Nick Saban

Tide’s Kirby Smart becomes latest million-dollar coordinator


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 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: Duke Williams injured Auburn teammate with punch in ‘bar rampage’

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 29:  D'haquille Williams #1 of the Auburn Tigers misses a touchdown catch in the first quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the Iron Bowl at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 29, 2014 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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D’haquille Williams may have some additional explaining to do to NFL personnel if another report is accurate.

Monday night, Auburn announced that the star wide receiver had been dismissed from Gus Malzahn‘s football program.  A day later, reports surfaced that Williams’ dismissal came after he went on a weekend “bar rampage” following one of his friends getting the heave-ho from a local drinking establishment over a dress-code issue. It was alleged that Williams had punched a pair of security guards, a bartender’s assistant and an unnamed patron of the bar.

The unnamed, however, now has a name.

According to the ABC affiliate in Montgomery, Ala., and a citing a source close to the AU program, Tigers center Xavier Dampeer‘s jaw was on the receiving end of one of Williams’ alleged punches. The website wrote that “Dampeer has been treated and released from East Alabama Medical Center, according to a worker at the hospital.”

Malzahn was asked Tuesday if any other Tiger players were involved in the incident. “I’m not going to get into any details,” the coach said according to

No charges have been filed in connection to the incident.

“We cannot file charges until the injured person(s) comes forward,” Auburn police chief Paul Register told the television station. “Unless an officer personally sees a fight, no arrests can be made.”

Illini’s leading rusher, Josh Ferguson, officially ruled out vs. Iowa

Josh Ferguson, Jordan Italiano
Associated Press
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If Illinois is going to improve upon its solid 4-1 start to the 2015 season, it’ll have to do so without a significant cog in its offensive machinery.

On the official injury report release Thursday night, the Illini confirmed that Josh Ferguson has been ruled out of Saturday’s game against No. 22 Iowa.  The decision is not exactly a surprise as Ferguson has been doubtful in the run-up to the road game against the Hawkeyes.

Ferguson sustained an injury to his right shoulder in the first quarter of last Saturday’s last-second win over Nebraska, and has been unable to practice at all this week.

Ferguson’s 381 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns and 5.4 yards per carry are all tops on the team.  He’s added 12 receptions for 28 yards and another touchdown coming out of the backfield.

With Ferguson sidelined, the bulk of the running-game load is expected to shift to Ke’Shawn Vaughn.  Through five games, Vaughn is second on the Illini with 325 yards and a pair of touchdowns.