SMU’s plan to find a new head coach

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June Jones stepped down as SMU’s head football coach on Sept. 8. A month later, Rick Hart detailed the university’s plan to replace Jones.

Hart wrote a letter to the Mustangs’ fan base, which was published Wednesday on the school’s official website.

Here are the pertinent excerpts to the school’s four-point plan to find a new head coach:

First, we have engaged Todd Turner, President and Founder of Collegiate Sports Associates and former AD at UConn, NC State, Vanderbilt and Washington, to assist us with certain aspects of the search process. … He will make initial contact with targeted coaches, assessing potential interest and fit for the position, as well as helping with background checks and other processes.

Second, the Board of Trustees Athletics Committee will serve a valuable role as the primary advisory group as we prepare to identify and recruit the next head football coach at SMU. The Athletics Committee met on Monday to refine and confirm certain elements of the process, such as our case statement, position description and head coach profile. They also provided feedback regarding our expectations in key areas, such as academics, civility, competitiveness, and recruiting.

Third, we are seeking input from constituents beyond members of the Athletics Committee, such as the Athletics Council, Circle of Champions, Mustang Club Board, Lettermen’s Association (and former football players), Deans, the Texas High School Coaches’ Association, Ticket Holders and Student-Athletes. We want to make sure we are informed as we prepare to identify specific candidates.

Finally, a small search committee has been formed consisting of representatives from the Board of Trustees, Athletics Committee, Athletics Council, Faculty and Athletics Department leadership. This group will work with me to evaluate candidates and determine our top targets in alignment with our agreed-upon profile and standards shaped by our interactions with the various stakeholders and access to data as outlined herein.

Hart also designated this month as the prime opportunity to identify potential candidates and reach out to them if an opportunity presents itself. The athletic director didn’t provide a timetable for when a hire could actually occur.

There shouldn’t be a shortage of candidates, though.

The program reportedly called former Texas head coach Mack Brown, while Brown considers whether or not he wants to return to coaching. Former Ole Miss (and Arkansas and Boise State) head coach Houston Nutt is also interested. Former Texas offensive coordinator and quarterback Major Applewhite already applied for the position. And a new name has been linked to the program:

Morris is a legend in the state of Texas after coaching at the high school level for 16 years with a 169-38 record and back-to-back undefeated state championships.

Morris is now one of college football’s highest paid coordinators, and one of the top assistants primed for a head coaching job. Clemson’s offensive coordinator refrained from taking any other positions in recent years, but a return to his home state could be exactly the type of situation Morris is searching for.

SMU could also be used as a stepping stone for a coach like Morris, who doesn’t have head coaching experience at the major college level but still has goals of leading a top program.

It won’t hurt Hart to call and gauge Morris’ interest. The worst that can happen is the talented offensive coordinator decides he’s not interested.

Illinois boots three players charged with home invasion and robbery

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Illinois head coach Lovie Smith has dismissed three players charged with home invasion and robbery. Offensive linemen Darta Lee and Howard Watkins and tight end Zarrian Holcombe have all been dismissed from the program, according to a statement.

Lee and Holcombe were previously suspended by Smith for violations of team rules. Watkins had also been indefinitely suspended following the initial allegations. All three players claimed the incident that led to the charges was nothing more than an innocent prank, but the authorities and Smith didn’t seem willing to buy that claim.

Each player faces a mandatory prison sentence of 4-15 years on each count against them if found guilty.

Report: Conference USA to air at least 15 football games on Twitter in 2017

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Conference USA is in a position where it needs to think outside the box and look to stay ahead of the curve in a changing TV landscape. It appears to be ready to air games on Twitter in 2017.

A report from The Virginian-Pilot says broadcast company STADIUM will air at least 15 football games involving Conference USA teams this fall. STADIUM is the result of a recent merger between the American Sports Network, 120 Sports and Silver Chalice (which also owns Campus Insiders and the online ACC Digital Network). The ASN had owned the broadcast rights to Conference USA games through the end of the 2017-2018 sports season that will carry over to the STADIUM deal (allowing for Conference USA basketball games to be aired on Twitter as well). It was announced earlier this month STADIUM intended to broadcast Conference USA games on Twitter, but it was unknown how many games might make it to the networking service. STADIUM reportedly has an interest in continuing to air Conference USA contests beyond the next athletic season.

Conference USA still has broadcast deals with ESPN and CBS Sports in effect as well, so don’t expect the premiere matchups in the conference to be aired on Twitter. However, by sharing the games online, Conference USA is hoping to reach a wide-spread audience and have the opportunity to be a trending topic. It could work, as Twitter would make sure the game is given a steady feed to allow for a pleasant viewing experience and fan interaction in real time.

Conference USA saw TV revenue take a big hit over the last year. Last summer, Conference USA’s television revenue reportedly dropped to just $2.8 million for the entire conference following realignment changes. Finding a home on a streaming platform now would be key for the conference’s future stability.

Alabama DC Jeremy Pruitt named son after former Tide linebackers Reuben Foster and Ryan Anderson

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It is not at all uncommon for children born in the state of Alabama to be named after Alabama football legends, but it is not every day you see a child of an Alabama coach receives a name inspired by former Alabama football players.

Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt announced the birth of his new son, Flynt Anderson-Foster Pruitt, on Twitter. Alabama fans will likely already know the connection to the new child’s name, as used the last names of two former Alabama football players to create the middle name of Anderson-Foster; Ryan Anderson and Reuben Foster.

Maybe this is more common than I’m aware of, but regardless of how often a coach names a child after former players, this is a testament to the relationship the Pruitt family established with both former Alabama linebackers. And now there will be a bond for years to come between the coach and his family and Anderson and Foster.

Helmet sticker to Al.com.

Wisconsin’s season tickets for 100th anniversary of Camp Randall are a thing of beauty

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The Wisconsin Badgers are gearing up for their 100th season playing home football game sin Camp Randall Stadium. As part of the season-long celebration, Wisconsin put some brilliant artistic detail into their season tickets for the 2017 season.

Each ticket to a home Wisconsin game is designed like a retro-style program. These are beautifully done and mimic the style of a program cover from decades past. I’m particularly fond of the program cover for the Purdue game, which features Wisconsin’s Bucky floating in space with a ship with the Purdue logo nearby. Is that a space train? The Band Day program for the game against Florida Atlantic also looks fantastic.

These tickets will surely be must-have collectibles for Wisconsin fans. If Wisconsin wants to make a few extra bucks, then blowing up these images and selling them as posters may be a good decision as well. And I wouldn’t put it past Wisconsin to suit up in a retro-style uniform for at least home game this season in Madison.