News, Notes & Quotes - July 21

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Friday July 21, 2017


- Hugh Freeze has resigned, but issues at Ole Miss are far from over.

Freeze’s resignation amid personal conduct issues, including a phone call to an escort service, only makes things more complicated. The school is still going through the NCAA investigation, in which Ole Miss had staunchly stood behind Freeze and blamed other people. There reportedly have been no new developments in the case, but does Ole Miss’ defense change? Or do they continue to defend the coach they just dismissed?

There’s also Houston Nutt’s lawsuit, which led to the discovery of the phone records. That will continue, by all accounts, and it includes other school officials for allegedly breaking the severance agreement with Nutt by leaking false information to reporters.

Oh, and Ole Miss already entered this season with a self-imposed bowl ban. Interim head coach Matt Luke has been on staff since 2012, coaching the offensive line. He’s also a former player. New offensive coordinator Phil Longo tweeted, “United We Stand!” with a photo of players. But former Ole Miss coach and new ESPN analyst Tommy Tuberville laid the hammer down.

"Obviously people knew what was going on, and just get back to being Ole Miss, and clean the slate, and get people in there that want to get the job done the right way," Tuberville said on ESPN Radio. "It's just a sad day for them ... it really is, because people in that state really want to win games, and want to be competitive at Ole Miss. They've done a great job to this point, and now they've had a terrible setback."

- Mark Richt will use a backup linebacker as a fullback this season.

Junior Mike Smith played in all 13 games last year. He’s 6-foot-1, 236 pounds. Miami does have three walk-on fullbacks on the roster, but it’s an important enough position that Marquez Williams was drafted this past spring.

“If we’re in a short-yardage situation or we’re in a four-minute offense at the end of the game, trying to get big and hammer the ball,” Richt said. “I don’t know if we’re going to spend a massive amount of time with a fullback in the game, but when we do, in one game it may be as many as 10 plays, in another game 3 plays. It may be as many as 15 plays. Is that a lot of wear-and-tear on a guy? Not necessarily.”

- A conversation with a friend helped Ron Rivera put the Panthers’ 6-10 season in perspective.

Since the season ended, the Panthers have had several major front office changes, capped by a GM change this week.

“I have a friend who recently had a heart attack, and I called him and said, ‘I’m so sad that this happened to you,’” Rivera told The MMQB. “And he said, ‘Ron, it’s not really what happened to me, it happened for me,’ basically telling me that he had to change, there are things he had to alter. Well, it’s the same thing for us. The way he put it to me made me realize 2016 didn’t happen to us, it happened for us.

“It was a humbling experience, and an experience to learn and grow from. And I feel really good that we’ve grown and learned from it.”

- A four-part behind-the-scenes series on P.J. Fleck debuts on Aug. 2 on ESPNU.

Being P.J. Fleck will be similar to last year’s Being Bret Bielema, and it’s got a lot of what you expect, but these two quotes were pretty good.

“I’m going to tell you this very quickly and very honestly, I don’t give a **** if you’re one minute, you understand that? You’re one minute late, you’re going to sit your *** on the bench, period.”

“I don’t care if we go 0-12, and I don’t care if you leave. If you cannot do the right thing, I won’t keep you here, and you will never play. Ever.”

- Lane Kiffin inherits a 3-9 program, but one bringing a whole lot back.

In 2016, freshmen and sophomores accounted for 100 percent of the passing yards, 63 percent of the rushing yards and 66 percent of the tackles. FAU’s 18 returning starters are the second most nationally.

“There’s no bad habits. The last staff did a really good job with these guys,” Kiffin said at Conference USA Media Days. “We have a great core of guys. We’ve added more. It’ll be up to our leadership and older guys to bring these guys in and mentor so we can gel as a team and improve.”

- Dabo Swinney has a No. 1 quarterback right now, but he’ll find out soon if that’s still the case.

Swinney doesn’t shy from saying junior Kelly Bryant has the lead, but if Bryant didn’t take ownership in the summer, a redshirt frosh or true frosh could tae it.

“Kelly is the guy going in. If we laid the ball down, he gives us the best chance today,” Swinney said. “ A lot of stuff to go between now and then. I’m anxious to see where those guys are. It’s going to be pretty obvious who’s put the work in. If they don’t have true ownership of what we did all spring and summer, then that sends me a pretty loud message. I know these guys have worked hard.”

- Here’s a look at UCF’s intense summer training and team-building workout, called The Program.

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with CoachingSearch.com and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News, MLive.com, 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 chris@coachingsearch.com.