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Bill O’Brien to fill lone hole in Penn State staff

Anthony Midget

When Ted Roof decided to leave Penn State for Georgia Tech last month, Bill O’Brien not only lost his defensive coordinator but a position coach as well as John Butler was promoted from within to replace Roof.

While O’Brien has yet to confirm it, that coaching hole has been filled as multiple media outlets report that Anthony Midget will take over as defensive backs coach.  Midget comes to Penn State from Marshall, whose head coach confirmed that Midget was leaving for the Big Ten school.

We hire good coaches,” Doc Holliday told the Charleston Daily Mail Wednesday of Midget’s departure. “It’s a compliment to us. We hire great people and we’ll hire another great coach.”

Midget was hired by Holliday just 10 days ago as a defensive assistant.

Midget, an All-American defensive back at Virginia Tech in the late-nineties, had been at Georgia State since 2008.  He first served as secondary coach and special teams coordinator before being promoted to defensive coordinator for the 2012 season.

(Photo credit: Georgia State athletics)

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Dennis Erickson interviews with Utah

Erickson Albany High Football AP

The last time Dennis Erickson was on a college football sideline, it was as Arizona State’s coach in a Las Vegas Bowl loss to Boise State. But he could be back in the coaching ranks in the not-too-distant future.

Erickson confirmed to the Salt Lake Tribune that he recently interviewed for an assistant coaching job at Utah under Kyle Whittingham.

I enjoyed it,” Erickson told the paper. “They have good people there and a good staff; obviously Kyle has a good staff there so we will see.”

The former head coach said no offer was made, and exactly what role he would fill isn’t clear yet. Former Utes quarterback Brian Johnson was promoted to the team’s offensive coordinator last year after Norm Chow left to become the head coach of Hawaii, but Whittingham could shuffle coaches around to make room for Erickson.

For what it’s worth, the Utes had the 75th-best scoring offense, 93rd best rushing offense and 100th-best passing offense during last year’s 5-7 season. Erickson is considered one of the best coaches of the spread offense.

Erickson has college coaching experience at places like Idaho, Washington State, Oregon State and Miami. He also held two brief NFL jobs with the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers. He’s been out of coaching for a year, but interested in getting back into the game.

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Rutgers loses defensive coordinator to the NFL

Robb Smith

While an SEC school awaits word on whether it will lose its defensive coordinator to the NFL, a school from the Big East has officially learned they have indeed lost theirs to the pro ranks.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced Thursday the hiring of five new assistant coaches, including Robb Smith as linebackers coach.  Smith had spent the past four seasons at Rutgers, including last year as defensive coordinator.

Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano, of course, left Rutgers last year for the NFL.

Second-year Scarlet Knights head coach Kyle Flood is now on the hunt for two coordinators.  Last month, offensive coordinator Dave Brock was named as the head coach at Delaware.

As for potential replacements, the Newark Star-Ledger reports that Flood “is zeroing in on former Kansas State head coach Ron Prince as his new offensive coordinator.”  Dave Cohen, already on staff as linebackers coach, could be in line for a promotion to defensive coordinator, the paper added.

(Photo credit: Rutgers athletics)

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Gators CB busted for pot possession

Loucheiz Purifoy AP

I know, I know. A player busted for weed in the offseason. What’s new, right?

Per 247Sports, Florida cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy is the latest athlete to get caught with the stuff. He was was arrested and charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession on Sunday. According to the Gainesville Police Department, Purifoy was a passenger in a vehicle stopped for a right-of-way violation. Once pulled over, one passenger attempted to throw a cigarette out the window and the officer identified “a baggie containing 2.5 grams of cannabis” near the car’s emergency brake.

Florida is aware of the situation and handling it internally, per a statement from the school. A court date for Purifoy is scheduled for later this month.

Purifoy finished the 2012 season 51 tackles and three forced fumbles. He also blocked two kicks on special teams. Gators coach Will Muschamp said yesterday during Signing Day that Purifoy will see more time at receiver this spring to help with depth problems.

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Tide assistant reportedly offered NFL job

Jeff Stoutland Getty Images

The annual attempts at poaching college coaching staffs continues unabated this afternoon, with a first-time NFL head coach reportedly eyeing a member of the two-time defending BCS champions.

