LSU should be counted on to play good defense this season. The running game should still be strong as well. The one constant weakness in any team coached by Les Miles appears to come at the most important position there is in football; quarterback. Despite a rough opener on the road against Wisconsin, LSU head coach Les Miles is still giving off a public showing of support for his starting quarterback Brandon Harris.
That’s important too. When a quarterback struggles, it is stressful for the team. The quarterbacks shoulders much of the blame for a loss. It comes with the territory, no matter how skilled you are. Harris has taken his lumps from time to time as LSU’s quarterback, and this week has been no different after tossing an interception to help seal a Wisconsin victory in Lambeau Field over the weekend. Asked about his quarterback, Miles came to his defense.
“He’s talented and capable [of] decision making and really relaxing and letting the game come to him,” Miles said Wednesday. “At times he struggles there.”
Harris has a knack for getting off to a slow start and never really catching up. Slow starts have been a problem for Harris and LSU, and it may have helped contribute to a loss in Wisconsin over the weekend. Miles knows Harris has trouble at times, but he is not ready to put him on the sideline just yet, because he feels Harris can still get on track. Miles also isn’t putting all of the blame on his quarterback.
“It was at least early in the game, and I said, ‘OK, now relax and just realize it’s the same throw that you’ve been making. Just calm down.’ I recognize that he’s got to still come,” Miles said. “We all do. And he doesn’t have a lifetime to do it, and there are other quarterbacks to go to.”
As Harris has struggled, LSU fans have clamored for Miles to make a switch and go with former Purdue quarterback Danny Etling. Etling has plenty of starting experience at Purdue and may be a breath of fresh air for the Tigers should it come to that point for Miles. The question is how long is the leash Miles has Harris attached to. Would a sloppy performance against FCS Jacksonville State be enough to make a switch and see what Etling can do? There is no guarantee the offense will run better with Etling at quarterback, of course. LSU’s offensive line struggled against the Badgers and this unit will be tested in division play with Ole Miss and Alabama and Texas A&M. It might not matter who is under center for LSU because of that.
But like any top-paid coach, Miles has to figure out what to do at quarterback if LSU is going to rebound and still have a chance of making a run at the SEC title and perhaps a spot in the playoff before it is too late.
Concern over his long-term health has prompted one Baylor football player to step away from the sport. Permanently.
On his personal Twitter account Tuesday, Bralen Taylor announced in a statement that he is “medically retiring from the game I love.” The wide receiver-turned-tight-end-turned-defensive end stated that he has “suffered from a number of concussions while playing” football. Taylor didn’t specify when and at what level those concussions occurred.
“This is the game that I grew up playing and loving. [T]his game has [given] me everything I have ever asked for and more,” Taylor wrote. “The brain is nothing to mess around with. [W]hile some won’t understand, [God] has already made a plan.”
Taylor was a three-star member of the Baylor football Class of 2018. He was rated as the No. 90 player regardless of position in the state of Texas.
During his brief time in Waco, Taylor played in six games. Four of those appearances came this past season. In that limited action, he was credited with three tackles and one-half of a sack.
Baylor football has gone from 1-11 in Matt Rhule‘s first season with the Bears in 2017 to 11-3 this past season. The 2019 campaign included a berth in both the Big 12 championship game and the Sugar Bowl.
Unfortunately for BU, Rhule left to take the head job with the NFL’s Carolina Panthers.
The massive renovation of Clay Helton’s USC football coaching staff has taken another official step.
Last week, it was reported that USC was expected to poach Vic So’oto from Virginia. As Clint Sintim‘s hiring as So’oto’s replacement was announced a few days later, the latter’s move to the Trojans was a mere formality.
Tuesday, USC football confirmed So’oto’s addition to Clay Helton’s staff. As he did with the ‘Hoos, So’oto will serve as the Trojans’ defensive line coach.
The 32-year-old So’oto was the line coach at Virginia for the past three seasons. Prior to that, he was a defensive graduate assistant at the ACC program.
So’oto played his college football at BYU, ending his four-year career in 2010. After his NFL career ended, So’oto began his collegiate coaching career as a football intern at his alma mater.
For those unaware, So’oto is the second cousin of USC football legend Junior Seau.
LSU football has officially replaced one of the hottest young coaches in the sport.
Not long after LSU football claimed the 2019 national championship, Joe Brady left to take over as the offensive coordinator for the NFL’s Carolina Panthers. Earlier this month, it was reported that Scott Linehan was expected to be hired as Brady’s successor.
Tuesday, LSU confirmed that Linehan has indeed been named by Ed Orgeron as the Tigers’ new passing-game coordinator. The 56-year-old Linehan has spent the past 17 seasons he’s been a coach at the NFL level.
Linehan was out of coaching this past season.
“Scott brings a wealth of knowledge to our offense,” the LSU football head coach said in a statement. “We wanted to bring in someone who will expand our passing game and with Scott’s experience as an NFL head coach and offensive coordinator we feel this is the best move for our offense. After talking to numerous people with NFL experience and interviewing Scott we knew he was the right fit for the LSU Tigers.”
In 13 of those seasons in the NFL, Linehan served as an offensive coordinator.
- Dallas Cowboys, 2015-18
- Detroit Lions, 2009-13
- Miami Dolphins, 2005
- Minnesota Vikings, 2002-04
In the other four NFL seasons in which he wasn’t a coordinator, Linehan was the head coach of the St. Louis Rams (2006-08) and passing-game coordinator for the Cowboys (2014).
Linehan’s last job at the collegiate level came as the offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach at Louisville (1999-2001). From 1996-98, he was the coordinator at Washington.
The American Athletic Conference will again play football in 2020, the conference confirmed on Tuesday.
The American revealed its 2020 conference schedule, a 44-game slate that completes the 88 total games AAC teams will play in 2020. As a reminder, UConn is no longer an American member, meaning the conference will have 11 football-playing members for the foreseeable future. All 11 teams will still play an 8-game league schedule, and the conference will still hold a title game.
The 2020 season will also be the conference’s first under the new rights agreement it struck with ESPN in March. As such, at least 40 American home games will be shown on the ESPN family of networks, and at least half of those will be on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2. The conference will play a total of 12 games on Thursday or Friday nights.
“We are excited to announce our 2020 schedule as we enter the next phase of our longstanding relationship with ESPN,” said commissioner Mike Aresco. “With the continued success our schools have had, I have no doubt that we will once again provide our fans, and ESPN, with compelling matchups throughout the season in both conference and nonconference play. We look forward to another outstanding season of American Athletic Conference football.”
The season will begin on Saturday, Aug. 29 when Navy “hosts” Notre Dame at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland. That game will be shown on ESPN with College GameDay in tow as part of the network’s season kick-off effort. While the full schedule can be viewed here, highlights include:
- North Carolina at UCF, Sept. 4 (Friday)
- South Florida at Texas, Sept. 5
- Temple at Miami, Sept. 5
- Houston at Washington State, Sept. 12
- Cincinnati at Nebraska, Sept. 26
- TCU at SMU, Sept. 26
- Memphis at SMU, Oct. 1 (Thursday)
- UCF at Memphis, Oct. 16 (Friday)
- Memphis at Cincinnati, Oct. 31
- Memphis at Navy, Nov. 14
- Cincinnati at UCF, Nov. 21
- UCF at South Florida, Nov. 27 (Friday)
The 2020 American season will conclude with the sixth annual American Championship on Saturday, Dec. 5.