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#pounditSunday, March 7, 2021

College Football

Oklahoma’s Spencer Jones suffered serious eye injury in bar fight

Oklahoma Sooners logo

Oklahoma wide receiver Spencer Jones was involved in a physical altercation at a bar earlier this month, and the redshirt senior was left with a serious injury that required surgery.

A video surfaced on social media on Feb. 19 that claimed to show Jones getting into a fight in the bathroom of Norman’s Logies in an area near the Oklahoma campus known as Campus Corner. The video, which contains inappropriate language, showed a man punching Jones repeatedly following a verbal altercation.

According to a report from OU Daily, the fight took place on Saturday, Feb. 13. Woodrow “Woody” Glass, an attorney hired by Jones’ family, confirmed to OU Daily that Jones was the man in the video. He said the receiver underwent a four-hour operation on Feb. 16 that was performed by Dr. Perry Brooks in Norman, Okla.

“Dr. Brooks came out of that surgery saying he’s extraordinarily lucky at this point, that he’s lucky he didn’t lose the eye altogether,” Glass said. “And so he was able to do some things surgically to rebuild that orbital socket and thinks everything is eventually going to come back to normal, but it’s going to take a while for him to fully recover.”

Police are investigating the incident. OU Daily reached out to Norman Public Information about the investigation but was told there would not be any comment until Monday at the earliest. Glass insists Jones was “trying to deescalate that situation” before he “became the victim of this vicious assault you’ve seen.”

Jones was a walk-on at Liberty before transferring to Oklahoma in 2018. He played in all 11 games for the Sooners last year and won the Peter Mortell Holder of the Year Award, which is given to the best place holder in college football.

The Oklahoma athletic department said it is aware of the situation but offered no comment.

Brett Favre backing Deion Sanders to succeed at Jackson State

Brett Favre

Deion Sanders has certainly brought a lot of attention to Jackson State since taking the school’s head coaching position, but the jury is still out on whether he’ll actually bring success with him. One person who knows both Sanders and the state of Mississippi well is convinced that Sanders will be a huge success.

Brett Favre, who played with and was mentored by Sanders during their one season in Atlanta together, is so confident that Sanders will be a success that he’s disappointed the former cornerback didn’t wind up coaching Southern Miss, Favre’s alma mater.

“I tried my best to get Deion to be the head coach at Southern Miss,” Favre told Nick Suss of the Mississippi Clarion Ledger. “Not because he’s my friend. I don’t know what kind of coach he’ll be. But if I was a betting man, I’d bet the farm that he’ll be a tremendous coach but an even better mentor to these young men.”

Favre helped connect Sanders with some contacts in Jackson upon taking the job. The former Green Bay Packers quarterback added that the best coaches he played under were great mentors, and he sees that quality in Sanders.

One thing is for sure: Sanders is already finding some recruiting success. His Jackson State team will open its unusual spring season Sunday against Edward Waters, and we’ll see how he handles in-game coaching.

Steve Sarkisian Texas contract terms revealed

Steve Sarkisian

The contracts of new head coach Steve Sarkisian and his assistants have been forwarded to the University of Texas’ Board of Regents for final approval, meaning we now know how much the school will be paying them in 2021.

Sarkisian is getting a huge payday to make the move to Texas. According to Zach Barnett of Football Scoop, Sarkisian will earn $34.2 million over his six-year deal, with the annual salary starting at $5.2 million in 2021 and rising by $200,000 yearly. That annual salary is lower than what predecessor Tom Herman was making, but the overall value of Sarkisian’s deal is higher, representing the richest contract in school history.

The same is true of Sarkisian’s assistants. Combined, Sarkisian and his top assistants will receive just over $13 million in 2021, a greater sum than Herman and his staff netted in 2020.

With figures like that, it’s pretty easy to see why Sarkisian was so eager to take the job. That said, expectations are high at Texas, and the university and its fans will want a big return on their investment.

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Jim Harbaugh asked for recruiting advice from unusual source

Jim Harbaugh

Jim Harbaugh isn’t known as someone who needs a lot of help with recruiting, but he apparently sought some advice from an unlikely source.

Comedian Randy Sklar told Big Ten Network’s “On The Bench” podcast that the Michigan coach texted him looking for jokes to use when talking to recruits, and even used some of them.

“He texted me one time and he’s like, ‘Got any good jokes?’ Out of the blue, ‘You got any good jokes,’ he texted me,” Sklar said. “I was like, ‘Yeah, okay.’ I wrote a few jokes and I sent them to him, like just jokes that your dad could tell someone, you know what I mean? Even though he’s like not that much older than us. I’ve got to do it in a way that he could. And he did, it was so great. He’s like, he uses them. ‘I’m about to talk to this running back from Cleveland, or Cincinnati, from 2022. I’m going to use one of these jokes.’ And he did. It was great.”

We don’t know which recruit Harbaugh used the jokes on, so we can’t say if it worked. That said, Harbaugh is always willing to go the extra mile to land a recruit. It’s not really a shock he’d go this route if he thought it would help.

H/T 247Sports

Tim Tebow retires from baseball right in time for Urban Meyer Jaguars rumors

Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow on Wednesday announced that he has retired from professional baseball. His announcement comes right before players are scheduled to report to training camp. But the announcement also syncs up nicely with something else of note.

Tebow has become available for other employment opportunities right as Urban Meyer begins his NFL coaching career with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Tebow played for Meyer at Florida, and the two won two national championships together. They have similar religious values and remain close. A few years ago, Meyer even watched Tebow in one of his baseball games.

