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Tag:ACC
Posted on: December 22, 2011 10:17 am
Edited on: December 22, 2011 11:55 am
 

West Virginia without starting DB for Orange Bowl

Posted by Chip Patterson

West Virginia faces arguably one of their toughest defensive assignments of the season with the high-powered Clemson Tigers awaiting them in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 4. Locking down wide receivers like DeAndre Hopkins and ACC Freshman of the Year Sammy Watkins will be much more difficult for Jeff Casteel's unit without junior safety Terence Garvin.

Head coach Dana Holgorsen said Wednesday that Garvin, the Mountaineers third-leading tackler in 2011, underwent season-ending knee surgery to repair an injury he suffered on Dec. 1 in the 30-27 win at South Florida. Garvin suffered damaged cartilage in his knee, and is expected to miss spring practice as well while undergoing the six-month rehabilitation process.

The responsibility of replacing Garvin - who recorded 72 tackles, 3.5 sacks, an interception and an additional pick-six in 11 games of action - will likely redshirt freshman Wes Tonkery, along with Shaw Petteway and Matt Moro. Holgorsen has not made any decisions at this time, and states the starting position is "up for grabs."

For all the latest updates on West Virginia and Clemson until kickoff, check out our Orange Bowl Pregame

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Posted on: December 21, 2011 1:23 pm
Edited on: December 21, 2011 1:53 pm
 

Everett Withers: 'I'm headed to Ohio State'

Posted by Chip Patterson

After ongoing speculation regarding both Everett Withers' future and the makeup of Urban Meyer's new staff at Ohio State, North Carolina's interim head coach confirmed he will be in Columbus for the 2012 season.

Withers was a guest on The David Glenn Show (listen to audio here) on Wednesday, and confirmed that being a head coach was a goal of his for "at least seven or eight years." But Withers appeared to have no trouble putting that goal on hold for the moment considering the opportunities in Columbus.

"At this present time I'm headed to Ohio State to be the assistant head coach and co-defensive coordinator," Withers confirmed. "For obvious reasons, to have the opportunity to work on a staff with Coach [Urban] Meyer and to learn and grow with him and what he's starting at Ohio State. It's a great opportunity, a great challenge for me, and I'm looking forward to it."

Withers took over in Chapel Hill after Butch Davis was dismissed just days before the opening of 2011 training camp, and led the Tar Heels to a 7-5 regular season record. As the interim head coach, Withers was a candidate for the full-time head coaching position. Athletic director Bubba Cunningham interviewed the Tar Heels' former defensive coordinator, but eventually hired Southern Miss head coach Larry Fedora as the next head coach.

Withers will coach the Tar Heels in the Independence Bowl against Missouri on Dec. 26. As interim head coach, Withers stressed the importance of this team's fourth-straight postseason trip and the opportunity for the school's second-straight bowl victory. The Tar Heels have not won back-to-back bowl games since the 1997-1998 seasons, during the transition from Mack Brown to Carl Torbush.

Withers' is expected to share the defensive coordinator duties with Ohio State's current interim head coach, Luke Fickell. Fickell was given the opportunity to stay on staff by Urban Meyer, though he has interviewed for the open head coaching position at Pittsburgh. Withers has had numerous stops as a defensive assistant before arriving in Chapel Hill, notably including stints with Texas and the Tennessee Titans of the NFL.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. | Preview
Posted on: December 20, 2011 6:19 pm
Edited on: December 21, 2011 11:52 am
 

After eligibility scare, UNC WR cleared for bowl

Posted by Chip Patterson

UPDATE: North Carolina learned on Wednesday that Dwight Jones has been cleared to play in the Independence Bowl by the NCAA.


North Carolina's preparations to face Missouri in the Independence Bowl may include a situation that does not involve leading receiver Dwight Jones.

The school declared the senior wide receiver ineligible for the Dec. 26 bowl game after Jones allowed his name and image to be used to promote a New Years Eve party (flyer pictured right) in Burlington, N.C. - Jones' hometown.

NCAA rules prohibit athletes from allowing their name or image to be used to promote off-campus events by for-profit businesses. The popular Burlington nightclub using Jones' image and promoting him as a "2012 NFL projected top draft pick" for the party that includes 24 free shots on the hour "compliments of D.Jones" caused the All-ACC wide receiver to commit a secondary violation. Jones has canceled the party, and the process to regain eligibility began with his official statement on Tuesday.

