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Tag:Jerry Hinnen
Posted on: January 7, 2012 12:27 am
 

Michigan St. DC Pat Narduzzi turns down Texas A&M

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Mark Dantonio did  this past season despite having lost one of his coordinators (offensive overseer Don Treadwell, now Miami (Ohio) head coach) to another coaching position. All the same, there's no doubt he's delighted not to have to prove he could do it again.

Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi officially announced Friday he would be remaining with Dantonio and the Spartans, turning down an offer to join Kevin Sumlin's staff at Texas A&M in the same coordinator's role.

“With the success we’ve had as a football program, especially the last two years, people around the country have taken notice. So when provided a professional opportunity like Texas A&M, I owed it to my family to investigate it because my first obligation is to take care of my wife and children," Narduzzi said in a statement released by Michigan State. 

"The bottom line remains, however, that I’m very comfortable working for Mark Dantonio and Michigan State," he said. "I share the same feelings that our players and coaches have that there’s some unfinished business to take care of here. We’re all driven to win the Big Ten Championship and win a Rose Bowl.

Narduzzi didn't reach his decision solely out of loyalty to his employer, however; Dantonio pushed for across-the-board raises for his staff in the wake of the Spartans Legends division title and Outback Bowl championship, and got them.

“Prior to Texas A&M aggressively pursuing Pat Narduzzi, (MSU Athletics Director) Mark Hollis had already identified the financial resources to make sure that not only Pat, but all of our assistant coaches, had salaries that are competitive in the Big Ten," Dantonio said in the statement. "We understand that our continued success will provide professional opportunities for our student-athletes and coaches alike."

Narduzzi's defenses have taken gigantic leaps forward over the past three seasons, improving from 73rd in 2009 to 43rd in 2010 to a stunning 6th -- tops in the Big Ten -- in 2011. The Spartans also ranked 10th in scoring defense.

All of which makes Narduzzi's decision a serious blow for Sumlin, whose expertise as an offensive coach means the selection of a top-notch defensive mastermind is a must in the defense-driven SEC West. Sumlin's hires have been impressive elsewhere -- snatching recruiting coordinator and special teams coach Bill Polian away from Stanfordbringing over quarterbacks coach and Case Keenum tutor Kliff Kingsbury from Houston -- but without a quality DC, questions are still going to be asked.

Follow both Michigan State and Texas A&M with our Spartan and Aggie RapidReports. 

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Posted on: January 5, 2012 5:29 pm
Edited on: January 5, 2012 5:46 pm
 

Sooner QB Landry Jones returning for senior year

Posted by Jerry Hinnen



2011 may have been a disappointment for the preseason No. 1 Oklahoma Sooners. But their chances for redemption in 2012 just took a major step forward.

Record-setting junior quarterback Landry Jones announced Thursday in a statement issued by the Sooner program that he would be returning for his senior season in Norman and postponing his chance to be a first-round NFL Draft pick. Jones had been rated the 22nd prospect overall by NFLDraftScout.com and had been projected by some to go in the first 15 picks if he had declared early. 

“I want to accomplish the goals that I set before I got here, and there is still a lot more to do,” Jones said. “I want to make sure I’ve exhausted every effort in that area.  And I want to be a senior.  I enjoy being at OU and with my teammates and look forward to graduating with the guys that were in my class when I got here.”

Jones is already Oklahoma's all-time leader in both passing yards (with 12,389) and passing touchdowns (89). He has started 38 games for the Sooners, posting a record of 30-8. Jones quarterbacked the Sooners to both Big 12 and Fiesta Bowl championships in 2010.

Despite those accomplishments, Jones' draft stock fell late in the 2011 season as both he and the Sooner offense struggled in the wake of All-American receiver Ryan Broyles' season-ending injury. In the final three games of the Sooners' regular season, all without Broyles -- and against Baylor, Iowa State and Oklahoma State, not exactly a defensive murderer's row -- Jones totaled no touchdowns and five interceptions, while averaging just 6.6 yards per passing attempt.

After those disappointments, the expectation was that Jones would return and attempt to solidify his draft stock with a better season in 2012. But Bob Stoops was nonetheless relieved by Jones' decision.

