Penn State to make another run at Chris Petersen; Roman a finalist?

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What the heck; third time’s a charm, right?

After two failed attempts to woo Chris Petersen away from Boise State, Penn State will reportedly make yet another run at the coach.  According to a tweet from CBSSportsCharlie Casserly, the Nittany Lions are going to take a shot at a coach who has spent the vast majority of his coaching career to the left of the Rockies and has shown no desire to leave the Broncos for jobs in locales east, west, north or south of Boise.

With the exception of a private denial that was reported publicly, Petersen has yet to comment on the speculation connecting him to the Nittany Lions’ vacancy.

As Penn State is the only Div. 1-A job currently open, speculation as to the permanent replacement for Joe Paterno has taken many shapes and forms over the past couple of weeks.  In addition to the ongoing Petersen rumors, Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak has been at the forefront of reports, with a very vehement and very public denial followed by a report of private second thoughts.  New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien was all but signed, sealed and delivered as the next PSU coach, until he wasn’t.  Former Cleveland Browns and New York Jets head coach Eric Mangini has also been mentioned as a possibility.

As has Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano and Virginia head coach Mike London.  And Miami head coach Al Golden as well.  Oh, and Navy’s Ken Niumatalolo too, who shot down the scurrilous rumors post haste.

Given all of the rumors masquerading as smoke and/our outright fabrications, it’s hard to get a gauge on what is actually transpiring in the school’s first search for a head coach in nearly five decades.  Interim head coach Tom Bradley, quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno and defensive assistant Larry Johnson Sr. have all been confirmed interviewees from within the current staff, as has Green Bay Packers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements.

Another confirmed interviewee?  San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman.  The former Stanford assistant’s agent told the Associated Press that his client interviewed for the job in November and is on the short list — i.e. a finalist — to land a job that, prior to the Jerry Sandusky child-sex abuse scandal, would’ve been one of the premier openings in college football.

“We should know in a week or so, that’s our best guess,” agent Michael Harrison told the AP regarding a timeline. “He interviewed quite a while ago.”

With all of this uncertainty swirling, there really is an easy answer for Penn State’s coaching conundrum that can be summed up in two words: Tim Murphy.  An out-of-the-box candidate?  Absolutely.  But, and especially given the current situation the football program finds itself in, Murphy’s the safe yet swing-for-the-fences hire it needs to make.

Florida State apologizes for MLK Day tweet

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As the old adage goes, the best-laid plans of mice and men’s Twitter accounts often go awry.

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day Monday, Florida State’s official recruiting account on Twitter posted an inspirational quote from the slain Civil Rights leader. It would’ve been fine for all involved if the account would’ve stopped there; unfortunately for all involved, they didn’t stop there.

Instead, a photoshopped image of Dr. King wearing a football glove and apparently performing the Tomahawk Chop was included as part of the tweet.

Not surprisingly, the Twitter account caught significant heat and flack for the image on social media. Just as unsurprisingly, the tweet was deleted less than an hour after it was posted and an apology subsequently issued.

Rutgers hires Andy Buh to coordinate defense

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Rutgers has hired Andy Buh as its defensive coordinator, the program has announced.

“We are excited to add Andy to the Rutgers football family,” head coach Chris Ash said in a statement. “He is an outstanding linebackers coach and has extensive experience in the Big Ten. Andy and I share a defensive philosophy and he is very familiar with the scheme we run, which will benefit the continued development of our defense.”

Ash and Buh worked together previously at Wisconsin, where Ash was the defensive coordinator and Buh the linebackers coach. He spent the past three seasons as the defensive coordinator at Maryland and has previous coordinator experience at Stanford, Nevada and Cal.

Buh replaces Jay Niemann, who served as the Scarlet Knights’ defensive coordinator for the first three seasons of the Ash era. Rutgers was 69th in total and yards per play defense and 89th in scoring in 2018, surrendering 31.4 points per game. Buh’s Maryland defense placed 78th, allowing 28.7 points per outing.

Rutgers is 7-29 under Ash and 3-24 in Big Ten play.

North Texas inks home and homes with Baylor, Tulane

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North Texas celebrated MLK Day by announcing a slew of future football opponents.

The Mean Green announced Monday it will play home-and-homes with Baylor and Tulane in the 2028 and ’29 campaigns. North Texas will visit the Bears and Green Wave in 2028, then host both in 2029. UNT will visit Baylor on Sept. 2 and Tulane on Sept. 23 in 2028, while the Mean Green will host Baylor and Tulane in back-to-back weeks to open 2029, with the Bears coming on Sept. 1 and the Green Wave on Sept. 8.

A previously scheduled home game with Army was bumped from 2027 to 2028 in conjunction with Monday’s announcements. North Texas also announced a home game with Texas Southern for Sept. 24, 2022.

Baylor will be the fourth Power 5 program and the second Big 12 opponent to visit Apogee Stadium, which opened in 2011. Indiana visited in Apogee’s opening season, Cal will make a visit in 2022 and Texas Tech will come to Denton in 2027.

“I am thrilled to announce two quality home-and-home series have been added to our schedules,” Mean Green AD Wren Baker said in a statement. “Baylor joins Cal and Texas Tech as Power 5 conference teams coming to Denton over the next few years. Tulane is a quality American Athletic Conference team that will be a fun trip for our fans when we return to New Orleans. I appreciate (COO) Jared Mosley‘s diligent efforts to find compelling games for our fans.”

North Texas and Baylor have met 13 times previously. The Bears have won 12 of those meetings but North Texas took the most recent meeting in Denton, a 52-14 thumping in 2003. That remains UNT’s most recent win over a Big 12 opponent.

The Mean Green and Green Wave have played just once previously, a 21-14 Tulane victory in New Orleans in 2013.

Baylor has a previously scheduled trip to Oregon slated for 2028, a return trip for the Ducks’ flight to Waco in 2027. Tulane also has a home-and-home with Iowa State in 2028-29, with the home dates flipped from the UNT series.

Boise State to replace iconic blue turf (with more, newer blue turf)

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Boise State became a household name through playing on its trendsetting blue turf (and winning a lot), such that the school now owns a trademark for any non-green collegiate field.

The current blue playing surface is set to go away this spring, only to be replaced by a newer, bigger, bluer (probably) version.

“It’s needed,” Boise State AD Curt Apsey told the Idaho Statesman. “We’re not just doing it to do it. It’s near the end of the usual lifespan.”

The current playing surface was installed ahead of the 2010 season; FieldTurf surfaces usually have a lifespan of eight to 10 years.

“The field is shredding,” Broncos head coach Bryan Harsin told the paper last summer. “It’s just old. It needs to be replaced. It’s just time.”

Boise State has played on a blue surface since 1986, when then-AD Gene Blaymaier put in blue AstroTurf at a cost of $750,000. The school did not even join FBS until a decade later.

The new surface will extend beyond the playing field to cover the area that previously held the Broncos’ track. It is expected to cost between $600,000 and $1 million, but the school is approved to spend $600,000 as of now.