There are two pretty significant coaching vacancies left to fill in college football. Penn State and Texas are each on the search for a new head coach and now that the Longhorns have officially closed the book on the Mack Brown Era in Austin the pursuit is getting as hot as the Texas sun in the middle of the summer. The job is worthy of some big names to be in the mix, and it appears the school is keeping an eye on UCLA head coach Jim Mora.
According to a report by ESPN, Mora and Texas have had some sort of conversation about filling the vacancy, but it is unknown how serious the talks may have been. Considering Mora has NFL experience and the number of coaching vacancies available in the NFL right now it would make sense to see Mora’s name potentially be tied to some of those ongoing coaching searches as well.
There is much to like about Mora as a potential coach at Texas. After turning UCLA around and setting them on a path to be one of the top programs in the Pac 12, if not just the Pac 12 South, Mora has proven a number of critics wrong. Mora was a hard sell for UCLA to the fans and media when initially hired to coach the Bruins after fizzing out in the NFL.
Texas needs a coach who can handle the pressure of leading a big time program and handle the increased media exposure to be had through The Longhorn Network commitments. Mora could probably handle that if he was interested in taking the job, but overall just seems like a weird fit. If Mora goes anywhere, it might be for another shot at the NFL.
In the midst of reports that he had a physical altercation with one of his Tennessee players during summer camp this year, Butch Jones labeled the speculation “absolutely ridiculous.”
Apparently, his bosses agree with the head coach.
At a board meeting Thursday, UT-Knoxville chancellor Jimmy Cheek stated that he and athletic director Dave Hart had done their “due diligence” in investigating the accusations that Jones and senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder were involved in some type of physical skirmish during practice this past August. The end result of interviews with Jones, coaches and players was the conclusion that there was nothing to the reports and message-board rumors.
“There’s been a lot of rumor and misinformation on social media and message boards about an alleged incident during football practice,” Cheek said according to GoVols247.com‘s Wes Rucker. “It’s not our practice to respond to rumors, but I thought it was important to let you know that we’ve done our due diligence and Dave Hart and I are very confident there was no inappropriate conduct with any players or coaches.”
Shortly after Cheek spoke at the board meeting, Crowder took to Twitter with a series of missives that speaks around the issue.
Michigan played without its leading rusher in Week 5. The Wolverines are hoping there won’t be a repeat in Week 6.
De'Veon Smith sustained a lower-leg injury in the Week 4 win over BYU and didn’t travel with the team for last Saturday’s win over Maryland. Smith has been practicing with his teammates throughout the first few days of this week, and head coach Jim Harbaugh is guardedly optimistic that the running back will be available for what’s turned into a huge Big Ten matchup with Northwestern Saturday in the Big House.
“He’s practicing and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he’s going to stay good and be ready to play,” Harbaugh said during a radio appearance Thursday morning. “But we’ll (keep) looking at that every day.”
Despite essentially missing a game and a half, Smith currently leads the Wolverines with 331 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. He’s added four receptions for 35 yards and a touchdown coming out of the backfield the first four games.
Should Smith be unable to go again, the Wolverines have three other backs with at least 100 yards on the ground: Ty Isaac (187, 7.2 yards per carry), Drake Johnson (125, 4.2 ypc) and Derrick Green (100, 3.3 ypc).
In addition to Smith, Harbaugh is hopeful Channing Stribling will be available this weekend as well. The starting cornerback didn’t play against the Cougars because of injury