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Bobby Petrino adds ex-South Carolina assistant to Louisville staff

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When Lorenzo Ward heads into Louisville’s defensive meeting room this year, he’ll come across a very familiar face.

Grady Brown, the UofL confirmed Friday, has been hired as a defensive assistant by Bobby Petrino. A specific positional title and responsibilities for Brown have yet to be divulged.

In addition to whatever duties those are, however, he’ll also carry the title of recruiting coordinator for the football program.

Brown spent the 2017 season as safeties coach at Alabama State. Prior to that, he was the secondary coach at South Carolina from 2012-15. And the Gamecocks’ defensive coordinator during that stint? Current UofL secondary coach Lorenzo Ward.

“The makeup of his staff over the years has shown his loyalty to those guys, which is hard to find in this profession,” Brown said in a statement. “The relationship I have with Coach Ward — someone I’ve known since I was 16 years old – was something that was intriguing about this job. Hiring a successful coach like Brian VanGorder [late last month] to run the defense, someone who has had success at all levels, was a plus for me in taking advantage of this opportunity.

Louisville makes hiring of Brian VanGorder official

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Louisville has officially announced the addition of Brian VanGorder to be the new defensive coordinator for the Cardinals. The news of the pending staff addition came over the weekend, but Louisville formally announced the hiring of the former Notre Dame and Auburn defensive coordinator to fill the vacancy at the defensive coordinator position.

“I’ve known Brian for a long time and have an extremely high level of respect for everything he’s accomplished throughout his coaching career,” Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino said in a released statement. “With over 30 years of coaching experience, Brian has coordinated defenses in the National Football League, and at the highest level in college football. He’s an outstanding teacher, a great communicator, and has displayed the ability to develop players at every level.

VanGorder spent the 2017 season as a defensive analyst for Oklahoma State, and it was suspected VanGorder would be promoted by Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy to a full-time position on the coaching staff. Prior to being an analyst for Oklahoma State last season, VanGorder spent the 2016 season in a similar position for Kirby Smart at Georgia after spending the two previous seasons as the defensive coordinator at Notre Dame.

With VanGorder as the defensive coordinator, Notre Dame ranked 45th and 42nd in the nation in total defense in 2015 and 2016, respectively. The Irish ranked 61st int he nation in scoring defense in 2016 after allowing 27.8 points per game.

VanGorder is a seasoned coach who has made many stops in college and the NFL over the years. In addition to his stops at Notre Dame, Georgia, and Oklahoma State, VanGorder has also made stops at UCF, Central Michigan, Western Illinois, and Auburn in college. In the NFL, VanGorder held assistant roles with the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets, but it is his time with the Atlanta Falcons that is of note here. VanGorder was Patrino’s linebacker coach during the head coach’s abbreviated stop in the NFL between jobs at Louisville and Arkansas. VanGorder remained in Atlanta for four more seasons as a defensive coordinator and will now be reunited with Petrino.

VanGorder replaces Peter Sirmon, who stepped down as defensive coordinator earlier this month.

Report: Louisville to hire former Notre Dame and Auburn defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder

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Louisville has reportedly found its new defensive coordinator. According to a report from Football Scoop, Brian VanGorder will be hired as the next defensive coordinator at Louisville.

VanGorder spent the 2017 season as a defensive analyst for Oklahoma State, and it was suspected VanGorder would be promoted by Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy to a full-time position on the coaching staff. Prior to being an analyst for Oklahoma State last season, VanGorder spent the 2016 season in a similar position for Kirby Smart at Georgia after spending the two previous seasons as the defensive coordinator at Notre Dame.

With VanGorder as the defensive coordinator, Notre Dame ranked 45th and 42nd in the nation in total defense in 2015 and 2016, respectively. The Irish ranked 61st int he nation in scoring defense in 2016 after allowing 27.8 points per game.

VanGorder is a seasoned coach who has made many stops in college and the NFL over the years. In addition to his stops at Notre Dame, Georgia, and Oklahoma State, VanGorder has also made stops at UCF, Central Michigan, Western Illinois, and Auburn in college. In the NFL, VanGorder held assistant roles with the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets, but it is his time with the Atlanta Falcons that is of note here. VanGorder was Bobby Petrino‘s linebacker coach during the head coach’s abbreviated stop in the NFL between jobs at Louisville and Arkansas. VanGorder remained in Atlanta for four more seasons as a defensive coordinator and will now be reunited with Petrino.

VanGorder will replace Peter Sirmon, who stepped down as defensive coordinator earlier this month.

Oregon continues to fill out coaching staff, including hiring longtime Alabama assistant Bobby Williams

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Mario Cristobal is a busy man filling out the rest of his first Oregon coaching staff and he’s almost done filling all 10 slots thanks to an old friend from his days at Alabama.

The school on Friday announced the additions of two new coaches by naming Cort Dennison as the Ducks’ outside linebackers coach and Bobby Williams as special teams coordinator.  Former Nebraska assistant Donte Williams, who as already announced as a hire by the program, was confirmed to be the team’s cornerbacks coach going forward as well.

“We are thrilled to add both Bobby and Cort to our staff,” Cristobal said in a statement. “Both are exceptional football coaches who will make a positive impact on our football program. Bobby brings a veteran presence, and his head coaching experience is invaluable. His special teams at Alabama were instrumental in helping win a number of games, including a successful onside kick and kickoff return for a touchdown in the 2015 national championship game.”

As Cristobal notes, he and Williams both served under Nick Saban with the Crimson Tide and won the 2015 title together. Williams spent a full decade in Tuscaloosa overall and was with Saban dating back to his Michigan State days as well (taking over as head coach when the latter left for LSU). However he was not an on-field coach the last two years like he will be in Eugene.

Dennison spent the previous four seasons at Louisville and is highly regarded as a recruiter as well as having plenty of ties out West from his days as a prep player in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The move leaves just one spot left for Cristobal to fill on his coaching staff after Friday’s announcement.

Baker Mayfield, Lamar Jackson, Saquon Barkley among Lombardi Award finalists

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The list of Lombardi Award candidates has been whittled down to a list of seven select finalists for this year’s award. A week after a list of 21 candidates was unveiled, only seven remain after a panel of voters cast their initial ballots for the award.

2017 Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma, Heisman Trophy runner-up Bryce Love of Stanford, and 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson of Louisville highlight the list of finalists for the Lombardi Award. Other finalists include Saquon Barkley of Penn State, Minkah Fitzpatrick of Alabama, Shaquen Griffin of UCF and Joel Lanning of Iowa State.

The Lombardi Award has a new trophy and criteria this season after opening the award up to any position after previously being reserved for the top lineman or linebacker in the nation. The award is based on performance, leadership, character and resiliency on and off the field.

Lombardi Award Finalists for 2017 Season

  • Saquon Barkley, Penn State (RB)
  • Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama (S)
  • Shaquem Griffin, UCF (LB)
  • Lamar Jackson, Louisville (QB)
  • Joel Lanning, Iowa State (LB/QB)
  • Bryce Love, Stanford (RB)
  • Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma (QB)

Alabama’s Jonathan Allen won the award for the 2016 season. Carl Nassib of Penn State won the award in 2015, meaning Barkley and Fitzpatrick are attempting to win another Lombardi Award for their school. Oklahoma is the only other school with a Lombardi Award among the schools represented by the finalists for this season’s award. Iowa State, Louisville, Stanford and UCF are all looking for their first Lombardi Award winner in school history. Oklahoma has three all-time Lombardi Award winners, and Alabama and Penn State each have two.