother in stating that they both hoped Hoke turned things around and finished the year successfully.

“Brady Hoke is a guy that we all believe in. The Harbaughs believe in Brady Hoke. He’s a great coach. He believes in Michigan. I believe in what they’re doing there. I think they’re going to get it turned around,” he told the paper. “The team should be galvanized right now. They should be like lions. I’m interested in Brady Hoke being the coach at Michigan for a long time coming.”

Coaches aren’t fond of displaying interest in other coaches’ jobs, especially before the calendar even hits October, and especially when that coach is speaking about a school where his father worked, his brother played, and he spent his high school years going to school nearby. Add in the fact that Harbaugh and Hoke worked together at Western Michigan from 1984-86 and describe themselves as friends and there was no way Harbaugh was going to provide anything other than a flat refusal.

And then, of course, there is the likely option that Harbaugh is telling the unvarnished truth. He’s entrenched into a job that pays him $6.5 million through 2017, is fresh off a recent Super Bowl victory, and is off to a 3-1 start this season. He has plenty of reasons to stay right where he is and watch the maize and blue bonfire that is the current state of Michigan football from afar.

Permalink 13 Comments Back to top

Yale receives national honor for overtime defeat of Army

The best game you didn’t see on Saturday took place in New Haven, Conn.

Yale defeated Army, 49-43 in overtime, at the Yale Bowl, giving the Bulldogs a 2-0 start to the season and their first victory over the Black Knights since 1955. With the win, Yale was honored as the Football Writers Association of America’s “National Team of the Week” award on Monday.

“For the second week in a row, it wasn’t pretty, but the perseverance of these guys came through,” said Yale head coach Tony Reno. “We continue to follow the process, taking it one play at a time. This is an incredible group of young men that has limitless potential.”

The Bulldogs and Black Knights combined for 1,222 yards of total offense and 7.18 yards per play on  170 total snaps. Quarterbacks Angel Santiago (6-of-8 passing for 117 yards, eight rushes for 88 yards and two touchdowns) and A.J. Schurr (6-of-12 passing for 94 yards and a score, 15 rushes for 135 yards and another touchdown) paved the way for Army, while Yale quarterback Morgan Roberts threw for 290 yards and a touchdown with an interception while adding 67 yards and a touchdown on the ground, and running back Tyler Varga rushed 28 times for 185 yards and a school-record-tying five touchdowns.

Army took a 28-14 lead just 88 seconds into the second half after Jeremy Timpf returned an interception 45 yards for a touchdown, but the Bulldogs battled back to tie the game at 36-36 and again at 43-43 on Varga’s third and fourth scoring dashes.

After a missed field goal in the top of the first overtime by Army kicker Daniel Grochowski, Varga’s fifth touchdown, a three-yard plunge, gave Yale the win – and the Ivy League’s first win over an FBS opponent since Penn topped Navy 30-26 in 1986.

Permalink 1 Comment Back to top

Jimbo Fisher: FSU did not fake injuries vs. NC State

Jimbo Fisher, Dave Doeren

Florida State was given a good scare by North Carolina on Saturday, but the Seminoles managed to respond and get out of town with another victory to keep their unbeaten streak alive. North Carolina State head coach Seminoles managed to respond and get out of town with another victory to keep their unbeaten streak alive. North Carolina State head coach Dave Doeren accused Florida State of faking injuries in Saturday’s game in Raleigh.

“The tempo we had (in the first quarter) was working until all the crazy fall down things were going on and the clock kept stopping,” Doeren said, according to The Rocky Mountain Telegram. “You know the refs can’t do anything about that, but it’s horrible the way the tempo gets slow downed by these injuries. We went fast in the first-quarter, I guess there were no fake injuries.”

On Monday, Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher fired back.

“I accuse him of not knowing what he’s talking about,” Fisher said Monday, according to The Orlando Sentinel. “We did not fake injuries, no one fakes injuries. We’ll coach Florida State, he can coach North Carolina State.”

NC State ran 87 plays (50 pass plays, 37 rushing attempts) against Florida State and controlled the football for nearly 32 and a half minutes. Florida State ran 71 plays on offense.

The topic of teams faking injuries is nothing new in college football, but it is not often you see one of the top-ranked teams in the country be on the receiving end of such criticism. Doeren is probably misguided in thinking Florida State felt a need to stoop to that level, given the overall athleticism of the roster on both sides of the football.

Permalink 10 Comments Back to top

Report: Oklahoma transfer QB Mayfield’s appeal denied

Baker Mayfield

Quarterback Baker Mayfield will not play this season for Oklahoma after having an appeal for immediate eligibility denied. According to a report by The Oklahoman, the Texas Tech transfer had his appeal denied by the NCAA and Big 12.

Per the report by The Oklahoman, Big 12 transfer rules for players moving from one Big 12 school to the other will actually cost Mayfield a year of eligibility despite his status as a walk-on player at both Texas Tech and Oklahoma. Mayfield transferred from Texas Tech after being informed by head coach Kliff Kingsbury the Red Raiders would be going in a different direction at quarterback this fall.

