Brian Kelly on Irish’s QBs: ‘I’d take our two over Ohio State’s’

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This certainly has the potential to end well in the comments section — and by “end well” I mean “be a train wreck.”

As everybody knows, one of the biggest storylines in college football throughout the offseason has been Ohio State’s three-headed quarterback competition, which won’t commence in earnest until summer camp rolls around in August. And not only will it be a three-man battle, it will include what may well be the most talented collection of quarterbacks ever assembled on one team at the collegiate level: Cardale Jones, the hero of the Buckeyes’ postseason run viewed as one of a handful of preseason contenders for the 2015 Heisman Trophy; J.T. Barrett, the 2014 starter who led the Buckeyes to the cusp of a Big Ten title and spot in the College Football Playoff before fracturing his ankle in the regular-season finale against Michigan; and Braxton Miller, the two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year who was one of the favorites for the 2014 Heisman before reinjuring his shoulder during summer camp last August and missing the entire season.

With that as a backdrop, and as relayed by our own JJ Stankevitz for his main gig at CSNChicago, Brian Kelly was asked during a Wednesday press conference which unit’s depth on his Notre Dame squad has pleased him the most. Unprompted, the Irish head coach brought up OSU’s quarterback situation in pumping up his own group of signal-callers, Everett Golson and Malik Zaire.

“At the quarterback position, maybe other than Ohio State, I would take our two quarterbacks,” Kelly said. “And I would take our two over Ohio State’s. In terms of depth, I don’t know if anybody has a better situation than we do in terms of the two quarterbacks we have.”

The fact that Kelly pumped up his own players publicly isn’t a surprise as coaches all across the country do it on an almost daily basis, especially in the spring. The fact that Kelly, unsolicited, brought up OSU and claimed he’d take his guys over Urban Meyer‘s, though, is head-scratching and chuckle-inducing to say the least.

While Golson/Zaire are far from middle school-level talents, they’re also far from the Jones/Barrett/Miller triumvirate when it comes to on-field production and success — 38-3 with that starting trio the past three years, three division titles, one conference championship, one national championship. Granted, Golson helped lead the Irish to the 2012 BCS title game, but still, there’s not a coach in the country who, if he’s being honest with himself, wouldn’t trade his situation depth-wise for the Buckeyes’.

It’s interesting to note that Kelly’s very public praise comes amidst rumors that bubbled yet again to the surface that Golson may be considering a transfer. Maybe it’s merely a coincidence, but maybe it’s Kelly’s way of publicly telling Golson that he does indeed want him in South Bend — and, in the process, leaving him more than one viable option at the position heading into the new season.

LSU students will go to class on Saturday to make up for national title game

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LSU students who got to skip class for the national title game (and the ensuing celebrations…) were hit with a dose of reality returning to Baton Rouge on Friday.

According to an announcement from the university, classes that were cancelled on Monday and Tuesday for the championship game have been rescheduled. As a result, students will have to go to class on Saturday, Jan. 25 and Saturday, Feb. 8.

So yes, Saturdays in the fall have resulted in a few Saturdays of work in the spring.

The school had received a bit of criticism when it was announced that classes were cancelled on the dates surrounding the championship game. While the practice has happened elsewhere, the nature of the game being less than an hour from campus in New Orleans certainly made things unique for the Tigers and their large fan base.

While some students no doubt had hoped that the classes at the time were indeed cancelled, it turns out they were in fact just being rescheduled. Going to school on a Saturday probably isn’t what many had in mind when signing up for the spring semester but there’s probably not a soul in purple and gold will take issue with the change given that it comes as a result of hoisting the ultimate football trophy on Monday night in the Big Easy.

Virginia safety Chris Moore enters transfer portal

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The transfer portal has claimed another name.

As first noted by ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg, Virginia safety Chris Moore has entered his name into the database as he explores a move out of Charlottesville.

Moore started five of his nine appearances for the Cavaliers in 2019 and wound up recording 42 tackles. While he was in line to become one of the key members in the secondary going forward, a prior  suspension for violating team rules back in November may have wound up playing a role in his departure and standing with the team.

The safety had previously missed all of the 2018 season with an injury as well.

Moore was originally a three-star recruit out of Ashburn, Va. in 2016 and, assuming the redshirt senior has a degree, likely has a season remaining as a grad transfer.

DL Jay Tufele, WR Tyler Vaughns skipping draft to stay at USC

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Clay Helton has a lot of issues to deal with at the moment. Having a talented USC football team is not one of them.

The Trojans received a rare bit of good news on Thursday evening as two key players announced they were skipping the 2020 NFL Draft. In back-to-back announcements, defensive lineman Jay Tufele and wideout Tyler Vaughns confirmed they would remain in Los Angeles for the 2020 season.

Tufele is one of USC’s best defensive players. He recorded 42 tackles and 4.5 sacks last season as a redshirt sophomore despite dealing with a handful of injuries. With leading sacker Drake Jackson also back, there’s a nice tandem up front for whoever the team hires as defensive coordinator to work with going forward.

Vaughns returning also makes a dangerous receiving corps that much deeper. Michael Pittman Jr. was lost to graduation but the next three top wideouts are set to be back in 2020. Add in a group of solid tailbacks and both J.T. Daniels and Kedon Slovis at QB and USC will once again have one of the top offenses in the Pac-12.

Whether it will all help save Helton’s job again remains to be seen. If nothing else though, there’s at least there’s some positive news for the cardinal and gold this offseason with Tufele and Vaughns back in the fold going forward.

Nebraska and OC Troy Walters “mutually agreed to part ways”

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A year after significantly falling short of expectations, an offseason of change has commenced at Nebraska.

In one of the first big moves since Scott Frost took over at his alma mater, the Cornhuskers and offensive coordinator Troy Walters announced on Friday that they had ‘mutually agreed to part ways.’

“Troy has been a valued member of our coaching staff for the past four years,” Frost said in a statement. “Troy is a good mentor for his players, provides great energy on and off the field, and carries himself with a presence off the field that will be missed. I want to thank him for his work on our coaching staff, and wish him and his family all the best going forward.”

The duo first came together when Frost was hired at UCF and led a number of prolific offenses, including the undefeated 2017 team for the Knights. Walters was a finalist for the Broyles Award that same season though has not called plays for either team.

Walters had a distinguished career as a player at Stanford that included All-American honors and a Biletnikoff Award in 1999. He spent several years in the NFL before going into coaching during stops at Texas A&M, N.C. State and Colorado.

The departure of Walters could interestingly lead to a reunion between Frost and a familiar name in Mark Helfrich. The latter was head coach at Oregon when Frost was elevated to offensive coordinator for the Ducks and is in search of a job after being let go by the Chicago Bears from a similar role.