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Houston hires a pair of former Art Briles assistants, including Kendal Briles as offensive coordinator


Houston has hired Kendal Briles as associate head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, and Randy Clements as run game coordinator and offensive line coach, the program announced Saturday.

It will be the pair’s second stint at Houston, after both worked there previously under Art Briles. That would be Kendal’s father and the disgraced former Baylor head coach. That Art Briles.

Briles and Clements were swept out along with the entire staff after the 2016 season, then spent 2017 in relative states of exile. Briles was the offensive coordinator at Florida Atlantic, and Clements was the offensive line coach at Southeastern University, an NAIA school in Lakeland, Fla. And both were tremendously successful this fall.

Alongside Lane Kiffin, Briles helped Florida Atlantic rank ninth nationally in total offense, sixth in rushing and eighth in scoring at just north of 40 points per game. Sophomore running back Devin Singletary finished fourth nationally with 1,920 rushing yards and set the Conference USA record with 32 rushing touchdowns, helping the Owls roll to an 11-3 season and a C-USA championship just one year removed from three straight 3-9 campaigns.

Working alongside another former Baylor assistant in Jeff Lebby, Clements help Southeastern lead all of college football with 55.1 points per game while rolling up 330 rushing yards and 557 total yards per game. Lebby has since been hired on Josh Heupel‘s staff at Central Florida.

Those moves show that while Art Briles may still be persona non grata in major college football, his former assistants aren’t.

“We are excited to welcome Kendal, Randy and their families back to Houston. They have extensive knowledge of our program and its standards, and we know they will be the right fit,” Cougars head coach Major Applewhite said in a statement. “They both have been a part of some of the nation’s top offenses with multiple programs and have shown the ability to learn and adapt while staying thoroughly tied into our state’s landscape in terms of recruiting. Throughout this process we have researched their abilities and backgrounds with several references and have received glowing praise.”

In Applewhite’s first season, Houston went 7-5, concluding with a Hawaii Bowl loss to Fresno State. The Cougars ranked 65th nationally in scoring, after placing 26th in 2016 and 10th in their AAC championship, Peach Bowl-winning campaign of 2015.

Transferring Michigan WR Maurice Ways lands at Cal

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Nearly four months after leaving Ann Arbor, Maurice Ways is set to settle in on the West Coast for the next step in his collegiate playing career.

On his Instagram account Sunday, Ways announced that he has decided to transfer to Cal.  On November 29 of last year, the wide receiver took to the same social media website to announce his transfer from the Michigan football program.

As a graduate transfer, Ways will be eligible to play for the Bears in 2018.  The upcoming season will be his final year of eligibility.

A three-star member of the Wolverines’ 2014 recruiting class, Ways was rated as the No. 8 player at any position in the state of Michigan.

In 25 career games, the former Detroit Country Day high schooler caught eight passes for 71 yards.  Ways started two of those contests, with both of those starts coming during his redshirt freshman season in 2015.

Central Michigan adds former Oregon State interim coach Cory Hall to staff

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After coaching the second half of the season for Oregon State in 2017, Cory Hall is now making his way to the MAC. Hall has officially been added to the Central Michigan coaching staff, where he will serve as the team’s secondary coach and defensive pass game coordinator.

“We brought Cory in, and he made a presentation to the defensive coaching staff,” CMU head coach John Bonamego said in a released statement. “(Defensive coordinator) Greg Colby and the rest of us were impressed with his preparation and what he had to say. “There is no doubt he is a high-energy coach, and he’s a great fit for our program.”

Hall was named the interim head coach at Oregon State midway through the 2017 season following the removal of Gary Andersen. According to The Oregonian, Hall did not interview with new Oregon State head coach Jonathan Smith to remain a part of the Beavers coaching staff in 2018.

Steven Montez throws 2 TDs, 2 INT in Colorado spring game

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Spring football practices concluded for the Colorado football program on Saturday with the playing of the annual spring game. Starting quarterback Steven Montez had his ups and downs with three total touchdowns and a pair of interceptions thrown in the scrimmage.

Montez led six and a half drives during the game, ending his day going 8-of-15 for 90 yards and two touchdown passes and two interceptions. He was also the leading rusher in the scrimmage with three carries for 43 yards. Co-offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini shrugged off the two picks by Montez after the game in a postgame interview.

“That’s going to happen, especially if we’re calling stuff that’s aggressive, it’s going to happen,” Chiaverini said. “What I like about him is he comes right back. It doesn’t bother him. Some guys get shy and won’t let it go. He comes right back in that two-minute drill and pulls the ball and runs for 60 yards. I like the fact that the kid loves to play football. That’s something you can’t teach kids. He loves to play, he loves to compete.”

Montez completed 609.5 percent of his passes in 2017 for 2,975 yards and 18 touchdowns with nine interceptions.

Colorado is coming off a 5-7 season, a year removed from playing for the Pac-12 championship in 2016. Colorado ended the 2017 season on a three-game losing streak to prevent the Buffs from being able to play in a bowl game at the end of the year.

Colorado estimates a total of about 4,500 fans attended the live scrimmage.

UCF, Lane Kiffin, Neal Brown among college football underdogs celebrating NCAA Tournament madness

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The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament has been a joy to watch over the course of the first few days. Highlighted by some significant upsets and some thrilling finishes, this year’s tournament has everybody talking, including college football coaches. This is especially true for college football’s non-power conference programs, who seem to be celebrating the upsets performed early on by schools like Marshall, Loyola-Chicago and, of course, UMBC.

UCF took to Twitter to extend congratulations to the University of Maryland Baltimore County after the 16-seed Retrievers became the first team in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament’s history to upset a No. 1 seed, in which UMBC throttled No. 1 Virginia by 20 after an unbelievable second-half performance that left Virginia clueless how to respond.

UMBC has been the story of the first round for the historic upset of the Cavaliers, but FAU head coach Lane Kiffin claims he picked UMBC to win the game. In fact, Kiffin showed off a bracket in which he picked UMBC to win it all. Of course, such a bracket cannot be taken too seriously, especially after closer inspection reveals Kiffin went heavy with the underdog mentality throughout his bracket. Perhaps such a bracket strategy plays into the kind of mentality Kiffin is attempting to build at FAU.

Troy coach Neal Brown also used the UMBC upset to make a case for the Group of Five representation in college football to get more of a fair shake in the sport of college football.

Brown is not the only person to have this thought, although the idea has just as many on the other side of the fence as well. The College Football Playoff is a much smaller system to determine a college football champion and expansion is a hot-button topic of conversation for a variety of reasons. The current format allows for one guaranteed spot in a major bowl game for the highest-ranked conference champion from the non-power conferences, but undefeated UCF was still left out of the College Football Playoff last season and it may be a long time before a non-power conference champion gets a shot at the playoff.

Washington State head coach Mike Leach has proposed a 64-team college football playoff, but the most likely step for expansion of the playoff system will double the field to eight teams. That would still likely leave out some top non-power conference options, but it would leave the door open just a little wider for a team like UCF last year.