Football coaches meticulously prepare for nearly every situation. The possibility of having a game postponed due to volcanic activity isn’t one of them.
The Croke Park Classic, which will be played between the Penn State Nittany Lions and UCF Knights in Dublin, Ireland, is in jeopardy due to potential travel restrictions that may or may not be caused by an active volcano. The Bárdarbunga volcano in Iceland appears to be in the beginning stages of an eruption. If the volcano does erupt, thousands of flights to Europe will be cancelled.
Both teams currently plan on making the trip, but there are “alternative plans” in place if they can’t make the trip.
“In all of my life, I never worry about things I have no control over,” UCF head coach George O’Leary told UCFSports.com. “I have no control over a volcano, electricity, hurricanes. I don’t worry about them. We have alternative plans. If that occurs, then that’s something that occurs. You can’t fly, you can’t fly. Right now we’re getting ready to hit somebody else and get to Ireland.”
UCF plans to depart for Dublin at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Penn State has the same plans.
O’Leary wouldn’t describe exactly what he meant by alternative plans, but the two teams could meet at Bright House Networks Stadium in Orlando after playing in State College last year.
If the teams have to change plans, it would be especially disappointing for Penn State. The trip was originally scheduled as a reward for the members of the team that stayed after the NCAA handed down bowl sanctions due to the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
Once again, Jerry Kill‘s health could force him to step away from the game.
Citing multiple unnamed sources, nj.com is reporting that the Rutgers’ offensive coordinator “is evaluating his options and is expected to make a health-related decision in the coming days” on his coaching future. The 56-year-old Kill was hospitalized in September of this year after suffering what was described as a minor seizure related to his ongoing battle with epilepsy, although he returned to his coaching duties shortly thereafter.
Ahead of an official decision, the website added, head coach Chris Ash has been informing prospects on the recruiting trail of the possibility that Kill might not be with the Scarlet Knights because of the issues that stretch back years.
In October of 2015, Kill was forced to step down as Minnesota’s head football coach because of health issues related to ongoing epileptic seizures. Prior to joining the Rutgers staff, Kill spent the 2016 season in a non-coaching role at Kansas State.
In the year prior to Kill’s arrival, RU was 127th nationally in points per game (15.7) and 18th in total offense (283 yards per games). In Kill’s first season in 2017, they were 121st in the former category (18 ppg) and 129th in the latter (263 ypg).
After a little uncertainty, Scott Frost will indeed finish what he started this season.
After Frost led them to a perfect regular season and AAC championship, UCF earned the Group of Five’s bid to a New Year’s Six Bowl. In between the title win and bowl announcement, however, Frost was hired as the head coach at Nebraska. At the time, all of the sides involved indicated that Frost and his coaching staff, all of whom are following him to Lincoln, would be coaching the Knights in that bowl game.
As recently as late last week, however, there was some uncertainty as to whether Frost would actually lead UCF in the New Year’s Day Peach Bowl matchup with Auburn. Tuesday, though, Frost was back at UCF with his undefeated Knights team and confirmed that he will coach them one last time, calling it “an honor” to do so.
“There’s some unusual circumstances but we’re gonna handle this as we would any bowl game of this type,” Frost said according to the Omaha World-Herald. “Our staff is completely committed and we’re going to do everything we can for this football team. …
“It’s an honor to be invited to this game. These players have poured their hearts out to accomplish a lot this year. There’s been a lot of circumstances swirling around this season and that’s been tough to navigate but they’ve been great with that. I’m grateful we have a chance to give them their best possible chance to put on the best show in Atlanta and win a football game.”
Frost had been on the road recruiting for his new team before returning to Orlando Monday night. He and his assistants will remain there through Thursday as they continue preparing for the bowl game, then will continue recruiting duties for the Cornhuskers right up until the dead period starts Dec. 17 while continuing prep work for the Knights’ postseason.
Unlike in any other year, there’s an early signing period that starts on Dec. 20 and goes for 72 hours. After that early signing period ends, there’ll be just a week or so left until Frost takes the field one last time as the Knights’ head coach.
This is something you don’t see every day, in a couple of ways.
Monday night, SMU confirmed reports that had surfaced earlier in the day that Sonny Dykes has been named as the Mustangs’ new head football coach. Dykes replaces Chad Morris, who left for the same job at Arkansas late last week.
At an introductory press conference Tuesday afternoon, Dykes’ new boss, athletic director Rick Hart, revealed that the new coach will get to work immediately as he will coach the Mustangs in their bowl game Dec. 20. Dykes will immediately begin assembling his coaching staff to help in preparation for the Frisco Bowl.
And SMU’s opponent in the Frisco Bowl? Louisiana Tech, which Dykes was the head coach of from 2010-12. After going 22-15 in three years at Tech, he left for the same job at Cal in December of 2012. He went 19-30 with the Bears before being fired after his fourth season in 2016.
One snakebitten Wisconsin linebacker has decided to call it a career, at least when it comes to the Badgers.
Jack Cichy announced in a Players’ Tribune article Tuesday that he will be leaving UW and making himself available for the 2018 NFL draft. The fifth-year senior could’ve, because of injuries, applied for a sixth season of eligibility.
“I’m excited for what’s to come, but I can tell you that deciding to leave Madison was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever had to make,” Cichy wrote. “This place has become my home. …
“I’m a Badger for life.”
Projected to be one of the top linebackers in the Big Ten this season, Cichy was instead sidelined for the entire year after suffering a torn ACL during summer camp this past August. Last season, Cichy started the first seven games for the Badgers before going down with a torn pectoral muscle that sidelined him for the remainder of the year. Despite missing nearly half the season, he was still named honorable mention All-Big Ten.
All told, he started 11 games during his time in Madison, which began as a walk-on in 2013.