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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

College Football

Ex-Miami RB Alonzo Highsmith delivers awesome quote about ‘swag’

Miami Hurricanes

Former Miami Hurricanes running back Alonzo Highsmith delivered an awesome quote about “swag.”

The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman published a deep dive into the Miami program on Friday talking about the Hurricanes’ search for lost swag.

Highsmith, who played for Miami from 1983-1986 and later became the No. 3 overall pick in the NFL Draft, told Feldman what “swag” means.

Highsmith’s point is that hard work is the driving force behind all of Miami’s success, and that the swag the program became known for was a byproduct of that hard work.

Highsmith is now the VP of Player Personnel for the Cleveland Browns. The Canes achieved a No. 1 ranking in three of his four years, and finished the season ranked No. 1 in 1983.

Miami is looking to get its swag back after making a head coaching change from Mark Richt to Manny Diaz in late December.

Dabo Swinney shrugs off speculation about Alabama

Dabo Swinney

Dabo Swinney will always be touted as a potential future Alabama coach when Nick Saban steps down, but it’s not something he thinks about.

The Clemson coach admitted that things could always change down the line, but at the moment, he doesn’t pay any attention to Alabama rumors.

“People always like to say one plus one equals two, and it’s a simple thing,” Swinney said, via David M. Hale of ESPN. “I don’t pay any attention. I was at Alabama 13 years. I love Alabama and always will. That won’t change. But I’m going on my 17th year at Clemson, my 11th as head coach. I love where I am, love what I do.

“Who knows? They may do away with college football in three years. There may be no college football. They may want to professionalize college athletics. Well, then, maybe I’ll go to the pros. If I’m going to coach pro football, I might as well do that. I may get a terrible president or a terrible AD one day. I don’t know. I have no idea what’s down the road. But I know what we have at Clemson is special, and I wanted to make a commitment to the university.”

The big reason why this isn’t worth thinking about right now is that Saban is showing no signs of slowing down, and he’s taking steps to be physically able to coach for a while yet. The speculation is fun, but it may be quite some time before Alabama even has to confront the possibility of replacing Saban.

Dan Mullen dismisses rivalry talk between Florida and UCF

Dan Mullen

Dan Mullen is dismissing any talk of a “rivalry” between Florida and UCF.

Mullen has been going around the state for his spring speaking tour. He spoke in Tampa on Wednesday and Orlando on Thursday. While in Orlando, he was asked about the “blossoming rivalry” between his Gators and UCF. Mullen dismissed the talk, saying they have to play first to become rivals.

Mullen said in December that they offered UCF a 2-for-1, which means a three-game series between them over three years, two in Gainesville and one where UCF hosts.

He’s right. UCF is a mid-major program, while Florida is a major one. Sometimes you have to take these sorts of deals if you’re UCF and want to face the big boys.

UCF may be 25-1 over the past two seasons, but the program is newer and lacks the clout, fan base and history of the Gators. That’s the reality. There is no rivalry until they start playing every season.

Lane Kiffin shows love for ‘GOAT’ Nick Saban on Twitter

Lane Kiffin FAU

Lane Kiffin and Nick Saban have had a complicated relationship over the years, but it’s fair to say that there’s some respect for the Alabama coach’s skills.

Kiffin, currently the head coach at Florida Atlantic, replied to a Twitter post Wednesday with the belief that Saban would outlast every other SEC coach — because the “GOAT” will never retire.

Kiffin served as Saban’s offensive coordinator for three years. For a lengthy period following his departure, Kiffin seemingly delighted in taking shots at his former boss, but seems to have been a bit warmer to him lately. This is further evidence of that — for their differing styles, Kiffin at least has some respect for Saban.

John Beilein sends farewell note to Michigan after taking Cavs job

John Beilein

John Beilein stunned the basketball world on Monday when he agreed to a deal to become the next head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the longtime Michigan coach must now say farewell to the place he has called home since 2007.

Shortly after news surfaced that he is heading to Cleveland, Beilein took to Twitter to thank the Michigan community for its support.

Beilein was linked to the Detroit Pistons job last offseason, but he eventually withdrew from consideration and said he did not anticipate being interested in any NBA opportunities going forward. Obviously, that changed in a hurry.

The Cavaliers were reportedly interested in Rick Pitino and some other smaller names, but Beilein was not mentioned throughout their search. It sounds like the agreement is one that truly did come together quickly, and you can’t blame Michigan fans for being extremely disappointed about it.

Nick Saban wary of permitting undrafted college players to return to school

Nick Saban grin

College basketball introduced a rule this season allowing players to hire an agent, go through the combine process, but still return to school if they part ways with the agent before a pre-draft deadline.

College football has a similar problem with undrafted players, but Alabama coach Nick Saban isn’t completely on board with a similar rule, noting that there would be a lot of issues to address before allowing undrafted players to return to college.

“If we’re going to have this many people go out for the draft, that’s obviously a solution that some people should look at,” Saban said, via Creg Stephenson of AL.com. “If that were the case in football, how many guys would go out for the draft? You could kiss spring practice goodbye. You wouldn’t know what kind of team … or who would be on your team for the next year. How would you know how many guys you could recruit if you don’t know how many guys are coming back to the team? I think when you have smaller numbers (as in basketball), that’s a little easier to manage.”

Saban added his concerns about how some underclassmen would be drafted, but in later rounds, jeopardizing their future potential when they may have been better served waiting a year and being selected higher.

“When you have 140-some guys going out for the draft and 49 don’t get drafted, and a significant number get drafted in the last couple of rounds from that group, which means they probably won’t be on the squad in three years, you’ve got a lot of people with failed careers and no degrees,” Saban said. “And that’s not really a combination for them and their success in the future.”

There’s no good solution here, and the fix isn’t as easy as on the basketball side for the reasons Saban notes. It doesn’t sound like anything will change anytime soon, either.

Urban Meyer watches Tim Tebow minor league baseball game

Urban Meyer

Urban Meyer took the opportunity on Friday to watch one of his best known former players compete in a baseball game.

Meyer went to Huntington Park in Columbus to watch Tim Tebow in a minor league game between the Syracuse Mets and Columbus Clippers. The former Ohio State and Florida Gators head coach tweeted photos from the game:

Tebow played for Meyer at Florida from 2006-2009, winning two national championships and going 13-1 three times. After an unsuccessful NFL career, Tebow decided to pursue a professional baseball career in 2016. He’s worked his way up to Triple-A for the Mets, though he has seemed overmatched at the plate this season. The 31-year-old entered Friday batting .131 with a hideous .376 OPS and 34 strikeouts in 26 games.

Batting ninth and playing left field, Tebow went 1-for-4 with a double and run scored against Columbus. Interestingly, Meyer used to be a pro baseball player too. He was a 13th-round pick by the Atlanta Braves in 1982 and spent two seasons in rookie ball before switching professions.

It’s nice he seems to not be holding this comment from Tebow against the former quarterback.