Are you having withdrawals from lack of college football? Well, know that spring practice starts in two months (actual dates to be determined)! A few schools have already set the date for their spring games:
Arkansas: Sat., April 5
Georgia: Sat., Apr. 11
Ole Miss: Sat., Apr. 11
Missouri: Sat., April 18
Expect most, if not all spring games to air on the SEC Network.
Holy cow! The NCAA is doing something right for a change. After falling over each other to please Penn State, the Indianapolis goofballs look like they may actually pass some good legislation. The approval of allowing for an early signing period for football looks like a go. According to reports, it would begin December 16, 2015 and last for 72 hours. If the early signing period is approved, it would be on a two year trial period.
Basketball already has two signing periods (mid-November and mid-April), and it seems to work just fine.
Opponents of the early signing period are concerned that players get locked into schools but coaches are not, potentially leaving a player stuck with a whole new coaching staff and new coaching philosophies.
There will certainly be some sob stories that the press will zero in on but in this observer's humble opinion, this is a good thing to take the pressure off both players and coaches.
- As reported last week, former Bama coaches Kevin Steele (linebackers) and Lance Thompson (outside linebackers) have moved on to jobs at other schools. Nick Saban does not seem to be in any hurry to replace them just yet. Defensive coordinator Kirby Smart has already been moved off coaching secondary to the linebackers. Therefore, the team is likely looking for a new secondary coach and another position coach to be named later. One name that has popped up in certain circles is former Alabama cornerback and fan favorite, Deshea Townsend. He coached cornerbacks this past season for Dan Mullen's Mississippi State. With all the young corners, the Tide will have next season, it might be nice to have a two-time Super Bowl champion coaching them up.
- Former Auburn head coach Gene Chizik will reportedly make about $700,000 per year for three years to be North Carolina's defensive coordinator. Must be nice.
- There has been a lot of yammering about Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin being a "front-runner" for the 49ers offensive coordinator job. However, there is no evidence that he has even been asked about a good day to schedule an interview. Personally, I would be a little surprised to see him leave for another OC job - even if it's in the NFL and/or in California - after just one year in Tuscaloosa. For the record, he is still recruiting his arse off for Alabama.
- Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham was rewarded for his first winning PAC-12 record (5-4) in four seasons with a new four-year contract worth $2.6 million annually, with a $100,000 increase each season. Imagine if he had gone 6-3!
- Georgia's new offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer will earn $950,000 annually. UGA fans will now have someone new to blame when they lose to South Carolina.
- RUMOR OF THE WEEK has former Florida coach and brand new Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp going to the Falcons as soon as the Super Bowl ends and Dan Quinn can be named the head coach in Atlanta.
The East-West Shrine Game was terribly boring with the East team winning by a score of 19-3. How bad was it? USF kicker Marvin Kloss was named MVP for connecting on four field goals. Yep, only one TD scored in the whole game. Georgia quarterback Hutson Mason was considered the best of the quarterbacks. Ugh.
A much better quality All-star game is on tap for Saturday:
Sat. Jan. 24, 3pm CT / 4pm ET
Senior Bowl from historic Ladd–Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama.
TV: NFL Network
Alabama players participating: Austin Shepherd, Blake Sims, Jalston Fowler, Arie Kouandjio.
I am not sure if this is a new thing but Auburn's Sammie Coates will be participating. While technically a redshirt junior (he was injured before his freshman year), he has spent four years on the Plains. Traditionally, this game has been limited to Seniors, as in players who have played four years.
A few others participating for the South: Auburn QB Nick Marshall, Mizzou DE Markus Golden, Arkansas DE Trey Flowers (Huntsville, AL), and Ole Miss DBs Senquez Golson & Cody Prewitt.
On the North squad, watch for Baylor QB Bryce Petty and Nebraska RB Ameer Abdullah (Homewood, AL)
* Two weeks until National Signing Day #NSD2015