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Arkansas adds three SMU coaches, retains another in completing Chad Morris’ offensive staff

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It was a busy day on the hiring front for Chad Morris.

Long-time SEC defensive coordinator John Chavis was named to the same position at Arkansas earlier Tuesday while Morris brought Joe Craddock along with him from SMU to serve as offensive coordinator. Not long after, Morris announced the remainder of the offensive side of his first Razorbacks coaching staff:

Jeff Traylor – associate head coach/running backs
Dustin Fry – offensive line/run-game coordinator
Barry Lunney Jr. – tight ends
Justin Stepp – wide receivers

Fry, Stepp and Traylor were all assistants under Morris at SMU, the former two for all three seasons the head coach was in charge of the Mustangs. Traylor spent one season with Morris after serving as an assistant at Texas the previous two years.

Lunney, who played quarterback for the Razorbacks in the mid-nineties, has been the tight ends coach at his alma mater for the past five seasons (20-13-present).

Arkansas officially hires two coordinators, including long-time SEC DC John Chavis

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It’s been rumored for more than a week that John Chavis would be brought in to oversee the Hogs’ defense.  Tuesday morning, that came to fruition.

In twin press releases, Arkansas confirmed that new head coach Chad Morris has hired Chavis as his defensive coordinator.  Chavis will also serve as the Razorbacks’ linebackers coach.

Chavis had spent the past three seasons as the coordinator at Texas A&M, coming back on the market after Kevin Sumlin was fired and Jimbo Fisher hired.  All told, he’s spent the past 23 seasons as an SEC coordinator — A&M, LSU (2009-14) and Tennessee (1995-2008).  Counting his time as an assistant at UT prior to being named coordinator, Chavis has called the SEC his coaching home for the past 29 years.

“I’m excited to have Coach Chavis as our defensive coordinator, which was a very important hire for our program,” said offensive-minded Morris said about adding a veteran defensive presence to his staff. “It’s so important to play great defense in the SEC and Coach Chavis brings a wealth of experience, knowledge and success in the league to the table.”

“I’m excited for the opportunity to help Coach Morris build the Arkansas program and join the great staff that he is putting together,” Chavis said. “It’s a great time to be at the University of Arkansas and I can’t wait to get started on building a defense that our fans can be excited about.”

In addition to Chavis, Morris also announced the hiring of Joe Craddock as offensive coordinator.  Along with his coordinating duties, Craddock will coach quarterbacks for the Razorbacks as well.

Craddock was Morris’ coordinator and quarterbacks coach at SMU the past three seasons.  They also worked together for three years on Dabo Swinney‘s Clemson staff prior to Morris taking the SMU job and Craddock following.

“Joe is one of the bright, young minds in all of college football,” Morris said. “He worked underneath us at Clemson and was very instrumental in our success there. I took him with me to SMU and saw him grow both as a person and as a coordinator during the last three years. He has a great mind and feel for the game, and I’m excited to have him on our staff and what we bring to the table in our high-powered offense.”

Ex-Auburn OC Rhett Lashlee leaves UConn for same job at SMU

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If U-Haul offers frequent mover miles, Rhett Lashlee is hooking himself up.

On Jan. 11 of last year, UConn announced that Lashlee was leaving as the offensive coordinator at Auburn to take the same job with the Huskies.  Less than a year later, SMU has announced that Lashlee is leaving as UConn’s coordinator to take the same job with the Mustangs.

“I’m excited to add Rhett to our staff,” said first-year head coach Sonny Dykes in a statement. “He has experience as an offensive coordinator at the highest level – a national-championship level – and also knows our league. He is one of the sharp, young minds in our profession and he has a bright future ahead of him. I know he’ll be a great coach as well as a dynamic recruiter who will connect with kids as well as high school coaches.”

In his one and only season in East Hartford, Lashlee directed an offense that was 103rd nationally and 11th in the 12-team AAC in points per game (23.6).  Of course, the year prior to Lashlee’s arrival, the Huskies averaged 14.8 points per game, dead last at the FBS level.

In total offense, the Huskies jumped from 122nd in 2016 (320 yards per game) to 50th this past season (415 ypg).

Lashlee had spent four seasons as the coordinator at Auburn before leaving for UConn.  He served in the same capacity at Arkansas State for one season prior to moving to The Plains.

“My family and I are thrilled about joining Coach Dykes’ staff on the Hilltop,” Lashlee said. “Between SMU’s storied history and Coach Dykes’ proven success – there are a lot of great things happening with Mustang football. Blending Coach Dykes’ exciting brand of football with my background and vision will create some exciting Saturdays at Ford Stadium. I can’t wait to get started.”

Dominant Rose Bowl makes Nick Chubb and Sony Michel the most prolific RB tandem in FBS history

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You know this by now, but Nick Chubb and Sony Michel completely dominated the Rose Bowl. Georgia’s 54-48 double overtime win over Oklahoma came by the strength of a running back tandem that was as good as ever.

Chubb carried 14 times for 145 yards and two touchdowns, including a 44-yarder that had no business being a touchdown if not for Chubb’s lower body being stronger than the roots on a California redwood.

Michel rushed 11 times for 181 yards and three touchdowns, including a 75-yard burst that jolted Georgia back in the game when the Bulldogs fell behind 21-7 and, of course, the 27-yard game winner. He also caught four passes for 41 yards and a touchdown.

Add it all up and you get 25 carries for an astounding 326 yards and five touchdowns. Those numbers were more than enough for the pair to pass SMU’s Eric Dickerson and Craig James for the most prolific running duo in major college football history.

Chubb finished the game with 4,744 yards and Michel at 3,515, giving the pair 8,259 yards, more than the SMU duo’s 8,193 career yards. This ESPN Stats & Information tweet was sent out during the game on Monday.

Chubb trails just Georgia’s own Herschel Walker for the SEC record — though he is more than 500 yards behind the Heisman Trophy winner, so Walker’s record safe unless things go really, really bad for Alabama. Michel’s 3,515 yards place him at 19th in SEC history and third in Georgia history, trailing Walker and Chubb.

Ex-LSU WR Trey Quinn leaving SMU early for NFL draft

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The next leg of Trey Quinn‘s winding football journey will, he hopes, take him to the land of professional football.

The SMU wide receiver announced on his Instagram account Friday that he has decided to declare early for the 2018 NFL draft. “Throughout my 4 years in college I’ve had some incredible moments and also dealt with many challenges,” Quinn wrote, “which has led to my growth as a player and a man.

“I couldn’t have done it without those I have leaned on throughout.”

🤙🏻 thank y’all, God Bless.

A post shared by Trey Quinn (@trey.quinn) on

This season, Quinn led the Mustangs in receptions (114), receiving yards (1,236) and receiving touchdowns (13). The catches are the most at the FBS level; the yards are 11th nationally; and the touchdowns are tied for fourth in the country.

The receiver began his collegiate career as a four-star LSU recruit before leaving the Tigers in mid-February of last year and ultimately landing with the Mustangs three months later. The 6-0, 202 pound Quinn was forced to sit out the 2016 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules.