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Michigan formally announces addition of Greg Frey as assistant coach

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The latest addition to Jim Harbaugh‘s Michigan coaching staff is a familiar one in Ann Arbor.

Coming on the heels of significant speculation the past few days, UM officially announced Thursday that Greg Frey has joined Harbaugh as a Wolverines assistant.  Specifically, Frey will handle offensive tackles and tight ends.  Additionally, he’ll carry the title of running-game coordinator.

Jay Harbaugh, the head coach’s son who coached tight ends last season, will move over to running backs.

The hiring of Frey serves as a return for the coach as he was an assistant on Rich Rodriguez‘s staff.  From 2008-10, Frey served as the Wolverines’ line coach.

“We are excited to welcome Greg back to the Michigan football program and University community,” said Harbaugh in a statement. “Coach Frey has a proven track record of success; his character, work ethic and dedication are at the highest level. Greg has also been outstanding at developing NFL talent at the offensive line and running back positions, and his knowledge of run game principles will undoubtedly benefit our offense. We are eager to have Greg, his wife Andrea and their four boys join our football family.”

After leaving UM in 2010, Frey spent the past six seasons at Indiana.  In addition to his line duties, Frey held titles of running-game coordinator (2012-13), co-offensive coordinator (2014-15) and assistant head coach (2016) during is time with the Hoosiers.

In 2015, Frey was a nominee for the Broyles Award, given annually to the nation’s top assistant coach.

“It is an honor and privilege to be able to return to the University of Michigan,” said Frey. “I am humbled and excited about this opportunity to work with Coach Jim Harbaugh, one of the leading minds in all of football, while joining an amazing staff that he has assembled at Michigan. I look forward to watching our student-athletes develop as great men, students and athletes. I’m ready to get to work representing this University and football program.”

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.