Tag:Tom Fornelli
Posted on: January 25, 2012 11:27 am
 

The Big 12 still looking to expand

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Maybe you thought conferences were done expanding after all the movement we saw before the 2011 season started. After all, nobody was shuffling the deck during the season. Then on Tuesday it was announced that Navy would be joining the Big East for the 2015 season, and it looks like the dominoes have started falling again.

According to The Chronicle (subscription), the Big 12 is once again considering expanding the conference. While nothing is imminent, two sources told the paper that the Big 12 adding at least one new member is "very possible."

That new member would likely be Louisville, which shouldn't come as much of a surprise. Before it was announced that West Virginia would be joining the conference, there were reports that half the schools were split on which school they wanted to extend an invitation to. Half wanted West Virginia, half wanted Louisville.

An expansion committee plans to put together a report for the Big 12's Board of Directors next week. Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione, Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds, Oklahoma State president Burns Hargis, and Kansas State president Kirk Schulz make up the committee. 

“I don’t want to send the message, ‘Oh, they’re getting ready to expand,’” Castiglione told The Chronicle. “But you’d be naïve to think there’s not instability still in our business.

“From a transition standpoint, we’re in position now to deal with the reality of our world. We’re going to make some evaluations and reach the best conclusion that helps us stabilize our long-term future.”

The conference seems willing to stay at 11 teams, much like the Big Ten did for years, if it adds Louisville, but if the return of a Big 12 championship game is the ultimate goal, it will have to add a twelfth school. As for which school that would be, BYU is being mentioned as a possibility again. Cincinnati has also been mentioned as an option in the past as well.

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Posted on: January 24, 2012 11:51 am
 

Mack Brown to get a contract extension

Posted by Tom Fornelli

If you were still holding onto those "Mack Brown to retire" rumors that seem to pop up just about every year, well, sorry to crush your dreams.

The Austin American-Statesman is reporting that Texas is about to give Mack Brown a four year extension. That would extend Brown's contract through the 2020 season. 

The extension will also give Brown a $100,000 raise every year. He currently makes $5.2 million a year at Texas.

Now whether or not this extension will actually end the retirement rumors that seem to pop up every December and January as the recruiting season approaches its end, I doubt it. They first began popping up when Will Muschamp was named the "head coach in waiting," and even though Muschamp is no longer waiting to be a head coach, and at a different school entirely, I doubt the rumors will come to an end.

Of course, you can also wonder if Mack Brown will still be coaching at Texas by the time this deal ends. Not just because he's 60-years old, but because his Longhorns are 13-12 in the last two seasons. If that trend continues, retirement or not, I don't think Brown will be at Texas too much longer.

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Posted on: January 22, 2012 12:25 pm
Edited on: January 22, 2012 4:43 pm
 

The Big 12 responds to Paterno's death

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Though Joe Paterno spent his entire coaching career at Penn State, his impact on the world of college football is one that has been felt all over the country. After all, Penn State didn't begin playing in the Big Ten until 1990.

That impact includes the Big 12 conference, where Paterno's presence was felt all over. Former Nebraska head coach and current athletic director Tom Osborne, who spent his coaching career at Nebraska as a member of the Big 8 and Big 12, released a statement about Paterno on Sunday.

"I am saddened to hear the news of Joe Paterno’s passing," said Osborne. "Joe was a genuinely good person. Whenever you recruited or played against Joe you knew how he operated and that he always stood for the right things. Of course, his longevity over time and his impact on college football is remarkable. Anybody who knew Joe feels badly about the circumstances. I suspect the emotional turmoil of the last few weeks might have played into it. We offer our condolences to his family and wish them the very best." 

Current Texas Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville released a statement as well.

"When you think of college football and its tradition, you can't help but picture those dark glasses, black shoes and plain uniforms that were his style and mark on Penn State University," said Tuberville. "I have had the great fortune to coach against Coach Paterno four times during my career and each time I came away from those contests with a greater understanding of the game of football. A true highlight of my career, has been a 30-year relationship with Coach and his wife Sue.

"Like many coaches, I grew up watching and learning from one of the greatest tutors and mentors of the game. I am deeply saddened to learn of his passing and wish to extend my condolences to Sue and the rest of the Paterno family." 

"I've known Coach Paterno since I started coaching," said Texas head coach Mack Brown in a statement. "Sally and I built a great relationship with him and Sue over the last 10 to 15 years, and we shared many great times. I know our lives are better because we had the opportunity to spend time with them. He was a gift to us, and when we heard the sad news today, we both openly wept, not only because college football lost a great man, but we lost a great friend. I appreciate all of the advice, the attention and the time he's given us over the years. We will miss him dearly and will always cherish the wonderful memories. College football will be left with a major void because he has done so much for our game and for Penn State. It's a very sad day, and with his passing, we have lost one of the greatest coaches our game, and all sports, will ever have. He leaves us with great stories, memories and records that may never be broken. There will never be another Joe Paterno. Our thoughts and prayers are with Sue and the family."

