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Texas booster Red McCombs gives Tom Herman hiring his blessing

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Charlie Strong seemingly hadn’t even made his leather desk chair in Austin warm yet until Red McCombs lobbed his “position coach” comment at him. For those who don’t recall, the Longhorns super-booster said of Strong’s hiring, “I think the whole thing is a bit sideways. I don’t have any doubt that Charlie is a fine coach. I think he would make a great position coach, maybe a coordinator.”

McCombs later apologized for the comment, but those words, the terms he categorized UT’s first black coach in, followed the program around for the entirety of Strong’s 3-year tenure. Even when the Texas president and athletics director made cheering statements supporting their coach fighting to reach the .500 mark, McCombs’s comments were trudged out any time a commentator looked to make a point how Strong never had a chance in Austin.

Tom Herman won’t have to deal with any of that.

Speaking with Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman, McCombs said, “We got the right man.”

“I know Tom by reputation, and spoke to him this morning. This guy is the real deal,” McCombs said. “If you list his 10 greatest qualities, coaching might be No. 7 or 8. His greatest is recognizing talent. The second one is recognizing the enemy and what it takes to beat him. There are some guys out there we know are winners because we’ve played them and gotten our ass beat the last two years.”

The former owner of the Minnesota Vikings and the San Antonio Spurs, McCombs is a billionaire that has his name on the Texas business school and the softball stadium. He’s also an octogenarian. His later quotes proved he gives as much a damn as one would expect an octogenarian billionaire to give.

“He tried hard, but it wasn’t there,” McCombs said of Strong. “It just didn’t fit, and he had to be frustrated out of his head. You got to have confidence when you step into that ring. It’s like being in Madison Square Garden and the whole world is looking at you. I tried to get the powers-to-be to have mercy on him after two years. That was like me running NASA.”

Having given likely the final quote on Strong he’ll ever give, McCombs then set the expectations for Herman’s time in Austin. And Major Applewhite‘s.

“We’ll be back in that circle of the top five or six teams in the country soon,” McCombs said. “It won’t take long. I think Tom will blow the lid off it. In 10 years, we’ll get an awful lot out of him. And after Major Applewhite does the same thing at Houston, then we’ll get him.”

‘Family reasons’ lead two-year starter at WR to leave Utah

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Suddenly, Utah’s receiving corps is significantly depleted.

The Utes confirmed Thursday that Raelon Singleton has decided to leave Kyle Whittingham‘s football program.  The school cited unspecified “family reasons” for the redshirt junior wide receiver moving on from the Utes.

“We are sorry to see Raelon leave, but understand that his family comes first,” a statement from the head coach read. “We appreciate his contributions to our program over the last four years and wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

Singleton, a native of the state of Texas, will graduate from the university in May.  That would make him eligible to play immediately in 2018 at another FCS school if that’s the route he chooses to take.

The past two seasons, Singleton was the Utes’ second-leading receiver yards-wise.  He had 36 receptions for 531 yards and four touchdowns this past season, and went 27-464-4 in 2016.

With Singleton’s departure and leading receiver Darren Carrington‘s expired eligibility, the Utes will have to replace 106 receptions and 1,511 yards.  That twosome also combined for 10 touchdown catches; as a team, the Utes had 18 this past season.

Peter Sirmon steps down as Bobby Petrino’s DC at Louisville

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It’s that time of year for a handful of coaching surprises.

The latest such development comes from Louisville, with Jody Demling of CardinalAuthority.com the first to report that Peter Sirmon has stepped down as the U of L’s defensive coordinator.  The football program subsequently confirmed that Sirmon has left Bobby Petrino‘s coaching staff.

“I would like to thank Peter Sirmon for all his work this season at the University of Louisville,” a statement attributed to the head coach began. “I wish him and his family all the best.”

Sirmon just completed his first season with the Cardinals.  In his lone season, the U of L finished 70th in scoring defense (27.4 ppg) and 62nd in total defense (388.1 ypg); in the year prior to arrival, they were 71st (27.1 pp) and 59th (387 ypg), respectively, in those categories.

Prior to the U of L, Sirmon had served as the coordinator at Mississippi State for one season in 2016.

QB Zerrick Cooper announces transfer from Clemson

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Not surprisingly, Clemson’s quarterback room will have one less familiar face in it this season than it did last.

Using Clemson’s official Twitter account, Zerrick Cooper announced Friday that he has decided to transfer from the Tigers.  In his statement, the quarterback indicated that he was moving on in order to find a better opportunity for playing time.

“This is no reflection of the Clemson family,” Cooper wrote, “but rather a direct reflection of my drive to lead, play & compete.”

Cooper was a four-star member of the Tigers’ 2016 recruiting class, rated as the No. 7 dual-threat quarterback in the country.  After redshirting as a true freshman, Cooper, along with Hunter Johnson, served as the backups to starter Kelly Bryant following the competition to replace Deshaun Watson.

Of the two, the strong-armed Cooper saw the most action as he completed 25 of his 41 attempts for 256 yards and a pair of touchdowns in seven games.  Johnson, a true freshman who was a five-star 2017 signee, attempted 27 passes.  However, by the end of the season, Johnson had seemingly become Bryant’s primary backup.

Both Bryant and Johnson will return in 2018.  Perhaps more than anything, however, Clemson signed Trevor Lawrence, the top-rated player in the Class of 2018, as part of the first-ever early signing period last month.

Alabama reportedly raids Penn State staff for new WRs coach

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Nick Saban‘s latest reshaping of his coaching will reportedly come at the expense of a Big Ten school.

Earlier Thursday, a report surfaced that Mike Locksley was being promoted by Saban to offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.  As Locksley served as Alabama’s wide receivers coach this past season, it left Saban in search of a new coach for that positional group.

According to FootballScoop.com, that search has ended as Penn State’s Josh Gattis is expected to take the job.  Gattis will also serve as the Tide’s co-offensive coordinator.

A couple of other outlets confirmed the initial report.

Gattis had spent the past six seasons on James Franklin-led coaching staff, the first two at Vanderbilt and the last four at Penn State.  In addition to receivers coach, Gattis held the title of passing-game coordinator and assistant special teams coordinator with the Nittany Lions.