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K-State confirms changes to Bill Snyder’s defensive staff

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The shakeup on the defensive side of Bill Snyder‘s Kansas State coaching staff is officially official.

Friday evening, K-State confirmed that defensive coordinator Tom Hayes has decided to step down from his post and retire. Hayes had spent the past six seasons as the Wildcats’ coordinator, and ends a coaching career that spans more than four decades.

As had previously been reported, the football program also confirmed in the same release that Brian Norwood has been hired as Hayes’ replacement. Norwood had spent the past three seasons as co-defensive coordinator/safeties coach/associate head coach.

The official titles Norwood, who also had previous stops in the Big 12 at Baylor and Texas Tech, will hold at KSU are co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach.

Holding the title of defensive coordinator will be Blake Seiler, who was promoted to the job after serving as linebackers coach for the Wildcats this past season. Prior to that, Seiler, who played his college football at K-State, coached defensive ends at his alma mater from 2013-16.

“We are very fortunate to have coaches like Blake Seiler, who is well prepared to step into the coordinator role,” Snyder said in a statement. “Blake is a bright young man, quick learner, hard worker and well-received and trusted by our players. He helped coordinate our defense this past year with emphasis on our run defense. Blake is highly respected by our staff and players for his values as well as his passionate teaching. …

“I am so very pleased to have Brian Norwood join our staff as our secondary coach and co-defensive coordinator. He comes to us highly recommended by many coaches who I highly respect. Brian is truly a K-State type of person. He is a caring, loyal, genuine, disciplined, hard-working and responsible person with the highest value system – a great family man and a man of faith. We are honored to have he and his wonderful wife Tiffiney, along with his children, join our Wildcat family.”

Kansas State reportedly hiring Tulsa’s Brian Norwood to replace retiring DC Tom Hayes

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It may be mid-February but there’s still plenty of shuffling going on at coaching staffs around the country.

After nearly three weeks of speculation, it appears that Kansas State and Bill Snyder will be one of the last in the collegiate ranks to complete their 2018 coaching staff as 247Sports’ GoPowerCat.com is reporting the school will soon hire Tulsa co-defensive coordinator and associate head coach Brian Norwood. 

It does not appear that Norwood’s exact title is known just yet but he is set to replace recently retired KSU defensive coordinator Tom Hayes so it would seem likely that he will take over in a similar role upon getting to Manhattan. 10 year veteran Blake Seiler did hold the formal title of assistant defensive coordinator prior to Hayes’ departure so co-coordinators on the defensive side would not be an unexpected move from the head coach who carries the nickname of the Wizard.

Norwood has been at Tulsa since Philip Montgomery was hired in 2015 but has extensive Big 12 experience prior to making the move to the Golden Hurricanes. Most notably, he spent seven seasons at Baylor from 2008 to 2014 and also had a stint at Texas Tech earlier in his career. Norwood also spent seven years in Happy Valley as the longtime safeties coach at Penn State.

The report from GoPowerCat.com notes that an official announcement on the hire could come in the next several days.

AAC 2018 season kicks off with Civil ConFLiCT

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Defending American Athletic Conference champion UCF will kick off their conference title defense on August 30 when they visit UConn in the conference and season opener for both teams. The Civil ConFLiCT is the first game on the 2018 conference schedule released by the AAC on Tuesday. The conference will play a series of Thursday night games on national TV and will hold the conference championship game on Saturday, December 1. Kickoff times and television schedules will be decided at a later time, for the most part.

The AAC will continue to play an eight-game conference schedule with each team playing five games against division opponents and three games against teams from the opposing division. The conference championship game will be played at the top division champion’s campus at the end of the season just as it has the previous three seasons. The annual Army-Navy Game, which of course involves AAC member Navy, will continue to be played the week following the AAC championship game (Dec. 8).

The AAC’s Thursday night schedule will begin on September 20 with Temple hosting Tulsa and will feature Houston vs. Tulsa on Oct. 4, UCF vs. Temple on Nov. 1, and Houston vs. Tulane on Nov. 15. The Thursday night games could be altered depending on the NFL’s pending Thursday night schedule (Temple can’t play at home if the Philadelphia Eagles are scheduled for a home game). The Thursday night games will be scheduled to air on ESPN, and the conference championship game will be aired on either ABC or ESPN (it has aired on ABC each of the past three seasons).

The AAC will also play games on Friday nights this season, including three on the day after Thanksgiving for the regular season finale; USF hosting UCF, Memphis hosting Houston, and Cincinnati hosting ECU. That could be a big day for the AAC with potential division championships on the line.

The AAC will have 19 nonconference games against power conference opponents, including eight against ACC teams, four against the Big Ten, and three against the Big 12.

You can check out the full AAC football schedule HERE.

Tulsa adds former Baylor QB Zach Smith

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Former Baylor quarterback Zach Smith has found his new football home. On Monday, Tulsa announced it has officially added Smith to the football program as one of six December signees who are now attending classes at Tulsa starting this week.

Smith will have to sit out the 2018 season due to NCAA transfer rules, but he will eventually help pad the quarterback depth for the program once he becomes available. A year off from playing also gives Smith time to adjust to his new program, learn the playbook, and establish a new relationship with his new teammates. Smith made the decision to transfer out of Baylor in December after the season ended in Waco.

Smith started 10 games for Baylor, including four in 2016 in place of an injured Seth Russell. Smith started six additional games for Baylor this past season. He left Baylor with 2,997 passing yards and 21 touchdowns for the Bears.

No. 17 South Florida breaks AP Poll-era record of consecutive games with 30-plus points

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South Florida has been viewed by most as a bit of a disappointment this season. Such is the burden of perfection, because a so-called disappointing start still sees Charlie Strong‘s Bulls sitting at No. 16 in the AP poll with a 6-0 start and its streak of scoring 30-plus points still intact.

Correction: South Florida’s AP Poll-era record streak of scoring 30-plus points is still intact.

The Bulls beat Tulane 34-28 on Saturday, pushing the streak to 24 games. And according to ESPN’s Stats and Information department, that is now the FBS record for the AP poll era, which dates back to 1936.

For the year, South Florida is tied for ninth in FBS with a 41.6 scoring average. The Bulls are one of seven FBS teams to average more than 300 rushing yards per game, and one of just three non-triple option teams to accomplish the feat, joining Arizona and No. 13 Notre Dame.

The streak could actually be at 25 games right now if not for Hurricane Irma. The storm forced South Florida to push back at trip to Connecticut from Sept. 9 to Nov. 4 and in the process eliminated a scheduled Oct. 14 game against UMass. UConn and UMass both allow more than 30 points per game.

As it stands, South Florida has a great shot to push the record to at least 27 games. The Bulls’ next opponent, Houston, allows 24 points a game and just surrendered 42 points in one half in a home loss to No. 25 Memphis. USF visits UConn on Nov. 4, and then concludes its home schedule against Tulsa, who ranks No. 117 nationally with a 37.6 scoring defense average.

Then comes the big test: the regular season finale at No. 20 Central Florida. The Knights rank 16th nationally with 17.5 points per game allowed and have not allowed more than 23 points in a game this season (a game in which they scored 51).