Kentucky Wildcats

LEXINGTON, KY - AUGUST 30:  The Kentucky Wildcats take the field before the game against the Tennessee- Martin Skyhawks at Commonwealth Stadium on August 30, 2014 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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Kentucky OC Eddie Gran gets contract extension and raise

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After making some changes to the coaching staff this offseason, Kentucky is locking in offensive coordinator Eddie Gran for the next few seasons. Kentucky has signed Gran to a contract extension good through the 2019 season, according to The Courier-Journal.

According to the reported contract extension, Gran will be paid $825,000 in the 2017 season and will be given a $25,000 raise each of the next two seasons. A buyout cost of $150,000 per years is also added to the contract should he leave for another job during that span. Gran was originally under contract through the 2018 season, so his new deal tacks on an extra year in Lexington. The extended contract also bumps Gran’s pay by $175,000 compared to his previous contract.

Kentucky may have finished the 2017 season ranked 9th in the SEC in total scoring, but the Wildcats bumped up their average points per game by roughly six points in 2016 compared to the 2015 season. Kentucky also had the SEC’s third-most productive rushing attack with an average of 234.15 rushing yards per game and 30 rushing touchdowns. Only Auburn and Alabama had better averages and touchdown totals (and Alabama had two more games to pad the stats).

Kentucky has room to improve in the passing game after finishing the 2016 season ranked 13th in passing offense in the 14-team SEC. Kentucky also had an SEC-high 28 turnovers lost in 2016, with 16 fumbles and 12 interceptions thrown.

Gran joined the Kentucky program last year after a three-year stint at Cincinnati as offensive coordinator. Gran has previously been an assistant at Florida State, Tennessee, Auburn, and Ole Miss as well.

Nearly three dozen teams show interest in Clemson grad transfer

CLEMSON, SC - OCTOBER 01: Lamar Jackson #8 of the Louisville Cardinals looks to pass under pressure from Scott Pagano #56 of the Clemson Tigers during the second quarter at Memorial Stadium on October 1, 2016 in Clemson, South Carolina.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
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It was expected there would be a significant market for a Clemson defensive lineman leaving the Tigers as a graduate transfer. Suffice to say, that is indeed the case.

This past week, Dabo Swinney‘s football program confirmed that Scott Pagano would be leaving the team and transferring elsewhere. The head coach also revealed that the tackle would “probably” end up at a West Coast school to finish out his career.

Teams in that part of the country are indeed interested in the one-year rental, as are myriad others as 247Sports.com is reporting that 32 made contact with the lineman in the hours after his impending pending departure was announced. Arizona State, Cal, Oregon, USC, Washington and Hawaii are among the teams out west who have expressed interest.

A handful of Power Five programs further east have expressed interest as well, including Arkansas, Baylor, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisville, LSU, Maryland, Nebraska, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Purdue, Texas and Texas A&M. Group Five teams that have shown interest include Charlotte, East Carolina, FAU, FIU, Louisiana Tech, Memphis, SMU, Temple and Utah State.

Coming out of high school in Hawaii as a four-star 2013 recruit, Pagano was rated as the No. 24 tackle in the country and the No. 2 player at any position in the state. Pagano started 13 games the past two seasons, four of which came in 2016.

Mark Stoops adds pair of coaches to Kentucky staff

COLUMBIA, MO - OCTOBER 29: Kentucky Wildcats head coach Mark Stoops gives a thumbs up to fans after a 35-21 win against the Missouri Tigers in the fourth quarter at Memorial Stadium on October 29, 2016 in Columbia, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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In one fell swoop — and to press releases — Mark Stoops has plugged up a pair of gaps on his 2017 coaching staff.

With reports pointing in that direction, Kentucky announced Wednesday that Dean Hood has been as the Wildcats’ special teams coordinator.  He’ll also be in charge of the team’s outside linebackers.

From 2008-2015, Hood, an Ohio native like Stoops, served as the head coach at FCS Eastern Kentucky.

“I could not be more excited to have Coach Hood join our staff,” a statement from Stoops began. “He brings extensive experience and knowledge as a head coach, defensive coordinator and special teams coordinator. Having watched him at Eastern Kentucky, I developed great respect for him and I know he is held in high regard by the high school coaches in the state. He is a welcome addition to our program.”

Last season, Hood was the special teams coordinator and tight ends coach at Charlotte.  His only Power Five job was as the defensive coordinator and secondary coach at Wake Forest from 2001-07.

One final coaching pedigree tidbit on Hood: he served as coordinator on Rich Rodriguez‘s Glenville State staff for four seasons in the early nineties.

In addition to Hood, Stoops also announced the hiring of Derrick LeBlanc as defensive line coach.

LeBlanc spent the 2016 season in the same job at North Texas.  He’s also been an on-field assistant at Southern Miss (2013-14) and Wyoming (2012).

There are also two stints at LSU on hs record, the first as a graduate assistant in 2000 and then again as an assistant strength & conditioning coach from 2008-11.

“I’ve known Derrick and watched his progress as a coach,” Stoops said. “I was super-impressed with his interview, with the organization of his teaching and how good he is as an instructor. Fundamentals are important at every position but especially in the defensive line and I believe Derrick will be a great teacher of proper technique and fundamentals.”

Michigan defensive analyst, longtime coach Dave Adolph passes at age 79

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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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.

North Texas sees staff poached by North Carolina, Kentucky

GAINESVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 17: Head coach Seth Littrell of the North Texas Mean Green talks with players on the sideline during the first half of the game against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 17, 2016 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
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Thanks to a pair of Power Five programs, North Texas’ coaching staff will need to be reworked and reshaped.

Thursday morning brought word from FootballScoop.com that UNT defensive coordinator Mike Ekeler was leaving Denton for North Carolina to become, at least, the Tar Heels’ co-defensive coordinator.  It could be as UNC’s coordinator, period, as the speculation is bouncing around that the person who currently holds the title, Gene Chizik, is thinking of stepping back from the coaching profession and into the broadcasting portion of his career.

It’s thought that Seth Littrell will look to stay in-house for Ekeler’s replacement, but it’s not the only hole on his Mean Green staff he’ll have to fill.

By way of our buddy Zach Barnett, UNT is also losing its defensive line coach, Derrick LeBlanc, to Kentucky.  It’s expected LeBlanc will be working with the same positional group in Lexington.

The twin moves continues a season of upheaval for Littrell’s coaching staff, as relayed by the Denton Chronicle:

UNT has now lost offensive line coach Brad Davis to Florida, Ekeler to North Carolina, LeBlanc to Kentucky and parted ways with special teams coordinator Tommy Perry.