News, Notes & Quotes - Dec. 27

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Tuesday December 27, 2016

- UConn AD David Benedict says he has a short list of candidates, and he’d better, given the timing.

We’re two weeks from the end of the dead period and a little more than a month from Signing Day. Benedict says it doesn’t have to be an offensive head coach, but it’s clear the offensive struggles were a big reason for the change. The Huskies were dead last in scoring.

"We're trying to win our conference championship first, and to do that you have to be able to score points," Benedict said Monday. "UConn historically has always played good defense. Whether it's the head coach or his ability to hire a very good offensive coordinator, one of those two things has to happen.

"I am interested in having a head coach where he is overseeing all aspects of the program and not necessarily being focused on one side of the ball."

Diaco’s buyout drops from $5 million to $3.4 million in the new year. Before the extension he signed in May, that buyout was less than $1 million.

Keep track of UConn’s search on our UConn updates page.

- Dan Mullen and Mississippi State finally got one to go their way.

The Bulldogs lost three games on the final play this season, but they beat Miami (OH) in the St. Petersburg Bowl on a blocked field goal in the final seconds. The 17-16 final wasn’t pretty, but it was a win.

“The end result just leaves a great smile on your face,” Mullen said. “A lot of frustrating things happened during the course of the game for us but you’re proud.”

Mississippi State blocked a field goal after blocking an extra point earlier. The coaches knew coming in that the Miami kicker had a low angle.

“We noticed from game-planning that kicker kind of hits line drives,” said defensive lineman Nelson Adams, who made the last block. “All that was going through my mind was get your hands up as fast as you can.”

- Down by 1, Chuck Martin played for that last field goal attempt despite his own concern it could get blocked.

Miami had timeouts when they got deep into Mississippi State territory, but he was worried about a negative play. His QB hadn’t thrown an INT in his career, but had one earlier in the game.

“I thought about (going for the touchdown). We had two timeouts. I thought about it,” Martin said. “We were sitting on a 35-yard field goal to beat Mississippi State. I’d be a pretty stupid head coach if somehow we got a sack or a turnover.”

- Boston College had what could be deemed as an offensive explosion against NC State after a change during bowl prep.

In the 36-30 win over Maryland, BC’s 29 first-half points were their most in a half against a Power 5 opponent since 2009. It was a no-huddle attack not used much before. BC had 75 plays after averaging 65.5 per game this year.

“We're just scratching it right now, but this is where we want to be, and so we took the leap of faith and said, 'Let's get this done after the season and let's move it forward. Let's not wait for spring ball,'” Addazio said. “So we did it and we feel our strength on offense is going to be in the multiplicity of our tight ends and their skill sets.”

- Mike Leach said recently that if someone on his team boycotted like Minnesota, he’d end that real quick.

“I don’t pay any attention,” Leach said of Minnesota a week ago. “If somebody decided to boycott here, I’d cut ‘em.”

On Monday, he was asked about that again at the Holiday Bowl presser in the presence of the Gophers, but didn’t get into it.

“I'm not going to elaborate on it because in this setting it's just all about me trying to contradict something that Minnesota did, and that's up to Minnesota how they handled that situation,” Leach said. “Ultimately if I have a boycott, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. That's essentially how I would handle it so you can elaborate from there.”

- Tracy Claeys has downplayed the boycott and the reaction since getting to California for the Holiday Bowl.

There is a petition calling for Minnesota to make a coaching change as a result of Claeys’ tweet in support of his players, before everyone later pulled back. Claeys wasn’t asked about it, but said his players have focused on the game.

“All I know since we have been here they've done awfully good,” he said. They got on a plane, came out here, great area, the weather. … They've really enjoyed the different experiences that have been provided to us.”

- Bill Belichick shut down the idea of resting starters by making a simple point: In the NFL, your game-day roster is only 53 guys.

“I don't really understand that question. I don't know how many starters we have (that could rest, but) we can only inactivate seven players,” he said. “This isn't like a preseason game where you have 75 guys on your roster. This is a regular season game.

“I don't really understand that whole line of questioning. I'm not saying I'm a great mathematician or anything but the numbers just don't add up for that type of conversation so there's no point in even getting involved in it.”

- Watch the emotional scene in the locker room after the Browns’ first win — Hue Jackson's first as a head coach.

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