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Tag:MAC
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.


Posted on: January 19, 2011 3:13 pm
 

Headset Reset: Five new faces in the MAC

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

"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 five new head coaches in the MAC.

DON TREADWELL, Miami (Ohio) (pictured)

Why him? Because few assistant coaches in the country had a better 2010 than Treadwell, who turned a collection of average-looking talent into one of the Big Ten's most effective offenses at Michigan State and added a couple of victories as the Spartans' interim head coach to boot. For 2011, Treadwell needs to: capitalize on the momentum built by Mike Haywood's amazing 9-win turnaround in Oxford. A second straight MAC title isn't a necessity, but the pieces are in place for the kind of solid, winning season that would stamp the RedHawks as a contender for years to come. By 2014, Treadwell needs to have: won the MAC. With so much coaching turnover, there's a power vaccum at the top of the conference, and no reason Miami can't fill it. Chances Treadwell gets what he needs? Good-to-very good. Haywood left behind an excellent foundation and Treadwell's work in East Lansing suggests he's just the man to build upon it.

PETE LEMBO, Ball State

Why him? At just 40 years of age, Lembo already has 10 years of head coaching experience (all at the FCS level, no less) and just finished resuscitating a truly rotten Elon program. For 2011, Lembo needs to: just move the Cardinals in the right direction. Stan Parrish's dreadful two-season reign-of-error means Lembo has to get the program walking towards, say, not losing to Eastern Michigan before it runs towards bowls and league titles. By 2014, Lembo needs to have: put the Cardinals in position for a postseason berth; the Brady Hoke era showed it's far from impossible for the right coach. Chances Lembo gets what he needs? Not bad. BSU's not an easy gig, but Lembo's energy and FCS success mean he could be a sneakily good hire.

STEVE ADDAZIO, Temple

Why him? Not his efforts running the Florida offense, that's for sure, but his top-notch recruiting expertise, Northeast ties, and Urban Meyer -trained CEO skills won him the job all the same. For 2011, Addazio needs to: put together a coaching staff -- particularly at the coordinator positions -- that can take advantage of Addazio's good work on the recruiting trails. Maintaining Temple's perch near the top of the MAC East would be a nice signal that Al Golden's tenure wasn't a fluke, too. By 2014, Addazio needs to have: gotten the Owls back to a couple of bowl games; anything else would be a terrible waste of Golden's remarkable work. Chances Addazio gets what he needs? Better than you'd think. There's a reason Meyer tabbed Addazio as his replacement during his sabbatical; he's got the leadership skills necessary to head up a successful program ... if he can just find someone to call his plays for him.

DAVE DOEREN, Northern Illinois

Why him? NIU can't ask for a whole lot more than a long-time successful Big Ten defensive coordinator fresh off a visit to the Rose Bowl. For 2011, Doeren needs to: win the MAC? Those are high expectations for a first-time head coach, but the Huskies were the league's best team in 2010 and their offense returns almost entirely intact. By 2014, Doeren needs to have: won the MAC, no question mark. With the offensive talent left behind by Jerry Kill and Doeren's defensive acumen, the Huskies should find a way to finish what they started in 2010. Chances Doeren gets what he needs? Solid; none of the other new MAC coaches steps into a situation quite this friendly, and Doeren's defensive pedigree is promising.

DARRELL HAZELL, Kent State

Why him? No one the Golden Flashes could have hired knows the Ohio recruiting scene better than the longtime Buckeye receivers coach and recruiting ace. For 2011, Hazell needs to: find a difference-maker or two. KSU's been close to getting over the bowl hump, going 5-7 each of the past two seasons; if Hazell can recruit just a handful of actual play-makers, he could get them there in short order. By 2014, Hazell needs to have: reached the postseason. It would be a huge milestone for woebegone program that's had just two winning seasons since 1977, and has never played in a bowl as an FBS program. Chances Hazell gets what he needs? Like Addazio, it'll depend on who Hazell can hire for his staff, since he has no coordinating experience. But the talent level in Kent should definitely rise on his watch.

