Lewis insists he won’t be coaching as long as LeBeau

Published: Wednesday, November 08, 2017 @ 4:12 PM

Lewis has no interest in coaching as long as LeBeau

Marvin Lewis has never answered a question so fast.

At the end of a series of questions about his relationship with Tennessee defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, Lewis was asked if he could imagine still coaching at age 80 like LeBeau.

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“No,” came the immediate answer, followed by a laugh.

The 59-year-old Lewis is in his 29th season coaching in the NFL and 15th as head coach of the Bengals. His current contract expires at the end of the season.

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He worked with LeBeau in Pittsburgh from 1992-95, and replaced his former boss as Bengals head coach in 2003.

“Every opportunity I have to spend time with him, I (try to),” Lewis said. “He’s not a big pre-game speaker — he stays in the locker room — but when I see him in different places, we spend time together.”

CBS Sports writer: Worthy of the Heisman or not, Baker Mayfield ‘doesn’t deserve our respect’

Published: Sunday, November 19, 2017 @ 12:17 PM

Hate him or love him, Baker Mayfield demands respect on the field.

When it’s not given, things often don’t end well for whichever team is occupying the other sideline. Just ask the Kansas Jayhawks, who refused to shake Mayfield’s hand following the coin toss and thus, were punished to the tune of a 41-3 defeat at home.

Mayfield did much more than simply throw for 257 yards and 3 touchdowns in Oklahoma’s latest win, though.

A profanity-laced, crotch-grabbing tirade followed a third quarter touchdown pass to Mark Andrews and of course, criticism of the likely upcoming Heisman winner followed.

CBS Sports writer Dennis Dodd was among those that weren’t a fan of Mayfield’s latest antics, as he detailed at length.

“Right now, Mayfield deserves the Heisman based on his incredible on-field resume. He doesn’t deserve our respect,” Dodd said. “Not after this outburst. Forget winning with class, how about winning without incident?”

As Dodd went on to detail, Mayfield’s latest publicly criticized incident was just that; his latest.

Against Baylor, Mayfield was seen reminding the Bears of, “who your daddy is,” and far more overanalyzed was in Week 2, in which the Sooners star planted the Oklahoma flag at midfield of The Shoe following a 31-16 win over Ohio State.

Such are just a few of the examples of less than ideal behavior that Mayfield has displayed, but in a sense, it’s what made Mayfield arguably the greatest college football player in the game at the moment. The chip on his shoulder from his time as a walk-on remains ever-present, despite now having been in the Heisman discussion for three consecutive seasons and well on his ay to finally taking home the elusive hardware.

For all of the unsavory off-field antics, there’s no denying what Mayfield is when he steps between the white lines. That’s exactly what he’s far-and-away the frontrunner for the 2017 Heisman trophy.

If the expected comes to fruition, though, and Mayfield is honored in New York City following his senior season, Dodd argued that Mayfield’s Heisman hardware should come with its own personalized encryption.

“Every Heisman winner at OU gets his own statue,” Dodd said. “It’s hard right now envisioning one for Mayfield, not because he wouldn’t have earned it but because it should come with plaque that reads “For Mature Audiences Only.””

Florida QB Feleipe Franks better in win over UAB, but key audition remains for 2018

Published: Sunday, November 19, 2017 @ 12:12 PM

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Between a combination of Luke Del Rio’s abrupt season-ending injury, former coach Jim McElwain’s unrelenting loyalty/resistance to change and Malik Zaire’s recent knee injury, redshirt freshman quarterback Feleipe Franks has made seven starts and played in all 10 games this season.

Saturday might have been his best.

It’s all relative — compared to the struggles he’s endured most times this season — but Franks helped the Gators to a much-needed 36-7 win over UAB while passing for 152 yards, 2 touchdowns, 0 interceptions and committing no major gaffes.

Yeah, that qualifies as improvement.

As the only healthy scholarship quarterback on the roster Saturday, Franks was in no danger of being pulled (after being replaced in three of his first six starts). He also did his part, though, looking more calm and confident.

Again, that’s compared to his own body of work. He still completed just 15 of 30 passes and his 152 yards, if it was a per-game average, would barely crack the top-80 nationally. (In actuality, Franks ranks 95th nationally with 125.4 passing yards per game).

