Kyle Whittingham

Utah DT booted from team after allegedly attacking his wife


Time and time again, we joke that the offseason is for getting into trouble. Unfortunately, the allegations surrounding now-former Utah defensive tackle Koliniasi Mona Leota are nothing to laugh at.

Via the Deseret News, Leota has been kicked off the team for allegedly attacking his wife in front of their two-year-old child. Leota, who was already on suspension, faces three felony charges and four misdemeanors. Those charges are as follows:

Felonies: aggravated kidnapping (first-degree), aggravated assault (third-degree), and commission of domestic violence in the presence of a child (third-degree); Class B misdemeanors: threat of violence, and commission of domestic violence in the presence of a child (three counts).

Below is a description of what happened from the paper via the incident’s report. Keep in mind, this is just one account of what happened, but it’s quite disturbing:

… Leota became angry and punched his wife in the head and face, then told her to go into the bathroom to clean up the blood, charges filed in 3rd District Court state.

While she was in the bathroom, the 6-foot 4-inch, 278-pound man hit her in the head with a curling iron, then wrapped the iron’s cords around his hands and tried to strangle her, the charging documents state. He then allegedly ripped a towel bar from the wall, hit her in the head with it and tried to stab her in the throat with the broken end.

She told police that each time she tried to run out the door, Leota would grab her by the hair and drag her back inside. Prosecutors say the couple’s 2-year-old child was present during the assault.

Someone arrived with their two older children, ages 3 and 4, during the ordeal and the mother ran outside and got into the car with them, locking the door. A police officer reported seeing Leota standing outside the car threatening to smash the windows and saying, “I’m going to kill you. I’m going to fly to Hawaii and kill your family.”

Leota is being held on $250,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court on Monday.

“We will do everything we can to help Niasi and his family get through this situation, but obviously we do not tolerate this kind of behavior,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham (pictured) said in a statement.

Leota appeared in 10 games last season and recorded six tackles.

Texas Tech fires three defensive assistants

Kliff Kingsbury
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Texas Tech may be getting ready for a bowl game, but they will do so without three defensive assistant coaches. Co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach Mike Smith, cornerbacks coach Kevin Curtis and outside linebackers coach Trey Haverty have been cut from the coaching staff, head coach Kliff Kingsbury announced today.

“We appreciate all that Mike, Kevin and Trey have done at Texas Tech over the last three seasons,” Kingsbury said in a released statement. “All three are great Red Raiders and we wish them the very best.”

Texas Tech had the Big 12’s ninth-ranked total defense after allowing 540.2 yards per game. That was nearly 100 yards more per game than Iowa State’s eighth-ranked defense. Only Kansas had a worst defense, allowing 560.8 yards per game. Texas Tech’s defense ranked 126th in the nation out of 128 schools. The Red Raiders were torched through the air, allowing 268.3 yards per game through the air, which was ranked 113th in the nation.

Offense appears to be the key to success in the Big 12 and defense has tended to be a hurdle for the Red Raider program. This much appears to be clear though. Kingsbury is making moves with his roster to find a way to improve defensively and become a more well-rounded threat in the Big 12.

VIDEO: Western Michigan’s bowl reveal video was shark-infested

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Forget about all of the talk regarding 5-7 teams going to bowl games or not, because teams that have actually qualified and deserved a bowl trip are starting to line up their postseason plans. Western Michigan confirmed today it will head to the Bahamas Bowl, where the Broncos will face Middle Tennessee of Conference USA.

There were three potential bowl destinations for Western Michigan. The two in addition to the Bahamas Bowl were the Boca Raton Bowl and the Poinsettia Bowl. There really wasn’t a bad destination here for Western Michigan, but a chance to go to the Bahamas seemed to be a crowd pleaser, and how could it not?

After the video revealed the bowl destination for the program, head coach P.J. Fleck went on to commend the Broncos for accomplishing a number of firsts for the program this season, including its first win over a top 25 team, a share of the division crown for the first time in over a decade, and the first time going to bowl game sin back-to-back seasons. Now, Fleck wants his program to put together an eight-win season, which would mark the first back-to-back eight-win seasons. Keep rowing that boat, Western Michigan.

ECU says it would decline bowl invite after 5-7 season, but that invite was unlikely to come

James Summers, Ken Ekanem, Quincy McKinney
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The odds are pretty good East Carolina never would have received a bowl invitation as 5-7 teams wait in line for a rare bowl invitation to fill bowl vacancies. Either wayt, East Carolina is on the record now to say it would not accept any bowl invitation.

“While we understand there are still numerous programs with higher APR scores ahead of us who merit stronger consideration, we have already determined that we would decline an offer should one be extended,” East Carolina Director of Athletics Jeff Compher said in a released statement. “Our efforts should be centered on positioning the Pirates for future championships.”

With Nebraska and Illinois already reportedly ready to accept any bowl invitation they would receive, East Carolina was already going to eb locked out of the postseason as long as the Huskers and Illini stayed true to those reports. Missouri has publicly said it would turn down an ofer, but there are still other schools that would stand in the way of ECU, which is way down the order on the wait list.

5-7 Illinois is ready to go bowling

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Illinois will happily join in the postseason fun despite its 5-7 record. It just needs Georgia State and South Alabama to lose this weekend to make that a possibility.

Brett McMurphy of reported today, via Twitter, the Illini would accept a bowl invitation should one fall into their laps. At 5-7, Illinois would receive a bowl invitation as bowls look to fill up bowl vacancies based on APR scores for the football program. Nebraska would be first in line among 5-7 schools hoping to wiggle into the postseason, and the Huskers have already reportedly confirmed they will accept the invitation to whatever bowl is left with the first vacancy to fill.

Missouri released a statement on Monday saying the school will not accept a bowl invitation following its 5-7 season, and instead will allow for coaches to pursue other opportunities while the school closes in on a coaching hire to replace the retired Gary Pinkel. Missouri would have received the second invitation. Kansas State is next in line, followed by Minnesota, San Jose State and Illinois.

Georgia State has a chance to become bowl eligible with a win this weekend, but it must defeat Georgia Southern on the road, which is not to be expected. Georgia Southern is a 21-point favorite in the game. South Alabama can also hit the six-win minimum to become bowl eligible with a home win against Appalachian State. This may be more likely to happen than Georgia State pulling off the road upset, but the Jaguars are an 18-point underdog at home against Appalachian State this weekend.