Posted on: January 17, 2012 6:30 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2012 6:33 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Wisconsin continues to shore up its coaching losses from the departure of Paul Chryst to Pittsburgh and various other hirings, and on Tuesday the Badgers announced that Northern Illinois offensive coordinator Matt Canada had agreed to become Wisconsin's offensive coordinator.
"Matt has a terrific history as an offensive coordinator and has excelled at developing quarterbacks throughout his career," Bielema said in a statement. "I know he is very excited about running a pro-style offense and handling a game the way we typically have at Wisconsin. I think this is a great hire for us and I can't wait for him to get to work with our coaches and players."
Canada was only one year into his second stint as NIU's offensive coordinator; he had been rising through the ranks at Indiana from 2004-2010, starting as quarterbacks coach and finishing as offensive coordinator, before Kevin Wilson came to Bloomington and cleaned house. Canada coached Kellen Lewis and Ben Chappell at quarterback for the Hoosiers, and both were highly productive in their times under center: Lewis was a first-team All-Big Ten QB before his career derailed, and Chappell holds Indiana single-season records in every major passing category.
Fortunately for Northern Illinois, Canada was able to put together a dynamite offense in his first year back, as the Huskies went 11-3, won the MAC Championship, won the GoDaddy.com Bowl 38-20 over Arkansas State, and scored over 42 points per game in the process. NIU quarterback Chandler Harnish was named the MAC offensive MVP in 2011, and his numbers backed it up: he threw for 2,942 yards, 26 TDs, and only five interceptions on 219-348 passing (good enough for the 15th-best passing efficiency in the nation), and he rushed for 1,382 yards and 11 TDs on 185 carries (leading all FBS quarterbacks) to back it up.
That kind of overall quarterback production doesn't come out of a pro-style offense, of course (but don't start hyperventilating just yet, Badger fans). Check out this video of the different ways Harnish used his quarterback, and how many different formations NIU used in the process. There's even a John Moxon Oop-De-Oop formation in there.
That's some serious offensive creativity, and completely outside the bounds of how Wisconsin has made hay for the last 15+ years as a rushing powerhouse. But fear not: as Bielema mentioned in his statement, Wisconsin will stay with a pro-style offense. Bielema's no fool. Really, he's not.
It'll be interesting to see, then, what details of Canada's style of offense survives the assimilation into the Bucky Borg. Surely Bielema wouldn't have hired an offensive coordinator he's coached against in eight games in one way or another (twice when Canada was at NIU, six times with him at Indiana) if he wasn't interested in that coach's offensive acumen in some significant respect. Until we find out what that entails, though, opposing defensive coordinators may feel free to peruse the offensive performances of Canada offenses, and if the color starts draining from the DCs' faces in the process, well, that's to be expected.
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Posted on: January 3, 2011 3:24 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
It's not just the Alabamas and Ohio States of the world who have to deal with early departures for the greener grass of the NFL, unfortunately for teams like Indiana, who despite their 5-7 record appear to be losing second-leading receiver Tandon Doss. According to this report from the Indiana student paper, Doss has already informed new Hoosier head coach Kevin Wilson that he will enter the draft and not return for his senior season in Bloomington.
One the one hand, it's a surprise almost by definition for a player with the label "Indiana's second-leading receiver" to be declaring early; Indiana's never been a hotbed of draftable talent, and Doss's statistics -- 63 receptions, 706 yards, 7 touchdowns -- are nice but don't exactly scream "NFL-ready receiving prospect." On top of that, Wilson's Oklahoma offenses were consistently some of the most explosive in the country, and even without departed senior quarterback Ben Chappell, Doss might have found himself riding the updrafts from a suddenly-buzzworthy Hooiser attack next season.
But on the other: without Chappell and with Wilson learning the ropes as a head coach, there's nothing guaranteed for anyone on the Hooiser offense, particularly not a receiver battling the likes of current No. 1 Damarlo Belcher and rising big-play threat Duwyce Wilson for catches. Doss should be able to turn at least a few pro heads, too, as a 6'3", 200-pound target with hands enough to collect 140 receptions the last two years. He may be entirely correct that another year in Bloomington won't do a thing for his draft stock, while it's always possible an injury or crater year for the offense lowers it past the point of being drafted.
Indiana fans won't be happy. But Doss has as many reasons for going as for staying, and it's hard to blame any prospect in that situation from trying to earn a paycheck as quickly as possible.
