Tag:Tennessee Titans
Posted on: January 8, 2012 11:26 pm
  •  
 

Ron Vanderlinden staying on staff at Penn St.

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Bill O'Brien will no doubt look to revamp the offensive coaching staff at Penn State as he attempts to build a Nittany Lion attack in the mold of the one he's guided for the New England Patriots. But the defense? It looks like that side of the ball will retain a strong flavor from the Joe Paterno era.

That's after multiple Nittany Lion players confirmed following a Sunday team meeting that Penn State linebackers coach and co-defensive coordinator Ron Vanderlinden would be held over as part of O'Brien's staff. A former head coach at Maryland, Vanderlinden has been an assistant in Happy Valley for the past 11 seasons. He began the 2011 season as linebackers coach before being promoted to co-defensive coordinator following Paterno's exit.

Vanderlinden is the second defensive assistant to be retained by O'Brien, joining defensive line coach Larry Johnson. Tennessee Titans assistant Charles London has also been hired as the Nittany Lions' running backs coach.

Though full-season coordinator and former interim head coach Tom Bradley obviously deserves much of the credit, Vanderlinden's cameo as co-DC was nonetheless a highly successful one. The Nittany Lions finished 20th in total defense, a sterling 12th in yards-per-play allowed, and an even-better fifth in scoring defense. With numbers like those, it's understandable why O'Brien would want to keep as much continuity on that side of the ball as possible.

But still, the first thing the Nittany Lions wanted to talk about after the meeting was ... O'Brien himself. Quarterback Matt McGloin said he "got some chills" discussing offense with his new head coach.

“I expect that it’ll be an entirely different playbook,” McGloin said. “It’s exciting, just watching the Patriots and knowing we’ll be doing similar things.”

“You can definitely sense that he goes about business, and loves football, and he showed that to us,” said wide receiver Justin Brown. “I think everybody’s just excited to get things going with our new coach and move forward.”

“To the people who had doubts about him, everybody has to start somewhere,” said running back Silas Redd. “Every head coach has a head coaching debut, and this is his debut. He’s more than ready to steer this whole thing.”

If McGloin is right that the offense will hum, and Redd and Brown are right that O'Brien is ready to lead, and a defense with Vanderlinden and Johnson aboard can hold the line, a hire that was near-universally panned among the Nittany Lion faithful may (like similarly unpopular hires Gene Chizik and Brady Hoke) wind up OK in the end.

All information and quotes via CBSSports.com RapidReporter Jim Rodenbush. For daily updates on Penn State football, be sure to follow Rodenbush's RapidReports right here.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page.

Posted on: December 28, 2011 10:54 am
Edited on: December 28, 2011 11:30 am
 

Report: Mike Munchak is Penn State's top choice

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The only head coaching job in the country that hasn't been filled yet is the one at Penn State. Understandably, given the reasons behind the firing of Joe Paterno at the school, Penn State is taking its time finding a replacement. Though according to some reports, the search may be coming to an end soon.

And it's looking more and more like the school's top choice will be former Penn State player and current Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak.

The Patriot News reported on Tuesday that many high-level donors to the school were already talking about Munchak as if it were a "done deal" though that doesn't necessarily mean it is. For his part Munchak has denied any interest in the Penn State job when asked about it, saying "nothing is going on, people like to speculate."

Which hasn't done much to stop the speculation, as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette also reported on Tuesday that Munchak is the top choice of Penn State's search committee ahead of Green Bay Packers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements.

Whatever the case is, nobody will know for sure until after Penn State's bowl game, as Tom Bradley recently said in an interview that the school wouldn't name a new head coach until after it played Houston in the TicketCity Bowl on January 2nd. Coincidentally, that's a day after the NFL regular season will come to an end and Munchak will know whether or not his Titans have made the playoffs.

UPDATE: It seems Penn State may need to move on to its second choice as Munchak told Titans beat reporter Jim Wyatt on Wednesday "I love my alma mater, but I have no interest in being the head coach at Penn State. I never want to leave Tennessee." That's pretty much as "thanks, but no thanks" as it can get.
Posted on: February 16, 2011 7:07 pm
 

Georgia hires Redskins assistant Olivadotti

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Even after Tracy Rocker bolted to the Tennessee Titans, Auburn wasn't the only SEC school with an NFL -created hole on its coaching roster this afternoon; if you'll recall, the Carolina Panthers plucked away Georgia assistant Warren Belin two weeks ago.

