News, Notes & Quotes - Nov. 2

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Wednesday November 02, 2016

- Paul Johnson dialed up a deep pass early against Duke because of what he saw from Duke’s defense in warm-ups.

Johnson said Tuesday that he saw Duke DB’s breaking on three-step drops to challenge a short route. So on the third play of the game, he called a stop-and-go, and it went for 50 yards, and the drive resulted in a touchdown in the win.

“I thought to myself, ‘Well, the first chance I get, I’m going to give you a three-step and go,” Johnson said. “And the guy broke on it.”

- Add Sean Payton to the list of coaches who want full-time football officials.

Jim Mora has recently called for it in the NFL, and even Mike Leach wants it in college. Leagues can afford it. With how crucial officiating is, why not?

“The system currently hasn’t improved. We say it has, but it hasn’t,” Payton said on PFT Live. “We’re the only league with officials who have primary other jobs, which is really madness. We can pay these guys. They should be full-time NFL officials, and they should be working throughout the week, communicating.

“Every other sports league employs full-time officials. And ours, these guys all have other significant jobs. I just think it’s very difficult to do.”

- Rich Rodriguez doesn’t really care what fans think about how he’s handled the quarterback situation amid Arizona’s struggles.

The Wildcats completed five passes in last week’s loss to Stanford. Anu Solomon didn’t start and was then pulled briefly. Solomon put up big numbers in 2014 and 2015, but hasn’t played much this year, dealing with injuries. A reporter asked Rodriguez was asked what he’d tell fans as to why Solomon isn’t playing more amid a 2-6 start.

“What other people’s opinions are are none of my business. They’re entitled to their opinion and can say what they want,” Rodriguez said. “Come to the game, buy a ticket and watch it and evaluate and hang out with your buddies and give your opinion. That’s part of football. There’s so much strategy and opinion, it’s fun and exciting. It’s different than golf.

“… If you’ve not played or coached the position, your critical assessment of the guy probably doesn’t warrant as much of my attention.  If Joe Montana or Tom Brady or Matt Scott would say, ‘Coach, this is what I think watching the quarterbacks,’ I’d sit up and say let me think about that. But Joe Blow up in the stands that never played or put on the cleats or played that position, you can have your opinion. It doesn’t mean I have to listen to it.”

- Will Muschamp is starting 9 freshmen this year and playing 17, and the Gamecocks are 4-4. He knows it was a leap of faith, but something he says he had to do.

“I’d rather play a young, talented guy that’s got a promising future and can make some plays, contribute to the program, that’s has a future than play an older guy that’s not as talented,” Muschamp said. "At the end of the day, that’s where we are right now.

“It says a lot about the evaluation that took place in a transition year, which is the hardest year in recruiting… Sometimes you take a leap of faith. Our staff did a fantastic job evaluating players."

- Playing in the Pac-12 means dealing with a lot of night games, even if the coaches don’t like it.

Washington plays at Cal 10:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, and Chris Petersen was asked his take on the schedule.

“We get how important TV is this day and age, but I think if you ask every coach, every player, every fan that really is going to games — we all prefer Saturday at 1 o’clock,” Petersen said. “I don’t think there’s much variation there. But that’s just not the world we live in. So it is what it is.”

- UL-Monroe is 2-6, meaning first-year head coach Matt Viator will likely be part of his first losing season since 2004, when he was a McNeese State assistant.

Viator felt he was seeing signs of progress, but says a 59-17 loss to New Mexico and a 51-10 loss to Arkansas State have left a lasting impact.

“I thought we took a major step back there,” Viator said, per The News Star. “I know we were 2-4, but we were competing and that’s what I want to see. Instead, it was a really bad performance, and even breaking down the film, I can’t find a spot where I thought we played as good as we can play.

“We seem to be a little fragile and we aren’t handling adversity real well.  I know they want to win, but there are some mental barriers we have to get over and that’s tough to do in the middle of a season.”

- Watch Brian Kelly’s post-game speech from the win over Stanford.

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