The Iowa Hawkeyes have one of the top defensive tackle tandems in college football with seniors Carl Davis and Louis Trinca-Pasat. However, the team’s depth along the defensive interior is now in question after junior Darian Cooper required season-ending surgery.
The exact nature of the injury has yet to be divulged, but Cooper announced he will miss the entire season on Facebook.
Cooper played in all 25 games the past two seasons as a backup defensive lineman. In 2013, Cooper recorded 18 tackles and a sack.
With Cooper out of the lineup, the Hawkeyes will have to rely heavily on sophomore Jaleel Johnson as the team’s third defensive tackle.
“Coop has got some good skills,” defensive line coach Reese Morgan told The Gazette’s Marc Morehouse prior to fall camp. “We would like to have some guys inside that have some girth that can stand up against the run.”
Cooper is listed at 282 pounds, while Johnson is 6-4 and 310 pounds. Redshirt freshman Nathan Bazata will likely serve as the Hawkeyes’ fourth defensive tackle with Cooper out of the lineup. But Bazata is much closer in size to Cooper than he is Johnson.
The team’s depth up front is crucial for Iowa’s defense. First, the ability to keep Davis and Trinca-Pasat fresh is important for both seniors to play at a high level. Plus, Iowa’s relies heavily on the play of its linebackers for the defensive scheme to work properly. If Johnson and Bazata can’t hold the point of attack and allow blockers to get to the linebackers, Iowa’s defense will be gashed when the backup defensive tackles are on the field.
Cooper was an important piece to the puzzle for the Hawkeyes this season. Unfortunately, his role now will be to recover, rehabilitate and prepare to replace either Davis or Trinca-Pasat as a starter next season.
One of the bigger storylines of this offseason is the annual coaching carousel and where former LSU head coach Les Miles will land.
The longtime coach has stated he wants to coach again in 2017, and has plenty of credentials — over 100 wins, SEC and national championships — but where he will find a fit is one of the bigger mysteries.
A lot of folks have noted that he could be in the running for the Purdue job (Miles is a Big Ten man at heart) but it appears that will not be the case. According to Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel, a source told him to cross Miles’s name off of Purdue’s list.
There are not a ton of big openings at the moment so with the Boilermakers reportedly off the table, it might be a long offseason for the former LSU coach. Western Kentucky’s Jeff Brohm and Western Michigan’s P.J. Fleck have been the two biggest names mentioned with the Purdue search but it appears unlikely any movement happens before this weekend.
Thamel also mentions Miles could be in the mix at Houston, which would be fascinating given his years at Oklahoma State and over a decade spent a few hours East in Baton Rouge. Either way, it looks like the carousel has a few more spins left in it this month.
Colorado plays Washington on Friday in the Pac-12 Championship Game but that hasn’t stopped the coaching carousel from taking a break.
Rumors have circulated that Buffaloes head coach Mike MacIntyre is a candidate at Baylor and that he would be interviewing with the Bears either today or tomorrow. Colorado’s sports information director wanted no part of those reports continuing to flourish however, and took to Twitter to vehemently deny them.
That is… quite the denial.
At the same time, you can understand why Baylor wants to speak with MacIntyre give his credentials for turning around the program, his moral values and the fact that he was just named the Walter Camp Coach of the Year.
If it’s not meant to be however, the school will no doubt be turning to other candidates this weekend, possibly including fellow Pac-12 coach Sonny Dykes at Cal.
Win or lose Saturday, Western Kentucky may have already lost its head coach. Reportedly.
Speculation had been mounting late Thursday night and on into Friday morning that Purdue had zeroed in on WKU’s Jeff Brohm as its next head coach. One Indianapolis radio personality even went so far as to call Brohm-to-Purdue all but a done deal.
That said, Rick Bozich of WDRB in Louisville subsequently reported that a source close to Brohm claimed that Dakich’s tweet “is 100-percent not true. It’s completely false.” The source did allow that, once the coach’s team finishes up the regular season, “[h]e’ll consider his future after that.”
Brohm, incidentally, is not represented by an agent, per Bozich.
Given Brohm’s connections to that area of the country — he played at Louisville and coached at his alma mater as well — he could also wait to see how the situation at Cincinnati plays out. Tommy Tuberville’s buyout with the Bearcats will be substantially reduced the middle of next week, and Brohm could very well be in play as a replacement.
In Brohm’s three seasons in Bowling Green, the Hilltoppers 29 games and one Conference USA championship. WKU could add a second consecutive title as they will face Louisiana Tech in the league championship game Saturday.
Western Michigan’s P.J. Fleck has been the name most connected to the Purdue opening. The Boilermakers could talk to Fleck saturday, after WMU’s MAC championship game appearance against Ohio Friday night. Depending on how such a conversation, if it even happens, goes would determine what if anything would happen on the Brohm front.
Les Miles has also been mentioned as a possibility at Purdue as well.
Earlier in the week it was reported that Lane Kiffin was in the mix to fill the head coaching vacancy at Houston. Come Sunday, or shortly thereafter, the Alabama offensive coordinator may be taking the next step in returning to lead his own college football program.
Citing multiple unnamed sources, SBNation.com‘s Steven Godfrey is reporting that Kiffin will interview for the Houston job after Alabama’s SEC Championship game against Florida Saturday afternoon. Kiffin has also been mentioned as a possibility to take over the coordinator role at LSU, giving his current head coach motive to campaign for him to land the Cougars job.
From Godfrey’s report:
Multiple sources have also confirmed to SB Nation that Alabama head coach Nick Saban is actively promoting Kiffin to Houston, ostensibly to keep his OC from jumping to a division rival next season.
Kiffin is in his third season as the Crimson Tide’s coordinator. He has been a head coach at the collegiately level on two different occasions, compiling an overall record of 28-15 during stops at Tennessee (2009) and USC (2010-13). He also had a disastrous stay with the NFL’s Oakland Raiders, posting a 4-12 record his first year before being fired after a 1-3 start to his second season.
Cougars offensive coordinator Major Applewhite and defensive coordinator Todd Orlando will also interview for the job. Orlando is serving as UH’s interim head coach and will coach the Cougars in their bowl game. Ex-LSU head coach Les Miles and Oklahoma offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley have also been connected to the opening.