Trojan football legends close ranks around Ed Orgeron

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USC athletic director Pat Haden is still working on finding a full-time head football coach for the Trojans, but some pretty big names in school lore have already made up their minds.

Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Allen and NFL Hall-of-Famers Ronnie Lott, Anthony Munoz and Ron Yary are all getting behind interim head coach Ed Orgeron.

The four players provided the following quotes to the Los Angeles Times over the weekend:

“From the depths of despair, from a program that was flat-lining, he has made a tremendous turnaround,” said Allen, the first former player to talk to the team after Lane Kiffin was fired Sept. 29. “Here’s a guy who cares about his players, treats them like his sons, and he wants the very best for them. So he’s going to put you in the right position to be successful. He wants these guys to realize their dream, but he knows the only way to do it is to be tough.”

“To me, Ed Orgeron is like Marv Goux,” Lott said, referring to the legendary Trojans player-turned-assistant who coached at the school for three decades and died in 2002. “Ed Orgeron showed me, and showed a lot of people, that . . . in terms of moving forward, he’s got to be considered. He’s not only got to be considered, but he should be very high on the list.”

“I’d hate to be in Pat’s shoes right now,” Munoz said. “I think Ed, at least from me being there a couple of times, I think he’s done a phenomenal job. The whole atmosphere is different. Not once has he mentioned the lack of scholarships [because of NCAA sanctions]. That impresses me.

“It’s not fair for me to think for Pat,” Yary said. “But if there’s a guy who’s stepping up to earn it, [Orgeron] has so far. He’s certainly turned the program around. . . . I’ve met Ed and hear a lot of good things about him from other people. I’m sure they’ll give him a fair opportunity to get the job. If he wins the rest of the games, I think he’s put himself up for a job offer.”

Impressive quotes to be sure. But to add some perspective, consider that former USC players haven’t always been known to be the best judges of coaching talent in the past. Another Trojan Heisman winner, former athletic director Mike Garrett, hit the jackpot when hiring Pete Carroll but missed badly with Paul Hackett and Lane Kiffin.  Former USC All-American wide receiver Mike Williams said the following when Garrett hired Kiffin: “God is shining on the Trojan faithful. I couldn’t imagine a better pick.”  And here is what Allen said about Kiffin in 2011:

“I think Lane is doing a good job. In talking to Lane, he wants to bring back that culture of toughness and being physical to play smart football. I know that he is challenged with the amount of scholarships and so forth. I think he is headed in the right direction. I think he understands the philosophy of football as we discussed. That is where he wants to take USC which is good.”

So take all these opinions with a grain of salt.  As Haden said last week:

“What Ed had done has been absolutely remarkable. He is clearly in our eyesight. We understand. It’s not just the fans. We’re sophisticated enough and know enough about this to understand the attributes that he has and he’s a known quantity.

“But my job is to find the best coach of USC, not just for this year, for five, six or eight games or next year, but hopefully for five, ten or 15 years. So we’re going to go through this process we have and at the end of the day, I think we’ll have a rational decision. And I completely understand that people are going to disagree with the decision I make, no matter who it is, right? So we’re going to get that. I’m fully prepared for that.”

Nebraska WR Darien Chase transferring to Portland State

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One of the baker’s dozen scholarship players who have left Nebraska has found a new college football home.  Unofficially.

Citing struggles with mental health and depression, Darien Chase entered the NCAA transfer database in mid-February.  That was the first step in leaving the Nebraska football program.

On Twitter this week, the wide receiver took the next step.  By committing to FCS Portland State.

“First I would like to thank God for getting me through these difficult times,” Chase wrote, ” and my family’s amazing support while being home.  I’ve chosen to stay off social media when it came to my recruiting process so I could make a clear decision on my next steps and commit to the school that makes the most sense for me.

“Thank you to all the universities who gave me the opportunity to play at their program.  I’ll forever be grateful.

“With that being said I’m proud to announce that I will be staying home and attending… Portland State University.”

Chase was a three-star 2019 signee. He was the No. 3 player at any position in the state of Washington.

Prior to committing to, then signing with Nebraska football, Chase had received scholarship offers from, among others, Washington, Oregon, Oregon State, Utah and Boise State. He took official visits to the latter two schools.

As a true freshman, Chase played in four games for the Cornhuskers. That will allow him to take a redshirt for the 2019 season.

In that limited action, Chase caught one pass for 13 yards.

