AJ McCarron: Saban ‘told me he’s not leaving’

44 Comments

Well, that settles that.

Amidst rampant speculation that, when Mack Brown steps down/is forced out at Texas, Nick Saban would leave Tuscaloosa for Austin, the Alabama head coach’s starting quarterback took part in a televised interview as part of the postseason awards circuit.  Of course, the subject of Saban and the rumors connecting him to the Texas job came up.

Just as expected, AJ McCarron said he doesn’t foresee Saban leaving the Tide… if for nothing more than that’s not what the coach’s better half would want.  Oh, and that the coach has never lied to him before.

“I messed with Coach, [saying] he’s getting too old to start up again somewhere else,” McCarron said on ESPN’s “College Football Daily” from Walt Disney World. “He told me he’s not leaving. And I know Miss Terry [Saban’s wife] well enough; she runs that house. And she’s not allowing Coach to leave either. I think he’ll be at the University of Alabama for a little while.”

Saban has not addressed this latest round of speculation, which centers both on Texas making a push for the four-time title-winning coach and Saban’s agent using that interest as leverage in contract talks.  School officials are reportedly “getting nervous about the lack of response” on the contract front and that “the longer it goes unsigned the more uncomfortable UA officials grow.”

UA athletic director Bill Battle was asked Wednesday about the rumors, but would only say that both he and the coach are focused on recruiting and the Sugar Bowl matchup with Oklahoma.

Connecting Saban’s name to a potential opening with the Longhorns simply won’t go away, though, as evidenced by this tweet from Geoff Ketchum of Orangebloods.com late Thursday morning:

For those growing weary of the Brown/Saban/Texas ménage à trois, you should probably hunker down as I get the feeling this thing is about to kick into overdrive sooner rather than later…

Lamar Jackson leapfrogged by Baker Mayfield as Bovada’s Heisman favorite

Getty Images
1 Comment

So much for that wagering momentum, I guess.

Entering the 2017 season as not only the reigning winner but also as seemingly an afterthought, a pair of scintillating performances to open the year pushed Lamar Jackson to the head of Bovada.lv‘s Heisman Trophy pack.  Coming off a 26-point Week 3 loss to now-No. 2 Clemson in which he totaled nearly 400 yards of offense and three touchdowns, the Louisville quarterback has seen his odds lengthen a bit from 7/4 a week ago to 11/2 in Bovada‘s latest Heisman release.

Bovada’s new betting front-runner?  Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, who went from 4/1 to 7/4.  Sam Darnold, 6/1, also saw his odds shorten slightly to a Jackson-match 11/2.

Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph, 10/1 in the previous odds release, is now at 9/1, same as the holding-steady-from-a-week-ago Penn State running back Saquon Barkley.

There’s also, interestingly, one true freshman on the board: J.K. Dobbins.  The Ohio State running back went from off the board to 40/1 odds.  His starting quarterback, J.T. Barrett, saw his odds go from 25/1 to 33/1.

Below is the latest set of 2017 Heisman Trophy odds, again courtesy of Bovada.lv.

Illinois adds UCF grad transfer QB Pete DiNovo

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Illinois has an immediate addition to its quarterback room.  Or its wide receivers room, depending on how things play out.

Pete DiNovo confirmed to the Tampa Bay Times Monday that he has decided to transfer to the Illini.  The acknowledgment comes a month after DiNovo decided to transfer from Central Florida.

As a graduate transfer, DiNovo would be eligible to play immediately this season.  Per the player, a former high school teammate and former high school coach currently at Illinois played a role in his decision.

“I couldn’t be happier with the way everything turned out,” DiNovo told the Times. “I can come up here and learn from Lovie (Smith) and everyone else on the coaching staff.”

DiNovo began his Knights career as a quarterback — he replaced Blake Bortles as UCF’s starter before being quickly replaced himself — before being moved to wide receiver before being moved back under center this offseason.  How the Illini will use DiNovo, who has an eye on a career in coaching after his playing days are over, remains to be seen.

UTEP stays in-house to replace fired OC Brent Pease

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Not surprisingly, UTEP will stay in-house following its in-season dismissal of one of its coordinators.

The Miners confirmed Sunday that offensive coordinator Brent Pease had been fired.  A day later, the football program announced that Brian Natkin has been given the keys to the offense by Sean Kugler and will call the plays moving forward.

Natkin began the season as special teams coordinator and tight ends coach.  He was an All-American tight end at UTEP a decade-and-a-half ago and became a full-time assistant at his alma mater in 2011.

Through three games, UTEP ranks second-to-last nationally in total offense at 204.7 yards per game and in yards per play (3.89). The Miners are also 125th (out of 130 teams) in scoring at 13 points per game.

The promotion of Natkin also means there will be some additional adjustments to Kugler’s staff.  Wide receivers coach Chuck Veliz will take over Pease’s other role as quarterbacks coach, while safeties coach Don Yanowsky assume Natkin’s duties as special teams coordinator.

Natkin will continue in his role as tight ends coach.

Oregon State QB Jake Luton discharged from hospital after leaving Wazzu game on a stretcher

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Oregon State quarterback Jake Luton was taken away on a stretcher after a tackle left him motionless on the Reser Stadium turf on Saturday.

Family members were called to the field, where medical professionals stabilized an apparently unconscious Luton and removed his face mask. The game continued, of course, as Oregon State lost to Washington State 52-23 despite Luton’s 179 passing yards and 22 rushing yards.

Luton tweeted on Saturday night that he’ll “be back.”

Luton has since been discharged from the hospital, according to The Oregonian, though his father posted a message stating Luton was probably dealing with a “thoracic spine fracture.”

Oregon State is off Saturday before hosting Washington on Sept. 30.