News, Notes & Quotes - Jan. 5

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Thursday January 05, 2017

- The coach who hired Dabo Swinney at Clemson says he has a tall task ahead with Alabama.

Tommy Bowden joined 105.5 WNSP to talk about the game and joked when asked his advice for Swinney.

"Prayer," Bowden said, per "He's a Christian man, so I know he's going to pray anyway. They've done such a good job because of how they played Alabama last year. I'd say one thing, Dabo, 'Take that outside guy on your kickoff return and move him outside further and drop him back a little bit more for that onside kick. If they get that onside kick, they win that game."

But Bowden also noted that Clemson has only been held to 14 points or fewer twice since 2013, and one was Florida State in 2013, when now-Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt led the FSU defense.

- Nick Saban has no worries about Steve Sarkisian as offensive coordinator for the national title game.

“The guy’s been with us the whole football season. He knows the offense, he knows the players,” Saban said. “He’s worked on the gameplans every week, knows the system inside and out, knows the terminology.

“I don’t have any fail-safe. I just feel like I have to make decisions based on what’s best for the players to have the best chance to be successful. We made the decision, and we’re not talking about it anymore. We’re looking forward and everybody will do everything they can so support the people here to make it work.”

In 1998, Randy Sanders took over the Tennessee offense ahead of the BCS title game when David Cutcliffe took the Ole Miss head coaching jobs, and the Vols won.

- Tedy Bruschi had no problem with Giants receivers taking a trip to party in Miami ahead of their playoff game. Take advantage of time off as long as you’re back and ready.

“We did a back-to-back trip once on the West Coast, at the 49ers and then the Seahawks,” Bruschi said on Sportscenter. “Coach Belichick says, ‘I don’t want to see anyone packing golf clubs. This isn’t a golf trip. We’re going there to play football.’ Mike Vrabel and I look at each other and say, ‘He didn’t say we couldn’t rent them.’

“So we rented golf clubs and went and played Pebble Beach. It was great, on a Tuesday off. It was a great time not thinking about football. Coaches want it one way, but players know, when it comes down to it, they want you ready to play, ready to practice, be on time when you have to be back. We were. The (Giants) receivers were. It’s not a problem, in my opinion.”

- Nebraska wide receivers coach Keith Williams shared some thoughts on the recruiting stat system in a series of tweets.

“It's wild how the star system has magically taken over recruiting,” he wrote. “I know it's just a way to evaluate, but it's turned into the kid's identity. A kid can't even be talked about in an article or conversation without his star being known first to set the level of what is said next.

“I'm not even necessarily trying to make a point -- I'm a hostage of it too to some degree, I have to admit -- it's just fascinating to me. I don't blame the recruiting services at all. We've all done this to ourselves. Coaches (me included), parents, and the general public have turned a simple evaluation method into premature validation and football voodoo. I was reading an article, and the writer didn't describe 1 kid without mentioning his stars first. What's worse is that I'm glad he did.”

- Take an inside look at Northwestern’s win over Pitt in the Pinstripe Bowl.

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