Getty Images

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

4 Comments

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…

Former Tennessee AD John Currie reportedly one of three in running for Maryland AD job

Getty Images
Leave a comment

It didn’t take that long to hear John Currie’s name mentioned for another Power Five gig.

The former Kansas State athletic director who memorably was run out of the same position in Knoxville following a messy coaching search at Tennessee has reportedly made the cut at Maryland and will be interviewed as one of three finalists at the school. Per the Baltimore Sun’s Don Markus:

Former Terps AD Kevin Anderson had taken a six-month sabbatical late last year from the position but eventually resigned in early April to formally vacate the job. Evans has been acting as athletic director ever since Anderson’s departure and has been with the school since 2014. That figures to give him a bit of a leg up on the other two candidates and it doesn’t hurt that he also has previous AD experience from his time at Georgia from 2004 to 2010, even if the ending was not the one he wanted in Athens.

As for Currie, his name being a finalist is notable given the messy divorce he had at Tennessee that saw him earning $75,000 a month during a paid suspension that he was placed on after nearly hiring Mike Leach to become the next Vols football coach. He formally split with the university in March (with a nice $2.5 million check) and has been lecturing at various schools ever since.

It remains to be seen which direction Maryland eventually goes but it seems pretty clear that the school isn’t going for an under the radar hire given the names on their shortlist.

Alabama transfer Brandon Kennedy on the move to Tennessee

Getty Images
Leave a comment

A new SEC rule is already paying dividends for at least one player — and one program — in the conference.

Last month, Brandon Kennedy opted to leave Alabama as a graduate transfer.  The offensive lineman, as it turns out, had been interested in a transfer to Alabama rivals Auburn and Tennessee; as had been the case in the past — or not — Kennedy had been barred by UA from transferring to any other school in the conference despite the fact that he’s a graduate transfer.

While the player’s initial appeal of that ruling was denied, said ruling is now immaterial as VolsQuest.com is reporting that “Kennedy has officially decided to play for the Vols.” The Rivals.com website adds that “Kennedy is expected to take part in second session or July term summer school at Tennessee and is already in Knoxville around the program.”

June 1, the SEC confirmed that it had adopted a rule which states that graduate transfers are permitted to transfer within the conference without having to sit out a year.  Not only will the lineman be eligible to play immediately this season for the Vols as a result of that edict, he’ll also have another year of eligibility he can use in 2019.

Kennedy served as the Crimson’s Tide backup center in 2017, his redshirt sophomore season, before an injury sidelined for most of the year.  After graduating in December, Kennedy exited spring practice this year as the defending national champion’s likely No. 2 center.

A four-star 2015 signee, Kennedy was rated as the No. 19 guard in the country and the No. 10 player at any position in the state of Alabama.  After taking a redshirt as a true freshman, he played in six games in 2016.

Houston announces signing of ex-Tennessee QB Quinten Dormady

Getty Images
1 Comment

In January, it was reported that Quinten Dormady would be transferring from Tennessee.  In mid-April, Dormady revealed his likely transfer destination.  Five months after initially leaving Rocky Top, the quarterback officially has a new college football home.

Houston confirmed earlier Tuesday that Dormady is enrolling at the university and will be continuing his college football career with the Cougars.  As Dormady will be coming to the American Athletic Conference school as a graduate transfer, he’ll be eligible to compete for the starting job at UH immediately in 2018.

Dormady was the Vols’ starter to open what turned out to be Butch Jones‘ final season in Knoxville.  In starting the first five games of 2017, Dormady had accounted for eight turnovers, six of which were the result of interceptions. Five of those picks came in losses to Florida (three) and Georgia (two).

Coming off a bye, redshirt freshman Jarrett Guarantano started the Week 7 loss to South Carolina after Dormady was benched following the loss to UGA.  Prior to the Week 9 road trip to Kentucky, it was reported that Dormady would be sidelined the remainder of the year because of a shoulder injury.

Dormady, who grew up near San Antonio, completed 76-of-137 passes (55.5%) for 925 yards, six touchdowns and the six interceptions this past season.  The 6-4, 222-pound junior finished the Vols portion of his playing career with 1,282 yards, seven touchdown and six picks.  He also ran the ball 22 times for a total of 21 yards.

At UH, Dormady will compete for the starting job with D’Eriq King, the wide receiver-turned-quarterback who started the final four games last season for the Cougars.

UCLA-Oklahoma game this September likely unaffected by latest California travel ban

Getty Images
10 Comments

It appears likely politics won’t have an impact on one of the marquee matchups in the early portion of the 2018 college football schedule.

Friday, California officially announced that it had extended its ban on state-funded travel to the state of Oklahoma. The Golden State bars its workers from traveling to states California leaders believe are discriminatory toward gay and transgender people, a law enacted in 2016 that now extends to nine states.

In a press release, California’s Attorney General stated that a new law recently enacted in Oklahoma led to the ban.

“California will not use state resources to support states that pass discriminatory laws,” Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “The law enacted in Oklahoma allows discrimination against LGBTQ children and aspiring LGBTQ parents who must navigate the adoption process. California taxpayers are taking a stand against bigotry and in support of those who would be harmed by this prejudiced policy.”

So, what exactly does this have to do with college football? On Sept. 8 of this year, UCLA is scheduled to travel Oklahoma to take on the Sooners in Norman.

However, because the first game of that home-and-home series was scheduled in 2013, this year’s matchup is likely to be exempted from the ban.  Last year, for example, UCLA traveled to Tennessee to play Memphis in football; Cal played at the North Carolina Tar Heels; and the Texas Longhorns hosted San Jose State despite all three of those states having already landed on the banned list.

That said, and even as it’s expected to, it’s not yet guaranteed that the UCLA-OU game this year will indeed go off as planned. From the Sacramento Bee:

Assemblyman Matt Harper, R-Huntington Beach, has asked Becerra’s department to issue a formal opinion on whether Low’s law applies to college sports. The department assigned an attorney to the question, but has not released a report.

In addition to Oklahoma, the Bee reports, “Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas [are] on the list of states where California public employees cannot travel for work-related purposes unless they are required to by a court, to investigate a crime, investigate a tax dispute or comply with a grant.”

Along with those exemptions listed at the end, schools in California’s public university systems are permitted to send their sports teams to postseason tournaments, including college football bowl games.  Additionally, sports teams from states on the banned list are permitted to travel to California to play, regular season, postseason and otherwise.

After all, money y’all.