But as of even later this afternoon, Mark Richt has gotten his team's hole filled, and in impressive fashion :



That's Marc Weiszer of the Athens Banner-Herald reporting the news on Twitter. Not only is Richt replacing his NFL-bound assistant with an assistant from the NFL, but Kirk Olivadotti isn't the sort of coach who's just had a cup of coffee at the next level; he was Washington's longest-tenured coach , having spent 11 seasons with the team including three (from 2007-2009) as their full-fledged linebackers coach. It's hard to imagine a better fit for an LBs coach in coordinator Todd Grantham's NFL-honed 3-4 than a coach with a decade spent with NFL LBs.

Richt earned plenty of praise for his work this offseason on the recruiting trail. But Olivadotti's hire shows he's not bad at recruiting coaches, either.

Posted on: February 16, 2011 4:15 pm
 

Auburn DL coach Tracy Rocker jumps to NFL

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The problem with trying to create a dynasty in college football is the sheer impermanence of it all. Not only are the players gone after four (or sometimes fewer) seasons of eligibility, but college football isn't the highest level of the sport; that, of course, is the NFL, and the NFL is a much more attractive destination for coaches than the NCAA.

To that end, Auburn had been surprisingly lucky to keep its entire staff intact* after winning the national championship this season. Oh, you see that asterisk? That usually means bad news, and it does here, as Auburn DL coach Tracy Rocker has accepted an offer to coach defensive line with the Tennessee Titans.

Now, the loss of DT Nick Fairley is probably more consequential to the defensive line in the short term than is the loss of Rocker; Fairley was dominant all season long in 2010, especially in the National Championship against Oregon, and he has well earned his inevitable Top 3 Pick status in the upcoming NFL Draft. At the same time, Fairley is especially cognizant of how much Rocker meant to his success, and for good reason; Fairley wasn't even on the radar for top defensive tackles coming into the season, to the point that prognosticator nonpareil Phil Steele didn't have Fairley in his top four preseason All-SEC teams.

The good news for Auburn is that unlike 2009, when Gene Chizik first came abord fresh off a 5-19 stint at Iowa State, the school is now a bona fide destination again, rather than a mere stepping stone. Chizik should probably be able to pluck a fine coach from any number of schools. Perhaps from Indiana? That seems to be en vogue these days, anyway.

 

*Up until now, anyway.

Posted on: February 15, 2011 10:47 am
 

Jerry Gray leaves 'Horns to become Titan DC

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Mack Brown's wild ride of an offseason took another hairpin curve this past weekend.

We would explain, but the first three sentences of this Austin-American Statesman story do so so succinctly we'll let them do it:
On Jan. 17, Jerry Gray described returning to his alma mater to coach Texas ' defensive backs as "a dream come true."

It was a short-lived dream.

On Saturday, 25 days after he was hired as Duane Akina 's replacement, Gray accepted the position of defensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans .

Gray's decision leaves Brown to hire his seventh new coach of this offseason, and arrived just as Brown began overseeing the annual Longhorn "junior days" recruiting extravaganza. The timing could be better.

But as we wrote when news of Gray's potential interest in the Titan's defensive coordinating position first surfaced, things overall could definitely be worse. Brown's already had to make two far more critical hires this offseason in naming his two coordinators, and by nearly everyone's account he aced that exam with Manny Diaz and Bryan Harsin. If Gray's absence doesn't help at junior days, it's also better he departs now rather either before this past Signing Day or before his absence becomes a dealbreaker for any prospects in the class of 2012. And without the pressure of Signing Day, Brown may also be able to take more time and make a better selection for the open position than he would otherwise; it's not like there will be any shortage of candidates to work for a program who'll pay their position coaches the $425,000 salary Gray was due to receive.

So Brown will be all right. (As will Gray, who'll no doubt regret the "dream come true" comment but made the decision -- between being a college position coach and NFL coordinator, at more than double the paycheck -- that any coach in his position would.) But it's also only fair to say that in the wake of Gray's defection, what must already feel like the longest offseason of Brown's Texas tenure just got that much longer.


Posted on: February 11, 2011 5:06 pm
 

Friday Four Links (and a cloud of dust), Feb. 11

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Every Friday we catch up on four stories you might have missed during the week ... and add a few extra links to help take you into the weekend.

FOUR LINKS ...

1. When last we left new Texas secondary coach Jerry Gray, he was being considered by new Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak for the Titans' defensive coordinator position. As of this afternoon, that consideration has become an interview --unless he's already decided to stay at Austin.

