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Texas A&M loses LB Anthony Hines to season-ending injury

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Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher announced to reporters today that linebacker Anthony Hines will be out for the remainder of the season.

The details of the injury to Hines were shielded by the head coach of the Aggies on the weekly SEC conference call, but Fisher did confirm it was a lower-body injury that will put the sophomore on the sideline for the rest of the year.

Hines played in just one game this season, this past weekend in the home loss to Clemson. The good news is Hines will be able to burn a redshirt season to preserve three remaining years of eligibility with Texas A&M. The new NCAA rule for redshirting players allows a player to appear in up to four games before counting as a year of eligibility used by a player. Situations like this are why that is a rule that benefits the players and the programs they play for.

Hines was listed as a starter for Texas A&M on the team’s depth chart for the Clemson game last week, so his loss is not insignificant for the Aggies by any stretch of the imagination. Sophomore Buddy Johnson and junior Larry Pryor were listed behind Hines on the Week 2 depth chart.

Jimbo Fisher, Dabo Swinney look to break tie in coaching rivalry

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Texas A&M is looking to capitalize on an opportunity to make a statement against a heavily-favored Clemson in College Station this weekend. The Aggies lead the all-time series with the ACC heavyweight program, 3-1, but Texas A&M and Jimbo Fisher are each looking to snap losing streaks against the Tigers, and Dabo Swinney.

Fisher and Swinney are certainly no strangers meeting for the first time this weekend. The two former ACC Atlantic Division foes are meeting for the ninth time in their careers, and the records are even at four wins each. But the swing of the coaching matchup has favored Swinney of late with three straight wins against the former Florida State head coach. The national perception of each program has swung in favor of the winning coach throughout this little coaching rivalry as well.

After splitting their first two meetings at a time when both coaches were getting settled in with their programs, Fisher then went on a three-game winning streak. During that run, Fisher had a Heisman Trophy winner in Jameis Winston and won one BCS national championship and coached the Seminoles to a berth in the inaugural College Football Playoff.

Then Swinney took charge with Clemson rising in national prominence. Swinney and the Tigers went on a three-game winning streak against Fisher’s Noles, claiming three consecutive ACC conference crowns, back-to-back appearances in the College Football Playoff national championship game, winning one, and making a third appearance representing the ACC in the College Football Playoff last season. Also last season, Fisher was going through a down year in Tallahassee that ultimately ended with Fisher accepting a job offer at Texas A&M.

Now, this weekend, the two coaches have reunited once again as Texas A&M hosts Clemson in the first game of a home-and-home series (the two play in Clemson next September). Somebody is going to take the lead in their coaching rivalry, and the win will carry some significance moving forward. A win for Swinney keeps Clemson firmly in place as a playoff contender. A loss may not be the end of the world, of course. If Texas A&M wins, Fisher will finally knock Swinney back into the loss column and give Texas A&M a charge moving forward into SEC play as a team not to take lightly this fall.

May the best coach win.

Florida, Texas A&M settle on starting QBs

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The first true Monday of the college football season is a busy one for starting quarterback announcements. The news continues to flood in with decisions made by a pair of new SEC coaches. At Florida, Dan Mullen has tabbed Feleipe Franks as his starting quarterback this weekend, while Jimbo Fisher has named Kellen Mond as Texas A&M’s starter for this weekend.

Franks was a likely favorite to win the starting nod in Gainesville after playing 11 games for the Gators last season and passing for 1,438 yards and nine touchdowns. Some inconsistency issues and eight interceptions by Franks as a freshman held Florida back at times, but Franks seemed like the best fit for the beginning of the Mullen era of Gators football in 2018. Franks also started eight games for Florida last season, giving him a bit of a leg up on the competition.

Franks won a close competition against redshirt sophomore Kyle Trask and freshman Emory Jones, according to a release from Florida on Monday. It might not be a shock if all three find some playing time this weekend as Florida opens up the 2018 season at home against FCS opponent Charleston Southern.

At Texas A&M, Mond ended up winning a battle with Nick Starkel for the starting job in Week 1, reversing the outcome of the close quarterback competition a year ago under former head coach Kevin Sumlin. Both players are now sophomores and had fairly even stats in 2017, although Starkel was a little more efficient and productive in the stat sheet with nearly 400 more passing yards and six more touchdowns in 22 fewer pass attempts (and the same number of interceptions thrown, but in three fewer games) than Mond.

