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Urban Meyer, when asked if he’s finished coaching: ‘That’s a complicated question’

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When he retired from coaching (twice) while at Florida, health concerns were cited as part of the reasoning behind Urban Meyer‘s departure.  Fast-forward nearly a decade, and health issues are again being cited as the Ohio State head coach has again announced his retirement.

For years, Meyer has dealt with an arachnoid cyst that puts pressure on the coach’s brain and sometimes causes the kind of headaches that dropped him to one knee on the sidelines during the Indiana game earlier this season.  At a Tuesday afternoon press conference that discussed his impending departure after this year’s Rose Bowl, Meyer pointed to the headaches as the primary impetus for his decision.

Specifically, Meyer mentioned a significant flare-up during last year’s Penn State game that led to he and medical personnel discussing his longevity in the profession.  The issue worsened this season, although Meyer claimed that the off-field issues and suspension didn’t play a significant role in his health worsening even as he said “the decision was the result of cumulative events,” including the Zach Smith situation that Meyer acknowledged will likely impact his legacy.

According to Meyer, he didn’t make an absolutely final decision to step down until Tuesday morning, shortly before Ohio State sent out a press release announcing the decision.  Serious contemplation began shortly after the win over Michigan this past Saturday, Meyer stated, adding that, when potential recruits started asking if he would be the head coach for four or five years, it added to the urgency to make a decision as he didn’t want to mislead the prospects.

The head coach did allow, though, that he and athletic director Gene Smith began discussing a succession plan earlier this season.  Ultimately, the decision was made that offensive coordinator Ryan Day would take over for Meyer, whenever that may have been, although Smith acknowledged considering a national search before deciding the 39-year-old coordinator was the best man for the job moving forward.

According to Smith, he was fairly certain Monday that Meyer would step down at the end of the season.  Tuesday morning, Smith met with Meyer and gave him the opportunity to “pull the plug” on retiring; Meyer opted to follow through with what they had previously discussed and confirmed he would indeed retire.

Smith also confirmed that Meyer will stay on in some capacity within the OSU athletic department, although specifics have not yet been divulged.

Arguably the most noteworthy moment of the press conference, though, came when Meyer was asked if he’s finished coaching.

“That’s a complicated question,” Meyer said, although he later added, when asked if he believes he will not coach again, “I believe I will not coach again.”  Even that last assertion, though, came with a qualifier that certainly leaves the door open.

“Fairly certain.”

LSU students will go to class on Saturday to make up for national title game

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LSU students who got to skip class for the national title game (and the ensuing celebrations…) were hit with a dose of reality returning to Baton Rouge on Friday.

According to an announcement from the university, classes that were cancelled on Monday and Tuesday for the championship game have been rescheduled. As a result, students will have to go to class on Saturday, Jan. 25 and Saturday, Feb. 8.

So yes, Saturdays in the fall have resulted in a few Saturdays of work in the spring.

The school had received a bit of criticism when it was announced that classes were cancelled on the dates surrounding the championship game. While the practice has happened elsewhere, the nature of the game being less than an hour from campus in New Orleans certainly made things unique for the Tigers and their large fan base.

While some students no doubt had hoped that the classes at the time were indeed cancelled, it turns out they were in fact just being rescheduled. Going to school on a Saturday probably isn’t what many had in mind when signing up for the spring semester but there’s probably not a soul in purple and gold will take issue with the change given that it comes as a result of hoisting the ultimate football trophy on Monday night in the Big Easy.

Virginia safety Chris Moore enters transfer portal

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The transfer portal has claimed another name.

As first noted by ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg, Virginia safety Chris Moore has entered his name into the database as he explores a move out of Charlottesville.

Moore started five of his nine appearances for the Cavaliers in 2019 and wound up recording 42 tackles. While he was in line to become one of the key members in the secondary going forward, a prior  suspension for violating team rules back in November may have wound up playing a role in his departure and standing with the team.

The safety had previously missed all of the 2018 season with an injury as well.

Moore was originally a three-star recruit out of Ashburn, Va. in 2016 and, assuming the redshirt senior has a degree, likely has a season remaining as a grad transfer.

DL Jay Tufele, WR Tyler Vaughns skipping draft to stay at USC

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Clay Helton has a lot of issues to deal with at the moment. Having a talented USC football team is not one of them.

The Trojans received a rare bit of good news on Thursday evening as two key players announced they were skipping the 2020 NFL Draft. In back-to-back announcements, defensive lineman Jay Tufele and wideout Tyler Vaughns confirmed they would remain in Los Angeles for the 2020 season.

Tufele is one of USC’s best defensive players. He recorded 42 tackles and 4.5 sacks last season as a redshirt sophomore despite dealing with a handful of injuries. With leading sacker Drake Jackson also back, there’s a nice tandem up front for whoever the team hires as defensive coordinator to work with going forward.

Vaughns returning also makes a dangerous receiving corps that much deeper. Michael Pittman Jr. was lost to graduation but the next three top wideouts are set to be back in 2020. Add in a group of solid tailbacks and both J.T. Daniels and Kedon Slovis at QB and USC will once again have one of the top offenses in the Pac-12.

Whether it will all help save Helton’s job again remains to be seen. If nothing else though, there’s at least there’s some positive news for the cardinal and gold this offseason with Tufele and Vaughns back in the fold going forward.

Nebraska and OC Troy Walters “mutually agreed to part ways”

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A year after significantly falling short of expectations, an offseason of change has commenced at Nebraska.

In one of the first big moves since Scott Frost took over at his alma mater, the Cornhuskers and offensive coordinator Troy Walters announced on Friday that they had ‘mutually agreed to part ways.’

“Troy has been a valued member of our coaching staff for the past four years,” Frost said in a statement. “Troy is a good mentor for his players, provides great energy on and off the field, and carries himself with a presence off the field that will be missed. I want to thank him for his work on our coaching staff, and wish him and his family all the best going forward.”

The duo first came together when Frost was hired at UCF and led a number of prolific offenses, including the undefeated 2017 team for the Knights. Walters was a finalist for the Broyles Award that same season though has not called plays for either team.

Walters had a distinguished career as a player at Stanford that included All-American honors and a Biletnikoff Award in 1999. He spent several years in the NFL before going into coaching during stops at Texas A&M, N.C. State and Colorado.

The departure of Walters could interestingly lead to a reunion between Frost and a familiar name in Mark Helfrich. The latter was head coach at Oregon when Frost was elevated to offensive coordinator for the Ducks and is in search of a job after being let go by the Chicago Bears from a similar role.