Report: drug testing has doubled in Charlie Strong’s first year

16 Comments

Projected starting offensive tackle Kennedy Estelle was dismissed by the Texas football program earlier this week, reportedly for failing to live up to the terms of a substance abuse rehab program.  Based on the most recent report, that should come as no surprise if true.

Citing data obtained in an open records request, Brian Davis of the Austin American-Statesman reported Wednesday that, in the first eight months of Charlie Strong‘s tenure with the Longhorns, 188 drug tests have been administered to an unknown number of UT football players.  The only known is that every member of the football team was tested in March.

For comparison’s sake, an average of 104 tests per year were administered between 2010-13 when Mack Brown was the head coach.

The tests under Strong are broken down thusly by the American Statesman, which notes athletes can be tested at any time for any reason:

A total of 104 drug tests were administered from March 19-28, according to university records. Then on April 11, another 18 players were tested. Two tests were administered on April 30, and one more came on May 3. Players were tested during the summer, as 15 tests were administered on July 19. Two players were tested on Aug. 11, right in the middle of training camp as the players and coaches were living together in the dorms.

Seven more came on Aug. 22 and another seven players were tested the day before the season opener against North Texas, according to records. Brown usually tested players in the spring and mid-October, but never during training camp or before the season opener, records indicate.

Strictly as it relates to marijuana, there’s a four-strikes-and-you’re-out policy at UT. The first positive nets counseling, while the second and third positives result in suspensions of 10 percent of a sport’s regular-season games (one game for football) and 50 percent (six games) respectively. The fourth earns a student-athlete a dismissal.

This year, $8,775 has been spent on drug testing.  That number ranged from $5,100 to $6,500 the previous four years.   Then again, when you can (reportedly) offer a $10o million-plus financial package to a head coach at another school or the unlimited use of a private jet to another, a couple of hundred extra pee cups probably won’t make a dent in the budget.

“If we get information that leads us to believe there is cause to test, then we will certainly do that,” Allen Hardin, who oversees UT’s sports medicine and drug testing program, told the paper, indicating that this isn’t just a short-term “scare tactic” on Strong’s part but rather the head coach putting actions behind his five core values.

“He puts [the core values] on the wall and [the perception is] it’s like a new thing, like somebody wrote the Bible,” UT defensive coordinator Vance Bedford said earlier this month. “Well … teach a woman with respect. If you have a son, won’t you teach him that? I never had a gun. My mom never let me have a gun. My wife surely won’t let me have a gun. What’s wrong with that? No drugs. What’s wrong with that? Don’t steal. What’s wrong with that? What’s big about those core values? It’s the same thing every parent out there teaches.”

In other words, current and future Longhorn football players, it might be wise to follow this sage and timeless advice when it comes to the pharmaceutical aspect of the Strong’s Top Five…

 

Lincoln Riley’s brother named App State running backs coach

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Garrett Riley is a bright, accomplished coach in his own right, but until he wins back-to-back Heismans with two different quarterbacks (or, at least becomes a head coach in his own right), he’s going to be known as his big brother’s little brother. With that in mind: Lincoln Riley’s brother has been announced as Appalachian State’s new running backs coach.

“I’m excited to be part such a traditionally successful program,” Riley said in a statement. “I’m humble and grateful to have the opportunity to be around this organization and work with Coach Drink and the rest of the staff that I’ve known about for several years. Look forward to continuing the great success that Appalachian State’s had, and I can’t wait to start working with the players.”

Garrett followed Lincoln to Texas Tech and East Carolina before branching out on his own at Kansas, where he joined the staff as an offensive analyst in 2016 and was promoted to quarterbacks coach in 2017 and tight ends/fullbacks coach in 2018.

Appalachian State has not announced an offensive coordinator under new head coach Eli Drinkwitz — and certainly the head coach, a former offensive coordinator himself, will have tremendous sway on his favored side of the ball initially — it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Riley become the Mountaineers’ offensive coordinator in 2020 or 2021. “We’re looking to be cutting edge on offense, and we expect him to continue to push that,” Drinkwitz said Friday. “His experience coaching in North Carolina will also benefit our program.”

Report: Dan Lanning receives nod as Georgia’s next defensive coordinator

Getty Images
Leave a comment

When Mel Tucker left Georgia to be the head coach at Colorado, it was clear Kirby Smart‘s next defensive coordinator was already on his staff. It would either be Glenn Schumann or Dan Lanning, two 30-something whiz kids who split linebacker duties for the Bulldogs (Schumann inside, Lanning outside).