“My confidence has never failed on me. Like I said before, people are going to be with you, against you. You play good today, all of a sudden they’re with you again. Then you play bad, they’re not with you. So it’s just the way it goes,” Franks said of his rough first season as a whole. “So, I mean, I’m fine. I know my capabilities, the team knows my capabilities and I’m just going to keep on working and trying to get better each and every day.”

Franks is playing right now because the Gators don’t have any other options, but his role next season will be determined by the next coach — who perhaps could be swayed by a strong finish from the young QB next week against rival Florida State.

The next coach, whoever it is, otherwise has to mine Franks’ film for the few highlights a game that really accentuate his potential while feeling confident he can fix the rest. While Franks’ confidence has never wavered in media sessions, it hasn’t always looked to be there on the field. While his arm can make any and every pass, he hasn’t consistently aimed that cannon in the direction of the receivers who do come open, leaving potential big plays on the field.

On Saturday against UAB, it was more so his receivers who failed him.

Franks threw a beautiful bomb down the left sideline that Tyrie Cleveland seemed to haul in for a 48-yard reception. The crowd roared. Then the officials determined it wasn’t actually a catch.

Franks led Dre Massey perfectly on a pass that should have netted around 20 yards or more, but Massey couldn’t hold on to it. The quarterback put a couple other third-down passes right on the mark that his receivers couldn’t corral.

Add 75-90 yards to Franks’ passing total and it’s his best mark of the season. Granted, against a Conference USA opponent.

Either way, it was an improvement.

“He did a nice job tonight,” interim coach Randy Shannon said. “You know, our receivers dropped a lot of footballs. I will say that ahead of time, they dropped a lot of footballs and those [drops] can be demoralizing to the quarterback. But he stayed poised and he made some other throws.”

Said wide receiver Brandon Powell, who led the team with 6 catches for 55 yards: “Tonight, he stepped up. He wanted to make plays. He was throwing the ball and letting it fly. Once he gets comfortable in that backfield throwing, he’s going to be dangerous. He’s a dangerous quarterback. He can run the ball and he has a big arm. Once he gets comfortable, this Florida team is going to be dangerous.”

Franks made some nice plays Saturday with his longest pass going for 19 yards to tight end Moral Stephens for a third-down conversion over the middle.

The potential has always been there and is always acknowledged. The struggles can’t be ignored either.

This has not been the debut season Florida was hoping for from Franks, who has now completed 56.3 percent of his passes for 1,254 yards, 7 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. He reached 200 passing yards only once, thanks to a game-winning heave to Cleveland to give him 212 yards against Tennessee.

Feleipe Franks completed 15 of 30 passes for 152 yards, 2 touchdowns and 0 interceptions Saturday against UAB. (Jordan McPherson/SEC Country)

“Just from game to game, I get more comfortable. And the guys, they helped me get more comfortable. Our line did a great job tonight, just gave me time to throw it and it all went pretty smooth,” Franks said Saturday.

For that matter, he has said all season that he gets more comfortable game by game. To the outside observer, however, he has not looked more comfortable game to game and did not demonstrate tangible improvement over the course of the season.

That’s why the Gators demoted Franks heading into Week 5 before Del Rio injured himself two quarters into his first start. That’s why the Gators then made another switch, going to Zaire two games ago before he too got hurt.

Franks has continued to get chances, and from Powell’s perspective at least, he did look like a different QB on Saturday in his latest return to the starting role.

“At the beginning of the season, he was kind of nervous. You could tell he was nervous. He tried to run the ball a little too much, but he’s kind of comfortable in the backfield now,” Powell said. “He’s trusting his reads and trusting his offensive line and trusting that we’ll get open for him. He’s just letting it fly. That’s what we like out of our quarterbacks.”

The question that has yet to be answered is what does the next Florida coach like out of his quarterbacks, and specifically, where does Franks fit into the 2018 plans.

That’s to be determined. Fellow young QBs Kyle Trask and Jake Allen remain unknowns, Zaire has to decide if he wants to petition the NCAA for an extra year of eligibility, Del Rio has to decide if he wants to attempt one more comeback and incoming freshman Matt Corral probably possesses the most intrigue of the bunch.

It’s very possible a new offensive system could better bring out Franks’ strengths (even a spread offense that requires him to run, which he’s plenty capable of doing). There are few if any at this point who would defend offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier’s system, and gaining freedom from this limiting offense could well unlock the keys to Franks’ full potential.

Or this 2017 version of Franks may have been all too telling of his own limitations once the pressure sets in on Saturdays.

