It’s not often an SEC head coach is connected to a gig like Rutgers but the Scarlet Knights’ coaching search could result in a win-win for everybody involved if a report is to be believed out of New Jersey.
According to NJ.com, “Mississippi State head coach Joe Moorhead has emerged as a top candidate, according to persons with knowledge of the decision-making process.”
Moorhead is in his second season in Starkville, posting an 11-8 record overall with the Bulldogs. Known as an offensive guru dating back to his success at Penn State, Fordham and other stops, MSU’s lackluster offense the past two years has already led to some angst among the fan base even prior to the team losing last weekend to Tennessee.
Such a slow start in the SEC has led to plenty of speculation that move back to the comforts of the Northeast could make a lot of sense for the head coach, Mississippi State and the Power Five school with an opening in the region — Rutgers. Moorhead is a Pittsburgh native who had plenty of success in the nearby Bronx as a head coach and established himself as a key recruiter in the area while making the move to the Nittany Lions from 2016-17.
“Coaching in the SEC for about a year-and-a-half now in a lot of ways has been a humbling experience,” Moorhead said this week. “I don’t think you get to this point where I am without a certain level of success, and of confidence, but this game and the SEC, it has a way of keeping you honest.’’
Per contract figures obtained by NJ.com, Moorhead’s buyout runs roughly $1.95 million if the Scarlet Knights want to bring him to Piscataway. He is set to make over $3 million each of the next four seasons in salary as well — figures the Big Ten school likely would have to exceed in order to lure him away.
Chris Ash was fired by Rutgers at the end of September after a 1-3 start this season and named tight ends coach Nunzio Campanile as the interim head coach. Expectation has been that the school is going to pony up a significant sum to lure somebody with experience to helm one of the most difficult jobs in the country and Moorhead certainly could qualify.
Former Rutgers head coach Greg Schanio has also been mentioned as a top candidate to return to the program but luring Moorhead to the state university could be an even bigger win for everybody involved.
We can officially add Maryland to the growing list of football programs hitting the workout pause button.
As with other schools in the Big Ten, Maryland welcomed back student-athletes, including football players, to campus for voluntary workouts last month. Saturday, those workouts for Terrapins across several sports have come to a halt.
The suspension came as a result of an increase in positive tests for COVID-19. The school didn’t specify the number of Maryland football players involved. Below is the university’s release:
Maryland Athletics, as part of a gradual, phased approach to the return of student-athletes to campus, is working with the University Health Center to conduct regular COVID-19 testing. In preparation for this ongoing testing period, we worked with State, county and university health officials to develop appropriate protocols in the event of positive test results, including education, contact identification and tracing, and self-isolation.
On July 7-8, the University Health Center conducted on-campus screening of 185 student-athletes and staff; nine individuals tested positive for COVID-19. These nine student-athletes and staff have been notified and are currently in self-isolation, monitored by university health officials. Contact tracing is ongoing through the Prince George’s County Health Department and all identified individuals will follow a mandated 14-day self-observation period, under the supervision of university health officials. Under guidance from the Prince George’s County Health Department, we have temporarily suspended voluntary, individual training for the football program.
In previous testing of 105 individuals in June, no individual tested positive for COVID-19.
Maryland football is the latest but certainly not the first impacted by the pandemic. Or the last, more than likely.
Just last week, Ohio State announced and North Carolina confirmed they were putting a temporary halt to voluntary workouts because of the results of recent COVID-19 testing among its student-athletes. July 3, Kansas was the latest FBS program to pause voluntary workouts after 12 players tested positive for COVID-19. Earlier in that same week, Arizona announced that it was pausing its phased return of student-athletes to campus. Prior to that, eight individuals connected to the Boise State football program tested positive, forcing the school to temporarily scuttle workouts. June 20, K-State announced that it is pausing all voluntary workouts as well. The reason? “[A] total of 14 student-athletes have tested positive for active COVID-19 following PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing of more than 130 student-athletes.” The weekend before that, Houston decided to put a halt to voluntary on-campus workouts after six symptomatic UH student-athletes tested positive for COVID-19.
