Category:NCAAF
Posted on: January 31, 2012 3:45 pm
 

Ex-Iowa RB Coker transferring to Stony Brook

Blessed with a well-coached offensive line and a pro-style offensive attack that features the run, the Iowa Hawkeyes seemingly always have a strong running attack under Kirk Ferentz.

Unfortunately, rarely during Ferentz's recent tenure have his running backs been able to remain as the starter for more than a season. Not since the days of Albert Young (who left in 2007) have the Hawkeyes have enjoyed any real continuity at running back. Each of the past five seasons, in fact, Iowa has had a different player lead the team in either rushing yardage, rushing touchdowns or both. 

The turnover will continue in 2012 due to the fact that Iowa's leading incumbent rusher Marcus Coker will be taking his talents to FCS powerhouse Stony Brook. 

Coker, who led the Hawkeyes with 1,384 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns in 2011, was suspended from the team prior to the Insight Bowl matchup against Oklahoma. The reason for his suspension and subsequent surprise releasal from his scholarship by Iowa entirely hasn't been made public other than that his actions constituted a violation of the university's Student Athlete's Code of Conduct. Coker was investigated after a woman claimed he sexually assaulted her in October but played during the investigation and was never formally charged of any crime. 

Despite only one season as a fulltime starter for the Hawkeyes, Coker had already established himself as a potential pro prospect. Coker, in fact, ranked No. 6 on NFLDraftScout.com's 2014 RB rankings. 

Listed by Iowa at 6-0, 230 pounds, Coker is a physical back with good vision and surprising burst for a player of his size. Coker is on pace to graduate and, according to Stony Brook head coach Chuck Priore, was very interested in his new university's academics as well as athletics. 

That said, a spectacular junior campaign could force Coker to consider leaving his new school early should the NFL come calling. Though it was injury and not an investigation that prompted another former Iowa running back -- Jewel Hampton -- to transfer to Southern Illinois a year ago, he too sounded like a player willing to spend two seasons with his new program rather than making the attempted jump to the pros. 

Instead, after rushing for 1,121 yards and a conference-leading 21 touchdowns this season, Hampton headed off to the NFL

Just as they did with Hampton at Southern Illinois, scouts will certainly be keeping an eye on Coker at Stony Brook, whether it be for the 2013 or 2014 draft.   

Posted on: August 26, 2010 9:58 pm
 

Details sketchy, but clear UNC in real trouble

University of North Carolina Chancellor Holden Thorp, Athletic Director Dick Baddour and head coach Butch Davis met with the press Thursday evening to announce that they were broading the NCAA investogation into their program due to their discovery of “possible academic misconduct involving a former undergraduate tutor and student-athletes on the football team.

The tutor, according to this report by Joedy McCreary of The Associated Press , was employed by the university and worked with Davis' son.

Prior to the press conference, there were initial reports that the Tar Heels' starting cornerbacks Kendric Burney and Charles Brown were among those suspended.

Baddour, however, declined to identify any of the players involved in their investigation or even how many players the school was investigating.

Baddour did not provide a true time table for the investigation either, but did say, ""it is likely that the review would extend beyond the start of the season."

According to those I've spoken to who were at the press conference, the mood in the room was grave. There was a sense that this could grow into significantly more than just a player suspension or two.

McCreary, in fact, notes the concern from Chancellor Thorp to end his article:

 

Chancellor Holden Thorp — who began the news conference by saying "to everyone who loves this university, I'm sorry about what I have to tell you" — vowed that administrators are taking the probe seriously but expressed hope that its scope ultimately would be limited.

"We will find out what happened. We will do everything we can to keep it from happening again," he said. "And we will not let these mistakes define our university and what we stand for."

 


 
Posted on: August 18, 2010 2:16 pm
 

Irish WR Floyd making new coach Kelly a believer

New Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly made waves yesterday with his candid first impressions of junior wideout Michael Floyd, considered by some to be among the country's very best wide receivers.

Said Kelly, "“I thought Michael Floyd was overhyped. I thought he was, at times, average.”

Asked to explain further, Kelly provided plenty of details.

"He wasn't a precision route runner," Kelly told the media, including Eric Hansen of the South Bend Tribune . "[Floyd] wasn't asked to be. He was a match-up guy. Bodied people, caught the ball — sometimes he did, sometimes he didn't. If you watched him, were evaluating him, you go, ‘OK, he's got a big body, he runs down the field. If they throw it up there, there's a good chance he's going to get it. You never saw him in positions to run the dig or drive, be one-on-one, beat coverage on a quick slant on fourth down and snap his hands. All those things that go to winning football games, I didn't see that. Maybe it's because they had Golden Tate, and he did all that for him. So my evaluation of Mike was based upon the film I had.”

While Floyd's film may not have made a favorable first impression on his head coach, his work ethic throughout spring and summer, on the other hand, certainly has.

"In 20 years, I have not had a player who has worked as hard as Michael Floyd has worked,” Kelly said. “And I mean that. He has out-worked everybody on the offensive side of the ball to the point where he has single-handedly set the bar for where everybody else needs to bring their play.

