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Dabo Swinney continues preaching ‘never say never’ when it comes to replacing Nick Saban at Alabama

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If nothing else, Dabo Swinney is extremely consistent with this bit of lingering and ongoing speculation.

Swinney is a native of Birmingham, Ala., and played wide receiver for Alabama in the early nineties.  Given that connection, the school of thought is that, when Nick Saban decides to retire, the Crimson Tide’s first call will be to Swinney.

You don’t ever say never,” the Clemson head coach said in November of 2015, a little over a year before the Tigers beat the Tide for the 2016 national championship, when asked about such a possibility. “You don’t ever know what the circumstances would be at any given time.”

Fast-forward to the here and now, and Swinney is singing from the same hymnal when it comes to talk of replacing Saban.

“I’ve always said you never say never because you never know what the dynamics will be,” the coach said Wednesday on the Kirk Herbstreit/Ian Fitzsimmons podcast.

In August of this year, the 47-year-old Swinney — he’ll be 48 in November — reached an agreement on a new seven-year, $54 million contract that leaves him signed through the 2024 season. Swinney would owe the university a $6 million buyout if he leaves anytime between now and Dec. 31, 2018.  That number would then drop to $4 million if he leaves before Dec. 31, 2019, then drops by $1 million each year through the same date in 2022. It would then be $1 million for the final two seasons on the deal.

In May of this year, the 65-year-old Saban — he’ll be 66 in October — agreed to a contract extension that leaves him signed through the 2024 season.  Saban will turn 73 years old during that 2024 season.

A little factoid that might interest some: Swinney would be 56 at the start of the 2025 season, the same age as Saban when he took over the Tide in 2007.

Anyway, below is TigerNet.com‘s transcription of the pertinent Swinney/Alabama portions of the podcast, which you can listen to in its entirety HERE:

They [Clemson] may run me out of here, they’ve [schools] fired Bobby Bowden and Joe Paterno and you name it, so I don’t think about it,” Swinney said. “I just love what I do, whether or not I retire here or not, I have a long way to go. You can retire a lot worse places than Clemson, SC; this place is special. I love it. Who knows what God’s got in store for me down the road. I just kinda take it one day at a time, one year at a time. Hopefully, we can be about the right things and the right way. Who knows what God has planned for me 10-15 years down the road will be.”

Herbstreit pressed him on the issue if he would one day coach at Alabama after Nick Saban hangs it up.

“We just beat them [Alabama] for the National Championship I think,” Swinney joked. “First of all…anybody that would suggest that or say that I am humbled by that and certainly appreciate anybody that would even think that way that they would want me be a candidate for a job like Alabama or whatever. But that’s just kinda the fandom. You know people just naturally make connections and think things like that and they never really consider all factors. I’ve always said you never say never because you never know what the dynamics will be. Ten years from now, Alabama may call me and want me to come to Alabama and Clemson people may hate me at that point. I may have a terrible president or AD. There are dynamics that change. I have always focused on being great at where I’m at and blooming where I’m planted. All I know is there is nothing we can’t do here at Clemson. I don’t have to go somewhere else to win at the highest level.

A&M the landing spot for UCF RB Cordarrian Richardson

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The strange journey of Cordarrian Richardson has taken yet another twist.

The running back confirmed to the Memphis Commercial-Appeal late this past week that he has decided to leave UCF and transfer to Texas A&M.  The true freshman will have to sit out the 2018 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules, but will have three years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2019.

Last season, Richardson ran for 161 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 47 carries for the unbeaten Knights.

On National Signing Day in 2017, Richardson announced via a weather balloon in outer space that he would be signing with Maryland.  A day later, however, Richardson faxed in a signed NLI… to a school that wasn’t even in his final four — UCF.  Maryland, Michigan State, Oklahoma and Ole Miss, were the top four teams that appeared in his original “commitment” video.

Richardson was also heavily recruited by Florida State, which at the time was coached by new A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher.

A four-star 2017 signee, Richardson was rated as the No. 9 back in the country; the No. 8 player at any position in the state of Tennessee; and the No. 157 player overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board.  He was far and away the highest-rated signee in the Knights’ class that year.

