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Published: Thursday, November 09, 2017 @ 11:08 AM
On Saturday the Cincinnati Bengals cut safety Derron Smith. On Thursday, he walked away on his own, terminating his contract with the team to sign with the Cleveland Browns.
The Bengals cut Smith to make room for kicker Marshall Koehn when Randy Bullock was unable to kick due to a back injury. After Smith cleared waivers, the Bengals brought him back on the practice squad Tuesday.
Smith practiced with the team Wednesday, but Thursday he signed with Cleveland, whom the Bengals play in Week 12.
Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 8:28 AM
INT. MICHIGAN FOOTBALL OFFICES
Two men. Two smiles. One warm handshake.
Welcome aboard, Jim!
Thanks! Wait. What’s this?
It’s a name tag, champ. You’re going to need it.
If we count Dan Enos (do we?) and Kevin Tolbert, the exit count is nine Michigan assistant coaches in over three seasons and change.
Accent on the change, kids.
“Unless you have a bad staff, which I don’t think they do, you really don’t welcome turnover in staff,” Big Ten Network analyst Gerry DiNardo says. “A little bit of turnover is OK, because you get new ideas and fresh ideas and all that.
“I don’t think a lot of turnover is ever very good. I haven’t followed all their turnover all that [closely]. It’s hard to get information out of there; you really never know what’s going on … if you have a really good staff, you’re going to lose guys for head-coaching jobs, that kind of thing. From an outsider’s point of view, it doesn’t look good. It looks a little unsettling.”
From the outside, it looks a little like fatigue. A relationship that’s white-hot at the beginning, passions raging at full-tilt, then, from out of the blue, it turns supernova and … dies. Kaput. A burned-out cinder. Which begs the question:
Harbaugh Fatigue — myth or mess?
Wally Richardson, the former Penn State and NFL quarterback, offered up a particularly candid take on that point as part of a convo with veteran PennLive.com scribe Dave Jones last week. It paints a picture, the kind that makes Wolverines fans want to take a pair of thinning shears to the canvas:
He was a backup QB, first behind former Heisman winner Vinny Testaverde in 1997. And then, behind Jim Harbaugh in 1998.
When Richardson mentioned that up during a Wednesday phone interview, I couldn’t help asking: What sort of guy was Harbaugh? Just as strange as he is now?
Richardson paused a moment, then admitted:
“Yeah, he was.”
Laughter from both of us. Then Richardson clarified:
“I like Jim. He was a good teammate. But I think his personality just kind of wears on people.”
Richardson is not the first to make that observation. Assistants have come and gone like deliverymen in his college tenures at FCS San Diego, Stanford and now Michigan.
Richardson continued about his experience with Harbaugh in 1998 with the Ravens:
“Our quarterback coach was Don Strock who was Dan Marino’s [and Bob Griese’s] backup for a long time. Don was a great coach.
“Jim was on the last legs of his career then and his arm wasn’t as strong as it used to be. I remember going through about half of that season and Don was trying to coach Jim and tell him different things. And sometimes Jim would do his own thing.
“By the time we got to Week 9 or 10, it was kind of a toxic relationship. I saw it happen right before my own eyes.”
I mentioned then that the only assistant who’s figured out how to tolerate Harbaugh more than a handful of years – and it seems a matter of mutual loyalty that trumps even the current dysfunction of Michigan’s offense – is current coordinator Tim Drevno.
“Yeah, I can believe that. And I understand it.”
When Shemy Schembechler raised an eyebrow about Michigan’s staff continuity last month with Land of 10’s Rachel Lenzi, ya know what? The man might’ve had a point. And a good one at that.
In Harbaugh’s defense, you’re damned down either path. After an 8-5 mark in 2017 and with an un-Michigan-like 9-8 record over your last 17 contests, if you don’t shake the box, the natives get restless. If you do, it gets slapped by skeptics as rearranging of deck chairs on the Titanic.
Certain levels of consistent attrition — when rising stars such as D.J. Durkin are taking other head coaching gigs or promotions elsewhere — can be a good sign, the nature of the beast. But when the moves appear somewhat superficially lateral — John Baxter hopping from Michigan special teams coach to USC special teams coach, for example — and the pace of the exits starts to quicken, questions are inevitable.
And so are the presumptions of a pattern.
Harbaugh Fatigue — heresy or headache?
“I’m sure the rah-rah thing gets old with anybody,” college football coaching analyst Adam McClintock notes. “It probably plays a little bit better in the college game than in the NFL, especially. They’re grown men supporting their families.
“I don’t know if it has anything, if there’s any correlation of him running people off or not … I don’t know what goes on behind the scenes. But if there’s smoke, there’s fire. If he rubs people the wrong way enough, and people go on record saying he does, I don’t know if there’s any correlation or not.”
