Tag:Rich Rodriguez
Posted on: March 9, 2011 3:26 pm
Edited on: March 10, 2011 12:13 pm
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Brady Hoke calls Tressel 'a good man'

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It's been nearly 48 hours since Yahoo's story about Jim Tressel covering up Ohio State violations first broke, and I have to say that I'm a bit disappointed with the reaction of Michigan fans everywhere. I've found that when you have no dog in the fight, watching two fan bases go at each other, particularly ones in a rivalry as fierce as that of Ohio State and Michigan, is some of the finest entertainment on this series of tubes we call the internet.

As I scour the internet today, though, there's a surprising lack of "LOL" coming from the Michigan side of the rivalry. I mean, considering all the fun Ohio State fans had with Rich Rodriguez, who only made his players practice more than they should, and was labeled a cheater, isn't this when Michigan fans should be unleashing hell upon Buckeyes everywhere?

Making matters worse, there's this quote from new Michigan head coach Brady Hoke.

"[Jim Tressel's] a good man, and I have a lot of respect for him, and they'll fight through that situation, and it will have no effects on the rivalry," Hoke told the Detroit Free Press. "I've known Jim Tressel a long time. He's a quality guy, a doggone good football coach, and I don't know that situation," Hoke said. "I know what we're focused on at Michigan."
More on Ohio State investigation

He's a good man and a doggone good football coach? That's the best you have, Michigan? I know that Jim Tressel publicly supported Rich Rodriguez during his NCAA investigation, but I think we now know why The Sweatervest did that. Those in glass houses shouldn't throw stones and what not.

I mean, this is supposed to be one of the greatest rivalries in college sports, if not sport itself. You guys are slipping. This love-fest is giving the rivalry more of an Iowa-Purdue "we needed a rival for both these teams, so we gave them each other" feel.

Step it up, Big Blue.
Posted on: March 7, 2011 7:48 pm
Edited on: March 7, 2011 8:05 pm
 

Report: Tressel knew of violations in April

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Remember last December when there was all the hullabaloo about five Ohio State Buckeyes selling memorabilia to Edward Rife, the owner of a tattoo parlor in Columbus? Remember how everyone was all up in arms about those five Buckeyes all being allowed to play against Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl, and not having to begin serving their suspensions until next season?

Man, those were some crazy times. Thank goodness we don't have to deal with any of that mess anymore. Oh, wait. Yes, it appears we do. According to a Yahoo! sports report, Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel knew what his players were up to in April of last year. A good eight months before Ohio State told the NCAA it knew of the situation.
Ohio State coach Jim Tressel was informed that several Buckeyes players were selling memorabilia more than eight months before the school claims it was made aware of the scheme, a two-month Yahoo! Sports investigation has found.
Tressel received information that players were selling items to Edward Rife – the owner of Fine Line Ink Tattoos in Columbus – as early as April 2010, according to a source. However, neither Ohio State nor the NCAA investigated the transactions or the players’ relationship with Rife until December 2010, when the school claims it was informed of the situation by the local United States Attorney’s office.
Ohio State director of compliance Doug Archie declined immediate comment when reached Monday by Yahoo! Sports. Tressel and athletic director Gene Smith were unavailable for comment. The NCAA declined comment.
If this is true, then both Tressel and Ohio State could be in a lot more trouble. Tressel could be charged with all sorts of violations, including unethical conduct and failure to monitor and promote an atmosphere of compliance. Just imagine the fun Michigan fans would have with that following the beating they took with the whole Rich Rodriguez investigation.

In fact, things could be so bad for Tressel if this is true, that failing to report what he knew right away could result in his termination. As is detailed in section 5.1 of his contract which says that failure to report "any violations" could lead to "termination by Ohio State for cause." There's no way to know if things will go that far.

