When you really think about it, a watch list for a college football award is nothing more than a way to keep public relations staffers in college football programs busy this summer. There’s nothing wrong with that, and it is nice to have a number of key players for the upcoming season highlighted whenever possible (unless you are a Big Ten team going to Big Ten media days). But a watch list is generally pretty pointles sin the long run for most awards. This is especially true for a watch list of college football coaches.
The Dodd Trophy watch list was released today with a list of 19 coaches from many of the top programs around the country. Yep, a watch list for head coaches. Silly, right? It really is the easiest watch list to put together.
The award watch list, compiled by the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, includes four coaches from the ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC, two coaches from the Big 12 and one from the American Athletic Conference. You know all of the names, like national championship coaches Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, and Dabo Swinney; household names like Jim Harbaugh, Mark Richt, Bill Snyder, and Chris Petersen; and conference championship coaches like David Shaw, James Franklin.
Some notable names not on the list? How about Jimbo Fisher of Florida State? Fisher has a playoff contender in Tallahassee and is the ACC favorite. He also has a national championship ring. Not having Fisher on a preseason watch list for top coaches seems like a bad oversight. Not having new Big 12 coaches Tom Herman (Texas) and Lincoln Riley (Oklahoma) also feels like a swing and a miss if pulling together a list of potential coach of the year candidates. If we are not going to just list all 130 head coaches in FBS, it seems silly to have such a weird collection of watch list candidates when Butch Jones is on the list.
Five coaches on the watch list are former winners of the Dodd Trophy; Snyder, Petersen, Swinney, Saban, and Paul Johnson. Paul Chryst, Ken Niumatalolo, and Petersen were finalists for the award last season as well.
2017 Dodd Trophy Watch List
- Paul Chryst, Wisconsin
- James Franklin, Penn State
- Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech
- Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State
- Jim Harbaugh, Michigan
- Clay Helton, USC
- Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech
- Butch Jones, Tennessee
- Gus Malzahn, Auburn
- Jim McElwain, Florida
- Urban Meyer, Ohio State
- Ken Niumatalolo, Navy
- Chris Petersen, Washington
- Mark Richt, Miami
- Nick Saban, Alabama
- David Shaw, Stanford
- Bill Snyder, Kansas State
- Dabo Swinney, Clemson
- Kyle Whittingham, Utah
The lone hole on Mike Locksley‘s Maryland Terrapins football staff has been filled.
In late December, John Papuchis left the Maryland Terrapins football program to take a job with Mike Norvell at Florida State. Exactly four weeks later, Locksley has landed Papuchis’ replacement, with the addition of George Helow officially announced by the school.
Helow will serve as Maryland’s special teams coordinator. He’ll also coach the Terps’ inside linebackers.
Helow spent the past four seasons at Colorado State. The first two were as a defensive quality control coach and graduate assistant. The last two were spent as safeties coach.
The 2018-19 seasons were Helow’s first as an on-field assistant at the collegiate level.
In addition to the Mountain West Conference school, he has also been a football staffer at:
- Georgia, defensive quality control assistant (2014-15)
- Florida State, defensive graduate assistant (2013)
- Alabama, defensive intern (2012)
Helow played his college football at Ole Miss from 2006-10. Most of his action during his 38 games played came on special teams.
The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors football program has afforded a wayward coach a means to return to the sidelines.
In the days after Nick Rolovich left to replace Mike Leach at Washington State, Robert Anae‘s name had been mentioned prominently as a potential successor. Tuesday, however, the Virginia offensive coordinator announced in a statement that he has withdrawn his name from consideration for the job as the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors football head coach.
Just prior to that, it was reported by The Athletic‘s Bruce Feldman that Todd Graham is getting consideration for the job. Very late Tuesday night, Hawaii confirmed that Graham has been hired as the school’s 24th head coach.
Graham will be introduced at a Wednesday afternoon press conference.
The 55-year-old Graham has been a head coach at four different FBS schools:
- Arizona State (2012-17)
- Pitt (2011)
- Tulsa (2007-10)
- Rice (2006)
Graham has posted a 95-61 record at those stops. His teams have played in 10 bowl games in 12 seasons, winning five of those postseason appearances. He’s also won three divisional titles.
After being fired by Arizona State in November of 2017, Graham has been out of coaching. He was mentioned as a candidate for the Kansas job that ultimately went to Les Miles.
Two weeks after losing an assistant, the Duke Blue Devils football program has filled the lone hole on David Cutcliffe‘s coaching staff.
Jan. 8, Jim Bridge abruptly resigned as Duke’s offensive line coach; two days later, it was announced that he had taken the same job at Memphis. Tuesday, Cutcliffe officially dipped into the veteran coaching ranks, hiring Greg Frey as Bridge’s replacement.
“We’re thrilled to have Coach Frey join our staff,” Cutcliffe said in a statement. “It isn’t often you have the opportunity to add an individual who, within the landscape of college football, played at the highest level, has coached at the highest level and comes with 20-plus years of experience on the sideline. Coach Frey’s coaching and mentoring abilities are inspiring, and he will have an immediate and positive impact on the young men in our program. We look forward to welcoming Greg, his wife Andrea and children into our football family.”
Frey has previously coached offensive lines at:
- Florida State, line coach (2018)
- Michigan, tackles/tight ends coach, running-game coordinator (2017)
- Indiana, line coach (2011-16)
- Michigan, line coach (2008-10)
- West Virginia, line coach (2007)
- USF, line coach (2000-06)
In 2017, Frey was the tackles/tight end coach as well as running-game coordinator at Michigan. Frey comes to Duke after a one-season stint (2019) at Florida as a quality control analyst.
“As you go through life and build your family and your career, who you surround yourself with becomes very important,” Frey said. “What attracted me so much to Duke University was the faith, the family and the football, as well as the way Coach Cutcliffe runs his program. As we move forward, we want to be at the forefront of building the culture and championship level play that Duke expects. I’m excited to get started and can’t wait to go.”
A talented new addition to the Virginia Tech football roster is officially official.
After playing in the first four games of the 2019 season at Rutgers, Raheem Blackshear, a team captain, opted to sideline himself for the remainder of the campaign in order to preserve a year of eligibility. Three months later, Blackshear indicated on Twitter that he has decided to leave RU and continue his playing career with the Virginia Tech football program.
Two weeks after that social media announcement, the Hokies confirmed via Twitter that the running back is signed, sealed and delivered.
In addition to Virginia Tech, Blackshear had also considered a transfer to Temple. A return to Rutgers for the back was in play as well.
It’s expected that Blackshear, a redshirt sophomore, will seek a waiver that would allow him to play immediately for the Hokies in 2020. If that appeal is denied, he would be left with one season of eligibility he could use in 2021.
A three-star 2017 signee, Blackshear ran for 238 yards as a true freshman. The next season, he led the Scarlet Knights in rushing with 586 yards.
Blackshear could also be a significant asset in the Hokies’ passing game.
In addition to being the leading rusher in 2018, Blackshear also led the team in receptions (44), receiving yards (367) and receiving touchdowns (two). Despite playing in just four games this past season, he was second on the Scarlet Knights with 29 receptions (the leader, Bo Melton, ended up with 30) and 310 yards (Melton had 427). His two receiving touchdowns were tied with Melton for the team lead as well.