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#pounditFriday, January 22, 2021

College Football

Arizona hires former Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown

Arizona logo

Don Brown may have taken the fall at Michigan this season, but he already has a new gig.

Brown has been hired by Arizona to be their new defensive coordinator, according to multiple reports.

Under Brown, Michigan had top-10 defenses in four of his five seasons. But the 65-year-old was let go after the Wolverines slipped to 50th this season.

Brown joins Jedd Fisch’s staff with the Wildcats. The two were coaches together on Michigan’s staff in 2016 under Jim Harbaugh.

Prior to Michigan, Brown coached at Boston College, UConn and Maryland. Fisch has been busy filling out his staff at Arizona, which includes Brennan Carroll as offensive coordinator.

Johnny Manziel hilariously dunked on Texas over Heisman Trophy claim

Johnny Manziel

Johnny Manziel was among those who got in on the fun bashing Texas for taking some claim in the Heisman Trophy result on Tuesday.

Alabama was the big winner at the Heisman Trophy ceremony. Crimson Tide wide receiver DeVonta Smith took home the honor, while quarterback Mac Jones was third and Bama running back Najee Harris was fifth.

Texas brought up the Heisman results as a way to promote their hiring of Steve Sarkisian as their new head coach. Sark was Bama’s offensive coordinator this season.

Manziel ripped on Texas for their tweeting touting Sark’s role in the Heisman. He sarcastically said that Texas pretty much won the SEC championship too.

Manziel went to Texas A&M and won a Heisman Trophy for the Aggies, so he is rivals with the Longhorns. Ripping on them is natural for him.

Texas really only should be boasting when Sarkisian develops Heisman Trophy winners for the Longhorns.

Byron Leftwich reportedly ‘dream candidate’ for Marshall head coach job

Marshall logo

The Marshall Thundering Herd are in need of a new football coach, and may be looking to the NFL to get one.

According to Bruce Feldman of The Athletic, Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich is the “dream candidate” for the job. Leftwich, a former Marshall quarterback, is finishing his second year in his current job, and is highly regarded in NFL coaching circles.

While Marshall is expected to try to land Leftwich, there is an understanding that it will be difficult for the school to lure him away from the NFL, especially since Leftwich is viewed as a potential future head coach in the league.

Leftwich was a dominant quarterback for Marshall. He’s one of the school’s greatest players, and even parlayed his success there into becoming the seventh overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft. Bringing him back would represent a homecoming, and the fans would love it.

That said, as another school recently found out, it’s very hard to entice a hot young coach into leaving the NFL, even if sentimentality is on their side.

Trevor Lawrence thanks Clemson in video declaring for draft

Trevor Lawrence

There was virtually no chance of Trevor Lawrence returning to Clemson next season with his draft stock as high as it can get, but the quarterback made his decision official on Wednesday.

Lawrence shared a video on Twitter in which he thanked his teammates, coaches and fans for his three years at Clemson.

There was some talk earlier in the year of Lawrence potentially returning to Clemson for his senior season, but that never seemed realistic. The Jacksonville Jaguars are almost certainly going to take Lawrence first overall in the draft, so he would only risk hurting his stock if he remained in college.

Ironically, the awkward interaction Lawrence had with a reporter about his mustache last weekend (video here) will be his last press conference in a Clemson uniform. Between that and the Tigers’ surprising loss to Ohio State, his college career did not end on the best note.

Texas oddly touts Alabama’s DeVonta Smith winning Heisman Trophy

Steve Sarkisian

Texas’ Twitter account oddly touted DeVonta Smith’s Heisman Trophy win on Tuesday.

Smith became the first wide receiver since 1991 to win the trophy. He is also the third Alabama player to win the trophy.

So what business did Texas have posting about it? Well, they were touting new head coach Steve Sarkisian’s connection to the award. Sark coordinated Alabama’s offense this season. Alabama’s offense had three of the top five Heisman Trophy finalists, including the winner.

If Texas thinks that Sark is such a big part of the reason for the Tide’s offensive success rather than the talented players others in the program recruited and developed, best of luck to them.

But it’s somewhat sad a program with two great Heisman winners in its history (Earl Campbell and Ricky Williams) has to reach with a tweet like this to promote themselves. They’re better than this.

Cardale Jones had great response to Kristen Saban Selas

Cardale Jones

Credit Cardale Jones for sending a great response to Kristen Saban Selas.

Saban Selas, who is the daughter of Alabama Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban, sent a few tweets on Tuesday that drew a reaction. Saban Selas accused Ohio State of using COVID-19 as an excuse to postpone Monday’s National Championship Game to give starting quarterback Justin Fields a chance to heal from his big hit (seen here).

Jones responded to Saban Selas’ now-deleted tweet. He asked whether she really wanted Alabama to face another Ohio State backup quarterback.

In the 2014 season, Jones took over as Ohio State’s quarterback after JT Barrett got injured against Michigan. Jones led Ohio State to three straight wins: over Wisconsin in the conference championship game; over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, which was a College Football Playoff semifinal game; and over Oregon in the national championship game.