Posted on: January 7, 2011 1:58 am
 

Bowl Grades: GoDaddy.com Bowl

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

A flurry of Dwight Dasher interceptions helps Miami (Ohio) pull away from Middle Tennessee State, 35-21.

MIAMI (OHIO)

Offense: The RedHawks were rarely a thing of beauty tonight, punting six times, turning the ball over twice, and failing to score seven times in eight possessions over the second and third quarters. But as they've done all year, they didn't need a lot of flashiness to get the job done. Bruising back Thomas Merriweather ran for 101 yards on 27 carries with a pair of short-yardage touchdowns behind a line that mostly got the better of their MTSU counterparts; quarterback Austin Boucher tossed two picks but hit a consistent 22-of-36 for 8 yards an attempt and two scores; three different RedHawk receivers finished with at least 4 receptions and 60 yards.

Sure, they did some things wrong. But they did far more things right, and on a night when the Blue Raiders couldn't get out of their own way, that was plenty. Grade: B+

Defense:
Miami struggled in the first half with Dasher's speed and elusiveness, but as soon as they figured out how to keep him in the pocket, the game was over; his four second-half picks were the decisive factor, with the Blue Raiders 4-of-13 showing on third-down conversions a close second. Giving up 6.6 yards a carry isn't good, but when your defense collects five turnovers and holds their opponent scoreless over the final seven possessions of a two-score game, one flaw's not going to ruin the whole performance. Grade: B+

Coaching:
Miami seemed like a prime candidate to mail in their bowl performance, losing head coach Mike Haywood, coming off the high of the MAC championship, taking the long trip to Mobile (Ala.) to play one of the postseason's most lightly-regarded bowl games. But interim head coach Lance Guidry and the rest of the Miami staff had the RedHawks plenty ready to play. Grade: A

MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE

Offense:
The Blue Raider offense wasn't a total disaster; it put up a respectable 371 yards, averaged the aformentioned 6.6 yards per carry, and made enough big plays to keep MTSU in the game for three quarters. But five turnovers are about four too many, and over their final 13 possessions, none lasted longer than five plays. If you're giving the opponent back the ball that often -- either by punt or turnover -- they're going to outscore you eventually.

Also, those Dasher picks? Those weren't batted balls or great defensive plays; they were horrendous throws that handed Miami possession on a silver platter. Grade: D

Defense:
It's hard to put too much blame on a Blue Raider defense that kept being put in such difficult situations by the offense, and that kept Miami off the board for so much of the middle of the game. But at the same time, giving up more than 400 total yards and three touchdown drives of 70 yards or more to a team as low-fi as Miami isn't something to crow about. Merriweather, Boucher, and the other RedHawk skill position players are solid performers, but they're also just not the kind of explosive athletes that tend to keep defensive coordinators up at night. It's not hard to think MTSU could have done better. Grade: C+

Coaching:
The Blue Raiders played hard, no question about that. And it's not entirely the coaches' fault that Dasher was so intent on throwing the ball to the other team. But at some point, maybe Rick Stockstill and Co. should have done more to rein their quarterback in; with 14 interceptions on the season in only eight games coming in, it's not like they didn't know he had a penchant for being loose with the ball. Grade: C

FINAL GRADE:
The GoDaddy.com Bowl was diverting enough. It had a lot of big and exciting plays, it stayed competitive through nearly 55 minutes, and there was a sideline interview with Danica Patrick in which she compared the atmosphere to the Indy 500. (The IRL folks are so happy for you on your move on to NASCAR, no doubt, Danica.) But there was no escaping the overwhelming feeling that this was, truly, a matchup between a 6-6 Sun Belt also-ran and the MAC team the Vegas bookies had still installed as a small underdog to them, being played in a city whose tourism commercial (featuring unflattering shots of a shipyard and a flotilla of tacky candy-colored faux-antebellum dresses) only emphasized that this was most assuredly the bowl season's equivalent of off-off-Broadway. It's hard to get too excited when the stakes seemed this low. Grade: C+

Posted on: December 31, 2010 12:46 pm
Edited on: December 31, 2010 12:47 pm
 

Miami (OH) hires Michigan State's Don Treadwell

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Mike Haywood came to Miami (Ohio) and quickly turned the program around, leading the Redhawks to a MAC title this season.  Haywood then parlayed that success into a head coaching gig at Pitt, leaving Miami looking for a new head coach.

