Arkansas gives raises to two assistants who had other SEC schools looking to poach them

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As a pair of Arkansas football coaches are the latest to attest, interest from other schools can be very good for your bank account.

Hired as head coach in early December, Sam Pittman put the finishing touches on his first Arkansas football coaching staff less than a month later. Included in that group were Brad Davis as offensive line coach and former Missouri head coach Barry Odom as defensive coordinator.

In early March, Pittman had confirmed that those two assistants had drawn interest from other programs. Texas A&M offered Davis a job, but the coach opted to remain with Arkansas football. An unspecified SEC school also offered Odom their coordinator job. Odom, obviously, opted to remain as part of the Arkansas football staff.

Not surprisingly, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported, Davis and Odom each received $100,000 raises on top of the guaranteed compensation for which their original contracts called.

Odom will now make $1.3 million for 2020. That makes him the highest-paid assistant on Pittman’s staff. Davis’ pay was bumped up to $650,000 with the raise.

The Democrat-Gazette writes that “Odom’s raise was finalized March 10, and Davis’ was finalized Feb. 3.” Those raises came after the interest from other schools.

Odom’s contract is a three-year deal. Davis is a two-year contract.

Arkansas will (hopefully) open its first football season under Pittman with a home game against Nevada Sept. 5. The first SEC game will come two weeks later at Mississippi State.  The first home SEC game?  A week later versus Texas A&M.

WVU RB Donaldson in concussion protocol, out for Baylor game

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) West Virginia running back CJ Donaldson is in concussion protocol and will miss next week’s home game with Baylor after he was injured in a loss to Texas, coach Neal Brown said Tuesday.

Donaldson remained on the ground after he was tackled on a short gain in the third quarter of Saturday’s 38-20 loss to the Longhorns. His helmet and shoulder pads were removed and he was carted off the field on a stretcher. After the game he was cleared to travel home with the team.

“He’s recovering,” Brown said. “There is a strict return-to-play (policy) that we have to follow here and I’m zero involved in it. All I do is ask the question. They don’t even start the return-to-play until they’re symptom free.”

Donaldson, a 240-pound freshman, leads the Mountaineers with 389 rushing yards and six touchdowns, with an average of 6.9 yards per carry.

West Virginia (2-3, 0-2 Big 12 Conference) is idle this week and hosts Baylor (3-2, 1-1) next Thursday, Oct. 13.

Taulia Tagovailoa says he visited brother, Tua, over weekend

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa was able to visit his brother, Tua, last weekend after the Terrapins’ game against Michigan State, he said Tuesday in his first comments to reporters since Tua left the Miami Dolphins’ game against Cincinnati last Thursday with a frightening head injury.

Taulia played in Maryland’s win over Michigan State on Saturday but was not made available to the media afterward. He said Tuesday he was able to go to Florida and spend some time with his brother, who suffered a concussion four days after taking a hit in another game but was cleared to return.

“He’s doing good, everything’s fine,” he said. “My biggest thing was just seeing him and spending as much time as I can with him. I came back Sunday night.”

Tagovailoa said he appreciates the support for his brother.

“My brother’s my heart. He’s someone I look up to, someone I talk to every day,” he said. “It was just a hard scene for me to see that.”

Tagovailoa said he was in constant contact with his mother about his brother’s situation, and he was finally able to talk to Tua on Friday night.

“I really just wanted to go there and just spend time with my family, hug them and stuff like that,” Taulia Tagovailoa said. “But he told me he’s a big fan of us, and he’d rather watch me play on Saturday. … After that phone call, I was happy and getting back to my normal routine.”

Tagovailoa indicated that his brother’s injury didn’t make him too nervous about his own health when he took the field again.

“I guess when that happens to someone like my brother, or when anything happens to one of my family members, I don’t really think of how it will be able to affect me,” he said. “I just think of: `Is he OK? How’s he doing?”‘

Although it was a short visit to Florida, he said he and Tua made the most of their chance to be together.

“I just wanted to make sure he’s healthy and stuff, which he is,” Taulia Tagovailoa said.