UConn Huskies

ANN ARBOR, MI - NOVEMBER 19: General view of Michigan Stadium during a game between the Indiana Hoosiers and Michigan Wolverines on November 19, 2016 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Michigan won the game 20-10. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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Michigan defensive analyst, longtime coach Dave Adolph passes at age 79

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The Michigan football family specifically and the football world in general is mourning the passing of one its most beloved coaches.

Jim Harbaugh confirmed on his Twitter account Sunday that Dave Adolph passed away earlier in the day at the age of 79 at his home in Dublin, Ohio. Sam Rutigliano, who had Adolph on his Cleveland Browns coaching staff in the late seventies and early eighties, told the Akron Beacon Journal that the long-time coach hd been battling an unspecified type of cancer.

Adolph had spent the past two seasons as a defensive analyst for Harbaugh’s Wolverines. For the six years prior to that, Adolph was a football staffer for rival Ohio State. He also worked for Harbaugh at the University of San Diego from 2004-2007

From 1979-1999, Adolph was an assistant for six different NFL clubs, including stops as defensive coordinator with the Browns (twice), San Diego Chargers (twice), Los Angeles Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs.

His last on-field job at the collegiate level came at OSU in 1978 under the legendary Woody Hayes. He was also on staffs at his alma mater Akron, UConn, Kentucky and Illinois.

According to a press release from the Browns, Adolph is survived by his five children — Michael, Mark, Thomas, Shane and Heather — and their 12 grandchildren.. Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to those impacted by the coach’s passing.

Independents and Group of Five National Signing Day Recap: Irish bounce back, Memphis tops AAC

SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 15: Head coach Brian Kelly of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish is seen during the game against the Stanford Cardinal at Notre Dame Stadium on October 15, 2016 in South Bend, Indiana. Stanford defeated Notre Dame 17-10. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
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Outside of the Power Five conferences, recruiting went about as expected in 2017.

Notre Dame continued to pound the national trail and landed a top 12 class full of players who will be expected to play early. BYU managed another impressive group that was one of the most diverse out there. The schools with a talent-rich backyard to draw on did well in the AAC.  Boise State was once again tops in the Mountain West and did better than a few peers in the region. And yes, Lane Kiffin earned that recruiting reputation by pulling in the best class of Conference USA.

Though there wasn’t much drama outside the top schools, there nevertheless was plenty of action for many programs on National Signing Day.

Top recruits (all rankings via 247Sports Composite): No. 67 overall Brock Wright (TE, Notre Dame), No. 154 overall Chaz Ah You (DB, BYU), Aisa Kelemete (DE, Boise State), Nick Robinson (TE, Memphis), Nicholas Sims (RB, Toledo)

Top classes: Notre Dame (No. 11 overall), Memphis (No. 58 overall), Boise State (No. 60 overall), BYU (No. 65 overall), Florida Atlantic (No. 71 overall), Toledo (No. 74 overall), Texas State (No. 87 overall)

Biggest storyline: Irish still land solid recruiting class

Despite the worst season in South Bend since Charlie Weis and a nearly brand new coaching staff, Notre Dame still managed to cobble together a top 12 class on Signing Day. Tight end Brock Wright was the highest rated player and should see early playing time but the number of quality offensive linemen was really evident in the group Brian Kelly signed. Will it be enough to help with a big turnaround? We’ll see.

Biggest surprise: Memphis runs away with things in the AAC but new coaches still fared well

Given all the turnover in the American this year, it should probably come as no surprise that the Tigers pulled the top recruiting class in the conference. That’s a testament to what Mike Norvell is building with the program and the fact that they don’t have to go far for players. Many of the same factors played a role in Scott Frost landing the second-best class at UCF. It was also pretty impressive what Luke Fickell did on the recruiting trail at Cincinnati and Charlie Strong did at USF given those two didn’t have a ton of time to get things lined up.

Don’t sleep on: Boise State, Colorado State

The Broncos were once again the class of the Mountain West on the recruiting trail and fended off several Pac-12 schools for prospects. That will put them firmly in the mix to win the league again in 2017 but don’t overlook another good job by Mike Bobo and staff at Colorado State in landing 17 three-star players.

