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Butch Jones explains why Tennessee went for one instead of two

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With his Vols up by six points, Tennessee head coach Butch Jones opted to go for one point instead of attempt a two-point conversion attempt after a third quarter touchdown extended the lead to 12. Tennessee got the extra point, but ended up losing to the Florida Gators by one. After the loss, Tennessee’s 11th straight against Florida, Jones was left with some questions to answer regarding his coaching decisions.

For starters, why the heck didn’t you go for two?

“Well a number of reasons and we were discussing that prior to the drive. If we did score whether we go for one or two, we have a chart that is pretty standard in football first of all and maps it all,” Jones explained, seemingly admitting he chose to ignore the chart he made sure to mention. “We just felt like at that stage in the game that we had great confidence in our defense of getting off the football field and allowing them to push the ball down the field so we felt very comfortable with the decision.”

Rule number one: When you lose to one school for 10 straight years, you never trust your defense with a quarter and a half to play to hold a 13-point lead.

Rule number two: Two weeks after experiencing the agony of defeat when victory was seemingly knotted up, you never trust your defense to hold a 13-point lead.

Rule number three: If you have a chart that tells you when to go for two points in your hands on the sideline, you follow the darn chart!

Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs shared his thoughts on whether it was good enough to go for one point after that touchdown.

“No, when you come on the road in the SEC the game’s never over,” Dobbs said.

Jones was also forced to address another questionable coaching decision that came back to haunt him earlier in the third quarter. Florida was in a fourth down situation (4th and 6 from the Tennessee 25-yard line) and took the field looking to line up in a field goal formation. Jones chose to burn one of his timeouts, fearing the Gators had a trick play in the works. Florida came out of the timeout with its offense and Will Grier completed a pass to Brandon Powell for a 21-yard gain and the Gators scored a touchdown on the next play.

Did Jones give his counterpart on the other sideline, Jim McElwain, time to rethink the decision to kick a field goal? McElwian did not admit to having a trick play ready, so it is difficult to say whether or not the Vols made the right call taking the timeout.

“We thought they were going to do a fake field goal so that is the one time that we did it,” Jones said after the game. “Another time is making sure we had the right personnel on the field in some different things we had seen from scouting.”

Jones may be a fine coach, but yesterday proved he is certainly not exempt from the trend of coaches out-thinking themselves in critical situations. Sometimes the best solution is the simplest solution.

Jerry Jeudy, AJ Dillon, Eno Benjamin and more set for State Farm All-Star Football Challenge

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It may fly under the radar for most, but the 22nd annual State Farm All-Star Football Challenge is set to take place on Jan. 31 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The skills competition will pit 24 college football stars in a team event. Among those participating in this year’s challenge will be Boston College running back AJ Dillon, Penn State defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos, Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray, and Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy.

Five teams representing each of the power five conferences will consist of players from those respective conferences: ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, and SEC. A sixth team of “wild card” players will be comprised of players from the Group of Five or below. This year’s wild card players will come from the Mountain West Conference (Utah State QB Jordan Love, Boise State DE Curtis Weaver), Conference USA (FAU TE Harrison Bryant) and the South Atlantic Conference of Division 2 (Lenoir-Rhyne S Kyle Dugger).

The individual events included in the competition are a quarterback accuracy contest, obstacle course, strength challenge, and a hands competition. A team event will complete the overall event.

TEAM ACC
Cam Akers, RB, Florida State
AJ Dillon, RB, Boston College
Bryce Perkins, QB, Virginia
Jason Strowbridge, DL, North Carolina

TEAM BIG TEN
Zack Baun, LB, Wisconsin
Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State
KJ Hamler, WR, Penn State
Nate Stanley, QB, Iowa

TEAM BIG 12
Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU
Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
Carter Stanley, QB, Kansas

TEAM PAC-12
Salvon Ahmed, RB, Washington
Bradlee Anae, DE, Utah
Eno Benjamin, RB, Arizona State
Anthony Gordon, QB, Washington State

TEAM SEC
Nick Coe, DE, Auburn
Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
Terrell Lewis, LB, Alabama
Riley Neal, QB, Vanderbilt

TEAM WILD CARD
Harrison Bryant, TE, Florida Atlantic
Kyle Dugger, S, Lenoir-Rhyne
Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
Curtis Weaver, DE, Boise State

TE Jordan Wilson to transfer from UCLA

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UCLA redshirt junior Jordan Wilson has announced he is leaving the Bruins. In a post on his Twitter account on Friday afternoon, Wilson announced he is entering the transfer portal with the intent of finishing up his collegiate career with some other program.

“[I’d] like to announce that I will be entering the transfer portal, graduating at the end of the Spring quarter, and playing my final year of eligibility somewhere else,” Wilson announced in a statement on his Twitter account.

The decision of Wilson to leave UCLA comes at an unfortunate time for the Bruins. Wilson was likely to be a starter at tight end for UCLA in the fall. Wilson is the third tight end to leave UCLA this offseason. Devin Asiasi previously made the decision to declare for the NFL draft a year early. Matt Lynch also stepped into the transfer portal. Now, UCLA has a wide-open competition for playing time at the tight end spot beginning this spring.

Wilson caught seven passes for 72 yards for UCLA in 2019. He will leave UCLA having caught 25 passes for 244 yards and two touchdowns in the past three seasons. As a graduate transfer, Wilson will be eligible to play his final year of eligibility anywhere he ends up this fall.

USC nabs Todd Orlando from Texas Tech

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USC has a new defensive coordinator. The Trojans announced on Friday the school has officially hired Todd Orlando to fill the role of defensive coordinator. Orlando joins USC after coaching the past three seasons at Texas.

Orlando actually joined the Texas Tech program after being let go by Texas following staff changes with the Longhorns. Despite landing a job with the Red Raiders, Orlando remained a top target for USC head coach Clay Helton.

“We are excited to have Todd join our Trojan football program,” Helton said in a released statement. “He is an experienced and successful defensive coordinator who has made an impact everywhere he has coached. He brings a passion, energy, toughness and discipline to his coaching and those characteristics were evident in our discussions. His defensive system poses an extreme challenge to offenses.”

Orlando replaces Clancy Pendergast, who was let go by Helton amid USC’s own staff changes after a down 2019 season. As previously mentioned (HERE), Orlando actually had worse defensive numbers compared to what Pendergast coached with USC last season. However, a contrast of playing styles and offensive outputs between the schedule Texas faced in 2019 (including games against LSU and Oklahoma) and what USC faced could lead to some skewed figures.

Orlando’s first test as a defensive coordinator will be a monster. USC opens the 2020 season in Arlington, Texas against Alabama.

Cal loses assistant Gerald Alexander to NFL job

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Cal assistant coach Gerald Alexander is leaving to coach with the Miami Dolphins. Alexander confirmed in a message posted on his Twitter account he is heading to the NFL for a coaching opportunity. Multiple reports have confirmed it will be with the Miami Dolphins.

Alexander thanked Cal head coach Justin Wilcox for the opportunity to be a part of Wilcox’s first coaching staff at Cal.

Alexander joined the Cal program in 2017 and spent the past three seasons as a defensive backs coach for the program. He has played a role in helping to coach one of the better defensive teams in the Pac-12. He previously coached at Montana State, Indiana State and with Chris Peterssen at Washington. Alexander played for Petersen at Boise State.

This will mark a return to the NFL for Alexander. He previously played in the league for five seasons with the Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Carolina Panthers, and, appropriately enough, the Miami Dolphins. Alexander was a second-round draft pick of Detroit in 2007.