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

27 Comments

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.

Nick Saban plans to continue using both Tua Tagovailoa, Jalen Hurts

Alabama v Louisville
Getty Images
Leave a comment

So much for that idea, it appears.

Two weeks ago, a report surfaced that there is an agreement in place between Jalen Hurts and the Alabama football program that would allow the quarterback to take a redshirt for the 2018 season, provided starter Tua Tagovailoa doesn’t go down with an injury.

Hurts appeared in Alabama’s season-opening romp over Louisville at the beginning of the month, and then in the next two as well.  Thanks to a new NCAA rule implemented this year, players can appear in up to four games in a season and still retain the ability to take a redshirt; it appeared that the rumored agreement between the player and the football program would’ve been that Hurts would not play in more than four games this season — again, unless Tagovailoa is injured.

With the fourth game of the season fast approaching, it doesn’t seem as if redshirting Hurts is in Nick Saban‘s plans.  At all.

From ESPN.com‘s Chris Low‘s interview with the Crimson Tide head football coach:

It’s the same as it’s always been, to use them both,” Saban told ESPN on Thursday. “It evolves a little bit as you go. Our team has evolved. I can’t tell you exactly how it all will play out. It’s going to be whoever helps our team play the best, and they’ve both played a role in doing that. …

We needed both quarterbacks last year, and we’ll need them both again this year.

Hurts, who was 26-2 as the Tide’s starting quarterback entering 2018, is on schedule to graduate from UA in December.  It’s widely expected that, at some point afterward graduation, he will transfer from the Tide as the true sophomore Tagovailoa is firmly entrenched as the starter.

Provided he doesn’t actually end u redshirting this year, Hurts would then have one more season of eligibility he can use at another FBS school.

Fourth & fifth Auburn players leave Tigers since 2018 season started

Getty Images
Leave a comment

In what’s quickly becoming a trend, Auburn has lost yet another couple of players to in-season moves.

Citing an unnamed source, Rivals.com was the first to report that Nate Craig-Myers is leaving the Tigers and will transfer out of Gus Malzahn’s football program. No specific reason for the abrupt departure of the wide receiver was given.

Despite starting all three games for the Tigers this season, Craig-Meyers had just two receptions for 39 yards. He’ll apparently finish the AU portion of his playing career with 394 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns on his 22 catches.

Craig-Meyers was a four-star member of the Tigers’ 2016 recruiting class, rated as the No. 6 receiver in the country; the No. 6 player at any position in the state of Florida; and the No. 45 player overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board. He was the highest-rated signee on the offensive side of the ball for the Tigers that recruiting cycle.

Additionally, 247Sports.com reported that Craig-Meyers’ half-brother, Jayvaughn Myers, did not attend Thursday’s practice and is leaving the team as well. The defensive back was a 2016 signee who played sparingly during his two-plus seasons on The Plains.

Head coach Gus Malzahn subsequently confirmed both of the departures.

Including Craig-Meyers and Meyers, a total of five Tigers have left the program since the start of the 2018 season. Just this week, tight end Jalen Harris took to Twitter to announce his decision to transfer. Additionally, cornerback John Broussard Jr. and punter Aidan Marshall parted ways with the team earlier this month as well.

Most, if not all of those players are taking advantage of a new NCAA rule implemented this offseason that allows them to play in up to four games in a season and still be able to take a redshirt and preserve a year of eligibility.

Miami to be without its leading tackler for FIU game

Getty Images
Leave a comment

As it closes out the non-conference portion of its 2018 schedule, Miami will (again, in one case) be at less than 100 percent at a couple of key positions.

Mark Richt confirmed Thursday that Jaquan Johnson will be sidelined for The U’s Week 4 matchup with Florida International. The safety suffered a hamstring injury in the Week 3 road win over Toledo and did not practice at all this week.

Johnson has started 17 straight games for the Hurricanes — three this season, all 13 in 2017 and the 2016 Russell Athletic Bowl win over West Virginia. In 2018, the fourth-year senior leads the ‘Canes in tackles with 22. He also has one of UM’s two blocked kicks on the season.

In addition to Johnson, wide receiver Ahmmon Richards will miss his third straight game because of a knee injury suffered in the season-opening loss to LSU. Like his teammate, Richards did not practice at all this week.

The knee issue continues a string of injuries that Richards has had to battle through the past two seasons.

Richards missed the first two games in 2017 because of a hamstring issue, then suffered a season-ending meniscus injury in late November. At the time of that latter injury, Richards was third on the Hurricanes in receptions (24) receiving yards (439) and receiving touchdowns (three). The year before as a true freshman, he led the team with 934 receiving yards.

Prior to being injured in the opener this season, Richards had one catch for nine yards.

Miami will open ACC play next Thursday against North Carolina, with that short week likely playing at least a small role in erring on the side of caution with the players, Johnson in particular.

Scott Frost: This could get worse before it gets better

Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images
10 Comments

Nebraska’s hiring of Scott Frost to take over as the head coach of the Cornhuskers came with a red wave of high optimism, but this was always going to be a bit of a rebuilding process in Lincoln. After an 0-2 start to the season, Frost is already bracing Nebraska fans about what could come next for the Huskers, because it may not be all that happy.

This could get worse before it gets better,” Frost said this week, as quoted in a Sports Illustrated story by Andy Staples. Frost is fair with his assessment.

This week, Nebraska opens Big Ten play with a road game in Ann Arbor against Michigan. The Wolverines are hoping the offense is on track after a tough season opener and playing at home could be a nice advantage against a Nebraska team with a young quarterback and a team still trying to come together under Frost. After that, Nebraska will get a home game against Purdue before back-to-back road games at Wisconsin and Northwestern.

Nebraska also has games later this season at Ohio State, home against Michigan State, and at Iowa to close out the season. The schedule was not a kind one to Nebraska this particular season, but the Huskers should improve over time under Frost.

Making a bowl game in Frost’s first season was always going to be a nice accomplishment if Nebraska could pull it off this season. After a tough 0-2 start with home losses to Colorado and Troy, Nebraska’s bowl hopes already look razor thin, but this is still a team that should continue to grow as the year moves along.