Still, if this report turns out to be true, and the NCAA comes down hard on Ohio State -- though with the decisions the NCAA has made lately, who knows where they'll come down on this -- it's not entirely out of the question. It's going to be an interesting spring for Tressel and the Buckeyes, that's for sure.
Posted on: February 24, 2011 12:34 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2011 12:59 pm
 

Carr on Hoke: 'He knows ... I'm for him'

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The Detroit Free-Press caught up with former Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr this week for his opinions on new Wolverine head man Brady Hoke, a former Carr assistant. Not surprisingly, Carr had nothing but highly positive things to say about his protege:
"[H]e has a great recruiting background nationally, and he’s a guy who likes to recruit. He’s a gregarious, fun-loving guy and meets people extremely well. I think he’ll do a great job recruiting. If you look at his background in coaching -- he’s been a defensive coach, a defensive player, and I think, if you look at the Big Ten Conference, there aren’t any teams winning that conference that I can recollect that didn’t play outstanding defense. So I think he’s going to hang his hat there, but it looks, to me, that he’s hired a very good offensive coaching staff as well. He understands it’s a big-picture deal ...

"[H]e’s not going to ask for my counsel. The thing he knows is I’m for him. I’m for Michigan. And if I can help him or he needs me, I’ll be there for him. But I don’t think that’s going to be very often. He’s spent seven, eight years here — he knows what he’s doing."
This probably wouldn't even be worth discussing -- "Football Coach Says Nice Things About Other Coach He Worked With" isn't exactly groundbreaking stuff -- if not for the contrast between Carr's effusive praise of Hoke and the lack of such praise for Hoke predecessor Rich Rodriguez.

Rumors abounded in Ann Arbor throughout the course of Rodriguez's tenure that Carr was less-than-pleased with the direction of the program under his successor, and even as Rodriguez came under attack from any number of directions, Carr's public support amounted to what MGoBlog author Brian Cook summarized as "a single tepid statement of support" over the course of three seasons. Former Carr players like Braylon Edwards seemed particularly hostile towards Rodriguez, exacerbating the perception of a rift between the two coaches. Former Michigan quarterback Rick Leach eventually came forward to attack Carr's lack of support on multiple occasions .

None of this is to say Carr shouldn't be as candid and as positive regarding Hoke as he is. But the conventional wisdom regarding Rodriguez's failure in Ann Arbor was that part of his struggles, at least, could be chalked up to a lack of universal support within and without the program. Contrasting Carr's rapid show of support for Hoke with his lack of same for RichRod -- certainly he never said anything publicly as encouraging as " The thing he knows is I'm for him" -- and it seems clear that the days of factions within the Michigan program are at an end. Hoke will have the kind of support that Rodriguez did not.

Now he just has to win the games that Rodriguez did not, if he wants to keep it.


Posted on: February 23, 2011 3:31 pm
 

Huskers "not afraid to start over" on offense

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Shawn Watson is out and Tim Beck is in as Nebraska's offensive coordinator. But what does that mean for the Huskers' offensive schemes?

Beck's not saying just yet, but it sounds like some big changes are poised to be rung in:
"I can't give away all my secrets," the new Husker offensive coordinator said Tuesday night during the Sports Nightly radio program.

However, he did indicate Nebraska essentially plans to start from scratch on offense.

"You can't be afraid to start over and get a system in place, so the system is consistent throughout," said Beck.
Two questions Beck's statement begs:

1. What does starting over mean exactly? In 2010, the Huskers were predominantly a spread-option team in the mold of Oregon or Rich Rodriguez's West Virginia teams, and for about half a season, had a similar amount of success; the scheme turned Taylor Martinez from an unknown redshirt freshman into a Heisman candidate in the space of about six weeks.

But the offense flagged badly down the stretch, resulting in a late-season slide and Watson's departure-slash-Beck's promotion. If Beck lives up to his threat to start entirely from scratch, the offense may look more like the pass-first aerial attacks that Beck coordinated at Missouri State way back in the late '90s and helped Mark Mangino develop at Kansas a few years later.

Going from last year's run-first-run-second offense to that kind of scheme would close a 180-degree shift, meaning that Beck may try and maintain some of the zone read looks from 2010 to help ease the transition. But then again, if what he really wants is a single-identity offense that's "consistent throughout" the playbook, Beck may go whole hog with the change and simply deal with the inevitable growing pains. And as for the player that might experience the bulk of those pains, the other question is ...

