Sunday, May 20, 2018
Colleges

Alabama hires Lane Kiffin

Alabama hired former Southern California coach Lane Kiffin on Friday as its offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

Kiffin returns to the SEC after head coaching stints with the NFL's Raiders, Tennessee Volunteers and the Trojans. He replaces Doug Nussmeier, who left Alabama for Michigan.

"He is an outstanding and creative offensive coach who has great experience both at the college and NFL level," coach Nick Saban said in a statement. "He has a very good understanding of the game, and I have always been impressed with what I saw in the games he called. He coaches with a great deal of passion and enthusiasm, and also does an excellent job as a teacher."

Kiffin spent a week in Tuscaloosa, Ala., last month exchanging ideas with Saban and his staff and observing the offense. No terms of the deal with Alabama were released, pending formal approval by the university's board of trustees.

Kiffin, 38, was 28-15 in three-plus seasons at Southern Cal. He was fired five games into last season. Kiffin spent six seasons (2001-06) at USC under Pete Carroll as an assistant, including the final two as offensive coordinator. He also called plays during his time as a head coach. He spent the 2009 season at Tennessee, going 7-6 before leaving to replace Carroll.

"We want to thank the University of Alabama and Coach Saban for this tremendous opportunity, and we feel humbled and honored to be a part of the Crimson Tide family," Kiffin said in a statement. "I've always had the utmost respect for what Coach Saban has done with his programs."

Now, Kiffin is tasked with finding a replacement for quarterback AJ McCarron, the Heisman Trophy runnerup. One potential contender, Alec Morris, posted on his Twitter page "Love it" after the hiring.

Kiffin did run afoul of SEC commissioner Mike Slive during his stint at Tennessee. After Kiffin was publicly dismissive of his second reprimand from the league, this one for criticizing officials, Slive issued a letter warning him that further such comments from he or his staff would lead to a suspension from at least one game.

FSU WR to enter draft: Kelvin Benjamin, who caught the winning touchdown with 13 seconds left in the BCS championship victory over Auburn, will forgo his final two seasons of eligibility and enter the NFL draft, multiple media outlets reported. Benjamin was second on the team with 54 receptions for 1,011 yards and a team-leading 15 TD receptions.

Canes staying: Linebacker Denzel Perryman, who led the Hurricanes in tackles and was projected as a potential third-rounder if he entered the NFL draft, joined defensive end Anthony Chickillo, a former Alonso High standout, in announcing they will return for their senior seasons.

Penn State coach search: University officials said they will make a "major announcement" this afternoon, likely naming Vanderbilt coach James Franklin as the Nittany Lions' successor to Bill O'Brien, who left for the NFL. Vanderbilt officials said Thursday night that Franklin hadn't made a decision, but ESPN.com reported Friday that the deal could be worth up to $4.5 million per year. O'Brien made about $3.2 million this season.

W. Kentucky Hires Coach: The Hilltoppers promoted offensive coordinator Jeff Brohm to head coach. Brohm, 42, replaces Bobby Petrino, who left for Louisville. A Louisville native who played quarterback for the Cardinals and later was on the Bucs roster (1998), Brohm also had coaching stops at Florida Atlantic, Illinois and Alabama-Birmingham. "We're going to try to stay cutting edge, be ahead of the curve and be creative," he said.

Motivated at Auburn: Coach Gus Malzahn didn't sleep in after returning from the BCS national championship game loss to FSU. Instead, he arrived at the office early Wednesday like always. Coming up 13 seconds short of a title tends to be motivating. "The future's bright. That's what I told our team … that the groundwork's laid," Malzahn said. "Once I get over the feeling of when you lose a championship game that close, you put that behind you and move forward. We'll work extremely hard to get back there and try to redeem ourselves."

Comments
Taggart delivers a bolt to area

Taggart delivers a bolt to area

TAMPA — After spending four years as USF’s football coach, Willie Taggart knows what to expect this time of year in the area, so it’s no surprise how he began a chat with reporters Sunday before a booster stop at Armature Works."Go Lightning," he sai...
Updated: 5 minutes ago
Willie Taggart: ‘Pretty cool’ to be back in Tampa as FSU coach

Willie Taggart: ‘Pretty cool’ to be back in Tampa as FSU coach

TAMPA – After spending four years as the coach at USF, Willie Taggart knows what to expect this time of year in the area, so it's no surprise how he began a chat with reporters Sunday before a booster stop at Armature Works."Go Lightning," Tagg...
Updated: 1 hour ago
ACC football announces early kickoff times, TV info for FSU, Miami games

ACC football announces early kickoff times, TV info for FSU, Miami games

The ACC has released some kickoff and TV information for the first three weeks of the season:Week 1 (previously announced)Miami vs. LSU (in Arlington, Texas): Sunday, Sept. 2, 7:30 p.m., ABCVirginia Tech at Florida State: Monday, Sept. 3, 8 p.m., ESP...
Published: 05/18/18
Why FSU playing Boise State in Jacksonville is a smart risk

Why FSU playing Boise State in Jacksonville is a smart risk

Old, unofficial news is expected to become old, official news today with a formal announcement that Florida State and Boise State are kicking off the 2019 season in Jacksonville.  A lot has changed since the schools announced the series (FSU pla...
Published: 05/16/18
FSU-Boise State to open 2019 season in Jacksonville

FSU-Boise State to open 2019 season in Jacksonville

What had been an open secret for months is now open and shut: Group of Five power Boise State will face FSU at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville in the teams' 2019 opener.A formal announcement is expected Wednesday, but the '19 schedule on Boise's offi...
Published: 05/15/18
RHP Mark Moclair’s versatility proves valuable to University of Tampa

RHP Mark Moclair’s versatility proves valuable to University of Tampa

TAMPA — He’s the accidental pitcher who can’t be pigeonholed into a defined role. He’s a well-spoken economics major who morphs into fire-breathing intensity on the mound. And he’s one of the biggest reasons why the University of Tampa Spartans are p...
Published: 05/15/18
Police: Florida Gators recruit Justin Watkins kicked female’s car, broke her phone

Police: Florida Gators recruit Justin Watkins kicked female’s car, broke her phone

One of the Florida Gators' top incoming recruits was released from jail early Wednesday after police allege he kicked a female's car and broke her phone after an argument.Justin Watkins — a four-star athlete from Clermont — and ...
Published: 05/10/18
Why Gators’ Dan Mullen still name-drops his second grade teacher

Why Gators’ Dan Mullen still name-drops his second grade teacher

When first-year Gators coach Dan Mullen spoke to a packed crowd at the Tampa Yacht and Country Club this winter, he told stories about the stars Florida fans recognize instantly.Tim Tebow. Steve Spurrier. Percy Harvin.Then he name-dropped someone els...
Published: 05/10/18
Florida Gators coordinator Todd Grantham to earn $1.39 million. Here are the other salaries

Florida Gators coordinator Todd Grantham to earn $1.39 million. Here are the other salaries

New Florida defensive coordinator Todd Grantham will be one of the highest paid assistants in the country, earning $1.39 million in base pay this year.The Gators released the contracts for Grantham and the rest of Dan Mullen's staff on Tuesday aftern...
Published: 05/08/18
Why Dan Mullen wants his Gators to hit every school in Florida

Why Dan Mullen wants his Gators to hit every school in Florida

As the Florida Gators hit the road for the spring evaluation period, coach Dan Mullen has a goal."It's really important for me that we try to get into every school in the state of Florida," Mullen said Monday before a speech to the Polk County Gator ...
Published: 05/08/18