Uncertainty swirls around DeAnthony Arnett’s transfer from Vols

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This much appears to be certain: DeAnthony Arnett will be transferring from the Tennessee football program to be closer to his sick father in Michigan.

The when and where, however, remains up in the air.

According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, the fact that Arnett has spent less than a year with the Vols — he signed his Letter of Intent in early February — means it may be in his best interests to stay with the Vols through spring practice before transferring.  If the wide receiver were to leave prior to spending a year at the school, his appeal for a waiver that would allow him to play immediately at a new school instead of sitting out a transfer year would likely be denied.

The where of his ultimate transfer destination is very much uncertain as well.  Arnett’s father lives in Saginaw and his health is in decline because of diabetes, a couple of heart attacks and multiple surgeries.  Arnett. a four-star member of UT’s 2011 recruiting class and the No. 12 WR in the country, would like to transfer to either Michigan State or Michigan to be closer to his dad and still play at a BcS conference.

The only problem with that? Arnett told ESPN.com‘s Joe Schad in an email that the Vols will only release him from his scholarship to MAC schools.

“Coach [Derek] Dooley, myself or anybody doesn’t know what the future holds for my father,” Arnett said in the email. “I feel that I represented the University of Tennessee the best way I can on and off the field and I feel I have earned the right to be released unconditional to all schools in Michigan.”

That’s not exactly how his current school sees it.

“We’re not denying him a release to be near his family, get a good education and play Division 1 football at the same time, but we do have a policy of not releasing players to schools we either play or recruit against,” UT said in a statement to the News Sentinel. “Where he’s from, there are several good D-I schools nearby that would be good options to play football, get a good education and keep him near his family.”

In other words, UT is placing restrictions on where Arnett can transfer outside of the SEC, specifically to the two Michigan schools in the Big Ten.  The Vols play neither MSU nor UM during the next three seasons, and had one player on their 2011 roster hailing from the state of Michigan — Arnett.  By my count, a whopping total of four players from that 113-man-strong roster hailed from Midwestern states, and two of their 20 verbal commitments for the Class of 2012 are from that area.

In fairness, the Wolverines had 15 players on their 2011 roster that hailed from “SEC states”, while the Spartans had eight.  Two players out of the 220 that litter the Michigan schools’ rosters this year are from the state of Tennessee. So, roughly 10 percent of those two schools’ rosters are composed of recruits from the SEC’s footprint, and UT is going to toss out a limp recruiting excuse that couldn’t be propped up with a pair of crutches and a quality medical plan?

And here I thought these types of things were a thing of the past upon the departure of The Most Hated Man in College Football.  Hassling a kid who wants to be closer to his sick dad?  You should be ashamed and embarrassed, Vols.

Then again, you can’t spell “gutless” without “UT”…

Wisconsin fires Paul Chryst; names DC Leonhard interim coach

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Wisconsin fired head coach Paul Chryst on Sunday after a 2-3 start to his eighth season leading the school where he played, in the city where he grew up.

The surprising move comes a day after Wisconsin lost at home 34-10 to Illinois and former Badgers coach Bret Bielema.

Chryst is 67-26 since taking over as coach of the Badgers in 2015 after being hired away from Pittsburgh.

But the program has been backsliding. Chryst had double-digit win seasons in four of his first five years at Wisconsin and had gone 15-10 since.

Chryst, the 56-year-old Madison native, has four years left on his contract. He was set to make $5.25 million this season.

Defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard, another former Badgers player, was named interim coach. The 39-year-old former NFL defensive back has been part of Chryst’s staff for seven seasons and is considered one of the top assistant coaches in the country.

The in-season coaching move was the fifth already this season, and second of the day. Earlier Sunday, Colorado dismissed Karl Dorrell.

But none of the changes have been as unexpected as Wisconsin’s.

The program has been built on stability for more than three decades since Barry Alvarez turned it around in the 1990s.

Chryst, who played quarterback for the Badgers in the late 1980s, was an assistant and offensive coordinator under Alvarez and Bielema.

The Badgers’ offense, built on a powerful running game and efficient passing, has often looked stale over the last three years and struggled against better competition. Wisconsin managed only 2 yards rushing against Illinois, the program’s lowest total since 2015.