We got a window into Smart’s thinking during the Sugar Bowl, when Lanning was chosen to lead the defensive huddles and represent the defense in press conference setting. Georgia lost that game to Texas, but it was apparently enough for Smart to know his original hunch was correct as Seth Emerson reported Friday for The Athletic that Lanning will be Georgia’s next defensive coordinator.

While Schumann did not win the rose, he’s not going home (or, in this case, staying put) empty handed. According to Emerson, Schumann will be Georgia’s co-defensive coordinator, and both will net massive raises. After both made $325,000 in 2018, Lanning will make $750,000 in 2019 while Schumann will earn $550,000. The 2018 season was Lanning’s first at Georgia, while Schumann followed Smart over from Alabama. Lanning spent 2016-17 as the inside linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator at Memphis. The 32-year-old was a high school assistant coach in Missouri as recently as 2010.

All eight returning assistants will net raises, per Emerson, but the overall staff pool will go down after losing Tucker’s $1.5 million salary. (Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney and his $950,000 salary also left for Tennessee, but previously-announced promotion James Coley will also make $950,000, a $100,000 increase from 2018.)

Coley, Lanning and Schumann aren’t the only coaches being rewarded for sticking around — in title as well as salary. Offensive line coach Sam Pittman will be Smart’s new associate head coach, running backs coach Dell McGee will be the running game coordinator and wide receivers coach Cortez Hankton will be the passing game coordinator.

Seven new assistants highlight Alabama’s 2019 coaching staff

Getty Images
3 Comments

It’s become an annual thing at this point: Nick Saban‘s assistants, ready to see the sun again after life on Planet Saban, hop aboard the first spaceship that flies by, so Alabama simply reloads and hires essentially a new staff.

While many of the hires had trickled out over the past six weeks or so, Alabama on Friday announced Saban’s full 2019 on-field coaching staff:

Steve Sarkisian — Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks
Charles Huff — Associate head coach/running backs
Holmon Wiggins — Wide receivers
Kyle Flood — Offensive line
Jeff Banks — Tight ends/special teams coordinator

Pete Golding — Defensive coordinator/inside linebackers
Brian Baker — Associate head coach/defensive line
Charles Kelly — Associate defensive coordinator/safeties
Sal Sunseri — Outside linebackers
Karl Scott — Cornerbacks

“We are excited to be able to assemble such a talented group of coaches to develop our players both on and off the field,” Saban said. “These coaches have a great mix of energy, enthusiasm and experience that will be a tremendous asset to our program. They are all excellent teachers of the game and fantastic recruiters who bring a wealth of experience to our staff.”

Only Golding, Banks and Scott were on Alabama’s staff for the title game beat down the Tide suffered at Clemson’s hand last month.

Sarkisian, of course, called plays for Alabama’s first title game loss to Clemson before leaving to become the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive coordinator, where he was scapegoated for the club’s failure to make the playoffs last season. Flood, the former Rutgers head coach, was Atlanta’s assistant offensive line coach for the past two seasons. He was also under a show-cause that did not expire until September.

Huff and Baker worked together at Mississippi State, while Sunseri was the defensive line coach at Florida and Wiggins the wideouts coach at Virginia Tech. Kelly spent 2018 as the safeties coach and special teams coordinator at Tennessee but is best remembered for his run as the defensive coordinator at Florida State.

Not among the names announced Friday: Butch Jones. The former Tennessee head coach spent 2018 as an analyst for Saban but did not get promoted to the varsity for 2019.

BYU taps Texas State’s Eric Mateos as new OL coach

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Kalani Sitake‘s coaching staff is whole again.

In mid-January, Troy announced that it had hired BYU offensive line coach Ryan Pugh as the Sun Belt Conference program’s offensive coordinator.  A month later, Sitake filled that hole by announcing the hiring of Eric Mateos as the Cougars’ new line coach.

Mateos has a connection to Sitake’s BYU staff as he worked in 2016 as an offensive line graduate assistant under Jeff Grimes, who is now the Cougars’ offensive coordinator.  That same season, Mateos was promoted to tight ends coach following the dismissal of Les Miles as head coach.

“Eric is a great person with quality character that will fit in phenomenally with our players and staff,” Grimes said in a statement. “He will take our young group a step further and is a master at building confidence and group cohesiveness. I know our players will really respond well to him.”

The past two seasons, Mateos has worked at Texas State as the Bobcats’ line coach.