Posted on: January 14, 2011 2:31 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
When Stanford hired David Shaw yesterday to replace Jim Harbaugh as the Cardinal head coach, we wrote that while Shaw's many positives no doubt outweight the negatives, selecting him over fellow Cardinal assistants Greg Roman and Vic Fangio dramatically increased the likelihood that one or both would follow Harbaugh onto the San Francisco 49ers' payroll.
And unfortunately for Shaw and the Cardinal, we've already gone past the point of "likelihoods" and onto "certainties." Where Roman is concerned, the Mercury News is reporting it's a done deal , with only an announcement from the Niners left to make it official. That news has been confirmed by the San Francisco Chronicle , who have added that a team source with the Niners believes Fangio "is the guy" where Harbaugh's defensive coordinator position is concerned. The only thing standing in the way, they report, is the hammering out of Fangio's contract.
Assuming Fangio (at right) does indeed join Harbaugh and Roman by the bay, the next question becomes: how badly does this damage the Cardinal's run at a Pac-12 championship (or more) in 2011?
Neither's departure qualifies as a surprise -- both have spent most of their coaching careers in the NFL and only came to Stanford at Harbaugh's request -- but with the coaching carousel starting to slow its spin, mid-January isn't the best time to go looking for both a new offensive and defensive coordinator. Roman and Fangio will leave behind some big shoes for Shaw to fill, too; while Shaw held the official title of "offensive coordinator," Roman (the "assistant head coach for offense") by all accounts had a great deal of input into the offensive game-planning, and Fangio only turned in one of the best defensive coordinating jobs in the country this season.
Finding coaches of their caliber at this late date is going to be quite the first test of Shaw's head coaching aptitude. Their departures won't be enough to slow down the freight train of hype that will carry the Cardinal into 2011 -- Andrew Luck will see to that all by his lonesome -- and as long as Shaw isn't a disaster, Stanford should have enough momentum to challenge for league honors regardless. But they won't help the Cardinal handle those expectations, certainly, and maintaining the foundation laid by Harbaugh beyond 2011 just got much more difficult.
Posted on: January 12, 2011 3:17 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
The Pac-10 goes 2-2 in its four -- yes, just four -- bowl games. Wrapping up:
1. Oregon still has to prove it can outfox teams outside the conference. For all of Chip Kelly's undeniable brilliance at the Oregon helm, the last three times the Ducks have stepped out of conference to face quality defensive opposition -- and frankly, we're being generous by even including Auburn in that discussion -- they've scored 8, 17, and 19 points (against Boise State, Ohio State, and the Tigers, respectively). Those totals are a far, far cry from the Ginsu job the Ducks have performed on the Pac-10 the past two seasons, and they beg the question: what kind of kryptonite do defensive coordinators outside the league have that those inside it don't?
To be fair, it may be a simple matter of preparation; all three of the above teams had far longer than the typical work week to watch film and prep for the Duck tempo. And the torrent of TV-dictated stoppages in bowl games didn't do anything to help Oregon's attempts to wear down the Buckeyes or Tigers from a stamina standpoint. But the root of Oregon's problems in these games doesn't have anything to do with either of those issues; it's that they've simply been destroyed at the line of scrimmage. Whether it's Boise's Ryan Winterswyk, OSU's Cameron Heyward, or now Nick Fairley, the Ducks have had no answer for the elite linemen on the other side of the ball.
No one will argue that the Duck offensive linemen aren't well-coached, athletic, quality players. They've been good enough to win two Pac-10 titles and 22 games in two years. But to take the next step and win Oregon's first national title, Kelly may have to find a way to upgrade his offensive front all the same.
2. If they can keep the staff intact, Stanford's not going anywhere. Or at least, not far. No one will argue that Jim Harbaugh wasn't the driving force behind the Cardinal's unfathomable rise to 12-1 and beyond-impressive 40-12 demolition of Virginia Tech (remember that despite their short-week loss to James Madison, the Hokies had ripped through an improved ACC without even being seriously challenged), but that doesn't mean he was the only force. Andrew Luck will return in 2011 as the hands-down, no-debate best quarterback in the nation. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman has already drawn head coaching interest and has learned directly under Harbaugh the past three seasons. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio just finished overseeing the biggest single-season defensive improvement in the conference, if not the countr. And Harbaugh's recruiting prowess means the cupboard should remain well-stocked for the next few years.
2010 may be the high-water mark for the program all the same. But if both Roman and Fangio are retained -- and it seems likely they will be, if one or the other is named head coach -- don't expect much of a drop-off in the near future, even with Harbaugh in San Francisco. The team on display at the Orange Bowl was clearly constructed well enough to withstand the loss of a single pillar, even if it happened to be the biggest one.