Posted on: November 7, 2010 2:32 am
Edited on: November 7, 2010 2:58 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
1. Michigan doesn't do "boring." The game of the week, beyond any doubt, was Michigan's 67-65 squeaker over Illinois. The game featured 132 points scored, 1237 yards from scrimmage, 58 first downs, and 60:00 total time of possession. Okay, so the last one is normal.
Down the stretch, Michigan was led by Tate Forcier under center, as Denard Robinson was knocked out of a game once again. Forcier effectively reprised his role of "4th quarter dynamo" from 2009, proving yet again the rare value of an experienced backup quarterback. Forcier is clearly not Denard, but the fact remains that Forcier is good enough that he should be spelling Robinson periodically throughout Michigan's game regardless of Robinson's health. Michigan has two starting-quality quarterbacks, and as Robinson's accumulation of minor injuries demonstrates, they clearly need to use them! It's just up to Rich Rodriguez to use both on his own terms, rather than waiting for Robinson to get knocked out of the game first.
Thus, the only game that Michigan has participated in that didn't result in at least 50 total points was its season-opening 30-10 win over Connecticut; since then, whenever Michigan takes the gridiron, the points fly; on average, a Michigan game features almost 73 points per game. In fact, after today's circus act, Michigan leads the Big Ten in both points per game and points allowed per game. Is it "good football"? Lord, no. Is it exciting? Of course. If that's the role Michigan is destined to play under Rich Rodriguez, it's certainly a step down for the Wolverines, but it's not necessarily worse for the conference as a whole.
2. The road is awful hard. It don't take no guff. No. 9 Wisconsin went on the road to Purdue and trailed until the second half. No. 16 Iowa went to Indiana and needed a horrific dropped touchdown on 4th down (more on this later) to escape with an 18-13 win. Northwestern blew a 21-0 lead at Happy Valley, Minnesota got smacked by Michigan State, and Illinois couldn't win in Ann Arbor even after scoring 65 points.
All of which is to say, winning on the road in the Big Ten is still really difficult. It's something to keep in mind when prognosticating the Rose Bowl berth endgame. Regardless of how good the four teams at the top of the conference are, odds are that at least one (and probably more) will go down on the road yet this season, and we shouldn't be surprised when it happens.
3. Nothing's really changed at the top. Michigan State, Wisconsin, and Iowa all won, and we're still waiting on a score from Ohio State and Brigham Young East (we assume that's what BYE stands for). The tiebreakers remain exactly the same, then, with the only difference being that there is now one fewer game for the first three teams mentioned to lose. With a finite -- and indeed, extremely limited -- amount of games to play, the passage of one week without a dropoff from the top four is in and of itself important, even if the stipulations and situations themselves don't change. Perhaps this isn't something to "have learned," per se , but for the top of the conference, the maintenance of the status quo is still meaningful.
4. Penn State's offense might actually exist. When Northwestern went up 21-0 on a sensational Drake Dunsmore* touchdown late in the first half, it would have been perfectly logical to assume that the Penn State offensive attack, led by former walk-on Matt McGloin, didn't have much of a shot to make up the deficit. After all, it would have tied the largest deficit a Joe Paterno-coached Penn State team had ever made up in his previous 399 victories, and that's a lot of victories.
But of course, Penn State did exactly that, scoring the final 35 points of the game to win 35-21. McGloin poured in four touchdown passes, but the real heroes were on PSU's oft-maligned offensive line; the front five paved enough holes to let both Evan Royster and Silas Redd top 100 rushing yards on the day, and McGloin's 225 passing yards simply wouldn't have happened if he had faced the pressure that regular starter Rob Bolden has become used to in this, his freshman season. Imagine that: when given time and space to operate, a previous all-conference honoree once again looked like an all-conference player, and a walk-on quarterback was able to execute to the best of his ability.
5. One quiet moment for Damario Belcher. We mentioned this play in passing earlier, but it's worth mentioning in more detail; with less than 30 seconds on the clock and the Hoosiers facing a 4th and 10 at the Iowa 18, Indiana QB Ben Chappell found wideout Damario Belcher open in the middle of the end zone. Belcher, already the team's leading receiver on the game with seven catches for 50 yards, made an athletic move to catch the ball with nobody on him and got both hands on it, leading most in the stadium to assume Indiana had scored the putative winning touchdown.
Alas, as an eagle-eyed referee (and several optimistic Iowa players) noticed, Belcher bobbled the pass and never controlled it before the ball hit the ground and rolled away ineffectually, making the play nothing more than a drive-killing incomplete pass. Indiana challenged, but it was an easy confirmation for replay officials; it clearly was not a catch. Iowa knelt on the ball, and just like that, Indiana lost on a play Belcher makes probably 90-95% of the time.