2. The following cartoon was found in a time capsule in Tuscaloosa and is more than 100 years old:



Too bad that after nine months, other than knowing it's some kind of smack talk in the direction of Auburn's football and baseball teams, no one really knows what it means . Elsewhere at Alabama, the snow gives some students the chance to memorialize Nick Saban's championship season ahead of time.

3. It's been a rough couple of weeks for Arizona State; the Sun Devils signed one of the smallest, most uninspiring recruiting classes in the Pac-12 on Signing Day, then saw defensive line coach/recruiting coordinator Grady Stetz leave to become the defensive line coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this past Tuesday.

4. Texas got a late addition to its 2011 recruiting haul when prep All-American linebacker Tevin Jackson of Garland (Tx.) was cleared by the NCAA after a transcript issue prevented him from enrolling in 2010. Jackson will enroll in June and will have the standard five-years-to-play-four.

AND THE CLOUD ...

You know this already, but Mark Richt really is a nice guy ... The SEC is deciding exactly how much the various transgressions of the cowbell rule will cost Mississippi State ... Don't expect an unbiased, evenhanded account from an author who considers Mike Leach "one of the most successful college football coaches in history," but nonetheless a book on Leach's firing is on the way ... Maryland's recruits weren't thrilled over former defensive coordinator Don Brown's departure ... Negotiations on UNLV's on-campus domed stadium (which we mentioned a little while back) have officially been given the green light .

Posted on: February 7, 2011 6:31 pm
 

Could Texas coaching carousel keep turning?

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Mack Brown must have thought that surely, surely, his staffing overhaul was over after filling his tricky offensive line coaching position with Stacy Searels and watching Signing Day come and go. But now Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman is reporting that with Jeff Fisher out as the Tennessee Titans head coach and Mike Munchak in, the Longhorns may not be out of the woods just yet: 
Munchak is considering Longhorns defensive backs coach Jerry Gray to be the Titans’ new defensive coordinator, the American-Statesman has learned.

Gray coached on the same Titans staff for four years with Munchak, serving as Tennessee’s secondary coach, including the 1999 season when the Titans narrowly lost to the Rams in Super Bowl XXXIV.

If Gray (pictured) does receive and accept the Titans' offer, it'll be quite the whiplash-inducing career move, having just taken his new job in Austin three weeks ago.

But there's no indication of an offer yet, much less an acceptance from Gray (though Gray -- who has never coached in the collegiate ranks before -- would almost have to consider such an offer, since moving from college position coach to NFL coordinator would represent a substantial jump). And even if Gray does bolt, with Signing Day passed, Brown would have the luxury of working with a much looser deadline to find a replacement.

So it's far from time for Longhorn fans to wish Gray a good-bye, and they won't lose any sleep if they do. But it's a lesson that even for the most powerful of college football programs -- and they don't come any more powerful than programs that have their own network -- recovery from a 5-7 season is never as smooth as they'd like.

Posted on: January 24, 2011 11:10 am
 

Titans lawsuit vs. Kiffin won't be settled soon

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's officially the offseason, which means that now's the time for Lane Kiffin's star to shine its brightest. On the positive side, his Trojans have enough scholarship space and continued recruiting pull to sign another top-flight class, and could see their NCAA sanctions reduced on appeal after Saturday's hearing before the infractions appeals committee.

But with Kiffin the headlines are never just about football, as Nashville's Tennesseean showed once again with an update on the lawsuit filed against him by the Tennessee Titans , alleging that Kiffin's surprise hiring of Titans running backs coach Kennedy Pola constituted "interference with contract and inducement of breach of contract."

While the lead for the story is that two judges have already recused themselves from the case thanks to various entanglements with the Titans and USC, the story also drops one intriguing bit of data at its conclusion:
A trial date is preliminarily set for Aug. 2.
That's a long, long time from now in college football terms, and if it's only a preliminary date, it's a reasonable bet that the actual date could wind up being even further away than that. Unless the two sides come to an agreement before the case goes to trial (which is a possibility), the suit could prove to be a personal distraction for Kiffin for quite some time.

Of course, by now Kiffin has more than enough experience in dealing with off-field distractions; the actual impact of the suit on anything Trojan football-related will be minimal at best. But if Kiffin produces another decent-but-not-spectacular season on the field in 2011, fans could wonder if the constant stream of headlines and personal distractions might be part of what's holding Kiffin back ... and this suit would be yet another log on that fire.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com