A new head coach it seems that its found.

The school announced on Friday through a press release that it had hired Michigan State offensive coordinator Don Treadwell to be its next head coach.  Treadwell has been serving under Mark Dantonio in East Lansing since 2007, and also took over the program for a few weeks earlier this season after Dantonio suffered a heart attack in September.

Of course, it's not just his coaching experience that likely helped Treadwell land the job.  Treadwell played football at Miami as a wide receiver from 1978-81, and also served as the school's wide receivers and running backs coach for two years under the late Randy Walker in 1992 and 1993.
Posted on: December 20, 2010 9:25 am
 

Kent State to hire Ohio State's Hazell

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

As the old saying goes: if you can't beat 'em, hire 'em away.

So with the rest of Ohio now 0-for-the-last-89-years against the neighborhood bully in Columbus, it's no surprise that Kent State (out of Kent, Ohio, natch) has looked to the staff of Ohio State for their next head coach, Buckeye receivers coach and assistant head coach Darrell Hazell. Hazell is due to be announced as the new coach of the Golden Flashes at a press conference set for 3 p.m. EST later today, having won the job over co-finalists Curt Cignetti, the Alabama wide receivers coach, and Bobby Kennedy, the Texas receivers coach. (One way or another, safe to say the Golden Flashes were going to get some high-quality receiving coaching next year.)

With Hazell installed at Kent, Pete Lembo at Ball State, and Dave Doeren at Northern Illinois, only Temple and Miami (OH) are still looking for coaches following what might be called the Great MAC Coaching Upheaval of 2010.

Hazell comes to Kent having been with Jim Tressel's Buckeyes since 2004 and with experience as the assistant head coach at both Ohio State and his previous stop at Rutgers. But the likely decisive factor in his hire is his knowledge of the rich Ohio recruiting scene, honed not only from his years under Tressel but his three-year stint as the Oberlin College offensive coordinator from 1989-1991.

And what team just-so-happens to be that last Ohio team to beat Ohio State? Oberlin, by a 7-6 score back in 1921 . If Hazell can reproduce anything remotely like that kind of magic, he won't be at Kent for long.

Posted on: December 19, 2010 7:02 pm
 

Ball State hires Pete Lembo

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The last few weeks it seems like there's been a mass exodus of coaches leaving the MAC conference.  Jerry Kill left Northern Illinois for Minnesota, Al Golden said goodbye to Temple to take the Miami job, and Mike Haywood left Miami (OH) to take over in Pittsburgh.  So far this offseason Ball State was the only school in the conference to lose its head coach by choice, and now it has found a replacement.

Ball State announced on Sunday that it had hired Pete Lembo to take over the program.

"We are extremely excited to have Pete Lembo join the Ball State family,” said Ball State athletic director Tom Collins in a statement. “The search for our next football coach included talking to a number of people in the football world. Coach Lembo’s name and credentials continued to surface as an outstanding candidate for Ball State University. We are looking forward to his contribution to the program and looking forward to getting started in preparation for Ball State football 2011.”

Lembo comes to Ball State from Elon, where he went 35-22 in five seasons.  Before that Lembo was the head coach at Lehigh, going 44-14 in five seasons. Ball State will be the first time Lembo has coached on the FBS level, either as a head coach or assistant.  Of course, considering it's Ball State, he probably won't even notice the difference.
Posted on: December 19, 2010 1:18 am
 

Bowl Grades: New Orleans Bowl

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Final score: Troy 48, Ohio 21