Even former President and Texas resident George H.W. Bush knew Paterno, as the Penn State coach was one of the men who seconded Bush's presidential nomination at the 1988 Republican National Convention. 

"I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Joe Paterno," the former president said in a statement released Sunday. "He was an outstanding American who was respected not only on the field of play but in life generally — and he was, without a doubt, a true icon in the world of sports. I was proud that he was a friend of mine. Barbara and I send our condolences to his devoted wife Suzanne and to his wonderful family."

During Paterno's long career as a head coach at Penn State, he faced teams currently in the Big 12 in nine different bowl games -- including four of his first five -- going 7-2. In his tenure as the head coach at Penn State, the ten schools currently in the Big 12 hired 88 new head coaches -- 86 coaches total as Bill Snyder was hired twice at Kansas State, and Don Fambrough was hired twice at Kansas --whether interim or permanent.

For more reaction from State College, follow CBSSports.com's Penn State RapidReports.

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Posted on: January 22, 2012 11:30 am
Edited on: January 22, 2012 4:58 pm
 

Joe Paterno's former players respond

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The death of Joe Paterno on Sunday morning is one that will be felt across the entire college football landscape, but nowhere moreso than at Penn State where he spent his career building the school's program into a national program. With the news of his passing on Sunday morning, there was plenty of reaction across college football, with former players, coaches and many others talking about the legacy Paterno leaves behind.

"We grieve for the loss of Joe Paterno, a great man who made us a greater university," said Penn State president Rodney Erickson in a release. "His dedication to ensuring his players were successful both on the field and in life is legendary and his commitment to education is unmatched in college football. His life, work and generosity will be remembered always. The University plans to honor him for his many contributions and to remember his remarkable life and legacy. We are all deeply saddened." 

Some of Paterno's former players took to Twitter to express their thoughts on Sunday morning.

"Heaven hired THE best coach ever. #RIP #JoePa #WEARE" - Penn State quarterback Paul Jones

"Rest In Peace Coach. You have been my idol. You are a one of a kind man. Words cannot express all my feelings. Love you Coach." - former Penn State receiver Graham Zug

"No one wanted this news this morning.. #RIP Joe.. I'm praying I'll be able to touch lives like u did. #LongLiveTheKing" - Penn State running back Silas Redd

"#RIPJoePaterno Nothing but love and gratitude! #legendsNEVERdie" - former Penn State linebacker Nate Stupar

"R.I.P Joe..thank you for helping shape me into man I am today..will always be missed.." - former Penn State defensive back Justin King

"At a loss for words-Thankful for the impact he had on my life-Blessed to call him a friend and mentor-Joe is and always will be Penn State!" - former Penn State defensive back Adam Taliaferro

"Thank You Joe 4 taking a chance on me & helping to make me into the man I am today. i will never forget the lessons i learned from u #WeAre" - former Penn State linebacker Aaron Maybin

"At a loss for words... One of the most influential men in our nations history. By his passing PSU nations grows even stronger. Love you Joe." - former Penn State receiver Jordan Norwood
"The GREATEST... The Legend.. My Coach.. My friend.. You've meant so much to me and millions of others.. You will live on in my heart." - former Penn State quarterback Daryll Clark

"We should not be discourage by his death but encouraged by his life...it would be a blessing to impact others the way he did R.I.P Coach" - defensive tackle Devon Still

Many from the world of the NFL also responded to news of Paterno's death on Sunday.

Follow CBSSports.com's Penn State rapid reporter Jim Rodenbush for further updates out of Happy Valley.

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Posted on: January 20, 2012 5:48 pm
 

Miami getting Ramon Buchanan back

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Al Golden and Miami got some good news about the Hurricanes defense in 2012 on Friday. It was announced that senior linebacker Ramon Buchanan had been granted a medical hardship waiver, and will be allowed to play for one more season. 

Buchanan played the first four games of the season for the Hurricanes before suffering a knee injury that ended his season against Bethune-Cookman on October 1st. Before the injury Buchanan had made 18 tackles, 2 for a loss, and had also blocked a kick.

In his career Buchanan has started 15 of the 39 games he's played in, making 106 tackles with 13.5 for a loss.

Miami was prepared to move into 2012 with only 6 starters returning on a defense that allowed only 20.1 points per game in 2011, good enough to rank the Hurricanes 18th in the country in that stat. With Buchanan joining the fray it should help Miami's chances of maintaining that success on defense, which it will need to do considering only 4 starters will be returning on offense.

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Posted on: January 20, 2012 12:24 pm
 

Big 12 and Big East in limbo waiting on WVU

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Eight months from now West Virginia may be playing as a member of the Big 12 conference, or it may still be a member of the Big East. Right now, we don't really know, and if you ask West Virginia's athletic director, Oliver Luck, he's not going to be of much help.

