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Toledo moves spring game to Friday night to avoid inclement weather

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This is supposed to be one of several big weekends for spring football games around the country but inclement weather forecast in the Midwest has led to other ideas at many schools in the region. While they are not following schools like WisconsinMichigan or West Virginia in completely cancelling their game, Toledo is moving their annual ‘Blue and Gold Spring Football scrimmage’ up to Friday night in order to avoid potential storms on Saturday.

Kickoff at the Glass Bowl is now set for 7 p.m. as a result and the school will use a running clock to keep things moving (and, according to a release, limited to about an hour of action). Players will still be available for autographs after the game and former Rockets stars like Kareem Hunt, Rolan Milligan, Michael Roberts and David Fluellen are still set to serve as honorary coaches even with the festivities being moved under the lights a day earlier.

Interestingly, Toledo is still holding their youth football clinic as scheduled on Saturday morning but will move things indoors to the nearby Fetterman Training Center instead of having it at the stadium.

The Rockets are coming off a banner season in 2017 that included an 11-3 record and that elusive MAC title. The team is set to return as many as 16 starters for the 2018 campaign and should once again be one of the conference favorites even if they don’t get a proper spring game this weekend to send them off to summer workouts.

Ex-Florida WRs coach added to Toledo’s coaching staff

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Jason Candle‘s revamped Toledo coaching staff will have a little bit of an SEC feel to it.

Thursday morning, the UT football program announced the hiring of Kerry Dixon as running backs coach.  Dixon had spent the 2017 season as the as the wide receivers coach at Florida, but wasn’t retained by new head coach Dan Mullen.

Additionally, Kevin Beard, who was Tennessee’s receivers coach last season, has been hired as director of player personnel as well as assistant recruiting coordinator.

“I am very excited about the addition of Kerry Dixon and Kevin Beard to our staff,” said Candle in a statement “Both men are great teachers and bring with them experience from the highest levels of college football. Kerry will do a great job with our running backs. Kevin will play an important role in developing our young Rockets and also brings valuable recruiting experience to the table.”

Dixon has previously served as the running backs coach at Florida International (2014) and Florida Atlantic (2012-13).

And, finally, Candle also announced that director of high school relations Ricky Ciccone has been promoted to nickel backs coach.  He will also retain his previous title.

Report: Jim McElwain ‘strong contender’ for Michigan job

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This past week, a pair of reports surfaced that had former Florida head coach Jim McElwain interviewing for a vacancy on Jim Harbaugh‘s Michigan staff.  As the weekend chugs along, that chatter isn’t dissipating at all.

Bruce Feldman of SI.com tweeted Saturday night that Toledo offensive coordinator Brian Wright took his name out of the running for the job coaching Wolverines wide receivers.  Harbaugh has a vacancy he’s looking to fill after Dan Enoshired in early Januaryleft for a job at Alabama later that month.

In the same tweet, Feldman also noted that McElwain “is a strong contender” to fill the void created by Enos’ departure.

Under the direction of offensive coordinator Tim Drevno, Michigan’s offense was tied for 91st nationally in averaging 25.2 points per game this past season.  At least one of the initial reports connecting McElwain to U-M had the coach taking over as the play-caller on offense.

In his three seasons at Florida, however, the Gators’ offense finished 109th (22.1 ppg, 2017), 107th (23.9 ppg, 2016) and 99th (23.2) in scoring.  Those numbers were with McElwain as head coach; calling plays at Alabama under the notoriously conservative Nick Saban from 2008-11, the Crimson Tide’s numbers went…

2008 — 30.1 ppg, 35th nationally
2009 — 32.1 ppg, 22nd
2010 — 35.5 ppg, 18th
2011 — 34.8 ppg, 20th

One situation’s not like the other, but McElwain could end up being yet another poster boy for the Peter Principle — something that Harbaugh’s interest indicates he’s at least considering when it comes to breathing some much-needed life into a limp offense.

Former Florida State OL Brock Ruble transfers to Toledo

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Jason Candle has added a very experienced Power Five offensive lineman to his Toledo football roster.

According to the Toledo Blade, the Rockets confirmed this week that Brock Ruble has transferred into Candle’s UT program from Florida State.  As a graduate transfer, the offensive lineman will be eligible to play for the Rockets immediately in 2018.

Ruble had announced back in December that he would be transferring from SU after graduating from the university.

A three-star member of the Seminoles’ 2014 recruiting class, Ruble was rated as the No. 14 player at any position in the state of Maryland.  After redshirting his true freshman season, Ruble started 13 games at right tackle the next two years.

This past season, Ruble played in 10 games at both guard and tackle, although he didn’t record a start.

Toledo WR Cody Thompson announces return to school for 2018

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Toledo won the MAC in 2017, and the Rockets’ 2018 title defense has already received its first boost.Wide receiver Cody Thompson announced Tuesday he will return to school for his senior season.

Thompson made the announcement on his Twitter account. “After much thought and discussion with my family about my future, I have decided I am going to take my 5th year and play one more season at Toledo,” Thompson wrote. “I couldn’t be more excited about this decision, one more season in midnight blue & gold to bring another MAC championship trophy back to Toledo!”

Thompson played in only five games this fall after suffering a season-ending leg injury against Eastern Michigan on Oct. 7. He finished the year with 28 grabs for 537 yards and four touchdowns, which still ranked third on the club despite missing nine games.

He led the club as a freshman and a sophomore in catches and receiving yards. As a freshman in 2015, Thompson hauled in 37 grabs for 825 yards and five scores, and upped all of those numbers in ’16, snaring 64 balls for 1,269 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Toledo will lose starting quarterback Logan Woodside and backup Michael Julian to graduation, so Thompson’s return will help ease the transition to a new quarterback as the Rockets look to repeat as MAC champions.