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Lane Kiffin pushed back against wearing bulletproof vest in return to Tennessee as Alabama OC

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College football, y’all.

Suffice to say, Lane Kiffin‘s departure from Rocky Top after one season as head coach at Tennessee for the same job at USC left a bad taste in the mouth of many members of Vols Nation.  How bad of a taste?  From ESPN.com in January of 2010:

But the real trick for Kiffin was figuring out a way to leave the Neyland-Thompson Sports Center late Tuesday night in one piece.

Groups of angry students and fans began surrounding the football complex after the news leaked that Kiffin had taken the USC job. Eventually, it evolved into a mob-like scene, with police moving in and barricading Johnny Majors Drive in front of the football complex.

Every time a car moved anywhere in the vicinity of the complex, the mob ran in that direction, shouting and chanting, “F— you Kiffin!

Fast-forward nearly five years, and Kiffin made his return — a triumphant, winning return as it turned out — to Neyland Stadium as the offensive coordinator at rival Alabama in October of 2014.  Ahead of that return, security was fearful for Kiffin’s life.  So fearful, in fact, that they wanted the former Volunteers head coach to wear a bulletproof vest into the famed stadium.

At least that’s what the current Florida Atlantic head coach claimed on Marty Smith‘s podcast, by way of 247Sports.com:

It’s crazy. They were literally talking about like — from the bus in — a bulletproof vest. I’m like, ‘Come on, guys. This is football.’ They said, ‘No, really.’ They had security with me the whole way, even walking on the field and stuff like that,” Kiffin said. “I’m just like ‘I’m not wearing a vest, guys. All right?’ That’s a little bit over the top. It was all in fun. There was a lot of mean words said — four-letter words. That speaks of Tennessee’s fans, just how passionate they are. I think Phillip Fulmer said it the other day, ‘We have the most passionate fans in the country.

Of course, all that angst and anger had waned by the time UT’s next search for a head coach kicked off as a small but very vocal portion of the fanbase actually wanted the one-time Knoxville pariah to replace Butch Jones late last year.  Hell, it was even reported that, in the midst of what was a circus of a search, “Lane is definitely on board if Tennessee gives him a call” about returning as head coach.

Ah, what could’ve been…

Rice’s Blain Padgett died from effects of drug designed to be elephant tranquilizer

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An already tragic story has taken an even sadder turn.

In early March, Rice defensive end Blain Padgett was found dead in his apartment after he failed to show for a football workout and a wellness check was performed.  This week, the Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office determined that the 21-year-old’s death was caused by the “toxic effects of carfentanil, which is an analog of the synthetic opioid analgesic fentanyl,” KTRK-TV in Houston wrote.

From the television station’s report:

Dr. Richard Pesikoff, a Baylor College of Medicine employee, said carfentanil is a dangerous opioid that was designed to be an elephant tranquilizer.

It’s 10,000 times more potent than morphine, and 100 times more potent than fentanyl.

Dr. Pesikoff said carfentanil is deadly because it causes the brain to suppress breathing.

“It’s a dangerous recreational drug,” Dr. Pesikoff said. “Probably the most dangerous. Maybe LSD is equally as dangerous because it comes in micrograms and just the tiny bit that you touch go through the pores in your skin.

In 2016, the 6-5, 250-pound Padgett was second on the team in tackles for loss with 5½ and led all Owls defensive linemen with 41 tackles.  He played in just three games this past season, while also playing in eight games as a true freshman in 2015.

In response to the cause-of-death report, the university issued the following statement:

The Rice community was deeply saddened by the loss of Blain Padgett. Out of respect for Blain and his family, we will not discuss personal or private matters. His family, teammates and friends continue to have our deepest condolences.

The drug involved in his player’s death led head coach David Bailiff to state that “[i]t makes you evaluate again as a man is there something else you could’ve done? Is there some other outreach that we could’ve lead to?” The family’s question as it pertains to the findings is a poignant one as well.

“We would like to know how Blain got his hands on this drug that seems very difficult to get,” Mical Padgett, Blain’s father, said. “That’s our main question. How did he get it and why did he take it?