Speculation has been mounting over the past 24 hours that Chip Kelly is targeting Alabama offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland for a spot on his Philadelphia Eagles staff.  According to TideSports.com, the interest is indeed serious as the Eagles have offered Stoutland a job, presumably the line job, as part of Kelly’s staffing effort.

Even more to the point, the website reports that Stoutland is expected to take the job.  The Tide has declined to discuss the future of Stoutland with the program.

Stoutland has been at Alabama for the past two years, coming to the Tide from Miami.  In February of last year, Stoutland reportedly turned down an opportunity to join former Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers staff.

If he were to accept Kelly’s offer, Stoutland would be the second assistant Nick Saban has lost since the end of the regular season.  In late December, it was announced that Jeremy Pruitt was leaving as the Tide’s defensive backs coach to become Florida State’s defensive coordinator.

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Agreement reached on resuming Colorado-Nebraska rivalry

Colorado Nebraska Getty Images

Just a handful of years down the road, an old and highly-underrated Big 8/Big 12 rivalry will be renewed.

In a joint press releases, Colorado and Nebraska announced that they have reached an agreement on a pair of future home-and-home series.  Two of the games will be played in Lincoln — Sept. 8, 2018, and Sept. 7, 2024 — and the other two in Boulder — Sept. 7, 2019, and Sept. 9, 2023.

The 2018 game will mark the first meeting of the two football programs since the regular-season finale in 2010, a few months before the Cornhuskers and Buffaloes officially left the Big 12 for the Big Ten and Pac-12, respectively.

“There is a lot of great history between Nebraska and Colorado on the football field, so I think this will be an outstanding series for both schools,” Nebraska Head Coach Bo Pelini said. “I think our fans will enjoy the matchups, particularly those in Western Nebraska who can make the short drive out to the games in Colorado.”

That 2010 game was the 63rd consecutive season in which the two teams played.  All told, the two schools have met 69 times in football, with the ‘Huskers holding a 49-18-2 advantage.  Between 1962 and 1985, Nebraska won 23 of the 24 games played.

Colorado and Nebraska had been a member of the same conference since 1948, when the latter joined what was then the Big 7 and eventually became the Big 8.  Both programs were a part of the creation of the original Big 12 in 1996.

According to CU’s release, the contract signed by the two schools calls for $300,000 payments from the home team to the visitor in each of the four designated years of the games, with a buyout clause of $1 million if either team wants to cancel out of a game.

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Alex Collins signs with Arkansas; mother hires attorney

alex collins

There was some Signing Day drama yesterday when South Plantation running back Alex Collins, an Arkansas verbal commit, did not show up for his commitment ceremony at his high school. ESPN reported soon after that Collins’ mom had actually“confiscated” her son’s national letter of intent and took off with it.

Roughly 24 hours later, Collins has finally signed with the Hogs, though the story surrounding his decision isn’t over yet. While Collins’ father accompanied him to the ceremony (and signed the NLI), Collins’ mother was noticeably absent.

The Miami Herald reports that she has hired an attorney to represent the family “while she contemplates on signing the NCAA’s Letter of Intent” that will decide where her son plays football in college.” The attorney comes from the Cochran firm, founded by O.J. Simpson lawyer Johnnie Cochran.

It’s believed that Collins’ mother wants her son to attend Miami. What, if any, legal standing she would have to somehow prevent Collins from attending Arkansas will be interesting to follow — the Razorbacks already have his NLI in hand, and speaking to his mom, Collins said they “had a better understanding” — but it’s hard to imagine that Collins won’t end up in Fayetteville.

A four-star athlete according to Rivals.com, Collins became the 23rd member of the Razorbacks’ class with the signature.

“Alex is a great addition to this class,” Coach Bret Bielema said in a release. “He is an upstanding young man who has impressed us throughout our time getting to know him, and he focused on making a decision that was the best for him athletically, academically and socially. He has high character and is a student-athlete we are thrilled to bring into our family. He made it clear to us that he truly wanted to be a Razorback, which is what we want from everyone we sign.”

