Success at Utah keeps Kyle Whittingham coaching rumors alive and well

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Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham has been in charge of the Utes program for over a decade since Urban Meyer left Salt Lake City for Gainesville. With Utah continuing to rise in the polls and look more and more like a solid playoff contender, could Whittingham now be seen as a possible leading candidate for some more high-profile jobs in this upcoming round of the coaching carousel, say at USC for example?

USC placed current head coach Steve Sarkisian on an indefinite leave of absence on Sunday and it seems there could be some drastic changes forthcoming for the Trojans in Los Angeles. If USC needs to find a new head coach, the program should be capable of attracting some very good candidates for the job, and some have already suggested the school will or should make a push for former Oregon head coach Chip Kelly, currently the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFL. There is little doubt Kelly would do some terrific things with USC, but it remains an unrealistic combination right now (Kelly has won 20 games his first two seasons in the NFL and still has the Eagles in striking distance of first place in the NFC East despite early struggles, and he just took on the role of general manager; he has some good power going for him in the NFL). Whittingham, though, appears to be a much more likely target for USC if a coaching search is to begin.

It is important to remember the differences between Meyer’s departure from Utah and Whittingham’s current standing with the program. When Meyer left Utah for Florida, the Utes were still a Mountain West Conference program that did not compare or compete with the amenities of power conference programs. While success could certainly be attained at Utah, the chances of taking the next step as a program and competing for a national title were minimal at best at Utah a decade ago. The times have changed though.

Today Utah is a member of the Pac-12 and as of now is the only undefeated team left in the conference. Utah’s high ranking in the polls now is perceived in a different way it may have been when Utah was in the Mountain West Conference. Fair or not, that is just the reality of the situation. You can make the argument Whittingham has anything and everything he needs to have a shot at winning big at Utah. The performance to date certainly helps back that up.

While facilities and conference allegiance have been improved, does Utah have staying power to be a perennial national title contender? Does Utah have the resources to pay Whittingham and his staff top dollar? Compared to some programs that could be in need of a new head coach elsewhere, Utah may still have some work to do.

Just within the last year Whittingham has been connected to one coaching rumor or another (Michigan, Wisconsin, Pittsburgh to name a few), and some even went so far to try and connect Whittingham to BYU, of all schools. This was nothing new. Whittingham had also been thought of as a potential coaching candidate at schools like Arizona and Penn State in recent years as well. Again though, those earlier coaching rumors occurred when Whittingham was in the Mountain West. Now, with Utah in the Pac-12, the playing field has been leveled a bit as he has adapted and grown the program to compete in his new conference.

A similar path has been taken by Gary Patterson at TCU. Patterson has guided TCU through multiple conference changes and finally has the Horned Frogs playing at a high level in the Big 12 as a conference and playoff contender. Patterson could have had almost any job he wanted as he continued to build TCU’s football program to this point, but he has opted to stay put and see to it TCU reaches the ultimate goals ahead of them. Perhaps the same will hold true for Whittingham as well.

There is nothing wrong with looking around and hearing what others have to offer. In fact, now might be a good time for Whittingham to entertain the possibility, because if Utah continues winning games he will have some leverage in his future whether he stays at Utah or not.

Missouri corner Christian Holmes dives into transfer portal

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Thanks to a potential departure from the Missouri Tigers football roster, we have our first, but certainly not last, portal post of the day.

Matt Zenitz of al.com was the first to report that cornerback Christian Holmes is heading toward the NCAA transfer database. A Missouri Tigers football official subsequently confirmed that Holmes has entered his name into the portal.

Normally standard operating procedures for football players in such situations, Holmes hasn’t yet addressed his impending departure on his personal Twitter account.

Holmes was a three-star member of Mizzou’s 2016 recruiting class. He was the highest-rated corner in the Tigers’ class that year.

During his time in Columbia, the Georgia product played in 35 games. He started a dozen of those appearances, including eight this past season.

The past two years, Holmes totaled 19 passes defensed, four tackles for loss and two interceptions. He returned one of those passes for a touchdown in 2018.

An injury sidelined Holmes for the entire 2017 season.

Missouri Tigers football is coming off a 6-6 season that led to the firing of head coach Barry Odom. Less than two weeks later, Appalachian State’s Eli Drinkwitz was hired as Odom’s replacement.

Odom, incidentally, landed on his feet as Arkansas’ defensive coordinator.

Purdue turns to Air Force for new D-line coach

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For the second time this week, Jeff Brohm has a new addition to his Purdue football coaching staff.

Tuesday, Marty Biagi was hired as special teams coordinator. Two days later, Terrance Jamison was hired as defensive line coach.

