Posted on: January 5, 2011 11:16 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
On Tuesday Rich Rodriguez was fired, and then he wasn't fired. After that he was probably going to be fired, but then he might have talked his way into keeping his job. Then, finally, the decision was put off until today.
Well the decision is in, and I think this time it's going to stick. Rich Rodriguez has been fired at Michigan.
The reason I believe it's for real this time is because the school announced that it would be holding a press conference on Wednesday at 12:30pm ET, likely to announce that Rodriguez is out. According to the Detroit News, Rodriguez will receive a $2.5 million buyout, so he should survive.
The question will now become who replaces Rodriguez at Michigan? Expect Jim Harbaugh's name to continue being tossed around until he announces he's staying at Stanford or takes an NFL job. If not Harbaugh, then look for San Diego State's Brady Hoke, or possibly former Michigan football player, and current LSU mad scientist, Les Miles to get some attention.
Posted on: January 4, 2011 11:29 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Given all the speculation about Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh leaving the school for another job, possibly for the same position at his alma mater Michigan, you have to wonder if Rich Rodriguez tuned in to any of the Orange Bowl last night. Maybe he was in his office with an empty box. Every time Stanford scored, he put something in the box, preparing for the departure many people seem to think is a foregone conclusion at this point.
The only variable in the equation in the eyes of most has been when Rodriguez will be informed his services are no longer needed in Ann Arbor. Well, that decision could come on Tuesday. Rodriguez is scheduled to meet with Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon on Tuesday afternoon.
Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon will meet with embattled coach Rich Rodriguez early this afternoon to discuss his future with the Wolverines football program, according to two people with knowledge of the meetings.
It’s not the only meeting expected today.
Members of the football team will attend a 7 p.m. meeting tonight to learn the fate of their head coach.
Which, in my opinion, means that Rodriguez is going to get fired this afternoon. I've long felt that were he to be fired, it wouldn't be until after the Orange Bowl since Harbaugh is likely going to be Michigan's top choice. Even if reports say that Harbaugh's not as interested in the job as many thought he would be.
Should it not be Harbaugh, then the smart money would be on San Diego State head coach Brady Hoke.
Posted on: December 23, 2010 11:49 pm
Edited on: December 23, 2010 11:50 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
San Diego State proved to be too much for Navy in a 35-14 victory.
San Diego State
Offense: Aside from the third quarter, the only quarter in which the Aztecs failed to score, there really wasn't much to complain about on offense. The Aztecs used a balanced attack against an overwhelmed Navy defense, and the trio of Ryan Lindley, Ronnie Hillman and Vincent Brown proved to be way too much for Navy to handle. Brown had 7 catches for 143 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter. He'd finish the night with 8 catches and 165 yards, though he could have had over 200 yards and another touchdown had he not let a pass slip through his hands in the fourth quarter. Lindley completed 18 of his 23 passes for 276 yards and two touchdowns, and also displayed an excellent ball fake on play-action passes. Some of the best I've ever seen, to be honest. Still, the star of the show was Hillman, who rushed for 228 yards and 3 scores, and even caught a touchdown pass that helped put the game away. All in all it was a very impressive performance. Grade: A
Defense: I had some concerns about how the SDSU defense would hold up against Navy's option attack, but like the offense, the defense was also impressive. They showed strong discipline all night in stopping Navy, and though they allowed two touchdowns in the second quarter, did not allow a single point in the other three. Yes, the Aztecs gave up some deep passes, but holding a Navy offense that averaged 31 points a game this season to only 14 points is a remarkable feat. Grade: A
Coaching: Brady Hoke and his staff came into this game knowing where Navy's weaknesses were and attacked them out of the gate. Navy simply could not stop Lindley and Brown in the first quarter and became so determined to keep that passing game in check that the Aztecs had no problem opening up big holes for Hillman up front. It was also obvious that the coaching staff spent a lot of time preparing the defense for Navy's option attack, and while they didn't have a perfect game on defense, the Aztecs played better than expected. Grade: A
Offense: While you can't really tell by looking at the final score, Navy didn't play all that bad on offense. Ricky Dobbs rushed for over 100 yards and a score, and threw for 147 more and another touchdown. The sole Navy turnover came late in the fourth quarter when the game was out of reach. The problem was that Navy's offense couldn't sustain its offense long enough on drives, and stalled a few times at midfield and in the red zone. In fact, Navy's chances of winning basically died when, trailing 21-14 on its first drive after halftime, the Middies failed to convert on a fourth and goal. it was probably the best drive of the game that Navy had, and it couldn't muster any points out of it. You don't win a lot of games when that happens. Grade: C+
