Is anyone else out there bugged by stuff like this? National Signing Day was Wednesday, February 1. Then:
• On February 2, the day after National Signing Day, LSU coach Ed Orgeron fired wide receiver coach Dameyune Craig and reassigned running backs coach Jabbar Jaluke. No reason was given for the moves.
• On February 7, Georgia coach Kirby Smart announced that defensive line coach Tracy Rocker no longer was with the program. The next day, Smart replaced Rocker with Tray Scott, who had been at Ole Miss for just six weeks after leaving North Carolina.
• That same day, Scott Fountain, Auburn’s tight ends and special teams coach, was relieved of his on-field duties. By many accounts, Fountain was one of the top recruiters on the staff. Four days later, Gus Malzahn hired running backs coach Larry Porter away from North Carolina. Porter, named the national recruiter of the year in 2009, will become Auburn’s recruiting coordinator.
• On February 3, Florida coach Jim McElwain hired JaJuan Seider, the running backs coach at West Virginia. It was a good move for Florida because Seider, a native of Belle Glade, Fla., has great recruiting connections in south Florida. But what about the players he was recruiting for West Virginia, his alma mater? Alec Sinkfield, a running back from Delray Beach, Fla., chose West Virginia over Kentucky and Louisville on National Signing Day. One media report said Seider closed the deal to get Sinkfield to sign at West Virginia. I wonder how ol’ Alec is feeling right about now? You think he would have liked to have known that the guy who convinced him to travel 1,000 miles from his home to play college football in Morgantown, W.Va., wouldn’t be there 48 hours after he signed his name on the dotted line?
To be fair, I looked at Sinkfield’s Twitter feed, and if he had any complaints about Seider leaving, he didn’t express them there.
I know, I know: Coaches always tell recruits they are signing with the school, not the coach with whom they have built a relationship. Still …
I did some calling around and the feedback I got essentially was this: “If this bothers you, then you’re being pretty naïve. Coaches leaving, or being asked to leave, right after signing day is just a fact of life in college football.”
Former Texas coach/current ESPN analyst Mack Brown: “We’ve always had it. And as a head coach you hate it. But with social media people are just a lot more aware of it.”
Former UCLA coach/current CBS analyst Rick Neuheisel: “This has always been a part of coaching. It’s just that now it happens on a much more public stage.”
I talked to Brown, Neuheisel and several other coaches about what’s going on when there is this kind of movement after NSD. It falls into several categories.
1. Some assistants are looking to leave and are going through the interview process during recruiting.
“Sometimes they don’t tell you that they want to leave; they just say that they want to interview,” Brown said. “So you ask them not to make any moves until after National Signing Day.”
2. Assistants who get fired or reassigned right after NSD almost always know that it is coming. In most cases, the coach gives the assistant the option of staying on through NSD with the understanding he’ll be looking for another job.
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