Josh Heupel brings 3 UCF assistants to Tennessee

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — New Tennessee coach Josh Heupel is bringing three offensive assistants with him from the UCF staff.

Heupel, who coached UCF from 2018-20, announced six of his assistant coaches.

Tennessee’s offensive coordinator will be Alex Golesh, who was UCF’s co-offensive coordinator and tight ends coach in 2020. He previously spent four seasons as Iowa State’s tight ends coach/recruiting coordinator.

The Volunteers’ new defensive coordinator is Tim Banks, who spent the last five seasons as Penn State’s co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach. Banks has worked as a defensive coordinator at Central Michigan (2007-09), Cincinnati (2010-11) and Illinois (2012-15).

Banks and Golesh both have contracts running through Jan. 31, 2024. Banks will make $1.3 million in the first year of his deal, $1.4 million the second year and $1.5 million the third year. Golesh will make $750,000 per year.

Tennessee’s other new assistants have contracts running through Jan. 31, 2023.

Quarterbacks coach Joey Halzle and offensive line coach Glen Elarbee held the same positions at UCF. Both also used to work with Heupel at Missouri.

Elarbee was UCF’s offensive line coach from 2018-20 and also filled that role at Middle Tennessee, Houston, Arkansas State and Missouri. Halzle worked as an offensive analyst at UCF in 2019 before becoming quarterbacks coach in 2020.

Elarbee will make $750,000 annually. Halzle will earn $350,000 per year.

Heupel’s staff also includes Kodi Burns as wide receivers coach and Jerry Mack as running backs coach.

Burns coached receivers at Auburn from 2016-20 and also was passing game coordinator from 2019-20. He played on Auburn’s 2010 national championship team. Burns will make $300,000 this year and $425,000 next year, and his contract also includes a $125,000 retention bonus if he’s still on Tennessee’s staff for the Volunteers’ last 2022 regular-season game.

Mack was Rice’s offensive coordinator from 2018-20 after serving as North Carolina Central’s head coach from 2014-17. Mack will earn $400,000 per year.

Heupel was the first major hire of new Tennessee athletic director Danny White, who formerly held the same position at UCF. Tennessee fired former coach Jeremy Pruitt on Jan. 18, the same day athletic director Phillip Fulmer announced he was retiring.

UCF has hired former Auburn coach Gus Malzahn as its new football coach.

WVU RB Donaldson in concussion protocol, out for Baylor game

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Lee Coleman/Getty Images
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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

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
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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.