Iowa’s passing offense has been, um… interesting for the past several years now and many around the program are curious to see if offseason changes following the retirement of Greg Davis as offensive coordinator will help inject any life into the Hawkeyes’ aerial attack.
While most expect only a few new wrinkles with Brian Ferentz taking over as playcaller, personnel losses at quarterback and wide receiver may hamper the effectiveness of the team no matter what Iowa tries to do differently. After all, Matt VandeBerg is the only Hawkeye to have caught a pass for the team and the addition of New Mexico transfer Matt Quarells means only two receivers have a reception at the FBS level period. Oh, and they’re breaking in a new quarterback for 2017.
The team’s solution? It appears to involve utilizing the one position where depth is no question by putting two — or even three — running backs on the field at the same time.
“Maybe because you are a running back you don’t have to line up in a traditional running back spot. I think we need to be open to guys playing different spots and moving around a little bit and find ways to get them the ball in that manner,” the younger Ferentz told Landof10.com on Saturday. “I could see us playing with three running backs on the field. If three running backs are our best option to win a football game we are going to get them on the field somehow. Three guys in the backfield, maybe no guys in the backfield. If we felt like having four receivers on the field was the best thing for us to win, then we’ll find a way to do that.”
The Hawkeyes already have two 1,000 yard rushers in the backfield with returning starter Akrum Wadley and Nevada graduate transfer James Butler. Add in sophomore Toks Akinribade and a number of options at fullback and you can start to see why it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see a few formations trot out three running backs in order to get something going in the passing game.
Ferentz held the title of run game coordinator last season prior to his promotion to OC so it makes plenty of sense he’ll get all of the tailbacks more involved in the passing game as is. In doing so, he’ll be playing perfectly into Iowa’s recent offensive reputation at the same time even if things do pan out this fall.
Another of the five Arkansas players to leave the football program has found a new college home.
Exactly eight days after announcing on Twitter that he was leaving Chad Morris‘ first-year squad, Maleek Barkley took to the same social media website to announce that he has decided to transfer to Montana State. As the Big Sky Conference school plays at the FCS level, the running back-turned-wide receiver will be eligible to play for the Bobcats immediately in 2018.
Including the upcoming season, Barkley will have four years of eligibility that he can use.
Barkley, a three-star 2017 signee, began his Razorbacks career as a running back before moving to wide receiver this offseason by new head coach Chad Morris this offseason. He took a redshirt his true freshman season.
In addition to Barkley, four other UA players on scholarship have transferred this offseason — tight end Will Gragg (to Pitt), tight end Jake Hall (to SMU), defensive back Korey Hernandez (to Iowa Western) and safety Reid Miller (to Montana). Additionally, center Zach Rogers opted to give up his football career with the Razorbacks to pursue a job in law enforcement.
If you had the SEC in “next conference to reset the Days Without An Arrest ticker” pool, go ahead and collect your winnings.
According to the Columbia State, South Carolina’s Javon Charleston was arrested earlier this month on one count each of assault and burglary. The charges stem from an incident that occurred during the early-morning hours of June 17.
The alleged victim claims that Charleston, after she stopped responding to his text messages, broke into her house and, after finding her in bed with another male, engaged in a verbal altercation with the man and ultimately chased him out of the residence. It was after that when the woman claims she was physically assaulted by Charleston, who allegedly referred to her as a “dirty slut” in the process of the alleged assault.
Charleston, the newspaper wrote, “told the police he knew the woman and the code to get into the residence and that he went to check on her when she stopped texting him, believing that she was drunk.”
As a result of the arrest, Charleston has been indefinitely suspended by the football program.
Charleston was initially a walk-on to the Gamecocks who was placed on scholarship during summer camp last year. The wide receiver/defensive back appeared in 13 games last season, with most of those appearances coming on special teams. He has been competing for a starting safety job throughout the offseason.
Chad Morris was hired in early December and has already gone through his spring practice at Arkansas but just signed that big new contract with the school this week.
The practice of working for a new program but not formally signing a contract isn’t new (just ask Texas A&M and Jimbo Fisher) but all the parties in Fayetteville finally got pen to paper in recent days to finalize the deal, according to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. The deal runs through the end of the 2023 season and will pay Morris roughly $3.5 million in base salary with plenty more available for the head coach to collect in bonuses:
Morris will be eligible for up to $1 million in competition-based bonuses and $200,000 in academic-based bonuses each year, and is eligible for three retention payments of $500,000 apiece, contingent that no “significant” NCAA violations have occurred and the program is not on NCAA probation at the time the payments are due in February of 2019, 2021 and 2023.
(AD Hunter) Yurachek said he signed the contract last Friday and it was executed with the signatures of University of Arkansas, Fayetteville chancellor Joseph Steinmetz and UA system president Donald Bobbitt this week.
Thankfully, there’s no complicated buyout structure like there was with former head coach Bret Bielema. If Morris wants to leave for another job, he’d owe $3 million prior to Dec. 31, 2019 and decreasing amounts each year afterward. If he’s fired by the school before the final day of 2022, he will receive 70 percent of his $3.5 million annual salary until the end of 2023. If he is fired on or after Jan. 1, 2023, he will take the full $3.5 million he’s owed.
Funny enough though, according to the Democrat Gazette, his boss still hasn’t signed his own deal with the school despite being formally hired the day before Morris was last December. One down, one to go we guess.
Death Valley is staying dry.
Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich spoke to the Post and Courier this week and pretty flatly rejected joining the burgeoning bandwagon in college athletics and allowing beer and/or alcohol sales at the Tigers’ football stadium.
“It hasn’t been a huge topic here because we really don’t look at that as something moving forward inside Memorial Stadium that is on our list of things to get done,” Radakovich said. “There’s a different atmosphere at our games.”
Alcohol is not sold anywhere at the stadium for Clemson home games though there are some unique cases where fan can bring some to specific areas prior to game day for consumption after kickoff.
The policy stands in stark contrast to some of their fellow ACC schools, as everybody from Pitt to Louisville to Wake Forest have begun sales. There’s been significant debate in the SEC on opening things up on the same front and major programs like Penn State to smaller ones like Fresno State are cashing in on the new revenue stream.
It doesn’t sound like the Tigers will be joining them anytime soon.
“Our people in the parking lot have a good time. There’s no question about that,” Radakovich added. “But inside the stadium, I think it’s a little different.”