Wisconsin’s run through three different defensive coordinators — Dave Aranda to Justin Wilcox to Jim Leonhard — over three straight seasons (2015-17) and hasn’t missed so much as a beat on that side of the ball. Ohio State coach Urban Meyer has seen off six assistants over the past three years. During his first three Buckeyes campaigns, Meyer had to replace only one coordinator — former co-defensive boss Everett Withers, who, in December 2013, took the head football job at James Madison.
“You have to ask yourself, ‘If Harbaugh would’ve had similar success to what Meyer had, then would you be seeing this turnover?’” McClintock continues. “Is it [that] these guys are getting tired of Harbaugh and moving on? Or is it Harbaugh scrambling a little bit to get the correct puzzle pieces that will make this thing work?
“There are two ways to look at this as well. It could be a little bit of his brashness running people off. But it could be, a little bit, him just scrambling [in] trying to get this thing going to everybody’s expectations of everyone thought this was going to be. So far, it’s been underwhelming. Michigan fans have seen this song and dance before. A couple good recruiting classes and, ‘Hey, where did Michigan go?’
“It’s like the party’s over. It’s died down. It’s become a little laborious here, a little more labor intensive than the glitz and glamor of the first two years, for sure.”
Winter 2016: Say, have you met my pal Derek Jeter?
Winter 2018: So is that M-A-C or M-C on ‘McElwain?’
Harbaugh Fatigue — narrative or nothingburger?
‘It’s gone from one extreme [in February] to the next. There’s no middle ground. I don’t think it’s financial. I think this is Jim — he’s kind of all over the map. He’s unpredictable.’
— BTN analyst Gerry DiNardo on Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh
“I get the feeling that [the Wolverines] are almost grasping for straws, scrambling for answers,” McClintock says. “Defensively, they’ve been fine. Offensively, they’ve got to find some consistency on that side of the ball. That’s a result of the quarterback position being in flux.
“Name one quarterback [since 2015] who’s been average or above average? [Harbaugh has] been working with other people’s parts or flawed parts.”
With McElwain now in the picture, we’re assuming the chess pieces on the coaching side for 2018 are finally lined up on the board.
Then again, if we’ve learned anything at this point, it’s to assume at your peril.
“It’s hard to figure out what’s going on at Michigan; we’re all just guessing,” DiNardo says. “I think the only thing we can know is that it’s going to be unpredictable. It’s hard to tell.
“It’s gone from one extreme [in February] to the next. There’s no middle ground. I don’t think it’s financial. I think this is Jim — he’s kind of all over the map. He’s unpredictable. [He] works usually to extreme ends and not in the middle. So he could go back to making [recruiting] a big production next year. You just don’t know. Nothing will surprise me.”
The post Jim Harbaugh Fatigue looks real, and for Michigan fans, it’s been anything but spectacular appeared first on Land of 10.
Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 6:18 AM
Tim Quarterman, who played for LSU for three seasons from 2013-16, allegedly received payment from an agent during his career in Baton Rouge, according to a major report published Friday morning by Pat Forde and Pete Thamel of Yahoo! Sports.
Forde and Thamel report that a balance sheet from sports agency ASM shows that Quarterman “at the time a junior at LSU, received at least $16,000.”
In that season for the Tigers, Quarterman played in 33 games and averaged 11.2 points, 3.6 assists, and 4.6 rebounds per game.
While meeting with an agent is legal under NCAA rules, accepting money and other benefits from them is not. If Quarterman is found to have accepted money, he would be ruled ineligible for that time period, which could force LSU to vacate games it won while fielding an ineligible player.
He signed with the Portland Trailblazers after going undrafted and played in 16 games last season. The Houston Rockets acquired Quarterman in a trade and then waived him. He is currently in the NBA G League.
Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 6:17 AM
Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Alabama Crimson Tide podcast with Ryan Fowler. In this edition, we talk with SEC Country’s, Christopher Walsh about the current Alabama football dynasty and how the statistics compare to other football dynasties. Interview with Burton Burns about coaching at Alabama.
Miss a previous edition? Find every episode of SEC Country’s daily Alabama Crimson Tide podcast right here .
Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 8:30 AM
There are rock stars, and then there are Nebraska rock stars. Billy Joel is pulling as much as $590 per ticket this month at Madison Square Garden; Tim McGraw’s return to his Louisiana roots this summer will set you back up to $628 a seat.
Scott Frost’s first Nebraska show is going for $657.
In a game that doesn’t even freaking count.
