News, Notes & Quotes - Jan. 19

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Thursday January 19, 2017

- Incoming Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne knows he may have to hire Nick Saban’s replacement one day, but he’s not worried about it yet.

“I hope Coach Saban is the coach at Alabama for a very long time, the incredible job he’s done and will do in the future,” Byrne told SiriusXM College Sports Nation. “That’s what the focus is 24 hours a day. How can we continue to stay focused and move Alabama football forward as the teams we compete against don’t slow down?

“… My goal is to have Coach Saban and I work together for a very long time, and when he’s ready to retire, hopefully many years down the road, we’ll address it at that time.”

- Dabo Swinney lost two assistants in the past five years at Clemson. Now he’s lost two in a week.

Defensive tackles coach Dan Brooks retired and defensive ends coach Marion Hobby accepted the defensive line job with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Swinney said ahead of the title game that he prefers to have two defensive line coaches, because of the importance of the position. But analyst Mickey Conn has reportedly been promoted to co-defensive backs coach, so it appears Swinney needs to find one defensive line coach moving forward — although the potential passing of a 10th full-time assistant could mean two DL coaches again.

- Speaking of Dabo, he finds reports of second-round draft grades of Deshaun Watson to be ridiculous.

“They should lose their jobs,” Swinney said on The Rich Eisen Show. “That is absolutely the craziest thing. They don’t know Deshaun. I can’t tell you how brilliant he is as a football player, as a person, how impactful of a man and human being he is. He’s going to change a locker room the day he gets there. He’s just so driven, so humble, unbelievably understanding of his platform and his skill set is off the charts. He can do everything and anything.

“This kid put up 75 points and 1,060 yards on Alabama in the past two years. He’s 32-3. His only losses are to Alabama in the national championship game where he had 550 yards, he lost to Pitt where he threw for 570 yards, and he lost to Georgia Tech and played 12 snaps and tore his ACL. This kid’s a winner and he’s one of the most poised human beings I’ve ever seen or been around in my entire life.

“That’s why I don’t pay attention to that stuff. I really don’t. I don’t understand all that and it makes no sense to me when I see some of those things come out, and then I see exactly what I know is going to happen, happen at the next level. This guy right here, I don’t care what people say, he is the best of the best and that will prove to be the case when he gets his opportunity. He’ll bloom wherever he’s playing and wherever he gets taken he’s going to be phenomenal, just phenomenal.”

- Aaron Rodgers’ big pass to set up the game-winning field goal against the Cowboys was drawn up in the dirt.

It’s something Mike McCarthy and Rodgers have done in the past. Rodgers just called for him to roll out to the left, and the receivers to start right and go left.

“Mike allows me to make a number of calls at various points in the game, based on situation stuff we’ve talked about,” he said on The Dan Le Batard Show. “That play wasn’t something we talked about. It’s something I’d thought about at various times throughout the season or week.

“… The best plays are often the simplest. In our generation growing up, we were outside playing in the street in your neighborhood and imagined yourself being Steve Young or Joe Montana, and you draw up stuff in the dirt and make it happen. Throw it back to those days.”

- Bill Belichick had the perfect answer when asked about having home field advantage this weekend.

“I don't know. Go ask Dallas and Kansas City.”

Surely the fans help, right?

“Yeah, of course, but the game is won by the players on the field. That's who wins football games: the players. And they'll decide it Sunday night.”

- Here’s a Longhorn Network special look at Texas’ new coaches.

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