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Dabo Swinney continues preaching ‘never say never’ when it comes to replacing Nick Saban at Alabama

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If nothing else, Dabo Swinney is extremely consistent with this bit of lingering and ongoing speculation.

Swinney is a native of Birmingham, Ala., and played wide receiver for Alabama in the early nineties.  Given that connection, the school of thought is that, when Nick Saban decides to retire, the Crimson Tide’s first call will be to Swinney.

You don’t ever say never,” the Clemson head coach said in November of 2015, a little over a year before the Tigers beat the Tide for the 2016 national championship, when asked about such a possibility. “You don’t ever know what the circumstances would be at any given time.”

Fast-forward to the here and now, and Swinney is singing from the same hymnal when it comes to talk of replacing Saban.

“I’ve always said you never say never because you never know what the dynamics will be,” the coach said Wednesday on the Kirk Herbstreit/Ian Fitzsimmons podcast.

In August of this year, the 47-year-old Swinney — he’ll be 48 in November — reached an agreement on a new seven-year, $54 million contract that leaves him signed through the 2024 season. Swinney would owe the university a $6 million buyout if he leaves anytime between now and Dec. 31, 2018.  That number would then drop to $4 million if he leaves before Dec. 31, 2019, then drops by $1 million each year through the same date in 2022. It would then be $1 million for the final two seasons on the deal.

In May of this year, the 65-year-old Saban — he’ll be 66 in October — agreed to a contract extension that leaves him signed through the 2024 season.  Saban will turn 73 years old during that 2024 season.

A little factoid that might interest some: Swinney would be 56 at the start of the 2025 season, the same age as Saban when he took over the Tide in 2007.

Anyway, below is TigerNet.com‘s transcription of the pertinent Swinney/Alabama portions of the podcast, which you can listen to in its entirety HERE:

They [Clemson] may run me out of here, they’ve [schools] fired Bobby Bowden and Joe Paterno and you name it, so I don’t think about it,” Swinney said. “I just love what I do, whether or not I retire here or not, I have a long way to go. You can retire a lot worse places than Clemson, SC; this place is special. I love it. Who knows what God’s got in store for me down the road. I just kinda take it one day at a time, one year at a time. Hopefully, we can be about the right things and the right way. Who knows what God has planned for me 10-15 years down the road will be.”

Herbstreit pressed him on the issue if he would one day coach at Alabama after Nick Saban hangs it up.

“We just beat them [Alabama] for the National Championship I think,” Swinney joked. “First of all…anybody that would suggest that or say that I am humbled by that and certainly appreciate anybody that would even think that way that they would want me be a candidate for a job like Alabama or whatever. But that’s just kinda the fandom. You know people just naturally make connections and think things like that and they never really consider all factors. I’ve always said you never say never because you never know what the dynamics will be. Ten years from now, Alabama may call me and want me to come to Alabama and Clemson people may hate me at that point. I may have a terrible president or AD. There are dynamics that change. I have always focused on being great at where I’m at and blooming where I’m planted. All I know is there is nothing we can’t do here at Clemson. I don’t have to go somewhere else to win at the highest level.

Former five-star WR Demetris Robertson tweets transfer from Cal

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One of the top players in the Class of 2016 is on the move.

On his personal Twitter account Thursday afternoon, Demetris Robertson announced that he has “decided not to continue my education and football career at UC Berkeley.” The Cal wide receiver said he made his decision to leave the football program because of unspecified personal matters.

Robertson will have to sit out the 2018 season if/when he transfers to another FBS program.  He would then have two years of eligibility at his disposal beginning with the 2019 season.

A five-star member of the Golden Bears’ 2016 recruiting class, Robertson was rated as the No. 1 receiver in the country; the No. 3 player at any position in the state of Georgia; and the No. 13 player overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board.  Robertson’s initial recruitment was an unusual one as he didn’t sign until May 1, nearly three months after National Signing Day, and then stunned the college football recruiting world by picking Cal over Notre Dame and home-state Georgia.

Given the fact that he’s from the state and described “personal matters” as his reason for leaving the Golden Bears, the Bulldogs will likely be viewed as the initial favorite to land one of the fastest players in college football.

At Cal, Robertson, at least initially, lived up to the recruiting hype as he was second on the team as a true freshman with 50 receptions for 767 yards and seven touchdowns.  His 15.3 yards per catch were tops on the team.  After catching seven passes for 70 yards the first two games of the 2017 season, however, he was sidelined for the remainder of the year by what turned out to be a season-ending lower-body injury.

