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Tag:Bill Stewart
Posted on: January 18, 2012 2:15 pm
 

Report: Venables not interested in Kansas State

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Another day has come and gone and Brent Venables is still at Oklahoma. There's been a lot of speculation about Venables' future since Mike Stoops joined the Oklahoma staff, as he was mentioned as a replacement for Jeff Casteel at West Virginia, and he's interviewed at Clemson as well. Following the news on Tuesday that Chris Cosh had left Kansas State to become defensive coordinator at South Florida, plenty of people did the math and wondered if Venables would move to Manhattan.

He is a Kansas State graduate after all.

It seems that speculation can be put to rest. The Tulsa World's Dave Sittler tweeted on Wednesday that Venables is "absolutely not interested" in taking the defensive coordinator job at Kansas State. Which does come as a bit of a surprise. As mentioned above, Venables did go to school at Kansas State, and with Bill Snyder being 72 years old, you have to wonder how much longer he'll be sticking around to run the program.

So it's possible that Venables could take the job at Kansas State as the "head coach in waiting." A position that hasn't had a lot of success at other schools recently -- hey, Bill Stewart, how you doing? --  but Venables has shown plenty of interest in becoming a head coach before. Maybe his priorities have changed, or maybe he's just not sure how much success he could have at Kansas State.

After all, there's a lot more defensive talent at Oklahoma than there is in Manhattan.

Whatever the case is, it seems that Venables has narrowed his choices down to staying at Oklahoma or going to Clemson. We'll likely find out his decision soon enough.

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Posted on: July 12, 2011 12:37 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2011 2:55 pm
 

WVU LB Branko Busick dismissed from team

Posted by Tom Fornelli

UPDATE: Head coach Dana Holgorsen announced in an official release that Branko Busick has been dismissed from the Mountaineer football program for violation of team rules, and no further comment will be made.

Finally, some bad news coming out of the West Virginia football program that doesn't involve Dana Holgorsen, Bill Stewart or somebody getting tossed out of a casino. No, this time it's just your run of the mill "reserve linebacker commits armed robbery" story.

West Virginia linebacker Branko Busick was arrested on Monday morning after allegedly partaking in an armed robbery with two others early Monday morning.

Police say they received a call around 5:00 from a man claiming that another man with a gun and two acquaintances entered an apartment and demanded money from him. When he told them he had no money, the victim says he was struck repeatedly with the gun and forced out of the apartment.

Busick was identified as one of the males involved and was taken into custody at the North Central Regional Jail.

West Virginia is yet to release a statement on Busick's arrest.

Busick is a redshirt sophomore who played in only two games for West Virginia last season, though he was expected to compete for a starting job this fall. Something that could be harder to do should he end up in prison. 

Posted on: July 8, 2011 3:54 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 4:47 pm
 

West Virginia closing the Rodriguez/Stewart era

Posted by Chip Patterson

On the same day that Ohio State responded to allegations and Caleb King was ruled academically ineligible, more NCAA-related news came out of the ongoing investigation of West Virginia. As first reported by Dennis Dodd, Rich Rodriguez and Bill Stewart were both charged with failure to monitor compliance with NCAA legislation.

The charges were in regards to the allegation that West Virginia exceeded the permissible limit of the number of coaches and staff members engaged in team coaching activities. West Virginia proposed two years probation, lose three scholarships, and other internal restrictions for the football program. The NCAA, West Virginia, Stewart, and Rodriguez agreed on the facts of the case, charges, and penalties.

For West Virginia fans, it is the beginning of moving on from the soap opera that was the Rodriguez-Stewart transition. The university will not fight these allegations or penalties, and clearly athletic director Oliver Luck and the rest of the administraton is ready to bring a close to all this mess as quickly as the NCAA will allow.  In the last few years there have been reports of shady transitions, more than one forced retirement/resignation, and then most recently the leaking of false information from inside the program. Combine all this drama with the controversy of adding beer sales to the certain West Virginia athletic events, and it is fair to say they have had enough off-field attention for one offseason. More than most schools in their conference, West Virginia is anxious to crate some on-field headlines.