Defense: Here is where the problems really came for Navy. As good as this team has been this season, the fact is that talent wise, the Midshipmen just couldn't match up with the Aztecs on defense. Without a secondary strong enough to line up and play man-to-man on a regular basis, the Aztecs picked apart the zone defenses. Up front the Aztec offensive line just proved too much for Navy's front four, as the defensive line never pressured Lindley much and were gashed by Hillman. Grade: D-
Coaching: It's pretty hard to blame Ken Niamutulolo and his coaching staff for anything that happened in this game. it's not as if Navy played an undisciplined game or had a bad game plan. The fact of the matter was San Diego State had a better plan and executed it to near perfection on the night. Some nights you just get beat no matter what you do, and this was one of those nights. Grade: B-
Final Grade: Going into this game I was expecting a bit of a shootout. I wasn't sure that the Navy defense would be able to stop the Aztecs, and I questioned whether or not SDSU could stop Navy's option. As we've gone over, San Diego State did stop Navy. Still, even though the final margin was 21 points, this game wasn't that big of a blowout. That being said, there wasn't a whole lot of drama in the fourth quarter either, so it's hard to give this game much higher than an average score. Final Grade: C+
Posted on: December 15, 2010 3:03 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Why You Should Watch: Because one half of the matchup is Navy, the team that continues to defy its service academy constraints with big wins, bowl berths, and the nation's most reliable year-in-year-out running game ... and their opponent might be even more interesting for the diehard college football fan. San Diego State has long been regarded as the sleeping giant of the Mountain West, a program with the resources and metro recruiting base to challenge for league titles if they ever got the right coach in place. Brady Hoke looks like he might be that coach, and after a huge step forward this season, a Poinsettia win would stamp the Aztecs as the up-and-comer in the new-look MWC.
Plus, this is the last chance to watch Navy's indefatigable Ricky Dobbs, arguably the best triple-option quarterback of college football's past decade. His swan song alone makes the game worth the look.
Keys to Victory for Navy: Things have mostly gone well for the Midshipmen this season, as they enter the bowl with their second straight nine-win campaign already under their belt. But when they've gone wrong, there have been two main culprits. One of them has been the pass defense, which ranks 66th despite playing two games against fellow option teams Air Force and Army . Even with the presence of senior star safety Wyatt Middleton couldn't keep the Midshipmen from giving up an incredible 28 completions in 30 attempts (for 314 yards) in a 34-31 loss to Duke, 413 passing yards and 5 touchdowns in the wild win over East Carolina, and 394 yards and 3 scores to Central Michigan in a 38-37 escape from the 3-9 Chippewas ... all without an interception. If a few leaks aren't plugged, SDSU's Ryan Lindley, the Mountain West's leading passer , will have a field day.
The other issue? Red zone execution. Though their numbers for the year aren't bad, the Midshipmen might have tipped 10 or 11 wins if not for zero points on five different red zone trips against Maryland and just six on three trips against Air Force. If Dobbs continues to throw the way he did down the stretch (including a career high 186 yards against Army) and Navy executes in their usual fashion, the Midshipmen will get their yards. The question is whether they'll turn those into points, and if they do, whether those points will be enough if the pass defense collapses.
Keys to Victory for San Diego State: Most schools would cringe at the thought of having to prepare for Navy's option shenanigans, but the Aztecs have to be quietly confident about the matchup. SDSU has already faced and defeated one option school this season, downing Air Force 27-25 while holding the Falcons to 12 points through the first 52 minutes. Defensive coordinator Rocky Long has years of experience with defending the option from his time as New Mexico's head coach, and he's been better at it than most. Between Long's expertise, the extra time to prepare, and the Aztecs' prior encounter with the option, they should be as ready as anyone to deal with Dobbs and Co. Though it's always easier said than done against the Midshipmen, they'll just have to execute. (It'll also help to have players like Miles Burris around; the first-team all-conference junior linebacker led the Mountain West in tackles-for-loss with 17.)
Offensively, if Lindley is on his game, it's hard to see the Midshipmen doing much to slow down the Aztecs. First-team all-MWC senior wideouts Vincent Brown and Demarco Sampson combined for 2,362 receiving yards and present major matchup problems with Sampson's size and Brown's speed. Navy also won't be able to commit extra bodies to pass defense, thanks to the presence of MWC Freshman of the Year Ronnie Hillman, a tough, explosive runner who finished 12th in the nation with 1,304 yards on the ground and averaged a sterling 5.6 yards per-carry. Lindley put up some huge numbers at times, but he also struggled with interceptions, his total of 14 tying for the second-highest in the country. If he can find Brown and Sampson more often than he finds Middleton and the rest of the Navy secondary, the Midshipmen could be in for a long day.
The Poinsettia Bowl is like: a forgotten pulp comic from the 1960s, in which a heroic naval commander, at the end of a long journey, has one final battle to fight when his division is ambushed in San Diego bay by ... a horde of bloodthirsty Aztecs?!?! Like the imaginary tussle out of those comic pages, this one promises to be hard-fought, action-packed (with these two offenses? You bet), and in doubt right up until the final frames.
