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Neal Brown completes Troy staff with FCS co-DC

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For the most recent addition to his Troy coaching staff, Neal Brown has dipped into the Football Championship Series.

The Sun Belt Conference program confirmed Tuesday that Brandon Hall has been hired by Brown as his new linebackers coach.  Hall had spent the past four seasons as the co-defensive coordinator at FCS Jacksonville State.

“Brandon is an outstanding defensive coach and has experience coaching at a lot of different levels,” a statement from Brown. “He is relentless on the recruiting trail and already has developed strong relationships in the areas that we believe are key. Looking at his track record, it comes as no surprise that Brandon helped build one of the top defenses in the FCS at Jacksonville State over the last four years.”

Prior to JSU, Hall had spent time at Arkansas State, Auburn and Oklahoma.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to join this program and coaching staff,” Hall said in his statement. “You can’t help but get excited as a coach when you look at what Coach Brown and the rest of this staff has done over the past three years with the Troy program. My family and I are looking forward to becoming part of the Trojan Family and continuing the strong tradition of Troy football.”

Arkansas State follows through, sues Miami over canceled game

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It’s officially on, legally, between Arkansas State and Miami.

Earlier this week it was reported that Arkansas State was threatening to sue Miami over the latter failing to play a scheduled game last year in Jonesboro amidst Hurricane Irma.  With a Thursday deadline coming and going without UM paying ASU damages being sought, the Sun Belt school followed through on the threat, with the Associated Press confirming that ASU has filed a lawsuit against UM in Craighead County (Ark.) District Court late Friday afternoon.

Prior to filing the suit, ASU athletic director Terry Mohajir had reached out to his counterpart at UM, Blake James, about rescheduling the game for either the 2020 or 2021 seasons, years in which the Hurricanes have available dates.  James responded, per the suit, that they could only reschedule the Jonesboro game during the 2024-28 seasons.

According to FBSchedules.com, The U has just two non-conference games scheduled for the 2020 season.  Miami’s argument against rescheduling the game for that season is that the dates they fill need to be played at home.  The lawsuit claims that Miami has “refused to timely and reasonably reschedule the game in years in which it has openings.”

Arkansas State is seeking $650,000 in damages as a result of a breach of contract. “This action also seeks compensatory damages, liquidated damages for UM’s breach of contract, and attorney’s fees and costs,” the suit states, adding, “The contract provides that ‘failure of a party to participate in the Game will constitute a material breach of the Agreement that will cause the other party significant disruption and damages.'”

The lawsuit also delves into the other FBS teams, primarily from the state of Florida, whose games were impacted by the hurricane that same weekend.

47. Three teams in the Florida and Georgia area still played their football games scheduled for the weekend of Hurricane Irma. Florida International University played its scheduled home game against Alcorn State in Birmingham, Alabama. Georgia Southern University also played its scheduled home game against the University of New Hampshire in Birmingham, Alabama. Florida Atlantic University played its away game against the University of Wisconsin with a delayed return back to Florida.

48. Three additional teams canceled their scheduled games, but rescheduled for the same season. Florida State played its rescheduled game against the University of Louisiana Monroe on December 2, 2017. The University of South Florida played a rescheduled game against the University of Connecticut on November 4, 2017. And the University of Central Florida played its rescheduled game against the University of Memphis on September 30, 2017.

49. The seventh team, the University of Florida, canceled its game against the University of Northern Colorado, and because the game could not be rescheduled due to conflicting schedules, Northern Colorado received a buyout for the game.

50. Upon belief, UM is the only FBS school to fail to play its scheduled game in accordance with its contract, timely reschedule its canceled game, or pay the buyout or liquidated damages under the contract.

51. Additionally, UM and Florida State immediately rescheduled their September 16, 2017 football game for October 7, 2017.

Texas A&M and Appalachian State line up 2022 game in College Station

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Texas A&M and Appalachian State have never met on the football field, but all of that is about to change in a few years. On Friday, Appalachian State announced a future road game in College Station against the Aggies to be played in Kyle Field in 2022.

According to the release from Appalachian State, the Mountaineers will visit Texas A&M on Sept. 10, 2022. As long as no other changes to the schedule are made, that will be one week before Texas A&M hosts the Miami Hurricanes (Sept. 17, 2022 according to FBSchedules.com).

As a member of the SEC, Texas A&M is required to play one other power conference opponent or one opponent deemed equal to power conference status by the SEC in every football season. By having Miami on the 2022 schedule, Texas A&M already satisfied that scheduling requirement. The Aggies also have that scheduling task checked off in 2018 (Clemson), 2019 (at Clemson), 2020 (Colorado), 2021 (at Colorado), 2023 (at Miami), 2024 (Notre Dame) and 2025 (at Notre Dame).

