Dave Wannstedt, ousted by Pittsburgh last month, announced yesterday he won’t be on the sideline for the Compass Bowl against Kentucky on Saturday. Defensive coordinator Phil Bennett, the former SMU head coach, will be the interim coach for a program that soon will have its third coach in two months.
Wannstedt was forced to resign Dec. 7, after the Panthers went 7-5 in a season they were picked to win the Big East. He was given the option of coaching in the bowl.
“Ultimately, the focus and the attention for the next few days should be on the players who are here,’’ Wannstedt said.
The man hired to replace Wannstedt, Mike Haywood, was fired by Pitt over the weekend after being jailed in Indiana on a domestic violence charge. Yesterday, a magistrate entered a not guilty plea for Haywood on the felony charge.
Haywood walked out of the courtroom and didn’t speak to reporters after his brief initial court appearance. Haywood faces six months to three years in prison if convicted of domestic battery in the presence of a minor.
LSU will have Ridley
LSU coach Les Miles said Stevan Ridley, the Tigers’ leading rusher, has been cleared to play against Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl Friday night. Ridley’s eligibility had been in doubt since Miles said on Dec. 22 that the junior could miss the game because of an unspecified “one-time’’ academic violation.
Ridley had 1,042 yards and 14 touchdowns during the regular season.
Gabbert off to NFL Missouri junior quarterback Blaine Gabbert has elected to make himself available for the NFL draft. Gabbert has started the past two years, and is coming off a standout performance in the Insight Bowl. Early draft predictions have rated Gabbert as a first-round pick . . . Indiana receiver Tandon Doss announced he will give up his senior season to enter the NFL draft. Doss led the Big Ten with 175.8 all-purpose yards per game . . . UCLA All-America linebacker Akeem Ayers will forego his senior season and apply for the NFL draft.
Iowa dismisses RB Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz announced that sophomore running back Adam Robinson has been dismissed from the team one week after he was arrested for marijuana possession in his hometown of Des Moines. Robinson rushed for a team-high 941 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2010 . . . Georgia coach Mark Richt has not decided whether to suspend linebacker Marcus Dowtin after learning he was charged with assault last year . . . Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez was back at work, two days after a 38-point loss that heightened speculation about his future with the Wolverines. Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon plans to meet with Rodriguez soon.