The hot seats are extra toasty this Thanksgiving weekend as several head coaches around the country will be fighting for a win to save their jobs. One such coach in the crosshairs is likely Texas Tech’s Kliff Kingsbury, who kept his job last season with a late rally but suddenly finds himself right back in the same fight with his team on a four-game losing streak.
Though things were looking promising for the Red Raiders a few months ago, injuries to QB Alan Bowman has allowed the program to slide back to mediocrity and they need a win against Baylor at AT&T Stadium on Saturday just to make a bowl game in 2018. While some athletic directors tend to stick to just the standard boilerplate statements at this time of the year, Red Raiders boss Kirby Hocutt did not hold back on the state of the program on his weekly spot on a local Lubbock radio station.
“We’ve talked on this show about our expectations and where we aspire to be and wanting to be relevant. But you are what your record says you are and we’re not where we expect to be,” Hocutt said, according to the Dallas Morning News. You know, football is the ultimate team sport. You have 11 men on the field and you’re only going to be as successful as each individual executes their responsibility. Unfortunately, we just seem to continue to have lapses in focus, lack of discipline at certain times. Those mistakes, those penalties continue to affect us and the success we’re not experiencing right now.”
Needless to say, that’s not exactly any sort of rousing bit of support for the job Kingsbury has been doing. While it remains to be seen if Tech would dismiss their head coach — a successful alum of the program, it should be noted — speculation is already turning toward who might be in line for the job if it comes open.
Per Austin American-Statesman columnist Kirk Bohls:
It’s not entirely surprising to hear that Hocutt could go after Brent Venables considering the two played football together at Kansas State. The Clemson defensive coordinator will likely be in the running for the Wildcats job it that also comes open this offseason and he is certainly no stranger to the Big 12 given the many years he spent at Oklahoma before taking the gig with the Tigers.
Who knows what Hocutt will end up doing over the coming days but it does seem pretty clear that all the parties involved in this one will have plenty of options over the coming weeks.
There was good news off the field this past week for a Nebraska football team expecting bigger things on it.
According to the Lincoln Journal-Star, freshman wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson, who was cited for marijuana possession in June, will not face any charges related to the citation because the chief deputy attorney of Lancaster County “felt there was insufficient evidence.” Robinson was one of four people in a dorm room university police were called to investigate two months ago, and the receiver was the only one to receive a citation from the responding officers after marijuana was discovered in his car during a search.
The chief deputy attorney, Bruce Prenda, also confirmed that the other three Cornhusker football players cited for marijuana-related offenses this offseason — freshman defensive back Myles Farmer (HERE), senior defensive back Jeremiah Stovall (HERE) and sophomore running back Maurice Washington (HERE) — will not face charges “at this time” as well.
From the Journal-Star:
But, this week, Prenda said he wasn’t charging any of them “at this time as a result of our office’s continued evaluation of the effect of enactment of LB657 on our ability to prosecute marijuana and paraphernalia cases.”
The law legalized industrial hemp but created problems for prosecutors who say they would have to have the drug tested to show its THC level was above 0.3%.
Washington, provided he can navigate a much more serious legal hurdle out on the West Coast, is penciled in as the bellcow of the Cornhusker’s rushing attack this coming season, while Robinson, a highly-touted four-star 2019 signee, is expected to contribute immediately as a true freshman. The two defensive backs likely won’t appear on NU’s two-deep depth chart when the season kicks off.
The heartbreak that is cancer has, once again, impacted the world of college football.
Arkansas State announced Monday that Blake Anderson would be taking a leave of absence from his job as head football coach to be with his wife Wendy, who was battling an aggressive form of breast cancer for the second time in three years. Tuesday morning, Anderson posted that his wife had lost her brave battle with the insidious disease shortly before midnight last night “with me laying right beside her.”
Wendy Anderson was 49.
Wendy Anderson was initially diagnosed with cancer in the spring of 2017. In August of that year, Anderson had tweeted that his wife was cancer-free. Sadly, cancer returned a few months later.
Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to Coach Anderson for his loss.
Defensive coordinator David Duggan will serve as interim head coach during Anderson’s indefinite leave of absence. Arkansas State will open the 2019 season against SMU Aug. 31.
Entering summer camp, Deon Stewart was the most senior member of a very young receiving corps. Unfortunately for all involved, Stewart will exit camp on the sidelines and will remain there for the foreseeable future.
Multiple media outlets in the area initially reported that Stewart suffered a torn ACL during Arkansas’ scrimmage this past Saturday; Monday, head coach Chad Morris confirmed the initial reports, saying that an MRI showed a tear in the ligament.
Suffice to say, the fifth-year senior, who posted an ominous one-word tweet over the weekend portending the development, will miss the entire 2019 season.
Morris also confirmed that Stewart will pursue a sixth season of eligibility.
Stewart played in 36 games the past three seasons, starting 14 of those contests in 2017 (six) and 2018 (eight). This past season, Stewart was fourth on the Razorbacks in receptions (22) and sixth in yards (178).
Of the 17 receivers listed on the Razorbacks’ preseason roster, 13 of them are either freshmen or sophomores. Stewart is one of two seniors at the position, the other being Jimmie Stoudemire, who didn’t catch a pass during his first season in Fayetteville after transferring in from a California junior college.
Pardon me while I clean up a bit of personnel news from late last week during these early-morning hours.
Early last week, speculation was making the rounds that Jayden McDonald was considering a transfer away from Iowa. Friday evening, the speculation became a reality as the football program confirmed in a press release that the redshirt freshman linebacker has entered his name into the NCAA transfer database.
It’s at this point in the program where we remind our readers that entering a name into the portal doesn’t guarantee a departure, even as it allows other programs to contact the player without receiving permission from his current school. McDonald could also reverse course, pull his name from the database and return to the Hawkeyes.
Conversely, the university can take away McDonald’s scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered the portal.
After originally committing to Rutgers, McDonald signed with Iowa as a three-star recruit in 2018. The Georgia high schooler opted for Iowa over Kansas State, Ole Miss and Purdue.
McDonald didn’t see the field as a true freshman and, with the Hawkeyes moving to a 4-2-5 base defense this season, he saw his opportunities for playing time in Iowa City narrowed even further.