Look at any of the ‘hot name coaches’ lists about those who could be candidates to take some big Power Five jobs after this season and chances are that you’ll find Frank Wilson somewhere on the page.
The UTSA head coach had a very nice turnaround campaign in his first year on the job that included the young school’s first-ever bowl game appearance. While Wilson has already been mentioned for openings, such as the one at Ole Miss, the program is stepping up their game in hopes of keeping him around San Antonio longer than expected with a new contract.
While a few details leaked ahead of time, the school confirmed on Thursday that system regents had approved a new five-year deal for Wilson, starting on Sept. 1st, that will run through the 2021 season.
“We are very excited about the leadership that Coach Wilson has brought to our football program and athletic department as a whole,” UTSA athletic director Lynn Hickey said in a release. “Our objective is to be a dominant player in Conference USA, and making a commitment to Coach Wilson is an intentional step in ensuring that we become a program of excellence. A strong commitment to our football program will build the foundation that is needed to strengthen and grow resources for our all of our sports. We are fortunate and grateful for our donors who share in our vision and have enabled us to make this commitment.”
The new deal guarantees Wilson $900,000 for the upcoming season, followed by $50,000 and $25,000 increases the next two years. That results in a total of $4.775 million over the lifetime of the deal, which replaces the previous one agreed upon between the two parties and makes Wilson the highest paid coach in Conference USA when all is said and done.
Wilson is just 43 and has already developed a strong reputation for his ability to recruit after stops at LSU and Tennessee among others. Given how quickly he turned around things at UTSA it makes sense for the program to reward him with a new deal, not only as a way of saying thanks but also in hopes of having him stick around to keep things pointed in the right direction before Power Five programs come calling.
So much for that wagering momentum, I guess.
Entering the 2017 season as not only the reigning winner but also as seemingly an afterthought, a pair of scintillating performances to open the year pushed Lamar Jackson to the head of Bovada.lv‘s Heisman Trophy pack. Coming off a 26-point Week 3 loss to now-No. 2 Clemson in which he totaled nearly 400 yards of offense and three touchdowns, the Louisville quarterback has seen his odds lengthen a bit from 7/4 a week ago to 11/2 in Bovada‘s latest Heisman release.
Bovada’s new betting front-runner? Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, who went from 4/1 to 7/4. Sam Darnold, 6/1, also saw his odds shorten slightly to a Jackson-match 11/2.
Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph, 10/1 in the previous odds release, is now at 9/1, same as the holding-steady-from-a-week-ago Penn State running back Saquon Barkley.
There’s also, interestingly, one true freshman on the board: J.K. Dobbins. The Ohio State running back went from off the board to 40/1 odds. His starting quarterback, J.T. Barrett, saw his odds go from 25/1 to 33/1.
Below is the latest set of 2017 Heisman Trophy odds, again courtesy of Bovada.lv.
Illinois has an immediate addition to its quarterback room. Or its wide receivers room, depending on how things play out.
Pete DiNovo confirmed to the Tampa Bay Times Monday that he has decided to transfer to the Illini. The acknowledgment comes a month after DiNovo decided to transfer from Central Florida.
As a graduate transfer, DiNovo would be eligible to play immediately this season. Per the player, a former high school teammate and former high school coach currently at Illinois played a role in his decision.
“I couldn’t be happier with the way everything turned out,” DiNovo told the Times. “I can come up here and learn from Lovie (Smith) and everyone else on the coaching staff.”
DiNovo began his Knights career as a quarterback — he replaced Blake Bortles as UCF’s starter before being quickly replaced himself — before being moved to wide receiver before being moved back under center this offseason. How the Illini will use DiNovo, who has an eye on a career in coaching after his playing days are over, remains to be seen.
Not surprisingly, UTEP will stay in-house following its in-season dismissal of one of its coordinators.
The Miners confirmed Sunday that offensive coordinator Brent Pease had been fired. A day later, the football program announced that Brian Natkin has been given the keys to the offense by Sean Kugler and will call the plays moving forward.
Natkin began the season as special teams coordinator and tight ends coach. He was an All-American tight end at UTEP a decade-and-a-half ago and became a full-time assistant at his alma mater in 2011.
Through three games, UTEP ranks second-to-last nationally in total offense at 204.7 yards per game and in yards per play (3.89). The Miners are also 125th (out of 130 teams) in scoring at 13 points per game.
The promotion of Natkin also means there will be some additional adjustments to Kugler’s staff. Wide receivers coach Chuck Veliz will take over Pease’s other role as quarterbacks coach, while safeties coach Don Yanowsky assume Natkin’s duties as special teams coordinator.
Natkin will continue in his role as tight ends coach.
Oregon State quarterback Jake Luton was taken away on a stretcher after a tackle left him motionless on the Reser Stadium turf on Saturday.
Family members were called to the field, where medical professionals stabilized an apparently unconscious Luton and removed his face mask. The game continued, of course, as Oregon State lost to Washington State 52-23 despite Luton’s 179 passing yards and 22 rushing yards.
Luton tweeted on Saturday night that he’ll “be back.”
Luton has since been discharged from the hospital, according to The Oregonian, though his father posted a message stating Luton was probably dealing with a “thoracic spine fracture.”
Oregon State is off Saturday before hosting Washington on Sept. 30.