News, Notes & Quotes - April 21

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Friday April 21, 2017

- Nick Saban seemed to take a small shot at Lane Kiffin’s handling of Jalen Hurts, before later saying it was on him, too.

Early Thursday on WJOX, Saban said Hurts was protected more as a QB, rather than developed.

"I think we protected him a bit last year," Saban said. "It didn't enhance his development, and sometimes later in the year when people played us in a way where we needed to be able to throw the ball, we may not have been efficient as we would have liked to have been. That's probably our fault as coaches."

But at his press conference later in the day, Saban said it was partly by design with a freshman.

“The most difficult thing for a young quarterback to do is probably be a drop-back passer," Saban said. "So we try and create ways, and I'm being very positive, and I was in agreement with what we did, to try to create ways that we could throw the ball, make explosive plays in the passing game without doing a whole lot of dropbacks. Call it what you will, but it was because he was a freshman and we didn't want to ask him to do a lot of things that he wasn't comfortable doing.

"Is that a bad thing? We won 14 games that way. If we throw the ball a little bit better in the last game maybe it would have been different. But if we had played better defense the last three times they had the ball, maybe that would have been different, too."

- Mario Cristobal shared a good line about the purpose of a depth chart and players knowing where they stand.

“There’s a reason why that board is magnetic,” he said this week. “You get to move them quite easily instead of having a permanent fixture in there, and I think that when you do that as well, it makes everybody better, it certainly does. If you go home going, ‘Whoa, my job’s on the line, this other guy is kind of creeping up right behind me and he’s got an opportunity to take some of my reps,’ you’re going to put in that much more time, it’s just the nature of the beast.”

“Human nature, if you let it, will absolutely destroy a program inside out. Because of what? Complacency. We won’t allow that here.”

- Iowa has several more scholarship tight ends on the roster than wide receivers in spring, and OC Brian Ferentz is OK with that.

The current count is seven tight ends and three or four receivers right now. There are also only three scholarship QB's.

“It's a number we look at, and frankly, what we're trying to do at that position is build,” Ferentz said. “It's kind of like the quarterback position. There are no incumbents. We're not married to anyone, and we're going to do what's best for Iowa football. What's best for Iowa football is great competition.

“We're looking for guys to step up at the receiver position. … The number is low. But based on where we're at that that position, I prefer the number to be low, frankly. Let's get some young guys in here, and go to work, and see who wants to be here and who wants to do things the Iowa way.”

- David Shaw says Christian McCaffrey skipping his bowl game didn’t hurt his draft stock, because of who he is.

Shaw will be a part of the NFL Network’s draft coverage again, and said McCaffrey's decision won’t create a trend people expect, because McCaffrey was a rare player.

“It was difficult, there’s no question about it. He was a team captain, the face of the franchise,” Shaw said on The Rich Eisen Show. “But the thing I understand and everybody understood is this was hard not just on us, but him. It was a difficult thing for him to do. He had to balance his future versus one football game. What I’ve said to him and the team, people were worried about it cascading year after year. You’re talking about one of the best football players in the history of college football.

“This will not affect his draft stock, where a guy that maybe didn’t have the years Christian did, you could see that it could. In 2015, Christian had the best year in the history of college football, passing Barry Sanders. This kid is a phenomenal talent. When it comes down to it, that’s what the NFL is about.”

- As happens every year, Wonderlic scores of NFL Draft prospects were leaked, but why?

There is no proof they correlate to any success, and ESPN senior writer Kevin Van Valkenburg tweeted out this:

“On Wonderlic Leaking Day, I’m reminded of a successful college coach who once told me he had Rhodes Scholars who couldn’t remember to block a LB coming through the A gap, even if he called a time out before the play to remind them, and he also had kids who could barely write their name yet could analyze complex defensive schemes in a fraction of a second, and line up other players properly.

“Test-taking smarts do not always translate into football smarts.”

- Here is new Nevada defensive backs coach Chip Viney mic’d up in spring ball.

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to