Again, this isn't strictly something to learn, but it's something important to remember: Belcher's a human being, and he doesn't need anybody to remind him that he screwed the game-winning play up. There's likely nobody in the world -- like, at all -- who feels worse about the loss than he does. So to anybody who finds it necessary to complain that Belcher "sucks" or is "stupid" or "needs to get his damn head in the game" or whatever arbitrary derogatory remark they think applies to Belcher, one piece of advice: save it. Just don't add to the crapfest that guy's season already became, and strike a note for civility instead. Granted, Indiana football fans aren't generally known to be nasty or otherwise unreasonable to begin with or anything, but still: let's all keep our heads screwed on about this game and this 20-year-old kid playing it.
*Did you know: Drake Dunsmore is a second-generation college football player. His father is Pat Dunsmore, a star tight end who was drafted in the fourth round by the Chicago Bears in 1983 and played two seasons with the team. And where did Pat Dunsmore go to school? Yep: Drake University.
Tags: Ben Chappell, Big Ten, Chicago Bears, Damario Belcher, Denard Robinson, Drake, Drake Dunsmore, Drake Dunsmore Catch, Drake Dunsmore Video, Evan Royster, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Joe Paterno, Joe Paterno 400 Wins, Matt McGloin, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State, Pat Dunsmore, Penn State, Purdue, Rich Rodriguez, Silas Redd, Tate Forcier, What I Learned, Wisconsin
Posted on: November 6, 2010 1:48 pm
Edited on: November 6, 2010 1:56 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Something is rotten in the state of Indiana, and it's the play of conference leaders on the road. Wisconsin currently trails Purdue 10-6 at the half, and Iowa is tied with Indiana at 6-6.
Purdue has been completely unconcerned with testing Wisconsin's defense deep in the first half, using quick, short throws to move the chains and relying on Dan Dierking to get key first downs. Quarterback Sean Robinson has been surprisingly competent, and he's got a great rapport with Antavian Edison at wideout. Edison caught the only touchdown of the game thus far on a 23-yard catch-and-run, and has five catches for 54 yards on the day; he's the game's leading receiver after two quarters.
[UPDATE, 1:55 p.m.: Wisconsin intercepted Robinson and returned it deep into Purdue territory on the first drive of the second half. After converting a 4th and 1, Wisconsin scored a touchdown and now leads 13-10.]
Meanwhile, the Iowa-Indiana game has been marked by long drives, but no touchdowns; most of the field goals in this game have come in the red zone. In fact, Iowa would be leading 9-6, but kicker Michael Meyer missed a chip shot from 21 yards out late in the first half. Ben Chappell and Ricky Stanzi have each thrown costly interceptions, and each team should feel like it should be leading here in Bloomington.
Posted on: October 8, 2010 4:40 pm
Posted by the College Football Blog Staff
Every season, every month, every week, there are several outcomes and achievements that, frankly, nobody operating within reason would ever predict. Who could have predicted Nebraska would beat Florida for the 1995 title by 38 points, or that Boise State would pull off three late trick plays to knock off Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, or that Les Miles wouldn't be the coach that screwed up the endgame the worst during Tennessee-LSU? Nobody... until now. We're going to try capture that lightning in a bottle by making similarly absurd predictions every week. Are they at all likely to come true? No. Do we even believe the words we're writing? No. But if we make even one correct call on these, we will never stop gloating. Ever.
