It's official: Kiffin heading to Southern Cal

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USC’s website has made the news official: Lane Kiffin is heading back to Southern Cal as the head football coach, leaving Tennessee after only one season.

We are excited to welcome Lane Kiffin back to USC,” athletic director Mike Garrett said in a release. ” I can’t tell you how delighted we are to have Ed Orgeronback on staff and to have Monte Kiffin join us. They are some of thepre-eminent coaches in the game. Ed did a marvelous job during hisprevious time at USC and we all know that Monte is a defensive guru. Iknow Lane will fill out his staff with other outstanding assistantslike them, ones who Trojan players and fans will really like.”

The hiring of Kiffin completes a whirlwind day out of Heritage Hall, where less than 24 hours ago they offered the head coaching job to Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio.

Kiffin’s hiring also leaves Tennessee Volunteer fans in shock. Kiffin leaves Rocky Top after one season, taking with him his two most important coaches and staining a program that had stability on top of the program for over three decades, with Johnny Majors, Phillip Fulmer, and Kiffin the only coaches since the late seventies. Kiffin’s hire energized the program, but was a major shift for the program, bringing in an outsider to coach a program that hadn’t done so since the days of General Robert Neyland. 

“This was not a very easy decision and it happened very quick,” Kiffinsaid in a one-minute statement to assembled Tennessee media. “I really believed that this was probably the only place I’d haveleft here to go.”

Kiffin didn’t allow cameras to roll during his impromptu news conference, only adding that in his fourteen months that he gave everything he had and that the program was in a better place than he found it, before walking off to hordes of unanswered questions. 

Bringing Kiffin back to Southern California brings a coach back to a school where he has recruiting relationships and experience in the conference, and a relationship with many of the holdover members of the Trojans staff. Furthermore, ESPN is reporting that Kiffin is bringing back with him Norm Chow, a major defection from Rick Neuheisel’s UCLA’s staff, and the first shot fired across the bow at his new rivals from Kiffin in his return to Southern Cal. 

Kiffin’s hiring is a much needed victory for Trojan athletic director Mike Garrett, who had been widely ridiculed in the days following the news that Carroll was leaving. But the hiring could also be considered a brazen move for the athletic department long seen as lackadaisical under Garrett, and could draw the ire of the NCAA.

Kiffin ran afoul with the NCAA in his one season in Knoxville, racking up a multitude of minor infractions in his short tenure at Tennessee, and currently has an investigation still open regarding the misuse of recruiting hostesses at out-of-state high school football games.

The decision to bring Kiffin, Chow and Orgeron back to USC reunites the supporting cast from the apex of the Trojan dynasty.  We’ll find out soon if the Trojan program can be what it was without its former star.

Talk about a story made for Hollywood…

Boise State DB DeAndre Pierce opts to enter transfer portal

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The playing career of one injury-plagued Boise State football player has come to an end.  At least, in Idaho it has.

According to 247Sports.com, DeAndre Pierce has made the decision to move on from the Boise State football program.  A BSU football official subsequently confirmed overnight that the defensive back’s name is listed in the NCAA transfer database.

No specific reason for the parting of ways was given.

If Pierce follows through and transfers away from Boise State football, he would do so as a graduate transfer.  That would allow him to play at another FBS school immediately in 2020.  If that’s the tack he chooses, of course.

Pierce was a three-star member of the Broncos’ Class of 2016.  The California native took a redshirt as a true freshman.  In 2017, Pierce started 11 of the 14 games in which he played.  He earned honorable mention All-Mountain West Conference honors for that season.

Then, the injuries hit.

The safety started four of the first five games in 2018 before a lacerated spleen sidelined him for the rest of the season.  In 2019, Pierce started five games… but missed the other nine because of various injuries.

When healthy, Pierce was credited with 144 tackles, seven tackles for loss, six passed defensed, one sack and one interception.

Even with legal case (mostly) settled, WR Joshua Moore’s status at Texas won’t be determined until closer to start of 2020 season

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Even as the off-field aspect was cleared up for one member of the Texas Longhorns football program, there’s still no clarity as it relates to him getting back onto the field.  And likely won’t be clarified for a few months.