“We know the positive influence Landry has on and off the field with our team,” Stoops said.  “We’re excited that he’s coming back to build on what has already been an outstanding career.  We expect another great year from him, and like the fact that he’s determined to be even better.”

Despite linebacker Ronnell Lewis's decision to enter the draft earlier Thursday, Jones' return will no doubt have Oklahoma among the favorites -- if not the favorite -- to reclaim the Big 12 title in 2012. It's a role Jones sounds like he has no problem with the Sooners adopting.

“We hope to have another opportunity to make a title run,” he said.  “Most of the offensive line returns and we have several receivers and backs return too.  We’ve also got a lot of guys back on defense, so we’re confident that we can be a strong team.”

Get caught up on the early-entry announcements HERE, and all the latest rankings, mock drafts, and breaking news check out the NFL Draft Home.  

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Posted on: January 5, 2012 1:50 pm
Edited on: January 5, 2012 4:16 pm
 

VIDEO: Slive: 'We're going to see changes' to BCS

Posted by Jerry Hinnen



It was just before Christmas when SEC commissioner Mike Slive said -- regarding next year's BCS discussions and a potential new look for the system in 2014 -- he would "go to the table with the plus-one very much in mind."

When talking to Tony Barnhart on the CBS Sports Network Wednesday, however, Slive sounded even more firmly in support of a potential college football "Final Four"--and even more convinced that's exactly what's going to happen with the BCS.

"I do think we are going to see changes," Slive said, "and I don't think those changes are going to be tweaks."

When asked if the SEC's run of five (and soon to be six) national titles had changed his previous support of the plus-one -- Slive spearheaded the 2008 push to have it approved -- Slive essentially confirmed that it had not.

"For the past six years, two has been enough," Slive joked. "But I do think the plus-one has to come back to the table. I'm confident we will have a robust conversation."

Slive's full-on support for the plus-one could be the clinching factor in its passage for 2014; with the Big 12 throwing its support behind the proposal in the wake of Oklahoma State's BCS title game snub and Pac-12 athletic directors calling the plus-one "inevitable," Jim Delany and the Big Ten appear to be the only serious opposition. 

For the rest of Slive's interview with Barnhart, watch the video above. And for Mike Gundy's comments on the plus-one, watch his video interview with Tim Brando here.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter.
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Posted on: January 5, 2012 12:45 pm
 

Gamecocks lose Jeffery, Gilmore to NFL Draft

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

South Carolina likely didn't have any illusions about where star receiver Alshon Jeffery was going to play his football next season. But the Gamecocks were no doubt hoping that Jeffery might be the only major early departure for the NFL Draft; the decision made Wednesday by junior corner Stephon Gilmore, however, means that Jeffery will have company on the way out of Columbia.

Both players have now publicly declared for April's draft, with Jeffery relaying his decision to ESPN and Gilmore's mother confirming her son's choice to CBSSports.com RapidReporter Josh Kendall. Gilmore informed the Gamecock coaching staff Wednesday.

"I'm ready for the next step," Jeffery said. "I'm physical and can make plays in the red zone. I can make big plays in big games. I can work on my speed and get quicker. I want to be like Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson and Andre Johnson."

For Jeffery, the decision was a likely no-brainer. Though the buttoned-up nature of the Gamecocks' 2011 offense (and increased defensive attention without the presence of Marcus Lattimore) saw a sizable decline in Jeffery's numbers, his All-American sophomore season -- 88 catches, 9 touchdowns, and more yards (1,517) than any wideout not playing in a non-BCS league or the state of Oklahoma -- meant he'd already proven just about everything he could prove at the college level. His final collegiate game showed that his immense physical talent is as intact as ever, as he skied for a game-changing Hail Mary and finished with 148 yards in a Capital One Bowl MVP performance.

It wasn't enough for either of our CBSSports.com draft experts to move Jeffery into the first-round of their most recent mock drafts, but a series of good workouts could change things.

Gilmore didn't have nearly Jeffery's nationwide name-recognition, but he arguably had a much larger impact on the Gamecocks' 2011 success than his offensive counterpart; after a subpar 2010, the South Carolina secondary finished second in the nation in pass defense and third in opponent's passer rating, with Gilmore's four interceptions and cover-corner skills playing a large role in that improvement. Our Dan Brugler has Gilmore projected to go to the New England Patriots with the 28th pick of the draft. 