When they do take the field, they should be creating headlines. The Mountaineers offense struggled at times in 2010, particularly considering the caliber of talent at each position. Eight starters return from that unit, and now they will be under the watch of Dana Holgorsen's high-octane system. The 6-foot-3 Geno Smith fits in perfectly, with an impressive arm to spread the ball around and the athletic ability to remain a threat outside the pocket. He's not a run-first quarterback, or even run-second, but he can still do damage with open space. The defense returns two of the best pass rushers in the nation, with Julian Miller and Bruce Irvin now both every-down defensive linemen. There are some experience issues in the secondary, but there are few quarterbacks outside of Cincinnati's Zach Collaros who have proven the ability to consistently beat teams downfield. Regardless of the shortcomings in West Virginia's outlook, they are still expected to be in the Big East title hunt.

Mountaineer fans have a head coach; one they can feel like they searched for and found. He arrived earlier than expected to the heralded post, but now he's here. It's time to close a very successful (and occasionally very dramatic) era in West Virginia football, and begin focusing on the future with one of the brightest offensive minds in the game.
Posted on: June 14, 2011 5:42 pm
Edited on: June 15, 2011 10:18 am
 

Holgorsen's first act as head coach: go skydiving

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Like his mentor Mike Leach (still biding his time until next season in Key West), new West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen has long since had a reputation -- one he hasn't done much to dispel -- for living life to its fullest.

And apparently, his early promotion to the Mountaineers' full-time head coaching position isn't going to do anything to change that. How did Holgorsen react to the dismissal of Bill Stewart and his sudden ascension to the top job? By capping a "two-day getaway" with a flying leap out of an airplane,of course:

Holgorsen capped a two-day getaway by meeting the West Virginia State Police and allowing them to set up his first sky diving adventure with the U.S. Army parachute team, the Golden Knights ...

Holgorsen was part of a tandem jump with a Golden Knight who pulled the chord.

"We went up about 10,000 feet and then we just jumped out of an airplane," Holgorsen said, still laughing about the experience an hour later. It was an amazing view. You could see for miles and miles just beautiful countryside.

"Then we came in and we were trying to land on a beach, obviously a small, little beach. It was pretty windy and we came up short and had kind of a crash landing. It resembled something like Bruce Irvin tackling a quarterback."

Breathe easy, Mountaineer fans: Holgorsen was fine, as you might expect from a coach whose eviction from a casino at 3 a.m. on a weeknight set off a chain-of-events which resulted in his promotion.

You can watch Holgorsen's jump and subsequent "crash-landing" here; if he shows as much resilience and fearlessness coaching the Mountaineers as he does in the clip, WVU should be in good hands for a long time to come.



Posted on: June 10, 2011 4:40 pm
Edited on: June 10, 2011 5:07 pm
 

Bill Stewart out at West Virginia

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

After yesterday's report that West Virginia was in the process of buying out the remainder of head coach Bill Stewart's contract, it was only a matter of time before his departure from Morgantown became official. It appears that time is now.

With rumors swirling left and right that Stewart would out of his job by the end of the day, the Charleston Gazette has now reported that Stewart's resignation is "imminent." Many online outlets believe Oliver Luck and the WVU administration will make Stewart's dismissal official with an announcement this afternoon.

The Sporting News is reporting that Stewart has been fired for "conduct detrimental to the university," though the official announcement may not share that phrasing.

Dana Holgorsen is expected to take over as the Mountaineer head coach, effective immediately. The move will bring to an end what appeared to be a behind-the-scenes struggle between offensive coordinator/coach-in-waiting Holgorsen and Stewart, who asked reporters to smear Holgorsen (and may have helped one columnist do exactly that) after Luck announced, in naming Holgorsen Stewart's replacement, that he "didn't believe" Stewart could win a BCS championship.

