Report: USC using search firm to find next football coach

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USC made the decision to fire Lane Kiffin before October, allowing for plenty of time to properly structure a game plan for hiring a replacement to lead the football program moving forward. Now, according to a report, the Trojans will hire a search firm to help form the search for a new head coach for 2014 and beyond.

According to a report by Jeremy Fowler of CBSSports.com, USC is expected to rely on the services of Korn/Ferry International in their search. The same search firm has previously helped the New York Jets hire a general manager and the firm is also currently assisting the University of Texas in their search for a new athletics director.

Search firms are common in coaching searches around college football of course, so USC making use of one should come as no surprise.

It is interesting to make note of the firm’s current project with Texas because there has been plenty of speculation surround the Texas football program concerning the future of head coach Mack Brown. If Texas reaches a point were the school opts to cut ties with the football coach, would the same search firm be helping Texas find a new head coach at the same time they are on the lookout for a head coach at USC?

That may be a bit unlikely, but is worth thinking about. It is probably not all that common for a search firm to be assisting in the searches for similar vacancies at different locations, but considering USC and Texas could be the potential crown jewels of the off-season coaching carousel, it would be interesting to see it play out.

The odds are USC will have narrowed down their search or perhaps even have a new coach hired by the time Texas makes any sort of decision on Brown’s future. Right now though, Brown’s job may be secure with the Longhorns currently undefeated in Big 12 play and in position to win the Big 12’s automatic BCS bowl berth. If that happens, there would be little chance Texas removes Brown as head coach.

The win against Oklahoma may have been enough to save the job for now anyway.

Ohio State transfer Jared Drake moves on to the FCS

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After moving on from Ohio State, Jared Drake has opted to drop a couple of rungs on the college football ladder in continuing his playing career.

On his personal Twitter account Thursday, Drake announced “that the next stop on this long journey will be with the Leathernecks of Western Illinois University!” As Western Illinois plays at the FCS level, the linebacker will be eligible to play immediately in 2018.

Drake came to the Buckeyes as a walk-on in 2015.  he played in nine games the past two seasons, almost exclusively on special teams.

According to his official OSU bio, Drake had “added long snapping to his résumé along with his responsibilities as a linebacker.”

Houston, UTSA announce tweaks to twin home-and-homes

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The aftereffects of Hurricane Harvey continue to linger, in this case as it pertains to college football scheduling.

Houston and UT-San Antonio in March of 2016 announced a future four-game series, with two of the games set to be played at the latter’s home (2017, 2023) and two in the former’s (2022, 2024). Because of the once-in-500 years flooding event in the Houston area last August, however, the 2017 game was canceled.

In a press release Thursday, UTSA confirmed that the canceled 2017 game will now be played on Aug. 30, 2025, at TDECU Stadium in Houston. The 2023 game, which had been scheduled to be played in San Antonio, will now be played in Houston.

The 2022 and 2024 games had been scheduled for Houston’s home but will now be played in San Antonio’s Alamodome.

The two football teams have met twice previously, in 2013 and 2014. The road teams won each of those matchups, with the Roadrunners spoiling the opening of UH’s new stadium in the 2014 game.

Oregon LB arrested for removing parking boot dismissed by Ducks

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In April, Fotu Leiato was arrested on a couple of charges related to the illegal removal of a parking boot from his vehicle.  A month later, we’ve learned Leiato was given the boot from his current football program for good measure.

247Sports.com was the first to report that Leiato has been dismissed by first-year Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal.  Further to the point, the linebacker’s dismissal came a day after his April arrest but the news didn’t surface until Thursday.

In the April incident, Leiato was arrested on charges of second-degree criminal mischief, second-degree theft and criminal trespassing.  That was actually his second arrest this year as he was charged with misdemeanor trespassing in January.

The combination of the two arrests led Cristobal to pull the trigger on a dismissal.

Coming to Eugene as a three-star safety, Leiato played in 37 of 38 games the past three seasons.  The Washington native earned the first start of his collegiate playing career during the 2017 season.

The senior had been in line to earn a starting job exiting spring and heading into the summer phase of the offseason.

LB Darrin Kirkland announces transfer from Tennessee

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Darren Kirkland‘s injury-plagued time on Rocky Top has come to an end.

On his personal Twitter account Thursday evening, Kirkland announced that he has decided to transfer out of first-year head coach Jeremy Pruitt‘s Tennessee football program.  The linebacker gave no specific reason for his decision to move on from the Volunteers.

“Tennessee will always hold a special place in my heart,” Kirkland wrote. “These moments have been priceless and I’m a better player and man from this experience.”

As a graduate transfer, Kirkland would be eligible to play for another FBS program in 2018.  Not only that, but he will have two seasons of eligibility remaining counting this year.

A four-star 2015 signee, Kirkland started 10 games as a true freshman and then another six in a sophomore campaign marred by a high-ankle sprain that forced him to miss four games.  In summer camp last year, he suffered a knee injury severe enough to sideline him for the entire 2017 season.

The rehab from that injury kept Kirkland from being a full participant in Pruitt’s first spring practice this year.