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Michigan taking spring practices to Florida is smart on so many levels

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This is news that will surely be received well by coaches from the ACC and SEC.

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh announced Wednesday the Wolverines will be spending the first week of spring practices in Florida.

Our plans for spring football are to go to Florida our first week while the university here is on spring break,” Harbaugh said, per MLive.com. “We’ll go to Florida and have four practices down there. We’re going to work hard but we’ll have fun doing it.”

The plan is for Michigan to travel over spring break to Bradenton, Florida for practices at IMG Academy. Not only does this ensure all members of the Michigan program are under Harbaugh’s watch while on spring break, but the Wolverines gain exclusive access to IMG Academy. This will come during a quiet time on the recruiting calendar, but the mere presence of the Wolverines and their equipment truck alone will be more than enough to plant a flag at one of the top high school programs in the country.

This is a brilliant, yet costly move by Harbaugh and Michigan. You might say the Wolverines are sparing no expense in attempting to generate buzz around the program, and they are certainly getting their money’s worth. Harbaugh previously caught the ire of ACC and SEC coaches and representatives by taking his coaching staff on a national tour, including stops throughout the southeast (other coaches did this as well, including Brian Kelly of Notre Dame, Mike Riley of Nebraska, James Franklin of Penn State and even Urban Meyer of Ohio State). But now Harbaugh is bringing his whole pack of Wolverines with him for a unique spring break. It won’t be long until this news catches the wind of coaches down.

Harbaugh also said this will be good because now every player on the roster is guaranteed to get some sort of spring break trip out of it without having to worry about the cost. Michigan will be covering the expenses.

“I’ve already got some good plans. We’ll have swim meets, putt-putt golf. We’re going to have football meetings, practice. I think it gives a chance to win on a lot of different levels.”

You know why else this is a bold and smart move by Harbaugh? It’s cold in Michigan for the first week of spring practices. Who would not want to take an opportunity to go to Florida for a week when the other option is staying in Michigan that time of year?

So to recap, this is a great move by Harbaugh because:

  • Free spring break trip for Michigan players
  • All players under Harbaugh’s watch on spring break
  • Plants flag at IMG Academy, potentially setting up pipeline to Ann Arbor
  • Gets out of the Michigan cold for a week
  • Gives southern coaches one more thing to whine about (and more for college football bloggers to write about)
  • Harbaugh can work on his tan

Notre Dame and Cal to play for first time since 1967

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Notre Dame and Cal have agreed to a future game to be played in South Bend, Indiana. Cal announced their future road trip on Monday. Notre Dame will host Cal on Sept. 17, 2022.

“We are looking forward to visiting Notre Dame, and I know that many of our fans will, too,” Cal Director of Athletics Jim Knowlton said in a released statement. “Notre Dame Stadium is an iconic venue, and this game provides another opportunity for our alumni to support their Bears on the road. We saw a great turnout for our game at Ole Miss this past season and again at the Redbox Bowl in Santa Clara. I expect we’ll have another large contingent follow us to Notre Dame for this exciting contest.”

This is a one-game agreement rather than a home-and-home arrangement, but it was one Cal was more than happy to make. For Cal, the Golden Bears get a chance to play an opponent other Pac-12 schools have regularly played. Notre Dame plays annual games against Stanford and USC. It is also a good non-conference matchup against a program weighed as a power conference opponent. Although Pac-12 schools are not required to play another FBS opponent in non-conference play (ACC, Big Ten, and SEC scheduling policies ask members to schedule at least one non-conference game each year against another power conference opponent), the addition of the Fighting Irish is a clear upgrade on the schedule for Cal.

Cal will also play a road game at North Texas in 2022. Cal will host UC Davis and UNLV in non-conference matchups as well. Cal’s game with Notre Dame will sit in the middle of two upcoming home-and-home series with TCU (2020-2021) and Auburn (2023-2024).

Notre Dame still has two vacancies in the 2022 schedule as it currently stands. The Irish will also host Ohio State, Marshall, Stanford, Clemson, and Boston College in 2022. Notre Dame has road games scheduled against Navy, USC, North Carolina and Syracuse in 2022.