After losing to Illinois at Camp Randall Stadium for the first time in 20 years, Chryst said he was undeterred and looked forward to getting a chance to fix the problems.

“Do you want to be better? Absolutely. And you just want to focus on the things that you can do to help move the needle, help our players and assistant coaches,” he said. “So I didn’t think it’s going to be easy, and yet I believe in this group and I like this group. I appreciate where they’re coming from and how they go about it. I look forward to each day I get to be with them.

“We get to be together again, and we’ve got to roll up our sleeves and continue to go to work.”

Dorrell out as coach at Colorado after 0-5 start to season

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BOULDER, Colo. – Colorado fired football coach Karl Dorrell after an 0-5 start in which the Buffaloes have been blown out by more than 20 points in each game.

The school announced the decision Sunday, a day after a 43-20 loss at Arizona. It’s only the fourth 0-5 start in the history of Colorado (1980, 1984 and 2006).

Dorrell, 58, was brought in as a replacement when Mel Tucker bolted for Michigan State out of the blue in February 2020.

The hiring of Dorrell was met with surprise because he had been out of college coaching for a while. He was an assistant with the Miami Dolphins at the time, but had been UCLA’s head coach from 2003-07.

Dorrell, who had built a house in the Boulder area, agreed to a five-year, $18 million contract that ran through 2024. The buyout is approximately $8.7 million, but could be reduced pending his next job. His termination was first reported by ESPN.

Colorado waited to announce the news until after Dorrell had a chance to inform his staff and players in a meeting. Defensive coordinator Chris Wilson was also let go.

Offensive coordinator Mike Sanford will serve as interim coach. Defensive line coach Gerald Chatman will serve as the team’s defensive coordinator, while passing game coordinator/tight ends coach Clay Patterson takes over as offensive coordinator.

The Buffaloes are idle this week before hosting California.

Dorrell didn’t have much of an offseason program due to coronavirus restrictions his inaugural season, but led the Buffaloes to a 4-2 mark – they started 4-0 – and an appearance in the Alamo Bowl. Dorrell was named Pac-12 coach of the year.

It was downhill from there. Colorado went 4-8 last season and saw several key starters leave through the transfer portal. This season, Colorado has rotated through three quarterbacks in trying to ignite an offense that ranks near the bottom of the FBS ranks. The Buffaloes and rival Colorado State, who have a new coach in Jay Norvell, are the only two teams left in the FBS without a win.

“The results on the field just did not measure up to our expectations and standards, which made it necessary for us to make this change at this time,” Colorado director of athletics Rick George said in a statement. “It was an extremely difficult decision and I wish Karl all of the best in his future endeavors.”

This is what it’s come to in Boulder: George issued a statement last month to pacify fans after a 49-7 loss at Minnesota. He said he recognized and understood the disappointment as the team has not “come close to meeting our expectations.” He urged the fans to stick with the program and support the team.

The loss to Arizona became the final blow for Dorrell, whose team has been outscored by a 216-67 margin. The Wildcats were a team predicted to finish 11th in the Pac-12 preseason media poll, with Colorado last. The Buffaloes’ defense surrendered 673 total yards Saturday – the most since allowing 616 to Arizona in 2015.

Dorrell weathered some rocky moments over his time in Boulder. A year ago, he apologized after losing his cool and pushing a photojournalist’s camera on his way off the field following a 37-14 loss to Southern California.

He also came under fire last season for skipping his customary postgame radio show after a 30-0 loss to the Gophers. In addition, Dorrell drew scrutiny when players weren’t made available after a 55-23 loss to Texas in the Alamo Bowl.

Since joining the Pac-12 in 2011, the Buffaloes have turned to coaches such as Jon Embree, Mike MacIntyre, Tucker and Dorrell to try to turn the Buffaloes around. MacIntyre led the Buffaloes to the conference championship game in 2016, but it was his only winning season out of six.

Tucker seemed to have the Buffaloes on the right path, bringing in several top prospects, before leaving for Michigan State after on season. That opened the door for Dorrell, who served as a receivers coach and later as offensive coordinator for Colorado in the 1990s.

A national search for a coach is expected to start soon.

“I fully support Rick in making this difficult decision to dismiss Coach Dorrell,” Chancellor Philip DiStefano said. “The football team is an important part of the university and I know our students, alumni, and fans have high expectations for a winning product on the field.”