News, Notes & Quotes - Jan. 17

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Tuesday January 17, 2017

- Eastern Washington head coach Beau Baldwin said the opportunity to be Cal offensive coordinator was unlike other interest he’d received.

Baldwin went 83-32 in nine years at EWU, with six FCS playoff appearances. Now he's joining Justin Wilcox's staff.

“Given this situation, it was right,” an emotional Baldwin said Monday night. “I’m not going to get into details, but there were other opportunities in the last four or five years. The reason they weren’t right is because this place is so special, and the people are so special. I knew if I had any reservations, I’m going to continue to fight like heck as an Eagle. But this was the first time. I didn’t call Bill until Saturday night. This happened fast. This one, as hard as it is, this one’s right. It’s an incredible opportunity.”

Fox Sports' Bruce Feldman also reports Baldwin could double his salary at Cal. Wilcox was hired to fix a Cal defense that is among the nation’s worst. Baldwin takes over an offense that put up plenty of points under Sonny Dykes, and Baldwin brings Wilcox’s staff a lot of head coaching experience.

Baldwin is also the second EWU coach to become a Pac-12 offensive coordinator this offseason. Co-offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach Troy Taylor was hired as Utah’s offensive coordinator. However, Cal and Utah don’t play each other in 2017.

- Bo Jackson says he wouldn’t play football and won’t let his kids play, knowing what he knows now about head injuries. Greg McElroy strongly disagrees.

McElroy only had a cup of coffee in the NFL, and he says that concern is more about people who have a long pro career. He says the positives of youth football outweigh the rest.

“If you don’t want your kids to play football, by all means, go ahead. For the select few that make it to the NFL and play for 10 years, yeah, CTE is a risk. It’s true,” McElroy said on SiriusXM College Sports Nation. “…  My kids will play football, and they will play early, because the values and lessons I learned from the sport far outweighed the consequences of potentially getting injured.

“The toughness I learned, the adversity I had to overcome, part of being a team and that you check your ego at the door, you really, genuinely are playing for the person next to you. It’s the ultimate team sport. You’re not worried about batting average, you’re not worried about your score on the 7th hole, you’re not worried about how many points you had and how many rebounds you had. It’s the ultimate team sport in which the stats tell the story, but they tell a small part.

“… It’s very easy for someone to say these things and say they wish they didn’t play football knowing what they know now. But would you be the same person having not played football? My guess is not.”

- Nick Saban doesn’t need to look outside the building to make hires these days.

Lane Kiffin leaves, Steve Sarkisian moves from analyst to offensive coordinator. Mario Cristobal leaves, Mike Locksley is promoted to a full-time assistant job. Both are former head coaches.

"He is an outstanding offensive mind who brings a wealth of knowledge and experience as both a head coach and offensive coordinator,” Saban said in a release about Locksley's promotion. “Mike is also one of the best recruiters in the nation and will be an excellent addition to our staff. His time as an analyst with us over the past season should also ensure a smooth transition and a full understanding of how our organization operates."

In addition, Fox Sports reports Tosh Lupoi will remain on staff after receiving interest from Cal for the defensive coordinator job.

- At least three Oregon players were hospitalized recently following strenuous winter workouts.

The Oregonian reports the workouts were “akin to military basic training, with one said to include up to an hour of continuous push-ups and up-downs.” The Ducks under Willie Taggart are under a new strength and conditioning program with Irele Oderinde.

At least one player was reportedly diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis, which can be a result of overexertion.

"The safety and welfare of all of our student-athletes is paramount in all that we do," Oregon wrote in a statement. "While we cannot comment on the health of our individual students, we have implemented modifications as we transition back into full training to prevent further occurrences.  We thank our medical staff and trainers for their continued monitoring of the students and we will continue to support our young men as they recover."

Don’t expect this story to go away soon. Taggart will be pressed on it the next time he speaks to media.

- Chip Kelly may become an NFL offensive coordinator soon.

Kelly interviewed for the Jaguars offensive coordinator job on Monday, and he apparently was confident about it. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted, "Chip Kelly went into Jaguars OC job interview believing he was going get an offer. Has some assistant hires ready. Good chance it happens.”

In the meantime, Doug Marrone and Tom Coughlin hired Michigan’s Tyrone Wheatley to be the Jags running backs coach. Wheatley was at his alma mater and his son in on the U-M team, but Wheatley worked under Marrone at Syracuse and with the Bills, and it was clearly an opportunity he wanted.

- Take a look inside Luke Fickell’s first meeting with the Cincinnati team.

“You have an opportunity to start over.”

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