North Carolina losing offensive assistants Longo, Bicknell to Wisconsin

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — North Carolina is losing two assistants to Wisconsin, including the one who has orchestrated the Tar Heels’ prolific attack the past four seasons.

Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Phil Longo said he and offensive line coach Jack Bicknell Jr. leave Chapel Hill for the same roles under new Badgers coach Luke Fickell.

Neither will coach when UNC (9-4) faces No. 15 Oregon in the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 28. Longo said his opportunity to work with Fickell – a friend for several years – was enticing.

“My wife and I love (UNC), the kids love it. It’s good coaching for (Mack) Brown. We’ve got a good staff and I absolutely love the locker room,” Longo said in an interview with The Associated Press. “So there’s no issues. It’s very, very difficult leaving here.

“We just felt like this was the right time,” he continued. “That’s what we decided to do, was take our shot in the Big Ten.”

Wisconsin team spokesman Brian Lucas declined to comment in an email, saying the program has yet to officially announce any staff hirings.

Longo said he first met with Fickell about joining his new staff at Cincinnati for the 2017 season before ultimately going to Mississippi. Longo spent two years there before joining Brown when the College Football Hall of Famer returned for a second stint at UNC before the 2019 season.

“I often felt I wouldn’t leave North Carolina for anything other than a head job unless it was for Luke, so that kind of presented itself when we spoke,” he said.

Longo’s first three offenses averaged 492 yards and 36.5 points behind quarterback Sam Howell, the program’s all-time leader with 10,283 yards passing and 92 touchdowns.

This year’s Tar Heels average 473.6 yards and 35 points with Drake Maye as Howell’s successor. He ranked among the Bowl Subdivision leaders in total offense (366.8, second), passing yardage (316.5, fifth) and passing touchdowns (35, tied for fifth).

Maye – named the AP’s Atlantic Coast Conference offensive player of the year – tweeted that he’d return to UNC as expected.

Reports: Miami hiring Lance Guidry from Tulane as DC

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Miami is hiring Lance Guidry, who was defensive coordinator at Marshall last season and recently accepted the same position at Tulane, to lead its defense, two people with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press.

The people spoke on condition of anonymity because a deal was still being finalized between Guidry and Miami.

The 51-year-old Louisiana native was hired way from Marshall by Tulane just last month. Now he’ll replace Kevin Steele on Mario Cristobal‘s staff at Miami. Steele is reportedly on his way to Alabama to become Nick Saban‘s defensive coordinator after holding that position for one season with the Hurricanes.

Alabama has yet to make the hiring of Steele and offensive coordinator Tommy Rees official. Rees had been assistant at Notre Dame.

Tulane announced the hiring of Guidry on Jan. 23 to replace Chris Hampton, who left the New Orleans-based school to join Oregon’s staff as an assistant coach.

Guidry’s defenses at Marshall ranked third in the nation in yards per play this season (4.56) and 26th nationally in 2021 (5.14 ypp).

Iowa-Northwestern set for Wrigley Field in November

Nikos Frazier/Journal & Courier/USA TODAY NETWORK

CHICAGO — Wrigley Field will host a college football game for the third time since 2010 when Iowa plays Northwestern next season.

Northwestern and the Chicago Cubs announced that the Wildcats’ home game will be played Nov. 4.

Northwestern played Illinois at Wrigley in 2010 in the MLB ballpark’s first college football game since 1938, and the Wildcats hosted Purdue there in 2021.

Wrigley Field has a long history of hosting football games. The Chicago Bears played there from 1921 to 1970 before moving to Soldier Field. The old Chicago Cardinals also played at Wrigley, as well as DePaul until its program folded in 1939.

Northwestern had been scheduled to play Wisconsin at Wrigley in 2020, but the game was moved to Ryan Field in Evanston because of the COVID-19 pandemic.