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LSU DC Dave Aranda emerging as favorite for Baylor job

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The LSU Tigers football program has already been hit with a wave of player attrition.  One key assistant coach is gone as well.  Now, a very key coordinator could be on his way out for good measure.

Ross Dellenger of SI.com was the first to report that Dave Aranda is emerging as the top candidate for the Baylor head-coaching job.  ESPN.com‘s Adam Rittenberg subsequently reported that the LSU Tigers football defensive coordinator is the leading candidate for the position.

This news comes on the heels of both Virginia Tech’s Justin Fuente (HERE) and Louisiana’s Billy Napier (HERE), originally focuses in the search to replace Matt Rhule, being ruled out for various reasons.

The 43-year-old Aranda just completed his fourth season as LSU’s defensive coordinator.  Prior to that, he was the coordinator at Hawaii (2010-11), Utah State (2012) and Wisconsin (2013-15).

Aranda has never been a head coach at any level of football.

Early on in the UNLV search for a new head coach last month, Aranda’s name was mentioned heavily.  Obviously, he ultimately turned down the opportunity.

At $2.5 million annually, Aranda was the highest-paid assistant in college football this past year.  Rhule, the man Aranda would be replacing, made $4.11 million in guaranteed compensation in 2019 at Baylor.

After report emerged that Art Briles would get it, Bobby Petrino named head coach at FCS Missouri State

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In Bobby Petrino, one FCS school has opted for the lesser of two evils.

Overnight, reports had emerged that disgraced former Baylor head coach Art Briles, of all people, was set to be named to the same post at Missouri State.  At the same time, it was reported that Bobby Petrino was set to take the job at the FCS school.

In the end, the latter report came to fruition as Bobby Petrino was confirmed as Missouri State’s next head football coach.  Petrino replaces Dave Steckel, who “parted ways” with the program earlier this month.

The Bears’ next coach will be formally introduced at a press conference Thursday morning.  Given his past, that presser should be fascinating.

Bobby Petrino was fired as the head football coach at Arkansas in the spring of 2012 for hiring his mistress for an athletic department position and lying about her presence during a single-vehicle motorcycle accident involving Petrino.

After the disgraced Petrino’s controversial exit from UA, he landed on his feet months later as the head coach at Western Kentucky for the 2013 season.  Rehired by Louisville the following year, he lasted five seasons in his second stint with the Cardinals before he was fired after a 2-8 start to the 2018 campaign.

Petrino, who also informed Atlanta Falcons football players of his decision to quit the team during the 2007 season with notes left in their lockers, was out of coaching in 2019.

Overall, Petrino 119-56 as a head coach, with four double-digit win seasons in 14 years as a head coach.  And four others with nine wins.  Which is why he continues to get jobs despite a “checkered” past.

As for Briles being connected to the job?  The current high school coach is telling the media he never spoke with Missouri State.  So there’s that.

Virginia Tech head coach Justin Fuente will reportedly interview for Baylor job

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It was quite the interesting day on the coaching front for the Virginia Tech football program.  To say the least.

Tuesday afternoon, Virginia Tech announced that Justin Fuente had hired Ryan Smith as cornerbacks coach.  That move completed Fuente’s 10-man on-field staff after a month of change.

Less than four hours after that move was announced, however, Pete Thamel of Yahoo! Sports reported that Baylor is targeting Fuente as its next head football coach.  In fact, Thamel wrote, Baylor is “planning an in-person interview in the next 24 hours” with Fuente.

Fuente just completed his fourth season as the Virginia Tech football head coach, coming to Blacksburg from Memphis.  During his time at Tech, the Hokies have gone 33-20 overall and 20-12 in ACC play.  Twice they’ve finished second in the Coastal Division, including 2019.

Fuente is 1-3 in bowl games at Tech, but is 3-1 vs. rival Virginia.  That lone loss came this past season.

Baylor has an opening because Matt Rhule left after three seasons to take the job with the Carolina Panthers.

According to FootballScoop.com, Louisiana’s Billy Napier has already interviewed for the BU job.  Pursued by Mississippi State, Napier opted to remain at the Sun Belt Conference school.

The website also noted that LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda and Arkansas State head coach Blake Anderson are candidates.  They could also stay in-house with current BU assistant Joey McGuire.

Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year James Lynch opts to leave Baylor early for 2020 NFL Draft

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Baylor football has become the latest Power Five program to feel the sting of an early loss.

“After much prayer and discussing my future with my family and coaches,” James Lynch wrote on Twitter, “I have decided to chase my next dream and that is playing in the National Football League.” A three-star 2017 signee, the defensive lineman is leaving a year of eligibility on the table.

“Choosing Baylor was the best decision of my life,” Lynch continued. “Receiving an education and playing football at this great university are easily some of my biggest blessings.

“My brothers and I poured out heart and soul into Baylor football as we transformed this program into the toughest, most competitive and hardest working team in the country.  I am so proud of what we accomplished, going from 1-11 to 11-3 in three seasons. I am forever honored to be a part of this program.”

A two-time first-team All-Big 12 selection, Lynch led the conference in sacks with 13½.  He was second in tackles for loss with 19½.  Following the 2019 regular season, the 6-4, 295-pound lineman was named as the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year.  In 2017, he earned Freshman All-American honors.

Lynch will finish his collegiate career with 33½ tackles for loss and 22 sacks.  He was also credited with seven passes defensed, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.

Oklahoma new home for UCLA transfer WR Theo Howard

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In between signing days, the Oklahoma Sooners football program has seen its wide receiving corps receive a boost in talent.  And experience.

Wednesday night, Theo Howard indicated on social media that he will be transferring to Oklahoma and continuing his playing career with the Sooners football team.  The announcement comes nearly three months after the receiver decided to transfer from UCLA.

Prior to the OU announcement, Howard had also considered Arizona, Baylor, Oregon State, TCU and Washington.

Howard graduated from UCLA in December, giving him immediate eligibility for the Oklahoma Sooners football program this coming season.

In 2018, Howard earned honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors after catching 51 passes for 677 yards and four touchdowns. Because of a pair of hand injuries that sidelined him for a sizable chunk of 2019, Moore didn’t record a catch this past season for the Bruins.  Because he played in fewer than four games, he was able to use a redshirt for the 2019 season.

During his time at UCLA, Howard totaled 1,359 yards and nine touchdowns on 119 receptions. In a loss to OU in September of 2018, Howard caught two passes for 53 yards.  He didn’t record a catch in the Bruins’ loss to the Sooners this past September.