Posted on: December 11, 2010 11:43 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
San Diego State head coach Brady Hoke was mentioned quite a bit as a candidate for the Minnesota job before the school decided to hire Northern Illinois' Jerry Kill. Hoke had interviewed with Minnesota AD Joel Maturi in San Diego at the job before deciding to stay in southern California and sign a two-year contract extension at the school. Though just because Hoke signed an extension, that doesn't mean there isn't one job he would leave the school for this winter if it became available to him.
Even his school president knows that. SDSU President Stephen Weber says that if the job at Michigan came open, he's almost certain that Hoke would leave his school for Ann Arbor if the job was offered to him. And he's happy about it.
“If he were offered the opportunity, I have got to believe there is no way we can compete with that,” Weber told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “And I kind of like the fact we have a coach who (would be) in play for a place like the University of Michigan. C’mon, this is a good thing.”
Weber says he's known this since he hired Hoke. He said during the interview he asked Hoke how he saw San Diego State fitting into his career arc, and Hoke told him that the arc ended at Michigan.
Of course, whether that Michigan job comes open or not, we don't know yet, as Michigan AD Dave Brandon has said he's going to wait until after the bowl game to make a decision on Rich Rodriguez. Plus, there's the question of whether or not Jim Harbaugh would be interested in taking the job, because you have to think that he would be the school's first choice.
Posted on: December 6, 2010 12:32 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2010 12:35 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
When news broke that Minnesota had found their man with Jerry Kill, the happiest fans may have been at San Diego State. The Aztecs were in jeopardy of losing head coach Brady Hoke to the Golden Gophers, and they will express their gratitude for his return.
It's the kind of expression that all of us enjoy - the one with commas.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that San Diego State will announce a new contract for Hoke at a press conference on Monday. The deal is expected to include two more years on his current contract, as well as an increase from his current $700,000 salary. Hoke is currently in year two of his original five-year contract.
San Diego State had already claimed they were willing to fight for Hoke when his name was being discussed at Minnesota and also with the open position at Indiana. Athletic director Jim Sterk said last week that an unidentified donor had pledged $5 million to support the football program, which includes retaining the head coach.
The Aztecs finished 8-4 this season, and will play against Navy in the San Diego Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl on December 23. The game, played in Qualcomm Stadium, will basically be a home game for San Diego State. It is the first bowl game for the program since the Las Vegas Bowl in 1998, a 20-13 loss to North Carolina.
Posted on: December 1, 2010 4:59 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Not that it's the place you'd necessarily expect to see big-money support for the football program, but no one can accuse the high-rollers at San Diego State of not caring about their Aztecs. Earlier this season a collection of high-profile boosters bothered to publicly harass BYU and the Mountain West over a botched replay call that might have cost SDSU a win, and now the San Diego Union-Tribune is reporting that an anonymous donor has pledged a cool $5 million to help keep Aztec head coach Brady Hoke from bolting to Minnesota .
The only problem? Even a huge raise (both for himself and his assistants) and a facilities upgrade might not be enough to keep Hoke from returning to his native Midwest and taking his first Big Ten head coaching job. As the Union Tribune reports:
"Casual," maybe, but quite obviously not unimportant, and Hoke's agent has admitted he has kept in contact with the Gophers.
Given the lack of confirmed interest from Minnesota on the part of other realistic candidates, Hoke's quality resume, his Big Ten ties, and now refusal to quiet the speculation, Hoke-to-Minneapolis may be the most logical outcome of this coaching search no matter how much money the Aztecs and their boosters pony up. Stay tuned.
Posted on: November 24, 2010 11:26 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
It's starting to look like Minnesota may finally be moving closer to their goal of finding a new head coach. According to a few reports, San Diego State head coach Brady Hoke talked to an official from the University of Minnesota about the head coaching job over the weekend. Hoke wouldn't go into details when asked about any meetings, but he did admit that a meeting took place.
"I did have an informal conversation about an opening that's out there," said Hoke. The Aztecs coach also said he wasn't going into any details "out of respect for that other school and the kids we have here that we're 100 percent committed to and will stay committed to."
Which sounds nice, but I'm not exactly sure how you can say you're 100 percent committed to the kids you currently have about 15 seconds after you admit you just talked to another school about another job. Don't get me wrong, I'm not blaming Hoke for taking the meeting, I would too.
As for who Hoke had the meeting with, Monday Night Football sideline reporter Michelle Tafoya said on her radio show Tuesday that she shared a plane from San Diego back to Minnesota with a few familiar faces. Those faces being Minnesota athletic director Joel Maturi and his assistant Dave Mona. Though I suppose it's possible that they were just in San Diego for the weekend on holiday.
Minnesota has said that it would like to have its head coaching search wrapped up before the holidays, and while the prospect of finding someone before Thursday doesn't seem strong, it's possible that the school could have its coach by the end of next week. After all, when Hoke left Ball State to take over in San Diego, he did so at the end of the regular season and before the bowl game.
It's not crazy to think he'd do it again.