Getty Images

Doug Martin, New Mexico State agree to three-year contract extension

Leave a comment

At least when it comes to on-field results, this is, well, interesting to say the least. Off the field and in the classroom, however, it makes sense for the university.

Thursday night, New Mexico State announced that it had reached an agreement with Doug Martin on a three-year contract extension. With the new deal, the fifth-year head coach is now signed through the 2020 season.

After taking over a program that won just one game in 2012, Martin’s Aggies proceed to win two, two, three, three games in his first four seasons. This season, however, NMSU is 2-2 after four games, with those wins coming against in-state rival New Mexico and its biggest out-of-state rival in UTEP.

Those wins are kind of a big deal for the program as they haven’t beaten those two teams in the same season since 2002. Furthermore, the Aggies haven’t beaten the Lobos on the road and the Miners at home in the same season since 1976.

Aside from that on-field progress, the school in its press release highlighted what’s been going on off the field under Martin. And rightfully so as it’s fairly impressive what Martin and the program have done academically.

When Coach Martin accepted this job in 2013, there were significant hurdles the program faced such as APR scores, budget and on-field performance,” [atheltic director Mario] Moccia stated. “Since then, Doug and his staff have worked tirelessly to improve our APR score. While our budget remains to be a challenge, we’ve made efforts to stabilize that the best we can and put a focus towards football. From a performance standpoint, specifically this year, it’s evident to not only me but many others that there have been significant improvements from a competitive standpoint, which has culminated in us beating UNM and UTEP in the same season for the first time since 2002.”

Martin inherited a football program that had never met the NCAA Academic Progress Report standards. NM State’s APR multi-year score when he took over stood at 915, which was second to last in the league and led to the Aggies losing one day of practice a week. Fast forward to today and football’s 972 APR score in 2015-16 was one of the best in the Sun Belt Conference, ranking it only second to Troy – who’s score was just two points higher than NM State at 974.

“Four years ago we had a vision of building a football program at New Mexico State that would have great academic integrity and great players winning on and off the field,” Martin said. “The academic side has been accomplished as we are the only coaching staff in NM State history to achieve the NCAA APR score for football and have now done it four-straight years. What people are now seeing is the on field performance starting to take shape thanks to our talented players and coaches.

Lane Kiffin slaps FAU QB Chris Robison with ‘day-to-day suspension’

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Chris Robison‘s time in Norman ended in controversy. As he gets set to begin his quest to become Florida Atlantic’s starting quarterback, Robison is again mired in a bit of a kerfuffle.

As FAU kicked off spring practice Tuesday, Lane Kiffin confirmed that Robison has been indefinitely suspended from his football program.  The only reason given was the standard unspecified violation of team rules.

One sliver of light amongst the latest off-field cloud for Robison is that the suspension trigger seems to be relatively minor in nature as the head coach said it could be lifted at any time.

“[He’s] not doing things right off the field and not just that he hurt himself, but he hurt his team,” Kiffin said by way of the Palm Beach Post. “Like we just told our players, you got choices; we can’t make the choices for you. If you don’t want to make the right choices, [there are] punishments for them.

“I think our punishments are a bit more severe than most people would be, but we want to teach our guys they gotta do everything right.”

A four-star member of Oklahoma’s 2017 recruiting class, Robison was arrested in April of that year for public intoxication; four months later, OU announced that Robison had been dismissed from the football program.  In August of last year, Robison announced his decision to transfer to FAU and ended up taking a redshirt for the 2017 season.

Robison and De'Andre Johnson are expected to compete for the starting job vacated by Jason Driskel, who announced earlier this offseason that he was retiring from the sport.  Johnson missed most of the 2017 season after blood clots were discovered in one of his arms.

Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa injures thumb on throwing hand in spring practice opener

Getty Images
Leave a comment

This is not exactly the most optimal way to open the spring for Nick Saban and Alabama.

Shortly before seven p.m. ET this evening, grad transfer quarterback Gardner Minshew, who originally committed to play his last season of college football at Alabama, announced on Twitter that he will instead move on to Washington State.  Not long after that, after the Crimson Tide had completed their first practice of the spring, Saban confirmed that Tua Tagovailoa sustained an injury to the thumb on his right (throwing) hand.  Specifically how he sustained the injury wasn’t clear.

The rising sophomore will be taken to Birmingham for further evaluation; just how long he’ll be sidelined remains to be seen.

Jalen Hurts started every game but one at quarterback the past two seasons, guiding the Crimson Tide to a 26-2 record in that span.  He was under center for the national championship game loss to Clemson, and was in the same spot for this year’s title game against Georgia until a 13-0 halftime deficit compelled Saban to pull the trigger on a change.

And the rest, as they say, is history, as Tagovailoa played a significant role in a second-half comeback that was capped by the true freshman’s game-winning touchdown pass in the first overtime.  Even as it seems obvious to those on the outside that this is Tagovailoa’s team moving forward, given how much more advanced the backup is in the passing game than the erstwhile starter, Saban is not quite ready to pull the trigger on a full-time change at the position.  In fact, the head coach even stated that he’s open to playing both quarterbacks.

Minshew, who started five games at East Carolina last season, was viewed as experienced insurance in case Hurts decided to transfer.  Or, if Tagovailoa suffered an injury.

After committing to Alabama, grad transfer QB Gardner Minshew tweets flip to Washington State

Getty Images
Leave a comment

So much for the implementation of the Jalen Hurts Transfer Protection Plan™.

In late February, Gardner Minshew, a graduate transfer quarterback from East Carolina, confirmed that he had committed to play for Alabama and would enroll at the university in May.  Nearly three weeks later, Minshew shifted his course significantly, announcing on Twitter that he is “[p]roud to say that I’ll be playing my last year of college ball at Washington State.”

At least when it comes to the opportunity for playing time, the Cougars, looking to replace Luke Falk, make much more sense than the Crimson Tide, who has, in addition to a two-year starter in Hurts, national championship game hero Tua Tagovailoa.

As a graduate transfer, Minshew will be eligible to play immediately for Wazzu in 2018 and could be in line to win a starting job at the Power Five school.

Minshew started five games for the Pirates last season, throwing for 2,140 yards, 16 touchdowns and seven interceptions in completing just over 57 percent of his 304 pass attempts. Prior to his departure from ECU, he was penciled in as the Pirates’ 2018 starting quarterback.

The news of Minshew’s initial commitment to UA came a little over a week after Minshew visited the Tuscaloosa campus.  Earlier in February, it was reported that Alabama had an interest in Minshew, the quarterback who announced late last month that he had withdrawn from East Carolina to tend to a personal matter in his home state of Mississippi.

WATCH: Amazon releases trailer for ‘All or Nothing’ season following Michigan

Getty Images

“All or Nothing” has been Amazon’s answer to HBO’s “Hard Knocks” with one clear distinction — “All or Nothing” actually follows its subject throughout the season. The first two seasons followed the Arizona Cardinals and the Los Angeles Rams, and has now expanded into the college game. Amazon on Tuesday unveiled the trailer for its upcoming season with Michigan, in which its cameras followed Jim Harbaugh‘s Wolverines through an 8-5 campaign where the maize and blue won no games of consequence.

This is not the first such documentary series to follow a college team. Showtime’s “A Season With” has chronicled seasons of Florida State, Notre Dame and Navy.

The upcoming season will hit all Amazon Prime streaming devices on April 6.