Ravens

Cincinnati hires Tuberville as football coach

201212081821661035842-p2.jpeg

Cincinnati hires Tuberville as football coach

CINCINNATI (AP) Tommy Tuberville wasn't expecting a call from an old acquaintance. A few hours later, he was headed north for a new job.

Tuberville left Texas Tech to become Cincinnati's football coach Saturday, moving away from a Big 12 school to one that has an uncertain future with conference realignment. He left the Red Raiders after three years to coach at a school where his recent predecessors have lasted no longer.

Two hours after Cincinnati's 11th-ranked basketball team won its ninth game of the season, the Bearcats hauled out their Big East trophies and held a pep rally - complete with cheerleaders, band and several hundred fans - for the new coach at midcourt.

``There's always a next step,'' Tuberville said. ``I'm going to get the question: Why did you come to Cincinnati? That's exactly it.''

His quick hiring ended a whirlwind week in Cincinnati, which had won a share of its fourth Big East title in the past five years a week earlier. Coach Butch Jones interviewed at Purdue and Colorado before accepting the job at Tennessee on Friday morning.

Athletics director Whit Babcock had Tuberville - whom he worked with for three years at Auburn - at the top of his list of candidates. Working on two hours of sleep, Babcock called Tuberville on Saturday morning to see if he was interested.

``I was perfectly satisfied,'' Tuberville said. ``I had a great home in Lubbock, Texas. The people of west Texas are great people, they love football. Our football team played hard. ... But there was something when Whit called that I thought, `You know? Let me think about this.'''

Texas Tech athletics director Kirby Hocutt was stunned when Tuberville called to tell him he was leaving.

``The first indication I got was at 10:32 this morning when he called me,'' Hocutt said. ``Tommy and I have talked a number of times since the conclusion of the Baylor game this year, and as recently as yesterday he looked me in the eye and gave me his commitment and dedication to Texas Tech football and leading this program forward.''

Both teams are headed to bowl games with their coaching staffs in flux.

The Bearcats (9-3) held their first practice on Saturday for the Belk Bowl against Duke. Players heard the news while eating lunch after practice.

``We had a real smooth practice,'' senior quarterback Brendon Kay said. ``We knocked the rust off from not practicing for a week. After practice, I was in the locker room and then eating lunch, it came on (television). We said, `Wow, this is real.'''

Tuberville won't coach the Bearcats in their bowl, leaving it up to the staff.

Tuberville went 20-17 in three seasons at Texas Tech, after coaching at Mississippi and Auburn. The Red Raiders (7-5) will play Minnesota in the Meineke Car Care Bowl after missing out on a bowl last season.

By hiring the 58-year-old Tuberville, Cincinnati broke with its recent practice of attracting up-and-coming coaches from smaller conferences. The last three coaches left after three years each - Mark Dantonio came from Ohio State and left for Michigan State; Brian Kelly came from Central Michigan and went to Notre Dame; Jones succeeded Kelly at both Central Michigan and Cincinnati.

Like Kelly and Jones, Tuberville likes a wide-open offense. The Red Raiders ranked second nationally with 361.9 yards passing this season.

His final season at Texas Tech was marred by a sideline outburst. Tuberville lost his temper with graduate assistant Kevin Oliver during a 41-34 win over Kansas.

Tuberville appeared to strike Oliver after the Red Raiders had trouble getting the right players on the field. Tuberville said he grabbed Oliver's headset, but wished he'd handled the situation better.

The Bearcats hope his hiring allows them to end their streak of losing football coaches every few years. He agreed to the framework of a five-year deal, with details still to be worked out.

The university has been disappointed by the Big East's massive exodus and lobbied to get into the Atlantic Coast Conference. Instead, rival Louisville got accepted by the ACC, leaving Cincinnati hoping it could make the move in a few more years.

Tuberville wasn't put off by the conference uncertainty, saying he wants to get the program to the point that ``anybody would be proud to have Cincinnati in whatever conference is out there.

``But we're excited about where we at right now. Things will change and they're going to change every day for the next few years, and everybody knows where it's headed.''

There's also a lot of work to do on the athletic facilities.

During Jones' tenure, Cincinnati expanded its football facility, adding a practice field with a protective bubble for bad weather. The school is trying to figure out how to upgrade 35,000-seat Nippert Stadium, which is the second-oldest playing site in the nation for a college team behind Penn's Franklin Field. Nippert has been in use since 1901.

Despite their Big East success, the Bearcats have played in front of disappointing crowds at Nippert. They drew only 21,171 fans on senior night - their smallest crowd of the season - for a 27-10 win over South Florida this year.

---

Associated Press writer Betsy Blaney in Lubbock contributed to this report.

Quick Links

Breaking down the Jalen Ramsey question and what it could mean for the Ravens secondary

Breaking down the Jalen Ramsey question and what it could mean for the Ravens secondary

If there’s one thing that’s obvious about the Jalen Ramsey situation in Jacksonville, it’s that there are 31 other teams that would like to have him on the team. 

Yes, that includes the Ravens. It’s not breaking news to think every team in the NFL is looking for a former All-Pro cornerback any way they can get him.

Two Ravens players, Matthew Judon and Marquise Brown, already tweeted their desire to bring Ramsey to Baltimore.

The logistics of adding him, however, are a completely separate issue. 

Ramsey, a 2016 first-round pick of the Jaguars, recently requested a trade. He’s reportedly unhappy with his usage in the Jaguars defense and had a spat with his head coach, Doug Marrone, on the sideline last Sunday against the Texans. 