Jamison will replace Reggie Johnson, who wasn’t brought back for the 2020 season after three years with the Big Ten school.

“Terrance is a talented coach with a great background in defensive line technique and skill development,” the Purdue football head coach said in a statement. “He is an outstanding addition to our staff.”

Jamison spent the past two seasons as the defensive line coach at Air Force.

From Purdue’s release on Jamison’s hiring:

Jamison worked with an Air Force unit that finished in the top 20 in all of the Football Bowl Subdivision in a number of categories, including rushing defense (7th, 100.5), defensive touchdowns (12th, 3), total defense (17th, 319.6) and scoring defense (20th, 19.8).

Jamison has also spent time as line coach at Texas Tech (2017-18) and Florida Atlantic (2014-16). He’s also served as a defensive staffer at Wisconsin and Cal. With the Badgers, Jamison combined to serve four seasons as a student assistant (2008-09), quality control assistant (2011) and a graduate assistant (2012). With the Golden Bears in 2013, he was a quality control coach.

Minnesota’s Phillip Howard shifts gears, pulls name from portal

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For the third time in two days, this time to the benefit of the Minnesota Gophers football program, a player has reversed course on his portal intentions.

First, linebacker Andrew Pryts opted to return to Stanford. Then, it was wide receiver Kobay White shifting gears and making his way back to Boston College. Now, it’s Phillip Howard’s turn to pull his name out of the transfer database as the Minneapolis Star-Tribune has reported that the cornerback will remain a part of the Minnesota Gophers football team.

Howard had first entered the portal earlier this month. On his Instagram account Wednesday, Howard seemed to intimate a change of heart by posting a picture of himself in a Gophers uniform.

 

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Trials and tribulations… My story different ⏳

A post shared by Phillip Howard (@_philllyyy) on Jan 22, 2020 at 3:37pm PST

Howard was a three-star member of Minnesota’s 2016 recruiting class. He took a redshirt his true freshman season.

As a wide receiver, Howard started seven of the 11 games in which he played in 2017. That season, he caught 11 passes for 132 yards. The following season, he caught two passes for five yards.

In between the 2018 and 2019 seasons, however, Howard moved to the defensive secondary. This past season, Howard played in 11 games as a cornerback. He had one interception and one forced fumble.

On social media, QB Jarren Williams confirms intent to transfer from Miami

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For Jarren Williams, his move on from Miami is unofficially official.

Late Thursday afternoon, it was reported that Jarren Williams had signaled his intention to leave Miami by putting his name into the NCAA transfer database.  The news surfaced three days after Houston transfer D’Eriq King, now the overwhelming favorite to win The U’s starting job heading into the offseason, transferred to Miami.

Thursday evening on his Instagram account, Jarren Williams confirmed in a statement that his intent is indeed to transfer from Miami.

First, I want to start by saying that these decisions are never easy. But, after prayer and counsel, I have decided to enter my name into the transfer portal.

“I want to thank all of my teammates for that everlasting brotherhood, the coaching staff for giving me an opportunity and the diehard fans for their support for UM. I cam here with dreams of winning National Championships and my only regret is that I will not be able to achieve that goal.

“Life is a journey and in this world you will be confronted with a fork in the road. I am at that fork and sometimes you can’t look back. I am looking forward to what God has in store for me next. With that being said, I wish UM all the best and a Championship year! #GoCanes

History would suggest there’s the slightest of possibilities that Jarren Williams could return to Miami. In December of 2018, the true freshman quarterback was set to transfer before being talked out of it by then-head coach Mark Richt.

It was the first of many ups and downs for Williams at the school.

Following a much-discussed quarterback competition, Williams began the 2019 season as Miami’s starting quarterback.  After starting the first five games, a shoulder injury knocked the redshirt freshman out for the next two; a non-football issue sidelined him for another.

Williams regained the job in the week leading into the Florida State game, helping the Hurricanes to its most lopsided win over its rival since 2001 and triggering the firing of FSU’s head football coach.  A week later, Williams led Miami, 2-3 at one point in the season, to its third straight win and fourth in five games as The U overwhelmed Louisville 52-27.

It was a historic performance for Williams personally in the win over the UofL as he threw six touchdown passes in just 21 attempts.  The half-dozen scoring tosses set the football program’s single-game record.

For the season, Williams threw for 2,187 yards, 19 touchdowns and seven interceptions.  The Hurricanes went 4-6 in games he started.

With Williams’ departure, Miami could head into spring practice with five quarterbacks on the roster: King, rising redshirt junior N’Kosi Perry, rising redshirt junior Tate Martell, rising redshirt freshman Peyton Matocha and true freshman Tyler Van DykeEspecially when it comes to Martell, that sinal-calling roster is most certainly subject to change.