Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham on Thursday spoke as if junior star linebacker Jarvis Jones is indeed heading to the NFL after the Capital One Bowl.
That’s hardly a surprise, but Grantham’s comments during an interview with Atlanta’s 680 The Fan amplified what outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins said a day earlier that those around the program believe Jones is leaving.
Grantham was asked about Jenkins’ role next season.
“We look for him to help continue the tradition of a guy from Georgia being on top of the SEC in sacks next year,” he said. “Obviously he’s got to shoes to fill, but I think he’s more than capable.”
• Georgia has sold approximately 10,000 tickets for the Jan. 1 game in Orlando, Fla., according to ticket manager Tim Cearley. The school’s allotment is 12,500.
Nebraska fans have purchased about 4,000 tickets, according to Cornhuskers athletic director Tom Osborne.
NOTRE DAME: Coach Brian Kelly won the FWAA/Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award on after leading the Fighting Irish to their first unbeaten regular season since 1988 and a spot in the BCS national championship game against Alabama.
Kelly, in his third season at Notre Dame, won the award in voting by the 1,200-member Football Writers Association of America.
ARKANSAS: New coach Bret Bielema says Tennessee offensive line coach Sam Pittman is joining the Razorbacks, where he will have the same job.
Bielema announced the hiring Thursday, a day after Tennessee’s Jim Chaney came on board as offensive coordinator.
Bielema calls Pittman a “relentless” recruiter who’s well-regarded as an offensive line coach.
He says Pittman’s experience with Chaney is also a plus.
MISSISSIPPI: Coach Hugh Freeze has received a one-year contract extension and a $500,000 raise, increasing his base salary to $2 million per season after leading the Rebels to a bowl appearance in his first season.
Freeze was hired last December and signed an incentive-laden contract that included a $1.5 million base salary. His new contract lasts through 2016 and includes a $100,000 bonus per Southeastern Conference win, beginning with the second victory of the season.
CARSON-NEWMAN: Coach Ken Sparks plans to return for a 34th season next fall as he continues undergoing treatment for prostate cancer.
Sparks, 68, has a 308-83-2 record at Carson-Newman and ranks ninth on the all-time list in career wins. The only active coach with more career victories is Mount Union’s Larry Kehres, who is 331-24-3 in 27 seasons.
After being diagnosed in June with prostate cancer that has since spread to the bone, Sparks continued coaching and led Carson-Newman to a 9-3 season that ended with a 48-26 loss to Valdosta State in the NCAA Division II quarterfinals.
Sparks announced his decision Thursday and said he plans “to live life every day as full as I can and max it out at every opportunity.”
COLORADO STATE: The Rams will visit Alabama next season and again in 2015 or 2017 in an agreement that will earn the Rams $3 million.
Rams coach Jim McElwain served as the Crimson Tide’s offensive coordinator from 2008-11. He can use the experience of playing at Bryant-Denny Stadium as a recruiting tool, he said.