Utah punishes every single "win-go-up, lose-go-down" poll voter by dropping their night game at Iowa State, 31-20. The previously comatose Cyclone defense comes to life against the Utes, sacking Jordan Wynn four times and picking him off twice. The exasperated Utah coach, Kyle Whittingham, will blame the pollsters for Utah's upset loss, saying "I wasn't the one telling my guys they were the tenth best team in the [censored] nation." -- Adam Jacobi
Washington State slows down and upsets Oregon in Martin Stadium, claiming their first conference win with a 24-0 victory over the Ducks. The shutout will be thanks to the defense who, despite starting the day ranked 118th in the nation in yards allowed per game (509.8), shut down the best offense in nation by simply putting 11 linebackers on the field at all times. -- Chip Patterson
Michigan's defense actually shows up to play on Saturday, allowing Denard Robinson to see even more snaps behind center. The end result is a 600-yard performance from Robinson as the Wolverines coast to a surprisingly easy 42-17 victory over Michigan State, giving Denard an even firmer grasp on the Heisman Trophy. -- Tom Fornelli
Michigan and Michigan State's defenses completely shut each other down in a 3-2 Spartan victory in the Big House. Denard Robinson attempts to run 18 times, but is only held to 14 yards. Braylon Edwards gets behind the wheel and drives the Spartans back to East Lansing, hitting every bar on the way. At 73 mph. -- Chip Patterson
A week after having a huge day in a losing effort against Michigan, Indiana's Ben Chappell does even more damage in the Horseshoe. Chappell picks the Ohio State secondary apart for 520 yards and 5 touchdowns. Terrelle Pryor's leg injury reappears and the Buckeyes offense has absolutely no answer. The Hoosiers shock the world, picking up what would be considered the biggest win in the program's history. Final score: Indiana 45, Ohio State 31. -- Tom Fornelli
Oregon pours it on hapless Washington State for the full 60 minutes and becomes the first I-A team to hit the century mark since Houston beat Tulsa 100-6 in 1968. LaMichael James reclaims the top spot in Heisman consideration with 532 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns. Oregon cruises, 113-0. -- Adam Jacobi
The game between LSU and Florida is an all-time epic performance that will be talked about 50 years from now. The game goes back and forth as the offenses take turns destroying the defenses, and the defenses respond in kind. Finally, in the fourth quarter Jordan Jefferson takes the field with LSU down 24-20 and two minutes left on the clock. He has yet to throw an interception as the Tigers begin their drive. They enter get inside the Florida 20-yard line as the clock goes under the minute mark. Les Miles stands on the sidelines with no worries in the world. Amazingly, he still has all three of his timeouts left. He uses them well, and Gary Crowton calls the perfect plays as Jefferson hits Terrence Toliver for the game winning touchdown with 12 seconds left. LSU wins 27-24. -- Tom Fornelli
In a scene reminiscent of the realistic football documentary Varsity Blues, the Texas Tech players rise up in mutiny against head coach Tommy Tuberville at halftime as they trail Baylor 21-3. Red Raiders QB Taylor Potts makes one call on his cell phone, and five minutes into the third quarter, Mike Leach parachutes onto the field, delighting the Cotton Bowl crowd. Leach, seeing no sheds present at the game, has WR Adam James locked in a bathroom stall for the rest of the game. Leach re-installs the spread, Baylor's defense is overmatched, and the Red Raiders prevail 34-31. -- Adam Jacobi
South Carolina upsets Alabama 28-24 after Mark Ingram has his 5th fumble of the game on the goal line in the final seconds. Trent Richardson, who had 250 yards rushing in the game, erupts with rage that he did not get a chance to win the game himself. In the locker room, things get heated. Our own Tom Fornelli emerges from Richardson's locker and pins Ingram's arms behind his back, allowing Richardson to head-butt Ingram and knock the Heisman Trophy winner to the ground. Alabama coach Nick Saban suspends Ingram for the confrontation, claiming "the kid showed no fight." -- Chip Patterson
Tags: Adam James, Alabama, Baylor, Ben Chappell, Braylon Edwards, Denard Robinson, Florida, Gary Crowton, Houston, Indiana, Insane Predictions, Iowa State, Jordan Jefferson, Jordan Wynn, Kyle Whittingham, LaMichael James, Les Miles, LSU, Mark Ingram, Michigan, Michigan State, Mike Leach, Nick Saban, Ohio State, Oregon, South Carolina, Taylor Potts, Terrelle Pryor, Terrence Toliver, Texas Tech, Tommy Tuberville, Trent Richardson, Tulsa, Utah, Washington State
Posted on: October 8, 2010 3:19 pm
Edited on: October 8, 2010 5:15 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
The Saturday Meal Plan is a helpful guide put together for you to maximize the results of your college football diet. Just enough to leave you feeling full, but not so much you spend your entire Sunday in the bathroom.
BreakfastMain Course - #2 Ohio State vs. Indiana - Noon - ESPN
You know what the real problem is with the ACC and Big East being so awful/mediocre this year? It really leaves the early menu of games leaving a lot to be desired. I mean, I have Ohio State and Indiana as the morning's best option.
Think about that for a second. Ohio State and Indiana. A game which hasn't seen the Hoosiers get within more than 19 points of the Buckeyes in every meeting since 2002 -- though the teams didn't meet in 2007 or 2008. The good news for Indiana is that the 19-point loss came last season, with Ben Chappell at quarterback.