That’s why Jones is cautioning Saban Selas not to ask for Ohio State’s backup again. Actually, if we’re being technical here, Jones told us in 2015 he wasn’t even Ohio State’s backup.

Photo: Erik Drost/Flickr via CC-BY-SA 2.0

DeVonta Smith shares important message after winning Heisman Trophy

DeVonta Smith

DeVonta Smith on Tuesday won the Heisman Trophy, becoming the first wide receiver since Desmond Howard in 1991 to win the award.

The Alabama wide receiver gave a speech after winning the trophy and shared an important message.

“To all the young kids out there that are not the biggest, not the strongest — just keep pushing, ’cause I’m not the biggest. I’ve been doubted a lot just because of my size. It just comes down to, if put your mind to it, you can do it. No job is too big. If you put your mind to it, you can do it,” Smith said.

Smith arrived at Alabama weighing around 160 pounds and is currently listed at 6-foot-1 and 175 pounds. On the surface, he doesn’t look like an intimidating presence like some other receivers. But Smith has proven that his size doesn’t matter, because he can get the job done like few others.

Smith racked up 105 catches for 1,641 yards and 20 touchdowns this season in only 12 games for the unbeaten Crimson Tide.

Nick Saban’s daughter apologizes for Ohio State tweet

Kristen Saban Setas Miss Terry

Nick Saban’s daughter Kristen apologized on Tuesday after sending a few tweets suggesting Ohio State was using COVID as an excuse to try and give Justin Fields more time to heal for the national championship game.

Word emerged on Tuesday saying that the National Championship Game between Alabama and Ohio State could be postponed due to COVID-19 cases in the Buckeyes’ program. The game is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 11, and Saban’s father is looking to lead the Tide to their sixth national title since he’s been there.

Kirsten got into the mix by sending a tweet on Tuesday in which she called “BS” on Ohio State’s COVID situation.

“If you’re not confident to play then SAY IT. I call BS on the COVID cases. They’re just worried about their QB and want him to have more time to heal. If he’s hurt put in your backup. You didn’t see us postpone the rest of the season to wait for Waddle. BYE.” Saban Setas wrote.

She followed it up with a second tweet.

“Oops, did I say something you didn’t like that you would say if it were turned around on us?” she wrote in the second tweet.

Saban Setas deleted both tweets and then locked her account. She then reactivated and posted an in-depth apology.

“The tweet I posted earlier this evening was uncalled for and hurtful. I made a huge mistake and I apologize. In a moment of frustration, I let my anger get the best of me and acted before thinking. I sincerely regret my choice of reckless words. In no way did I intend to undermine the seriousness of the global pandemic and my heart goes out to those it has affected. The health and safety of others is first and foremost and I pray that we call can find peace soon. I am ashamed and embarrassed. I hope you can forgive me,” she said in her apology.

Saban Setas isn’t the first person this season to claim a team used COVID as an excuse to cover for their team. It’s just that she is doing it before the championship game. Alabama probably didn’t like that, not only because it’s a damaging allegation, but because of what happened the last time someone offended the Buckeyes.

Ohio State-Alabama game could be postponed due to COVID-19 issues

College Football Playoff

Ohio State and Alabama are set to face off in the College Football Playoff National Championship on Monday, but there is a chance the game could be pushed back a week.

According to John Talty and Matt Zenitz of AL.com, Ohio State is dealing with issues related to COVID-19 that have threatened the availability of players. The Buckeyes are concerned they could be without a position group if the game is played on Monday as scheduled.

Discussions have been held between the SEC, Big Ten and College Football Playoff officials about potentially rescheduling the game. No final decision has been made, but the contingency plan is to play the game at Hard Rock Stadium a week later on Jan. 18.

Ohio State’s season has already been significantly impacted by COVID-19. The Buckeyes had a key game against Michigan canceled, which nearly resulted in them not qualifying for the Big Ten Championship Game. The conference then amended its rules to make Ohio State eligible, which helped get them into the College Football Playoff.

Report: Chargers have interest in Urban Meyer

Urban Meyer

Urban Meyer is said to be strongly considering taking the head coaching job with the Jaguars, but Jacksonville is not the only team that has interest in the three-time national champion.

The Los Angeles Chargers are also interested in speaking with Meyer about their head coaching vacancy, Bruce Feldman of The Athletic reports.

There’s no guarantee that Meyer will come out of retirement to make the leap to the NFL, but the Chargers job is considered one of the most appealing in football. Justin Herbert was extremely impressive in his rookie season and looks like he has the potential to be a franchise quarterback. Finding a quarterback is one of the most challenging things an NFL team has to do, so L.A. is a step ahead in that department.

The Chargers also played well down the stretch and closed out the season on four-game win streak, which is why many people were surprised they fired Anthony Lynn.

One report claims Meyer has been operating as if he will be the next coach of the Jaguars. He is apparently seeking a massive contract, however, which could complicate things.