We’ll see about: Everybody else

Despite Auburn interest, Texas A&M OC Noel Mazzone staying put in College Station

COLLEGE STATION, TX - OCTOBER 14:  The Texas A&M Aggies offense huddles against the Missouri Tigers at Kyle Field on October 14, 2006 in College Station, Texas. Texas A&M won 25-19. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Gus Malzahn’s quest to find a new offensive coordinator has zigged and zagged in the past few days since the surprising departure of Rhett Lashlee to UConn. One place it will not be going however, is to a fellow SEC West school.

Brent Zwerneman of the Houston Chronicle reports that despite some interest in Texas A&M offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone, the Aggies’ coach is staying put in College Station.

Mazzone arrived at A&M prior to this past season from UCLA and found early success with the Aggies and transfer quarterback Trevor Knight before a late slide in 2016. Travis Haney of 247Sports reported earlier Thursday that he could be considered the leader in the search to replace Lashlee, but it appears that will not be the case.

The longtime coaching veteran’s name being linked to Auburn isn’t too surprising considering he was the OC there from 1999-2001 but Mazzone’s hefty salary and likely high buyout figure provided some big obstacles if he wanted to reunite with the school.

Instead, it’s on to the next one for Malzahn and company.

Connecticut names Villanova’s Billy Crocker defensive coordinator

EAST HARTFORD, CT - NOVEMBER 21: Players and fans of the Connecticut Huskies celebrate their 20-17 win over the 13th ranked Houston Cougars at Rentschler Field on November 21, 2015 in East Hartford, Connecticut. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)
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New UConn head coach Randy Edsall has named Billy Crocker his defensive coordinator, the program announced Saturday.

Crocker arrives from Villanova, where he helped the Wildcats build one of the most successful defenses in FCS. Villanova led the subdivision in total defense (259.9 yards per game allowed) and scoring defense (15 points per game allowed) this season. ‘Nova’s scoring defense average was cut in half (30.6 points per game) from the number Crocker inherited before taking over in 2012.

At Connecticut, he’ll be responsible for a defense that placed 65th nationally in both yards per play and points per game allowed.

“I am very excited to have Billy join our staff as the defensive coordinator,” Edsall said in a statement. “When you research the work that he has done the past several years with the Villanova defense, the productivity and improvement is unprecedented. I am thrilled to bring the Connecticut native back to work with us here at UConn.”

Crocker spent a total of 12 seasons at Connecticut; prior to that, he served as running backs coach at Albany. Though this will be his first job in the state, Crocker is a Connecticut native, hailing from Waterford, Conn.

Crocker will earn $300,000 per year over the course of his 3-year contract.

Nebraska reportedly hiring ex-UConn coach Bob Diaco as next defensive coordinator

PROVO, UT - OCTOBER 2: Head coach Bob Diaco of the Connecticut Huskies watches his team practice before they play the Brigham Young Cougars at LaVell Edwards Stadium on October 2, 2015 in Provo Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
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Nebraska head coach Mike Riley surprised many when he let longtime defensive coordinator Mark Banker go this week but didn’t leave Cornhuskers fans wondering what direction he was going to go on that side of the ball for long.

The Lincoln Journal Star reported on Friday evening that former UConn head coach Bob Diaco was taking over as Big Red’s new defensive coordinator.

The youthful coach went 11-26 over three seasons in Storrs, pulling a few upsets along the ways but struggled to get things going on the offensive end that eventually led to his replacement by former head man Randy Edsall.

Perhaps most interesting is the fact that the Blackshirts will be undergoing a transformation on the defensive side of the ball with the hire of Diaco, as he is highly regarded for his 3-4 defenses. The team mostly ran the 4-3 under Banker.

Diaco won the Broyles Award as the nation’s best assistant coach back in 2012 when he coordinated Notre Dame’s defense when they completed an undefeated season and made it to the BCS national title game. He reportedly was also in the running to take the same position at Arkansas among others.