There was some confusion last week regarding Mayfield’s transfer status. One report suggested Mayfield’s appeal had been approved, which would make him eligible to play for Oklahoma this season (assuming there was a need; Trevor Knight is clearly the team’s quarterback in Norman).Trevor Knight is clearly the team’s quarterback in Norman). There was also talk of Mayfield being able to retain a year of eligibility, but the latest now seems to suggest those talks did not pan out as Oklahoma and Mayfield would have hoped.

This latest news is adding more fuel to the fire regarding the transfer rules. Should schools be allowed to prevent a player from moving to another school, regardless of conference affiliation? Should conferences be allowed to force a player to lose a year of eligibility under these situations?

Permalink 5 Comments Back to top

LSU names Brandon Harris starting QB vs. Auburn

New Mexico State v LSU

In a blowout win against New Mexico State, LSU quarterback Brandon Harris appeared to show some promise as LSU’s quarterback. He will be put to the test this weekend in a night game against the defending SEC champions. LSU head coach Les Miles named Harris LSU’s starting quarterback for this weekend’s road game at Auburn, a primetime match-up in the vaunted SEC West.

Harris completed 11 of 14 pass attempts for 178 yards and three touchdowns in LSU’s 63-7 against New Mexico State. He also rushed for 36 yards and two more touchdowns. This performance came a week after coming in against Mississippi State and generating some offense, completing six of nine pass attempts for 140 yards and two touchdowns. Harris may have entered the game too late for LSU to avoid a home upset by the visiting Bulldogs, but Miles will hope having Harris on the field from the start in another crucial SEC West battle will give his team the bets chance to win.

Anthony Jennings started the season for LSU and he has struggled along the way to find any consistency. Against Wisconsin in week one, Jennings was 9-of-21 for 239 yards and two touchdowns. Against Mississippi State, Jennings was 13-of-26 for 157 yards without a touchdown. He will now take on a back-up role for the Tigers.

Permalink 6 Comments Back to top

USF adds 3 games with Texas and BYU home-and-home

South Florida v Wisconsin Getty Images

The USF Bulls have been busy putting together some future opponents. USF has added a three-game series with Texas and a home-and-home series with BYU to fill some dates between 2019 and 2024.

As originally reported by Brett McMuprhy of ESPN, via Twitter, USF and BYU will play their home-and-home series in 2021 and 2022, although which school hosts which year was not confirmed. As of now, BYU already has two home games scheduled in 2021, against Arizona State and Boise State. The Cougars are set to visit USC as well. BYU only has two games scheduled for 2022, with road games at Boise State and Stanford.

USF will make two trips to Texas as part of the three-game package deal. The Bulls will visit Austin in 2019 and 2024. Texas will make the trip to Tampa in 2022. This will mark the first games between the two schools, unless they happen to collide in a postseason game between now and 2019. Texas has never played a game in Tampa. The last time the Longhorns played a game in the state of Florida was in 2007, a regular season game at UCF.

Texas is 4-2 all-time in games played in Florida. The only regular season loss came in a 1973 meeting at Miami, but the Longhorns also left Florida with a loss in the 1974 Gator Bowl (to Auburn). Two of the wins came in the Orange Bowl, in 1965 against Alabama and in 1949, against Georgia.

This game offers both schools a chance to expand on the recruiting trail. USF obviously should benefit from being in the state of Florida, but another reason to make a connection in Texas (along with conference rivals in Houston and SMU) is always a good thing. Texas also gets a chance to make a pitch to Florida prospects. Both states are rich with football talent, and both programs are in need of all the talent they can find.

Permalink 0 Comments Back to top

Brady Hoke goes on the defensive in Monday presser

Brady Hoke

Michigan held its regularly scheduled weekly press conference Monday, and it saw head coach Brady Hoke on defense from the start. Like much of Michigan’s performance on the field, Hoke’s defense was shaky.

Facing multiple questions regarding the handling of quarterback Shane Morris during Saturday’s loss to Minnesota, Hoke constantly referred directions to a statement that will be presented by the Michigan medical staff later on. As far as Hoke was concerned, Morris suffered a high ankle sprain and was not ruled out by his medical staff.

“I don’t make decisions on who does or doesn’t play when there are injuries,” Hoke said. Just like that, Hoke tried to deflect any negative reaction to the handling of Morris off on the medical staff at Michigan.

On multiple occasions, Hoke said he trusted his medical staff and claimed they had never let him down at any point the last three years. Hoke also stood firm on the ankle sprain injury to Morris being the only reason he was taken out. Asked about video showing Morris wobbly on the field, Hoke said it was his quarterback’s ankle that was giving out on him and not a head trauma concern.