Time will tell. More importantly, the next coach will tell.

Franks insists he isn’t worried about that uncertainty, though, and doesn’t see this final game against Florida State as an important audition for his future. It’s not about that, he said.

“To be honest with you, I’m focused on this year. Like I said, these coaches, they deserve it, they deserve our all,” he said. “All the time and work they’ve put into the season. Like I said, all the guys, Coach Nuss, Coach Shannon … I mean everybody, Coach [Ja’Juan] Seider, Coach [Brad] Davis, they all deserve my all. They put so much time into it, I owe it back to them.

“So I think I’m just going to focus on this season, finish it up strong for the seniors and get a good win this coming week.”

Fair enough, but a strong individual performance in the process from Franks could well have an impact on his future at Florida beyond this 2017 finale.

Clay Travis: ‘Very likely’ Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher goes to Texas A&M

Published: Sunday, November 19, 2017 @ 12:12 PM

Clay Travis has a strong prediction that will interest Texas A&M and Florida State fans.

On Sunday, the Outkick The Coverage analyst wrote that “there’s momentum for Jimbo Fisher to leave Florida State.” Travis added that he’s “actually predicting right now that Jimbo is going to leave FSU and take the A&M job.”

Here’s more from Travis’ column:

I think there is real momentum for Jimbo Fisher to leave Florida State and I’m told Texas A&M may be firing Kevin Sumlin no matter what happens in the LSU game. That is, the relationship is broken between Sumlin’s bosses at A&M and him.So I’m actually predicting right now that Jimbo is going to leave FSU and take the A&M job. I think Jimbo wants out of Tallahassee for personal reasons more than anything else.

If Jimbo leaves FSU then all coaching bets are off because that’s a great job that would open too, likely bursting open the coaching move floodgates.

Well, that would be dramatic, wouldn’t it?

Fisher has been tied to the Texas A&M job before. Remember, the Aggies’ head-coaching position remains open. But Texas A&M is expected to part ways with coach Kevin Sumlin at season’s end. The Aggies (7-4) end the season at LSU next Saturday.

Texas A&M would offer a rich recruiting base and plenty of money for whoever takes the job. The Fisher Watch remains on for Texas A&M.

What LSU football players tweeted after the Tigers’ rainy 30-10 win over Tennessee

Published: Sunday, November 19, 2017 @ 12:12 PM

lsu football-lsu

BATON ROUGE, La. — The LSU football team got rained on Saturday. A lot. And given their reactions on Twitter, they didn’t much care for it.

Sure, LSU won 30-10. The win improved the Tigers to 8-3, giving LSU its 18th straight 8-win season. But when the players rushed to social media after the game, most of the reactions were about the weather.

Here’s a smattering of some of the most notable tweets LSU football players sent after the Tennessee game:

Derrius Guice: Not on crack

While most of his teammates got to run back to the warmth of the locker room, Derrius Guice had to stay out on the field to do the postgame television interview. There, he joked with sideline reporter Allison Williams, who mocked him for his chattering teeth.

In the middle of the interview, it sounded as if Guice said “It feels like I’m on crack.” What he actually said was “My teeth about to crack.” Either way, Guice was cold.

Other cold LSU football players include…

Guice wasn’t the only Tiger feeling the effects of the monsoon-like conditions Saturday. Both of LSU’s punters had unique reactions to the way the night went. Which makes sense. Punting in 18 mph wind seems like a pretty tough task.

Then there was safety John Battle, who claimed this was “one of” the craziest storms he’s ever played in. Which makes you wonder what could possibly be crazier.

Freshman safety Grant Delpit had a sense of humor about himself. Because of the wind, Delpit was asked to be the holder for kickoffs, a job that usually doesn’t exist. But he wore it well.

And linebacker Devin White would like to thank all the fans who stayed through the rain to watch the Tigers win. Because no one had to do that. Some just chose to.

Going clubbing

Aside from not being on crack, the win Saturday was also notable for Guice because he went over 1,000 rushing yards for the season. Guice became the fifth LSU running back to rush for 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons, joining Charles Alexander, Dalton Hilliard, Kevin Faulk and Leonard Fournette.

Fournette showed respect to Guice for joining him in the club.

What’s next for LSU football?

The Tigers return to the friendly confines of Tiger Stadium (where it “never rains”) next Saturday for the regular season finale versus Texas A&M. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. CT and the game will be broadcast on the SEC Network.

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