Both Mond and Starkel are expected to play in the season opener for Texas A&M against FCS opponent Northwestern State. The big test will come the following week, when Texas A&M hosts ACC favorite Clemson. In fact, the quarterbacks who end that game for both teams may be more interesting to see than who starts that Week 2 matchup. Clemson named Kelly Bryant as its starting quarterback on Monday as well.

Son of Les Miles transfers from Nebraska to Texas A&M

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Former Nebraska fullback Ben Miles has announced where he is heading next. Miles, the son of former LSU head coach Les Miles, announced via Twitter he is transferring to Texas A&M.

Miles sat out the 2017 season as a redshirt, but he will still have to sit out a year of college football before he can take the field with Texas A&M due to NCAA transfer rules. But that doesn’t mean he can’t start getting himself acclimated to his new surroundings in College Station, Texas.

It is worth noting there is some history between Les Miles and Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher. Fisher was an offensive coordinator at LSU working under Miles in 2005 and 2006 (Fisher had previously been the offensive coordinator at LSU under Nick Saban). Fisher left LSU to become the offensive coordinator at Florida State under Bobby Bowden, where he eventually succeeded Bowden to become the head coach of the Seminoles from 2010 through 2017.

What do Urban Meyer and Jimbo Fisher have that Nick Saban doesn’t? A No. 1 overall NFL draft pick

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The NFL draft is coming up later this week, and a handful of college football coaches could potentially have their first player chosen first overall. Among those looking to join a short list of active head coaches with a top overall draft pick on their watch includes Penn State’s James Franklin, USC’s Clay Helton and Wyoming’s Craig Bohl.

There are just six active head coaches in FBS that have sent a player to the top of the NFL draft order, and only one of those coaches are currently at the same school they had a player go No. 1 overall. Stanford’s David Shaw was the head coach of the Cardinal when Andrew Luck went with the first overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft to the Indianapolis Colts. The other five coaches on the current list have since moved on to another job since they had a player go with the first pick in the draft. Three of those active coaches will have new jobs starting this fall.

Jimbo Fisher of Texas A&M was the head coach of Florida State when quarterback Jameis Winston went first overall in 2015. More recently, Sonny Dykes was the head coach at Cal when Jared Goff went to the Los Angeles Rams in 2016. Dykes is now the head coach at SMU. And just last year, Arizona’s Kevin Sumlin saw defensive end Myles Garrett go to the Cleveland Browns from Texas A&M with the first pick.

The two other coaches on the list of active coaches with a top draft pick are Urban Meyer of Ohio State and Mark Richt of Miami. Meyer was getting settled in at Florida after leaving Utah, but he was watching admirably as Utah quarterback Alex Smith went to the San Francisco 49ers with the first pick in 2005. Richt’s top draft pick from his time at Georgia was quarterback Matthew Stafford, who was taken first overall by the Detroit Lions in 2009.

You may have noticed (as if the headline didn’t give it away) there are some notable head coaches in college football without a top overall draft pick. Despite all the success of Nick Saban at Alabama, including a factory of NFL talent sent through the draft in recent years, a top overall pick continues to elude Saban. Not that he is worried about such a thing of course. Alabama’s NFL draft output is far more impressive when you realize quantity and quality are not short on supply in Tuscaloosa. During Saban’s time at Alabama, the highest draft pick from the school has been running back Trent Richardson with the third overall pick of the 2012 NFL draft (Cleveland Browns). Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus also went third overall to the Buffalo Bills in 2011.

But again, Alabama may not have a first overall pick, but the Crimson Tide lead the pack when it comes to first-round draft picks.

Here is a list of all the active head coaches with one No. 1 overall NFL draft pick:

  • Kevin Sumlin, Arizona: Myles Garrett, DE (2017)
  • Sonny Dykes, SMU: Jared Goff, QB (2016)
  • Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M: Jameis Winston, QB (2015)
  • David Shaw, Stanford: Andrew Luck, QB (2012)
  • Mark Richt, Miami: Matthew Stafford, QB (2009)
  • Urban Meyer, Ohio State: Alex Smith, QB (2005)

Wyoming’s Josh Allen is considered one of the favorites to be chosen with the first pick Thursday night in the NFL draft, which would add Craig Bohl to the list (and he gets some of the credit for No. 2 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Carson Wentz, too). Penn State running back Saquon Barkley would add James Franklin to the list. UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen is another trendy pick for the top pick, but his head coach, Jim Mora, is no longer an active coach at this time. Sam Darnold of USC would add Clay Helton to the list, and Lincoln Riley would make the jump into the conversation if Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield happens to go first overall.

We’ll find out Thursday night if a new coach joins the list or not.