According to Hoke, Morris waving off trainers on the field “tells you something,” about Morris and his mentality. Hoke took that motion as a sign Morris was able top play through pain. The video tends to speak volumes and paint a different picture, but Hoke stood firm on the ankle injury. Hoke even said Morris would have practiced last night if not for the ankle injury.

Asked if he had spoken about his job performance or the Morris injury with Michigan Athletics Director Dave Brandon, Hoke said “No.” Hoke was also asked if he would wear a headset moving forward. “No,” was his response.

Hoke attempted to shift the focus to Michigan’s next opponent, Rutgers, but each question posed to him during the Monday press conference was related to his handling of the team’s injuries, specifically Morris.

Permalink 23 Comments Back to top

Report connects Mack Brown to SMU opening

Mack Brown

SMU has a coaching vacancy. Mack Brown is a former college football coach. Could the two be… nah. Wait, really?

June Jones resigned as head coach at SMU just weeks into the season, and the search for a new head coach with the ability to build a program is on for the Mustangs. Among the potential names on the list for SMU could possibly be the former head coach of the Texas Longhorns, Brown. Bruce Feldman of FOXSports.com reports “some well-connected SMU brass are intrigued” about the possibility of luring Brown back to the sidelines.

Of course they would be intrigued about the possibility. Brown brings name recognition to the program and a certain level of respectability to go with it. Brown’s tenure at Texas may have ended on a downslope, but there is nowhere to go but up for the SMU program right now. Brown did not appear to want to resign from coaching at Texas but he eventually stepped aside in Austin to make way for a new leader (which turned out to be Charlie Strong). Brown, now a studio analyst for ESPN, may have some coaching left in him at the age of 63, but would he really be the right candidate for SMU?

Brown’s age likely plays against him for what SMU needs. SMU is in need of a younger coach with a vision to build a program from the ground up. For Brown, the idea of taking on a complete project from the start at his age may not be the most desirable. Larry Coker took on a building project at UTSA at a similar age, so it is not unprecedented. Coker’s Roadrunners have come along nicely as a brand new football program. SMU is far from a brand new program, but it is locked at the bottom of the FBS college football world.

SMU could do worse than Brown, but this seems like more of a hypothetical discussion more than one that will become a reality for SMU.

Permalink 7 Comments Back to top

Has Ole Miss been better than Alabama? Cody Prewitt thinks so

Boise State v Mississippi Getty Images

Ole Miss is gearing up for one of the biggest game sin the grove in a long time. Alabama, now the top-ranked team in the coaches poll, is heading to town this weekend for one of the SEC West triple-threat matches this weekend. The Rebels have been a fascinating program to watch build and grow under the leadership of head coach Hugh Freeze, but the Rebels are still a program looking for a signature win. It could come this weekend with a win over Alabama. Ole Miss defensive back Cody Prewitt is nothing short of confident in his team’s chances against Alabama. In fact, he thinks Ole Miss has already put together a better season than the Crimson Tide.

“We understand that we haven’t played a team that’s going to be as good as Bama,” Prewitt said, according to FOX Sports. “But we don’t really think Bama is as good as they have been. And we’re better than we have been. We’re looking forward to getting to the game plan and really nailing down all the tweaks and stuff that we’re going to have to put into Bama.”

To recap, Alabama started the year with a victory in Atlanta over a West Virginia team that may be heading to a bowl game this season. That was followed by home wins over Southern Mississippi and Florida Atlantic. The Crimson Tide also opened SEC play with a home win over Florida. Ole Miss also opened the season with a win in Atlanta, over Boise State. The Rebels then opened SEC play with a 41-3 win at Vanderbilt and home wins against Louisiana-Lafayette and Memphis. The Rebels have allowed just 8.5 points per game.

Alabama vs. Ole Miss is just one part of a terrific Saturday line-up of SEC West battles.  No. 5 Auburn is hosting No. 15 LSU and No. 12 Mississippi State is hosting No. 6 Texas A&M. This weekend could easily separate the contenders from the pretenders. Let the war of words begin.

Permalink 15 Comments Back to top

Report: Ravens coach John Harbaugh not interested in Michigan job

John Harbaugh AP

Brady Hoke, as of this moment, is still Michigan’s coach. The Shane Morris fiasco and a season quickly becoming an embarrassing quagmire could change that at some point in the next few months.

Barring some out-of-nowhere turnaround, Michigan probably will be looking for a new coach after the season. San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh has had his name thrown around in rumors already, but NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reported Sunday Michigan may actually be more interested in the other Harbaugh brother.

The Baltimore Sun, though, reported Monday John Harbaugh isn’t expected to go after the Michigan job. For one, Harbaugh is good friends with Hoke and two, the Sun reports he’s content in Baltimore despite some reported friction with the organization over the handling of Ray Rice.

Either Harbaugh would be a dream hire for Michigan, as grew up in Ann Arbor and Jim was a quarterback for the Wolverines from 1983-1986. But since Hoke hasn’t been fired yet, it’s technically not a vacant position — so maybe things will change when the position does come open.

Permalink 5 Comments Back to top