"I apologize to my teammates, the coaching staff, and the university for the poor decision I made to allow my likeness to be used in the promotion of a party given by a family member while still a part of the Carolina football team," Jones said in a prepared statement. "I should have asked the coaching staff or administration before allowing this to happen."

The school has applied to the NCAA for Jones' reinstatement, and they expect to hear an answer before the team will departs for Shreveport on Thursday.

"Coach [Everett] Withers and I met, and Dwight realizes he made a mistake," UNC athletics director Bubba Cunningham said in a prepared statement. "Dwight has cancelled the party and we have submitted a reinstatement request with the NCAA."

Jones was one of the premiere wide receivers in the ACC this season, pulling in 79 passes for 1,119 yards and 11 touchdowns. He is listed as the No. 9 wide receiver in the 2012 draft class according to NFLDraftScout.com.

Get all the latest updates on Missouri and North Carolina at our Independence Bowl Pregame

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Posted on: December 20, 2011 2:27 am
 

Southern Miss hires So. Car. DC Ellis Johnson

Posted by Adam Jacobi

After losing head coach Larry Fedora to the North Carolina job, Southern Miss needed to find a new face to head its football program. It has apparently found that new head coach in South Carolina defensive coordinator/assistant head coach Ellis Johnson.

Johnson, who is three days away from his 60th birthday, has reportedly accepted an offer from USM after interviewing with school president Martha Saunders on Monday night, according to the Clarion-Ledger, and is expected to accept the job as early as Tuesday. Johnson has a brief history with Southern Miss, as he was the defensive coordinator there in 1988 and 1989. 

The South Carolina defense ranked in the Top 15 nationally in total defense in three of Johnson's four years in Columbia, and this year was the Gamecocks' best of the four. South Carolina ranked second nationally in pass efficiency defense this season, and fourth nationally (behind three other SEC teams, of course).

Prior to his time at South Carolina, Johnson spent time at various teams in the SEC and elsewhere in the southeastern U.S, including a four-year stint as Alabama's defensive coordinator from 1997 to 2000. Johnson was the head coach at the Citadel, his alma mater, from 2001-03; he managed a 12-22 record there before taking a job as Mississippi State's defensive coordinator in 2004.

No announcements of an impending hire have been made by Southern Miss, and no reports have surface about any contract terms that Johnson may have agreed to, but the "two sources with direct knowledge of the search" at USM that the Clarion-Ledger cited have indicated that the hire is a done deal.

CBSSports.com will provide more informaton when it becomes available.



Check out all the latest updates on this and every other FBS coaching search from this year at CBSSports.com's Coaching Carousel.

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Posted on: December 19, 2011 6:52 pm
 

Independence Bowl Key Matchup



Posted by Chip Patterson


A look at the key matchup that could decide the Independence Bowl

James Franklin, QB, Missouri vs. North Carolina's defensive front

Ever since Missouri lost running back Henry Josey to a season-ending knee injury, most of the offensive success has been based around what sophomore quarterback James Franklin can create. De'Vion Moore has seen an increased workload at running back and Kendial Lawrence has added three strong performances since the Big 12's leading rusher saw his season ended by the "one in a million" injury.

The good news for Missouri is that Franklin has stepped up in Josey's absence, leading the Tigers to three straight wins to close the regular season. Because of Franklin's rushing ability, the Tigers' offense has not become one-dimensional after the loss of their leading rusher. However, North Carolina's defensive front presents one of Franklin's toughest challenges on the season.

The Tar Heels' front seven is anchored by Quinton Coples, Tydreke Powell, and linebacker Zach Brown. All three received All-ACC honors or mention, and all three are seniors who have earned the interest of NFL scouts. North Carolina ranks No. 2 in the ACC and 14th nationally in rushing defense, allowing just 106.2 yards per game. They were one of the only teams to hold both Miami's Lamar Miller and Virginia Tech's David Wilson under 100 yards rushing this season, and have only allowed nine rushing touchdowns on the year.

But despite the impressive statistics, the defense has suffered lapses at times this season and struggled to get off the field when they needed a big stop. There will likely several occasions in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport where Missouri needs to convert a third down and it will be Franklin against the Tar Heels. Containing the Tigers' star quarterback is the only way North Carolina can hope to give Gio Bernard, Bryn Renner and the Tar Heels' offense a chance to find a rhythm against Missouri's stout D.

