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#pounditWednesday, December 1, 2021

College Football

Leaked video shows Brian Kelly’s awkward farewell speech to Notre Dame players

Brian Kelly in Notre Dame gear

Notre Dame players are understandably feeling burned after Brian Kelly abruptly left the program in the middle of a national championship run, and the coach had to have felt that when he addressed the team for the final time on Tuesday.

A Notre Dame player leaked a video that shows Kelly delivering his farewell speech to his former players. The clip begins with Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick saying a few words and then turning things over to Kelly, who thanked the team and briefly addressed that they found out about his departure via social media. The speech lasted less than four minutes in total.

You can listen to the speech, which is in two parts, below:

“I know we’ve been through this together. I’ve recruited virtually everybody in this room,” Kelly said. “I wanted to be able to tell you face-to-face why we’re at where we’re at. … Many times people look for a reason to blame or if there was a reason for something. There was nothing here but first class in everything that Notre Dame has done for me and my family. I saw my time here as a blessing, working with incredible men on a day-to-day basis. There comes a time when you look in your life for another opportunity. I felt like it was time in my life for another challenge. I saw that opportunity in a very short window and felt it was best for me and my family to pursue a new challenge.”

There seemed to be a lot of tension in the room, which was to be expected. No players said anything or clapped for Kelly after he was finished speaking.

Kelly previously apologized to his players for the way they found out about him taking the LSU job. He did so via a text message, which you can read here.

There’s rarely ever a graceful way for a coach to leave one top program for another. Kelly’s coaching staff seemingly felt left in the dark like his players. Though, Kelly tried to explain on Wednesday how quickly the LSU deal came together.

Brian Kelly reveals when he knew he was taking LSU job

Brian Kelly in a suit

Brian Kelly has faced criticism for leaving people in the dark before he took the job at LSU, but the coach insists that was the result of the deal coming together so quickly.

During a Wednesday appearance on “The Dan Patrick Show,” Kelly claimed it was not until after Notre Dame’s win over Stanford on Saturday that his agent informed him LSU was interested. He said he was actually in California on Monday recruiting on behalf of Notre Dame. His deal with LSU was finalized on the plane ride back to South Bend.

Kelly admitted that his attorney was on the plane with him back from California, which is an indication that he was negotiating with LSU. You can hear more below:

Patrick also asked Kelly if he contacted the recruits he had spoken with on behalf of Notre Dame and asked them if they have interest in playing for LSU. Kelly said “of course not” and seemed offended by the question.

A report on Monday evening said LSU was targeting Kelly as its next head coach. Hours later, the 60-year-old was finalizing his new deal. Kelly admitted that LSU contacted him on Saturday night, so the discussions were obviously ongoing throughout the weekend.

Kelly was accused of ghosting Notre Dame, and one assistant coach was said to be furious that Kelly made him look bad.

High-level coaching departures are always tricky. Kelly probably didn’t want to put everything on hold in case the deal fell through with LSU. Still, Notre Dame players could not have felt good about the text message they received from the coach.

Photo: Sep 28, 2019; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly waves to fans as he enters Notre Dame Stadium before the game against the Virginia Cavaliers. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Otis Anderson Sr. reportedly shot and killed his son after dog bite

Otis Anderson celebrates a touchdown

Former UCF running back Otis Anderson Jr. was shot and killed this week, and the circumstances surrounding his death are shocking.

According to a police report obtained by First Coast News, Anderson Jr. was shot by his father, Otis Anderson Sr., at his parents’ home in Jacksonville on Monday evening. Denise Anderson, Anderson Jr.’s mother, told police that her husband was bit by their son’s girlfriend’s dog, which led to an argument.

Denise said Otis Sr. became upset after being bit by the dog, as he was bleeding throughout the house. That led to an argument, and she says the two men appeared to be on the verge of a fight after Anderson Sr. flipped a reclining chair. They then went their separate ways, with Anderson Sr. heading toward the garage.

Denise says Anderson Sr. came back in the house to meet her son in the kitchen, and she heard a gun shot followed by her son saying “you shot me!” She claims she then began hitting Anderson Sr. with a floor cleaning device, at which point he turned and fired more rounds.

Anderson Jr. suffered a gunshot wound to the chest and back, according to the police report. He was pronounced dead at the hospital. Denise Anderson was treated for multiple graze wounds and released.

Anderson Sr. was charged with first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder. He appeared in court on Tuesday and is being held without bond.

Tributes to Anderson Jr. have been popping up on the UCF campus this week.

Anderson Jr., who was 23, played for UCF from 2017 to 2020. He rushed for 2,182 yards and 17 touchdowns and had 91 catches for 1,025 yards and nine touchdowns. Anderson Jr. spent time with the Los Angeles Rams during training camp this past offseason.

