Headlinin’: Russell Shepard reverses course

Making the morning rounds.


Turns out those bridges were flame-resistant. Two days after inexplicably throwing his name into the NFL Draft, LSU receiver Russell Shepard posted on his Twitter page Friday night that he now plans to return for his senior season after "a great talk" with his family and coach Les Miles. Shepard was apparently upset about his diminished role in LSU's run-based offense — he only touched the ball 23 times in 2011 after being suspended for the first two games and passed on the depth chart by a freshman, Odell Beckham Jr. — but still has a chance to fulfill the five-star recruiting hype this fall with leading receiver Rueben Randle bound for the draft. It probably doesn't hurt that he's going to have a new quarterback with a stronger arm than Jordan Jefferson or Jarrett Lee, either. [@LSUShep10, Baton Rouge Advocate]

Into the Saban's den. It's not officially official, yet, but all signs Sunday pointed to Washington offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier as the new offensive coordinator at Alabama, replacing new Colorado State head coach Jim McElwain. As a player, Nussmeier won the 1993 Walter Payton Award — the I-AA version of the Heisman Trophy — after setting school passing records at Idaho and went on to spend five years in the NFL. (Considering he was at least partially responsible for this picture, I'd count his career as a success.)


As a coach, he bounced around the pro and college ranks for eight years before settling in as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator under Steve Sarkisian in 2009. At Alabama, he'll inherit an attack losing its top four receivers and arguably the best running back in the nation, but should still find the cupboard relatively full. [Seattle Times]

More concretely, Alabama has also lured a familiar face from Tennessee: Former defensive line coach Lance Thompson is reportedly returning to Tuscaloosa as outside linebackers coach, replacing Sal Sunseri… who was just hired as the new defensive coordinator at Tennessee. Seems like a fair trade. [al.com]

From two Kiels to none. Three months after losing the Kiel of the Future, Indiana has also lost the Kiel of the Present: An IU spokesman confirmed Sunday that quarterback Dusty Kiel has left the team along with another QB, Ed Wright-Baker, after being benched in favor of true freshman Tre Roberson over the last five games. (Their exits also come on the heels of a commitment from an incoming juco prospect, Cameron Coffman, who plans to transfer from Arizona Western Community College.) Kiel started the Hoosiers' first two Big Ten games last October, but is better known as the older brother of the most sought-after slinger of the 2012 class, Gunner Kiel, who ditched his commitment to Indiana after big bro was benched in October and now plans to enroll at LSU. [Indianapolis Star]

I'm still here. In other Indiana quarterback news, Purdue senior Robert Marve has been granted a sixth year of eligibility, extending his college career due to season-ending knee injuries in both 2007 (when he was a true freshman at Miami) and 2010, when he tore his ACL in the Boilermakers' fourth game. He spent 2011 splitting time with the improbably named Caleb TerBush. [PurdueSports.com]

Das boot. Urban Meyer put on the "Discipline" hat this weekend for the first time at Ohio State, dismissing two cornerbacks — sophomore Dominic Clarke and freshman DerJuan Gambrell — for assorted off-field issues. In Clarke's case, he's been arrested twice in the last three months, first for allegedly shooting a BB gun from the roof of a dormitory cafeteria and more recently for drunken driving. Gambrell was dismissed for (altogether now) an "undisclosed violation of team rules." [Associated Press]

Quickly… The NCAA scuttles its proposal to sweeten scholarships by $2,000, for the time being. … Steve Spurrier suspends a defensive lineman following his arrest for disorderly conduct. (Uh, the lineman's arrest, not Spurrier's.) … Brent Venables is on the verge of leaving Oklahoma for Clemson. … Charlie Weis adds a defensive coordinator to his staff at Kansas. … Iowa posts a job listing for defensive coordinator. … Forbes makes a quasi-serious argument that Alabama should go ahead and fire Nick Saban. … And the Crimson Tide's BCS Championship trophy takes a state-wide tour.

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Matt Hinton is on Facebook and Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.