There are no rumors about Tebow joining the Jaguars, and Egotastic Sports joked to us on Twitter that the rumor needs to be started. We’re not starting a rumor, but we are looking at possibilities.

Would it surprise anyone if Meyer wanted the former quarterback involved in some capacity? Whether it’s doing some motivational work, prayer work, or even helping with coaching, we could easily envision Meyer finding a role for Tebow. That might even create some goodwill, which Meyer could use after his last hiring disaster.

Photo: Sports Spectrum/Wikimedia via CC-BY-SA 4.0

Great tweet on Tom Brady, Devonta Smith goes viral

DeVonta Smith

Devonta Smith recently became the first wide receiver to win the Heisman Trophy in nearly 30 years, and those who have seen him without pads on would likely be surprised at the extent to which he is capable of dominating opposing defenses. In that sense, the Alabama star is kind of like Tom Brady.

To help illustrate that, Twitter account NFL Memes shared a hilarious side-by-side of Brady and Smith. The photo of Brady is the infamous one from the 2000 NFL Combine, while Smith is shown standing on the sideline looking a bit lanky.

Smith is listed 6-foot-1, 174 pounds. Top NFL wide receivers like Julio Jones, Davante Adams and DeAndre Hopkins weigh in at somewhere around 210-220 pounds. LSU star Ja’Marr Chase, whom many expect to be drafted before Smith, is listed at 207 pounds.

While Smith could probably afford to gain some weight, it’s hard to make a valid argument against his 117 catches, 1,856 yards and 23 touchdowns last season. He’s not quite scrawny enough for his teammates to create T-shirts about his physique like the Bucs did with Brady, but Smith certainly isn’t the best physical wide receiver prospect NFL teams have ever seen.

UCF AD trolls Florida schools while introducing Gus Malzahn

Gus Malzahn

The UCF football program has always had a bit of a chip on its shoulder, and that continued Monday despite a rather high-profile hiring.

UCF athletic director Terry Mohajir took a shot at rival programs within the state while introducing new head coach Gus Malzahn. Mohajir called Malzahn the best coach in a state that also contains Florida’s Dan Mullen, Florida State’s Mike Norvell, and Miami’s Mario Diaz.

Malzahn has actually coached in a national championship game before, something that cannot be said about Mullen, Norvell, or Diaz. UCF did really well to land the former Auburn coach, and they might as well gloat a bit.

We don’t know whether Malzahn appreciated the heightened expectations. That said, he’s been known to troll a bit too, so he probably won’t mind this introduction.

Gus Malzahn to be named head coach at UCF

Gus Malzahn

Gus Malzahn was fired by Auburn roughly two months ago, but he has now landed another solid head coaching job.

Malzahn has agreed to a deal to become the next head coach at UCF, Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports first reported. An official announcement could come from the school as soon as Monday.

Central Florida had a head coaching vacancy after losing Josh Heupel to Tennessee last month. Heupel was poached by Tennessee, which is now led by former UCF athletic director Danny White.

New UCF athletic director Terry Mohajir made Malzahn his top target, as the two have a history together. Mohajir was the athletic director at Arkansas State when Malzahn coached there in 2012.

Malzahn went 68-35 in eight seasons at Auburn. His dismissal came as a surprise given how much money he was owed.

UCF went 6-4 last season and 28-8 overall in three seasons under Heupel.

Report: Gus Malzahn offered UCF head coach job

Gus Malzahn

Could Gus Malzahn be back in the college football mix this fall?

Malzahn has been offered the head football coach job by UCF, according to Auburn Undercover and the Orlando Sentinel.

Central Florida has a vacancy after losing Josh Heupel to Tennessee last month. Heupel was poached by Tennessee, which is now led by former UCF athletic director Danny White.

New UCF athletic director Terry Mohajir likes Malzahn and made the former Auburn head coach his top target. Mohajir was the athletic director at Arkansas State when Malzahn coached there in 2012.

Malzahn went 68-35 in eight seasons at Auburn. The 55-year-old was owed over $20 million from Auburn after they fired him.

Nick Saban raises key question about College Football Playoff expansion

Nick Saban

While there is no imminent effort to expand the College Football Playoff, many of the sport’s leading figures are still asked regularly if a proposal should be on the table.

Alabama coach Nick Saban was asked that question on “The Rich Eisen Show” this week. While he did not take a stance, he did raise an important question that decisionmakers will have to answer. Saban pointed out that the playoff has reduced the importance of other bowl games, and questioned whether regular bowls and the playoff can coexist.

“I just wonder sometimes if having a playoff and bowl games, and that was the unique thing about bowl games in college football, a lot of players got self-gratification for having good seasons,” Saban said, via Brad Crawford of 247Sports. “They got to go to a bowl game, their families, the program, everything sort of got some positive self-gratification of what they were able to accomplish even though they weren’t national championship-caliber or playoff caliber.

“Now that’s all been diminished a little bit. You just wonder to yourself, can playoff and bowl games co-exist, or should we just have more teams in the playoff? I’m not saying I’m for it or against it. I think that’s the question people need to answer.”

Saban’s point is similar to one previously raised by Urban Meyer, who went a step further and used it to endorse playoff expansion. It’s true that players want to play in the playoff, and other bowl games don’t mean what they used to. This is increasingly gaining momentum as something those in favor of expanding the playoffs point to as evidence to back their proposals.