News, Notes & Quotes - April 3

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Monday April 03, 2017

- Jimbo Fisher is still not happy about the hits Deondre Francois took last year without penalty.

The then-freshman Francois was beat up all year, but didn’t miss a game. His coach knows it’s not a long-term strategy for success.

“All the injuries came from late and cheap hits,” Fisher said. “If we don’t emphasize the hitting on the quarterback, we’re nuts. I mean, I’ve got ‘em on film. After the second step was in the ground, he’s made contact on. It’s supposed to be an automatic penalty. It’s got to be an emphasis. They’re vulnerable.

“That’s where you talk about some harsh penalties I think need to be, when you’re late hitting a quarterback. You’re talking about kicking guys out when you hit ‘em in the head, when you late hit a quarterback completely, you’re really doing some things. In the NFL, some of them guys, they’d have thrown them in jail. He was banged and bruised, but a majority of it came with late stuff. I’m not criticizing officials, but I think it’s got be an emphasis and I’m going to push for it.”

- Geno Auriemma doesn’t lose much, but he has perspective when they do.

When Mississippi State hit a buzzer-beater to end UConn women’s basketball’s 111-game winning streak in the Final Four over the weekend, Auriemma was smiling.

“Things happen for a reason. I just kind of shook my head. This kid (for MSU has) had an incredible run. When it went in, it was almost like, of course. Of course it's going to go in. She's had an amazing run so far.

“Look, nobody's won more than we've won. I understand losing, believe it or not. We haven't lost in a while, but I understand it. I know how to appreciate when other people win.”

- Jerry Kill doesn’t expect to become a head coach again.

He took a year off of coaching, working as an assistant AD at Kansas State, but joined Rutgers as offensive coordinator this year. He told BTN’s Tom Dienhart he hasn’t had a seizure in more than a year, but won’t be a head coach again.

“I don’t think so. I will be 56 years old. I enjoy what I do. This is what I need to be doing at this point,” he said. “I have proven to myself that I was a good head coach for 24 years counting high school. I helped a lot of kids and won a lot of games. We turned around every program we took on, including Minnesota regardless of what they say. That thing was a mess and we built it up. Coach (Tracy) Claeys went 9-4 and got fired over a situation that in my opinion shouldn’t have happened and I have been public about that with the new AD”

Asked about his former Northern Illinois assistant P.J. Fleck becoming Minnesota head coach, Kill still isn’t happy about Claeys’ dismissal, nor that people at the school have said it’s a rebuild.

“Shoot. That thing is built and ready to go. This year should be the best that Minnesota has had,” he said. “I support Fleck on what he is doing. You have to do what you have to do. It is his program now. But I am not crazy about him saying they have to rebuild the program. We went in there and said a lot of the same things when I took over, but that’s not the case now. That new AD(Mark Coyle) has no idea what we inherited. (Former AD) Joel Maturi does. Call him. We inherited a mess. (Fleck) has walked into a gold mine.”

- Lane Kiffin admitted he trash-talked Nick Saban a little bit in 2009.

That year, Alabama beat Tennessee on a blocked field goal. Rumor said Kiffin told Saban after the game, “We’ll get you next year.”

“That is a true story, yes,” Kiffin admitted on Outkick The Coverage. “But I copied that from Jim Harbaugh. I remember Harbaugh said that to Pete (Carroll), I think. So it was not an original idea.”

Did Saban ever mention it when Kiffin joined the Alabama staff?

“He did not ever bring that up.”

- Take a behind-the-scenes look at Texas Tech’s spring game at the Dallas Cowboys practice facility.

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