Notre Dame and Cal have played just five previous times. The most recent meeting in the series was played in 1967. Notre Dame leads the all-time series 4-0.

Indiana QB Peyton Ramsey enters transfer portal, per report

Indiana QB Peyton Ramsey has entered the transfer portal.
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Indiana starting quarterback Peyton Ramsey has entered the NCAA transfer portal, according to a report on Monday afternoon.

As reported by 247 Sports, Ramsey has entered the transfer portal, which means he will begin evaluating his transfer options for the upcoming season. Ramsey will be a graduate transfer. As a graduate transfer, Ramsey will be eligible to play for any other FBS program this fall.

Ramsey may always pull his name form the transfer portal if he decides to stay at Indiana. While that move is not unprecedented in the era of the transfer portal, the situation appears likely to see Ramsey moving on.

Ramsey passed for 2,454 yards and 13 touchdowns with five interceptions last season in 11 games. Ramsey also rushed for 252 yards and seven touchdowns in one of the most successful seasons in Indiana’s history since 1993.

With Ramsey likely to be moving out of Bloomington, Indiana’s offense will now be placed in the hands of Michael Penix Jr. Penix played in seven games for the Hoosiers in 2019. He completed 68.8 percent of his pass attempts for 1,394 yards and 10 touchdowns with four interceptions. He also rushed for 119 yards and two touchdowns on 22 rushing attempts. Penix played in just three games in 2018 to preserve a redshirt season. He has three remaining years of eligibility for Indiana.

USC safety C.J. Pollard enters transfer portal

USC safety C.J. Pollard has entered the NCAA transfer portal.
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USC safety C.J. Pollard announced he decided to enter the transfer portal. The redshirt junior posted on his Twitter account Monday morning he will begin evaluating his transfer options with the intent on being a graduate transfer.

“After considerable thought and prayer, I have decided to enter the Transfer Portal as a GRADUATE,” Pollard posted on his social media account.

As a graduate transfer, Pollard will be eligible to play for any other FBS program in the fall, without having to sit out a season. Pollard will have just one final season of eligibility to use this upcoming season.

Pollard appeared in 12 games for USC in 2019 and recorded 15 tackles, with one tackle for a loss. Pollard was listed second on the USC depth chart at the end of the 2019 season. Pollard was the first backup free safety listed behind starter Isaiah Pola-Mao, a redshirt sophomore set to return and (likely) continue being the starter for the Trojans in 2020.

DeMarco Murray returns to Oklahoma as running backs coach

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In the past, Oklahoma’s running backs coaches might have pointed to DeMarco Murray as an example of how it’s done. Murray redshirted, fought through multiple serious injuries, stuck around for his senior year, set numerous program records and then led a productive NFL career, including leading the league in rushing in 2014.

Now, Oklahoma’s running backs coach will be DeMarco Murray.

Murray was announced Monday as the newest member of Lincoln Riley‘s coaching staff.

“This is a really exciting day, being able to welcome one of our program’s all-time best players back to Norman,” Lincoln Riley said in a statement. “DeMarco had a tremendous playing career both at OU and in the NFL and has a passion for coaching and helping young men grow as players and people. He’s got an incredibly bright coaching future and will be an outstanding mentor to our players. I don’t think there’s anyone better to lead our running backs. Everyone in our program is excited to have DeMarco, his wife Heidi and their children as part of our family.”

A product of powerhouse Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, Murray signed with Oklahoma in 2006 and left school with the program’s record in all-purpose yards (6,718) and touchdowns (65). That means, in all of OU’s storied history of producing prolific offenses, no player carried the ball for more yards or crossed the goal line more than Murray.

“This is very surreal,” Murray said. “Obviously I never thought I’d be back coaching at the place where it all started for me. Having the opportunity to come back and be among great coaches and be with some of the people I grew up with is exciting. I’m thankful for the opportunity Coach Riley is giving me and I’m looking forward to being back home.”

Murray replaces Jay Boulware, who left to become the tight ends coach and special teams coordinator at Texas, his own alma mater.

Murray arrives in Norman with only one year of coaching experience, serving as Kevin Sumlin‘s running backs coach at Arizona last season. After a 7-year NFL career, Murray spent 2018 as an analyst for FOX Sports.