2. How would "starting over" affect Martinez? Not kindly, one wouldn't think. Though efficient when called upon though the first half of the season, Martinez only averaged 125 yards passing per-game and struggled late in the year when trying to throw the Huskers out of deficits. Even given Martinez's unquestioned status as the Husker's most explosive playmaker and highest-profile offensive talent, a move to a pass-centric offense might still open the door for 6'4" junior Cody Green to take over the offense.

This is another reason to think Beck won't entirely fulfill his "start over" mandate; like Al Borges at Michigan with Denard Robinson, to do so would be to intentionally minimize the strengths of his offense's greatest weapon. With so much doubt surrounding precisely how Beck plans on moving the Huskers forward, few spring camps are likely to be more scrutinized ... and Beck's comments have only made the mystery that much more intriguing.
Posted on: February 9, 2011 4:08 pm
Edited on: February 9, 2011 5:44 pm
 

Tate Forcier is headed to Miami

Posted by Tom Fornelli

UPDATE: The university made it official in a press release, Tate Forcier is transferring to Miami.  The quarterback will sit out the 2011 season and be eligible to play in 2012.  He will have two seasons of eligibility remaining when he takes the field for the Hurricanes.

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While Tate Forcier may have planned on visiting five schools in the coming weeks as he tried to figure out where he'd be transferring to, it seems those plans have changed. According to a few reports on Twitter, Forcier was visiting Miami today and has committed to the Hurricanes.




The school has not officially announced it, but it seems to be a done deal at this point.

Forcier had spent the last two seasons at Michigan. After starting most of 2009, he lost his job to Denard Robinson in 2010 and only played in relief of an injured Robinson. With Rich Rodriguez leaving, and Brady Hoke bringing a new offense to Ann Arbor, Forcier obviously felt that his services would be put to better use elsewhere.
Posted on: February 4, 2011 11:47 am
 

Denard's load will be lighter in 2011

Posted by Tom Fornelli

While the 2010 season ultimately ended up being the year of Cam Newton, for the first month of the season the name that was dominating the college football landscape was Denard Robinson. Michigan had started out its season undefeated, and Robinson was tearing opposing defenses apart. Through the first three games Shoelace had racked up 1,230 yards and 8 touchdowns, including a 502-yard effort in a win against Notre Dame.

While Michigan's season would feature six losses before it was done, the Denard Robinson Show never really came to an end, as he finished the season second in the nation in total offense with 328.6 yards per game, and accounted for 32 of the team's 58 touchdowns. 

Now Robinson and the rest of the Wolverines are undergoing a coaching change, which means that a new offensive system is being put in place under Brady Hoke and Al Borges. While Borges says that Robinson will still be the focal point of Michigan's offense, things won't be the same as they were under Rich Rodriguez -- speaking of whom, our own Dennis Dodd had a nice talk with the former Michigan coach this week -- and he'd like to lighten his load a bit by spreading the ball around a bit more.

"To a degree … we're blowing a lot of [the offense] up," Borges told the Detroit News. "In our offense, I don't see Denard rushing for 1,700 yards, and I told him that. But I could see him rushing for 1,000 yards, and I could see him throwing for that 700 or 800 he didn't rush for."

"They were tattooing him. I came at him that way — we can save you a little bit. Everybody knew Denard was the show. He's tough, he's smart and he's athletic, and we have to get the most out of him."

Borges also went on to say that he was pleasantly surprised at Robinson's passing skills, as he came to Michigan thinking Denard was a runner, but after watching more film on the team, he likes what he sees from Robinson in the passing game.

The change in philosophy, while expected, is also pretty logical. The only thing more common than seeing Robinson make some fantastic play with his legs last season was seeing a play end with Robinson getting up slowly, or even leaving the game. Since Robinson is such a unique weapon for the Wolverines, you want to make sure you can keep him on the field as well.
Posted on: January 26, 2011 5:43 pm
 

2011 returning starters: a first glance

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's never too early to start thinking about the next college football season, and that means it's never too early to ask the inevitable first question of any team going forward: How many starters do they have returning?

Fortunately, preview magazine maven Phil Steele has worked to provide a convenient answer to that query, releasing today a chart ranking all 120 FBS teams according to their offensive, defensive, and specialist starters returning.