Updated 5:00 p.m. ET: The attorneys representing Alex Collins mother have released a statement on her behalf. Some interesting wording here.

“Ms. McDonald understands that Alex has received consent from his father who has signed the letter-of-intent for him to play football for the University of Arkansas. However, our client’s initial intentions remain unchanged. She is a loving and caring mother who only wants her son to choose a university without any outside and inappropriate influences. Ms. McDonald hopes all NCAA rules and regulations were followed during today’s signing. She is not seeking any personal financial gain because her only concern is for Alex’s happiness and well being. The Cochran Firm is standing by Ms. McDonald in this difficult time and has made all of the firm’s resources available to her as she explores her options.”

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Reports: Miami loses another coach to NFL

Jedd Fisch, George McDonald AP

Three weeks after losing one assistant to the NFL, Al Golden has apparently lost another to the same club.

Both the Miami Herald and CoachingSearch.com reported during the midst of National Signing Day that running backs coach Terry Richardson will be leaving the Hurricanes for a job with the Jacksonville Jaguars.  The school has thus far declined to comment on Richardson’s status.

In mid-January, it was announced that offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch had assumed the same position on new head coach Gus Bradley‘s Jaguars coaching staff.

Richardson has spent the past two seasons at The U after spending 11 years at UConn.

(Photo credit: Miami athletics)

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Mike Gundy names Mike Yurcich OSU’s new OC

Oklahoma State v Baylor Getty Images

It took about two months, but Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy named a successor to former offensive coordinator, Todd Monken, who accepted the head coaching job at Southern Miss in December.

Via his Twitter account, Gundy announced that Shippensburg University (Pa.) offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich will be the Cowboys’ new OC/quarterbacks coach.

There was no official release to accompany the tweet, so we’re just going to take Gundy’s word for it.

Yurcich has been with the Red Raiders since 2011 and has previous coaching experience at Edinboro, Indiana and St. Francis — so eleven of his 13 years of coaching experience has come at a lower level of football. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t know what he’s doing. In 2012, Shippensburg finished No. 1 nationally in total offense and second in scoring offense, averaging 46 points per game.

Oklahoma State has had a revolving door at OC over the past few years with Larry Fedora, Dana Holgorsen and Monken all leaving for head coaching jobs. Yurcich could be another young up-and-comer after serving several years at the Division II level. It’s definitely an off-the-map hire, but Gundy knows offense and knows guys who know offense too.

And if you needed any reassurance about that last line, allow me to present to you Yurcich diagramming offense. With Legos.

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Georgia AD confirms Saints interest in Grantham

Todd Grantham AP

The will he/won’t he saga when it comes to Todd Grantham and the NFL is apparently far from over.

One day after playing coy with reporters at a signing day event, athletic director Greg McGarity has confirmed that the Georgia defensive coordinator has informed him the New Orleans Saints have an interest in interviewing for the same position he currently holds.  Grantham’s UGA contract stipulates that the coach must notify the athletic department when he enters into talks on another job.

While McGarity did not specifically state Grantham will interview, it’s believed that the coordinator will interview at some point Thursday.

Grantham has also been connected to the defensive coordinator job with the Philadelphia Eagles.  As Chip Kelly has yet to make a hire there, it’s believed that may still be a possibility for Grantham as well.

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USC TE reportedly arrested on felony burglary charges

Lane Kiffin AP

Not-so-great news for USC as tight end Junior Pomee is facing felony charges for burglary, grand theft and possession of stolen goods.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Pomee was arrested near campus on Jan. 29 for the theft of  an iPad, an iPad Mini and an iPhone 5. He pleaded not guilty to his charges two days later. From the police report:

“DPS officers responded to an intoxicated student who passed out in an alley behind the location,. The student became combative when contacted by the officers and had to be physically subdued. The officers found the student in possession of a tablet computer and other property that did not belong to him and they subsequently determined that the items had been stolen.

“The student was then arrested and transported to [the LAPD’s Southwest Division] station for booking.”

USC later released a statement saying Pomee had been suspended from all team activities. Pomee played in every game last season as a redshirt freshman, but did not record any receiving stats.

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