James Franklin denies improper contact with Danny O’Brien

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Quarterback Danny O’Brien showed tremendous potential at Maryland in 2010, being named ACC Rookie of the Year. One year later, the story surrounding O’Brien’s request to transfer from the Terps has gained plenty of notoriety.

But the attention surrounding O’Brien’s departure has less to do with O’Brien and more to do with head coach Randy Edsall, who decided block O’Brien from possibly transferring to Vanderbilt and reuniting with former Maryland offensive coordinator James Franklin. 

The Washington Post reports, citing sources with knowledge of conversations between Edsall and O’Brien, that Edsall questioned whether there was improper contact between Vanderbilt coaches and O’Brien, along with Maryland transfers Max Garcia (O-line) and Mario Rowson (linebacker).

Speaking to 104.5 The Zone in Nashville, Franklin addressed the rumors that he was a reason behind Edsall’s decision to place a transfer restriction on the Commodores.

“I don’t like innuendos and comments being made about tampering and things like that. You guys know me. I am the type of guy, I am going to have relationships with my players. I hope to have relationships with the guys that play for me for the rest of my life.

“But the fact that people would make accusations that we tampered or did this or did that, again, I am just going to defend our program and defend our character and how we do things. But I think it is ridiculous to think that I am not going to have relationships with these kids after I leave places.”

“When I left [Kansas State] for Maryland, I talked to Josh Freeman every week. I still talk to Josh. Josh flew in for [my] birthday party. I am the type of guy, I am going to have relationships with my players.”

Edsall hasn’t addressed the rumor directly and the only comment he’s made about O’Brien’s departure was the following statement:

“I’m disappointed by Danny’s decision. Danny told me that he’s not committed to our program, that he’s not ‘all in.’ I want what’s best for all of our players. Danny wants a fresh start elsewhere. I wish him well.”

For that, among other things, the Maryland coach is getting lambasted by the media. 

But in Edsall’s defense — I know, I can’t believe I just said that, either — if Franklin was indeed improperly recruiting O’Brien, so to speak, Edsall can’t just let his players be open season to other coaches. Of course, this is all based on rumor. If there’s nothing to it, then Edsall looks frivolous.

O’Brien’s high school coach told Bruce Feldman yesterday that O’Brien is expected to appeal the Vandy ban. In other quarterback news, the Commodores picked up 2013 QB Johnathan McCrary, who gave his verbal commit to Vandy today.

Western Kentucky’s leading tackler taking grad transfer to Purdue

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A significant loss for Western Kentucky’s defense could prove to be a boon for Purdue on that side of the ball.

In an email to the West Lafayette Journal & Courier, Ben Holt confirmed that he has decided to transfer from Western Kentucky to Purdue and continue his collegiate playing career with the Boilermakers.  As he is expected to graduate from WKU in May, the linebacker will be eligible to play immediately in 2019 for the Big Ten school.

Holt is the son of Nick Holt, who has spent the past two seasons as the co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Purdue.  Ben Holt’s head coach his first two seasons with the Hilltoppers was Jeff Brohm, who is entering his third year in the same job with the Boilermakers.

This past season, Holt started all 12 games for the Hilltoppers.  He led the team in tackles with 116, tackles for losses with 11½ and quarterback hurries with nine.  His five pass breakups were good for third on the squad in 2018.

All told, Holt played in 38 games his past three seasons in Bowling Green.

Holt becomes the third former Hilltopper to transfer to the Boilermakers since Brohm came to West Lafayette.  Starting linebacker T.J. McCollum followed the coach in February of 2017, with starting offensive lineman Dennis Edwards following McCollum a year later.

Alabama LB Chris Allen undergoes surgery, per report

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The near-complete revamping of Nick Saban‘s coaching staff wasn’t the only football news coming out of Tuscaloosa late this past week.

According to al.com, outside linebacker Chris Allen underwent what was described as a minor surgical procedure on his knee Thursday.  The specific nature of the injury wasn’t detailed.

Allen, who missed the entire 2018 season after tearing an ACL, is expected to be healthy enough to participate in spring practice, which kicks off next month.

A four-star member of the Crimson Tide’s 2017 recruiting class, Allen was rated as the No. 4 inside linebacker in the country and the No. 5 player at any position in the state of Alabama.  As a true freshman, the Baton Rouge native played in seven games.

As noted by the website, Allen is set to be one of the Tide’s top backup linebackers on the outside this coming season.

Minnesota dismisses TE who allegedly punched cop in the face

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Yeah, that’ll do it.

According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Minnesota tight end Max Janes is facing felony charges after allegedly assaulting a police officer very early in the morning of Feb. 8.  It’s alleged that an intoxicated Janes was in the process of breaking into a post office when police officers responded, with the football player ultimately turning violent and allegedly punching one of the cops in the face.

From the Star Tribune‘s report:

According to the criminal complaint: Officers were dispatched to a welfare check on reports of an individual improperly dressed for the cold weather loitering outside the post office. They located Janes just as he gained unlawful entry into the building’s loading dock. Officers placed Janes in their squad car, but opened the rear door after he informed them that he needed to vomit.

Instead, Janes got out and punched an officer — causing demonstrable bodily harm, the complaint says. He was eventually restrained and booked at Hennepin County jail, where he was charged with fourth-degree assault of a peace officer and obstructing the legal process.

As a result of the off-field incident, Janes was dismissed from the football team.

“We have extremely high standards for members of our team and when those standards are not met there are consequences,” head coach P.J. Fleck said in a statement. “Law enforcement officers speak to our team and educate them multiple times a year, and we greatly appreciate those who protect and serve us on a daily basis.”

A preferred walk-on, Janes played in 13 games as a true freshman this past season.  The vast majority of his action came on special teams.

Wyoming’s OL coach shuffle continues with hiring of Ohio assistant

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Maybe the third time will be a charm?

Following the end of the 2018 season, Craig Bohl parted ways with his long-time offensive line coach Scott Fuchs and embarked on a search for a replacement. That search ended with Wyoming’s hiring of Klayton Adams; less than a month later, another search for a line coach was launched as Adams took a job as the assistant offensive line coach for the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts.

A little over a week later, and while there’s nothing official yet from the Cowboys, Frank Solich confirmed to the Athens Messenger this past week that Ohio’s offensive line coach, Bart Miller, has taken the same job at Wyoming.

“Our coaches loved working with him, our players loved working with him. We appreciate what he was all about and how he helped our team be what it was last year,” the head coach told the Messenger.

Last season was Miller’s first with the Bobcats. As the newspaper noted, this will mark Miller’s fourth different school in as many years as he was on the coaching staffs at Minnesota and Air Force in 2016 and 2017, respectively.