Atlanta — Atlanta’s mayor is promising a “safe, smooth and secure” college football championship game on Monday, despite the traffic caused by President Donald Trump’s motorcade, but none of the many agencies involved are taking any chances.
The stadium will be secured by legions of undercover and uniformed officers, overhead air traffic including drones will be prohibited and the police chief implored the more than 100,000 participants in events related to the big game to leave their guns at home.
“Please, please execute the highest regard and greatest level of common sense. We CANNOT have folks continuing to bring guns and leaving them in their cars,” Chief Erika Shields said at a multi-agency news conference Thursday on preparations.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said the Secret Service and other agencies have prepared for this for months, so the addition of a presidential visit to the mix won’t disrupt the fun.
“Enjoy the game, enjoy the city, and let us handle the details,” the mayor said.
Special Agent David LeValley, who runs the FBI’s Atlanta office, said although “there aren’t any specific threats against this event, we are actively assessing intelligence that comes in.” Precautions include the Federal Aviation Administration prohibiting aircraft over Mercedes-Benz Stadium, including drones.
Both LeValley and Shields urged people attending the game and surrounding events, including a concert in nearby Centennial Olympic Park, to call 911 if they see anything suspicious.
“We encourage and ask that everyone be aware of their surroundings while they’re in the city, and immediately report any suspicious activity, no matter how trivial it may seem to be,” LeValley said.
Monday evening’s College Football Playoff Championship game between the University of Georgia and the University of Alabama was already being treated as a high-level security event, so the president’s visit won’t imply much additional security, LeValley said.
College Football Playoff Executive Director Bill Hancock said the stadium already requires fans to comply with stringent security. He said he hadn’t heard from the White House about any additional measures as of Thursday afternoon.
Oklahoma's Brown enters draft
Oklahoma left tackle Orlando Brown is entering the NFL draft, where he is projected as a high first-round pick.
The 6-foot-8, 345-pound redshirt junior announced his decision Thursday on Twitter. He says he has had an “amazing” four years and “wouldn’t want to be a part of any other university.”
Brown was a first-team All-American, an Outland Trophy finalist and a team captain this season. He was a second-team All-American last season.
Longtime Yale coach dies
Carmen “Carm” Cozza, who coached Yale to 10 Ivy League football titles over 32 years as well as the famed 29-29 tie with Harvard, died Thursday. He was 87.
Cozza coached the Bulldogs from 1965-96 and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2002. He retired as the winningest coach in Ivy League history, with a career record of 179-119-5, including an undefeated 1968 season that ended in a famous 29-29 tie with Harvard.
LSU antes up for Aranda
Top LSU officials anticipated efforts by other college football programs to lure away second-year defensive coordinator Dave Aranda and were prepared to respond. LSU athletic director Joe Alleva said Thursday that coach Ed Orgeron made it clear he wanted Aranda to remain and was “fully supported” by the administration.
Aranda’s new contract is worth $10 million for four years, making him the first assistant coach in major college football to reach $2 million in average annual salary.
Report: Grinch OSU bound
Washington State defensive coordinator Alex Grinch is leaving the Cougars and joining Ohio State as an assistant coach, a person with knowledge of the decision told the Associated Press on Thursday.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal was still being finalized. Ohio State spokesman Jerry Emig says there would be no announcement on the addition of a 10th assistant coach on Urban Meyer’s staff until next week at earliest. A new NCAA rule goes into effect after this season that allows FBS teams to expand staffs to 10 full-time assistant coaches.
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly says Fighting Irish defensive coordinator Mike Elko is leaving for Texas A&M, where he will lead coach Jimbo Fisher’s defense.
... Florida State defensive lineman Josh Sweat and Stanford defensive lineman Harrison Phillips will forego their final year of eligibility and enter the NFL draft.
... Duke Coach David Cutcliffe said Thursday that lineman Jack Wohlabaugh is transferring in after two seasons with the Buckeyes.
Alabama (12-1) vs. Georgia (13-1)
Kickoff: 8 p.m. Monday, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta
Line: Alabama by 4