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Tennessee AD comments on firing of Butch Jones

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After initial reports on Sunday broke the news of the latest coaching change in college football, Tennessee Athletics Director John Currie has now confirmed it through a statement. Butch Jones is out as the head coach of the Vols, and Brady Hoke is officially the interim coach for the remainder of the season.

“I would like to emphasize how much I appreciate Butch and Barb Jones and their sons, Alex, Adam and Andrew,” the statement form Currie reads. “The Jones family has poured their heart and soul into this Tennessee football program and the Knoxville community. We have been fortunate to have Coach Jones lead our program for the last five years. During that time, the program has improved tremendously in the areas of academics, discipline and community involvement.”

“Unfortunately, we are not where we need to be competitively. For that reason, I have asked Coach Jones to step down as head football coach. I know Coach Jones will be successful moving forward, and we wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

Some reports suggested Jones was given the option of coaching out the remainder of the season, only to have Jones turn down the offer. If that offer was extended, it was probably the best call Jones could make given the circumstances.

Tennessee was 34-27 in five seasons under Jones and 3-0 in bowl games, but the program was clearly in need of new direction as Jones’ tactics were not having the kind of impact and success Tennessee had hoped to see by now.

Hoke last acted as a head coach during 2014 in his final season with the Michigan Wolverines. Hoke has a career coaching record of 78-70 between three jobs with Ball State, San Diego State and Michigan.

UPDATE (5:57 p.m. ET): Jones will be receiving quite the lofty buyout, according to a release from Tennessee. Because Jones was let go without cause, he will be entitled to be paid a buyout of $8,257,580.00, unless there are any deals between the two sides to agree to a reduced buyout.

Brady Hoke addresses how defensive goals have changed in college football

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Brady Hoke is looking forward to getting back in coaching this season as Oregon’s defensive coordinator. A year away from the game from the coaching point of view after being let go by Michigan, Hoke is taking on a big task with revamping Oregon’s defense. With the offenses Hoke will see in the Pac-12, he knows the defensive goals that have been regular staples for decades in the past will no longer be what he believes to be a realistic goal.

It used to be the goal was 13 points or less. That was the standard everybody had,” Hoke said this week as he met with the Oregon media for the first time since being hired. “The style of offenses have changed. You can also see defenses evolving for the style of offense. If you’re going to play Stanford, your team goals for that week may be a little different, defensively, because of the style of offense.

“When you’re going to play Arizona, your points per possession become more important than holding [Stanford running back and Heisman Trophy finalist] Christian McCaffrey under 100 yards rushing. You have to be realistic for your players.”

It seems as though Hoke is prepared to give in on a few defensive goals he has lived by for years in hopes of achieving a larger vision with Oregon’s defense. Considering how much Oregon’s defense needs to improve. The Ducks ranked 117th in total defense in 2015. The lowlight of the season had to be the Alamo Bowl meltdown that saw a 31-point lead against TCU end up with a loss to the Horned Frogs. The question is what will be the goal for the Oregon defense in 2016, and how realistic will it be?

“If you set unrealistic goals — we want challenging goals, but unrealistic goals, that’s not fair to those kids,” Hoke said.

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Oregon brings Brady Hoke on board to save sinking defense

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After one year away from the game, Brady Hoke is back. Hoke was named the defensive coordinator at Oregon on Saturday, filling a void left open by some internal coaching staff shuffling by Mark Helfrich following the bowl season. This marks Hoke’s return to the Pac-12. He had previously been an assistant at Oregon State from 1989 through 1994.

“We are extremely excited to welcome Coach Hoke to the Oregon family,” Helfrich said. “He’s passionate, knowledgeable and tough, and has an outstanding track record of success from a defensive standpoint.”