Appalachian State continues to add to their non-conference schedule with quality power conference opponents (and the nice paychecks expected to come with many of them). The 2018 season will see Appalachian State open the season at Penn State. The Mountaineers also have future road games against power conference opponents in 2019 (North Carolina), 2020 (Wake Forest and Wisconsin), 2021 (Miami), 2023 (North Carolina), and 2024 (Clemson). Appalachian State will also get a chance to host UNC in 2022, a week prior to playing at Texas A&M.

Former CFB Hall of Fame RB Adrian Peterson returns to Georgia Southern in support role

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Before there was Oklahoma’s Adrian Peterson, there was Georgia Southern’s Adrian Peterson. The original Peterson was an outstanding running back in his own right, carrying for a 6,559 yards in regular season games, which still stands as a Division I record. (Georgia Southern was an FCS school when Peterson was there from 1998-01.)

Peterson was selected in the sixth round of the 2002 NFL Draft and appeared in 106 games over eight seasons with the Chicago Bears. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in December.

And now he’s back in Statesboro.

Peterson was formally hired as Georgia Southern’s director of student-athlete development for the Eagles’ football program, where he will work to “provide communication to the football staff on the academic progress of all 100-plus student-athletes on the team.”

“Adding Adrian Peterson to our staff is something that means a lot to Georgia Southern and to our community,” head coach Chad Lunsford said in a statement. “He will serve a daily role in the lives of our student-athletes. His life experiences will definitely be of great benefit to our players and he will be able to serve them as a role model for them. We keep talking about the right fit and blue collar and no exemplifies that more than AP. He will be a huge asset to this program and I’m fired up to be able to get him back to Statesboro.”

“It’s an honor to be back at Georgia Southern, a University that helped me grow as a young man,” Peterson said in a statement. “Now I get the opportunity help our student-athletes grow on and off the field.”

One of two former Georgia Southern players in the College Football Hall of Fame, he is the second former Eagle running back to join the program in recent weeks. T.J. Anderson was hired last month as director of high school relations.

Arkansas State threatening to sue Miami over canceled football game

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Arkansas State was scheduled to host Miami on Sept. 9 of last year. As we know, that didn’t happen. Hurricane Irma struck Florida at that time, and Miami made the decision not to make the trip in order to allow its players and staff to brace for, you know, a hurricane.

The opportunity to host a program of the caliber of Miami was, obviously, a big deal for Arkansas State. It’s not often that a 5-time national champion makes the trip to Jonesboro. As such, Arkansas State went to a considerable effort to play the game, including working with ESPN to move the game to Friday, Sept. 8, and to house Miami players and staff in the days after the game.

Still, Miami didn’t come.

And now, after months of discussion, diplomacy between the two schools has devolved to the point where lawyers between the two schools are sending accusatory letters to one another.

In a letter sent Friday from Miami’s assistant general counsel James Rowlee to Arkansas State’s general counsel, Brad Phelps, the Hurricanes have argued that, though they have unfilled dates in 2020 and ’21, Miami cannot travel to Jonesboro because those dates have to be home games and as such offered to visit in 2024 or ’25.

Phelps, in a letter obtained by KAIT-TV, argued for Arkansas State, in a letter sent today, that waiting a decade or more to fulfill a home-and-home (Arkansas State first visited in Miami in 2014) was ridiculous, and that Miami could visit Arkansas State in 2020 or ’21, it just doesn’t want to. Arkansas State also offered to make another visit to Miami for a one-off game in exchange for Miami giving up a home game in 2020 or ’21.

Anticipating that Miami would not agree to visit before 2024, Phelps dug up a quote Mark Richt gave to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that, yes, Miami could have made the trip to Jonesboro if it really wanted to do so. Arguing that the Hurricanes’ no-show induced considerable harm on Arkansas State — and it’s hard to argue otherwise; how many season tickets were sold on the basis of getting to see Miami? — is now seeking damages of $650,000, as outlined in the contract agreed upon by the two schools — and the Red Wolves want it by Thursday, or they’re going to sue.

The question now is if Miami feels strongly about its offer for a 2024-25 makeup date and its Hurricane Irma out clause to make that case in court, or if the Hurricanes want to cut Arkansas State a check and simply move on.

Whatever the result, don’t count on Arkansas State and Miami scheduling a second home-and-home.