January 14, 2010
Making the morning rounds.
• Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton hopes to have a new coach by the weekend to begin recruiting on Sunday, but the hunt to replace USC-bound Lane Kiffin ran into a snag Wednesday when UT's first choice, Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, issued a statement ($) putting the speculation to bed. Through a team spokesman, Muschamp said he "plans on being at Texas for a long time" -- presumably long enough to cash in his "coach-in-waiting" tag when boss Mack Brown finally retires. The next name on Tennessee's list: Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun. [Orangebloods, Austin American-Statesman, Knoxville News-Sentinel]
• In California, USC may not be getting its man, either: Despite early reports that well-traveled quarterback guru Norm Chow was set to return to SC as offensive coordinator -- and even that getting Chow was a higher priority for some higher-ups than hiring Lane Kiffin as head coach -- UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel said Wednesday that Chow "assured me that he wanted to be at UCLA." Chow's agent confirmed he'd been in contact with the Trojans, but a deal is not in place. [Orange County Register]
• After badgering Lane Kiffin into an entertaining tangle of gibberish on the subject during his introductory press conference at USC, the L.A. media got Kiffin crony Ed Orgeron to admit Wednesday night that, yes, he was talking to Tennessee commitments as their immediate future was turned upside down by the coaching transition on Tuesday night. And what of it? Coaches are allowed one phone call to recruits during the current "dead period," recruits are allowed to call coaches, and Orgeron was adamant that he "followed the rules correctly." Even the L.A. Times admitted, "It was more a question of ethics than of NCAA rules," though the Association may be interested in allegations that Orgeron was telling recruits who had already enrolled not to go to class, which he did not cop to. [L.A. Times]
• Faced with their annual resolution to honor the University of Tennessee football coach -- always a mere formality when it was Phil Fulmer -- state legislators loudly and unanimously shouted "No!" Wednesday to the question of honoring Kiffin. Now there are some politicians in touch with their constituency. [Associated Press]
• It makes little difference now that the damage has been done, but the father of a South Florida player (and volunteer assistant coach) who claims he was in the locker room when USF coach Jim Leavitt allegedly grabbed a slapped a player in November told the St. Petersburg Times Wednesday that he saw no such thing. He's stepping forward now, a month after the allegation first surfaced and days after Leavitt was fired over the incident, because Leavitt asked him to talk in his effort to win the job back, and because he "never believed" Leavitt would be found guilty. [St. Petersburg Times]
Quickly ... Boston College linebacker Dominick LeGrande ws charged with DUI over the weekend. And former B.C. quarterback Justing Tuggle, who had some significant playing time early last season before leaving the team when he fell into a permanent backup role, has enrolled in a Texas junior college. ... Why does Georgia keep reaching beyond its grasp for a new defensive coordinator? ... Ohio State and Marshall will open the 2010 season on a Thursday night, Sept. 2. ... Just to be clear, Washington fans, Steve Sarkisian is not Lane Kiffin. ... Iowa fans name a stray cat "Tebow," "because she's a crier." ... And USC athletic director Mike Garrett on his personnel philosophy: "I do not wait for people to win."