News, Notes & Quotes - Dec. 16

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Friday December 16, 2016

- Minnesota players are boycotting all football activities over the suspension of 10 players from a September sexual assault investigation. That includes the Holiday Bowl.

The investigation resulted in no arrests or charges, but a school office is reportedly recommending expulsion for some players, a one-year suspension for others and probation for one.

Instead of practice, players held a meeting and only invited linebackers coach Mike Sherels from the staff. The Star Tribune reports head coach Tracy Claeys was later invited and expressed initial reservations about the boycott, but eventually backed the stand.

Claeys didn’t comment through the school, but tweeted, “Have never been more proud of our kids. I respect their rights & support their effort to make a better world!”

The Holiday Bowl may make a decision soon. ESPN reports Northern Illinois would be next in line for the bowl invite. NIU had commencement last week, meaning it would be a scramble to get ready for the Dec. 27 game.

- After his name was brought up by The MMQB as a possible NFL candidate, Dan Mullen said it interests him, but it’s not happening.

“That’s a first for me. It’s a great honor,” he said on the SEC Network. “I don’t know if that’s in my future, but I think anybody involved in football, you’d love the opportunity to go to the NFL and play or coach at the highest level in the game.

“That’s a first for me, but as everybody expects, I’ll be right here in Starkville next year, as I have been for the last eight years, and hopefully building us into a championship team.”

Mullen was reportedly a finalist for the Oregon job and has been in the mix for jobs in the past.

- After minimal staff changes through five years, Hugh Freeze’s staff is undergoing major changes. A 5-7 season and NCAA investigation does that.

Replacing both coordinators, Sam Houston State offensive coordinator Phil Longo has joined as offensive coordinator, and Auburn defensive backs coach Wes McGriff has joined as defensive coordinator. In addition, defensive line coach Chris Kiffin is joining Lane’s staff at FAU, and wide receivers coach Grant Heard is reportedly going to Indiana.

This leads to a few questions: Will Freeze no longer call offensive plays? What duties will McGriff have, as Ole Miss already has two defensive backs coach?

Also worth noting: After four straight top-20 recruiting classes, Ole Miss is currently at No. 47.

- Mike Gundy still hasn’t signed a 2-year extension OK State’s board approved in the summer. Gundy’s reasoning was simple but surprising.

"In order for that to happen, both parties have to come to an agreement and that hasn't taken place," Gundy told reporters. "It's a pretty simple process."

Gundy earned $3.7 million in 2016. The extension through 2021 would total $8.3 million. Why did an extension get approved if Gundy didn’t agree to it? Asked why it he hasn’t signed it, he didn’t comment on it.

There were conflicting rumors linking Gundy and Baylor a few weeks back, but Gundy downplayed any tension.

"Just because we haven't come to an agreement is not a negative," Gundy said. "That's just the business part of what we do. I love being at Oklahoma State. This is who I am, this is what I believe in, this is always where I want to be. But there is a small side to what I do that's business. I would think at some point we would be able to come to what I would call a fair and reasonable agreement. I would look forward to doing that. I wish that those conversations didn't have to take place, but unfortunately they do. That's just the way the world works."

- Mark Dantonio made a list of 15 factors Michigan State needs to be better in after this year’s 3-9 disaster. Among the 15 included:

Turnover margin (minus-5 this year)
Lack of sacks (third-fewest in country)
Big plays allowed on defense (10 completions of at least 40 yards)
Red zone offense (No. 93 in red zone TD%)
Seniors have their best years
Fourth quarter (Outscored 117-59 this year)
Leadership in coaching

No one saw such a fall coming from the Spartans. Dantonio says he’s not making any staff changes on his end, but everyone in the program is on notice.

“I sort of feel like you're in a corner. There's no question about that,” he said. “You gotta make a play. And everybody's gotta make a play and I said this at our team dinner the other day. Whether you're involved in a relationship or looking for a new job or interviewing or getting a degree or passing a class or playing on the football field, you gotta make a play, gotta believe in yourself and you gotta believe that you can make that play to rectify a problem or to create something positive. And that's what we're going to do.”

- Iowa football is all about staff continuity, for better or worse. As the coaching carousel spins, Kirk Ferentz is reminded of that.

“It's funny, I was talking to somebody involved in the NFL a couple days ago, and we were talking in generalities, and I threw out there are a couple organizations that really if you look at it are model organizations,” Ferentz said. “Pittsburgh always comes to mind, New England comes to mind and Baltimore. I think you can start there with those three teams. The stability that they've demonstrated a decade and beyond.

“You wonder why they're successful, and fortunately I've been really lucky. In the 27 years I've been here, we've had leadership on campus that understood that. … They understand there are going to be highs and there are going to be lows, and I think if you demonstrate that you're working hard for the right reasons and with the right priorities, then they let you try to do your job as best as you can.

“It's not like that everywhere. It's something I'm acutely aware of. I read the news every day, almost every day. … It's a crazy world out there.”

- A 1-3 start to the season for USC will end in the Rose Bowl. USC released its season highlight video.

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