As it begins its defense of its 2013 BCS title, Florida State will open the 2014 season in Dallas. If the football program has its way, there’ll be additional neutral-location games in its future.
School officials confirmed to ESPN.com‘s ACC blog that they have engaged in what’s described as preliminary discussions to play future games in Orlando (2016) and Atlanta (2018). The Seminoles’ opponents for those games were not revealed.
Presumably, the proposed 2018 game in Atlanta would be a part of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. Teams from the ACC have played in that game/weekend six times since 2008 — Clemson (2008, 2012), Virginia Tech (2009, 2013), North Carolina (2010) and North Carolina State (2012) — with new member Louisville slated to play Auburn in 2015.
“From [Florida State’s] perspective, we’re at the point now that we would like to continue to be able to have as many quality home games as we can, potentially take one of those games on the road,” FSU athletic director Stan Wilcox told the website.
While the games, if/when they are agreed upon, would technically serve as neutral-site contests, they would essentially serve as quasi home games for the Seminoles, albeit with a very large guarantees if the big-dollar trend continues. Orlando is less than a four-hour drive from Tallahassee, while Atlanta is less than five hours away from the campus.
With the ACC looking at a nine-game league slate while at the same time exploring the possibility of an “8+1” deal with the SEC, Wilcox acknowledged that “some of [the school’s future scheduling plans] can be jeopardized depending how the conference ends up.”
Lovie Smith is not a big fan of fighting amongst his Illinois players, a lesson he shared with his aptly nicknamed Fighting Illini squad Wednesday evening.
According to the Decatur Herald & Review, Illinois’ spring practice session yesterday came to an abrupt and premature end after a fight between players broke out. The names of those involved in the fisticuffs are not known as the media hadn’t been permitted to view practice.
From the Herald & Review‘s report:
…a source said Smith wanted to send a strong message about how he hates fighting and considers it an inexcusable transgression that robs the rest of the team of a chance to concentrate on getting better.
The field was cleared at about 5:35 p.m., nearly an hour before practice was scheduled to end. The players were sent to the locker room and the field was quickly cleared of equipment. Reporters were told there would be no interviews and were told to vacate the Memorial Stadium facility.
The Illini, which finished 3-9 in their first season under Smith last year, kicked off spring practice feb. 14 and will conclude it March 10 with the annual spring game.
With spring practice getting set to kick of en masse all across the country, there’s more of the expected personnel attrition settling in and coming to light.
On his Twitter account Wednesday, Andy Dodd announced that it is in his “best interest” to transfer from LSU and continue playing college football elsewhere. “This decision was not an easy one, but it is what’s best for me moving forward,” the offensive lineman wrote.
Dodd was a three-star member of the Tigers’ 2013 recruiting class, rated as the No. 17 guard in the country.
After taking a redshirt as a true freshman, the lineman played in eight games the next two seasons. He played in six games, with one start, in 2016.
Another graduate transfer has made a move, albeit with a slightly different bent than most others.
Auburn confirmed Wednesday that Casey Dunn has been added to Gus Malzahn‘s football roster. The center comes to The Plains as a graduate transfer, which makes him eligible for the 2017 season.
He also comes to Auburn from Jacksonville State, an FCS school that would’ve made him immediately eligible aside from the grad transfer exception. Oh, and his new position coach is excited to have him in the personnel fold as well.
The past two seasons, Dunn was an FCS All-American. While Dunn comes to the Tigers as a center who started 27 games at that position for the Gamecocks, he could play anywhere along the interior of the Tigers’ offensive line.
Malzahn is also very familiar with Dunn’s talent as the lineman started for the JSU squad that took him to overtime in 2015.
Earlier this week, Brad Lambert added a longtime Power Five assistant to his Charlotte coaching staff. Not long after, he has added another.
The 49ers announced in a release that Keith Henry has been hired by Lambert as his running backs coach. The 49ers’ coach at that position last season, Damien Gary, will shift to wide receivers.
Henry and Lambert (pictured, left) were on the same staff at Wake Forest, so they have a previous working relationship.
“Keith brings a lot of experience to our program,” said Lambert in a statement. “Having coached on both sides of the ball, he brings an added dimension of a defensive perspective to our offense. We’re really glad he’s coming on board with us. He’s a North Carolina native who’s played in North Carolina and has recruited for many, many years in North and South Carolina. That will be a huge benefit to our program with the relationships he’s built over the years.
“He’s been very successful and been a part of winning football at Ohio, Wake Forest and Catawba.”
Henry spent 11 seasons with the Demon Deacons (2001-11). He coached on the defensive side of the ball for the first 10 years before spending his final season with the ACC school as special teams coordinator. His last job on the offensive side of the ball came as wide receivers coach at Ohio in 1996.