With Florida officially on the market for a new head coach of the football program, it has not taken too long for the rumor mill to get moving. The Florida gig figures to see a number of familiar names attached to it during the rumor season, some more realistic options than others. This is also a time to never take anything for granted but also a time not to place too much faith in every little thing you read. With that in mind, Florida Athletics Director Scott Stricklin took to Twitter to confront one rumor head on.
Houston radio personality Marc Ryan shared an update on his Twitter feed claiming Florida has reached out to representatives for former Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops, former Oregon, and NFL head coach Chip Kelly and current USF head coach Charlie Strong to speak about the open posiiton in Gainesville. According to Ryan, he says these are the top three options on the wish list for Florida.
On the surface, it would make sense for a school like Florida to contact these coaches. One is a former coach with a national championship to his name. The other was one of the top coaches in the Pac-12 before taking a stab at the NFL (and failing miserably, but so did former Florida coach Steve Spurrier). And the last one is a former Florida assistant who has redeemed his coaching pedigree a bit this season at USF, one of the top Group of Five contenders right in the state of Florida.
But just as this is the time of the year to spread coaching rumors on the internet, it is also denial season from ADs and other school officials. And Stricklin certainly had quite the denial ready to go once he saw this one making the rounds.
The quote by Edgar Allen Poe comes from a short story, “The System of Dr. Tarr and Prof. Fether,” that originally was published in a November 1845 issue of Graham’s Magazine. Even if the original report from Twitter has any validity, this is exactly what you would expect an AD to say regarding his coaching search. But at least he had some fun with it by pulling a classic quote from a literary master.
Two and a half years after assaulting a woman, Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon has issued a public apology in front of a microphone. In a press conference setting Friday afternoon, Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops gave Mixon a chance to address the media for the first time regarding his assault of a female student from 2014 a week after the video of the incident was released.
“I’m here basically to apologize to [Amelia Molitor] (the woman struck in the face by Mixon). I apologize to Coach Stoops.I apologize to President [David Boren], the AD, my teammates and most of all my family. I let a lot of people down.” Mixon spent many moments apologizing to his mother throughout the press conference.
Mixon said on multiple occasions during his press conference it is never OK to hit a woman and committed to taking opportunities to speak to kids about violence. Throughout the press conference, Mixon was presented with questions about his being on the team and his future. Mixon remained committed to playing for the Sooners as they prepare to take on Auburn in the Sugar Bowl and suggested he was not thinking about a timeline for any possible decision on the NFL. Mixon was also asked about an incident earlier this season over a parking ticket.
Mixon took responsibility for the incident, saying “It really doesn’t matter what she did (referencing Mixon being contacted first in the incident).”
“I take full responsibility for what I did, Mixon said. “It’s never OK to hit a woman. Never.”
The issue at Oklahoma is disturbing as far as Mixon is concerned, but it is beyond time for leaders at Oklahoma to face the pressure of the media over how Mixon was handled as well. Stoops has done so, saying the punishment to Mixon was not enough at the time, with the hindsight of seeing the video. It is not unprecedented for players connected to similar assault cases to be booted from the program, yet Oklahoma kept him a part of the program and shielded him from media scrutiny along the way until today.
Mixon previously issued a written statement of apology.
It was supposed to be an offensive shootout. It was supposed to go down to the wire. No. 1 Clemson (14-0) did not care for any of that. After going into halftime trailing by one point after having a pass intercepted in the end zone, the Tigers roared in the second half and buried No. 4 Oklahoma (11-2) with a 21-0 second half en route to a convincing 37-17 victory in the Orange Bowl semifinal of the College Football Playoff. Deshaun Watson and Wayne Gallman each rushed for over 140 yards and combined for three rushing touchdowns as Clemson punched its ticket to Glendale, Arizona to play in the second College Football Playoff National Championship Game on Monday, January 11, 2016.
The first half of the game saw Clemson missing opportunities to tack on points at times, but they made sure that did not come back to haunt them in the second half. It did not help Oklahoma’s cause that running backs Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon each went down with injuries in the game. Perine was injured twice in the game, the second injury bringing an end to his evening in Miami. Oklahoma managed just 70 rushing yards, which never allowed for much chance to keep pace with Clemson. Clemson rushed for over 300 yards thanks in large part to the combination of Gallman and Watson. It was a rough evening for Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield too, who was under pressure essentially all game long and picked off twice despite 311 passing yards. Clemson’s quarterback also passed for 187 yards and a touchdown to keep the undefeated season continuing into the final game of the year. This was the second time Oklahoma has been outrushed by at least 250 yards by the opponent under Bob Stoops, who coached the Sooners to a second straight blowout loss at the hands of Dabo Swinney and Clemson.