Photo: Sep 21, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; UCF Knights defensive back Myles Wilson (37) congratulates running back Otis Anderson (2) on his punt return for a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the third quarter at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh won 35-34. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Notre Dame has its top target for head coach job

A player in a Notre Dame uniform

Notre Dame has lost Brian Kelly as their head coach, but they might not be in too bad of shape.

The Fighting Irish already have a national brand, tradition, history and their own TV deal with NBC. Those selling points have always been part of the program. But they may have their eyes on a head coach who should be able to keep them winning the way Kelly was.

CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd reported Tuesday that Luke Fickell is apparently Notre Dame’s first choice as a replacement for Kelly.

It’s unclear whether Dodd is basing his report on inside information, or whether he’s piecing clues together. But Fickell makes plenty of sense as a top target.

Fickell, 48, has been at Cincinnati for five years and enjoyed great success, including beating Notre Dame in South Bend this season. Fickell went to a Catholic high school in Ohio before later playing for Ohio State, where he spent most of his career as an assistant.

As a Catholic football player from the Midwest who has already proven he can be a successful coach, Fickell seems like the ideal candidate. If Notre Dame is able to successfully transition from Kelly to Fickell, they may be able to remain at a top level without missing a beat.

Notre Dame also may have some other very qualified candidates in the mix, such as Iowa State’s Matt Campbell, as well as defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman, who has been recognized as a top recruiter.

Oklahoma players call out Lincoln Riley over USC quote

Lincoln Riley does Fight On sign

A few Oklahoma Sooners players called out Lincoln Riley via Instagram over a quote the coach offered about USC.

Riley was Oklahoma’s head coach from 2017-2021 and coached the Sooners to a heartbreaking loss in their Bedlam game against rival Oklahoma State on Saturday. Hours later, he was negotiating with USC to become their next head coach. You can see how that would be troubling to many of the Sooners players.

On Monday, Riley was introduced by USC as their next head coach. The Trojans’ football account on Instagram promoted the hiring with numerous graphics and postings. One post included a quote from Riley in which he declared, “this is going to be the mecca of college football.”

That quote, which USC Football’s Instagram page promoted, bothered some Sooners players.

Defensive lineman Isaiah Thomas called out Riley for being a snake, saying in a comment on USC’s post that the coach “told us that last week.”

Linebacker Nik Bonitto also replied to the post with a comment. He said “LOL,” which is an acronym for “laughing out loud,” likely because he thought the comment was B.S.

The anger from the Oklahoma players is completely understandable. They likely feel abandoned by their coach, and a report details how blindsided they were. As for Riley, maybe he feels his comment about the “mecca of college football” is less about the school where he’s coaching, and more about where he is coaching.

Photo: Nov 29, 2021; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Lincoln Riley poses with Fight on sign during a press conference to introduce Riley as Southern California Trojans head coach. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Major college quarterback enters transfer portal

Jake Haener in pads

Spencer Rattler has some competition when it comes to the most intriguing quarterback in the transfer portal.

Fresno State quarterback Jake Haener has entered the transfer portal. The news about Haener entering the portal comes the same day that his coach at Fresno State, Kalen DeBoer, was introduced as Washington’s new head coach.

DeBoer commented on Haener’s status when talking with the media Tuesday and said it was up to Haener to decide where to go.

It doesn’t take much to connect the dots regarding Haener’s transfer.

Both the Fresno Bee and 247 Sports say Haener is expected to transfer back to Washington, where he began his career.

Haener, who is from Danville, Calif., redshirted at Washington in 2017. In 2018, he served as Jake Browning’s backup the year Browning struggled. Haener lost the battle for Washington’s starting job in 2019 to Jacob Eason. He then sat out the 2019 season due to transfer rules before making his Bulldogs debut during the COVID-shortened 2020 season. Haener still has another year of eligibility left.

Haener passed for 3,810 yards, 32 touchdowns and nine interceptions for Fresno State this season. He has passed for 46 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 18 career games for Fresno State. The Bulldogs went 12-6 in those games.

Photo: Oct 16, 2021; Laramie, Wyoming, USA; Fresno State Bulldogs quarterback Jake Haener (9) warms up before a game against the Wyoming Cowboys at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame could be penalized by CFP for Brian Kelly leaving

Brian Kelly in Notre Dame gear

Brian Kelly may have hurt Notre Dame in more ways than one by leaving them for LSU.

Notre Dame is 11-1 and ranked No. 6 in the College Football Playoff rankings. They theoretically would need two of No. 2 Michigan, No. 3 Alabama, No. 4 Cincinnati or No. 5 Oklahoma State to lose this weekend, in order to move up two spots to qualify for the Playoff, which features just the top four teams.

But that might not actually be enough.

CFP chairman Gary Barta said on ESPN Tuesday that the committee’s criteria does take into account the availability of players and coaches for games. That means Notre Dame could be penalized for not having Kelly coaching a playoff game.

