Oregon hires Georgia DC Dan Lanning as head coach

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Oregon hired Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning as head coach, completing a search for Mario Cristobal‘s replacement that took less than a week.

Cristobal was hired away from Oregon by Miami on Monday. Five days later, the Ducks landed on the 35-year-old Lanning, who will be a first-time head coach after spending the last four years at Georgia, the previous three leading one of the best defenses in the country.

“We are staged for success and I look forward to building on the strong foundation that currently exists in Eugene,” Lanning said in a statement. “Our goal is to win championships and develop our players both on and off the field. ”

No. 3 Georgia (12-1) has the top-ranked defense in the country this season and will play No. 2 Michigan in the College Football Playoff at the Orange Bowl on Dec. 31.

Georgia coach Kirby Smart said in a statement that Lanning would stay with the team through its playoff run. Inside linebackers coach Glenn Schumann and special teams coordinator Will Muschamp will be co-defensive coordinators for Georgia after Lanning moves on.

“We are so happy for Dan and his family,” Smart said. “He and (wife) Sauphia have been an important part of our Bulldog family for the last four years, and we thank them for all they did for Georgia Football and the Athens community.

“Opportunities like this are a testament to a successful program.”

Cristobal returned to his alma mater and hometown following four full seasons in Eugene as head coach. The Ducks went 35-13 under Cristobal, reaching the Pac-12 title game each of the last three seasons.

No. 15 Oregon (10-3) lost the Pac-12 title game against Utah last week and will play No. 14 Oklahoma in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29.

Lanning will be the Ducks’ third head coach since Willie Taggart took the job after the 2016 season, and fourth since Chip Kelly left for the NFL after the 2012 season.

Taggart replaced Mark Helfrich, but lasted just one season in Eugene before he returned to his home state to coach Florida State.

Cristobal was promoted from offensive coordinator to head coach to replace Taggart.

Now Oregon is going outside the program again, reaching across the country to hire a defensive coordinator as head coach after decades of being led by coaches with offensive backgrounds, starting with Mike Bellotti in the 1990s to Chip Kelly in the 2000s.

“Dan is an outstanding, high-energy football coach who will provide a world-class experience for our football student-athletes,” Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens said. “He is a tremendous recruiter and developer of talent, and we will continue to compete for championships while providing an environment where our football student-athletes can develop to their fullest potential in the classroom, on the football field, and as people.”

Lanning is a Missouri native who played football at Division II William Jewell in Liberty.

He started his coaching career at a high school outside Kansas City before bouncing from Pittsburgh to Arizona State as a graduate assistant. His first full-time job in Division I was with Arizona State and he spent a year with FCS Sam Houston State in 2014.

He did a stint as a graduate assistant at Alabama in 2015, and then his career took off. He was hired by Memphis as linebackers coach in 2016, and Smart brought him to Georgia in 2018.

He was promoted to defensive coordinator at Georgia in 2019. The Bulldogs have ranked in the top 10 in yards per play allowed in each of the past three seasons.

Alabama suspends freshman defensive back after drug arrest

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama freshman defensive back Tony Mitchell has been suspended from the team following his arrest on a drug charge.

Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said Monday after the first practice of spring that Mitchell was suspended from the team “and all team activities until we gather more information about the situation and what his legal circumstance is.”

The Holmes County Sheriff’s Office arrested Mitchell and another man, Christophere Lewis, last week on a charge of possession of marijuana with the intent to sell or deliver, according to a post on the department’s Facebook page. Lewis also was charged with carrying a concealed gun without a permit.

“Everybody’s got an opportunity to make choices and decisions,” Saban said. “There’s no such thing as being in the wrong place at the wrong time. You’ve gotta be responsible for who you’re with, who you’re around and what you do, who you associate yourself with and the situations that you put yourself in. It is what it is, but there is cause and effect when you make choices and decisions that put you in bad situations.”

Mitchell, who is from Alabaster, Alabama, was a five-star prospect rated the 34th-best player and No. 3 safety in the 247Composite rankings.

Mitchell was driving the vehicle during a traffic stop. After deputies smelled marijuana, Mitchell picked up a baggie of marijuana from the passenger floorboard, according to the department’s Facebook post.

Sheriff’s deputies found “an additional significant amount of marijuana, a set of scales, a loaded handgun between the passenger seat and center console, and a large amount of cash,” according to the department’s Facebook post.

Missouri linebacker Chad Bailey suspended after arrest

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COLUMBIA, Mo. — Missouri linebacker Chad Bailey was suspended from the team after he was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, the team said.

The 23-year-old, who was a team captain last season, was booked at about 2:45 a.m. and released after posting $500 bond, according to online records from the Boone County Sheriff’s Office.

“We are aware of the situation involving Chad Bailey,” Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz said in a statement to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “He’s been suspended according to Department of Athletics policy. We have high expectations for all of our student-athletes, on and off the field, and we will follow all departmental and campus policies.”

Bailey was Mizzou’s third-leading tackler with 57 stops last season. He started all 11 games he played, missing two with an injury. He’ll be a sixth-year senior this fall after opting to return for his final year of eligibility, the Post-Dispatch reported.

The Missouri student-athlete handbook says any athlete who is arrested must serve a minimum one-week suspension.

Bailey was pulled over at about 1 a.m. not far from the Columbia campus for an expired license plate and lane violation, a police statement said. Bailey told the officer he had consumed alcohol and then performed poorly on a field sobriety test, the Post-Dispatch reported.