Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops, fresh off a Sugar Bowl upset of Nick Saban and Alabama, will not receive an interview to become the next head coach of the Cleveland Browns. According to a report by the Associated Press, the Browns will look to include Vanderbilt’s James Franklin and Auburn’s Gus Malzahn in their ongoing search for a new football coach.
There had been some confusion about the status of Stoops and the Browns, but reports suggesting Stoops was the leading contender were put to rest in recent days. On the surface, the move made some sense with Stoops having been at Oklahoma for a long time now and being an Ohio native, and Stoops did little to put the rumors to rest on his end following the Sugar Bowl, saying “you never know” when asked about his chances of becoming the next Browns coach.
For now, it seems as though Stoops will stay at Oklahoma and lead the Sooners against his new coaching rival, Charlie Strong at Texas.
Franklin has been tied to a number of recent coaching search rumors. In addition to the Browns, the Washington Redskins and Penn State have been mentioned. With an opening at Louisville now, it would not be a shock if Franklin’s name is tied to that vacancy, although it would be unlikely Franklin would leave Vanderbilt for the Louisville job. Malzahn is finishing up his first year as head coach at Auburn and is a win away from a BCS championship. It is not all that likely Malzahn will be one-and-done, win or lose against Florida State Monday night. It would not be unexpected of Browns GM Joe Banner to go an unconventional route, but it may be more likely for the Browns to hire a coach with more NFL experience.
As Stoops previously said though, you never know.
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