Tide’s Kirby Smart becomes latest million-dollar coordinator

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The subject of many a rumor on the last couple of spins of the coaching carousel, Kirby Smart has instead remained at Alabama as Nick Saban‘s defensive right-hand man.

In recognition for both that loyalty and the productivity of the Tide’s defense, Smart will become the latest collegiate coordinator to hit the seven-figure mark in annual salary.

As expected, UA’s Board of Trustees approved Tuesday a significant increase in pay for the football program’s defensive coordinator.  Per the terms of the new deal, which runs through January of 2016, Smart will make $1.15 million in 2013 and $1.35 million in both 2014 and 2015.

Around this time last year, Smart’s pay was increased from $850,000 to $950,000 for 2012.  Smart’s 2013 salary will be more than 54 FBS head coaches earned in 2012.

Smart joins Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris ($1.3 million) and LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis ($1.1 million) in the million-dollar-plus club.  The trio will be joined next year by new LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, who will make $600,000 in 2013 before his salary jumps to $1.3 million in 2014.

Smart’s counterpart on the other side of the ball, Doug Nussmeier, saw his salary increase from $590,000 in his first year on the job to $680,000.  The offensive coordinator’s contract was also extended into 2016.  The four other assistants who were on Saban’s 2012 coaching staff also received raises of varying degrees according to al.com: outside linebackers coach Lance Thompson ($400,000), special teams/tight ends coach Bobby Williams ($400,000), defensive line coach Chris Rumph ($360,000) and running backs coach Burton Burns ($315,000).

Saban, the highest-paid head coach in the game at just under $5.5 million, did not realize an additional salary increase coming off the Tide’s third BCS title the past four years — he received a $50,000 increase under the terms of a new deal agreed to in 2012 —  but did see his bonus structure tweaked.  To coincide with the new four-team playoff that will begin following the 2014 regular season, Saban will earn a $200,000 bonus for a semifinal appearance; a $300,000 bonus for winning a semifinal and making it to the national championship game; and a $400,000 bonus for winning a national championship.

Report: Nick Saban promoting Mike Locksley to OC

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Nick Saban has found his fourth offensive coordinator in 14 months, and he didn’t have to go very far do so.

With rumors swirling around a certain disgraced former SEC head coach, signs had seemingly been pointing to Saban possibly, or even likely staying in-house for his next Alabama coordinator on the offensive side of the ball.  According to Chris Low of ESPN.com, the head coach plans to do just that as Mike Locksley is expected to be promoted to offensive coordinator.  It’s expected Locksley will assume responsibilities as the Tide’s quarterbacks coach as well.

Locksley would replace Brian Daboll, who left after one season in Tuscaloosa for the same job with the Buffalo Bills earlier this month.

Locksley has spent the past two seasons with the Crimson Tide, the first as an offensive analyst and last year as co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach.

The former New Mexico head coach last served as a coordinator at Maryland from 2012-15.  He also spent three seasons (2006-08) in the same job at Illinois.

On Instagram, Jauan Jennings indicates ‘one more season’ with Vols

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Yesterday, we noted that the door might be ajar for Jauan Jennings‘ return to the Tennessee football team.  A day later, it appears he may have been given permission to walk across the threshold.

While there’s nothing official from the program, Jennings, who is enrolled at UT for this semester at UT, indicated on his private Instagram account Thursday evening that he will be playing “one last season” with the Volunteers.

In November of last year, Jennings went off on a profanity-laced social-media tirade aimed at the coaching staff. The day after, he was dismissed by interim head coach Brady Hoke, who made the decision in concert with then-athletic director John Currie.

Jennings has since met with new head coach Jeremy Pruitt and new athletic director Phillip Fulmer about a return. “I think (Pruitt has) put some parameters around” a return Fulmer stated during a radio interview late last week, “and I guess everybody has got to figure out what those are and if they’re really going to do it.”

In early September, prior to the off-field issue, Jennings suffered what turned out to be a season-ending wrist injury that limited him to three catches for 17 yards in just one game.

Jennings, who originally came to the Vols as a quarterback, was second on the team in 2016 with 580 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. His 40 receptions were tied for second on the team as well.

Colorado makes hiring of Boise State’s Ashley Ambrose official

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A familiar face has returned to the Colorado coaching staff.

Following up on reports that surfaced earlier this week, CU confirmed that Mike MacIntyre has hired Ashley Ambrose as the Buffaloes’ new cornerbacks coach.  Ambrose spent the 2008-10 seasons with the Buffaloes, first as a defensive assistant and then, after a very brief stint as wide receivers coach, he took over CU’s defensive backs.

“We’re really excited about Ashley Ambrose coming to the University of Colorado, he brings great expertise for our corners that he’ll be coaching,” MacIntyre said in a statement. “He was here before, loved it then and I am glad to have him back now. Not only does he bring great coaching experience over the last few years, but he also brings phenomenal playing experience from being in the NFL, so he’ll add a lot to our secondary.”

Then past two seasons, Ambrose was the defensive backs coach at Boise State.  He’s also had collegiate stops at Cal (2011-12), Idaho (2014), Texas State (2015).

Ambrose, a second-round pick in the 1992 NFL draft, spent 13 seasons at that level of football.

Report: Oklahoma State adding Bob Stitt as offensive analyst

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Bob Stitt, who has become a bit of a cult hero in the college football coaching world over the last few years, is moving on up. Oklahoma State will reportedly add Stitt as an offensive analyst, according to a report from Bruce Feldman of Sports Illustrated, via Twitter.

Stitt was fired by Montana after this past season after missing the FCS playoffs for a second consecutive season and a second-round exit in his first season with the program in 2015. Stitt had become a rising star in the lower levels of college football after reshaping the offensive strategies with Colorado Mines in Division 2. The Nebraska native has coached a Harlon Hill Trophy winner (Division 2’s equivalent to the Heisman Trophy) and has coached Colorado Mines to three conference championships. Stitt gained notoriety after being given credit for his offensive strategies by West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen.

Stitt being let go by Montana came as a bit of a surprise after just three seasons with the program. Offensively speaking, Oklahoma State rarely needs any assistance in moving the football and scoring, but Mike Gundy is wise to bring in a mind like Stitt to add to the expanding of the offensive schemes in Stillwater.

As an offensive analyst, Stitt will be prevented from doing any on-field coaching and instead will focus on prepping the game plan and breaking down film. However, having Stitt on the staff in some capacity leaves a door open for a future position on the 10-man coaching staff should a position open at some point.