News, Notes & Quotes - March 30

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Thursday March 30, 2017

- Bob Diaco loves working with punters, and it was one of his first requests to Mike Riley upon becoming defensive coordinator.

Nebraska doesn’t have a special teams coordinator, and duties are split among staff members on most staffs, but Diaco specifically likes punters.

“Punting the football is a fundamental system,” he said. “There are some tangible traits that are going to make you a little bit better than somebody else. But if your fundamentals are off, then you’re going to be a bad punter. There’s no way to not be. And if your fundamentals are great, you’re going to be a good punter. And then your tangible traits can make you a great punter.”

Kickers and punters often work over on their own, but Diaco wants to be involved.

“They want to be coached,” he said. “Like every position that you’re working with, you get that great response and great player-coach interaction and that’s what keeps you coming back for more.”

- Urban Meyer says this group of 10 early enrollees might be the best he’s ever had.

He raved about the group a year ago, and the Buckeyes reached the College Football Playoff despite having the fewest returning starters in the country. This year, the Buckeyes have 15 returning starters, and the freshmen add to that.

“This is a very mature group. I love this group,” Meyer said. “‘(Last year's class) was very similar. They’re all good students, they’re all just taking care of their business and they’re all progressing at a very rapid rate.

“A lot of those guys are going to play.”

- Dan Quinn consulted Nick Saban and Steve Kerr on how to get over a heartbreaking loss like the Super Bowl.

The MMQB’s Greg Bishop wrote on Quinn’s state of mind, and it included this passage from Bishop:

When his offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan, takes the 49ers’ head coach job, Quinn will hire Alabama OC Steve Sarkisian. Quinn will call Sarkisian’s former boss, Nick Saban, and they will discuss how to overcome a devastating loss—like the Crimson Tide’s blown 14-point lead against Clemson in the 2017 national championship game—by looking back, but not for long. Quinn will also phone Steve Kerr, whose Warriors fumbled a 3–1 series lead against the Cavaliers in the 2016 NBA Finals. Kerr will tell him to hold onto the pain, to find motivation within anguish.

- Dabo Swinney has noticed his long-snappers this spring, and that’s a good thing.

Clemson was one of the most improved teams in the country in special teams last year (from No. 105 in efficiency to No. 65), and Swinney has generally been happy with special teams this spring, except for the snapping.

“They both, there are good moments, but that’s a position where I should never notice them. Unfortunately, I’ve noticed them both way too much this spring,” he said. “I should never notice those guys. That’s what you want in your snappers. Both of them are very capable and can do the job. But there’s a whole other level of consistency we have to get out of those guys.”

- The Buffalo Bills have hired a talent coach to improve the public image of coaches and players.

Former ESPN talent coach Gerry Matalon is tasked with advising new head coach Sean McDermott. It comes on the heels of press conferences by former interim head coach Anthony Lynn and GM Doug Whaley where it appeared no one quite knew who was calling which shots. Matlon’s role could expand to include Whaley, and the front office appeared disorganized.

The Bills also hired a new PR director in February. Matalon has assisted other NFL players, teams and officials in the past.

- USA Today put together a salary database of the 68 NCAA Tournament basketball head coaches — and the top basketball coaches make more than football.

Rick Pitino makes $7.7 million, while John Calipari makes $7.4 million. Both of those are well higher than Nick Saban’s $6.9 million. (Jim Harbaugh’s “$9 million” includes a large life insurance policy).

Compared to the football counterparts, Bobby Petrino makes $3.9 million at Louisville, and Mark Stoops will make $3.35 million at Kentucky. Football brings in the most money, but basketball is still king in Kentucky. At Kansas, Bill Self makes $4.9 million, and David Beaty will make $1.6 million.

Some other comparisons include Michigan State ($4.3 million for Mark Dantonio and $4.2 million for Tom Izzo), and West Virginia ($3.5 million for Bob Huggins and Dana Holgorsen).

- Tommy Tuberville is still looking at possibly running for governor of Alabama. What would his pitch to Alabama fans be? It’s simple.

“If it wasn't for me, you wouldn't have Nick Saban,” he said on WJOX.

Tuberville won five straight against Alabama from 2002-06. Then Nick Saban came to Tuscaloosa. Tuberville won their first matchup, but Alabama has won seven of nine since then.

- Check out Pat Narduzzi mic’d up at Pitt practice.

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