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AAC commissioner Mike Aresco has contract extended into 2022

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The American Athletic Conference announced a contract extension for commissioner Mike Aresco on Monday. Aresco, who has served as the commissioner of the conference since its founding following the split of the old Big East, will remain the commissioner until June 2022.

“Mike Aresco has done an outstanding job of leading the American Athletic Conference through its early years and I am very happy that he will continue on with us,” Susan Herbst, President of the University of Connecticut and Chair of The American’s Board of Directors, said in a released statement. “Mike is a strong commissioner who is respected by the presidents and institutions within the Conference. It is important for The American to have excellent, consistent leadership and that is what Mike provides.”

Aresco oversaw the conference through its transition from the old Big East to its rebranded image as the American Athletic Conference in 2013 (Aresco was named Big East commissioner in August 2012, but was unable to save a sinking ship amid realignment changes in college sports). During his time as commissioner, the AAC has expanded with the additions of East Carolina, Tulsa and Tulane in all sports, Navy in football, and just recently with the addition of Wichita State basketball. Of course, Aresco has also been at the helm at a time when the Big East basketball schools split off following recent departures from the conference and saw Rutgers lured away by the Big Ten in the years after losing Louisville, Syracuse, and Pittsburgh to the ACC.

Aresco has also led the charge to have the AAC recognized as a power conference by its peers, which has been a worthy goal but a futile attempt in reality.

“I am extremely proud of the progress that this Conference has made,” Aresco said in a released statement. “Our presidents and athletic directors have made the commitment necessary for us to become a Power 6 conference and have, in a difficult environment, provided the vision and resources that have enabled our student-athletes and coaches to compete at the highest level.”

Perhaps the biggest win Aresco has seen during his watch was somehow avoiding having the Big 12 come picking at the conference last fall. Big 12 expansion candidates were believed to include a handful of AAC programs (Cincinnati, Houston, UCF, USF, Memphis), yet the Big 12 chose to not follow through with conference expansion, thus saving the AAC from being raided as the old Big East had in the past.

Dad of Alabama’s Matt Womack confirms starting RT son to miss spring practice after foot surgery

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Alabama will kick off spring practice later on Tuesday, but the reigning national champions will do so without an integral piece of its offensive line.

The father of the lineman, David Womack, confirmed to Rivals.com that Matt Womack will undergo surgery Wednesday to repair a broken bone in his right foot.  As a result, the rising redshirt junior will miss all of the Crimson Tide’s 15 spring practice sessions.

Per David Womack, his son suffered the injury while jumping boxes during workouts.

Recovery time is expected to be in the range of six weeks, which means that, barring a setback, he’ll be fully healthy for the start of summer camp in early August.

Womack started all 14 games at right tackle in the Tide’s run to its 17th national championship last season.  As a redshirt freshman the year before, Womack, a three-star member of UA’s 2015 signing class, played in nine games.

Kansas loses assistant coach… to the oil industry

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This might be the most Big 12 way ever to lose an assistant football coach.

According to both Rivals.com and the Lawrence Journal-World, Todd Bradford is leaving his post as Kansas’ linebackers coach.  The reason?  He’s returning to the oil business.

Bradford was fired as the defensive coordinator at Maryland in January of 2012, with that dismissal, and the health of his mother, leading to him leaving the coaching profession for a job in the oil field for the next four years.

“A guy that I was involved with and had business dealings when I was in the oil world before I was helping with my mom reached out to me,” Bradford told JayhawkSlant.com when it came to his decision-making process this time around. “He told me he had some companies that were doing really well and he needed someone to come in and help me run them. He asked if I was interested and I told him I was happy coaching.

“Then he called two more times after that and offered me the job after signing day. I turned it down twice. But each time the offer was getting a little bit better and by the third time financially it was oil world money.”

Bradford spent his first two seasons with the Jayhawks as linebackers coach.  The football program had previously confirmed that he would coach safeties in 2018.

NFL assistant Jake Peetz returning to Alabama as offensive analyst

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On the heels of an extended stint in the NFL, Jake Peetz is headed back to Tuscaloosa.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, Peetz has taken a job as an offensive analyst at Alabama.  Peetz had been slated to serve as Josh McDaniels‘ offensive coordinator with the Indianapolis Colts before McDaniels abruptly opted to remain with the New England Patriots.

The 34-year-old Peetz is returning to a role he held with the Crimson Tide during the 2013 season.  His only other job at the FBS level came in 2007 as a defensive quality control coach at UCLA.

After his first stint with ‘Bama, Peetz spent the 2014 season as offensive quality control coach and wide receivers assistant with the Washington Redskins.  The past three years for Peetz have been spent with the Oakland Raiders, the last season as quarterbacks coach.

Army ‘will probably’ give RB Kell Walker a shot at playing QB

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With uncertainty surrounding Ahmad Bradshaw, Army will apparently leave no stone unturned when it comes to the triggerman for its offense.

While Bradshaw, the Black Knights’ starting quarterback the past three seasons, will be a cadet at the service academy this fall, it’s unclear — or even unlikely — that he’ll be permitted to play football in 2018.  In December of last year, the Army defended an internal investigation that concluded Bradshaw and a female cadet had a consensual sexual relationship.

“We are,” head coach Jeff Monken said according to the Times Herald-Record when asked if the football team is moving forward under the assumption that Bradshaw will not be available this season. “We kind of have to move in that direction because we don’t know what the status is going to be. Right now, we are just preparing for us to have a new quarterback.”

With that in mind, Monken also confirmed this week “that sophomore slotback Kell Walker ‘will probably’ get a look at quarterback when the Black Knights open spring practice Tuesday,” Sal Interdonato of HudsonValley.com wrote.  Walker, who was third on the Black Knights in rushing last season (629 yards) and led them in yards per carry at 7.3, has never played quarterback before at any level.

Army, of course, is unique in that its offense allows them to even attempt such an experiment as their run-heavy system resulted in just 65 passes in 13 games last season.  Conversely, they led the nation in rushing at 362.3 yards per game.

“We will probably play him there some just to see what he is capable of doing,” Monken said of Walker by way of the Herald-Record. “We obviously want to get the ball in his hands as often as we can. He’s a good player for us. I think that would be a way to do that. I just don’t know if he’s going to be the guy that can lead our offense.

“The leadership piece for the quarterback is maybe as important as anything. I think he’s a good leader whether he will be able to lead from that position I do not know.”

The potential loss of Bradshaw, though, can’t be understated.  As a junior last season, Bradshaw ran for a school-record 1,746 yards and accounted for 14 of the Black Knights’ 50 rushing touchdowns.

The Walker experiment notwithstanding, Kelvin Hopkins will likely head into the spring as the favorite to replace Bradshaw under center.  The sophomore was the only player other than Bradshaw to attempt a pass last season, throwing 18 times (six completions) for 76 yards, one touchdown and one interception.  He also carried the ball seven times for 40 yards.