Ex-Missouri DE Walter Brady transfers from MTSU, too

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Walter Brady‘s on the move. Again.

Hoping that the third time will be a charm, Brady took to his Twitter account earlier this week to announce that he has asked for and been granted a release from his Middle Tennessee State scholarship. The defensive end wrote that he leaves MTSU “with the intentions of continuing my dream of competing at the highest level in college football.”

Unlike the first time, Brady will be leaving this program as a graduate transfer.

Brady began his collegiate playing career at Missouri, where he started nine games as a redshirt freshman in 2015. His seven sacks led all freshman nationally, while his 12.5 tackles for loss were tops amongst that class in the SEC. For that, he earned consensus Freshman All-American honors.

In very early August of 2016, Brady was dismissed from the Missouri football program for what were described as violations of unspecified team rules; shortly thereafter, although unbeknownst to most, Brady transferred to MTSU.

After sitting out the 2016 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules, Brady started nine of the 10 games in which he played for the Blue Raiders last season. His 3.5 sacks were tied for third on the team, and helped the 6-3, 267-pound lineman earn honorable mention All-Conference USA honors.

An unspecified injury sidelined Brady for all of spring practice this year.

Virginia Tech makes hiring of Tyrone Nix official

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With summer camp looming closer and closer on the horizon, Justin Fuente has officially filled the lone hole on his Virginia Tech coaching staff.

Following up on reports that surfaced Wednesday, Tech confirmed Thursday that Tyrone Nix has been added as Fuente’s 10th assistant. Specifically, Nix will serve as the Hokies’ safeties coach.

It will mark the first time Nix has overseen anything in that position group since he was the defensive backs coach at Southern Miss in 2000.

“[Defensive coordinator] Bud [Foster] and I both knew we wanted an experienced defensive coach and proven recruiter to fill this position on our staff,” Fuente said in a statement. “We will get that and much more with Tyrone Nix. We’re excited about his proven track record as a coach who can evaluate and develop talent. Just as importantly, we are always looking for individuals who can bring new ideas and concepts to our staff as we continually strive to evolve.

“We are looking forward to Tyrone and his family joining us in Blacksburg. I’m confident that our student-athletes will be challenged by him, while he seeks to develop their full potential on a daily basis. Tyrone is a well-rounded, veteran football coach who will help make us better.”

Nix replaces Galen Scott, who resigned as safeties coach/co-defensive coordinator in April as the result of an extramarital affair.

During a coaching career that stretches back to 1995, Nix has spent time as a defensive coordinator at Middle Tennessee State (2015-16), Ole Miss (2008-11) and his alma mater Southern Miss (2001-04), and served as co-defensive coordinator at South Carolina (2005-07) and MTSU (2012-14). This past season, he was a defensive analyst at Texas A&M.

Lane Kiffin on playing Oklahoma: ‘You’re getting a better team than Bama’

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Lane Kiffin remains a bright spot in the long, long college football offseason.

The FAU head coach is at it again, taking what could be interpreted as a minor shot at his former employer in Alabama this week. Speaking at a school booster club event on Wednesday, Kiffin needled the Crimson Tide some more when talking about his team’s opening game against Oklahoma to kick off the 2018 season.

Here’s the video from Palm Beach Post beat writer Jake Elman:

If you can’t quite hear it, when referencing the Sooners, Kiffin says: “In the playoff, Bama was four so you’re getting a better team than Bama.”

For those a little confused at what he means, the final College Football Playoff rankings had Alabama as the No. 4 team and Oklahoma as the No. 2 team — so Kiffin is certainly right on that account. However, as we all know, it was old boss Nick Saban and the Tide who emerged from the tournament with the national title in the end.

Heading into the 2018 season, Alabama will likely be No. 1 or No. 2 in most major polls while Oklahoma is generally considered a top 10 team but a tick or two behind the Tide. Still, that’s no easy opener for Kiffin and the Owls and it seems he’s making that very clear to supporters while also taking a little shot at the operation in Tuscaloosa at the same time.

Either way, good luck in Norman this fall.