3. Arizona doesn't really "do" that whole bowl game scene, man. The Wildcats' appeared to have taken an important step forward during the 2009 regular season, coming within one overtime loss against the Ducks of a Rose Bowl berth. But then they took a big one back with a 33-0 shellacking at the hands of Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl. This year, Mike Stoops needed a solid performance in the Alamo Bowl to wash out the taste of the 'Cats' season-ending four-game losing streak, and instead his team laid another colossal egg, meekly succumbing to Oklahoma State 36-10.
With victories or even respectable performances in those two bowls, Stoops would still have his team firmly established as one of the "up-and-comers" in the Pac-10. As is, 2011 isn't a make-or-break year for Stoops just yet ... but another iffy regular season followed by a third bowl faceplent would mean 2012 certainly would be.
4. Washington had a winning season. OK, that's not really something we "learned" as much as something that simply happened, but it's as close as we'll get since we're not sure there really was anything to learn from the Huskies' 19-7 win over Nebraska in this year's edition of the Holiday Bowl. Certainly it was a thrill for Jake Locker and the other Husky seniors to go out with a win, and after a disappointing year for coordinator Nick Holt's defense, holding the Huskers to a measly 7 points -- after giving up 56 to them in Seattle during the regular season -- will provide some optimism for next year. But with the Huskers visibly unfocused and unmotivated for a bowl game they'd played the year before against a team they'd already flattened during the regular season (and Taylor Martinez still not 100 percent), it's questionable how much an accomplishment the win really is. And with the face-of-the-program Locker departed, it's equally questionable how similar next year's Huskies will look to this year's.
So: it's a nice story for Washington. But it doesn't tells us much, if anything, about the Huskies going forward.
Tags: ACC, Alamo Bowl, Andrew Luck, Auburn, Boise State, Cameron Heyward, Chip Kelly, Greg Roman, Holiday Bowl, Jake Locker, James Madison, Jim Harbaugh, Nebraska, Nick Fairley, Nick Holt, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Orange Bowl, Oregon, Pac-10, Rose Bowl, Ryan Winterswyk, Stanford, Taylor Martinez, Vic Fangio, Virginia Tech, Washington, Washington, What I Learned, What I Learned Bowl Edition
Posted on: January 10, 2011 6:32 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2011 6:34 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
One of the hottest names in college football, and one of the top choices for Stanford's next coach, is not going to be relocating before the 2011 season. Boise State head coach Chris Petersen announced Monday that he will be staying with the Broncos to "continue directing the football program." Petersen's name pops up on the radar of most major job openings, as different school's have hoped to win the coach with the allure of a big-time program.
Many believed that the school with the best chance to do that was Stanford, with the Cardinal looking to replace head coach Jim Harbaugh - now with the San Francisco 49ers. The Orange Bowl champions have a strong core returning in 2011, led by Heisman runner-up Andrew Luck. But Petersen is returning to his own Heisman finalist, Kellen Moore, and the Broncos will focus on competing for a National Championship again in 2011.
Boise State also announced that Indiana offensive coordinator Brent Pease would return to become the new offensive coordinator, and quarterback coach Ron Prince would move over to coach the wide receivers and serve as the pass game coordinator. Now, with a full coaching staff, the Broncos will go into tonight's National Championship evening ready to begin plans to make their own run in 2011. Pease returns to the Broncos after being hired away as Indiana's offensive coordinator just weeks ago. Pease, wide receivers coach at the time, accepted the promotion to OC when he moved to Indiana, but quickly answered when Boise State called him back to fill in for Bryan Harsin, who departed to join Mack Brown's staff at Texas.
Posted on: January 10, 2011 11:28 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
While Florida may be getting Janoris Jenkins back for another season, another SEC cornerback, who many consider to be the best in the country, won't be following the same path. At a press conference on Monday afternoon, LSU cornerback and return specialist Patrick Peterson will make the announcement that he won't be coming back to Baton Rouge for his senior season, but will be entering the NFL Draft.
"I have to make the decision that's best for me," said Peterson. "It was a pleasure the years I was here. When that decision comes down, I believe they (LSU fans) will still be Patrick Peterson fans."
It's a smart decision for Peterson to make. Now that Andrew Luck has decided to stay at Stanford for another season, Peterson's draft stock has only risen. Our own Rob Rang envisions the Carolina Panthers taking him with the first overall pick. Just about every mock draft you'll see has Peterson going in the top five.
Peterson had 42 tackles, 10 passes defended, and four interceptions for LSU this season. He also returned two punts for touchdowns.
Posted on: January 9, 2011 12:46 am
Edited on: January 9, 2011 12:58 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
After losing Jim Harbaugh to the NFL on Friday, Stanford has the enviable task of finding a new head coach. It's enviable because for the first time in almost 40 years,* an open Stanford head coaching position is actually desirable on account of the team coming off a major bowl victory. Buoyed with this success, Stanford is able to reach out to big names early in the process, and as Yahoo! Sports reports, Stanford has contacted Boise State head coach Chris Petersen.
