News, Notes & Quotes - Dec. 23

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Friday December 23, 2016

- Idaho sent a statement, beating Colorado State 61-50 in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Thursday night to finish 9-4.

The nine wins tie for the most in school history. It’s been a huge turnaround by Paul Petrino, who took over a 1-11 program and has gone 1-11, 1-10, 4-8 and now 9-4. The Vandals are set to drop down to FCS after the 2017 season, citing low resources and little success in the summer, but Petrino made a statement with and after the win.

“We were 2-0 versus the Mountain West this year,” he said. “We’d look pretty good in that conference.”

Quarterback Matt Linehan made a stronger statement, saying, “We belong in FBS, period. That’s what I believe, that’s what everyone believes. We know we can compete. We belong here. No matter what anyone thinks, even our tone-deaf president. Maybe he doesn’t think we belong here, but I think we belong here."

Linehan later apologized publicly to the president about those comments, but it’s clear emotions are high after a big season.

- Gary Patterson is glad his friend Jerry Kill is back in coaching, and that he won’t have as much stress as a coordinator.

“I know he’d never come back as a head coach, because of the way he does it,” Patterson told SiriusXM College Sports Nation. “Because of his health, he couldn’t do that. I think he felt like, over the last year, he’s found a better plan. He was doing quite a bit for Kansas State, and I think he just misses football. It’s all he’s ever known. To get an opportunity to get back in the game and maybe help build a program back, that’s what he looks at. I think he’s excited about it.

“He retired and left Minnesota, but he wasn’t in a good place at that point with his health. I think he’s found how to do it to not cheat Rutgers and not cheat his family and be a good football coach and be a good dad. I’m happy for him. The guy’s given a lot to college football.”

- Nick Saban estimates that 80 percent of the defense Alabama runs is in nickel.

With spread offenses now the norm, Saban was asked about the Star linebacker position and its importance. You need guys who can defense every aspect of an offense.

“Now, with most people running this style of offense, probably 80 percent of our snaps are played in nickel. I’m talking about 1st and 2nd down snaps, not just 3rd down,” Saban said. “So that guy has to be a much more complete player, he’s got to be a bigger guy, a good tackler, a good cover guy, so he has to have some corner attributes, because he’s going to cover a receiver in the slot.

“But he’s also got to be a guy with safety attributes that big and physical, play the run, set the edge for you and be a good tackler.”

- Navy had less than two weeks to prepare for Friday’s bowl game against Louisiana Tech, but Ken Niumatalolo is used to it.

Playing in the AAC title game gave his team less rest and prep than normal for the Army game, but there isn’t much time for bowl prep. And with 13 bowls in 14 years, it’s part of the job at Navy. While Navy prepared for the Army game, LA Tech was preparing for Navy in the bowl.

“It’s not ideal, but it is what it is. And I have said this every year. We can’t complain, because right after the game is finals,” Niumatalolo said. “The NCAA has allowed us and Army to have one more week to go out on the road (recruiting) because we have that late game. So the coaches are on the road recruiting trying to catch up because we haven’t been on the road. It’s something we have to do.

“The coordinators come later back in that week to have two walkthroughs, and then we had two practices before we left, and we had two practices here. That’s definitely not enough to get ready for this team, but this is our 13th bowl game in 14 years.”

- FBS athletic directors are forming a political action committee to support congressional candidates.

The idea is they would support candidates who advocate for college sports. Of course, the first topic that comes to mind is amateurism.

"It's certainly being able to ensure we have an effective choice that is able to explain some of the things that aren't appreciated about the model now," Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick told ESPN. "It's not about advancing a single solution as much as it is about addressing a range of benefits, how the current system works and, if it changes, how it would change."

Clearly, the AD’s thinks the pressure to change is so much that they’re turning to lobbying for candidates. 

- Pat Narduzzi dressed up as Santa to deliver Pitt players their bowl gear.

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