Check out all the latest updates on Missouri and North Carolina right up until kickoff at the Independence Bowl Pregame

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Posted on: December 19, 2011 4:47 pm
Edited on: December 19, 2011 4:50 pm
 

Keys to the Game: Independence Bowl

Posted by Chip Patterson

MISSOURI WILL WIN IF: They can limit turnovers on offense and prevent the big play on defense. Sophomore quarterback James Franklin's performance in the regular season finale against Kansas showed both the best and worst of Missouri's offense sans Henry Josey (knee). The worst came early in the game, with Franklin tossing three interceptions in the first 18 minutes of play and the Tigers' offense only producing one scoring drive - which resulted in a field goal. The best came in the second half, with Franklin wearing down the Kansas defense and taking advantage of their weaknesses by creating big plays on the way to a 24-10 win.

North Carolina is much stronger than Kansas, and three first half interceptions may not be something the Tigers can expect to bounce back from in the Independence Bowl. As long as Franklin is smart with the ball and avoids turnovers, he can keep taking his shots through the air and on the ground until he eventually hits the big play. Defensively the Tigers are much better than their numbers suggest, especially when you consider the competition. Still, even the best defense can be broken down by someone like North Carolina wide receivers Dwight Jones, Erik Highsmith, or Jheranie Boyd. Running back Gio Bernard will likely see a heavy load on the ground as well, and the Tigers must keep the shifty freshman from breaking outside and hitting the sidelines.

NORTH CAROLINA WILL WIN IF: The front seven can contain and pressure Missouri quarterback James Franklin. Ever since Henry Josey's season-ending knee injury, much of Missouri's offense has been based around Franklin creating plays. Luckily for the Tigers the sophomore signal caller not only can extend the play with his legs, but take off and make defenders miss in the open field. In the first game without Josey - the Big 12's leading rusher at the time of his injury - Franklin rushed for a career high 152 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries while still adding 172 yards and two touchdowns through the air. North Carolina's front seven is filled with NFL-caliber talent. However, there have been several games this season where it seems the defensive line and linebackers have not lived up to that NFL-caliber hype. With the nationally televised bowl game, it would be in the best interest of these pro prospects to delver their best performance of the season in this game. If Quinton Coples, Tydreke Powell, Zach Brown, and the rest of the front seven are able to contain and frustrate James Franklin, they will benefit their own draft stock and give the Tar Heels a much better chance to win their second-straight bowl game. A win-win scenario for the NFL-hopefuls.

X-FACTOR: Who Wants It More? Missouri certainly enters the game with a momentum advantage, winning four of their final five games while North Carolina lost four of their last six. Missouri picked up the invite after being over by the bowls with a Big 12 tie-in, not a surprise considering the Tigers' upcoming departure for the SEC. It will be the last game for interim head coach Everett Withers, who has already confirmed he's not staying with the Tar Heels "in any capacity" under new head coach Larry Fedora. So with Missouri in between conferences and North Carolina in between coaches, the team that can find the motivation for the moment will have an advantage on Dec. 26 in Shreveport.

That kind of advantage will likely be necessary in a bowl game that has been decided by seven points or less five of the last six years, with Georgia's 44-20 win against Texas A&M in 2009 being the only exception. Regardless of the expectations heading into the game, that matchup has always been close in recent years. Maybe it is the mystic atmosphere of Shreveport, or Independence Stadium - where the game has been played every year since the bowl's creation in 1976 - but advantages in X's and O's seem to matter much less in this game. For either team to get win No. 8 in 2011, they will need an extra dose of "Want" on Dec. 26.

Check out all the latest updates on Missouri and North Carolina right up until kickoff at the Independence Bowl Pregame

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Posted on: December 19, 2011 3:18 pm
Edited on: December 19, 2011 3:22 pm
 

Keys to the Game: Champs Sports Bowl

Posted by Tom Fornelli

NOTRE DAME WILL WIN IF: The Irish offense will face their toughest test of the year in the Florida State defense in this game. The Seminoles finished the year sixth in the nation in total defense and actually gave up less yards per carry (2.32) than any other defense in the country, including Alabama and LSU. Which isn't good news for a Notre Dame defense that will be without Jonas Gray (791 yards, 12 TDs) in this game. This means that if Notre Dame is going to find success on offense, it will likely come through the air. The Seminoles aren't bad in that area either, as they're 32nd in the nation in defensive pass efficiency. Of course, as has usually been the case with the Irish this season, the most important part of this game will be whether or not they can take care of the ball. Turnovers have killed the Irish throughout the season, and against a defense this good, Tommy Rees and the rest of the Irish offense cannot afford to give the ball away.

