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Arkansas State threatening to sue Miami over canceled football game

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Arkansas State was scheduled to host Miami on Sept. 9 of last year. As we know, that didn’t happen. Hurricane Irma struck Florida at that time, and Miami made the decision not to make the trip in order to allow its players and staff to brace for, you know, a hurricane.

The opportunity to host a program of the caliber of Miami was, obviously, a big deal for Arkansas State. It’s not often that a 5-time national champion makes the trip to Jonesboro. As such, Arkansas State went to a considerable effort to play the game, including working with ESPN to move the game to Friday, Sept. 8, and to house Miami players and staff in the days after the game.

Still, Miami didn’t come.

And now, after months of discussion, diplomacy between the two schools has devolved to the point where lawyers between the two schools are sending accusatory letters to one another.

In a letter sent Friday from Miami’s assistant general counsel James Rowlee to Arkansas State’s general counsel, Brad Phelps, the Hurricanes have argued that, though they have unfilled dates in 2020 and ’21, Miami cannot travel to Jonesboro because those dates have to be home games and as such offered to visit in 2024 or ’25.

Phelps, in a letter obtained by KAIT-TV, argued for Arkansas State, in a letter sent today, that waiting a decade or more to fulfill a home-and-home (Arkansas State first visited in Miami in 2014) was ridiculous, and that Miami could visit Arkansas State in 2020 or ’21, it just doesn’t want to. Arkansas State also offered to make another visit to Miami for a one-off game in exchange for Miami giving up a home game in 2020 or ’21.

Anticipating that Miami would not agree to visit before 2024, Phelps dug up a quote Mark Richt gave to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that, yes, Miami could have made the trip to Jonesboro if it really wanted to do so. Arguing that the Hurricanes’ no-show induced considerable harm on Arkansas State — and it’s hard to argue otherwise; how many season tickets were sold on the basis of getting to see Miami? — is now seeking damages of $650,000, as outlined in the contract agreed upon by the two schools — and the Red Wolves want it by Thursday, or they’re going to sue.

The question now is if Miami feels strongly about its offer for a 2024-25 makeup date and its Hurricane Irma out clause to make that case in court, or if the Hurricanes want to cut Arkansas State a check and simply move on.

Whatever the result, don’t count on Arkansas State and Miami scheduling a second home-and-home.

Pitt announces hiring of ex-Maryland WRs coach Chris Beatty

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Nearly three weeks after clearing out a pair of spots on his offensive coaching staff, Pat Narduzzi has filled in those self-created holes.

Jan. 4, Shawn Watson was fired as Pitt’s offensive coordinator, replaced a little over a week later by former UMass head coach Mark Whipple.  The same day Watson was fired, Kevin Sherman was dismissed as wide receivers coach; Wednesday, Pitt confirmed that Chris Beatty has been hired as Sherman’s replacement.

Sherman spent the past three seasons at Maryland as receivers coach.  He also served as co-offensive coordinator and held the title of associate head coach while with the Terrapins.

“Chris is an absolutely outstanding addition to our staff,” Narduzzi said in a statement. “His expertise goes well beyond one position on the offensive side of the ball. That diverse experience is going to be an incredible asset for our players and entire coaching staff. He is also a highly driven recruiter with valuable contacts in so many key areas. We are looking forward to welcoming Chris, his wife Kris and his son Aaron to both Pitt and Pittsburgh.”

Prior to Maryland, Beatty spent time on Power Five coaching staffs at Virginia (2015), Wisconsin (2013-14), Illinois (2012), Vanderbilt (2011) and West Virginia (2008-10).  In addition to receivers, he’s also coaching quarterbacks and running backs.

Cadillac Williams returning to Auburn as RBs coach

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A legend is coming home to The Plains.  Reportedly.

According to  Scout.com and FootballScoop.com among others, Cadillac Williams is set to be named as the next running backs coach at Auburn.  Williams would replace Tim Horton, who moved into an off-field role earlier this month.

An official announcement on Williams’ hiring could come as early as today.

Williams played running back for the Tigers from 2001-04, finishing with 3,831 yards and 45 touchdowns on 741 attempts.  The carries were the most in AU history at the time of his departure, while the yards and touchdowns were second to Bo Jackson.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made Williams the fifth pick of the 2005 NFL Draft, and he went on to win Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.  H ended up playing seven years in the NFL before retiring following the end of the 2011 season.

The 36-year-old Williams’ coaching career began in 2016 as an offensive graduate assistant at Div. II West Georgia.  He went to IMG Academy in Florida as running backs coach before moving on to the same position the Birmingham franchise in the newly-created Alliance of American Football.

UPDATED 2:36 p.m. ET: Based on a tweet from Auburn football’s official Twitter account, Williams’ return to the Tigers is official.

Police investigating death of FCS player as a suicide

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Sadly, there’s more tragic news involving a college football player on which to report.

According to multiple media outlets, University of Montana Grizzly football player Andrew Harris was found dead at his residence in Missoula Tuesday.  The Missoulian writes that “police are investigating the scene as a suicide.”

Harris was just 22 years old.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to Andrew’s family and friends at this difficult time,” university president Seth Bodnar said in a statement sent out to the Missoulian. “The entire UM family mourns his loss and our hearts go out to all who knew him.”

A redshirt junior, Harris was a defensive lineman who played in 11 games during his time with the Griz.  Our thoughts, prayers and condolences going out to all of those impacted by Harris’ passing.

And for those in the reading audience: The phone number for the Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.  Please, pick up the phone and call that number if you ever get to the point where you feel like you just can’t go on.  Or call somebody, anybody.

South Carolina’s third-leading rusher enters NCAA transfer database

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Another day, another trip into the infamous portal.

The latest to put his name onto the free-agent market is Ty’Son Williams, who a South Carolina official has confirmed is now listed in the NCAA transfer database.  If Williams follows through with the move — he can always remove his name from the database and return — it would be the running back’s second transfer as he came to USC in August of 2016 after beginning his collegiate playing career at North Carolina.

As Williams would be leaving as a graduate transfer, he’d be eligible to play immediately at another FBS school if he ultimately decides to leave.

Williams was third on the Gamecocks with 328 yards rushing in 2018, while his four rushing touchdowns tied for the team lead.  The year before, his first on the field at USC after sitting out the 2016 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules, he was second on the team in yards (471) and yards per carry (5.0).

A four-star member of UNC’s 2016 recruiting class, Williams was rated as the No. 21 running back in the country and the No. 5 player at any position in the state of South Carolina.