Getty Images

Pat Narduzzi hires longtime Northwestern assistant as new Pitt DC

1 Comment

Pat Narduzzi has turned to an old Big Ten foe to fill in a big hole on his Pitt coaching staff.

Confirming reports that surfaced earlier in the day, Pitt announced Saturday evening that Narduzzi has hired Randy Bates as his new defensive coordinator. Bates will replace Josh Conklin, who left earlier this month to take over as the head coach at FCS Wofford.

This will be Bates’ second coordinator job at the FBS level, with the first coming at Louisiana Tech from 2000-05.

“I’ve known Randy for a long time and have the utmost respect for him as a teacher and recruiter,” Narduzzi said in quotes distributed by the school. “He is a tireless worker, always learning and always striving to improve as a coach. I’ve shared many phone calls with him discussing techniques, schemes and opponents.

“But what is most impressive about Randy is the type of person he is. He values relationships and is really invested in the student-athletes under his watch. Randy will bring great passion and knowledge to Pitt and I know he’ll put a great mark on our very promising defense. I’m really thrilled to welcome to the University of Pittsburgh not only Randy but also his wife, Tracey, and three daughters, Samantha, Alexandra and Olivia.”

The past dozen seasons, Bates, a retired Naval lieutenant, was a member of Pat Fitzgerald‘s coaching staff at Northwestern as the Wildcats’ linebackers coach.  Bates had been with Fitzgerald for each of his 12 seasons as the head coach in Evanston.

“I knew it would always take a special place and outstanding opportunity to draw me away from Northwestern,” Bates said. “After talking with Pat Narduzzi, I knew Pitt was that type of place. It is a tremendous honor to join a program with such a rich tradition and history. But more importantly, it has an even brighter future under Coach Narduzzi. I can’t wait to meet our players and get started.”

Classy as always, Fitzgerald congratulated his longtime assistant on the promotion, adding that Bates’ new boss “got a good one.”

Texas QB Shane Buechele undergoes hip surgery, expected back for spring practice

Getty Images
Leave a comment

A postseason injury has forced Shane Buechele to undergo an offseason medical procedure.

Buechele suffered a torn abductor muscle in his hip/abdomen in the first half of Texas’ Texas Bowl win over Missouri and didn’t return in the second half.  Nearly a month later, the football program has announced that the quarterback will undergo surgery on Thursday to repair the damage.

If rehab goes as planned, Buechele is expected to be on the field when the Longhorns kick off spring practice March 5.

As a true freshman in 2016, Buechele started all 12 games for the Longhorns.  This past season was one marred by various injuries.

Buechele started the season opener for Texas, but ceded the job to Sam Ehlinger the next two games because of a bruised throwing shoulder.  Returning to the starting lineup in Week 5, Buechele suffered an ankle injury in the win over Iowa State that allowed Ehlinger to start the next three games.  In the last of those three games, Ehlinger suffered a head injury that left him in concussion protocol and opened the door for Buechele to start five of the last six games of the season.

Buechele and Ehlinger will be the two veterans battling for the starting job once spring practice kicks off in March.

NCAA tables discussions on limiting staff size

Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
1 Comment

It is going to take some more time to dive deep into the pros and cons of limiting the size of a football staff before the NCAA Division 1 Council decides what to do. In a statement released on Wednesday, the Division 1 Council has decided to table a legislative proposal focusing on setting parameters on the size of a football staff, meaning this topic should pop up again a year from now.

The proposal aims to cap the size of any football staff at 30 people and determine who may be eligible to participate in on-campus recruiting efforts. Those assigned recruiting duties, including head and assistant coaches, would then be required to pass an annual test on recruiting practices. At this time, however, there appears to be too much confusion and uncertainty about how the proposal would impact programs now. With so many questions about the proposal, it was best to put this one on the table and spend the next year examining how it could impact college football programs.

“I went to the American Football Coaches Association meeting, and there were a lot of questions about how this was going to work,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, the chair of the oversight committee, said in a release shared by the NCAA. “The coaches wanted to know who was going to be included, how they would be certified and who was exempted.”

This topic has already been floating out there since last spring, and with recent adjustments from the NCAA to allow for a 10th full-time assistant coach, it appears this will be the next step in the evolution of ruling how large a football staff can be.

Miami’s home winning streak is officially over after Orange Bowl loss

Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images
4 Comments

The Miami Hurricanes opened the new year with a loss in the Orange Bowl in their home stadium, but the Hurricanes marked the bowl game down in their records as a neutral site game. Not so fast, says the NCAA. That loss to the Badgers will go down as a home loss for the Hurricanes.

Because the NCAA officially records the Orange Bowl as a home game for Miami any time the Hurricanes happen to play in the bowl game hosted in their home stadium, the wins and losses are reflected on Miami’s home record. This is true for any team playing a bowl game in their home stadium, including any time UCLA appears in the Rose Bowl or San Diego State in the Holiday Bowl or Poinsettia Bowl.

Prior to losing to Wisconsin in the Orange Bowl this past season, Miami was riding nine-game winning streak in Hard Rock Stadium dating back to November 5, 2016. Miami will get a chance to hit the reset button on their home winning streak on September 8 with a home game against Savannah State.

Report: LSU to add former RB Kevin Faulk to staff if SEC gives the green light

Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
1 Comment

Former LSU running back Kevin Faulk could be set to return to the Tigers program in a new role if the SEC will allow it. According to a report from The Advocate, Faulk is being lined up to join the LSU football support staff, but his addition must be thoroughly vetted first.

Because Faulk is a high school coach, LSU and the SEC must be certain he has no direct ties to any LSU football players on the roster. This is to ensure the staff change complies with a new NCAA rule prohibiting schools from hiring high school coaches for a two-year period when any player from that associated high school enrolls at the university. As long as there are no players on LSU’s roster with any ties to Faulk’s high school coaching within the past two years, the staff change should become official.

Having Faulk associated with the program would be good to see considering how much Faulk meant to LSU during his college career. Faulk rushed for a school-record 4,557 yards and 46 rushing touchdowns. Both are records that stand today despite some extremely talented running backs over the years. Since Faulk’s final season at LSU in 1998, Leonard Fournette has come the closest to Faulk’s career rushing total with 3,830 yards in three years. Fournette is also the closest to Faulk since Faulk played to the school record for career rushing touchdowns, with 40.

Supposing the staff addition does go through, Faulk will not be involved with any off-campus recruiting efforts or on-field coaching assignments, but he will assist with player development.