Clemson’s defense got off to a sluggish start and ended the first half on a down note, but the second half the Tigers were on fire, even without Shaq Lawson (Lawson left the game in the first half with a leg injury and was ruled out for the second half; Lawson said he hopes to be able to play in the championship game). Clemson forced Oklahoma to punt, a turnover on downs, punt, an interception and a punt in the second half. It was quite the effort for Clemson, and it was a truly impressive bounce back after a sluggish first half at times.
Clemson will now await the winner of the Cotton Bowl semifinal game between SEC champion Alabama and Big Ten champion Michigan State. Alabama owns a 12-2 head-to-head record against Clemson, with the most recent meeting between the two programs coming in 2008 in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta. Clemson’s last win against Alabama came in 1905, which followed a victory in 1904. Alabama has won 12 straight meetings since. Clemson has never faced Michigan State.
For Oklahoma, it will be back to the drawing board. The Sooners still rebounded from a relatively down season in 2014 by striking back and taking advantage of a couple of Big 12 contenders playing without their top quarterbacks (TCU, Baylor). The offense opened up under a new offensive coordinator and the Sooners should still be expected to be one of the top contenders in the Big 12 next season. The perception of the Big 12 will also continue to be a talking point. Two years into the College Football Playoff and the Big 12 has yet to win a game (we’ll see if the SEC can get on the board in a few hours). After being left out of the playoff last season, Oklahoma was a 20-point loser this season. Does that affect the image of the Big 12? One team’s performance should not be the only measuring stick for the strength of an entire conference, but that will what is magnified in Big 12 circles in the coming months and heading into the 2016 season.
With a Big 12 championship on the line, as well as a possible spot in the College Football Playoff, Oklahoma head coach is optimistic his Sooners will have some key players available to take on rival Oklahoma State. Quarterback Baker Mayfield and running backs Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon are all expected to be available to play the Cowboys on Saturday.
“Baker Mayfield and Samaje Perine practiced all week, and Joe Mixon has practiced every day since Wednesday,” Stoops said in a released statement Friday afternoon. “All three are expected to play tomorrow.”
Mayfield has caught fire since a loss to Texas earlier in the season. The Sooners quarterback, a rising Heisman Trophy candidate, was knocked out of a win against TCU last weekend after taking a blow to the head. Mayfield passed concussion tests administered and was to be monitored closely all week. With Stoops expecting Mayfield to play, that appears to be as good a sign as any for the Oklahoma offense.
Running backs Perine and Mixon each suffered ankle injuries in the game against the Horned Frogs, but both being available to play against Oklahoma State helps keep Oklahoma’s offense in good shape. Perine is Oklahoma’s leading rusher with 1,160 yards and 13 touchdowns. Mixon is second on the team with 613 yards and third with five touchdowns. Mayfield is second on the team with six rushing touchdowns, and he has rushed for 343 yards as well.
A win for Oklahoma on Saturday likely will be enough to keep the Sooners in the top four of the College Football Playoff rankings. Oklahoma State may still need some help to sneak into the top four. Baylor is also still in the running if the Sooners take a hit.
Baker Mayfield threw five touchdowns in the first half, but the Sooners only needed one. A week after being upset by Texas, Bob Stoops made sure his team was ready to bounce back, and they did just that. No. 19 Oklahoma (5-1, 2-1 Big 12) jumped all over Kansas State (3-3, 0-3 Big 12) and left Manhattan with a 55-0 blowout victory to get back in the win column. It also offered a reminder of just how much of a role Oklahoma can still play in the Big 12 championship race.
Baylor and TCU may still be the teams to beat, but Oklahoma picked up revenge for one of their more notable losses from a year ago and it should send a message to both the Horned Frogs and Bears. Oklahoma can slice and dice as well on offense. Mayfield ended his day early after going 20-for-27 for 282 yards and five touchdowns. Mayfield’s stat line is fine on its own, but this was just a complete show of dominance from the Sooners.
Oklahoma held Kansas State to fewer than 100 yards of offense up until the final minutes. Kansas State ended with just 105 yards of offense, while Oklahoma put up 568 yards. That is about all you need to know. Oklahoma gave Kansas State a Rock Bottom, followed that up with a stunner and then, just for good measure, dropped a pedigree on Kansas State. There would be no coming back from any of that for the Wildcats.
The question now is just which Oklahoma will show up on a week-by-week basis the rest of the year. The Sooners still have huge Big 12 games to be played against TCU, Baylor and Oklahoma State, but they need to get by Texas Tech next week (and Kansas) before being able to worry about any of that. If Oklahoma can play like they did against Kansas State, then the Sooners are capable of making things a bit more interesting in the Big 12 later on in the season. Oklahoma visits Baylor on November 14 and hosts TCU the following Saturday.