There’s love, and there’s Cornhuskers love. According to TicketCity.com, the asking price for the most expensive seat at Nebraska’s Red-White spring game on April 21 is $657. That means Frost’s first exhibition appearance as the Big Red’s coach is pricier than the most expensive regular-season football seat for 22 out of 64 — more than a third — of all Power 5 schools this fall:
1. Georgia: $5,070
1t. Iowa: $5,070
3. Oregon State: $3,346
4. Notre Dame: $2,365
5. Ohio State: $2,276
6. Michigan: $2,027
7. Alabama: $1,817
8. LSU: $1,799
9. Texas A&M: $1,622
10. USC: $1,521
11. Penn State: $1,447
12. Texas: $1,422
13. Miami: $1,277
14. Florida: $1,188
15. Oklahoma: $1,171
16. Mississippi: $1,068
17t. California: $1,013
17t. Michigan State: $1,013
17t. Mississippi State: $1,013
17t. NEBRASKA: $1,013
17t. Purdue: $1,013
17t. TCU: $1,013
17t. UCLA: $1,013
17t. Virginia: $1,013
25. Texas Tech: $966
26. Florida State: $960
27. South Carolina: $957
28t. North Carolina State: $929
28t. Washington: $929
30t. Auburn: $920
30t. Baylor: $920
30t. Utah: $920
33. Oregon: $901
34. Virginia Tech: $865
35. Clemson: $835
36. Tennessee: $828
37. Georgia Tech: $781
38. Arkansas: $751
39. Northwestern: $743
40. Maryland: $723
41. Wake Forest: $690
42. NEBRASKA SPRING GAME: $657
43. Washington State: $589
44. Pittsburgh: $588
45. West Virginia: $559
46. Oklahoma State: $558
47. Kentucky: $496
48. Missouri: $470
49. Syracuse: $461
50. Boston College: $430
51t. Arizona: $410
51t. Louisville: $410
53. Minnesota: $373
54. Kansas State: $346
55. Iowa State: $342
56. Vanderbilt: $335
57. Rutgers: $298
58. Stanford: $279
59. Colorado: $269
60. Illinois: $206
61. North Carolina: $148
62. Indiana: $136
63. Kansas: $97
64. Duke: $46
Arizona State: N/A
“Nebraska fans have been through the whole run — the good, the bad and the ugly,” Cornhuskers icon and former interim athletic director Dave Rimington told Land of 10 recently. “Nebraska fans — you can’t beat people like that anywhere. We’ve just got people [where] they love Nebraska, almost to a fault, where they just love it and they back them if they’re a .500 team or a great team.”
Now not everybody loves the price point, mind you. Or how we got there …
@Huskers nothing is more disappointing than a family of 6 trying for hours to get Spring Game tickets because it’s the only ones we can afford to take our whole family to, never get through, they get sold out & we look online to see people selling them for $50-$120/ticket
— Joan Safford (@joanrsafford) February 7, 2018
— John Farris (@JohnnyHustlerNE) February 7, 2018
There are a lot of families in Nebraska that can’t afford to donate a lot of money but cherish the opportunity to take the kids to Memorial Stadium every spring just to experience a game atmosphere. This year’s mentality took that all away. #huskers
— Joe Nebraska (@Joe_Nebraska) February 7, 2018
Literally the BEST part of spring game was seeing the smiles and happiness from the kids/adults who had NEVER previously been able to afford a game.
I can’t even count how many times I heard that in my 4 spring games as a cheerleader. I’m so angry about this. @Huskers
— Doma (@MissDomaa) February 7, 2018
Despise it or dig it — and both takes are more than justified — the whole thing’s been a head-scratcher for the TicketCity folks, who don’t usually expect such a crush on seats for a spring game. Nebraska’s sold out in less than two days, which went a long way toward making it the site’s most expensive college football spring game seat, on average, over the last three seasons, at $142.65 — topping the $132.07 average price of the Ohio State’s spring exhibition in 2017.
… and the Cornhuskers’ $124.09 average price from 2016:
If you’re curious, here was how prices for the six FBS spring games available at the TicketCity.com database compared as of early Tuesday morning, as ranked by minimum cost:
The record for attendance at the Cornhuskers’ spring game is 80,149, set in 2008, during Bo Pelini’s first season. It’s got about eight weeks left, you figure, to hang on to the top spot:
about seeing the Sea of Red again.
— Nebraska Football (@HuskerFBNation) February 19, 2018
“Nebraskans deserve a medal,” Rimington said, “for what they’ve been through.”
And when it comes to supply and demand right now, Big Red Nation is making a killer run for the gold.
The post Nebraska spring game more expensive than regular-season game tickets at 22 Power 5 programs appeared first on Land of 10.