In statement, Nick Saban ‘shocked, angered by tragic deaths of George Floyd,’ others

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Nick Saban has one of the most powerful voices in college football.  Some would argue the most powerful voice.  Sunday, he’s using that voice as the nation careens deeper into crisis.

In the aftermath of the despicable, abhorrent, unconscionable murder of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, at the knee of a white police officer, myriad FBS head coaches have spoken out and spoken up.  In fact, nearly six dozen of them have done so as of this posting.

Sunday evening, Nick Saban added his voice to the burgeoning call for change.  Below is the Alabama head football coach’s statement, in its entirety:

I am shocked and angered by the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. We’re at an important moment in out country, and now is the time for us to choose kindness, tolerance, understanding, empathy, and most importantly … it’s time to love each other.  Every life is precious, and we must understand we have so many more things that unite us than divide us.

I’ve always been inspired and encouraged by examples set by those who came before us like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and so many others who devoted their lives to find peaceful ways to rid our society of social inequities. As Dr. King said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied to a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” We are all part of this and we must banish these types of injustices in not just our country, but our world. The ultimate future of our nation is in our hands, and like the teams I’ve been privileged to coach, we must depend on and respect each other no matter our differences. We must come together as a society and treat one another with respect and dignity.

Wisconsin RB Bradrick Shaw to transfer to Cal

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Cal football is the latest to benefit from a Power Five-to-Power Five transfer.

Bradrick Shaw announced in January that he had been granted a sixth season of eligibility.  Instead of using that added year at Wisconsin, however, the running back opted to enter the NCAA transfer database.

Four months later, Shaw revealed on Twitter that he will be transferring into the Cal football program.

Suffice to say, Shaw will be eligible to play for the Bears in 2020.  Just as obviously, this will be his final season of eligibility.

One final academic postscript: Shaw earned two degrees from the University of Wisconsin.  As for athletically?

Shaw came to the Wisconsin Badgers football team as a three-star 2015 signee.  He was rated as the No. 16 player regardless of position in the state of Alabama.  The back took a redshirt as a true freshman, then missed the entire 2018 season because of a knee injury.  All of that helped lead to the sixth season.

In 2016, Shaw was third on the Badgers in rushing with 457 yards and tied for second in rushing touchdowns with five.  The following season, his 365 yards and four scores were both second behind Jonathan Taylor‘s 1,977 and 13 as a true freshman.

Coming off the knee injury, Shaw ran for 116 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries in 2019.  All told, Shaw carried the ball 202 times for 938 yards and 10 touchdowns during his time with the Badgers.

Shaw’s initial social-media announcement came exactly three weeks after Taylor confirmed he will be leaving UW early for the 2020 NFL Draft.  With the departures of Taylor and Shaw, the Badgers’ leading returning rushers in 2020 will be freshman Nakia Watson (331 yards) and junior Garrett Groshek (194).  UW also has a commitment from four-star 2020 running back Jalen Berger.

Tennessee RB Tim Jordan arrested on multiple charges in Florida, including a felony firearm count

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A Tennessee football player would be the latest to trigger a reset of the “Days Without An Arrest” ticker.  If it were still a thing, of course.

Multiple media outlets reported overnight that Tim Jordan was arrested Saturday on multiple charges.  The Vols running back is facing one count each of carrying a concealed firearm, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana.  The firearm charge is a third-degree felony.  The other two are misdemeanors.

According to the Knoxville News, the Tennessee football player was seen speeding and swerving into the bicycle lane.  From the News:

The officers stopped the vehicle and reported smelling “a strong odor of cannabis emanating from inside.” Jordan, 20, was behind the wheel, and a 17-year-old male was in the passenger seat. Both seemed “extremely nervous,” the warrant reads.

Jordan told the officers he was carrying a gun in his back pocket without a concealed carry permit, according to the warrant. The handgun, a Ruger LCP pistol, was found in his back pocket, loaded and unholstered.

Inside the vehicle the detectives reported finding a small bag containing about 9.25 grams of marijuana, as well as a scale and several small plastic bags.

Thus far, the Tennessee football program has not commented on the development.

Jordan was a four-star member of the Class of 2017 for the Volunteers.

The past three seasons, Jordan has appeared in 36 of UT’s 37 games.  This past season, Jordan’s 428 yards were third on the Vols.  The year before, he was second on the team with 522 yards on the ground.

All told, Jordan has rushed for 1002 yards and four touchdowns during his time in Knoxville.  The Florida native has also added 26 receptions for another 227 yards coming out of the backfield.