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More chatter connects Jimbo Fisher to potential opening at A&M

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There’s not even an opening (yet) at Texas A&M, but a big coaching fish continues to surface as a potential replacement for Kevin Sumlin.

Earlier this month, Brent Zwerneman of the Houston Chronicle was the first to mention Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher as one who could succeed Sumlin if the program goes in another direction, saying during an appearance on the Paul Finebaum Show that “Fisher has been mentioned around [College Station] for some time now.”  Tuesday, Dan Wolken of USA Today added additional fuel to the Fisher-A&M speculation.  From Wolken’s report:

A&M is expected to inquire about the interest level of… Fisher once its separation from current coach Kevin Sumlin is official at the end of the season, according to two people familiar with the situation.

Wolken also noted a “longstanding relationship” between Fisher and current A&M athletic director Scott Woodward.  During Fisher’s time on Nick Saban’s LSU coaching staff, Woodward served the university chancellor’s representative to the athletic department.

The rumors connecting Fisher to the Aggies come amidst what is easily the head coach’s worst season in Tallahassee.  After going 78-17 his first seven seasons, including one national title and three ACC championships, the Seminoles are 3-6 in 2017.  In order to avoid missing out on a bowl for the first time since 1981, FSU needs wins in each of its last three games.

While the same can’t be said for some members of his coaching staff, there’s been relatively little fire-him heat on Fisher specifically during this lost season, although that could change if no moves are made on assistants/coordinators in the offseason.  Should Fisher, who had been connected to the LSU job the last couple of years and is said to have built an SEC program that plays in the ACC, opt to leave the Seminoles for the Aggies, or anyone else for that matter, he would reportedly owe the university, at most, in the neighborhood of $7 million.

As for Sumlin?  He came into the 2017 season with a very public win-or-else mandate from his boss.  Following a historic season-opening collapse against UCLA, one regent very publicly called for the coach’s immediate ouster.  While such rhetoric has somewhat abated, the fact that the 6-4 Aggies are looking at potentially a fourth straight 8-5 season in Year 6 under Sumlin doesn’t bode well for the coach’s future.

In fact, the biggest news to come out of Wolken’s report may not even be A&M’s interest in Fisher.  Instead, it very well could be that the college football insider wrote as if the decision has already been made to can the coach. “[O]nce its separation from current coach Kevin Sumlin is official at the end of the season,” Wolken wrote.

Regardless, it appears the 2017-18 coaching carousel is in full swing and won’t slow down for the next 6-8 weeks.  Buckle up.  And grab your popcorn.

WATCH: Penn State players danced to Backstreet Boys and Nicki Minaj at THON

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Everybody, rock your body! Penn State football players put on an impressively choreographed performance during a brief skit at Penn State’s annual THON dance marathon.

Although Penn State players were unable to participate in a separate THON-related event due to a scheduling oversight and an NCAA rule, a handful of representatives from the football program took the stage to show off their best dance moves (as did every other Penn State sports team, and more). The mix started off with some Backstreet Boys and ended with some Nicki Minaj, with one player dressed for the part.

The results from Penn State’s annual dance marathon are in too. Penn State students raised $10,151,663.93 to put toward fighting pediatric cancer.

Florida players say they are working harder than ever before in offseason workouts

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It did not take very long for Dan Mullen to prove his way of working in the offseason is going to be a little different from what Florida players had become accustomed to. Judging by a few tweets from Gators players coming out in recent days, Mullen has Florida players working harder than they have in quite some time.

It is not all that uncommon to have a completely new approach to training and physical conditioning any time there is a coaching change at a football program, and the mere change in workout approach alone can be enough to send a jolt through an entire program. Not to suggest workouts under former head coach (and new Michigan offensive assistant) Jim McElwain were easy, but some players on Florida’s roster are claiming on Twitter the workouts they are going through now are getting the job done.

Mullen brought strength and conditioning coach Nick Savage with him from Mississippi State, and you probably see why. Savage has quickly earned the respect of a number of the Florida football players after some intense workouts. Mullen and Savage are out to raise the bar when it comes to both toughness and physical endurance. That could have been seen as an area of weakness for Florida the past couple of years against certain teams (Alabama and Michigan, for example).

The work being put in now is just the beginning for how Mullen wants to get Florida back to the top of the SEC. Getting the team stronger now will have to lead to on-field development as well, especially on offense. Fortunately for Mullen, the offense has been one of his specialties.

Helmet sticker to SEC Country.

Iowa State starting offensive lineman busted for being in bar while underage

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Somebody needs a new fake ID.

Iowa State offensive lineman Sean Foster spent some time in jail overnight after being arrested for being in a bar while underage and interfering with an official. He was charged with two counts; one for “minors prohibited on certain premises” and another for “interference with official acts,” according to an Ames Tribune report. Foster was released from jail with $600 in total bonds for his two charges.

A redshirt sophomore right tackle, Foster started six games for the Cyclones in 2017, including the final four games of the season that concluded with the Liberty Bowl against Memphis. He remains in line for the starting job at right tackle again in 2018, beginning with a chance to start the spring as the expected starter. This particular incident may not affect that outlook all that much in the grand scheme of things, so long as Foster stays out of additional trouble and there isn’t more to the story behind the scenes.

According to the Ames Tribune, Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell was not expected to release any comment or statement about the incident. Foster’s status with the Iowa State program is unchanged until given further notice, although some form of internal discipline for an act like this is likely to occur in some capacity at some point in time.

Jim McElwain reportedly signs deal to join Michigan coaching staff

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The Jim McElwain watch in Ann Arbor is essentially done. ESPN reports the former head coach of the Florida Gators has signed a deal to join Jim Harbaugh as a new member of the Michigan coaching staff. Michigan has not formally announced the new addition yet, but McElwain told ESPN he is getting to work right away as a wide receivers coach.

I’m excited to get back into it and am looking forward to going there and learning and helping Michigan get better,” McElwain said to ESPN‘s Chris Low, who reported the latest update in the ongoing McElwain-To-Michigan story. It has been quite a year for McElwain, who has now gone from wanting to “beat the heck out of Michigan” to joining Harbaugh as an offensive assistant (Harbaugh was 2-0 against McElwain in head-to-head meetings between Michigan and Florida).

McElwain was fired by Florida last October in the midst of a disappointing season after discrepancies in McElwain’s claims about receiving death threats could not be backed up by the coach. Florida bought out McElwain’s contract at a reported $7.5 million.

Michigan had been looking to fill the role of receivers coach following the abrupt departure of Dan Enos to Alabama. Enos joined the Michigan coaching staff for a cup of coffee, getting hired in January after the Arkansas coaching staff was given an overhaul with the firing of Bret Bielema only to leave for a job with Nick Saban. McElwain, of course, is one of many coaches to jump into head coaching off the Saban coaching tree in recent years, first with Colorado State and most recently with Florida.

Previous reports have floated the idea McElwain will call plays for the Wolverines, but that remains unconfirmed.