Texas DC Todd Orlando joins the $1 million assistant coaching club

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Considering the overall value of the Texas football program, it may come as a bit of a shock the Longhorns have never paid an assistant coach $1 million prior to now. That is no longer the case in Austin after Texas regents put their stamp of approval on contract terms for defensive coordinator Todd Orlando. Orlando will join the ranks of handsomely-paid assistant coaches with over $1 million attached to his contract.

According to the  Austin American-Statesman, Orlando’s contract will net him $1.09 million annually through the end of March 2020. That puts Orlando just ahead of Alabama’s Jeremy Pruitt according to the database of coaching salaries organized by USA Today, going off the 2016 numbers. Orlando joins a growing list of assistant coaches being paid at least a million dollars in 2017. Michigan will be paying three assistants $1 million or more this upcoming season.

Texas has plenty of resources at its disposal, and it is clear the university is committed to supporting head coach Tom Herman and his staff financially. Orlando’s predecessor in Austin, Vance Bedford, was paid $800,625 in total pay in 2016. Bedford was certainly experienced prior to joining Charlie Strong at Texas, with assistant coaching experience dating back to 1987 at the college level. That’s a few more years than Orlando has under his belt, but Orlando and Herman have been together since Herman brought him to Houston in 2015.

“I mean, I’ve seen Todd Orlando make chicken salad out of some lesser parts, so I have a lot of confidence in that staff and what they’re able to do with whatever talent that we’ve inherited,” Herman said recently, per the Austin American-Statesman.

Texas making a move to pay an assistant coach this richly speaks volumes. When an assistant coach receives a $1 million (or more) contract, the message resonates that the program is invested in providing stability and competing with the best of the best. Remember, this is also the same school that just splurged on TVs above players’ lockers. Now, Texas is showing they are willing to spend money on the assistant coaches as well like never before.

In addition to Orlando’s sizable contract being approved by Texas regents, seven other contracts for assistants were approved. Among them was a three-year contract for offensive coordinator Tim Beck, who will be paid $790,000 per year.

Butch Jones says the most Butch Jones quote of all time

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It’s become a theory among some in the media that Butch Jones is conducting a social experiment or participating some sort of performance art. While that’s the more charitable and fun interpretation, I tend to think the Tennessee head coach is just frighteningly insecure and, thus, fighting for every inch of public approval he can in a likely doomed attempt to keep his job.

That approach has backed him into some verbal corners that, in the long run, make his job more difficult on himself.

I’m talking about the “Champions of Life” quote of last season or, in February, actually stating that he didn’t want 5-star players, he wanted 5-star hearts.

This season has seen Jones go on an odd rant blaming the media for negative recruiting and saying Tennessee had one of the best bye weeks ever last week.

It wasn’t one of the best bye weeks ever, because Tennessee lost at home to South Carolina, 15-9. And you’re not going to believe Jones’s explanation for why Tennessee loss. Scratch that. You will believe his explanation, and that’s the problem here, isn’t it?

Here’s the full quote.

Jones is 33-24 in his four-plus seasons in Knoxville, and 14-21 in the SEC. Those numbers will likely fall to 33-25 and 14-22 after Saturday, when the Vols face No. 1 Alabama. The end is likely near.

And here’s the grand irony of Jones’s everything’s-sunny-here p.r. strategy: his attempt to keep his job by stating blatantly cliche quotes in the state of the obvious will live on much longer than Jones’s actual tenure. Two and three years from now, when Jones is working on someone else’s staff or sitting on his buyout money, the next time an on-the-hot-seat coach says his team won the game everywhere except the scoreboard, we’ll see he Pulled a Butch.

Houston Nutt settles lawsuit with Ole Miss

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Houston Nutt wanted money and an apology from Ole Miss. He’ll have to settle for the second of the two — and a largely different future for the program he used to lead.

It was Nutt’s lawsuit, remember, which exposed the documents that led to a Mississippi State fan finding Hugh Freeze‘s call to a Tampa escort service, which led to Freeze’s resignation, which led to… we have no idea what it will lead to, but, whatever that future is, it will be wildly different than if Freeze was still the Rebels’ coach.

Nutt amended his lawsuit in August to seek simply an apology from Ole Miss, and that apology finally came on Monday.

Each side released their own bitter, short statements.

Nutt will go on, with his apology but without any monetary compensation, while Ole Miss will play out the string of this season, hire a new coach, and move into a future that will be immeasurably different that the one it would have lived had it apologized to Nutt in the first place.

Washington loses LT Adams, CB Miller for the season

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No. 12 Washington’s loss to Arizona State was a disaster on the field — for more reasons than one.

The Huskies not only put their College Football Playoff hopes in danger — they’ll need to sweep their next six games, including a finishing kick that calls for games against No. 22 Stanford, No. 15 Washington State and, presumably, No. 11 USC, two of them away from Seattle. But the road to get there became noticeably more difficult after losing two starters.

Left tackle Trey Adams suffered a torn ACL in his right knee, and cornerback Jordan Miller sustained a broken ankle. Head coach Chris Petersen confirmed Monday that both will be lost for the season. Miller is the third Husky this season to suffer a broken ankle.

The Seattle Times noted that Washington is also without another starting corner in Byron Murphy, who is expected to return later this year from a broken foot. The Huskies are expected to replace Miller with either a pair of true freshmen or a converted running back.

But Adams may be the bigger loss for the Huskies. A junior, Adams was widely expected to be a first round pick in this spring’s NFL Draft. It’s the second straight season Washington has lost a key player in the trenches to a season-ending injury; a year ago, it was linebackers Joe Mathis, who finished one sack away from the team lead despite playing in only seven games, and third-leading tackler Azeem Victor.

Maryland AD Kevin Anderson to take 6-month sabbatical

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Maryland AD Kevin Anderson will not be the Maryland AD for the next six months.

Anderson announced Monday he will take a 6-month sabbatical to focus on “professional development.” That leave of absence will see him remain on his national committees with the NCAA and NACDA, the professional organization of ADs.

It was reported over the weekend that Anderson would be out completely as Maryland’s AD, but those reports were knocked down by the university.

Additionally, Maryland announced that former Georgia AD and current Terps associate AD/CFO Damon Evans will run the department in Anderson’s stead.