As Mike Sanford assembles his first Western Kentucky staff, he’s officially added one very familiar familial face along with a side-order of name recognition.
Following up on speculation that had been growing for the last week or so, Sanford announced the addition of the first three on-field assistants to his WKU coaching staff. Included in that group is Mike Sanford Sr., the father of the head coach, as well as Steve Spurrier Jr., the son of Florida and South Carolina coaching legend.
Sanford Sr., who stepped down as the head coach at FCS Indiana State after a four-year run earlier this month, will serve as his son’s special teams coordinator and running backs coach, while Spurrier Jr., director of high school recruiting and offensive specialist at Oklahoma this past season, will coach quarterbacks as well as hold the title of assistant head coach. The elder Sanford was also the head coach at UNLV from 2005-09. Spurrier Jr. had been an assistant on his father’s South Carolina staff for 11 seasons.
The third hire is Jami DeBerry as safeties coach as well as recruiting coordinator. DeBerry had spent the past four seasons on the elder Sanford’s ISU staff.
“I am thrilled to be able to add not only three outstanding football coaches but exceptional motivators and mentors to our coaching staff,” Sanford said in a statement. “All three coaches come from winning pedigrees and understand what is required to achieve success at the highest levels with backgrounds as national champions and consistent bowl contenders.
“They will also be great representatives of WKU in the community and on the recruiting trail.”
Sanford still has six positions on his initial Hilltoppers staff left to fill.
Yes, this is really a thing.
Josh Allen is expected to be one of the first. if not the very first, players selected in the 2018 NFL draft that kicks off tonight. However, overnight, years-old tweets surfaced after they were mined from the former Wyoming quarterback’s personal Twitter account that have landed the rocket-armed signal-caller in a bit of hot water.
Specifically, some of the tweets that surfaced, which have since been deleted, had Allen dropping n-bombs and other offensive language posted in 2012 and 2013, when Allen would’ve been around 15 or 16 years old. While it was later learned that most of the words in the offending tweets came from popular television shows or movies, Allen has since apologized by stating he was young and dumb.
With the Allen camp in full damage-control mode — Allen reportedly called Stephen A. Smith at two a.m. this morning to explain and apologize for the tweets — his former college football program has gotten involved as well, with Craig Bohl issuing a statement of support for his ex-quarterback.
“I know Josh has apologized for the Twitter comments he made while in high school,” the Cowboys head coach stated. “As a member of our football team, he had great relationships with his teammates and our fanbase. During his time at Wyoming, he embraced diversity. We wish him all the best on his big night.”
Despite the mini-controversy less than 24 hours before the draft, it’s not expected that it will impact Allen’s positioning.
On the same day they picked up a significant graduate transfer, Georgia has seen another player leave Kirby Smart‘s football program.
As all of the cool transfers are doing these days, Jaleel Laguins took to his personal Twitter account to confirm that, “[a]fter careful consideration with coaches and family, I’d like to announce that I will be transferring from The University of Georgia.” “Athens will always be a special place for me, but now it’s time to start a new journey,” the linebacker added.
A four-star member of the Bulldogs’ 2016 recruiting class, Laguins was rated as the No. 10 inside linebacker in the country and the No. 21 player at any position in the state of Georgia. He was the top-rated linebacker in UGA’s class that year, and only three signees on the defensive side of the ball — defensive tackles Julian Rochester and Michail Carter, and defensive end Chauncey Manac — were rated higher.
As a true freshman, Laguins played in six games. He took a redshirt for this past season, and would have to sit out the 2018 season if he moved on to another FBS program.
Laguins was the second Georgia player to transfer this week. Tuesday, Pat Allen, a four-star 2015 offensive lineman, announced on his private Twitter account that he too was moving on from the Bulldogs. Allen began the 2017 season as UGA’s starting left guard but lost it heading into Week 2 and never regained it.
While one football series between an ACC and Big Ten team may be hard to come by, North Carolina and Minnesota have put together a future home-and-home scheduling agreement to look forward to. The Tar Heels and Gophers will meet for the first time on the football field in 2023 and follow up with a second game in 2024, the schools announced on Wednesday.
North Carolina will host Minnesota on Sept. 16, 2023. The two schools will then open the 2024 season at Minnesota, either on August 31, 2024 or for a Thursday opener on August 29, 2024.
The ACC and Big Ten each require their members to play one game against another power conference opponent each season. North Carolina already satisfied that requirement in 2024 with a season-opener against South Carolina scheduled to be played in Charlotte, NC, but the 2024 game fulfills the power conference scheduling requirement for the Tar Heels. The home-and-home series will also satisfy Minnesota’s obligation to the Big Ten scheduling policy for both seasons (Minnesota is getting an exemption for 2018 and 2019 due to previous scheduling arrangements being in place prior to the Big Ten’s stance on strength of schedule in non-conference play.
Ever since the in-state rivalry between Penn State and Pitt came to a temporary end in 2001, it has been a struggle to get the two schools back on the field for any stretch of time. With the third in a four-game series upcoming this fall, Pitt is hoping to find a way to continue playing the Nittany Lions on future schedules, but the offer is now apparently in Penn State’s hands awaiting a response.
Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke told reporters Wednesday she has proposed a four-year series beginning in 2026 to her Penn State counterpart, Sandy Barbour, but Penn State has not responded to the offer.
“We’re going to wait a tad more patiently, but not much,” Lyke said, according to Trib Live. “We can’t. We have people who want to play us and good opportunities to play what would be a very attractive game.”
The four-game series currently ongoing between the Panthers and Nittany Lions comes to a close after their meeting in the 2019 season in Happy Valley. According to FBSchedules.com, Penn State will not have another opening for a non-conference game until 2021. That is also the first season Pitt will have scheduling availability for non-conference matchups. Both schools already have power conference opponents lined up through 2025 as well, perhaps eliminating the desire to add another power conference opponent to the schedule.
Both Penn State and Pitt have scheduling requirements for non-conference play from the Big Ten and ACC, respectively, to include at least one game against another power conference opponent. It seems like a natural solution for Penn State and Pitt to agree to a long-term scheduling commitment to satisfy their respective conferences’ scheduling requirements, but the old issue has always come down to the financial incentive of a game. With Penn State playing in a larger stadium, it would be losing out on potential revenue that could be gained by an extra home game when possible. And playing road games at Pittsburgh only helps another program in the state by filling the seats more than any other home game on Pitt’s schedules in just about any season (Notre Dame and West Virginia would be other candidates to help Pitt fill Heinz Field).
It took so long just to get the two schools together for a two-year series, which was later expanded to a four-year arrangement. Don’t count on this in-state rivalry being renewed for quite some time after the 2019 season.