Saturday, February 7, 2009

News and notes

* Former Penn State quarterback Pat Devlin, a highly sought-after recruit in 2006, has transferred to Delaware. This isn't too surprising considering Daryll Clark's stranglehold on the QB job, but keep in mind that Devlin stepped in and led the Nittany Lions' winning touchdown drive against Ohio State last season. Devlin was obviously concerned about a lack of playing time, especially with the secural of top QB recruit Kevin Newsome as Clark's heir apparent. He'll have two years left to wear the coolest uniform in the FCS.

* Maryland joined the coach-in-waiting party by naming offensive coordinator James Franklin as the successor to Ralph Freidgen. Freidgen has three years remaining on his contract -- although his weight might have a say in how long he actually coaches -- but Franklin is only 37, so he's got plenty of time. He's only been Maryland's O-coordinator for the past year, but he held the same position at Kansas State for two years before that and was recruiting coordinator at Maryland in 2003 and 2004. His career path demonstrates a fast track to a college head coaching job, and considering his relative youth, the Terps seem to have done well in locking him up.

* Tony Franklin, who was fired after six games as Auburn's offensive coordinator last season, was hired Thursday as O-coordinator by Middle Tennessee State. Franklin was very successful in his two years at Troy, when he was actually able to run his version of the pass-happy Air Raid offense (as opposed to his tenure at Auburn, where nobody's quite sure what was going on). Assuming Middle Tennessee State gives him that freedom again, there's no reason he shouldn't be able to replicate the success he had in 2006 and 2007.

* LSU defensive tackle Charles Alexander was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA. Alexander has had an injury-plagued career, but he started six games in 2006 and eight games last season and will be the most experienced player on an otherwise young defensive line. He's technically the only returning starter as well, but don't feel too sorry for LSU. With Al Woods and Drake Nevis competing for the other starting job at defensive tackle and '08 sack leader Rahim Allen taking over at one end spot -- not to mention redshirt junior Lazarius Levingston trying to hold off youngsters Sidell Corley and Chancey Aghayere for playing time -- this will still be a ridiculously talented unit.

* Miami hired Philadelphia Eagles "offensive assistant" Mark Whipple as offensive coordinator. Whipple has spent most of his career as a college head coach -- at New Haven, Brown and UMass -- and his offensive numbers have been pretty impressive everywhere he's been. I won't go through all the statistics, but suffice it to say that he likes to throw the ball -- not in a Texas Tech way, but in a West Coast-ish type of way, probably closer to what you've seen with the Eagles. Smart Football points out that Whipple's career has been in neutral since his national title at UMass in 1998 -- his teams tailed off and he was eventually hired by the Pittsburgh Steelers as quarterbacks coach, then fired, then hired by Andy Reid as an offensive assistant. But assuming that he has a pulse and that at least some of the widespread praise is accurate, this will be a clear step up from Patrick Nix, who oversaw offenses ranked 110th and 89th in total yards his two-year tenure. Whipple, by the way, is not related to this guy.

* In one of the strangest Signing Day announcements in the history of bizarre announcements, three-star linebacker Kalial Glaud flipped a coin to decide between Rutgers and West Virginia. The coin came up tails, and Glaud committed to Rutgers. Seriously.

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