Troy

Offense: How good was the Troy offense? QB Corey Robinson was 21-27 for 262 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions. Um, that was at the half. Troy led at the break 38-7, and scored on every possession until the fourth quarter. Jerrel Jernigan and Tebiarus Gill combined for all five of Troy's touchdowns, and eventually combined for 144 yards from scrimmage. The Trojans would eventually register 602 yards from scrimmage, even after the reserves found their way onto the field. This is an easier A than Geology 101. Grade: A+

Defense: The Trojans did give up 21 points, but allowed only 99 yards on 30 rushes and four first downs on 12 third down conversion attempts. Ohio's offense was mostly stifled while the game was in any semblance of doubt. An interception by Jimmy Anderson in Troy territory set the tone for the game, and the Trojans never looked back. Grade: B

Coaching: Larry Blankeny put his team in a position to win by playing to his team's strengths. The Trojan offense is fast-paced and designed to highlight Robinson's accuracy, and the playcalling put the ball in Jernigan's hands in a variety of ways; Jernigan's first touchdown came out of a keeper from the Wildcat formation, and Jernigan would finish with three rushes on the day. Blankeny had his team fired up for the game, and the difference in effort was readily apparent throughout the first half -- at which point the game was pretty well decided. Grade: A

Ohio

Offense: The Ohio offense features a two-headed attack at quarterback; Boo Jackson is the better passer, while Phil Bates is the more athletic ball-carrier. Bates, in fact, threw one pass for the entire game; it was the Anderson interception on Ohio's second play from scrimmage mentioned earlier. So while Jackson threw for over 200 yards and three touchdowns, almost none of it came in a first half that saw precisely one possession achieve a first down. Grade: D

Defense: The Bobcats did not play defense. Grade: INCOMPLETE

Coaching: What Frank Solich was thinking by staying conservative in the first half, even as Troy was running the Bobcats out of the Superdome, is beyond us. During the first two plays of each of the Bobcats' first half possessions, the Bobcats ran on 10 of 13 plays (the final drive of the half was one play long); those 10 rushes resulted in 10 yards and no first downs. Sure, the passing was 1-3 for six yards and an interception, but the message from Solich was clear: he had a formula, and he was sticking to it. It was a very ill-advised message to send, as it put Ohio out of any position to win. Grade: F

Final Grade

It would be unfair to give a failing grade to a game that featured such a well-functioning offense in the first three quarters AND a surprise giant manbeard courtesy of punter Will Goggans (above) in the fourth. There were aspects of the game that were fun to watch, even though the endgame drama had been sucked out of the Superdome by the end of the Trojans' fourth possession. Jerrel Jernigan is going to get a chance to succeed in the NFL, and we hope he makes the most of it; embarrassing the Ohio defense isn't exactly difficult to do, but he was the most athletic player on the field all the same, and some of the moves he made in stride were Sunday-worthy. It's just a shame that between the television audience and the laughably sparse Superdome crowd, probably under 100,000 people actually got to watch him. Still, this game was as anti-climactic as the first two, so we must grade sternly so as to send a message to the rest of the bowls: this will not do. Grade: D-

Posted on: December 19, 2010 12:16 am
Edited on: December 19, 2010 4:11 am
 

PHOTOS: Troy's punter has greatest beard ever

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Let's face it, it takes a "special" kind of person to stay watching a game like the New Orleans Bowl -- a 48-21 thumping by Troy over Ohio -- a couple minutes before midnight on the last Saturday before Christmas. Yet those who stayed with the game were rewarded when Troy punter Will Goggans finally got his shot at uncorking a punt in the fourth quarter (Troy had scored on every single possession before then). Goggans' punt was downed at the 1-yard line, which was cool to see in and of itself, but HOLY HOLY HOLY THAT BEARD:

According to announcers, Goggans has been growing the beard for the entire year in preparation for his role in a play as Santa Claus. Well, that's as good a reason as any to grow a beard. They also mentioned that Goggans would be shaving the beard in a few days after the play is done, and perhaps the women in his life would prefer he do so, but we must strenuously disagree with that decision. That's the finest beard in college football. He makes Adrian Clayborn look like an 8th grader with a crustache. May the beard live forever.


 
 
 
 
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