Les Miles staying at LSU, will get extension, raise in return

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As expected, and in the end, it was much ado about nothing… nothing but money, that is.

Yesterday evening, at least two reports surfaced that Arkansas had made a significant contractual offer to Les Miles to become the Razorbacks’ next head coach.  It was assumed by most that either it was a desperation move on the part of UA or a leverage move by Miles’ agent in an effort to get his client a new contract.

Regardless of what the reality is or was, the latter turned out to be the result of the speculation.

In a statement released through the university,  athletic director Joe Alleva confirmed that, as in the past, Miles would indeed be staying in Baton Rouge and would remain on as the Bayou Bengals’ head coach.

“Les Miles is one of the premier coaches in the country and has LSU in contention for championships year in and year out,” Alleva’s statement read.  “Only two coaches in the 119-year history of LSU football have coached as many years at this school and only one has won more games.  Les Miles has made a commitment to LSU and LSU is solidifying its commitment to Les Miles.”

The commitment on the part of the university will come in the form of a tweaked contract that will include both an extension (seven years) and a raise of an unspecified amount.  The new deal, which is currently in the process of being negotiated, is expected to be finalized following LSU’s bowl appearance this season.

Somewhat unbelievably, Miles has not received a raise, as the school itself noted in the release, “since his salary was automatically elevated following our national championship in 2007.”  Miles is hardly a pauper, though, as he earned just under $3.9 million in 2012, a figure that makes him the second-highest paid head coach in the SEC behind Nick Saban‘s $5.5 million.

Alleva acknowledged that the speculation expedited matters on the contract front between the university and the coach.

“Our intent was to address his contract following this year’s bowl game, but speculation about other job opportunities accelerated our process a little,” Alleva said.  “I think we have accomplished the important step of securing Les Miles as our head coach for the long-term good of the program.”

Miles did acknowledge in a subsequent press conference that he did engage in very preliminary discussions with UA, saying that he is very good friends with that school’s athletic director, Jeff Long.  The coach declined to say which side initiated the conversations.

Miles did deny, though, that there was a five-year, $27.5 million offer on the table from Arkansas.

Report: Butch Jones leaving Alabama for job at Maryland

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College Park is taking on a decidedly Tuscaloosa feel to it.

Earlier this month, Maryland confirmed that it had hired Alabama offensive coordinator Mike Locksley as its next head football coach.  Citing multiple sources with knowledge of the situation, 247Sports.com is now reporting that Butch Jones is leaving Nick Saban‘s program for a spot on Locksley’s Terrapins coaching staff.

Jones, who met with Locksley earlier this month before agreeing to take the job, is expected to serve as the Terps’ tight ends coach.  He’ll also carry the title of associate head coach for the Big Ten program.

In March of this year, Saban added Jones to his Alabama football staff as an offensive analyst.  Jones, of course, was the head coach at rival Tennessee for nearly five seasons before he was summarily dismissed in mid-November of last year.

Jones last served as a tight ends coach in 1998 at Central Michigan; he was last a position coach at West Virginia (2005-06).

Per the terms of his UT contract, Jones will be paid just north of $8 million in the form of a buyout, minus whatever he was to make at future jobs through February of 2021.  He made $35,000 as an analyst at Alabama this year.

Ex-Texas Tech lineman Justin Murphy gets sixth season at UCLA

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After originally ending his collegiate career prematurely, Justin Murphy has now seen it extended.

Murphy took to Twitter on Monday to announce that he has been granted a sixth season of eligibility by the NCAA. “None of this could’ve been possible if it weren’t for the amazing job done by [UCLA’s compliance department],” the offensive lineman wrote.

In the middle of the 2016 season, Murphy, then at Texas Tech, announced that he was taking a medical retirement because of knee injuries.  In April of 2018, however, Murphy revealed that he would be moving on from Tech to UCLA as a graduate transfer.

Murphy played in the first four games of his first season with the Bruins this year before going down with a knee injury.  That issue kept the lineman sidelined for all but the final two games of the year.

Ex-Florida State, ‘Last Chance U’ QB transferring from FAU

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Maybe the fourth chance will be the charm for De’Andre Johnson?

After a highly-publicized incident that was caught on videotape, Johnson was dismissed by Florida State in July of 2015.  Following a stint as one of the stars of “Last Chance U,” Johnson landed at Florida Atlantic.

Two years later, the quarterback took to Twitter to announce that he has decided to transfer from Lane Kiffin‘s FAU program.  Johnson gave no indication as to the specifics behind his decision to leave the Owls.

As noted by the player himself, Johnson will be leaving as a graduate transfer — he’s scheduled to earn his degree in the spring — and will have two seasons of eligibility he can use at another FBS program.  One of the seasons of eligibility is the result of blood clots in his arm that sidelined him for all but one game in 2017.

This season, Johnson completed 13-of-23 passes for 161 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.  He also ran for another 178 and a score on 35 carries.

As for a potential transfer destination, the Palm Beach Post notes the West Coast or a Big Ten school could be possibilities:

A source with knowledge of the situation said Johnson hopes to move up to the Power Five level and hasn’t ruled out moving to the West Coast. Johnson’s younger brother, Tyreke, is a cornerback for Ohio State and Buckeyes quarterback Dwayne Haskins is a redshirt sophomore who could jump to the NFL.

In June of 2015, Johnson was indefinitely suspended by FSU after being accused of punching a woman at a bar.  He was subsequently charged with misdemeanor battery as video of the incident emerged.

One day after the video surfaced, Johnson was dismissed.

Kyle Whittingham adds former Ute to Utah coaching staff

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In filling a hole in his Utah coaching staff, Kyle Whittingham reached back to the Utes’ football past to do so.

Monday evening, Utah announced that Whittingham has hired Sione Po’uha as his new defensive tackles coach.  Po’uha spent the 2018 season coaching the same position at Navy.

“It’s great to have Sione back in our program,” said Whittingham. “In his playing days he was an outstanding defensive tackle here at Utah and had a lengthy and successful NFL career as well. We are also excited about the impact he will have in our recruiting.”

From 2001-04, Po’uha was a defensive lineman for the Utes, earning first-team All-Mountain West honors as a senior.  He was a third-round pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, and spent his entire eight-year career with the New York Jets.

After beginning his post-playing career as a student assistant at his alma mater from 2015-16, Po’uha became the Utes’ director of football player development in 2017 before leaving for Navy.  The job at the service academy was the first on-field role of Po’uha’s coaching career.

“I am so appreciative of Coach Whittingham for giving me the opportunity to come back and coach at my alma mater,” said Po’uha. “It was a dream of mine and I am excited about working with the players and coaches here.”