Even with Barta making that acknowledgment, Notre Dame’s chances of making the playoff shouldn’t change considering they are guaranteed to be one of the (at most) six 1-loss teams.

If only Georgia loses, the top four will probably remain the same. The Fighting Irish still need two of Bama, Michigan, Cincinnati or Oklahoma State to lose. But if Cincinnati and say Michigan lose, while Oklahoma State wins, would the committee keep Notre Dame ranked ahead of Cincinnati despite losing to them head-to-head, or would they just pick a 2-loss team instead? Maybe that’s the scenario under which Notre Dame would qualify. Or, maybe in that scenario, the CFP would penalize Notre Dame for losing Kelly and include a 2-loss Alabama team in the Playoff.

Maybe with Kelly leaving, Notre Dame now needs three teams ahead of them (not named Georgia) to lose in order to qualify.

Photo: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Lincoln Riley shares timeline of his decision to leave Oklahoma for USC

Lincoln Riley at a press conference

Lincoln Riley stunned the college football world this week when he left Oklahoma for USC, and the coach insists the opportunity came together as quickly as it appears.

Riley shed some light on his decision to take the USC job during a Tuesday appearance on “The Herd w/ Colin Cowherd.” He said the move is something that was “very sudden” and that he was genuinely committed to Oklahoma before the Trojans approached him.

“It was very sudden. I was totally committed to our team as we made a championship and playoff run,” Riley said. “I made that very clear to anybody that was interested.

“We got to Norman late Saturday night/early Sunday morning and had a conversation that USC had some serious interest. I slept for a couple of hours and woke up and had a conversation with the USC people, and you could feel their energy. You could feel that the leadership from the very top is willing to do the things that maybe haven’t been done here as of recent to get USC to where it needs to be.”

A lot of people will find Riley’s timeline hard to believe. The USC job has been vacant since Clay Helton was fired in September. It is highly unlikely that the discussions between Riley and USC only began on Saturday night. Even Oklahoma’s president seemed frustrated with Riley over the way he handled his exit.

Of course, that is how things work in college football. Coaches are sometimes in positions where they can’t risk having information leak. That said, Riley may have also misled people by emphatically shooting down another rumor less than 24 hours before his Oklahoma departure.

There are always going to be hard feelings when a coach leaves one top program for another. Riley probably could have done some things differently, but avoiding that altogether is impossible.

Photo: Jul 14, 2021; Arlington, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley speaks to the media during Big 12 media days at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Mark Stoops has very friendly clause in new Kentucky contract

Mark Stoops patrols the sideline

Mark Stoops signed a contract extension with Kentucky this week, and it is one that should basically allow the head coach to remain with the program for as long as he would like.

Kentucky announced on Tuesday that Stoops will sign a new deal that ties him to the school through at least the 2027 season. The contract also includes a guaranteed one-year extension for every season the Wildcats win at least seven games and two-year extension for every season they win at least 10.

Stoops, 54, has been the head coach at Kentucky since 2013. The Wildcats are 9-3 this year and have won at least seven games in all but one season since 2016. If that trend continues, Stoops essentially has himself a lifetime deal.

The financial terms of the new deal will be released after it is finalized. It’s safe to assume Stoops will get a raise from the $5.25 million he is making this season, which places him among the top 20-highest paid coaches in the country.

Stoops was at one point believed to be the top target of another SEC school, but he is not going anywhere.

Photo: Sep 11, 2021; Lexington, Kentucky, USA; Kentucky Wildcats head coach Mark Stoops looks on during the second quarter against the Missouri Tigers at Kroger Field. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

Betting odds indicate where Spencer Rattler is likely to transfer

Spencer Rattler holds a ball

Spencer Rattler announced on Monday that he is leaving Oklahoma, and oddsmakers seem to think they know where the quarterback will end up.

Rattler is sure to draw plenty of interest after entering the transfer portal, but he may already have a school in mind. The redshirt sophomore is from Arizona and played high school ball there. That is the main reason Bovada currently lists Arizona State as an overwhelming -215 favorite to land Rattler.

UCLA has the second-best odds, but the Bruins are listed at +700. That means those particular oddsmakers would be shocked if Rattler transfers anywhere but Arizona State.

Rattler, a former five-star recruit, was likely going to enter the transfer portal even if Lincoln Riley didn’t leave for USC. Things did not go as planned for him at Oklahoma. Many expected him to follow in the footsteps of the other great quarterbacks that played under Riley, but Rattler took a big step back this season. He lost his starting job earlier in the year.

Oklahoma is likely going to lose several players and recruits in the wake of Riley’s departure. We know at least one other key player who hinted that he might leave the Sooners.

Arizona State is 8-4 this year in their fourth season under Herm Edwards. There was recent speculation that Edwards might be fired, but he will return in 2022.

Photo: Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler (7) warms up before a college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021