With just a month or so until the start of summer camp, Gary Pinkel has an unexpected hole to fill on his Missouri coaching staff.
In a press release Tuesday, Mizzou announced that Bruce Walker is stepping down as one of Pinkel’s longest-tenured assistants and retiring from coaching. The 53-year-old Walker cited spending time with family as the reason for his abrupt decision.
“In this business everybody has a time when they need to hang it up, and it’s my time,” the assistant said in a statement. “I’m very proud to have been a part of 102 wins here and all that we’ve achieved, and I’m proud of the legacy I leave behind with all the players I’ve touched over a 26-year career. Mizzou has been a special place for me, I’ve loved my time here and I’ll always be Tiger. I’ve had a great run and now it’s time to go be with my family and do other things. Coaches don’t often get to go out on their own terms, so I’m grateful that I have the opportunity to do it my way.”
Walker had been an assistant under Pinkel since 1996 — 1996-2000 at Toledo and 2001-13 at Mizzou. Walker served as tight ends coach and assistant offensive line coach from 2001-2008, then moved to co-offensive line coach from 2009-2013.
“Bruce informed me [Monday] night that he feels the time is right for him to step away from coaching,” the head coach said. “Bruce has been a very important part of our success here at Mizzou, and I’m very grateful to him and his family for all of the sacrifices they have made to help our program succeed. We’re going to miss him, no question, and we wish him nothing but the best. Exactly what steps we take here to fill this spot, it’s too soon to know, but we’ll get to work on that right away.”
No timetable has been set for finding a replacement, although Pinkel could opt to stay in-house and promoting a grad assistant to fill the vacancy.
(Photo credit: Missouri athletics)
Depending on your point of view, James Franklin‘s boss has either given the Penn State head coach a needed vote of confidence… or the dreaded vote of confidence.
With an underwhelming 14-12 record heading into his third year, Franklin’s Nittany Lions have continued to underwhelm with a 2-2 record through the first third of the 2016 season. Following a 39-point loss to Michigan, Franklin’s record against the Big Three in the B1G East — UM, Michigan State, Ohio State — dropped to 0-7. Not only have the Nittany Lions lost all seven, they’ve lost those seven by an average of 22 points per game. Five of those losses were by at least 12 points, with four of those coming by 24 or more.
The fact that the Nittany Lions aren’t even remotely ready to compete in their own division let alone nationally has led to renewed chatter that, by season’s end, Franklin could either be sitting on the hot seat or standing in the unemployment line. Wednesday, PSU athletic director Sandy Barbour used a Chamber of Commerce appearance to very stridently and publicly defend her head coach.
From Cory Giger of the Altoona Mirror:
James is not on any hot seat,” Barbour said Wednesday.
“He’s not on the hot seat, and he’s not going to be on the hot seat in December,” Barbour said.
“James is going to be our football coach,” the AD added. “I believe in where this football program is going under James Franklin, and I think he’s going to be our football coach, period.”
“I think I’ve been really, really clear on I think he’s doing a spectacular job as a teacher, as a coach, as a leader of these young men,” she said. “That’s really, really important to Penn State. He and his staff are absolutely nailing that.
Barring a complete and total collapse between now and the end of November, Franklin will get a fourth season. Heading into that fourth year, however, he will very likely be on the hot seat on which Barbour currently swears he doesn’t currently sit.
It’s been an interesting, to say the least, couple of days off the field for top-ranked Alabama.
Wednesday, reports surfaced that former five-star quarterback Blake Barnett, who started the Tide’s opener, is leaving the program and will transfer, although Nick Saban held out hope that he’d stay. A day later, Rivals.com is reporting that senior linebacker Tim Williams has been arrested on a charge of carrying a pistol without a permit.
The arrest was made by the university’s police department, although the details of what led to the charge have not been divulged.
Last season, Williams was second on the team with 10.5 sacks. This season, Williams has totaled 1.5 sacks in four games. He started one of those contests.
Williams is the third Tide player arrested this year on a weapons charge.
In May, star offensive lineman Cam Robinson and defensive back Laurence “Hootie” Jones were arrested in Louisiana and charged with one count each possession of marijuana and illegal carrying of a weapon. Additionally, Robinson was charged with felony possession of a stolen firearm. A month later, the district attorney in the case announced that he had declined to prosecute the players, citing a lack of evidence.
Well, that and the below infamous reasoning.
“I want to emphasize once again that the main reason I’m doing this is that I refuse to ruin the lives of two young men who have spent their adolescence and teenage years, working and sweating, while we were all in the air conditioning,” DA Jerry Jones stated.
After originating in the state, the ACC championship game is headed back to Florida.
In an announcement that should come as a shock to absolutely no one, the ACC confirmed Thursday that the 2016 football title game will be played in Orlando. The game will be held at Camping World Stadium on Saturday, Dec. 3, at 7:45 p.m. ET.
The 65,000-seat stadium serves as the home of the Citrus Bowl postseason game and also played host to this year’s Ole Miss-Florida State opener on Labor Day. ACC officials met with their counterparts from the city earlier this week to finalize the deal.
An announcement on the new site likely would’ve come earlier were it not for a pair of high school football championship games scheduled for the same day at the same venue. Those games will now be played the following weekend.
The move to Charlotte comes almost two weeks to the day that the ACC announced it was yanking the title game away from the city of Charlotte and out of the state of North Carolina. The move was in response to the controversial House Bill 2 (HB2), a law which some claim fosters discrimination against members of the LGBT communities.
Charlotte had played host to the ACC football championship game every year since 2010. Prior to 2010, the first three league title tilts were played in Jacksonville (2005-07) and the next two in Tampa (2008-09).
Ohio State assistant Greg Schiano has been cited for failure to obey a traffic-control device as a result of accident that left a bicyclist injured, the Columbus Dispatch reported.
The accident involving a 26-year-old student occurred last Thursday at just before 7 a.m. local time on the Columbus campus. According to reports at the time, “Schiano was traveling east and turning north… when he struck the westbound bicyclist.”
The cyclist was transported to a local hospital and was listed in stable condition with a head injury. In the week since, there’s been no update on his condition, including whether he remains hospitalized.
Schiano has an arraignment set for Oct. 5, three days prior to OSU’s game with Indiana. The citation for failing to stop for the traffic light could mean a fine of $55 for Schiano as well as $97 in court costs.
The former Rutgers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach is in his first season with the Buckeyes as Urban Meyer‘s associate head coach and, along with Luke Fickell, defensive coordinator.