Arkansas kicker Cole Hedlund reportedly transfers to North Texas

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And you can pardon the whole of the state of Arkansas if they let out a collective “thank goodness.”

Citing multiple sources with knowledge of the situation, Brett Vito of the Denton Record-Chronicle is reporting that Cole Hedlund is transferring to North Texas.  After redshirting as a true freshman in 2014 at Arkansas, Hedlund spent the next three seasons as a placekicker for the Razorbacks.

The Argyle, Tex., native opted to transfer from UA for his final season of eligibility.  He’s the youngest son of UNT women’s soccer coach John Hedlund.

For his career with the Razorbacks, Hedlund hit on 14 of his 24 field goal attempts.  He also connected on all 91 extra point attempts.  His best season came in 2015 when he led the team in scoring with 85 points.

The past season, however, was a rough one.  After missing both field goal attempts in a Sept. 9 loss to TCU — the misses came from 20 and 23 yards out — Hedlund never attempted another kick for the Razorbacks the rest of the season.

“It was basically a PAT, and it was a perfect protection and a perfect snap. It’s inexcusable,” then-head coach Bret Bielema said at the time.

Longtime BYU defensive assistant Steve Kaufusi steps down

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A constant on BYU’s defensive staff for nearly two decades has taken himself out of the football program’s equation.

The Cougars announced Friday that Steve Kaufusi has stepped down from his post as linebackers coach.  Per the school, Kaufusi’s departure was triggered by his desire to pursue other unspecified interests.

Kaufusi, whose wife Michelle is the mayor of Provo and has two sons who will play for the Cougars this season, had spent the past 16 seasons with BYU.  From 2002-16, he coached the defensive line; he took over linebackers in 2017 and spent one season overseeing that position.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to coach at BYU for the past 16 seasons,” Kaufusi said. “I’m honored to have had the opportunity to represent the University and everything it stands for. I will always be a Cougar and look forward to watching my sons play at BYU.”

“Anyone who knows Steve knows he is an exceptional coach and mentor to young men, which you can see in the players he has coached over the years and also in his own family,” head coach Kalani Sitake said. “I wish Steve nothing but the best for his future.”

In tandem with the Kaufusi announcement, the program also confirmed that Preston Hadley has been hired.  Hadley, who played defensive back for the Cougars and coached at Weber State the past two seasons, will coach safeties in his return.

Ed Lamb, who was responsible for safeties, will take over Kaufusi’s linebackers.  All other coaches on the defensive side of the ball will maintain their current positions.

Michigan State promotes Mike Tressel to DC, adds ex-Kent State HC as DBs coach

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Mark Dantonio looked inside and out of his football program to fill some holes in his Michigan State staff.

Nearly two weeks ago, Harlon Barnett left as MSU’s co-defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach to take a job at Florida State.  That left Dantonio with two openings, one of which the head coach closed Friday by promoting Mike Tressel to defensive coordinator.

Tressel and Barnett had served as co-coordinators the past three seasons; the nephew of former Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel will now serve as the Spartans’ solo coordinator moving forward.

“Mike has done a tremendous job working with the defense,” said Dantonio in a statement. “He’s been deeply involved with everything with the defense since we first arrived here, and has helped coach some championship defenses that have been ranked consistently among the best in the nation, year in and year out. He did a great job as co-coordinator the past three years. He’s certainly earned this opportunity and I think he’ll do an outstanding job.”

To replace Barnett as defensive backs coach, Dantonio turned to Paul Haynes.  The past five years, Haynes was the head coach at Kent State before being dismissed at the end of the 2017 regular season.

This serves as a homecoming of sorts for Haynes as well.  From 2003-04, he was the defensive backs coach for the Spartans under John Smith.

The 48-year-old Haynes has also been a secondary coach at Arkansas (2012), Ohio State (2005-10), Louisville (2002) and Kent State (1999).

“We’re very, very excited about Paul,” said Dantonio. “He’s coached here before so he’s got a Spartan background. He was secondary coach and co-defensive coordinator at Ohio State, so he’s coached on the highest level with the secondary. He was a defensive coordinator at Arkansas as well. He’s been a head coach at Kent State, so I think that gives him a big picture feel. I think he’s an excellent recruiter. He’s a dynamic person as well, so we’re excited to have him on campus.”