Missouri v South Carolina

Board approves new contracts for all nine Spurrier assistants


In December, head coach Steve Spurrier was given a two-year contract extension.  Two months later, the Ol’ Ball Coach’s assistants are on the receiving end of new deals as well.

Eight of Spurrier’s assistants — Deke Adams, Kirk Botkin, Grady Brown, Shawn Elliott, G.A. Mangus, Joe Robinson, Everette Sands and Steve Spurrier Jr. — received two-year extensions, the school announced in a release.  Those coaches are now signed through the 2014 season.

The ninth assistant, defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward, received a three-year extension and is signed through 2015.

There were no financial changes from their old deal revealed in the release.

“Coach Spurrier and his staff have propelled us into a Top Ten program and we appreciate what they have done at Carolina,” said athletic director Ray Tanner.  “Our coaching staff is among the best in the country and their new contracts compensate them accordingly.”

Adams is the newest of the assistants, hired by Spurrier in January of this year as defensive line coach.  Botkin (linebackers), Brown (secondary/assistant special teams coordinator), Robinson (tight ends/special teams coordinator) and Sands (running backs) will be entering their second season with the Gamecocks, while the others all have four or more years of service at the school.

Earlier this month, Elliott, USC’s offensive line coach, reportedly had drawn the interest of Alabama for the same job with the Tide.

“Whenever you have an outstanding season as we have had each of the past two years, it’s important to reward the coaches with two-year contracts. Hopefully, we can continue that success in the coming years,” the OBC said in a statement.

In addition to the coaching contracts, the school also announced that the Board of Trustees has approved approximately $53 million in construction projects which will upgrade intercollegiate athletics facilities on the Columbia campus.  Those projects include improvements that will benefit the football program.  From the release:

Among the projects approved by the Board of Trustees was Phase II of the Football Indoor Practice Facility, which will be constructed on the west end of the Farmer’s Market site, and the addition of new practice fields adjacent to the practice facility.

The indoor facility will have a regulation 100-yard turf football field and include restrooms, training rooms and film towers.

The Board of Trustees passed improvement projects to Williams-Brice Stadium, including renovations to the plaza surrounding the stadium.

The plaza will provide an aesthetic look to the entrance of Williams-Brice Stadium, including beautiful greenery, brick entrance ways and will create an institutional landmark for visitors, fans, students and alumni.

Those improvements will come at a price, however, as the school announced an increase in football season ticket prices of $45.

Vols ‘very confident there was no inappropriate conduct’ between Butch Jones, player

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 11:  Head coach Butch Jones of the Tennessee Volunteers watches the action during a game against the Chattanooga Mocs at Neyland Stadium on October 11, 2014 in Knoxville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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In the midst of reports that he had a physical altercation with one of his Tennessee players during summer camp this year, Butch Jones labeled the speculation “absolutely ridiculous.”

Apparently, his bosses agree with the head coach.

At a board meeting Thursday, UT-Knoxville chancellor Jimmy Cheek stated that he and athletic director Dave Hart had done their “due diligence” in investigating the accusations that Jones and senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder were involved in some type of physical skirmish during practice this past August.  The end result of interviews with Jones, coaches and players was the conclusion that there was nothing to the reports and message-board rumors.

“There’s been a lot of rumor and misinformation on social media and message boards about an alleged incident during football practice,” Cheek said according to GoVols247.com‘s Wes Rucker. “It’s not our practice to respond to rumors, but I thought it was important to let you know that we’ve done our due diligence and Dave Hart and I are very confident there was no inappropriate conduct with any players or coaches.”

Shortly after Cheek spoke at the board meeting, Crowder took to Twitter with a series of missives that speaks around the issue.

Michigan’s keeping ‘fingers crossed’ for leading rusher’s availability

De'Veon Smith
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Michigan played without its leading rusher in Week 5.  The Wolverines are hoping there won’t be a repeat in Week 6.

De'Veon Smith sustained a lower-leg injury in the Week 4 win over BYU and didn’t travel with the team for last Saturday’s win over Maryland.  Smith has been practicing with his teammates throughout the first few days of this week, and head coach Jim Harbaugh is guardedly optimistic that the running back will be available for what’s turned into a huge Big Ten matchup with Northwestern Saturday in the Big House.

“He’s practicing and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he’s going to stay good and be ready to play,” Harbaugh said during a radio appearance Thursday morning. “But we’ll (keep) looking at that every day.”

Despite essentially missing a game and a half, Smith currently leads the Wolverines with 331 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. He’s added four receptions for 35 yards and a touchdown coming out of the backfield the first four games.

Should Smith be unable to go again, the Wolverines have three other backs with at least 100 yards on the ground: Ty Isaac (187, 7.2 yards per carry), Drake Johnson (125, 4.2 ypc) and Derrick Green (100, 3.3 ypc).

In addition to Smith, Harbaugh is hopeful Channing Stribling will be available this weekend as well.  The starting cornerback didn’t play against the Cougars because of injury