145 — yes, 145 — players on Lombardi Award watch list

3 Comments

Most in the media, and many a fan, scoff in the general direction of preseason watch lists every time one’s released.  For those who fall into that category, here’s additional ammunition for your argument.

Tuesday morning, the Lombardi Award, handed out annually to either a lineman on either side of the ball or a linebacker who lines up no deeper than five yards off the line of scrimmage, released a watch list that includes 12 dozen, plus one football players.  That’s right, this watch list contains a whopping 145 players. Or, put another way, every one of the 26 letters of the alphabet besides “U” and “X” are represented.

Included in that rather lengthy list is the 2014 winner of the award, Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright, and another finalist for last year’s award, Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa.  Additionally, Michigan State defensive end Shilique Calhoun and Ole Miss defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche, 2014 semifinalists, are in the initial grouping as well.

Below is the complete list of players on this year’s preseason Lombardi Award watch list:

OL Ramadan Ahmeti, Central Michigan
LB Dominique Alexander, Oklahoma
G Vadal Alexander, LSU
C Jack Allen Michigan, State
LB T.T. Barber, Middle Tennessee
DL Alex Barrett, San Diego State
OL Willie Beavers, Western Michigan
OT Adrian Bellard, Texas State
OL Caleb Benenoch, UCLA
G Dalton Bennett, Troy
LB Vince Biegel, Wisconsin
LB Zeek Bigger, East Carolina
DT Andrew Billings, Baylor
OL Adam Bisnpwaty, Pittsburgh
DE Ronald Blair, Appalachian State
DE Joey Bosa, Ohio State
G J.T. Boyd, East Carolina
LB Jatavis Brown, Akron
DE DeForest Buckner, Oregon
LB James Burgess, Louisville
DT Vernon Butler, Louisiana Tech
DE Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State
LB Brandon Chubb, Wake Forest
DT Kenny Clark, UCLA
OT Le’Raven Clark, Texas Tech
OL Ben Clarke, Hawaii
DT Trevon Coley, Florida Atlantic
OT Jack Conklin, Michigan State
DE Kamalei Correa, Boise State
DT Sheldon Day, Notre Dame
OT Taylor Decker, Ohio State
DE Hunter Dimick, Utah
OT Spencer Drango, Baylor
G Parker Ehinger, Cincinnati
DE Ken Ekanem, Virginia Tech
G Pat Elflein, Ohio State
G Steve Elmer, Notre Dame
LB Kyler Fackrell, Utah State
G Dan Feeney, Indiana
G Sedrick Flowers, Texas
LB Leonard Floyd, Georgia
G Isaiah Folasa-Lutui, New Mexico State
C Kyle Fuller, Baylor
G Joshua Garnett, Stanford
DE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
DT Adam Gotsis, Georgia Tech
OL Darrell Greene, San Diego State
OT Ike Harris, East Carolina
DT Tylor Harris, Wake Forest
G Marcus Henry, Boise State
LB Nick Holt, Western Kentucky
C Alex Huettel, Bowling Green
OL Matt Hugenberg, Army
LB DJ Hunter, Marshall
LB Great Ibe, Eastern Michigan
LB Myles Jack, UCLA
LB Jordan Jenkins, Georgia
G Darius Johnson, Middle Tennessee
DT Gerrand Johnson, ULM
OT Tyler Johnstone, Oregon
DT Jarron Jones, Notre Dame
DE Bronson Kaufusi, BYU
DT Kingsley Keke, Texas A&M
C Ryan Kelly, Alabama
C Kaydon Kirby, North Texas
LB Hunter Kissenger, ULM
OL Tejan Koroma, BYU
OL James Kristof, Western Michigan
LB Nick Kwiatkoski, West Virginia
DE Royce LaFrance, Tulane
OL Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky
C Taylor Lasecki, SMU
LB Darron Lee, Ohio State
DE Dadi Lhomme-Nicolas, Virginia Tech
LB Steve Longa, Rutgers
LB Alex Lyons, Rice
C Nick Martin, Notre Dame
LB Blake Martinez, Stanford
DL Praise Martin-Oguike, Temple
LB Tyler Matakevich, Temple
LB Boomer Mays, Northern Illinois
LB Cassanova McKinzy, Auburn
LB Marc Millan, Idaho
LB Mason Monheim, Illinois
OL Alfredo Morales, Texas Tech
LB Antonio Morrison, Florida
DE Silverberry Mouhon, Cincinnati
C Andrew Ness, Northern Illinois
DE Thomas Niles, UCF
DT Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss
LB Reggie Northrup, Florida State
DE Shawn Oakman, Baylor
DE Pat O’Connor, Eastern Michigan
OT Rees Odhiambo, Boise State
DE Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State
DE Joe Ostman, Central Michigan
LB Montese Overton, East Carolina
DE Denzell Perine, FIU
G Caleb Peterson, North Carolina
LB Joseph Peterson, Georgia State
DT Davion Pierson, TCU
LB Manoa Pikula, BYU
G Greg Pyke, Georgia
OT Mykheal Quave, Louisiana
LB Reggie Ragland, Alabama
DE Sheldon Rankins, Louisville
OL Andrew Reue, Rice
DE Tyler Roberts, Troy
DT A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama
LB Jovan Santos-Knox, Massachusetts
C Joseph Scelfo, South Alabama
LB Joe Schmidt, Notre Dame
DE Ian Seau, Nevada
DL Blake Serpa, Central Michigan
C Isaac Seumalo, Oregon State
LB Ryan Simmons, Oklahoma State
C Matt Skura, Duke
OL Pearce Slater, San Diego State
LB Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame
LB Terrence Smith, Florida State
OT Garrett Stafford, Tulsa
OT Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame
LB Graham Stewart, Connecticut
DE Chris Stone, Arkansas State
LB Eric Striker, Oklahoma
LB Christian Tago, San Jose State
G Chris Taylor, Tulane
LB Jeremy Timpf, Army
LB Dominique Tovell, Louisiana
C Max Tuerk, USC
OT Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss
G Landon Turner, North Carolina
LB Tanner Vallejo, Boise State
OT Clint Van Horn, Marshall
DL Eddie Vanderdoes, UCLA
LB Nick Vigil, Utah State
DE Trent Voss, Toledo
DE Michael Wakefield, FIU
DT Adolphus Washington, Ohio State
OT Toby Weathersby, LSU
LB Scooby Wright III, Arizona
DE Eddie Yarbrough, Wyoming
OT Avery Young, Auburn
DT Anthony Zettel, Penn State