Hoke will be tasked with turning around one of the nation’s worst defenses, which should make for a good situation for the former Michigan head coach. After his job in Ann Arbor went up in flames as a head coach in 2014, a reduced role on a coaching staff should allow for Hoke to focus on what his strengths are. Hoke has always been recognized as a defensive-minded coach, and now without the labors that come with being a head coach, Hoke should be able to experience a revitalized coaching career.

Oregon ranked 117th in total defense in 2015, and that was put on display in a second-half meltdown against TCU in the Alamo Bowl this bowl season. Oregon blew a 31-point lead in the second half and lost to the Horned Frogs, playing with a backup quarterback. Days after the meltdown, Helfrich downgraded defensive coordinator Don Pellum to linebackers coach, opening up a spot on his staff at the coordinator position.

Report: East Carolina to name Duke OC Montgomery as head coach

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So much for that whole Brady Hoke to East Carolina idea. Going against the grains of some of the more recent reports regarding the head coach search at East Carolina, it appears Duke offensive coordinator Scottie Montgomery will be named the new head coach of the Pirates. Bruce Feldman of FOXSports.com reported that news late Saturday night. Thayer Evans of Sports Illustrated also reported the news.

The 37-year old first-time head coach had been Duke’s offensive coordinator for the past two seasons following a year as wide receivers coach. Montgomery also coached quarterbacks at Duke in addition to his duties with calling offensive plays. Montgomery, a North Carolina native, is a Duke graduate, started his coaching career at Duke before jumping to a role with the Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL for three years before returning to his alma mater in 2013. Montgomery also played in the NFL with the Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders and a brief run on the Carolina Panthers practice squad. He also played a season with the Georgia Force of the Arena Football League.

As with most first-time head coaches, there is a valid reason to have questions about this hire for East Carolina, especially since it fired Ruffin McNeil from the position following his first losing season in four years. McNeil was 43-34 as head coach of the ECU program, with just two losing seasons with 5-7 marks (2011, 2015). McNeil is heading to the ACC to be a part of the Virginia coaching staff assembled by new head coach Bronco Mendenhall. The hiring of Montgomery is also a bit of a small surprise considering previous reports were suggesting former Michigan coach Brady Hoke and James Madison head coach Everett Withers were thought to be finalists for the job. Others that interviewed for the position included Virginia Tech’s Shane Beamer and North Carolina State offensive coordinator Matt Canada.

Montgomery will now get a chance to prove his worth and value as a head coach, and if he is successful he may end up staying on Duke’s radar for whenever the time comes to find a replacement for David Cutcliffe. After all, Montgomery is clearly a Duke guy, and if he proves he can be a solid head coach, he will most certainly be one of the names to keep in mind when the Duke vacancy opens up. But first, let’s see if he can cut it as a head coach at East Carolina, a program that should be capable of competing for an American Athletic Conference championship.

No name games for Jim Harbaugh. Ohio State is “Ohio State” for Michigan coach

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Perhaps the most anticipated media day press conference on this year’s media day calendar was the introduction of Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh at Big Ten media day in Chicago. Today, the second of the two-day Big Ten media event, Harbaugh met with the media. The first question lobbed his way by one of the members of the media was about how he will refer to Ohio State, given the previous history between the two schools refusing to acknowledge the other by name.

“Ohio State is just Ohio State,” Harbaugh responded, before saying how great it was to see everyone in the room.

Harbaugh is a bit of a no-nonsense guy when it comes to his coaching style, so his decision to not get caught up in gimmicks to ramp up the rivalry is no real surprise. His predecessor, Brady Hoke, referred to Ohio State as just Ohio and that never really proved to amount to much. Meanwhile, Harbaugh’s counterpart in Columbus (Urban Meyer), likes to refer to Michigan as “That team up north.” It works for some, does not work for others.

Harbaugh’s simple answer though suggests Harbaugh has other things to worry about in getting Michigan turned around. He will also have 11 games to focus on before setting sights on Ohio State. Harbaugh will buy into the rivalry more, and likely will treat it much differently behind closed doors with the team when the time comes. But for now, Harbaugh has work to do.