According to ESPN’s Dianna Russini, two offers have already been made for Ramsey’s services.

From the Ravens perspective, there’s both pros and cons to what this deal could mean. 

Starting with the positives, it’s clear: Ramsey is one of, if not the game’s best cornerbacks. Adding him to a secondary already with Marlon Humphrey on the opposite side of the field, and Earl Thomas and Tony Jefferson at safety, would clearly give the Ravens the best secondary in the NFL — if they didn’t have it already. 

Without slot cornerback Tavon Young for the season and Jimmy Smith for a few weeks, the Ravens have been pressed deeper than they thought they might have to go with those two absent. Ramsey would come in and immediately fill a hole left behind from injuries. 

Ramsey is still under his rookie contract for this and next season, where he’ll carry a cap hit of 7.429 million dollars this season according to Spotrac. Next year, his final year, he’ll have a cap hit of 13.7 million dollars.

The Ravens have 9.625 million dollars in cap space this season, also according to Spotrac. Meaning, they’d be able to fit him in, should they so desire. Next season, they’re projected to have the ninth-most cap space available in the NFL at 68.127 million dollars. 

With 10 projected draft picks next year, including two-third round picks and three-fourth round picks, the Ravens will have the ammunition necessary to acquire a player like Ramsey. And in a conference with the Chiefs, Patriots and Browns, all of whom boast outstanding offensive weapons, building out the defensive side of the ball could push the Ravens over the edge. 

Baltimore has free agents to take care of at season’s end, like Michael Pierce, Willie Snead, Patrick Onwuasor, Matthew Judon, Patrick Ricard and Jimmy Smith. 

None of those names, however, will command top-dollar in the open market. And with Lamar Jackson still on his rookie deal for this season and potentially three more after this, the time to strike for the Ravens could be now. 

But, like all trade scenarios, there’s another side to Ramsey’s potential acquisition. 

Ramsey has stated his desire to be a lockdown, No. 1 cornerback responsible for shutting down opposing team’s top receivers. The Ravens already have a bonafide top corner in Humphrey, and if the team uses its fifth-year option on him, he won’t have to be re-signed until 2021.

Ronnie Stanley is the biggest fish that the Ravens have to sign, and he’s due after the 2020 season — the same season as Ramsey. Locking up Stanley and Ramsey could prove to be tough, especially considering the fact that both would be at or near the top of the pay-grade for their respective position groups. 

And, for better or worse, Ramsey has been known to be vocal about what he sees on the field and in the organization. 

That could mean a proclamation about how well the defense is playing as a way of being a leader, or it could mean lashing out when things go poorly. Like he showed last week against the Texans, he’s not shy about telling the man in charge about how he feels. Could that be pent up frustration boiling over? Absolutely. But the Ravens will have to be careful with what they decide, considering that past.

They’ve had boisterous personalities before in Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs, so the franchise isn’t foreign to what those players bring. 

Even if the Ravens view Ramsey as their top option and would like to make a deal, the Jaguars need to be pleased with the compensation they receive. The Ravens might not be willing to go that far. 

Jacksonville has reportedly been asking for a first-round pick, plus more. The Ravens do have a 2020 first-round pick, but might not be willing to sell off what could end up being another second or third-round pick, or even their 2021 first-round pick. 

Even if the Ravens offer their 2020 first-round pick, at 2-0 already, there’s a decent shot the Ravens pick 20th or higher in the first round. The Jaguars could accept a trade from another team, who they view as having a better chance of picking towards the top of the first round in the next few years. 

So what does all that mean? It means to remain level-headed, whether or not the move gets done. 

Should the Ravens pull the trigger on one of the biggest moves of the 2019 season, or should they sit on the sidelines and keep their picks, there are pros and cons to each decision. The trade, or lack thereof, doesn’t mean the Ravens will win the AFC or mean they’re doomed.

It just means they’ll either have Jalen Ramsey, or they won’t.

MORE RAVENS NEWS:

Quick Links

Wizards' Go-Go to Hold Local Tryouts on Saturday

go-go_blue_logo.png
Capital City Go-Go

Wizards' Go-Go to Hold Local Tryouts on Saturday

The Washington Wizards are trying to find their Mark Wahlberg from “Invincible” on the basketball court this weekend.

The Wizards’ G League Affiliate Capital City Go-Go will host its local player tryout at the Entertainment and Sports Arena this Saturday. Both head coach Ryan Richman and general manager Pops Mensah-Bonsu will be in attendance to evaluate the area’s talent.

The District’s under the radar ballers will try to impress the Go-Go’s front office for a chance at an invite to training camp in October. The team can invite four of the players at tryouts back to camp. Three invitees ended up playing in a total of 75 games in the team’s inaugural season in 2018-2019. Among them was power forward Isaiah Armwood, who started in 20 games and averaged 11.4 points. 

Not unfamiliar to the D.C. sports scene, the Go-Go finished right outside of the G League playoff picture last season with a 25-25 record. With the Wizards season on the horizon, some local talent could soon find themselves vying for those coveted two-way contract deals. 

The Wizards currently have 18 players on the roster, with 17 of those to be under contract for the upcoming season. Garrison Matthews, an undrafted shooting guard out of Lipscomb, has one of the two two-way contracts. 

Depending on how the first couple of months go for the Wizards, there’s a chance this season could pave the way for some of the Washington’s untapped talent.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS: