Despite the government shutdown, it appears as though the service academy football teams will be able to follow through with Saturday’s scheduled games as originally planned. According to a report, a senior defense official says Army, Air Force and Navy will all be able to play football on Saturday. Navy has since confirmed their game against Air Force will be played as scheduled.
According to a report by the Associated Press, the decisions to allow games to be played this weekend is just for this weekend. Future games will be evaluated over the next few days while everyone waits to see how long the government will be in shutdown mode. The hope, of course, is that the shutdown does not last too long and everything as far as football operations can resume to a normal routine without fear of having to cancel any games.
Air Force is scheduled to play at Navy on Saturday. Army is scheduled to play at Boston College. While the government is shut down to ease financial concerns, none of the service academies were in danger of canceling football this weekend for financial reasons, according to previous reports. The decisions to postpone any football games would have been more of a political move of solidarity for fear of offending any being frozen out of a paycheck. United Airlines offered to provide free transportation to Air Force’s football team and Boston College had explored to chip in for Army’s travel expenses.
Because the games for the service academies are funded through non-appropriated funds, Army and Air Force traveling is not a concern related to the shutdown. It also helped that the expenses for the traveling for the service academies had been planned in advance and is not a new cost in the budget. Here’s hoping that no matter how long the shutdown may last, that at least football will continue to be played as planned.
Now, if this shutdown reaches a worst-case scenario and for whatever reason extends through the end of the year, then bowl games perhaps become a victim for any bowl-eligible service academy. And I have not even gotten to the topic of the number of bowl eligible teams to available bowl spots. This seems extremely unlikely so I suggest we cross that bridge when we get there, or is that a bridge to nowhere?
UPDATE (9:53 p.m. ET): Navy has made the news for their home game against Air Force official, via Twitter.
Former Oklahoma State offensive tackle Arlington Hambright is ready for his final season of college football. He’ll play it at Colorado, Hambright announced via Twitter.
“I give all glory and praise to God, without him I would be nothing but I will be spending my last year in Boulder, Colorado playing in the Pac-12 under some GREAT coaches and for [an] amazing University,” Hambright announced, via Twitter. “Now let’s get to work!”
Reports of Hambright potentially transferring from Oklahoma State surfaced earlier this month as the player transfer fun has continued to run wild this offseason. While no specific reason for his reason for transferring has been made public, he will certainly be looking to close out his college football career on a high note. An ankle injury brought an early end to Hambright’s 2018 season after starting the first five games of the season. He did return for the Liberty Bowl against Missouri, but Hambright will look to get in a full season as a potential starter in the Pac-12 this fall.
Coming off one of the most successful seasons in recent memory in Lexington, Kentucky now has a hole to plug on the offensive line. Starting offensive tackle E.J. Price has reportedly left the football program. According to a report from Kentucky Sports Radio, Price will pursue other opportunities and a university spokesperson confirmed he is no longer with the program.
Price transferred to Kentucky from USC in 2017, but it was about a year ago Price suggested he was ready to leave Kentucky too. However, Price stuck with the Wildcats in 2018. He started 11 of 13 games for Kentucky as the Wildcats turned in a 10-win season capped with a victory in the Capital One Bowl against Penn State. It was Kentucky’s first 10-win season since 1977 and their first bowl victory since the 2008 season.
What’s next for Price remains to be seen. He will be required to sit out the 2019 season if he transfers to another FBS program unless he applies for a waiver and receives approval to be eligible in the fall.
As for Kentucky, the spring will open with a starting job up for grabs on the offensive line, although the return of Landon Young from a season-ending injury a year ago should help solidify the efforts up front.
Virginia Tech has promoted director of player development Justin Hamilton to safeties coach, the program announced Monday.
“Justin has more than proven his mettle to our staff over the past year and has earned this opportunity to take the next step in his football career,” head Hokie Justin Fuente said in a statement. “We know how invested Justin is in the continued success of our program. He’s a bright and talented coach who has built a solid rapport with our players and football staff. Coach Foster and I are both excited to expand his responsibilities with our team.”
A former Hokie player himself, Hamilton spent the bulk of this decade coaching at smaller programs in the Commonwealth. He was UVA-Wise’s defensive coordinator from 2011-13 and coached linebackers at VMI from 2014-17.
Hamilton fills a void created by the departure of current safeties coach Tyrone Nix. Virginia Tech officially said goodbye to him on Monday by announcing his departure for Ole Miss, though Ole Miss has yet to say anything as of press time.
Derrick Nix is on staff as Ole Miss’ running backs coach.
Southern Miss reportedly has its offensive coordinator, and the hire is more notable for who it’s not than who it is.
After the fiasco that was Art Briles‘ interview and interview postscript, Golden Eagles head coach Jay Hopson has decided to go with the decidedly uncontroversial choice of Arkansas State offensive coordinator Buster Faulkner, according to FootballScoop. (Full disclosure: I also write for FootballScoop.)
Faulkner spent the past three seasons as the offensive coordinator at Arkansas State, and prior to that spent four in a similar role at Middle Tennessee. Faulkner’s first stint as an offensive coordinator came in 2010 at Murray State, where his Racers offense became the first in FCS history to post a 500-yard passer, a 200-yard rusher and a 200-yard receiver in the same game.
Faulkner takes over for Shannon Dawson, who was let go and subsequently became the tight ends coach at Houston.
Southern Miss finished No. 109 nationally in yards per play and No. 90 in scoring; the Golden Eagles went 6-5 but did not garner a bowl bid last season. Arkansas State, meanwhile, was No. 31 in yards per play and No. 55 in scoring.