Per the Charleston Daily Mail, the promotion will push Holgorsen to his full contract-mandated head coaching salary of $1.4 million per year, with $250,000 raises each year he remains the Mountaineer head coach.

Stewart leaves Morgantown with identical 9-4 records in all three seasons on his tenure, plus the 2007 Fiesta Bowl upset of Oklahoma as interim head coach that earned him the job on a permanent basis. But none of those seasons were good enough to win the Big East and a return to the BCS, much less challenge for a national title as predecessor Rich Rodriguez had come within one win of doing.

And in the end, those failures are what cost him the job; the acrimony with Holgorsen only sped the process up by a year.



Posted on: June 10, 2011 12:26 pm
 

Mountaineers land two veteran transfers

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Most of the headlines this week regarding West Virginia have been about its head coach-related goings rather than its comings, but even the apparent demise of Bill Stewart shouldn't totally overshadow two welcome transfer arrivals--one of which could thrive in Dana Holgorsen's spread schemes.

According to the Charleston Gazette, the Mountaineers welcomed two BCS-level transfers this week, each of whom will employ the NCAA's grad school exception (a la Jeremiah Masoli) and be eligible to play this season. One of them is former Wake Forest wide receiver Devon Brown, and the other is Notre Dame linebacker Steve Paskorz, and while neither is likely to make quite the waves Masoli did, both could prove to be important contributors.

Despite only checking in at 5'9" and 185 pounds, Brown caught more passes than any other receiver on the Demon Deacon roster the past two seasons. And as you might expect given his size and quickness, he also saw plenty of time at punt returner, kickoff returner, and even as a ball-carrier on reverses and similar plays.

He now goes to play for a coach in Holgorsen with plenty of experience in turning jitterbug slot receivers like Brown into useful weapons--it won't be a surprise at all if he sees plenty of time and makes a legitimate impact in his one season in Morgantown.

As for Paskorz, the Pennsylvania native played in 10 games a redshirt freshman but was mostly limited to special teams duty until a torn ACL kept him out for the duration of the 2010 season. Though it won't be easy climing all the way back from that injury, the graduation of three starting senior linebackers at WVU and Paskorz's experience could give him a shot at playing his way into the rotation. And even if he doesn't, he could still see the field on special teams.

On paper, neither player shapes up as the sort of transfer that will singlehandedly tilt the balanace of the Big East. But if the Mountaineers are serious about challenging for their first conference crown (and attendant BCS berth) since the Rich Rodriguez era, they'll need depth--and Brown and Paskorz will no doubt pay dividends on that front.

Posted on: June 9, 2011 8:04 pm
 

Report: WVU in process of buying out Stewart

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

How unsteady was West Virginia's one-year coach-in-waiting arrangement with Bill Stewart and Dana Holgorsen? It reportedly won't even make it through summer workouts.

According to Matt Hayes at the Sporting News, WVU athletic director Oliver Luck is currently negotiating a buyout to relieve Stewart of his head coaching duties, effective immediately. Holgorsen would replace Stewart as head coach, also immediately.

"The only holdup," Hayes writes, "is the buyout money." A deal could be reached as soon as tomorrow morning, he reports.

The decision comes only days after the revelations that Stewart asked a Pittsburgh-based reporter to "dig up dirt" on his designated replacement, that news coming on the heels of allegations that Stewart or his wife had leaked reports of Holgorsen's alcohol-related incidents to a Huntington (W.V.) paper; a university source said the paper's report contained "blatant inaccuracies."

After those developments, few believed the marriage between Stewart and Holgorsen would last long. Now, it looks as if it won't even last through the end of the week.

Posted on: June 8, 2011 2:58 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2011 9:42 am
 

CBSSports.com College Football 100: 10-3

By the Eye on College Football bloggers

To celebrate the (now fewer than) 100 days remaining until the first Saturday of the new college football season, this is the CBSSports.com College Football 100: our countdown of the 2011 season's 100 most influential players, coaches, administrators, venues, or any other related
things in college football. It's like that other "most influential" list, but, you know, more important. Also: it's supposed to be fun.

