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Tom Herman denies he tipped off media as Zach Smith gets set to meet with Ohio State investigators

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The soap opera that is currently the Ohio State football program took a couple of additional twists and turns Saturday.

Jeff Snook, the author of several Ohio State books whose Facebook post this past week quoted the mother of Courtney Smith as not believing Zach Smith had abused her daughter, promised Friday in a subsequent Facebook missive that “another bombshell report is coming“; Saturday, Snook posted that Tom Herman, the former OSU offensive coordinator and current Texas head coach, had tipped off Brett McMurphy, the college football insider whose own Facebook posts on domestic abuse allegations involving Zach Smith and his ex-wife, Courtney, preceded Smith being fired as the Buckeyes’ wide receivers coach and Urban Meyer being placed on paid administrative leave as the school launched an investigation into his handling of the allegations.

In the wake of Snook’s latest social media post, Herman labeled the report he was the source “absolutely untrue” while McMurphy took to Twitter to “unequivocally” deny Herman was the source.

“Neither I, nor anybody in my family, has ever communicated with Brett McMurphy about the situation at Ohio State,” a portion of Herman’s statement read.

In that latest Facebook post by Snook, it’s claimed that the Hermans, Tom and his wife, Michelle, are helping Courtney Smith with her legal expenses. The UT coach countered in his own statement that, in March of 2017, his wife had helped “her friend Courtney Smith during a time of financial need.”

“We have not provided any financial assistance since then,” Tom Herman stated.

Finally, it was alleged by Snook’s sources that the Hermans “encouraged Courtney Smith to go public with her claims that her ex-husband had physically abused her.” The impetus for that was that the Hermans allegedly wanted Smith fired and off the OSU coaching staff. Why?

Herman was furious after five-star receiver Garrett Wilson committed to Ohio State in April over Texas, sources say. Wilson played at Austin (Texas) Lake Travis High, just miles from the Longhorns’ campus. Zach Smith was the Buckeyes’ primary recruiter in getting Wilson’s commitment.

“This is BS — we had no reason good enough to do that to Shelley or Urban,” Michelle Herman wrote to Snook.

“I really do appreciate you doing your job with integrity and checking on all the points, unlike some others,” Shelley Meyer, Urban’s wife and reportedly close confidante of Courtney Smith who allegedly knew of the extensive abuse Courtney allegedly suffered at the hands of her ex-husband, told Snook in a text message. “I just can’t comment and I am very sorry. Thank u.”

Those were Shelley Meyer’s’s first public comments since the imbroglio erupted in Columbus last month, triggered by Zach Smith criminal trespassing citation in May after attempting to drop off their child at his ex-wife’s residence.

OSU launched its investigation into Meyer’s handling of the extensive domestic abuse allegations, which extend back to their time together at Florida, the week before last, although Smith’s attorney claimed this week that neither he nor his client had been contacted by investigators handling the probe that will determine whether Meyer will continue on as the Buckeyes’ head coach.

That will change in the not-too-distant future as Zach Smith’s attorney, Brad Koffel, confirmed to ESPN.com Saturday that his client is expected to meet with OSU investigators this coming week to answer any questions the group may have.

“We’re not trying to run from the truth, but we’re not the only ones with warts on us,” Koffel told the website.

As of this posting, a statement from Courtney Smith’s attorney released this past week that neither she nor her client had been contacted by OSU investigators stands.

On Aug. 8, Ohio State announced that it expected to complete its investigation in two weeks.

California JUCO defensive back shot, killed

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Sadly, there’s yet another deadly shooting involving a college football player on which to report.

According to multiple media outlets in the Sacramento area, Sierra College defensive back Chancelor “Chance” Fields-Colbert was shot and killed very early Sunday morning following an incident during what was described as a college sendoff party in Fair Oaks.  Fields-Colbert was shot once inside the residence in which the party was being held and managed to get out of the house before collapsing in an intersection a short distance away.