In August, Joshua Moore was arrested on a charge of unlawful carrying of a weapon. Thursday, the wide receiver pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor weapons charge. Moore avoided jail time with the plea, with the Austin American-Statesman writing that “[t]he deferred adjudication agreement states [Judge Nancy] Hohengarten will not enter a guilty finding if Moore stays out of further legal trouble over the next year, completes 60 hours of community service and fulfills any counseling conditions the probation department recommends.”

Because of the off-field situation, Moore was not permitted to play in games for Texas Longhorns football last season. He was, though, allowed to practice with the rest of his UT teammates.

A Texas Longhorns football official stated after the player’s plea that a decision on whether Moore will be permitted to play in games in 2020 won’t be determined until closer to the season kicking off.

A four-star 2018 signee, Moore played in the first six games as a true freshman before going down with a season-ending shoulder injury. In that half-season of work, the 6-1, 180-pound receiver totaled 53 yards and a touchdown on seven receptions.

If he’s cleared to play in games — the odds are very much in his favor, provided he doesn’t violate the terms of his plea agreement — Moore is expected to take on a bigger role in the Texas Longhorns football passing game in 2020.

New Colorado head coach Karl Dorrell retains four of Mel Tucker’s assistants

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Karl Dorrell‘s first Colorado football coaching staff will have a decidedly Mel Tucker feel to it.

Feb. 12, Tucker left Colorado football to take over as the head coach at Michigan State.  Eleven days later, Dorrell was the surprise hire as Tucker’s replacement.  Dorrell’s first hirings four days his official hiring will actually be retentions as the program announced that four of Tucker’s former assistants will remain as part of the new coaching staff.

Those four are:

  • Darrin Chiaverini (wide receivers coach/assistant head coach under Tucker)
  • Darian Hagan (running backs coach)
  • Brian Michalowski (outside linebackers)
  • Tyson Summers (defensive coordinator/safeties)

According to the release from Colorado football, the holdovers’ “exact responsibilities will be determined once the remaining six assistant positions are filled, which Dorrell hopes to conclude sometime early next week.” It’s believed that Chiaverini will serve as Dorrell’s offensive coordinator, although, obviously, that hasn’t yet been confirmed.

“It’s always important if you can maintain some continuity during a coaching change,” the new Colorado football head coach said in a statement. “I’ve been around enough college and professional teams where doing so offers some stability. I had great conversations with all four and while I haven’t determined their exact roles as of yet, I am excited that we share the same goals and vision for the program. I am excited about all four and am looking forward to working with them.”

Both Chiaverini and Hagans have been a part of the Colorado football program for the past four seasons.  Both Summers and Michalowski were in their first years in Boulder.

Prior to his departure for East Lansing, Tucker had just completed his first season in Boulder, going 5-7.  Since a 10-4 2016 season, the Buffaloes have gone 5-7 each of the past three seasons.  That 2016 season is the program’s only winning record since 2005.

Former NFL linebacker joins Alabama staff as grad assistant

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Another day, another football staff change with the Alabama Crimson Tide. Alabama added former NFL linebacker Max Bullough to the football staff as a graduate assistant.

Bullough was actually on the staff at Cincinnati last season as a graduate assistant. Bullough got his coaching career undwrway with the Bearcats in 2019 a year after his last dip in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns. Bullough originally signed wiht the Houston Texans as an undrafted free agent in 2014.

Bullough did not play for Nick Saban in college, although the former Michigan State Spartans did play for a former Saban assistant, Mark Dantonio. With the Spartans, Bullough was  part of two Big Ten championship runs in 2010 and 2013. In the 2010 season, Bullough and Michigan State lost to Saban’s Alabama in the Capital One Bowl, 49-7. In 2013, Bullough and Michigan State upset No. 2 Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game, 34-24, to hand former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer his first loss with the Buckeyes. The win sent Michigan State to the Rose Bowl, where they were victorious over Stanford.

Alabama recently lost long-time strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran to an on-field coaching role at Georgia. The Tide also lost soecial teams coordinator Joe Houston to the New England Patriots. Alabama did add former Louisville, Texas, and USF head coach Charlie Strong as a defensive analyst. Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian ended up sticking around and offensive analyst Butch Jones has been promoted to special assistant to the head coach.