Contributor to College Football Talk on NBCSports.com. Also a regular contributor to AthlonSports.com and host of the No 2-Minute Warning Podcast, heard on iHeart Radio, Stitcher and iTunes. FWAA and National Football Foundation member.
On Tuesday Ohio State had a few updates regarding the status of its defensive backfield. First, the bad news.
Sophomore safety Erick Smith will miss the remainder of the 2015 season due to a torn ACL injury. Smith was a backup safety, so this is a hit to the defensive depth of the Buckeyes. It is also a casualty for the special teams unit, as Smith had been a contributor on in various special teams assignments. Smith joins Cam Burrows on the list of Buckeyes lost for the season. Burrows suffered a season-ending foot injury last month.
Now the good news. Help is on the way.
Urban Meyer announced Tuesday sophomore cornerback Damon Webb has been reinstated from a team suspension. The details surrounding the suspension have not been shared, but his return to the team comes at a time when Ohio State needs some extra bodies to provide depth in the secondary. Webb has not been seen in action since Ohio State’s third game of the season.
“Damon is a guy who was playing well for us, a guy we have a lot of trust in and it’s a big plus as well as having him available for special teams,” Meyer said. Webb returned to the practice field Monday.
Ohio State takes on Minnesota in Columbus this Saturday night. Remember, the Buckeyes are also without J.T. Barrett at quarterback due to a one-game suspension.
Over this past summer Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh created a stir throughout the south with his satellite camp tour. Harbaugh had some fun with it by extending an open invitation to every football coach in the country to come and work at a football camp in Ann Arbor. Next March Harbaugh will be amping things up a bit with the help of his family.
Dubbed “The Greatest Coaching Clinic of All-Time” Michigan and Harbaugh will welcome John Harbaugh and the coaching staff of the Baltimore Ravens to Ann arbor for a coaching clinic. In addition to the Harbaugh brothers, the coaching clinic will also feature eight of the nation’s most successful high school coaches and two special guests yet to be named. Those attending the clinic will also be given a chance to observe a spring football practice for the Wolverines as well as a strength and conditioning demonstration.
That is a nice little sales pitch for the Michigan program, and Harbaugh should absolutely continue to use his brother to his advantage like this at every given opportunity. Anything that helps strengthen the Michigan brand alongside the NFL is a strong recruiting tool.
There seems to be an unwritten rule in sports that suggests stealing signs is a no-no. Generally, this topic is tends to be more common in the world of baseball but it has started to become a bit more of an issue in college football in recent years. Arizona State has become a target of accusations of sign-stealing and Washington State head coach Mike Leach thinks the Pac-12 should step in and investigate the situation.
“They probably ought to do an investigation on them,” Leach said this week. Washington State hosts Arizona State on Saturday. “You’ve got two-straight schools with a concern for it back-to-back. The conference probably ought to investigate it.”
Leach was referring to Arizona State’s two most recent opponents, Utah and Oregon. Utah center Siaosi Aiono said Arizona State had figured out Utah’s play signals the previous season, which led the Utes to working more out of the huddle in practices leading up to this season’s game, which Utah won at home. Utah went to the huddle for the majority of the fourth quarter in the win, which just so happens to be when Arizona State stopped being able to slow down the Utes. Last week, Oregon brought large sheets to help shield their calls from the sideline from wandering eyes of Arizona State. Ducks offensive coordinator Scott Frost said he had never come across a team as diligent in trying to steal signs as Arizona State was.
Here’s the thing. A coaching staff and players are entitled to do anything and everything they can within the rules to gain an edge in a game. There are no rules against stealing signs. If a team just so happens to be able to crack your codes, then that is on you to go to Plan B. If you don’t have a Plan B or Plan C lined up, that’s also on you.
Or maybe he simply wishes it was never captured on camera.
While Notre Dame was in a tussle with Temple Saturday night, Irish head coach Brian Kelly was caught on camera getting a little feisty with one of his assistants on the sideline. Kelly grabbed assistant strength coach David Grimes in a moment Kelly would probably rather not have had captured on camera. It did, and now he regrets it happened.
On Saturday Kelly explained the situation as merely gaining control of his sideline after seeing Grimes mouthing off with an official. Kelly said Grimes was about to get a 15-yard penalty and he was not going to allow that to happen. Kelly grabbed a hold of Grimes and backed him away from the official with some force. It was a bad look that got analyzed and criticized on Sunday and Monday. On Tuesday, Kelly got a chance to address his actions one more, and perhaps one last time.
As transcribed by our friend JJ Stankevitz of CSNChicago.com;
“I’m responsible for the sideline,” Kelly said Tuesday. “Our sideline was not where it needed to be. There were some things going on on the sideline that were unacceptable. It falls on my shoulders. If we were to get a penalty in that time of the game, it would have fell on me as being somebody that can’t control the sideline.”
“I wish the situation never occurred,” Kelly said. “I regret that it happened. David and I have met. We have met about the situation. We’ve moved past it.”
Kelly will look to keep his sideline under control this week as the Irish move on to play Pittsburgh in a second straight road trip to Pennsylvania. Notre Dame and Pitt kick off at noon on Saturday.
You’ve surely had your fill of Chip Kelly coaching rumors involving USC and Miami, so maybe it will be refreshing to see Kelly’s name attached to another job vacancy that just went on the market. That vacancy, of course, is in Tennessee with the NFL’s Tennessee Titans.
The NFL franchise parted ways with head coach Ken Whisenhunt this afternoon, which led Mike Florio over at Pro Football Talk to serve up some thoughts on why Kelly and the Titans would be a good fit. Spoiler alert: Marcus Mariota. It may be the worst-kept secret in football that Kelly, the former head coach of the Oregon Ducks and current head coach and general manager of the Philadelphia Eagles, made offseason roster moves to attempt to draft the former Heisman Trophy winner. That ultimately failed and the Titans drafted Mariota before Kelly and the Eagles could even sniff him in the draft.
Just for the record, I am not convinced Kelly is ready to jump ship with the Eagles, even if the team ends the year with a losing record (they are currently 3-4). Kelly just attained Gm responsibilities to allow him to have deeper creative freedom with the roster in Philadelphia. No program at the college level is going to pay him enough to woo him back to the college cycle to deal with boosters and recruiting.
Not yet, at least.
Until lucrative and appealing coaching vacancies are filled in the college level, Kelly’s name for one reason or another will likely remain floating out there despite his attempts to silence the speculation. And once all of the spots are filled this year, they will swirl again next year as jobs open up and coaches are placed in a broiler. This will be the norm for Kelly for as long as he is coaching in the NFL unless he wins a Super Bowl.