Mid-American Conference

LAWRENCE, KS - SEPTEMBER 10: Khalil Herbert #10 of the Kansas Jayhawks tries to pick up yards as he is brought down by Ohio Bobcats defenders in the second quarter at Memorial Stadium on September 10, 2016 in Lawrence, Kansas. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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Kansas taps the MAC for latest coaching hire

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This past September, Ohio of the MAC defeated Kansas of the Big 12 in Lawrence.  As the old saying goes, if you can’t beat ’em, hire ’em.

The Jayhawks have announced yet another addition to David Beaty‘s coaching staff, confirming that Jesse Williams has been brought in to be KU’s defensive line coach.  Williams had spent the past five seasons as the line coach at, you guessed it, Ohio University.

“Jesse brings a wealth of technical knowledge that will be extremely valuable in our defensive line room because it all starts with those guys up front, especially in the Big 12 Conference,” Beaty said in a statement. “The productivity he has gotten from his players from a run and pass rush standpoint is impressive. His defensive lines have consistently become a unit other teams game plan around because of his ability to find, evaluate and teach the position.”

In addition to Ohio, Williams has also been on FBS coaching staffs at New Mexico State, Colorado State and San Jose State in a coaching career that spans a quarter of a century.  Obviously, this will be his first on-field job at a Power Five football program.

“I’m extremely excited to be able to work with Coach Beaty and his staff.” Williams said. “I’m looking forward to working with the caliber of a guy like (defensive coordinator) Clint Bowen and the talent that is already in that defensive line room – I can’t help but be excited. I’ve never heard a bad thing about Lawrence and my family and I are extremely grateful for this opportunity.”

WMU gets $50k for scholarships, P.J. Fleck gets ‘Row the Boat’ mantra

EVANSTON, IL- SEPTEMBER 03: P.J. Fleck head coach of the Western Michigan Broncos reacts after his teams win against the Northwestern Wildcats on September 3, 2016 at Ryan Field in Evanston, Illinois. the Western Michigan Broncos won 22-21. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
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The boat rowing for P.J. Fleck will officially and fittingly continue in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

When Fleck moved from Western Michigan to Minnesota earlier this year, it was uncertain if his “Row the Boat” mantra, which had been trademarked by WMU, would follow the head coach.  As the two sides negotiated an agreement, all signs were pointing to the slogan, which Fleck adopted after his infant son died of a heart condition, shifting from Kalamazoo to Minneapolis.

Wednesday, the shifting has been made official as WMU announced in a press release that “‘Row the Boat,’ the three-word mantra that became the catch phrase for Western Michigan University football success, will become the legal intellectual property of… P.J. Fleck.” The agreement allows Fleck to “legally assume ownership of the phrase and be able to use or transfer it at will.” The university will be permitted to use the slogan, but only for “recognizing and celebrating Fleck’s tenure at WMU and the teams he coached.”

In return for the rights to the mantra, Fleck will make an annual payment of $10,000 over the next five years, with the $50,000 being used to support a scholarship for a WMU football player.

The trademark will technically be transferred to the Harlan Sports, the company of Fleck’s agent Bryan Harlan.  It’s expected the trademarked phrase will be used by Fleck’s new employer, with the head coach’s permission.

Michigan, SEC earn most invites to NFL’s Scouting Combine

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 28: Defensive lineman Joey Bosa of Ohio State participates in a drill during the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 28, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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The annual Underwear Olympics has a new individual “champion” and a familiar one when it comes to the dominant conference.

The NFL Wednesday announced the 330-plus players who will partake in the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis later this month.  Michigan saw 14 of its former players receive invitations, the most of any individual school.  The only others in double digits were Alabama and LSU with 10 apiece.

The conference of the latter schools, the SEC, paced all leagues with 66 invitations.  The ACC was next with 60, followed by the Big Ten’s 51 and the Pac-12’s 46.  The Big 12 lags far behind the other Power Fives with just 19 players on the receiving end of invitations, just ahead of the best the Group of Five has to offer, the AAC’s 18.

In addition to those in double figures already mentioned, there were eight schools that have eight or more players heading to the combine: Clemson, Miami, Texas A&M and USC with nine each, Arkansas, Florida, Florida State and Ohio State with eight apiece.

Below is the conference-by-conference breakdown of the invites:

AAC — 18
ACC — 60
Big 12 — 19
Big Ten — 51
Conference USA — 11
Independents — 5
MAC — 11
MWC — 11
Pac-12 — 46
SEC — 66
Sun Belt — 5

Adding 10th assistant might be pushed back to 2018

EAST LANSING, MI - OCTOBER 29: Head coach Jim Harbaugh reacts on the sidelines while playing the Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium on October 29, 2016 in East Lansing, Michigan. Michigan won the game 32-23. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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While it appears the whole of college football is awash in obscene amounts of money, more than a handful of programs– hello, Group of Five — are not exactly bathing in cash.  In that vein, a proposal that would have an impact on the latter’s financial bottom line is potentially seeing its brakes tapped.

The Division I Football Oversight Committee voted unanimously in October on legislation that would add a 10th on-field full-time assistant coach to all FBS staffs.  It had received overwhelming support from the American Football Coaches Association and the measure was expected to be approved by the Div. I Council in April, going into effect for the 2017 season.

However, an amendment proposed this week would push the starting date for a 10th assistant to January 9 of 2018.  Budgetary concerns were cited as the reasoning behind the delaying of implementation.

From the proposed amendment:

An April effective date is in the middle of the budget year for the membership and is late in the hiring period for a football staff. If the effective date is amended to occur to the conclusion of the 2017 football season, member institutions will have the opportunity to budget for the addition of a full-time countable coach and associated costs related to recruiting. In addition, a delayed effective date will better fit the hiring timeline for a football staff and will not require readjustments following the spring practice period.

The legislation that would add a 10th assistant is still expected to be approved in April, it just won’t be effective immediately as originally planed if the proposed amendment is adopted.

Buffalo adds former Minnesota QB coach to staff

BUFFALO, NY - SEPTEMBER 12:  A Buffalo Bulls flutters in the wind prior to kickoff of the Baylor Bears and the Buffalo Bulls at UB Stadium on September 12, 2014 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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In need of a boost to its passing game, Buffalo has hired former Minnesota assistant Jim Zebrowski. Zebrowski will serve as the team’s new quarterbacks coach with plenty of experience to offer the program. He will take over the role previously held by Andy Kotelnicki, who has been reassigned to be the running backs coach and retains the role of offensive coordinator.

“We’re excited to add Jim to the staff,” Buffalo head coach Lance Leipold said in a released statement. “He is highly regarded in the coaching ranks and has a proven track record of developing quarterbacks. He has previously worked with several members of our staff and has an understanding of our offensive philosophy, which should make the transition easier.”

Zebrowski was a quarterbacks coach at Minnesota from 2011 through 2015, where he developed a solid reputation through working with Gophers quarterback Mitch Leidner. Zebrowski also made a name for himself in the MAC having worked at Northern Illinois with former All-MAC QB Chandler Harnish (Zebrowski left NIU before Jordan Lynch picked up the torch for the Huskies offense, but many credit the work done by Zebrowski in the offensive system for helping pave the way for the school’s all-time best QB.

Zebrowski is also a former assistant for Leipold. Zebrowski was a part of Leipold’s staff bat Division 3 powerhouse Wisconsin-Whitewater from 2007 through 2009.

Buffalo ranked 122nd in the nation in passer rating  (although two MAC schools finished with a lower rating; Bowling Green and Kent State) and totaled 11 passing touchdowns with 11 interceptions.