And for that, the whole of Aggie Nation can breathe a sigh of relief.
It had been nearly two months, since the SEC media days in mid-July and since the cash-for-autographs “scandal” in early August, that Johnny Manziel had spoken to the media, with Texas A&M slapping a zipper on the quarterback’s lips in the hopes of expediting the passing of the firestorm. Following the win over Sam Houston State in which he accounted for nearly 440 yards of total offense and four touchdowns, the reigning Heisman winner addressed the media… and did nothing to add any fuel whatsoever to the Johnny Football fire.
Needless to say, Manziel was asked about the last month or so that saw him come under NCAA investigation and ultimately hit with a half-game suspension he served opening weekend. Speaking in generalities, Manziel stated that he leaned on his Aggie football family during that time, letting them know during his NCAA-mandated mea culpa that he’s focused on the field even as if it seems the rest of the country is focused on the stuff off of it.
“The biggest thing that’s helped probably is just being around these guys, being in this building and having my teammates and still being able to be around them, It was easy to block all the stuff out, get off everything, not read anything and just grow with my teammates and continue to get a better bond with them and just spend time with them. …
“To let them know I’m here and I’m focused on this season and I love each and every one of these guys … that’s the message I was trying to get across. These guys mean the world to me. There’s so much other stuff that gets played on and is out in the public. But we know what is in this building.”
With one of the biggest games of the regular coming up against Alabama Saturday, one that will have as much hype as any in the past several years, Manziel looked to downplay the significance of a game being played the third weekend of the season.
“It feels like another game,” he said. “It feels like Week 3 of the season. We’ve got to continue to get better as a team continue to get better on every aspect, offense, defense, special teams. (To) have a full lineup back and a full roster back of guys who have been out will be nice.”
Bronco Mendenhall didn’t have to look far to find someone to fill the hole on his Virginia coaching staff.
The football program announced in a press release that Mendenhall has promoted Vic So’oto (pictured, No. 37) to defensive line coach. Last season, his first with the Cavaliers, So’oto, who played his college football for Mendenhall at BYU from 2005-10, served as a graduate assistant.
So’oto replaces Ruffin McNeill, who left Charlottesville earlier this month for a spot on Lincoln Riley‘s staff at Oklahoma.
“Vic was Ruffin’s understudy for the last year-and-a-half,” Mendenhall said in a statement. “He was my very first commitment at BYU when I became the head coach. He was a very good player for us and someone who has experience playing in the NFL.
“He’s very passionate. He is very knowledgeable about defensive football and our system. He knows the defensive line play in our system, inside and out. He’s a great teacher and fits perfectly and seamlessly into this position because he was taught and mentored by Ruff this past year. Our defensive front won’t miss a beat.”
Heading into the 2017 season, Kerry Coombs will have an additional title on his coaching résumé.
Ohio State announced Thursday that Coombs has been promoted to assistant coordinator, defense, by Urban Meyer. Coombs will retain his titles of special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach as well.
Greg Schiano will remain in his role as defensive coordinator.
“Kerry Coombs is absolutely deserving of this promotion to assistant coordinator, defense,” the head coach said in a statement. “He is an outstanding coach, instructor and mentor to the young men in this program. He is one of the best recruiters in the nation. He is incredibly loyal, and we at Ohio State are very fortunate that he loves this school and loves being a Buckeye.”
Coombs will be entering his sixth season with the Buckeyes, one of two assistants, the other being wide receivers coach Zach Smith, who have been with Meyer all five of his seasons in Columbus.
The past two years, three of Coombs’ corners — Marshon Lattimore and Gareon Conley in 2017, Eli Apple in 2016 — have been selected in the first round of the NFL draft. Another, Bradley Roby, was taken in the first round of the 2014 draft.
The most famous head coach in the history of Arizona State athletics has passed.
The university confirmed Thursday that the legendary Frank Kush died earlier in the day of unknown causes. He was 88 years old.
After finishing his collegiate playing career at Michigan State and a stint in the Army, Kush’s first job in coaching was as the line coach for the Sun Devils in 1955. When Dan Devine left to become the head coach at Missouri in December of 1957, Kush was promoted to head coach.
Kush spent the next 21½ years as the head coach at ASU, leading the Sun Devils to a 176-54-1 mark that included seven Western Athletic Conference championships. The wins are the most in the football program’s history; in fact, he’s the only coach in the school’s history who has accumulated more than 60 wins during his time in Tempe.
From 1969-73, Kush’s ASU squads won five straight WAC titles. They lost just six games total in that span against 51 wins. In 1975, they went a 12-0, capping off the second perfect season under Kush with a win over Nebraska in the Fiesta Bowl.
In part because of Kush’s on-field success with the Sun Devils, ASU began play in the then-Pac-12 conference in 1978.
Kush’s tenure at the school ended in controversy, however, as he was fired in the middle of the 1979 season after a player accused the coach of mental and physical abuse in a September lawsuit. The coach was ultimately fired because the university accused him of hindering the investigation into the allegations.
Will Sunderland‘s legal issues just got a whole lot more serious.
Earlier this month, an arrest warrant was issued for Sunderland after he allegedly sold stolen property to an Oklahoma City business in mid-March. At the time, it was believed that the Oklahoma defensive back did not steal the items in question, which included a Playstation 4, controllers and games.
Wednesday, however, Sunderland was charged with felony burglary. According to both the Norman Transcript and The Oklahoman, this most recent charge is likely related to Sunderland allegedly stealing electronics from the dorm room of a pair of OU baseball players — that he then sold, leading to the original misdemeanor charge.
The latter newspaper went on to report that there may be video evidence of the incident.
According to the affidavit submitted by OUPD, Sunderland was seen on recorded video using a OneCard Swipe to enter Headington Hall, and his identity was later confirmed by the OneCard Swipe log. Video then shows Sunderland entering the third floor and walking down the hall that also leads to his room. Then, according to the affidavit, Sunderland appears to be walking toward the elevator lobby but is not seen again on the security footage until eight minutes later when he returns to view with a large unidentified object.
Cameras show Sunderland repeating similar actions for about 36 minutes before he is seen carrying a large red bag into an elevator alone. Once outside, cameras show Sunderland placing the red bag in the trunk of a vehicle parked outside Headington Hall. He then returned to Headington Hall with an unidentified male, and 31 minutes later, they exited carrying two white trash bags.
While Sunderland has turned himself in on the misdemeanor charge, he hasn’t as of yet on the felony.
After the misdemeanor charge, Sunderland was indefinitely suspended. What the felony charge does to his status with the football program moving forward remains to be seen.
Last season as a sophomore, Sunderland played in eight games. This season, Sunderland was expected to stake his claim to one of the starting safety jobs.