Syracuse mourns death of former head coach Frank Maloney, 79

Syracuse football
Syracuse athletics
Leave a comment

As too many programs have been doing of late, the extended Syracuse football family is mourning the loss of one of their own.

In a press release, Syracuse announced that former head football coach Frank Maloney has passed away, the family confirmed.  Maloney was 79 years old.

According to the Syracuse Post-Standard, Maloney died at his home in Chicago from complications of metastatic brain melanoma.

From 1974-1980, Maloney served as the Syracuse football head coach.  Maloney replaced Hall of Famer Ben Schwartzwalder, who retired after a quarter-century with the Orange following the 1973 season.

“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Coach Maloney. Our hearts go out to his family, friends and former players,” Syracuse athletic director John Wildhack said in a statement. “Coach Maloney led our football team during a time of transition, taking over the program after Coach Schwartzwalder’s 25-year tenure. He developed many young men, several of whom went on to very successful business careers and a number of talented players who went on to the NFL.”

Maloney played his college football at Michigan.  The West Virginia native’s coaching career began at his alma mater in 1968.  He spent six years at U-M before leaving to take over the Syracuse football program.

During his seven years with the Orange, Maloney went 32-46.

One fascinating aspect of Maloney’s tenure with Syracuse football?  The man Maloney replaced, Schwartzwalder, was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.  The man who replaced Maloney, Dick MacPherson, was inducted into the same Hall of Fame in 2009.

MacPherson was 86 when he passed away in August of 2008. Schwartzwalder died in 1993 at the age of 83.

‘The plan’ is for new Georgia OC Todd Monken to also coach QBs

Georgia football
Getty Images
Leave a comment

If there is a 2020 season, a new addition to Kirby Smart‘s Georgia football staff will have an additional title. As expected.

In mid-January, Georgia football confirmed reports that Todd Monken would be taking over as Smart’s offensive coordinator. Monken replaced James Coley, who remains with the program as assistant head coach.

Coley also served as the Bulldogs’ quarterbacks coach. It was assumed, but never confirmed, that Monken would assume those duties as well.

During a conference call with Georgia football beat reporters Tuesday, Smart acknowledged that “the plan” is indeed for Monken, whose salary was also revealed Tuesday, to handle his squad’s quarterbacks.

The first — and only — time in Monken’s coaching career, which stretches back to 1989, that he coached quarterbacks was at Oklahoma State in 2011-12. He was also OSU’s offensive coordinator those two seasons.

Since then, Monken’s been a coordinator at two NFL stops (Tampa Buccaneers from 2016-18, Cleveland Browns in 2019) after he stepped down as the head coach at Southern Miss after three seasons.

If/when preparations for the 2020 season start back up, Monken will be working with a group of quarterbacks vying to replace Jake Fromm, the three-year starter who left early for the NFL. At the forefront of that battle will be Jamie Newman, who transferred into the Georgia football program from Wake Forest earlier this offseason. Barring something unexpected, Carson Beck, Stetson Bennett and D’Wan Mathis will be fighting to be Newman’s backup.

