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Vanderbilt announces four new coaches, including defensive coordinator

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The day after National Signing Day is usually marked by coaches leaving for other jobs. And there’s been plenty of that today. But Vanderbilt has broken the other way.

Vanderbilt announced four new assistant coaches on Thursday, headlined by defensive coordinator Jason Tarver. He will be the first Commodore coach to hold that title in the Derek Mason era, as Mason served as his own coordinator for his first three seasons in Nashville. Vandy finished the 2017 campaign tied for 83rd nationally in yards per play and tied for 88th in scoring defense (31.3 points per game allowed) en route to a 5-7 season.

Tarver spent the past three seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, each of them in a different job. He was the Niners’ linebackers coach in 2015, outside linebackers coach in 2016 and a senior defensive assistant in 2017.

“Jason is as smart a football coach as I’ve had the chance to be around. We had a chance to work together at Stanford and had the chance to partner up and put together some pretty good defenses,” Mason said in a statement. “He makes complex football seem real easy. At this level you have to get it to the [student-athletes] fast, quick and have them believe it. His presence from the NFL will translate to where we’re at here at Vanderbilt. He’s extremely bright. He’s charismatic. His energy is going to be infectious for this group.”

Additionally, Vanderbilt hired Shawn Mennenga as special teams coordinator, Aaron Morehead as wide receivers coach and Terrence Brown as cornerbacks coach. Mennenga was the Cleveland Browns’ assistant special teams coach for the past seven seasons. Morehead was Texas A&M’s wide receivers coach for the past three campaigns, but was not retained by Jimbo Fisher and did not join Kevin Sumlin at Arizona. Brown was a graduate assistant at Washington for the past three seasons.

Brawling Baylor, Iowa State players suspended for first half Saturday

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As Iowa State looks to stay in the Big 12 race, the Cyclones will be without a key piece for half of its next step in that chase.

Early in the third quarter of this past Saturday’s Baylor-Iowa State game, the Bears’ Chris Miller was penalized 15 yards for giving the business to the Cyclones’ David Montgomery out of bounds.  With temperatures rising and tempers flaring, the next play devolved into an all-out brawl featuring Montgomery and BU’s Greg Roberts throwing haymakers at each other.

Both Montgomery and Roberts were ejected from the contest.  Monday, it was confirmed that both players will also miss the first half of their team’s respective games this weekend, Montgomery against Texas and Roberts against TCU.

Iowa State is currently tied with Texas for third in the Big 12, a game behind Oklahoma and West Virginia with two remaining.

Coming into this past Saturday’s game, Montgomery’s 101.7 yards rushing per game was second in the conference and 23rd nationally.  The junior’s 765 yards rushing are easily tops on the Cyclones; Kene Nwangwu‘s 112 are second among ISU running backs.  Montgomery has also accounted for six of the team’s 10 rushing touchdowns.

On his personal Twitter account Saturday, Montgomery issued an apology for the on-field incident.

Current, former Buckeyes, OSU officials blast report of racially-charged incident involving Zach Smith

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Regardless of how hard they try, Ohio State simply can’t distance itself from Zach Smith.

According to a report from college football reporter Brett McMurphy, the father of Trevon Grimes claims that his son, a former Ohio State wide receiver, was the victim of a racial epithet lobbed at him by former OSU receivers coach Zach Smith.  Specifically, LeBron Grimes claimed, Smith called his son a “bitch ass [N-word]” during a late September practice in 2017.

Grimes declined to answer questions about the allegations, telling McMurphy “I have no comment on that.” However, three of Grimes’ current Florida teammates — the receiver transferred from the Buckeyes in October of last year and landed with the Gators two months later — claimed that Smith directed the N-word at Grimes.  Those players were not identified as they spoke to McMurphy on the condition of anonymity.

“I’ve never said [the N-word] in my entire life. I’ve never been in a fight with a player in my life. Never. That never happened,” Zach Smith stated.

“If my ex-husband is the person spreading these rumors, everyone should know that neither I nor TreVon have any contact with him whatsoever,” Leah Grimes, Trevon Grimes’ mother and LeBron Grimes’ ex-wife, said in a portion of a statement. “He knows nothing about my health and nothing about TreVon’s transfer to UF. He is an abuser and the worst kind of role model, and he is no longer in TreVon’s life.”

In McMurphy’s report, it’s also alleged that Urban Meyer had essentially covered up the incident and swept it under the rug.  In very strongly-worded statements, both OSU president Michael Drake and athletic director Gene Smith refuted the report and said they stand behind their head football coach.

“The accusations made today by Brett McMurphy regarding our coach and the reasons for the transfer of Trevon Grimes are unequivocally false,” Smith said. “Urban Meyer embraces diversity and would absolutely never support an environment of racism. It simply isn’t tolerated here. And as an African-American, football player and collegiate administrator, I personally can say that our coaches, student-athletes and support staff know there is no place for any such behavior within our programs, at The Ohio State University or anywhere.”

Additionally, numerous current and former Buckeye football players — most of whom said nary a word when Smith’s domestic issues surfaced — took to Twitter to very vociferously dispute allegations made in the report that something racial occurred between Smith and Grimes.

The tweet from Martell, incidentally, was retweeted by Trevon Grimes, who, through a UF spokesperson, told McMurphy for his story to “not believe anything [LeBron Grimes] tells you” as he has not seen or talked to his father in more than two years.

Report: Mike Sanford’s fate at WKU directly tied to last two games

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There are already four openings (maybe five) at the FBS level. Depending on how things play out over the rest of this month, one Conference USA program could throw its name into the 2018-19 coaching carousel mix.

According to the Bowling Green Daily News, “Mike Sanford’s future as Western Kentucky’s coach hinges largely on the outcomes of his team’s final two games.” The Daily News reports that, if WKU wins its last two games — vs. UTEP, at Louisiana Tech — Sanford will be retained.

However, if the Hilltoppers drop both of those contests, Sanford is expected to be fired.

“Sanford’s future if the Hilltoppers split those two contests is unclear,” the newspaper added.

Sanford, the former offensive coordinator at Notre Dame, took over a WKU program in 2017 that had won 23 games the previous two seasons under Jeff Brohm before he left for Purdue. In his first season in Bowling Green, Sanford’s 6-7 record was the program’s worst since 2009; the Hilltoppers are currently 1-9, which even if they win out would be WKU’s worst since that winless 2009 season.

Mike MacIntyre reportedly out at Colorado at season’s end

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It appears yet another head coach will hit the unemployment line in the not-too-distant future.

Citing multiple unnamed sources, the ABC affiliate in Boulder is reporting that “Colorado will part ways with football coach Mike MacIntyre effective at the end of this season.” School officials have thus far declined to comment on MacIntyre’s future with the football program.

Based on a new deal agreed to in January of last year and approved five months later, CU would owe MacIntyre a buyout in excess of $10 million if he’s fired without cause.

In five-plus seasons with the Buffaloes, MacIntyre has posted a 30-43 record overall and 14-38 in Pac-12 play.  Coming off a 5-7 season in 2017, the Buffs won their first five games of the season and climbed to 19th in the Associated Press Top 25.  However, they’ve dropped five straight since then, with three of the five losses coming by 10 or more points.

Colorado will play its home finale this weekend against Pac-12 South leader Utah before closing out the regular season at Cal a week later.  The Buffaloes need to win at least one of those games to reach bowl eligibility.

Right now, there are officially four openings at the FBS level: Bowling Green (HERE), Kansas (HERE), Louisville (HERE) and Maryland (HERE).  Last year, 20 FBS jobs came open for one reason or another during the 2017-18 spinning of the coaching carousel.