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Not so hot seat? Chris Ash’s job reportedly safe at Rutgers


Right now, there are six openings for head coach at the FBS level.  Based on a report coming out of Piscataway, one Big Ten team has no plans on being the seventh.

Citing two individuals familiar with the decision-making process at Rutgers, is reporting that Chris Ash is not on the hot seat and his job as the Scarlet Knights’ head football coach is safe.  The website does add the qualifier “barring an unforeseen event in the next five days.”

Athletic director Pat Hobbs was very public in his support of Ash over the summer as he attempted to quash any hot seat talk regarding the coach.  A few months later, Hobbs remains just as supportive.  From the website’s report:

“What did Pat (tweet) when ( put (Ash) on the hot seat? ‘You can take (my guy) off your list?’ In Pat’s mind, (Ash) isn’t on the hot seat. He’s never been. He’s not now,” the university official told NJ Advance Media.

Another university official was more definitive on Ash’s status:

“Unless something changes in the next five days, there’s no way Ash isn’t coming back,” the university official said.

Both university officials told NJ Advance Media the result of Saturday’s season finale at Michigan State isn’t something that can change Hobbs’ thinking on Ash’s status.

The speculation surrounding Ash’s job security certainly makes sense on multiple levels, most notably the won-loss record the coach will carry into another bowl-less offseason.

Ash is currently 7-28 overall in nearly three full seasons with the Knights, including a 3-23 mark in Big Ten play.  RU is 1-10 this season, and winless in the conference, heading into Week 13 and riding a 10-game losing streak that’s the second-longest in the country behind Rice’s 11 in a row.

All but two of Rutgers’ losses this season have come by double digits, and they’ve been outscored a combined 356-124 during the streak. They have failed to score more than 17 points in any game this season, and have been held to seven points or fewer in five of those contests.  As a team, they are 128th out of 129 FBS teams in scoring with a 13.8 points per game average — UT-San Antonio is last at 13.5 ppg — while they are dead last in passing efficiency at 77.86.  RU quarterbacks have thrown 20 interceptions in 333 pass attempts compared to just four touchdown passes; the picks are the worst of the 129 FBS team while only triple-option Navy (three) has thrown fewer touchdown passes.  The Midshipmen, however, are averaging a touchdown pass every 32 throws while the Knights average one every 83 attempts.

Michigan to visit South Africa later this year

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After visiting Italy and France over the past two springs, Michigan is taking a break from Europe and hitting South Africa in 2019. Wolverines director of football operations Mark Taurisani made the announcement through his Twitter account on Tuesday.

Jim Harbaugh started the field trips (which are funded by Michigan donors) as part of an educational experience for Wolverines players. The 2017 Italy trip was incorporated with Michigan’s spring practice, but the Wolverines did not practice in France last year and will not practice in South Africa this year, either.

Specific dates and tour sites have not been announced. The Wolverines will leave after the completion of the spring semester, which concludes after Michigan’s April 13 spring game.

Michigan lands All-MAC graduate transfer from Central Michigan

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As a Detroit native, Mike Danna has probably spent his entire life hoping and wishing and believing he could play at Michigan. While playing at Warren De La Salle Collegiate High School, he probably thought it. Throughout the recruiting process, when Michigan didn’t offer him and he signed at Central Michigan, he probably thought it.

Now he’ll get a chance to prove it.

Danna on Tuesday announced he was leaving CMU to spend his final college season with the big boys in Ann Arbor.

The 6-foot-2, 257-pound defensive end won the Herb Deromedi Award as CMU’s most valuable player after collecting 66 tackles, a team-high 15 TFLs and 9.5 sacks. He was named a First Team All-MAC honoree and a Pro Football Focus First Team All-American as well.

In three seasons as a Chippewa, Danna posted 151 tackles, 28 TFLs, 15 sacks and four forced fumbles.

While he may or may not start, Danna will be a significant contributor for the Wolverines in 2019. Michigan loses starting ends Chase Winovich (graduation) and Rashan Gary (draft), so Danna will team with senior Josh Uche (who led the team with eight sacks last season) and sophomore Aidan Hutchinson.

Miami to reportedly play Miami in 2023

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College football is notoriously hard to predict, but go ahead and mark this prediction down in ink: in the 2023 season, Miami will beat Miami.

Miami (Florida) will host Miami (Ohio) in 2023, according to FBSchedules. Neither school has announced the game as of this writing. The game will be played Sept. 2, 2023 at Hard Rock Stadium in Coral Gables, Fla.

In what has been previously dubbed the Confusion Bowl, the two Miamis have played three times previously, with the Hurricanes winning each time. All three games were in Miami, Fla., and green-and-orange Miami won by scores of 27-13 in 1945, 20-17 in 1946 and, most recently, 54-3 in 1987.

Miami (Ohio) will net $1.5 million for the trip, according to FBSchedules.

Miami (Fla.) has a home game with Texas A&M and a visit to Temple lined up elsewhere for 2023, while Miami (Ohio) will visit Cincinnati and host Liberty.

Brian VanGorder replaces Carl Pelini as Bowling Green DC

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After a little over two months on the job, one of the most glorious mustaches in all of college football has earned a promotion.

Tuesday, Bowling Green announced that Brian VanGorder has been named as first-year head coach Scot Loeffler‘s defensive coordinator.  In mid-December, the MAC school announced VanGorder’s hiring as linebackers coach and associate head coach.

VanGorder replaces Carl Pelini, who left last month to pursue another coaching opportunity.

VanGorder has served as a coordinator for a significant portion of the last decade, including stops at Louisville (2018), Notre Dame (2015-16), Auburn (2012) and the Atlanta Falcons (2008-11).  Prior to his one-year stint at Louisville, VanGorder served as a defensive analyst at both Georgia (2016, after he was fired by Notre Dame) and Oklahoma State (2017).

Interestingly, Bowling Green will travel to South Bend Oct. 5 this year to take on Notre Dame.

With VanGorder’s promotion, the Falcons also announced that Jim Herrmann has been hired to replace the new defensive coordinator as linebackers coach.  Herrmann will also carry the title of associate head coach.

Herrmann has spent the past baker’s dozen seasons as linebackers coach at the NFL level, with stops with the Indianapolis Colts (2016-18), New York Giants (2009-15) and New York Jets (2006-08) dotting his résumé.  His last college job at this level came during a lengthy stint at his alma mater Michigan (1985-2005).  The last nine years of his time in Ann Arbor, Herrmann worked as the Wolverines’ defensive coordinator.