We're now down to the nitty-gritty: Nos. 10-3 below, No. 2 tomorrow and our No. 1 unveiled Friday. Stay tuned.


10. JOHN MARINATTO, commissioner, Big East. Marinatto joined the Big East executive staff as senior associate commissioner in 2002, just in time to see the biggest shakeup in membership since the conference began football competition in 1991. Now, as the Big Ten and Pac-12 have shaken up the conference landscape with the expansion to 12 teams -- as well the ACC and Pac-12 recently negotiating lucrative multi-network media deals - the onus falls on Marinatto to bring the Big East up to par with the new standards of major conference football.

In his discussion with CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy, Marinatto made no mistaking that the primary driver of Big East expansion is the expiration of their current television deal with ESPN at the end of the 2012-2013 school year. Beginning in September 2012, the Big East will have a 60-day exclusive negotiation period with the network. At that point Marinatto hopes to have expansion completed, and be holding all the attractive chips for a bidding war that will pay out the way it did for the Pac-12. TCU's arrival next season obviously holds the greatest national intrigue, as well as reaching a very un-Big East audience in the Southwest. But where will expansion stop? With the right moves, the league cound finally abandon its role as college football's BCS-conference punchline.

For now Marinatto insists that there is no model, and all options are still on the table. The only driving factor in the eyes of the conference is how will the addition of a certain team add value to television contract negotiations. College football is a big money business that networks will pay for, and after seeing the deal that Larry Scott got for the Pac-12 everyone will one a piece. But we'll get to Scott soon enough ... -- CP

9. LANDRY JONES, quarterback, Oklahoma. With Oklahoma being the popular pick to start 2011 on top of the polls, there's no arguing that quarterback Landry Jones won't begin the season as a Heisman favorite. But it's not just the visibility of being under center for the nation's No. 1 team: the junior-to-be has thrown for 7,916 yards and 64 touchdowns in his first two seasons in Norman. The formula will be pretty simple--the more games that Oklahoma wins, the more talk you'll hear of Landry Jones.

The Sooners offense has been an explosive one for as long as Bob Stoops has been at the wheel, and one that gives the quarterback a lot of toys to play with. Life is a lot easier when you have guys like Ryan Broyles, Kenny Stills and James Hanna to throw to. Still, Jones is the kid in charge of driving the car. He doesn't have a ton of room to improve this year, though he has thrown 26 interceptions in his career. If Jones can cut down on turnovers this season it will only boost his touchdown numbers, Oklahoma might never let go of that top spot, and Jones will be in New York this winter to pick up some hardware. -- TF

8. MIKE SLIVE, commissioner, SEC. If you thought for one red second someone other than Slive was the true ruler of the SEC, we hope you paid attention to the league's recent spring meetings. Slive proposed a "soft cap" of 25 signees per class, among other "roster management" initiatives designed to curb oversigning. The SEC's 12 head coaches voted against the proposal 12-0. But with the final decision in the hands of the league's presidents, the proposal passed anyway, the presidents voting 12-0 in favor. What Mike Slive wants, Mike Slive gets.

Well, except maybe a new television contract. The "no outs" nature of the league's current 15-year deal, signed three years ago, looks worse and worse as league after league (most notably the Pac-12) strike it rich on the open market and the Big Ten Network's revenues continue to grow. The SEC is hardly hurting for money, though, and it's Slive who has overseen the conference rise to five consecutive BCS championships -- spread across four teams, even more impressively -- even as its number of programs under probation has dwindled (pending a few open investigations, mind). The modern SEC might still be the Conference (former commish and BCS visionary) Roy Kramer Built, but Slive has done a masterful job of pressing its football advantages while pushing a handful of successful academic measures (like the oversigning legislation) to battle the league's win-at-all-costs image. If the SEC does make it six-for-six in 2011, its commissioner will no doubt get some measure of credit--and it's hard to argue he won't deserve it. -- JH

7. BILL HANCOCK AND THE BCS, Executive Director of/and championship cartel. Boo! Hiss! The BCS and Bill Hancock aren't the most popular topics amongst college football fans, but they are both incredibly influential in the world of college football. It's the BCS that helps inject more money in the BCS conferences, and is also a driving factor behind the conference realignment we've seen the last few years. After all, 2011 isn't TCU's final year in the Mountain West if they hadn't just finished two undefeated regular seasons and not gotten a chance to play for a title. Of course, while it's fun to rage against a acronym, it's also nice to have a face to go with that acronym.

