When the Auburn Tigers made their improbable run to the final BCS National Championship Game, the team’s defense was an overlooked part of its success. One of the unit’s top performers was its “star”, Robenson Therezie.
If the Tigers are to repeat as SEC champions, they may have to do so without Therezie for an unspecified amount of time. Therezie, a preseason All-SEC Second Team selection, may not be eligible to play for the Tigers by the start of his senior campaign, according to USA TODAY.
“We’re working through some eligibility issues right now with him,” Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn told USA TODAY’s James Crepea. “We should know in the near future.”
When Malzahn took over the program, he hired Ellis Johnson to become the team’s defensive coordinator. Johnson overhauled an underachieving unit. One of the major changes was switching from a 3-4 base defense to a 4-2-5 scheme which featured the “star” position, a linebacker-safety hybrid that could be used all over the field. Therezie won the starting job in fall camp. He finished sixth on the team with 57 total tackles and led the team with four interceptions.
The Tigers are now preparing for life without Therezie. Johnson admitted the team is “not sure (Therezie)’s going to be able to play early.”
Junior Justin Garrett is next in line to start as the team’s “star.” Garrett only played in two games last year, but he’s prepared for a much bigger role this season after splitting first-team repetitions with Therezie in practice.
“We’re getting Justin ready and right now we’ve got to get some depth out there.” Johnson said.
Former Missouri and Toledo head coach Gary Pinkel revealed in a TV interview on Sunday night that he is once again undergoing treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“I’m doing good. I had to get treatment again for the first time in four years. My cancer came out of remission, and so I had treatment last month. I’m doing fine,” Pinkel told KMIZ. “With my type of lymphoma, you’ll never be healed. But that’s kind of why I retired when I did – I just wanted to not go back and regret working 85 hours a week, 35 weeks out of the year when I could be doing other things with my family and my eight grandkids.”
Pinkel was originally diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in May of 2015 and stepped down after that season. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a cancer that begins in the lymph nodes and then spreads throughout the body.
“You keep battling it. I’m going to battle it, Pinkel said. “I’ve got a very positive approach to it, and I’m around a lot of good people that are helping me. There’s a lot of people out there with a lot worse cancers than Gary Pinkel has, and so prayers to all of them.”
Since retiring, Pinkel has used his time as a fundraiser for Missouri and also running the GP M.A.D.E. Foundation, which supports children with cancer and also provides mentoring for at-need kids.
Pinkel, 63, was 191-110-3 as a head coach at two schools over 25 seasons.
Former Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Ken Zampese is joining Florida’s staff as an analyst, according to Sports Illustrated‘s Andy Benoit.
Zampese spent the 2016-17 seasons as the Bengals’ offensive coordinator after serving 13 seasons as Marvin Lewis‘s quarterbacks coach. Cincinnati went 13-18-1 in Zampese’s two seasons running the offense, which is why he spent 2018 as the Cleveland Browns’ quarterbacks coach and the first part of 2019 as the offensive coordinator for the AAF’s Atlanta Legends.
He is the son of former Chargers, Rams, Cowboys and Patriots offensive coordinator Ernie Zampese.
It is not immediately known what the younger Zampese’s role will be with the Gators, but his experience indicates he’ll work with Dan Mullen and coordinators John Hevesy and Billy Gonzales to develop Florida’s offensive plan and help Brian Johnson tutor the quarterbacks, or perhaps use his coordinator experience to self-scout Florida’s offense and scout Florida’s future opponents.
All the reporting that came out since the bombshell reports saying Connecticut is looking to leave the American Athletic Conference to rejoin the non-football Big East have confirmed that, yes, this is really happening, likely in time for the 2020-21 athletic year. The reporting has also said that UConn’s soon-to-be-homeless football program will not drop down to FCS, but instead join a different conference or try to make it as an FBS independent.
On Saturday, Stadium’s Brett McMurphy tweeted that UConn has determined it will not return to FCS, where the program competed for most of its history before joining the then-power conference Big East in 2004.
On Sunday morning, NCAA.com’s Andy Katz followed with a note saying it looked like the Huskies will try to make a go of it as an independent, writing that UConn will attempt to schedule neighbors like UMass (a fellow independent), Boston College, Syracuse and Rutgers while honoring existing contracts for home-and-homes with Duke, Illinois, NC State and others.
For a check in with someone who might actually know something, let’s see what Huskies head coach Randy Edsall has to say.
Either way, it sounds like the train is moving and we could hear something official sooner rather than later.