No, Sooner Nation, you will not be allowed to bask in the glow of the stunning upset of Alabama without a coaching cloud hanging overhead.
During Oklahoma’s 45-31 Sugar Bowl win over the Tide, St. Louis Rams sideline reporter and ESPN Radio personality Tony Softli tweeted that “Bob Stoops may have the inside track on the Cleveland Browns opening.” Prior to becoming a member of the media, Softli served in NFL front offices with the Rams as well as the Carolina Panthers.
Standing alone, Softli’s tweet wouldn’t normally merit much attention. However, it comes on the heels of a report from NFL.com‘s Ian Rapoport earlier in the week which stated Stoops “has expressed some interest in joining the NFL” and that the OU coach should be added to “the list of college coaches that could be candidates for NFL coaching jobs.”
The 53-year-old Stoops, who was born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, and maintains strong family ties to the area, has never coached in the NFL, spending all 31 years of his coaching career at the collegiate level. During previous coach searches by the Cleveland Browns — and there have been myriad over the past decade and a half — Stoops has been mentioned as a possibility but the rumored interest never materialized into anything noteworthy.
Stoops’ agent, for what it’s worth, is Neil Cornrich, who is based in, of all places, Cleveland, Ohio.
In July of last year, OU announced it had reached an agreement on a new contract with Stoops that could technically keep him in Norman through the 2020 season. Stoops earned just under $4.8 million in 2013, making him the fifth-highest paid college coach according to USA Today‘s database. Any buyout language contained in Stoops’ contract would not be an issue for any NFL club looking to pry him away from the college game if he were so inclined.
Earlier this week, it was reported that the Browns are “very interested” in Auburn’s Gus Malzahn and Vanderbilt’s James Franklin as their new head coach. Late last year, the Browns interviewed Syracuse’s Doug Marrone, Penn State’s Bill O’Brien and Oregon’s Chip Kelly for their vacancy before settling on Rob Chudzinski, who was fired after just one year late last month.
As if this day wasn’t busy enough, Ole Miss announced late Monday evening star-crossed offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil‘s suspension has been capped at seven games, meaning he’ll miss Saturday’s trip to Memphis but return in time for Texas A&M visit to The Grove on Oct. 24.
From the university:
The University initially withheld Tunsil from competition at the start of the season as both the NCAA and the University examined several alleged improper benefits. During the course of the process, it was determined by the NCAA that Tunsil received impermissible extra benefits that included the use of three separate loaner vehicles over a sixth-month period without payment, a four-month interest-free promissory note on a $3,000 down payment for purchasing a used vehicle, two nights of lodging at a local home, an airline ticket purchased by a friend of a teammate, and one day use of a rental vehicle. In addition, it was determined that Tunsil was not completely forthcoming when initially questioned by NCAA investigators regarding the loaner vehicles. He later corrected his account and since apologized.
As part of his reinstatement conditions, the NCAA imposed a seven-game suspension, ordered Tunsil to pay the value of the extra benefits to a charity, perform community service, and he will also make the vehicle down payment.
Said Tunsil: “I take full responsibility for the mistakes I made and want to thank everyone for their continued support. I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and the entire Ole Miss family for how my choices affected our program. This was a learning experience, and I’m looking forward to being back on the field with my team and redeeming myself. The last 10 months have been a physical and mental battle for me, but I love playing this game more than anything else. I want to be here for my teammates who are depending on me to finish what we started together.”
The news is, obviously, great for Tunsil and head coach Hugh Freeze personally, as well as the entire Ole Miss football program. It’s also a nice plus for NFL scouts, as it means Tunsil’s first live action of 2015 will come against possible future No. 1 draft pick Myles Garrett.
Hope he’s been practicing.
Say it ain’t so, Steve.
According to a report from Thayer Evans of Sports Illustrated Monday evening, Steve Spurrier is set to retire.
Spurrier, 70, is a legend the likes college football has never seen before and never will again.
He was a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback at Florida, then returned to his alma mater and turned the program into a juggernaut, leading the Gators to 122-27-1 record from 1990-01 and a national championship in 1996. After a stint with the NFL’s Washington Redskins, Spurrier landed at South Carolina, where since 2005 he’s racked up a school record 86 wins.
But those wins slowed down of late. After an SEC East championship in 2010 and three straight 11-2 seasons from 2011-13, the Gamecocks fell to 7-6 in 2014, and are off to a 2-4 mark this fall. With the possibility of losses to nemeses old and new like Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Florida and Clemson ahead, Spurrier, it appears, would rather fade away quietly to the putting green.
Perhaps no two sentences summarize Spurrier, then and now, more precisely than this:
Combined with his three years at Duke, Spurrier closes up shop with a 228-89-2 mark, and a bust in the coaches’ wing of the Hall of Fame waiting for him.