Which is where Bill Hancock comes into play. No matter who you are -- a fan, a writer or the United States government -- if you present the BCS with a rational, well-thought and logical complaint about the BCS system, Hancock is the man you'll hear from. He'll be the guy telling you that you're wrong, and that the BCS is perfect. The BCS will then go about its business doing things the way it always has, and at the end of the season they'll determine who has the right to play for a national championship, and you won't. -- TF

6. JIMBO FISHER, head coach, Florida State. First Will Muschamp burned Texas to accept the job at Florida, then the recent Dana Holgorsen/Bill Stewart feud exploded at West Virginia. It seems like one of the only "coach-in-waiting" situations that has worked out recently was Jimbo Fisher at Florida State. After contractually getting the title in 2007, Fisher waited behind the legendary Bobby Bowden to take control of the powerhouse in Tallahassee. But in those last few years under Bowden, the Seminoles had slipped from being perennial national title contenders to perennially playing December bowl games. But that all seemed to change when Fisher took the reigns and delivered the Seminoles' first 10-win season since 2003.

Now Florida State returns 17 starters from that squad, and last year's backup quarterback E.J. Manuel steps in after leading the Seminoles to victory over South Carolina in the Chick Fil-A Bowl. Fisher's promotion also paid immediate dividends on the recruiting trail, with blue-chippers like defensive back Karlos Williams and running back James Wilder Jr. giving the 'Noles their strongest haul in years. (The 2012 class, incidentally, is already shaping up to draw consideration as the nation's best.) The pundits now have Fisher's team tagged as ACC favorites, and there is once again a major buzz around Tallahassee regarding Seminoles football. Fisher has demanded that his players understand what expectations mean. "Just because you're picked to win, they don't give you a trophy when the season starts," he explained recently.

The fast-talking Fisher will fill your ear with areas where his team needs to improve. He never gets complacent, and constantly asks more from his players. It was complacency that arguably played a major role in Florida State's fall from grace after the turn of the century, and now Fisher has a great chance to restore that dominance in 2011, in just his second year as head coach. College football's next true powerhouse could get its start here. -- CP

5. ANDREW LUCK, quarterback, Stanford. Luck finished runner up for the Heisman last season and many figured he'd be house shopping in the Charlotte area after dismantling Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl. Every NFL pundit was labeling him a surefire number-one pick and future Hall of Famer after watching him shred opposing defenses every time he dropped back. CBSSports.com draft analyst Rob Rang called him the best quarterback and elite prospect he's ever scouted. With his head coach, Jim Harbaugh, headed to the San Francisco 49ers, many assumed he was a lock to bolt for NFL riches.

The architectural design and engineering major from Houston had other plans, however. He kept his Palo Alto address and announced he would stay at Stanford for his redshirt junior year to try and capture the inaugural Pac-12 title. He'll be gunning for the few Stanford quarterback records he hasn't already broken and look to get back to a BCS bowl as well. He's not just an accurate pocket passer, though; he can run and doesn't mind giving a shove to defenders if they end up in his way. It's good that he's mobile as two of the Cardinal's biggest challenges under new head coach David Shaw are replacing several starters along the offensive line and finding a few targets for Luck to throw to. Despite the issues on offense, the 6-foot-4, 240-pound quarterback is the prohibitive favorite to win the Heisman Trophy this year. He's got a lot riding on his heavily insured right arm in 2011, but with a manageable schedule and the fact that he's competed over 70 percent of his passes for his career, don't be surprised if the talented Luck keeps the Cardinal offense humming and the team in the national title hunt as well. -- BF

