Hugh Freeze will ‘make a decision’ after Chad Kelly’s Jan. 5 court date

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It appears that, in a week and a half, Chad Kelly will learn what if any future he will have at Ole Miss.

Earlier this month, Kelly was arrested on a whopping seven misdemeanor charges following an incident that began with him fighting with bouncers inside of a Buffalo bar and ended with him fighting with police.  While Kelly’s attorney claimed his client was merely defending himself inside the bar, no explanation was given for Kelly’s actions after he and a friend were pulled over by police a short time later.

Kelly has a Jan. 5 court date to answer to the charges, and head coach Hugh Freeze, in his first public comments since the incident, intimated that date will be critical for Kelly’s future with the program moving forward.

From the Daily Journal:

It’s like I tell him every day when he’s calling and texting me, ‘I will deal with you when I get ready to deal with you, and that will be after I gather everything and see what the court date after Jan. 5, what happens with that.’

I just want to be sure. When you’re dealing with a kid’s future … I know everybody has their opinion. None of the opinions really matter other than what’s best for the program first, the kid second. For me to do anything other than wait for all the facts and the total truth … because everything that’s out there is not accurate. I want to deal with exactly what is accurate. That’s in fairness to any individual that you’re dealing with.

I’m just gathering all the facts from his side, the other sides and just waiting to see what the court date holds and what comes from that. Then we’ll make a decision.

Freeze also described Kelly as “very humbled” and “very remorseful” over the incident.

“He knows he made a mistake in being in the wrong place. I think he’s remorseful for that,” Freeze said. “He also wants me to know the truth, the way he perceives it, and I’ve heard that.”

This is, though, not Kelly’s first brush with controversy.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney announced April 14 that Kelly, the nephew of former Miami Hurricane and NFL great Jim Kelly, had been dismissed from the team for “conduct detrimental to our program.” Kelly, benched following a couple of interceptions, verbally sparred with assistant coaches during the spring game, which triggered the dismissal.  He spent the 2014 season at the JUCO level before signing with Ole Miss earlier this month.

A four-star member of the Tigers’ 2012 recruiting class, Kelly was rated as the No. 4 dual-threat quarterback in the country and the No. 1 player at any position in the state of New York.  Kelly will have two years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2015 and, because of Bo Wallace’s departure, will be expected to compete for the Rebels’ starting job… provided he’s still a Rebel come summer camp, of course.

Vanderbilt brings in former Georgia, LSU assistant as WRs coach

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In filling a hole on his Vanderbilt football coaching staff, Derek Mason turned to an assistant with extensive experience in the SEC.

Tuesday, Vandy announced the addition of Tony Ball to Mason’s on-field staff. Moving forward, Ball will serve as the Commodores’ wide receiver.

Ball will replace Aaron Moorehead, who left for a job with the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles.

As previously noted, Ball certainly has a deep history in the conference to which he’s coming. From 2006-14, he was the wide receivers coach (2009-14) and running backs coach (2006-08) at Georgia. In 2015, he was Les Miles’ receivers coach at LSU.

His other Power Five experience came as receivers coach at Virginia Tech from 1998-05.

“Tony Ball is a quality man who brings a wealth of experience and coaching success to our staff. We’ve attracted one of the nation’s top receivers coaches in Tony,” the Vanderbilt football head coach said in a statement. “Tony has been part of several successful programs, including Georgia, LSU and Virginia Tech. With Tony, we are getting a coach with a long track record of bringing the best out in his student-athletes.”

This past season, Ball served as the receivers coach and passing-game coordinator at UT-San Antonio. The two years prior to that, he was Louisiana Tech’s running backs coach.

Vanderbilt football is coming off a 3-9 season, its worst record since posting the same mark in Mason’s first season in 2014. In November of last year, athletic director Malcolm Turner confirmed Mason would be returning for the 2020 season. Three months later, Turner abruptly resigned his post.

Arkansas adds future home date with Louisiana Tech

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Arkansas will host Louisiana Tech on Nov. 23, 2024, the programs announced Tuesday.

The game will be at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.

The meeting will be the fifth between the border neighbors. Arkansas has won the previous four, most recently taking a 21-20 decision in Fayetteville in 2016. The programs’ first meeting came in Ruston way back in 1901, a 16-0 Hogs victory. The two in-between meetings, in 1996 and ’97, both came in Little Rock.

The game completes Arkansas’s 2024 non-conference schedule. The Razorbacks previously arranged an Aug. 31 home date with Arkansas-Pine Bluff, a Sept. 7 visit to Oklahoma State and a Sept. 14 home game with Kent State.

Louisiana Tech still has one blank slate for the 2024 campaign. The Bulldogs are slated to visit NC State on Sept. 7 and host Tulsa two weeks after that.

Tulsa, Army ink 4-game series to begin in 2025

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As an independent, scheduling is a never-ending battle for Army, and the Black Knights scored a victory on Tuesday.

Tulsa announced it has agreed to a 4-game series with West Point, beginning in 2025. The series will begin Sept. 13, 2025 at Michie Stadium, then head to Tulsa on Sept. 19, 2026. The series will move later in the fall for the return trip to West Point — Nov. 13, 2027 — and then wrap up Oct. 21, 2028 at Tulsa’s Chapman Stadium.

The programs have met just once previously, a 49-39 Golden Hurricane victory on Nov. 17, 2007 at West Point.

Tulsa has two games on the slate already for each of the four seasons: at Oklahoma State and vs. Louisiana Tech in 2025; vs. Oklahoma State and at Arkansas in ’26; vs. Arkansas and at Oklahoma State in ’27; and then at Louisiana-Lafayette and home against Oklahoma State in 2028.

Army now has 10 games on the docket for 2025 and ’26, seven for 2027 and eight for 2028.

LSU loses RBs coach Tommie Robinson to Texas A&M, promotes Kevin Faulk

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The SEC is famously incestuous in its hiring practices, and within that large, cross-bred family is a series of clans that really like to hire off of each other. For instance, South Carolina likes to hire former Georgia players and coaches, and Georgia likes to hire away from Alabama.

And Texas A&M and LSU really like to hire each others’ people, with most of the traffic going east to west.

On Monday, TexAgs owner Billy Liucci reported that Texas A&M is set to hire LSU running backs coach Tommie Robinson for the same post in College Station.

At A&M, Robinson will work for former LSU offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher and former LSU tight ends coach Darrell Dickey and alongside former LSU wide receivers coach Dameyune Craig.

(By the way, A&M also employs former Missouri offensive coordinator Josh Henson as its offensive line coach and former Georgia offensive coordinator James Coley as its tight ends coach.)

LSU’s running backs coach from 2017-19, Robinson helped develop Clyde Edwards-Helaire and sign 4-star Chris Curry (2018), 5-star John Emery, Jr. (2019) and 4-star Tyrion Davis-Price (2019). For that, he was the highest-paid running backs coach in the nation at $600,000 per year.

Presumably, he crossed state and enemy lines for a hefty raise.

With Robinson out the door, LSU moved quickly in tabbing former Tiger Kevin Faulk as its new running backs coach. The school’s all-time leading rusher with 4,557 yards and 46 touchdowns, Faulk was already on staff as director of player development.