News, Notes & Quotes - Sept. 5

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Monday September 05, 2016

- One weekend down, and we already have a major staff change, as Mark Hudspeth dismissed defensive coordinator Melvin Smith at Louisiana-Lafayette.

The Ragin’ Cajuns lost 45-10 to Boise State on Saturday, giving up 584 total yards and 8.0 yards per play. Smith was in his second season on staff. After four straight 9-4 seasons, ULL went 4-8 last season, and the school was penalized by the NCAA.

Mark Hudspeth isn’t messing around this year. ULL’s upcoming games are: McNeese State, South Alabama, at Tulane and at New Mexico State. Stay tuned to the Coaching Search Ticker for the latest news.

- One game in, Sterlin Gilbert has already flipped Texas’ offense in the right direction.

The Longhorn offense scored 35 points in regulation and two TD’s in two OT possessions in the 50-47 win over No. 10 Notre Dame. True freshman QB Shane Buechele was poised and went 16-for-26 for 280 yards, two TD’s and one INT, plus a deep ball drop that would have been another long TD. Texas ran 86 plays for 517 yards.

Gilbert also managed the QB’s beautifully, using Tyrone Swoopes as a wrecking ball, with 13 carries and three rushing TD’s, including the game-winner. A year ago, Texas has 163 total yards against the Irish. This is what Charlie Strong was hoping for.

- So much for the new NCAA rule allowing the replay booth to review and call a potential targeting penalty that was missed on the field.

Sunday night, Notre Dame WR Torii Hunter Jr. took a shot to the head that wasn’t called. He was down in the end zone for nearly 3 minutes, and eventually left the game. No review ever came.

It was the exact situation the rule change was made for, and it didn’t happen. Hunter's father says his son has a "little concussion."

- Bret Bielema attempted three fourth downs against Louisiana Tech, converting all three in a 21-20 win, and the coach pointed to an investment in analytics.

“Probably one of the more enjoyable offseason studies I've had,” Bielema said, “and it really takes you deep into 4th down, use of the clock, end-of-game scenarios, end of half, and I was even last night looking at it in my hotel, first thing this morning. It really made me look at when 4th down should be called in the game and why you would do it.”

But the last one was 4th-and-1 at their own 37 with 1:22 to go. That was a gut call.

“I looked at my offensive line, they had great eyes,” he said. “Dan (Enos) felt really good about the call. Kody (Walker) played fullback and had run that play several times in the past. I don't know if we repped it one time up until the game time. I just had a feeling we were going to have a nice push. They were lining up in the defense we wanted to run it against, and obviously that sealed the game.”

- This was an interesting tweet from Houston beat writer Joseph Duarte:

“Houston true freshman DT Ed Oliver politely declined interview request Sunday night, saying ‘I haven’t earned it yet.’ Had 2 sacks vs. OU.”

- Nebraska’s touching missing-man formation tribute to Sam Foltz was discussed with the Fresno State coaches and officials beforehand.

"I talked to Coach Riley about that. The officials first told me in our officials meeting before and then I talked to Mike before,” Tim DeRuyter said. “No hesitation. It is tragic. I was talking with our coaches, and I can't imagine losing a son. And if we can't teach our guys to not do something classy like that, then what is college for? I said we were going to decline the penalty. We were going to do that."

- Washington State opened the season with a loss to an FCS team for the second year in a row, but Mike Leach warned everyone.

He said Eastern Washington was better than half the teams on WSU’s schedule, and reiterated their skill after EWU’s 45-42 win and their 606 yards of offense.

“Eastern Washington’s first-level guys are as good as our first-level guys are,” Leach said. “They proved it today, and I thought they executed more disciplined than we did. I think that they’ve done this to a lot of people, and they did it to us."

- Dana Holgorsen continues to defend Skyler Howard after he played through a rib injury.

It was unknown if he would play in the second half, but he did and finished 23-for-35 for 253 yards and an INT. Holgorsen said his return helped mental state of the team.

“They believe in him. They don’t read a lot of the stuff you guys write,” Holgorsen said with a laugh. “They believe in him. He does a good job. He’s here every day, is the smartest guy in the room. He understands what he’s trying to do. He’s competitive. Our guys sense that.”

- After blowing a 35-10 lead to Southern Miss, Mark Stoops apologized to Kentucky fans.

“I don't know if I've ever in my career, ever wanted to apologize for a game, but that's a tough pill to swallow right there, and I do,” he said. “And I didn't think I would ever do that. That's a tough loss and our fans deserved better. And I'll tell you this, we'll play better.”

Stoops is 12-25 in three-plus seasons and has posted two straight 5-7 seasons. Seeing former OC Shannon Dawson run all over Kentucky’s D puts more pressure on Stoops.

“I know the criticism that comes with it, I can handle that,” Stoops said. “We'll get ourselves (fixed). This is the first time I've ever felt like, through all the ups and the downs, that we will. We'll get in a barricade and get to work in our complex and go to work.”

- Watch Todd Graham’s locker room speech after Arizona State’s 44-13 win over Northern Arizona.

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