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4. NCAA COMMITTEE ON INFRACTIONS, punitive arm of legislative body, NCAA. The 10 members of the Committee on Infractions (COI) might be the most talked about group in sports that no one really knows anything about. Of all of the committees that make of the NCAA, the group may also be the most infamous, meeting behind closed doors and dishing out sanctions through press releases. It is this group that is tasked with being the grand jury, judge and jury for every school that comes before them and, in just about every case, has a school (and their fans) in considerable disagreement with their ruling. The members that made up the committee run the athletics gamut (three independent lawyers, three professors, three from league offices and one athletic department veteran at the moment) but all have some law or compliance background. 

The COI will be in the news a lot this year, as the off the field headlines in college sports have dictated. First up is Boise State -- battling the dreaded charge of "Lack of Institutional Control" for violations in several sports -- and Tennessee this weekend. The Volunteers' case is one many observers are looking at with a close eye due not only to the coaches involved (Lane Kiffin and Bruce Pearl) but to see how they treat a coach that blatantly lied to investigators ahead of their later date with Ohio State and Jim Tressel. In addition to levying scholarship reductions, bowl bans, probation and a host of other penalties, the COI has also started to hand out suspensions to coaches, such as the three-game suspension for UConn head basketball coach Jim Calhoun.

The committee is not bound by prior case precedent -- though they say they use it as a guide -- so decisions can feel arbitrary and vary from case to case. All of that simply makes predicting what they will do harder than getting the right lotto numbers. It's not a courtroom where schools have due process rights; the COI, rather, is all about finding "clear and convincing evidence" to support the NCAA enforcement staff's case against schools. The NCAA has recently tried to be more transparent with the COI, showing how things are done and opening the door into their world ever-so-slightly under new president Mark Emmert. Questions still remain, though, about what penalties will eventually come out of the room for schools such as Tennessee, Ohio State, and eventually North Carolina. The only answer at the moment is to wait. -- BF

3. NICK SABAN, head coach, Alabama. It's the year 2011, and the argument is over; Nick Saban is the most powerful college football coach in Division I. Every rival who might have challenged him for that honor is in decline, or gone entirely. Jim Tressel: resigned in disgrace. Pete Carroll: fled back to the NFL just ahead of the NCAA posse. Mack Brown: went 5-7, ceded Big 12 superiority to Bob Stoops. Stoops: has seen Saban win two rings with two different teams since he won his last. Urban Meyer: retired to punditdom (however temporarily). And when it comes to being the biggest, baddest head coach on the FBS block, are they really any other challengers?

If Les Miles can down the Tide in Tuscaloosa this season on his way to a second crystal football, or Chip Kelly can get his Oregon team over the hump of their nonconference struggles, or--most likely--Stoops can finally grab that elsuive second national title, then we can talk. But it's Saban until then, not least because he's as likely to come away with this season's ultimate prize as anyone; between what projects as the nation's clearcut No. 1 defense and what should be a punishing ground game, even a potentially up-and-down passing game (featuring a first-year quarterback and wideouts mostly more steady than spectacular) may not be enough to prevent the Tide's second BCS title in three years.

The old saying is that college football teams take on the personality of their coaches, and nowhere is that more true than at Alabama. Saban's brutally professional, clinically detail-oriented, obsessively driven approach has created a program where sloppiness and shoddy preparation--from offseason workouts to gameday routines to play execution--isn't so much "not tolerated" as nonexistent. It's not a particularly personable philosophy, which is one reason Saban has arguably become the SEC's most hated villain. But as the 2011 season grinds into motion, it's also what's made him the nation's single most successful active college football coach. -- JH

The 100 will continue here on Eye on CFB tomorrow. Until then, check out Nos. 100-91, 90-81, 80-71, 70-61, 60-51, 50-41, 40-31, 30-21 and 20-11. You can also keep up with the 100 by following us on Twitter.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com