Unitas Golden Arm Award unveils 2013 finalists

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An award that honors the top senior citizens at the quarterback position has released its finalists for the 2013 version of the award.

Headlining the very limited group of five players is Alabama’s AJ McCarron.  A semifinalist the past two seasons, McCarron can now say the same about being a finalist as he accomplished that feat in 2012 as well.

Joining McCarron as 2013 finalists is fellow SEC quarterback Aaron Murray of Georgia, along with Clemson’s Tajh Boyd, Fresno State’s Derek Carr and Northern Illinois’ Jordan Lynch.

That group quarterbacks three of the remaining six undefeated teams in the country and have a combined record of 44-5; Murray’s Bulldogs account for four of those losses.

The Unitas Award, named in honor of Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas and handed out to the top senior (academic or football eligibility) at the position, was won by Kansas State’s Collin Klein in 2012.

Here are the five finalists and a little statistical overview, courtesy of the folks with the Golden Arm:

–Tajh Boyd: Coming off a 55-31 win against Georgia Tech, Boyd has completed 212 of 318 passes for 2,960 yards (66.7% completion rate) and 32 touchdowns this season.
–Derek Carr: With two games remaining this season, Carr has thrown for 3,421 yards and 34 TDs, completing 69.5% of his passes for the 9-0 Bulldogs.
–Jordan Lynch: Lynch has led the Huskies to a 10-0 record this season, completing 65.5% of his passes while throwing for 35 TDs and 2,216 yards.
–AJ McCarron: After a 20-7 win over Mississippi State last week, McCarron has completed 177 of 261 passes for 2,228 yards (67.8%) and 21 TDs this season.
–Aaron Murray: While the Bulldogs are only 6-4 this season, Murray has thrown for 2,892 yards and 29 TDs, completing 207 of 324 pass attempts (63.9%).

Minnesota assistant Ed Warinner tweets he’s ‘never been contacted’ about Kent State job

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You just have to love the vagaries of the annual coaching rumor mill.

The offensive line coach and running-game coordinator at Minnesota, Ed Warinner has been mentioned as a potential replacement for Paul Haynes as the head coach at Kent State.  In fact, just yesterday, the former Ohio State and Notre Dame assistant had been labeled as a “strong candidate” for the opening.

Thursday night, however, FootballScoop.com tweeted that Warinner is no longer a candidate.

Less than 20 minutes after that tweet, Warinner took to his personal Twitter to confirm he is not only not a candidate for the job but claimed that he has “never been contacted by anyone involved with the school.” Left unsaid is whether those representing or associated with him had been in contact with the university.

Kansas defensive coordinator Clint Bowen (HERE) and Syracuse offensive coordinator Sean Lewis (HERE) are the latest names du jour connected to the opening at the MAC school.

Kent State’s one of two jobs at the FBS level that remain open, although the other, Louisiana, could be closed in short order.

Report: Louisiana offers head coach job to Arizona State OC Billy Napier

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So much for that plan.

The odd marriage of Arizona State and long-time but not-in-a-long-time NFL coach Herm Edwards was made even odder by the fact that Edwards was retaining Todd Graham‘s entire offensive coaching staff.  Less than two weeks into his tenure, however, there could be a glitch in the plans to help ease Edwards’s return to coaching as 247Sports.com is reporting that Louisiana (the school formerly known as Louisiana-Lafayette) has offered its head-coaching job to Billy Napier.

The 38-year-old Napier had just completed his first season as ASU’s offensive coordinator.  He was also given the title of associate head coach upon Edwards’ hiring.

Penn State defensive coordinator Brent Pry was also one of the potential candidates for the Louisiana job who interviewed for the opening.

Whoever gets the job with the Ragin’ Cajuns will be replacing Mark Hudspeth, fired earlier this month after seven years with the program.

Arkansas assistant Vernon Hargreaves added to Mizzou’s staff

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Vernon Hargreaves wasn’t retained by the new coaching staff in Fayetteville, but he’ll end up remaining in the SEC anyway.

Missouri confirmed Thursday that Hargreaves has been hired by Barry Odom and added to the second-year head coach’s staff.  The veteran assistant will serve as Odom’s inside linebackers coach.

“I’ve known Vernon for a number of years and have always respected the way his position plays the game,” said Odom in a statement distributed by the school. “He will be a great teacher and mentor for our student-athletes. His experience will be so valuable for our program; I’m excited about Vernon and his family joining our Mizzou family.”

Hargreaves spent the past three seasons as the linebackers coach at Arkansas.  Most notably, he served in the same capacity at Miami from 1998-2005.

Hargreaves also spent time on staffs at Houston (2013-14), South Florida (2010-12), East Carolina (2007-09), Florida International (2006) and UConn (1985-97).  He was also the special teams coordinator at USF and ECU in addition to being a position coach.

Telly Lockette takes job at Florida State as TEs coach

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As Willie Taggart constructs his first coaching staff at Florida State, he’s added yet another familiar face.

Taggart, FSU announced earlier Thursday, has hired Telly Lockette as the Seminoles’ tight ends coach.  Lockette had spent the past three seasons as the running backs coach at Oregon State.

Prior to that, Lockette was a member of Taggart’s coaching staff at USF as running backs coach for two seasons and maintains deep ties to the fertile recruiting soil of South Florida.

“I’ve known Coach Lockette for a long time and am excited he is joining our staff at Florida State,” Taggart said. “He was an important part of my first staff at South Florida and has gained Power 5 experience with his last three seasons in the Pac-12. Coach Lockette is a tremendous recruiter and coach who does a phenomenal job developing student-athletes on and off the field. While we were at South Florida he was the primary recruiter for the Miami area and helped us sign a number of impact players, including Quinton Flowers, Khalid McGee and Deatrick Nichols. His expertise will benefit our current and future Seminoles.”

The job with Taggart at USF was Lockette’s first at any level of college football.  The first 10 years of his coaching career were spent at the high school level, including a five-year stint at Miami Central from 2008-12.