Mathis, a touted 2019 four-star signee, missed all of the 2019 season because of a brain cyst. He was medically cleared to fully participate in spring practice.

Bennett served as Fromm’s primary backup in 2019, with the three-star 2019 signee completing 20-of-27 passes for 260 yards, two touchdowns and a pick as a true freshman. Beck was a four-star 2020 signee, rated as the No. 9 pro-style quarterback in the country.

Georgia’s Dan Lanning becomes latest member of $1 million coordinator club

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning is the latest member of college football’s $1 million coordinator club. And perhaps the news there is Georgia’s defensive coordinator was not — at least officially — in the $1 million coordinator club until Tuesday.

According to documents obtained by the Athens Banner-Herald, Lanning netted a $500,000 raise to $1.25 million per year. That nudges him ahead of new offensive coordinator Todd Monken and his $1.1 million salary. James Coley made $950,000 in the same spot last year.

Lanning’s $1.25 million salary would place him 14th nationally among assistant coaches based on 2019 figures.

Georgia’s defense finished 2019 rated third nationally in total defense (275.7 yards per game), second in yards per play (4.29) and first in scoring (12.6) en route to a third consecutive SEC East title and a Sugar Bowl victory.

Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity clarified with Tuesday’s news that all raises were agreed upon well before the coronavirus wrecked the economy.

“We were all making decisions like we were going to be full speed ahead,” McGarity said. “The key thing is from March 6, or whatever it was, forward, that to me is when the accountability really steps up. It could be, what does your horizon look like in the future? What happened before then I think is kind of irrelevant. It wasn’t in this world we’re in now.”

Additionally, co-defensive coordinator Glenn Schumann and defensive line coach Tray Smith will each earn $600,000 in 2020, while director of player development Jonas Jennings saw his pay grow by $100,000 to $406,000.

Lawsuit details Kansas’ plan to fire David Beaty, hire Les Miles well before 2018 season

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Though he was allowed to finish out the season, David Beaty was officially fired as Kansas’ head coach on Nov. 4, 2018. Turns out, he was effectively fired before the season even started.

According to testimony provided in an ongoing lawsuit brought by Beaty against his former employer, Kansas AD Jeff Long had determined before the 2018 season that he would fire Beaty and hire Les Miles.

In testimony obtained by the Kansas City StarMatt Baty, one of the chief fundraisers in the KU athletics department, testified Long had determined by that August he would can Beaty at the first opportunity, and the administration turned to rooting against the football team in order to execute Long’s plan:

“I think it would be — if the football program had success that year, it would make it — our jobs more difficult to fire David Beaty,” Baty said in sworn testimony.

The lawsuit also brought to light that Kansas began negotiations to create what became an ESPN+ series titled “Miles to Go” well before Miles was hired, and while Beaty was still employed.

Miles was hired Nov. 18, five days before KU’s 2018 finale.

Beaty’s camp has for months alleged Kansas attempted to find a “dead hooker” in Beaty’s closet in an effort to avoid paying his $3 million buyout, which is the genesis for the lawsuit and the source of Long’s dirty laundry.

The deposition detailed that KU deputy AD for external engagement Chris Freet was indeed tasked with digging up dirt of a possible extramarital affair against Beaty, but Baty testified that Long has more of a skeleton in his closet than Beaty. From the Star:

Baty also testified that he heard Long make inappropriate and inflammatory sexual remarks about an elderly female donor to whom Long was prepared to make “a generous ask” financially. Baty also testified that Long made a comment about wanting a hotel room adjacent to where a female school staffer was staying, which Baty in context understood to be a sexual remark.

“As a general rule, the university does not comment on pending legal matters. However, in this instance, we feel compelled to note that Mr. Baty’s deposition is full of outright fabrications, lies and false attributions,” said Dan Beckler, KU associate athletic director for public relations. “As we have said all along, we are confident this matter will be appropriately resolved in court.”

Aside from what did or did not go on in Long and Beaty’s personal lives, Long based his legal argument for denying Beaty’s $3 million buyout around supposed evidence the athletics department had that Beaty was aware his staff committed NCAA violations by having non-countable coaches perform official coaching duties. However, Beaty’s camp alleged that Long was aware of similar behavior committed by Miles’ staff but was not concerned.

Beaty’s lawyer Michael Lyons pressed Long repeatedly about video clips of game footage from the 2019 season, coached by Miles, showing Long numerous snippets of non-countable KU coaches interacting with players and coaches on the sideline.

The first was from KU’s third game against Boston College, which showed then-offensive analyst Josh Eargle flipping through Miles’ play sheet and pointing to something on it. An analyst, by NCAA rules, cannot “make or assist in making tactical decisions related to the sport during on-court or on-field practice or competition.”

Long stated he disagreed with the assumption that Eargle was committing a coaching act in the specific clip, and later claimed he instituted moves to prevent such confusion in the future.