Navy QB Zach Abey moves to wide receiver

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Zach Abey was Navy’s starting quarterback for the bulk of the 2017 season. The junior led the Midshipmen with 293 carries for 1,413 yards (the second-highest single-season total in academy history) and 19 touchdowns while completing 31-of-72 passes for 805 yards and seven touchdowns. But the Middies went 6-6 in the regular season — the program’s worst season since 2011 — and dropped its second straight game to Army, sending Navy into its first losing streak against its archival in more than 20 years.

So head coach Ken Niumataololo announced ahead of the Military Bowl that sophomore Malcolm Perry would be the starting quarterback moving forward, and the move worked. Perry rushed 16 times for 114 yards and two touchdowns, but Abey still got his touches, rushing for five touchdowns in his 13 carries, and Navy crushed Virginia, 49-7. The expectation moving forward was that, while Perry would start, Abey would remain involved as the short-yardage quarterback.

But when Navy released its post-spring depth chart on Monday, Abey was unexpectedly listed as a co-starter at wide receiver. It’s not that Abey won’t play quarterback, it’s just that Navy won’t waste him on the sideline for every 1st-and-10.

“We’re just trying to get our best players on the field. Zach is clearly one of our best players and this is a good way to get him out there,” Niumatalolo told The Capital Gazette. “Zach is still going to play quarterback, but he is just too valuable to sit on the bench for most of the game.”

Abey is listed at 6-foot-2 and 212 pounds, a rugged frame that will help him excel at what Navy wideouts do most often: block.

“Zach wants to play as much as possible and I completely understand that,” Niumatalolo said. “When I mentioned the possibility of playing wide receiver, Zach was very excited about it. He is confident he can contribute at that position.”

Miami fires offensive coordinator Josh Gattis after 1 season

josh gattis fired
Reinhold Matay/USA TODAY Sports
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Miami fired offensive coordinator Josh Gattis on Friday, ending the former Broyles Award winner’s time with the Hurricanes after only one season.

The school announced the move in a one-sentence press release, with no other detail: “Josh Gattis has been relieved of his duties as offensive coordinator, Miami head football coach Mario Cristobal announced Friday,” read the release, sent from a university spokesman.

The Hurricanes went 5-7 in Gattis’ lone season. He was brought in by Miami only a few weeks after winning the 2021 Broyles Award – given to the nation’s top assistant coach – while serving as Michigan’s offensive coordinator and helping the Wolverines reach the College Football Playoff.

But Miami’s offense, for a number of reasons, failed to meet expectations in 2022. Part of that was injuries; starting quarterback Tyler Van Dyke battled a shoulder injury, and the Hurricanes turned to Jake Garcia – who has since transferred – and Jacurri Brown for much of the season.

Miami scored 100 points in its first two games last fall, overpowering Bethune-Cookman and Southern Miss. The Hurricanes averaged only 18.3 points the rest of the way, and finished the year 5-0 in games where the defense allowed no more than 14 points – but 0-7 when opponents scored more than 14.

Miami was 86th nationally in total offense last season, averaging 367.1 yards per game, and 97th in scoring offense.

Gattis played at Wake Forest and worked at North Carolina, Western Michigan, Vanderbilt, Penn State, Alabama and Michigan before coming to Miami.

Audit: LSU discovered $1M overpayment to Kelly in 2022

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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BATON ROUGE, La. – LSU accidentally overpaid Tigers football coach Brian Kelly by $1 million during the first year of a 10-year, $100 million contract, but discovered the error and has moved to correct it, the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s office said Wednesday.

Kelly was overpaid $1,001,368 in supplemental payments in 2022 because duplicate payments made both to Kelly’s LLC and to the coach directly.

The double payments began in May and continued until LSU officials detected the errors in November.

“LSU management and the head football coach have enacted an adjusted payment schedule so the amount of overpayment will be recouped by the conclusion of fiscal year 2023,” the Legislative Auditor’s report stated.

Kelly, who previously coached at Notre Dame for 12 seasons, was hired by LSU after the 2021 season, when the Tigers went 6-7 for its first losing season since 1999.

LSU exceeded expectations in Kelly’s first season in Baton Rouge, winning the SEC West Division and finishing 10-4 after a 63-7 victory over Purdue in the Citrus Bowl.