Louis Nix, Steve Elmer

Louis Nix fires back at Hoke’s ‘chickening out’ comments about Notre Dame

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Michigan coach Brady Hoke has been known to take a shot or two at someone else’s expense while coaching the Wolverines. Of course, there’s the whole “Ohio” deal with Ohio State, and earlier this week, Hoke took a dig at Notre Dame for “chickening out” of future game dates.

Here’s what Hoke had to say, via Keith Arnold over at Inside the Irish:

“We are fortunate to have unbelievable rivalry games at Michigan,” Hoke said at a booster luncheon in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “The Notre Dame game, that rivalry, which they’re chickening out of, but…” Hoke said, before being interrupted by applause, and pausing to appreciate the verbal haymaker he landed.

“They’re still gonna play Michigan State, they’re gonna play Purdue, but they don’t want to play Michigan. So… ” Hoke continued to an approving crowd. “I don’t know how they made that decision.  I really do.  But anyway, that’s a great national rivalry game. It’s a great game.”

Not surprisingly, the quotes went viral and Irish nose tackle Louis Nix fired back at Hoke on his Twitter account Tuesday. “Chickened out? #MeatChicken will taste delicious Sept 7th. #GoIrish” Nix tweeted (click hashtag for details).

As is almost always the case with scheduling, there’s a lot to consider. Notre Dame will soon begin to play five ACC opponents every year as part of an agreement with the conference. That’s already resulted in some tension between the Irish and Arizona State over future games. Also, the Big Ten will go to a nine-game conference schedule beginning in 2016.

But Arnold did a little bit of digging for his blog today and found something interesting: the decision to put the 2018 and ’19 games on hold was Michigan’s idea (though Dave Brandon disagrees).

The two sides are set to put their rivalry on hiatus after the 2014 season anyway, but neither side wants it to end (despite the words between them). As of today, the series is tentatively set to resume in 2020.

Half of all FBS signees lived between Texas and North Carolina

ORLANDO, FL - DECEMBER 29: Johnny Jefferson #5 of the Baylor Bears carries while defended by Dominquie Green #26 and Des Lawrence #2 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during the first half of the Russell Athletic Bowl game at Orlando Citrus Bowl on December 29, 2015 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
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ESPN recruiting analyst Gerry Hamilton provided a massive public service through his Twitter account on Tuesday, releasing a data dump of fascinating information about the signing class of 2016.

In short, Texas was the most popular breeding ground for FBS prospects, but half of all signees came from a clean sweep from Texas, across the Gulf of Mexico to Florida and up to North Carolina.

The Lone Star State produced 359 players, with nearly half of those heading to Power 5 institutions. In fact, Hamilton reports, 72 of 128 FBS programs and 38 of 64 Power 5’s signed at least one player from Texas.

Florida trailed with 327 players, followed by California with 248 players and Georgia with 225. For what it’s worth, Ohio was not included in the study.

Data dump, begin!

AAC releases 2016 conference schedule

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The American Athletic Conference released its 2016 conference schedule highlighted by, oddly enough, non-conference games that pit league gem Houston against Oklahoma (on opening day at Houston’s NRG Stadium) and Louisville (in Houston on Nov. 19).

Those two games, more than any others, will sink or swim the conference’s chances of not only grabbing the Group of Five spot in the New Year’s Six, but a spot in the College Football Playoff itself.

The 2016 conference slate kicks off with Navy meeting Connecticut on Sept. 10 and concludes with the second annual AAC title game on Dec. 3 at a to-be-determined campus site.

The AAC led the way in scheduling Power 5 opponents — highlighted by a Week 3 schedule that will see the entire East Division punching up a weight class — and includes the likes of Florida State, Maryland, N.C. State, Virginia, Syracuse, Kansas, TCU and Oklahoma (for all intents and purposes) visiting AAC campuses.

View the full AAC slate here:

 

Former Notre Dame QB Tommy Rees hired as Chargers offensive assistant

SOUTH BEND, IN - NOVEMBER 02: Tommy Rees #11 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish passes against the Navy Midshipmen at Notre Dame Stadium on November 2, 2013 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Just like we all thought when watching him play at Notre Dame, Tommy Rees will be in the NFL in 2016. Just not as a quarterback.

The San Diego Chargers announced his hiring as an obnoxiously vague offensive assistant, assisting with the club’s offense in some form that they aren’t inclined to elaborate on.

After completing a career in which he threw for 7,670 yards with 61 touchdowns against 37 interceptions from 2010-13, Rees was cut by the Washington Redskins in 2014, then spent the 2014-15 seasons as a graduate assistant at Northwestern.

Report: Wisconsin DBs coach Daronte Jones leaving for Miami Dolphins

MADISON, WI - SEPTEMBER 27:  Wisconsin Badgers cheerleader waves the flag after the team scores a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the South Florida Bulls on September 27, 2014 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin.  The Wisconsin Badgers defeated the South Florida Bulls 27-10. (Photo by Tom Lynn/Getty Images)
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The post-National Signing Day coaching carousel is now in full tilt.

According to a report from Adam Caplan of ESPN, Wisconsin defensive backs coach Daronte Jones is leaving to become the assistant defensive backs coach for the Miami Dolphins.

The Badgers already endured a significant loss this winter after defensive coordinator Dave Aranda took a lateral position with LSU. He was replaced in January by former USC defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox.

Jones spent but 13 months in Madison, a January 2015 addition to Paul Chryst‘s first staff after spending three seasons at Hawaii.

Wisconsin possessed one of college football’s top pass defenses in 2015; the Badgers ranked seventh nationally in pass defense, tied for sixth in yards per attempt allowed, placed third in opponent completion percentage and finished second in pass efficiency defense.