Other programs have seen a high number of players test positive but continue workouts. Among those are Clemson (37 players tested positive), LSU (30 players quarantined), Texas (13 confirmed positives for football players) and Texas Tech (23 positives for players/staffers).
Colorado football has already seen one portal reversal this offseason. They are now hoping for another change of heart. Maybe?
Earlier this offseason, Sam Noyer took the first step in leaving the Colorado football team by placing his name into the NCAA transfer database. In early April, the quarterback pulled his name from the portal and remained with the Buffaloes.
Three months later, 247Sports.com is reporting that Jash Allen has entered the portal as well. While the linebacker didn’t confirm the news specifically, he did retweet reports of his impending departure.
Now, for what’s seemingly becoming a daily disclaimer when it comes to transfers.
As we’ve stated myriad times in the past, a player can remove his name from the portal and remain at the same school. At this point, though, other programs are permitted to contact a player without receiving permission from his current football program.
NCAA bylaws also permit schools to pull a portal entrant’s scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered it.
Allen began his collegiate career at the JUCO level. In 2019, he was a four-star member of the Colorado football recruiting class that cycle.
His first season with the Buffs, Allen played in 10 games. Most of that action came on special teams, although he did appear in three games on defense. In that limited action on the defensive side of the ball, he was credited with four tackles and two quarterback pressures. His official CU profile also notes he had “four special teams points on the season, one tackle inside the 20, one first down field and one knockdown or springing block on kick return.”
Allen will be leaving the Pac-12 school as a graduate.
Talk about adding financial insult to on-field injury for the Indiana football program.
Indiana faced Tennessee in the Gator Bowl this past college football bowl season. Midway through the fourth quarter, the Hoosiers held a 22-9 lead. IU was on the verge of claiming its first postseason win since the 1991 Copper Bowl. The Vols, though, scored a pair of touchdowns in less than a minute of game time to come away with a 23-22 win.
For participating in the bowl game, Indiana’s athletic department received $2.125 million from the Big Ten. The expenses surrounding the trip to Jacksonville, though, were $2,169,416. So, in other words, it cost IU a little over $44,000 to lose that heartbreaker of a game.
Nearly $2 million of those expenses were for the football team specifically, with the most costly line item being travel. Flights to Jacksonville, Fla., cost $690,333, plus there was another $145,406 in ground travel.
Meals were the next biggest expense at $337,236. Hotel costs amounted to $219,240. Uniforms and bowl apparel were a nearly quarter-of-a-million-dollar expense, at $249,150.
There was also a $110,930 expense for awards, which includes commemorative rings for players in the game.
IU’s band and cheerleading team accounted for a combined $174,262 in expenses, including $156,272 for IU’s Marching Hundred.
If I were to hazard a guess, I’d say that the 15 extra practice sessions that came along with the bowl trip — especially since spring practice was gutted by the pandemic — helped ease the financial loss. For the head coach, at least.
A banking merger has led to a name change for the home of Wake Forest football.
Since 2007, the Wake Forest football stadium has gone by the name BB&T Field. In February of 2019, however, BB&T and SunTrust banks merged. Eventually, the company’s name was changed to Truist.
As such, Wake Forest announced this past week that, moving forward, its football home will be known as Truist Field.
“Wake Forest University is proud of its affiliation with the people of Truist and grateful for their longtime support of Demon Deacon student-athletes,” said Wake athletic director John Currie said in a statement. “As Truist continues its climb as one of America’s leading financial institutions, we are excited that the 21st century’s best college football program in North Carolina will now call Truist Field its home.”
The facility that now goes by the name of Truist Field was built in 1968. It has a seating capacity of 31,500, although the record attendance is 37,623 set in November of 2013. For that game against North Carolina, temporary bleachers were installed.
Wake is scheduled to open the 2020 college football season Sept. 4 at Old Dominion. They’ll face Appalachian State the following weekend in the home opener.
Wake Forest is coming off an 8-5 2019 campaign in Dave Clawson’s sixth season with the Demon Deacons. Wake has played in four straight bowl games for the first time in school history. Last April, Clawson signed a contract extension that would keep him at the ACC school through the 2026 season.