“When we've gone in the last couple of days, situational live if you will, he's been dominant. Believe me, I'm not easily impressed. ... Michael Floyd can do more. He's capable of doing a lot more. He's shown to me that he can be that guy that is a complete wide receiver.”

Floyd, 6-3, 220 pounds, was one of the nation's most dangerous big play threats under Charlie Weis. Though Floyd only played in seven games last year due to a broken collarbone suffered against Michigan State, when he was on the field, he was virtually unstoppable. Floyd posted 44 receptions for 795 yards (18.1 average) and nine touchdowns. He scored at least one touchdown in six of the seven games in which he played. The one game in which he didn't score a touchdown -- Pittsburgh -- Floyd caught 7 passes for 107 yards.

With quarterback Jimmy Clausen and fellow wideout Golden Tate having left early for the NFL, Kelly's comments could be aimed at lighting a fire under Floyd, who is expected to be the Irish's primary weapon on offense in 2010.
Posted on: March 30, 2010 12:25 pm
Edited on: March 30, 2010 12:40 pm
 

Former USF coach Jim Leavitt with Oklahoma?

Besides the dozens of NFL executives, head coaches and scouts on hand to watch Sam Bradford's Pro Day yesterday, there were several other surprising onlookers.

Former teammate Gerald McCoy (and his father) were on hand. So too was former OU star and current Baltimore Raven Mark Clayton. Each were there to lend support to Bradford and Oklahoma for obvious reasons.

Former South Florida head coach Jim Leavitt, however, was also in attendance and does not have a natural allegiance I was aware of.

Upon noticing him, casually dressed and chatting amicably with league personnel, I made a mental note to talk to him. Once Bradford began throwing, however, I lost track of Leavitt.

Until that is about an hour later when I saw him dressed in full Oklahoma regalia, jogging on campus. Oklahoma crimson t-shirt, shorts, the whole deal.

I only happened to see Leavitt running because I skipped out early from the press conference held by Bradford and Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops. Those media members who had been there only for Bradford's workout were long gone. Those that stayed for the press conference were inside Memorial Stadium listening to Bradford and Stoops.

If it has been announced that Leavitt has signed with Oklahoma in some capacity, I don't know of it. A simple internet search turned up nothing of a connection between Leavitt and the Sooners except for conjecture that Leavitt might be a coach of interest for the Sooners considering that he coached with Stoops and defensive coordinator Brett Venables at Kansas State. Leavitt is not currently listed among the Sooners' 13 football coaches according to SoonerSports.com. I contacted a handful of NFL personnel on hand for yesterday's workout to confirm that they, too, had seen Leavitt there. They had, but knew nothing of his connection with the Sooners.

Leavitt is currently in a legal battle with USF regarding his pay and whether his termination was "with" or "without" cause. Leavitt is suing USF and the USF Foundation for exoneration of inappropriate contact with a former player and the remainder of his 7 million dollar contract. Leavitt was accused of grabbing former walk-on Joel Miller by the throat and slapping him in the face. The school investigated and decided to fire Leavitt in January.





Posted on: December 10, 2009 8:11 pm
 

If Kelly to be successful, he can't forget the D

If Brian Kelly -- or anyone else for that matter -- is to be successful at Notre Dame, he'll have to accomplish a feat that Bob Davie, Tyrone Willingham and Charlie Weis were never able to accomplish.

Win, of course, but also to rebuild a defense that has been sorely lacking in talent since the end of the Lou Holtz era.

Considering Notre Dame's natural recruiting advantages, many will be surprised to learn that the Irish haven't had a defensive player drafted in the first round in well over a decade. In fact, it was 1997 -- Davie's first year leading the Irish -- that the Jacksonville Jaguars selected defensive lineman Renaldo Wynn with the 21st pick of the draft. Since, there has been only one Notre Dame defender even drafted within the first 50 picks of any draft, and that was defensive tackle Trevor Laws to the Eagles two years ago... who went 47th overall.

During Lou Holtz's reign (1986-1996), on the other hand, there were 12 Fighting Irish defenders drafted within the first 50 picks...

I can understand why Notre Dame fired Charlie Weis. He simply didn't win enough games. However, the man was brought in due to his brilliance as an offensive coach. He helped turn Brady Quinn into a first round pick, recruited and will have successfully made Jimmy Clausen into a first round pick and has produced some talented skill position players around them in tight ends John Carlson (2008 2nd round pick to Seattle) and Anthony Fasano (2006 2nd round pick to Dallas) and wide receivers Maurice Stovall (2006 3rd round pick to Tampa Bay) and Golden Tate.

If Notre Dame is to return to its former glory -- a monumental task considering their high academic standards and tough annual schedule -- they can't just rely on the flashy offensive stars to get it done.

Congratulations to Brian Kelly on the new job. I wish you the best... (and by that I mean a pass rusher or shutdown cornerback or two...)


