COLLEGE FOOTBALL ROUNDUP News and notes
Petrino withdraws from LSU job: Louisville football coach Bobby Petrino withdrew from consideration for the job at LSU on Saturday. He met with LSU officials during the week about replacing Nick Saban, who is leaving the Tigers for the NFL's Miami Dolphins. Arkansas coach Houston Nutt pulled out of contention for the LSU job Thursday. "LSU has a tradition-rich program with much to offer, but as I reflect on what we've accomplished in a short time here at Louisville, we're on the brink of establishing a great program that will compete for a national championship," Petrino said in a statement. "I want to be the coach who sees that through." He coached No. 7 Louisville to a 44-40 victory over No. 10 Boise State in the Liberty Bowl on Friday. Louisville recently gave Petrino a raise from $550,000 to $1 million a season, plus incentive clauses. LSU had no immediate comment on Petrino's statement, spokesman Michael Bonnette said at the Capital One Bowl in Orlando, Fla., where the Tigers faced Iowa.
Franchione gets raise: Texas A & amp;M coach Dennis Franchione will get a contract extension and a raise after leading the Aggies to the Cotton Bowl in his second season. Athletic director Bill Byrne said Saturday that Franchione's contract, currently worth $1.7 million annually through 2010, was being restructured. He didn't release the details. "He's done a great job with the talent we have and I look forward to a great future at Texas A & amp;M," Byrne said before the Aggies (7-5) finished their season with a 38-7 loss to Tennessee. "We want to make sure Dennis Franchione continues to coach our football team." The deal is expected to be completed this month. Byrne would only say that Franchione would remain among the best-paid coaches in the country. "It certainly provides continuity and patience for what we're trying to do, and understanding," Franchione said. "This is where we want to finish our coaching career, and where [wife] Kim and I want to be." The Cotton Bowl was Texas A & amp;M's first New Year's Day game in six years. The Aggies were 4-8 last season. Byrne said a restructured contract for Franchione had been discussed before Brown got his new deal. "We always analyze our compensation at the end of every year," Byrne said. "This is something that actually President [Robert] Gates and I talked about sometime in November." Texas A & amp;M started this season with a 41-21 loss at Utah, then won six straight games before losing three of its last four. The Aggies still got their first Cotton Bowl berth since 1998, after Texas got into the BCS.
Orgeron's focus on Orange Bowl: Ed Orgeron's hectic month is winding down, and soon he'll begin to devote every bit of energy toward his new responsibilities as Mississippi's football coach. For now, however, Orgeron insists that he has a single focus -- helping top-ranked Southern California win the national championship. Orgeron wears the titles of defensive line coach, recruiting coordinator and assistant head coach at USC, which plays No. 2 Oklahoma on Tuesday night in the Orange Bowl for the Bowl Championship Series title. He was hired at Ole Miss last month, but opted to remain with USC for the championship game. "I feel this is the best football team we've played since I've been at USC and my focus has been strictly on beating Oklahoma," Orgeron said Saturday. It took the 43-year-old Orgeron two decades as an assistant before the chance to be a head coach came along; he was part of Jimmy Johnson's staff at Miami in 1988 as a graduate assistant, before moving into a four-year stint as defensive line coach the following year. Orgeron still lists Johnson and USC coach Pete Carroll as the two largest influences on his coaching style. Under his leadership, USC has lured some of the nation's top-ranked recruiting classes. "I know he's been preparing for a long time to be the head guy," said USC defensive end Shaun Cody, who was recruited by Orgeron. How long? "I've been preparing for this since I was 6 years old," Orgeron said.
Imoh trying: During the week, at least, Virginia Tech tailback Mike Imoh could pretend he was just another part of the team. He'd practice with the scout squad, being so pesky the Hokies' defense took to calling him "Flea." But when the Hokies took the field for their first three games, Imoh could only watch, his punishment for offseason legal troubles that stemmed from a night of drinking with underage girls. "It teaches you to have an appreciation for the game," he said Saturday. "Nothing's guaranteed. Tomorrow's not guaranteed. The next day, the next game's not guaranteed. So every time you go out there you need to play your game as if it's your last." Despite sitting out those first three games and playing sparingly the final two games because of a hamstring injury, Imoh leads No. 9 Virginia Tech with 704 yards rushing and six touchdown runs. His return helped energize Virginia Tech's offense, and is part of the reason the Hokies will play No. 3 Auburn in the Sugar Bowl on Monday night. "I had to miss the first three games -- and the USC game at that," Imoh said. "That hurts. It makes you just want to come back all the bigger and better." Imoh pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor for giving alcohol to three girls, ages 14 and 15, during a Jan. 27 party at quarterback Marcus Vick's apartment. Imoh was fined $100 and ordered to do 24 hours of community service, and Virginia Tech suspended him for the first three games of the season.