That kind of projection is why the Gamecocks will have some big shoes to fill in the passing game -- on both sides of the ball -- come 2012.

Check out where Jeffery, Gilmore, and all the 2012 draft prospects rank on the CBSSports.com draft board, and follow all the news on early entrants here. 

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Posted on: January 5, 2012 11:40 am
 

DeAnthony Arnett to transfer to Michigan State

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

DeAnthony Arnett's search to find a new football-playing home is going to have a happy ending.

The true freshman Tennessee receiver and Saginaw (Mich.) native was initially being denied an unconditional release by Derek Dooley last week, one that would prevent him from playing on scholarship for either of his preferred programs -- Michigan or Michigan State -- despite his father's ill health. But Tuesday Dooley relented, and Wednesday evening multiple reports made it official: Arnett will transfer to play for Mark Dantonio's Spartans, and per his brother (and the Knoxville News-Sentinel) will be enrolled in classes in East Lansing next week.

Because of his father's health complications, Arnett could receive an NCAA hardship waiver that would allow him to play for Michigan State in 2012 without sitting out the standard transfer penalty season. Per CBSSports.com RapidReporter Dana Gauruder, the loss of the Spartans' top three receivers from their 2011 squad -- not to mention the talent that made Arnett a highly sought-after four-star prospect -- could make Arnett an immediate starter for MSU should he be granted the waiver.

After publicly expressing his frustration with Dooley's initial decision, Arnett also made sure to express his gratitude for Dooley's change of heart after the pair's one-on-one meeting:
"I am sure that my request to leave UT was not the best or most expected news to Coach Dooley," Arnett wrote. "However, he took the time to hear me and understand that I must keep family first at all times. For this reason his decision to release me unconditionally comes as a sign of a compassionate and empathetic coach. I will never be able to express fully my appreciations and gratitude for his decision.
"I want to ensure that all recruits, current players and fans know that the University of Tennessee is headed in the right direction. All good things take time and work. UT has always surpassed the rest and I believe in due time they will be back to the number one program in the SEC."
The cynic in us wonders if publicly declaring to "all recruits" that the wobbly-looking Vols are "headed in the right direction" was a condition for Arnett's release to MSU, but in the end, it doesn't matter. Arnett will be able to attend his school of choice while being closer to his father. Dooley has done the right thing and has earned his commendations. However the pair arrived at this conclusion, everybody involved -- the Spartans most definitely included -- has come out a winner.

HT: GTP. 

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Posted on: January 4, 2012 7:00 pm
Edited on: January 5, 2012 12:23 am
 

Report: Michael Dyer seeking transfer from Auburn

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's not official just yet. But it looks more and more like All-SEC running back and 2011 BCS title game MVP Michael Dyer has played his last game for Auburn.

CBSSports.com RapidReporter Jay Tate reported Wednesday that Dyer has asked for his release from the Auburn program and plans to transfer. The hotly-rumored destination for his services is Arkansas State, where former Tiger offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn was recently named the Red Wolves' head coach.

According to one Internet report, Dyer has already filed enrollment paperwork at the Jonesboro, Ark., school, but that report has been disputed by spokespersons at both Auburn and Arkansas State as well as the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. An Arkansas native whose family still lives in the Natural State, Dyer could conceivably apply for a hardship waiver in order to play for the Red Wolves without sitting out the standard transfer penalty. (Whether such a waiver would be granted remains highly debatable.)

In Mobile, Ala. for the GoDaddy.com Bowl, both Arkansas State athletic director Dean Lee and ASU interim head coach David Gunn told the local Press-Register they had no information on any plans by Dyer to transfer to their program.

"There's nothing I can confirm or deny," Lee said. "I have no knowledge of anything in that regard."

Whether he lands with Malzahn at ASU or not, however, at this stage it seems unlikely Dyer will ever return to Auburn. Transfer rumors have dogged him ever since he was suspended for the Tigers' Chick-Fil-A Bowl win over Virginia, and with their volume reaching fever pitch Wednesday, it seems only a matter of time before Dyer, Gene Chizik or both make some kind of official announcement of their parting of ways. 

A former five-star recruit out of Little Rock, Dyer ran for 1,242 yards as a sophomore in 2011, his second straight 1,000-yard season.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. | Preview 
Posted on: January 4, 2012 5:50 pm
 

Franklin dismisses Vandy players, reacts to tweet

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

James Franklin announced Tuesday that two players had been dismissed from the Vanderbilt program for violating team rules. But one former Commodore apparently believes there's more to the departures than discipline.

Franklin said that sophomore center Logan Stewart and freshman running back Mitchell Hester have both been dismissed from the team following disciplinary issues in the past month. Stewart started six games under Franklin and appeared in nine (including against Georgia, where his clip of Kwame Geathers resulted in a half-game suspension), while Hester spent the 2011 season redshirting.

“It’s like I’ve told you, I’m going to have a player’s back but they have to have my back, our team’s back and the university’s back,” Franklin said. “If it’s going to come to a point where I don’t feel like it’s that way, we’ll make a change.”

Those changes -- or possibly the departure of several fourth-year juniors -- may not have sat well with recently graduated Commodore tight end Brandon Barden, who issued the following Tweet from his (since deleted) Twitter account after his team's season-ending loss to Cincinnati in the Liberty Bowl:
If you go to Vandy now, you seriously sign a ONE year scholarship #dirtygame #gladtomoveon
Franklin was predictably quick to dismiss the apparent insinuation from his former player that he was cutting players:
“I would put our record of what we’ve done this year and what our athletic department and university have done for a long time against anybody ... Most new coaches come in and there’s all kinds of new turnover in the program. I find (the tweet) really interesting.

“When you have 105 guys on a team and you’ve just suffered a tough loss, there’s going to be some things said. There are decisions made where guys don’t know the whole story behind it. It’s like I told the team, I have no problem with them coming in and talking to me and I’ll explain it to them.”
If Franklin is playing a "#dirtygame" to make room on his roster for more recruits, he's paying an awfully high price for it; Stewart would have represented a welcome chance for continuity on the offensive line not just for 2012 but the next two seasons, and at a center position where experience is particularly valuable.

More likely, Stewart and Mitchell likely have committed some kind of rule violation and Franklin has some justification for dismissing them from the team. Enough justification for Barden? Maybe not, but where dismissals for rules violations are concerned, that only puts Franklin in the same boat -- fair or not -- with virtually every coach in the SEC.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. | Preview
Posted on: January 4, 2012 2:12 pm
Edited on: January 4, 2012 2:26 pm
 

Report: Schiano not interested in Penn St. job

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The Penn State coaching search still appears no closer to reaching its conclusion after another potential candidate has reportedly expressed his lack of interest in the position.

StateCollege.com had reported earlier Wednesday that Rutgers coach Greg Schiano had been targeted as a possible candidate for the Nittany Lion position, citing flight records and a source claiming that "something is going on with" the Scarlet Knight head coach. But multiple outlets -- including the original report, now updated, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette -- have since indicated that Schiano has not interviewed for the position and is "not interested" in replacing Joe Paterno.

For years, Schiano has been rumored to be a prime candidate (if not the prime candidate) to take over when Paterno left. A former Nittany Lion assistant coach under JoePa, Schiano's resuscitation of the Scarlet Knights and ties to Happy Valley would seem to make him a natural fit, and Schiano's alleged coveting of the Penn State job has often been blamed for his not taking a position at a larger program already. (He was rumored to have been one of Michigan's top selections, for instance when Lloyd Carr retired in 2007.)

But whether because that interest was never as strong as reported, the fallout from the Jerry Sandusky scandal, or Schiano's willingness to simply repay the faith shown in him at Rutgers, he does not appear to be an option for the Nittany Lions at this time. 

With NFL-based candidates Bill O'Brien and Mike Munchak also recently denying interest, Green Bay Packers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements may remain the top candidate, though how much interest the school actually has in Clements is a matter of conjecture.

The head coaching position at PSU has been open since Nov. 9, when Paterno was fired by the Penn State Board of Trustees after offering to resign at the end of the year. It is the only FBS head coaching position currently vacant.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com