Posted on: December 6, 2009 3:17 am
Edited on: December 11, 2009 11:15 am
 

Suh the conscionable Heisman choice

As my previous post reported, I spent much of my Saturday at the Washington-Cal game. While writing the post, however, I've been scouting the Big 12 Championship game between Texas and Nebraska.

I've long held the belief that Colt McCoy would win the Heisman this year. I've maintained for even longer, however, that Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh should win it.

After scouting this game, however, I simply cannot understand how any Heisman voter with a conscience could possibly give their vote to McCoy over Suh. Sure, McCoy's team won. But he struggled for most of this contest, throwing three interceptions and zero touchdowns. Suh, on the other hand, racked up 12 tackles, 7 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. No defense had sacked McCoy four times in one game this year and Suh accomplished that feat, himself...

For the season, despite being double or triple teamed on nearly every snap, Suh led the Blackshirts with 82 tackles, 23 tackles for loss and 12 sacks. He broke up 10 passes and blocked 3 kicks.

The fact that Reggie Bush is the only non-QB to have won the Heisman this decade is simply proof that many of today's Heisman voters are focusing more on the BCS standings and gaudy touchdown pass totals to judge which player deserves the award.

On the behalf of college football fans across the world, Heisman voters, I challenge you with proving that the greatest individual honor in sports hasn't become a joke.

For a change, lets award the best player in the country the honor supposed to be bestowed upon the best player in the country... even if he plays defense and isn't in a BCS bowl game.  

Award the Heisman Trophy to Ndamukong Suh.

(And if acknowleding the dominance of a defensive player is just too much to ask, for goodness sakes, take a look at what running backs CJ Spiller, Mark Ingram and Toby Gerhart have done this year)


Posted on: November 28, 2009 2:11 pm
 

Sooners recipients of three early blown calls

The Oklahoma-Oklahoma State rivalry is known throughout collegiate sports as the Bedlam series. For three critical plays in the first half of this 103rd meeting between the Sooners and Cowboys' football teams, the moniker certainly applied.

Oklahoma State had the early momentum in this contest and seemed ready to capitalize on it with forced fumbles on back to back plays in the first quarter. On each play, Sooner receivers caught the pass, took two steps and had the ball forcibly removed from their hands. Both plays would have given the Cowboys the ball in Sooner territory. The Sooners, however, retained possession after both plays. Then, only moments into the second quarter, Sooner running back DeMarco Murray appeared to soar out of bounds as he leapt towards the endzone.

The first play, which came on second down, was initially ruled a fumble by wide receiver Dejuan Miller, with the Cowboys recovering the ball. The play was shockingly reversed by the booth. Soon after, a pass from Landry Jones to Ryan Broyles was called incomplete immediately, though replay proved that Broyles caught the pass and had the ball forced out. With the whistle having been blown immediately, the Cowboy contigent running down the field was stopped.

Allowed an opportunity to punt, the Sooners took great advantage, as Trent Way booted a career-long 74 yarder, dropping the Cowboys back to their own 7-yard line.

On Murray's touchdown -- which gave the Sooners a 10-0 lead, the referee appeared ready to mark the ball at the one, but changed his mind and ruled the play a touchdown. Though the replay cleary showed Murray was at least a yard out of bounds as he crossed the endzone, the booth ruled the play should stand as called. 

Talk about your home-field advantage...

With a victory over the Sooners, Oklahoma State still has a chance for at an-large berth in a BCS game. The Sooners, on the other hand, at 6-5, are fighting to keep Bob Stoops' string of non-losing seasons intact.

Considering the great ramifications of this game, one would hope better officiating will ensue.

Posted on: November 16, 2009 12:46 pm
 

Even at #14, Stanford remains underrated

Many outside of the Pac-10 might have been surprised by Stanford's back to back wins over Oregon and USC. Those who have been paying attention to Jim Harbaugh's ascending program, however, weren't surprised at all.

Jim Harbaugh has characterized his redshirt freshman quarterback, Andrew Luck, as "the best quarterback in the country" and Luck's performance against the Ducks and Trojans (5 combined TDs, zero turnovers) serve as some evidence that Harbaugh's claim isn't as far off as one might think. The 6-4, 235 pound Luck, in fact, looks every bit the part of a future first round choice.

Unlike many of the past Pac-10 offenses, however, this offense isn't built around the passing game. This is an offense built around a punishing downhill rushing attack forged by Toby Gerhart and a stout offensive line. It is an offense that has scored a combined 106 points against the Ducks and Trojans, not because of gimmick or trickery, but fundmantally sound play up front and a brand of physicality most wouldn't associate with Stanford.

The defense, though rarely given much credit for Stanford's success, has been the very definition of a bend, but don't break unit. The senior-laden unit is stout at the point of attack, protecting a lack of elite athleticism throughout much of the back seven.

At 7-3, the Cardinals remain a game behind Oregon in the Pac-10 standings. They face explosive offenses in their final two games (California, Notre Dame), but with tough games also on the docket for Oregon, Oregon State and Arizona (the other teams contending for the Pac-10 crown), Stanford remains in the Rose Bowl hunt... and I believe this team, on a neutral field, would beat Ohio State.



 
 
 
 
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