Lane Kiffin pushed back against wearing bulletproof vest in return to Tennessee as Alabama OC

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College football, y’all.

Suffice to say, Lane Kiffin‘s departure from Rocky Top after one season as head coach at Tennessee for the same job at USC left a bad taste in the mouth of many members of Vols Nation.  How bad of a taste?  From ESPN.com in January of 2010:

But the real trick for Kiffin was figuring out a way to leave the Neyland-Thompson Sports Center late Tuesday night in one piece.

Groups of angry students and fans began surrounding the football complex after the news leaked that Kiffin had taken the USC job. Eventually, it evolved into a mob-like scene, with police moving in and barricading Johnny Majors Drive in front of the football complex.

Every time a car moved anywhere in the vicinity of the complex, the mob ran in that direction, shouting and chanting, “F— you Kiffin!

Fast-forward nearly five years, and Kiffin made his return — a triumphant, winning return as it turned out — to Neyland Stadium as the offensive coordinator at rival Alabama in October of 2014.  Ahead of that return, security was fearful for Kiffin’s life.  So fearful, in fact, that they wanted the former Volunteers head coach to wear a bulletproof vest into the famed stadium.

At least that’s what the current Florida Atlantic head coach claimed on Marty Smith‘s podcast, by way of 247Sports.com:

It’s crazy. They were literally talking about like — from the bus in — a bulletproof vest. I’m like, ‘Come on, guys. This is football.’ They said, ‘No, really.’ They had security with me the whole way, even walking on the field and stuff like that,” Kiffin said. “I’m just like ‘I’m not wearing a vest, guys. All right?’ That’s a little bit over the top. It was all in fun. There was a lot of mean words said — four-letter words. That speaks of Tennessee’s fans, just how passionate they are. I think Phillip Fulmer said it the other day, ‘We have the most passionate fans in the country.

Of course, all that angst and anger had waned by the time UT’s next search for a head coach kicked off as a small but very vocal portion of the fanbase actually wanted the one-time Knoxville pariah to replace Butch Jones late last year.  Hell, it was even reported that, in the midst of what was a circus of a search, “Lane is definitely on board if Tennessee gives him a call” about returning as head coach.

Ah, what could’ve been…

Nebraska transfer QB Patrick O’Brien officially lands at Colorado State

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In mid-April, Patrick O’Brien took to social media to announce his decision to transfer from Nebraska.  Earlier this month, the quarterback announced his new college football home.  Wednesday, said new college football home confirmed O’Brien’s addition.

In a press release, Colorado State acknowledged that O’Brien has indeed joined Mike Bobo‘s football program.  Because of NCAA transfer rules, the 6-4, 230-pound O’Brien will be forced to sit out the 2018 season.

However, beginning with the 2019 season, he will have two years of eligibility that he can use moving forward.

A four-star member of the Cornhuskers’ 2016 recruiting class, O’Brien was rated as the No. 10 pro-style quarterback that year.  It’s that pro-style of play that led him to transfer away from Scott Frost and Nebraska after the new regime’s first spring practice came to an end earlier this offseason.

As the primary backup to Tanner Lee last season, and after redshirting his true freshman season, O’Brien completed 18-of-30 passes for 192 yards and an interception.  He also ran for four yards on 14 carries.

Oregon student charged in death of former Ducks LB Fotu Leiato

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An arrest has been made in connection to the death of a former Oregon football player, the Eugene Register-Guard and The Oregonian are reporting.

Ex-Ducks linebacker Fotu Leiato was found dead early Friday morning as the result of what was described as a single-car accident. Pedro Chavarin Jr. was the driver of a vehicle that rolled over and crashed in Eugene; at the time, the 22-year-old UO student told police that he was the only occupant of the vehicle.

While Chavarin was initially charged with DUII, one count of first-degree manslaughter has since been added as Leiato’s body was found hours after the crash.  According to police, the 21-year-old Leiato had been a passenger in Chavarin’s Kia sedan at the time of the wreck.

According to The Oregonian, Chavarin faces a minimum of 10 years in prison if convicted of first-degree manslaughter.

Leiato played in 37 games the past three seasons for the Ducks.  He was dismissed from the football program in April after the second of his two arrests this offseason.

“We are saddened to learn of the passing of Fotu, and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time,” a statement from the university at the time of Leiato’s passing began. “He will be remembered and missed by all who knew him.”