The sophomore from Fairbanks, Alaska, was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

It’s disbelief and shock,” the junior college’s head coach, Benjamin Noonan, told ABC’s Sacramento affiliate. “It’s been a nightmare these last 48 hours and the kids are, you know, pulling it together and just want to be around each other.”

As a freshman this past season, Fields-Colbert played in five games for the Wolverines.

Oregon’s Calvin Throckmorton headlines Outland Trophy watch list

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With eight semifinalists from a year ago gone, the Outland Trophy’s 2019 preseason watch list takes on a decidedly fresh look this go ’round.

Headlining the 83-player group of the nation’s top interior linemen is Oregon’s Calvin Throckmorton, who is the only Football Writers Association of American All-American from a season ago on this year’s watch list.  Throckmorton is one of 12 players from the Pac-12 listed, which is tied for third among all conferences with the Big 12; with 13 apiece, the Big Ten and SEC lead all leagues.

The ACC’s 10 is the fewest among Power Five conferences, while Group of Five leagues are paced by the AAC’s six.  All 10 FBS conferences are represented, including the Mountain West (four), Conference USA (three), MAC (three) and Sun Belt (three).  Independents account for four as well.

Throckmorton is one of four linemen from Oregon, tied with Michigan for the most of any single school.  Georgia has three, while another 15 schools have two each.

A total of 32 offensive tackles are on the watch list, the most for any single position.  That group is followed by 19 defensive tackles, 18 offensive guards and 14 centers.

Temple confirms changes to Rod Carey’s coaching staff

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Less than two weeks before training camp kicks off, Rod Carey has (again) finalized his first Temple coaching staff.

Earlier this month, it was reported that longtime Temple assistant and the program’s current special teams coordinator Ed Foley would be leaving the school and reuniting with Matt Rhule at Baylor.  Monday, the Owls confirmed that Carey has promoted Tyler Yelk to outside linebackers coach.  Yelk was a part of Carey’s Northern Illinois football staff this past season.

Additionally, it was announced by the football program that Brett Diersen has been hired as associate special teams coordinator.  Diersen spent the 2018 season as the defensive line coach at SMU.

This will mark the third time Diersen and Carey have worked together, first at Wisconsin-Stout in 2000 and then again at Northern Illinois from 2013-17.

“Tyler is an excellent young coach and we promoted him to add balance to the coaching staff,” said Carey in a statement, making reference to the fact that there are now six full-time coaches with an offensive background and five on defense. “We are very fortunate to get a coach of Brett’s caliber in the role of special teams coordinator. I’ve known him for 20 years and am excited that he and his family can join us at Temple.”

Nearly 100 defensive players land on Nagurski Trophy watch list

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Of all the watch lists released thus far this month, this one’s the biggest — literally.

Via the Football Writers Association of America, the Bronko Nagurski Trophy Tuesday released its preseason list of players to watch, with a whopping 97 individuals making the award’s initial cut.  All 10 FBS conferences are represented, as are 65 individual schools.

One first-team FWAA All-American (LSU safety Grant Delpit) made the initial watch list for the award given annually to the best defensive player in college football, while a trio of second-teamers from a year ago (Virginia cornerback Bryce Hall, Michigan State defensive end Kenny Willekes, Stanford cornerback Paulson Adebo) made the cut as well.

Conference-wise, the SEC has the most with 18, followed the other four Power Five leagues in the Big Ten (15), ACC (12), Pac-12 (12) and Big 12 (11). The AAC led all Group of Five conferences with six, followed by Conference USA (four), Mountain West (four), MAC (three) and Sun Belt (two).  Football independents accounted for five of the watch listers.

With four, Alabama led all individual schools. Iowa State, LSU, Notre Dame and Penn State placed three each, with another 16 schools placing two apiece on the list.

As for the positional breakdown, there are 36 linebackers, 28 backs, 21 ends and seven tackles.