Irish AD encouraging Te'o to speak publicly
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick says the school has encouraged linebacker Manti Te'o to speak publicly -- and soon -- about being the victim of a hoax involving a dead girlfriend who never existed.
Swarbrick said during the taping of his weekly radio show, which airs regionally on Saturday but was posted online as a podcast on Friday, that Te'o has to explain exactly how he was duped into an online relationship with a woman whose "death" was then faked by the perpetrators of the hoax.
"I don't have any specific knowledge as to how and when, but I can't fathom a circumstance where it doesn't (happen). I sort of share everybody's view that it has to happen. We are certainly encouraging it to happen. We think it's important and we'd like to see it happen sooner rather than later," Swarbrick said.
Swarbrick added that before Deadspin.com broke the news with a lengthy report on Wednesday, Te'o and his family had planned to go public with the story Monday.
"Sometimes the best laid plans don't quite work, and this was an example of that. Because the family lost the opportunity in some ways to control the story," he said.
He said the university doesn't have anything more to add.
"It is in the Te'o family's court," he said. "We are very much encouraging them. I hope by the time people are listening to this they have made themselves available to explain and to take questions, because we think that's in everybody's interest. It's certainly our expectation at Notre Dame that they would do that."
Swarbrick said again he is confident Te'o is the victim and did not back away from the strong support he gave the All-American during a news conference Wednesday night, when the AD said an investigation done by a firm hired by the school turned up evidence that supports Te'o's claim he was not involved.
Swarbrick said he will continue to believe that until given "compelling evidence to the contrary."
He said he understands why some people are skeptical about Te'o's story.
"They have every right to say that," Swarbrick said "Now I have some more information than they have. But they have every right to say that. I don't feel any sort of ill will toward that position. If I was on the outside of this presented with the only facts I have at this point -- and importantly at the time we're recording this Manti has yet to speak publicly -- I think that skepticism is easy to understand. I just ask those people to apply the same skepticism to everything about this.
"I have no doubt the perpetrators have a story they will yet spin about what went on here. I hope skepticism also greets that when they're articulating what that is."
Manziel gets press after speeding ticket
ENNIS, Texas -- Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel recently got a speeding ticket near Dallas and a local judge thought it newsworthy enough to post something on Facebook.
The freshman Texas A&M quarterback got the ticket in Ennis, a small city about 35 miles south of Dallas. The Ennis court did not immediately respond to a request Friday for a copy of the ticket or for details about the incident, which was first reported by USA Today.
A municipal judge in Ennis posted about the ticket on Facebook. Manziel's name wasn't mentioned. Instead, the judge wrote about "a certain unnamed (very) recent Heisman Trophy winner."
Manziel has drawn attention recently for Twitter photos that have shown him drinking champagne at a Dallas club with his mom and flashing cash at an Oklahoma casino.
Pendergast named USC defensive coordinator
LOS ANGELES -- Clancy Pendergast has been named Southern California's defensive coordinator by coach Lane Kiffin.
USC hired Pendergast on Friday essentially to replace Monte Kiffin, who resigned in late November.
Pendergast was California's defensive coordinator for the past three seasons after spending six years as an NFL defensive coordinator with Kansas City and Arizona.
Monte Kiffin's title at USC was assistant head coach, but he ran the Trojans' defense for three seasons on his son's staff. Ed Orgeron, who was Kiffin's defensive coordinator, now will be the assistant head coach.
USC's defense struggled mightily last season under Monte Kiffin, yielding 178 points while the Trojans lost four of their final five regular-season games. The Trojans also lost the Sun Bowl to Georgia Tech, completing their fall from a preseason No. 1 ranking.
Thomas central figure in Buckeyes' matchup
COLUMBUS -- When opposing coaches start strategizing how to beat No. 11 Ohio State, the first objective is hardly a secret.
After all, Deshaun Thomas leads the Big Ten in scoring.
When 18th-ranked Michigan State welcomes the Buckeyes on Saturday, Thomas will again be a marked man.
That kind of focus might bother some players. But Thomas, who steps off the team bus ready to shoot, relishes the challenge of being surrounded by defenders. It's like solving a puzzle, or passing a test.
As a result, the outcome of the game will likely revolve around whether the Spartans (15-3, 4-1 Big Ten) can guard Thomas well enough or whether the 6-foot-7 junior can score enough to carry his team.
Panthers pass on Shurmur, promote Shula as new OC
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Panthers have named quarterbacks coach Mike Shula as their new offensive coordinator and promoted two other assistant coaches.
Carolina also announced Friday Richard Rodgers will become the special teams coordinator after taking over that role on an interim basis last season. Also, Ricky Proehl has been promoted as the team's new wide receivers coach after working as the assistant wide receivers coach in 2012.
Shula takes over for Rob Chudzinski, who was left to become the Cleveland Browns' head coach.
Shula is credited with helping with the development of quarterback Cam Newton. He's been an offensive coordinator once before, spending four seasons (1996-99) with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. During that span the Bucs finished 29th in total offense, 27th in points scored and last in the league in passing.
Bengals lineman Smith arrested with gun at airport
ATLANTA -- Cincinnati Bengals tackle Andre Smith is free on bond after being arrested for carrying a gun at Atlanta's airport.
According to Clayton County court documents, 25-year-old Smith was charged with carrying a weapon in an unauthorized location at Hartsfield Jackson International Airport. He posted $3,000 bond Friday.
The 25-year-old made his initial court appearance Friday morning and is scheduled to appear at a preliminary hearing on Feb. 4.
Bengals spokesman Jack Brennan says franchise officials will not comment on ongoing legal matters. A call to Smith's attorney was not immediately returned.
Smith, of Birmingham, Ala., was a first-round draft pick in 2009 out of Alabama.
Hahn, Castro hold lead at Humana Challenge
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- James Hahn and Roberto Castro remained atop the Humana Challenge leaderboard Friday, shooting 5-under 67 in the pro-am tournament.
Hahn and Castro were 14 under after another day of perfect conditions in the Coachella Valley. They began the round tied for the lead with Jason Kokrak at 63.
Hahn had four birdies, an eagle and a bogey at La Quinta Country Club.
Castro had the lead alone at 16 under, but bogeyed two of his last three holes -- three-putting the par-4 ninth -- on PGA West's Arnold Palmer Private Course.
Phil Mickelson shot a 67 on PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Private Course after opening with an even-par 72 at La Quinta. The tournament winner in 2002 and 2004, he's beginning his season after recovering from flu-like symptoms.
Garrettsville native Colt Knost sits at 9-under after firing a 68 in Thursday's first round and 67 on Friday.