FLORIDA STATE WILL WIN IF: Assuming the Florida State defense can do a good job of keeping the Irish offense in check, then there's reason to believe the Seminoles can find enough success on offense to pick up a win here. The Florida State offense hasn't been prolific this season, but against a Notre Dame defense that is good but not great, the opportunities to put points on the board will be there. E.J. Manuel hasn't been great throwing the ball this season, but he's had some solid games and this could be a chance for another one. The Notre Dame defense may be allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete less than 60% of their passes in 2011, but it's also only picked off 8 passes while allowing 21 passing touchdowns on the year. And with Florida State's running game being a bit anemic this season and Notre Dame being pretty solid against the run, the passing game will be the way the Seminoles want to go.

X-FACTOR: Andrew Hendrix. Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly has already named Tommy Rees his starting quarterback for the bowl game, but that doesn't mean he's going to take all the snaps. Hendrix saw a lot of playing time over the final few weeks of the season, and considering that Kelly seems to feel that Hendrix is his quarterback of the future, I'd expect him to get quite a bit of playing time in this one as well. He brings a new dimension to the Notre Dame offense because unlike Rees, Hendrix can beat you with his legs. So it will be interesting to see how much Hendrix plays and how the Irish utilize him.

You can check out our extensive preview of the Champs Sports Bowl here
Posted on: December 19, 2011 2:40 am
 

Pittsburgh holds interviews with Fickell, Chryst

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Pittsburgh may not have a head coach to replace Todd Graham yet, but if two recent confirmed interviews are any indication, the Panthers are looking for a Big Ten influence as they transition from the Big East to the ACC.

According to the Columbus Dispatch on Sunday, Ohio State head coach Luke Fickell confirmed that he has interviewed with Pittsburgh in recent days, but that he has not been offered the Pitt job.

Fickell said that regardless of whether he goes to Pittsburgh, he will coach the Buckeyes in their January 2 Gator Bowl matchup against Florida before ceding the program to Urban Meyer. If Fickell does not take another job elsewhere -- he has not interviewed with any other programs -- he will take a spot on Meyer's defensive staff, though the formal title has not been announced.

Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst has also been mentioned as a candidate for some relatively high-profile head coaching gigs, including Kansas and Illinois, and Pitt has shown enough interest in Chryst to bring him in for an interview as well. As the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports, Chryst is ready to be a head coach, but he's not ready to talk about the Pittsburgh job:

Asked if he would talk about the Pittsburgh job, Chryst politely declined to comment.

Chryst, in his sixth season as UW's offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach, has acknowledged he feels prepared to run a program.

UW athletic director Barry Alvarez has recommended Chryst to Pittsburgh officials.

A source reiterated Sunday that although Chryst is ready to be a head coach he would prefer to stay in the Midwest and will leave UW only for a perfect fit.

Still, even though Pitt has interviewed coaches from Ohio State and Wisconsin, it's every bit as possible that it goes in an entirely different direction when it comes time for the final hire. Some reports are emerging that Pitt's top candidate is actually Mario Cristobal of Florida International (whom CBSSports.com's Bruce Feldman has endorsed as a possibility for the Penn State head coaching role). Cristobal has already interviewed with Pitt as well, and the Journal-Sentinel report on Chryst also indicated that Cristobal was offered the Pitt job on Sunday. Cristobal will lead his 8-4 Golden Panthers to their second straight (and second ever) bowl game with a game against Marshall in the Beef O'Brady's Bowl on Tuesday.

Still, Pittsburgh is adamant that any reports of job offers are premature, as the athletic department released this statement on Sunday afternoon: “Contrary to Internet reports, the Pitt football head coaching position has not been offered to anyone, nor have any decisions on an offer been made. The search is still an ongoing process.”



To keep up with the Pittsburgh job search and all the other coaching hires of this offseason, check out CBSSports.com's Coaching Carousel Tracker.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. | Preview 

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