News, Notes & Quotes - Jan. 11

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Wednesday January 11, 2017

Thanks to everyone who reached out to me in Nashville at the AFCA Convention. It was great catching up with everyone.

- Will the Jaguars’ hire of Doug Marrone continue a 2016 trend?

Last year, the Giants, Bucs and Titans all dismissed head coaches and promoted from within. All three improved their records this season.

Marrone went 6-10 and 9-7 with the Bills from 2013-14, but left before a deadline that guaranteed his 2015 salary. However, he didn’t land another head coaching job like he hoped, and became a Jaguars assistant.

Now he’s back in the head coaching role, taking over a Jags team that has been among the NFL’s worst. There are talented young players on the team, but he’s making big changes, with most of the defensive staff departing.

- Urban Meyer made the changes he hinted were coming.

After getting shut out by Clemson, Meyer hinted there could be offensive staff changes. Meyer brought in former Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson as offensive coordinator / tight ends coach and 49ers quarterbacks coach Ryan Day as co-offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach. Former assistants Tim Beck and Ed Warinner went to Texas and Minnesota, respectively. 

It will be interesting to see how Wilson’s and Meyer’s offensive philosophies mesh. Meyer often points to a game in 2001 when he was at Bowling Green and Wilson was Northwestern’s offensive coordinator, as a game that changed his offensive ideas. They also faced off in the 2008 national title game between Florida and Oklahoma, as well as the Ohio State-Indiana battles.

Meyer will also have to answer questions about Wilson’s dismissal at Indiana amid allegations of player mistreatment. But it’s clear he wanted to hire the best offensive mind he could find, and he’ll figure out the rest from there.

"In 2014 we were one of the most balanced teams in college football run/pass," Meyer told USA Today in Nashville. "And we went one dimensional, so we're gonna open things up, let J.T. Barrett play and get the skill guys more involved. Really anxious to open things up a little bit."

- Dabo Swinney felt that Deshaun Watson’s title-winning touchdown pass to Hunter Refrow epitomized his program.

“You've got the five-star quarterback throwing the game-winning touchdown to the walk-on wideout, and that's the epitome of our team,” he said the day after the win. “It doesn't matter if you're the five-star guy or the walk-on, best player plays. You earn it. There's no entitlement in our program. You earn it. Period. Everybody knows that.

"I remember last year, everybody is like, why are we playing Hunter Renfrow?  I mean, I'm at practice every day, and he's the best player, period. It's just amazing to me, if we lined all of our managers up, he'd be about the 10th guy you'd pick to be Hunter Renfrow.”

Check out this CoachingSearch story from last April about Dabo rewarding Renfrow with a scholarship.

- The coaches will give their say on new NCAA proposals today. (Update: More on the results of this coming soon)

Coaches will have a long discussion today at the AFCA Convention about a myriad of issues that will be voted on in April, including early signing periods, satellite camp regulations, a two-year gap between signing a recruit and hiring individuals associated with a recruit, and the addition of a 10th assistant coach in FBS. There will be a press conference to share their recommendations on the issues to the NCAA and collegiate commissioners.

Based on my conversations at the convention, there is widespread support for a 10th assistant, which most coaches believe would be an internal promotion or outside hire of a coach out of work, rather than widespread poaching. But there is not much support for a June signing period, nor summer official visits.

“We should all be smart enough to understand that if we don’t get on the same page, whether it’s the oversight committee, the coaches, universities, presidents and AD’s, we’re going to have something that’s going to be taken away from us, because we’re going to screw it up,” Gary Patterson said at the convention. “We need to find a way as a group where we have solutions that benefit everybody.”

The issues will be voted on in April, and most would be effective immediately if they pass. CoachingSearch will have more on these issues in the coming weeks.

- Here was the scene when Alabama returned to Tuscaloosa, from

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