There's plenty of time to delve far more deeply into college football's 2011 outlook, but a few immediate impressions after looking over the Steele chart:
  • SEC teams finish at both the top and bottom of the chart, with Vanderbilt leading the way behind all 11 2010 offensive starters remaining on the roster. But more notable is that after losing eight offensive starters, seven defensive, and both kickers, defending national champion Auburn comes in dead last, 120th out of 120. Gene Chizik will have his work cut out for him.

  • A couple of new head coaches in the Midwest step into very favorable situations. Brady Hoke will be able to draw upon nine returning starters on either side of the ball at Michigan and will only have to generate any kind of defensive pulse to be hailed as an improvement on Rich Rodriguez. But even he won't have it as cushy as Don Treadwell, who takes over the defending MAC champions at Miami (Ohio) and has 18 starters back to work with, good for 10th on the list.

  • A lot of early talk in the SEC West has focused on what LSU returns at the skill positions and what Alabama has lost, but behind nine returning defensive starters and both specialists, the Tide still boasts two more starters back than their Bayou Bengal rivals.

  • 2010 was almost certainly the high-water mark for the crumbling WAC. Not only is bellwether Boise State moving on to the Mountain West, but Nevada and Hawaii return just eight offensive starters between them.

  • Actually, it might have been the high-water mark for non-AQ teams in general. Gary Patterson's TCU seems as bulletproof as programs come these days, but having just four starters back on either side of the ball (placing them 119th on the chart, one spot ahead of Auburn) will be quite the challenge all the same.

  • You should go ahead and steel yourself against the Notre Dame hype flood now; the Irish ended the season on a four-game win streak, you'll recall, and have eight starters back on both offense and defense including surprise draft dodger Michael Floyd (pictured). 

  • Likewise, the offseason storyline for the ACC is already written: Florida State, with 18 starters back, will be expected to wrest the league overlord role away from Virginia Tech, with just 13.

Posted on: January 19, 2011 5:29 pm
Edited on: January 19, 2011 5:30 pm
 

Headset Reset: Welcome to the Pac-12 and Big Ten

Posted by Adam Jacobi

"Headset Reset " is the College Football Blog's series reviewing the 22 new head coaches in the FBS and what they'll need to accomplish in their new jobs to succeed. In this edition: the four new head coaches in the Pac-12 and Big Ten.

DAVID SHAW, Stanford

Why him? Shaw represents a reaffirmation of the Jim Harbaugh regime, which rose from doormat to Pac-10 power with Shaw as offensive coordinator. Stanford AD Bob Bowlsby didn't get Boise State head coach Chris Petersen during negotiations after Harbaugh's departure, but Bowlsby's bona fides in football coach hiring are pretty solid. By hiring Shaw (and interviewing two other in-house candidates), Stanford has told its fans, "it ain't broke, and we're not fixin'."  By 2014, Shaw will need to: perpetuate Stanford's recent successes. Harbaugh isn't the first coach to win at Stanford, and he's also not the first coach to bolt for greener pastures at the first opportunity. So being that Stanford's main opposition in the Pac-12 North is Oregon and four programs with a light history of success (and let's ignore Stanford's time in that role since 40 years ago), there's an opportunity for the Cardinal to assert some authority.  Chances Shaw gets what he needs? Pretty good. Stanford's athletic department has a surprising amount of money, and with Oregon and Nike trying to start an arms race with the rest of the Pac-12, Stanford is one of the few schools that can probably keep up -- as long as it still wants to, anyway.

JON EMBREE, Colorado

Why him? Well, let's just not ask Bill McCartney that question. Past that, Embree was hired because he's a former Buffalo, and it would take a Colorado man to take this job and not flee the first time the Buffaloes put together seven wins in a season. By 2014, Embree will need to: get his team competitive with USC -- or whoever else is atop the Pac-12 South. There's no indication that Colorado's better or even as good as the rest of the division it's entering. CU can thank Dan Hawkins in some respects for that, but really, Colorado football hasn't been relevant for almost 15 years (yes, CU went to two consecutive Big XII Championships ... and lost them by a hilarious combined score of 112-6). Continued sub-mediocrity won't fly, especially as the Buffaloes try to acclimate themselves to a new conference without the strong tradition of success the Big XII had. Chances Embree gets what he needs? Not great. Colorado has struggled with keeping its football program relevant ever since the shared title year of 1990, even with some apparently decent head coaching hires. The move from the Big XII North to the Pac-12 South won't help lighten the Buffaloes' burden any, either. Colorado's struggles could very well be an institutional problem, not a coaching problem, and if that's the case it's probably easy to see how the Jon Embree Era will end in Boulder.

KEVIN WILSON, Indiana

Why him? This might actually be the most surprising hire of 2010, mainly because we didn't know Indiana could do something like this. The Hoosiers tabbed the vaunted Oklahoma offensive coordinator for his first head coaching gig, and they briefly had Boise State WR coach Brent Pease as the offensive coordinator. Hello, points! Problem was, Boise State's OC position opened up, and Pease went back to Boise for that gig, as would most sane coaches. This is still Indiana we're talking about. By 2014, Wilson will need to: prove that his offensive genius wasn't just "hand the ball to Adrian Peterson or DeMarco Murray and watch what happens." It likely wasn't, of course; Texas ably demonstrated this year that there's no such thing as a team too talented to get run into the ground by mediocre coaching. But still, the question remains; what's Wilson going to do when week in and week out, his players are inferior to their opponents? Chances Wilson gets what he needs? The better question here is whether Indiana gets what it needs, which is a solid football program led by a solid coach. That seems unlikely. Either Wilson fails badly in Bloomington like pretty much everyone before him, or he actually puts together a winning season, and starts getting wooed by job offers. What's going to keep Wilson in town when that starts happening? He doesn't have any prior connection to Indiana (both the school and the state itself), and his salary is only ("only") $1.2 million. As soon as he wins six games in a season up there, he's getting phone calls.

BRADY HOKE, Michigan

Why him? Michigan went back to its roots by hiring a former assistant, effectively admitting that the Rich Rodriguez dalliance was a mistake (also conveying that message: firing Rich Rodriguez) and that there was a formula to be followed. Hoke has whipped two programs into shape in short order, and he'll need to do it again at Michigan, which is just a mess. By 2014, Hoke will need to: have Michigan reloading instead of rebuilding. Michigan's biggest challengers in its new division are Nebraska and maybe Iowa or Northwestern. Hoke has no excuses for not routinely making the conference championship (or if not, being just a game out). Beating Ohio State would also be strongly recommended. Chances Hoke gets what he needs? Pretty darn good. Michigan has the resources, tradition, and expectations to get at least 10 wins a year, and now it's got a coach that can make that happen too. The common theme about the Hoke hire was that it wasn't "sexy," which means he's literally not an attractive person and/or that his teams play defense. Neither fact is a valid reason not to like this hire. Hoke wasn't Michigan's first choice, but neither was Jim Tressel at OSU. That's not to say "hiring fifth choice = national championship" is a valid strategy, but it's just extremely unlikely that there's only one right choice at a school with the inherent advantages that Michigan or any other traditional college football power would have. Jim Harbaugh probably would have succeeded at Michigan. So might Hoke. So might a cardboard cutout of Bo Schembechler (which is what the older part of Michigan's fanbase really wants in its heart of hearts anyway).

JERRY KILL, Minnesota

Why him? Aside from the obvious--that his name is literally just "Kill"--Minnesota hired a guy with 200 games of head coaching experience and a 63.5% winning percentage, all before his 50th birthday. Kill has succeeded in the MAC, where success is fleeting at best, and at a Southern Illinois program that wasn't really in good shape when he arrived. The track record's there, in other words. By 2014, Kill will need to: keep the stadium full. Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium is the newest house on the block in the Big Ten, but it's not exactly the biggest -- more like the opposite of that word. The luster of the new stadium was already wearing off by the time Tim Brewster was fired, as the team struggled to fill the stadium or do anything else of merit.  Chances Kill gets what he needs? Well, this depends solely on Kill's recruiting ability. He's been a head coach for almost 20 years, all of which came in the Midwest, so he knows the drill, and he knows the coaches. He just hasn't tried to land any big names before, and while bringing big names to Minnesota seems like a challenge, both Brewster and Glen Mason did it every now and then. So there's a chance he makes a turnaround happen.


 
 
 
 
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