Now, hiring a Boise State head coach isn't necessarily a guarantor of future success; look at what happened to Dan Hawkins down at Colorado , after all. Nonetheless, this report would seem to indicate that Chris Petersen is Stanford's first choice, and there's nothing athletic directors like to do more at hiring announcements than stand up there and proclaim that they "got their guy."
Of course, it also helps that Andrew Luck is returning for his junior season, which should definitely ease the new coach's transition to Palo Alto. One could argue that this decision by Luck will be a bigger factor than the head coaching hire for Stanford's short-term success, in fact.
Now, if Stanford can't bring in Petersen or any other "big" name for whatever reason, fans shouldn't be quick to be disappointed. As the San Francisco Chronicle reminds, Stanford AD Bob Bowlsby has made two football hires at the I-A level: Kirk Ferentz at Iowa after the 1998 season, and Harbaugh at Stanford in late 2006. Neither coach had any I-A head coaching experience; Ferentz was 12-21 in three years with the Maine Black Bears, while Harbaugh was 29-6 at San Diego (a school in the non-scholarship I-AA Pioneer League). Both hires have, to say the least, succeeded.
*In 1971, John Ralston led Stanford to its second consecutive Rose Bowl (a 13-12 win over then-undefeated Michigan , incidentally), then jumped to the NFL to coach the Denver Broncos. His successor -- Jack Christiansen -- didn't fare exceptionally well, going 30-22 in five seasons and never reaching a bowl before being fired, but he at least had a winning record in every season and paved the way for legendary coach Bill Walsh to take over. So if history repeats itself, it's not as if disaster lurks for the Cardinal in the coming years. Disappointment, yes, but not disaster.
Tags: Andrew Luck, Bill Walsh, Bob Bowlsby, Boise State, Chris Petersen, Chris Petersen Stanford, Colorado, Dan Hawkins, Iowa, Jack Christiansen, Jim Harbaugh, John Ralston, Kirk Ferentz, Maine, Pac-10, San Diego, Stanford, Stanford Coaching Candidates, Stanford Coaching Rumors, Stanford Coaching Search, WAC
Posted on: January 7, 2011 11:46 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
In the flood of departures for the NFL Draft yesterday, featuring such luminaries as Ryan Mallett, Mark Ingram, and not Andrew Luck, there was one early entrant that seemed to be unjustly overlooked: Florida cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who multiple reports stated would be declaring in the near future.
Jenkins doesn't have a whole lot in the way of stats -- three interceptions, a handful of tackles-for-loss, some mostly nondescript punt returns -- but being named first-team All-SEC by the AP reflects how dominant Jenkins was in man-to-man coverage, moreso than any other player in the conference that wasn't Patrick Peterson. (That the SEC's coaches selected South Carolina's wobbly Stephon Gilmore over Jenkins for first-team honors is maybe the worst case of preseason-accolade inertia we've seen that hasn't involved Adrian Clayborn.)
The consensus on Jenkins is that he'll go in the first round, possibly in the top 10 or 15 picks , and given the premium on top-level cover corners on the next level (as wel las the college one), that makes sense. Maybe he's not Ingram or Mallett in terms of star power, but there's a chance Jenkins could outshine both in the league.
Posted on: January 6, 2011 10:44 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2011 10:46 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
Stanford quickly became an early favorite for 2011 with Andrew Luck's announcement that he will be returning to school next fall. You can go ahead and add Oklahoma to that list of early favorites with wide receiver Ryan Broyles also announcing his return for 2011.
"Personally, I know I can mature as a person and a player and get myself better prepared for the NFL," he said in his official release. "I want to win more championships and break every record possible as a receiver. I'm fortunate to have the players around me who can help me achieve those goals."
Broyles finished the regular season as the nation's leader in receptions per game, and third in receiving yards per game. With Landry Jones still under center, there isn't any reason to believe they can't repeat some of that success again next year. Also, Broyles' announcement came one day after linebacker Travis Lewis announced he would return to Norman for his senior season to win a championship.
Bob Stoops' team was frequently overlooked as a contender in 2010, because of road losses to Missouri and Texas A&M. But with a Big 12 Championship and Fiesta Bowl title under their belt, next year's squad is focused on reclaiming the top spot in college football.
Posted on: January 6, 2011 8:23 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
If this whole football career thing doesn't work out for Barry Sanders Jr, maybe he can give being a college football reporter a try. Yesterday the high school running back and son of Barry Sanders broke the news that Alabama running back Mark Ingram was going to enter the NFL draft. Sanders said he was told this by Nick Saban on a recent recruiting visit.
Now, not even 24 hours later, the news has broken that Ingram is in fact going to leave Alabama, and he won't be alone when he does so. He'll be joined by defensive end Marcell Dareus.
Now Alabama fans must sit around and wait for Julio Jones to make his decision. Most people seem to think Jones will follow his teammates to the NFL, but if Andrew Luck is willing to go back to school, I'm not taking anything for granted.