"I can't help much," Luck told The Charleston Gazette when asked. "I'm sworn to secrecy ... I'm not going to comment. My silence is all I can offer." 

This is because the situation is currently being handled by the courts. West Virginia would like to leave, but the Big East is holding the school to its contract, and until some type of settlement is reached, both the Big 12 and Big East remain in limbo. Which is causing headaches for both conferences, as The Oklahoman's Berry Tramel went over earlier this week when discussing the Big 12's scheduling problem. While Tramel's focus was on the Big 12, the Big East is facing similar problems with its schools not knowing whether West Virginia will still be on their schedules or not.

In both the Charleston Gazette story and Tramel's story, the prevailing theory is that whether the case is settled or not -- and I'd put money on it not being -- West Virginia is going to jump to the Big 12 in time for the next school year and then just suffer the consequences of that decision. Consequences that could end up costing the school quite a bit of money.

This is because even if there was a decision made in the courts on the case, the "losing" side would appeal the decision, and that appeal could take another couple of years to be settled. Another couple of years West Virginia isn't likely to sit around waiting for a decision on.

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Posted on: January 19, 2012 5:56 pm
 

Kansas won't release Berglund from scholarship

Posted by Tom Fornelli

On Monday Kansas announced that it had dismissed 6 players from the team, including backup quarterback Brock Berglund. On Tuesday Berglund told the Lawrence Journal-World that he found out about his dismissal on Twitter, along with the rest of the world.

Now we find out that while Berglund has been dismissed from the team by Charlie Weis, the new head coach in Lawrence isn't making things easy for Berglund, as he is yet to release him from his scholarship.

This is an excerpt from the release written up by Berglund's attorney and sent to members of the media on Thursday.
Colorado Springs, CO. January 19, 2012 — The University of Kansas (KU) football program has a new coach, Charlie Weis, and several high-profile transfers from other programs. Fortunately for KU, schools such as Notre Dame, BYU and Oklahoma have released incoming KU transfers, quarterback Dayne Crist, quarterback Jake Heaps and receiver Justin McCay, from their respective commitments to those programs.

Unfortunately for Brock Berglund, KU, however, has refused to extend the same courtesy.

Berglund, a freshman, was heavily recruited out of high school, and accepted a scholarship to KU in 2010, primarily because of the bond formed between him and then-coach Turner Gill during the recruiting process. Gill assured Berglund that his quarterbacking skill set was a perfect fit for the KU offense, and that he expected Berglund to compete for the starter's role right away. However, KU terminated Gill and his staff at the end of the season, and hired Charlie Weis as its head coach.

Shortly thereafter, Weis successfully landed his high-profile transfers -- all of whom he had previously recruited out of high school when he was head coach at Notre Dame. In December, 2011, Berglund was informed during a short conversation with new quarterbacks coach Ron Powlus that Crist, the Irish's former starting quarterback, would start for the KU football team in 2012, and that Berglund was only competing for the backup quarterback position. Given the change in coaching staffs and offensive philosophies, and the abrupt demotion, in December 2011, Berglund requested permission from KU to enable him to speak with other Division I-A football programs about a possible transfer.
Until Berglund is released from his scholarship he cannot speak to other Division 1-A schools about a transfer without Kansas permission. This despite the fact that Kansas and Weis have already dismissed him from the team.

So, to recap, Charlie Weis came to Kansas and brought his own quarterbacks with him. Then, after dismissing Berglund from the team -- a decision in itself that I have no problem with -- he refuses to release him from his scholarship.

So Berglund can't play for Weis or anybody else. Such a nice guy, that Charlie Weis.

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Posted on: January 18, 2012 11:46 pm
 

Report: Brent Venables is going to Clemson

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Finally it seems that one of the strangest coaching searches I've ever seen involving an assistant coach has come to an end. After a night of speculation that saw people reporting that Brent Venables was doing everything but running for President, it's now being reported that Venables has indeed accepted the defensive coordinator position at Clemson.

And I think it's serious this time.

The Oklahoman's Travis Haney tweeted, along with others, that Venables had confirmed to him that he's leaving Oklahoma for Clemson. 

Which should be good news for a Clemson defense that can use a tune-up. The Tigers allowed 70 points to West Virginia in the Orange Bowl and gave up 29.3 points per game during the 2011 season. Since joining Bob Stoops' staff at Oklahoma in 1999 as a co-defensive coordinator, Venables' defenses in Norman have routinely been some of the best in the country, churning out NFL players and keeping the Sooners in title contention year after year.

If he can bring that same kind of success to Clemson and the Tigers combine it with their potent offense, the school could become quite a force in the ACC.

As for why Venables would suddenly leave Oklahoma after spending the last 12 years there, it all started when Mike Stoops was brought back to the Sooners from Arizona. Rather than share defensive coordinator duties with Stoops, Venables decided he'd rather start somewhere new. He'd also been mentioned as a candidate at West Virginia since the announcement of Stoops' return.

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