The Hoosiers offense has been very impressive this season, but the Buckeyes will be by far their biggest test six weeks into the year. Considering that we can't be sure just how healthy Terrelle Pryor is, and the struggles the Buckeyes had in Champaign last week, this game could prove to be more interesting than you'd think.
Side Orders: Should that game go the blowout route, your other options Saturday morning would be the ACC fare of North Carolina State and Boston College. One is a team looking to rebound from its first loss, the other is a team that is having its three quarterbacks pick a number between 1-10 to see who gets to start. If you prefer something else, you can watch Georgia and Tennessee fight to see which school's season is more far gone than the other. It's a must win for Mark Richt, because a loss to Tennessee at home would only send him to the hospital with third-degree burns on his backside.
LunchMain Course - #19 South Carolina vs #1 Alabama - 3:30pm - CBS
If there's one thing I think we can all be certain at this point of the college football season it's that Alabama is the best team in the country. There's a bit of a gap between them and Ohio State and Oregon, but after the Ducks, things drop off quite a bit. That being said, going in to Columbia to take on the Gamecocks shouldn't be a cakewalk for the Tide.
What I think will be the key to this one is if Marcus Lattimore can do anything against the Alabama defense. While the Alabama defense is barely giving up nine points a game, they are allowing an average of 101 yards per game on the ground.
Though even if the Gamecocks do get a ground game going, they still have to stop Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson, which no one has done to this point ('Bama is averaging 230 yards a game rushing). Considering the Gamecocks allow 128.3 yards a contest on the ground, I'm not sure they're up for the challenge either.
Side Orders: Listen, if people are taking this Michigan/Michigan State game so seriously that they're willing to die in order to see it, maybe you can take a few hours of your Saturday and do the same. There is never a bad time to watch Denard Robinson play football, as he is without question the most dangerous one-man show in the sport right now. If that's not good enough for you, check out Arkansas and Texas A&M. One team has a quarterback who lives up to the hype, and the other has a quarterback who lives up to the hype on one series and then proceeds to get that hype lodged in his throat, suffocating himself and his team. See if you can tell which one is which.
DinnerMain Course - #14 Florida vs. #12 LSU - 7:30pm - ESPN
This game will be interesting for plenty of reasons, but perhaps none more so than the battles between the fans in the seats. Watch as LSU and Florida fans argue about which team's offensive coordinator is going to drive some student to the top of the nearest bell tower with a sniper rifle sooner. Then watch the other fan base tell them that if their offensive coordinator climbed up that same tower he'd only manage to fall out before getting a single shot off.
Then watch both fan bases fall into each other's arms in tears, unified in despair. Then they'd smile when both agreeing that if it were Les Miles atop that tower, he'd kill 40 people before going to trial and being found not guilty on some technicality.
Side Orders: Though the rivalry between Florida State and Miami has lost some of its luster the last few years, the fact is both teams come into this game ranked and looking to stay on top of their respective divisions in the ACC. Or you can watch Stanford try to run its win streak over USC to three games in Palo Alto as Ed Orgeron yells incoherently from home thanks to that staph infection in his leg.
Late Night SnackThe Washington Huskies look to build on any momentum they picked up by beating USC on the road last week against an Arizona State team that couldn't headbutt its way to a victory against Oregon State.
Tags: Alabama, Arizona State, Arkansas, Ben Chappell, Boston College, Denard Robinson, Ed Orgeron, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Indiana, Les Miles, LSU, Marcus Lattimore, Mark Ingram, Mark Richt, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina State, Ohio State, Oregon State, Saturday Meal Plan, South Carolina, Stanford, Tennessee, Terrelle Pryor, Texas A&M, Trent Richardson, USC, Washington
Posted on: October 2, 2010 7:23 pm
Edited on: October 2, 2010 8:39 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Denard Robinson is proving to be pretty adept at having monster games and leading game-winning drives. After setting a Michigan school-record with 502 yards of total offense against Notre Dame last month, launching his name into the Heisman discussion, Robinson made sure he'll still be on top of everybody's list this week as well.
Robinson had another monster game against Indiana, throwing for 277 yards and rushing for another 218 , but it came down to another last minute drive. After Indiana's Ben Chappell connected with Darius Willis for a 19-yard touchdown to tie the game 35-35 with 1:15 to play, Robinson came back out onto the field and did his thing.
There's never been any question about Robinson's legs and speed, but people wonder if he has the arm to be a big time college quarterback. Maybe Robinson's 42-yard pass to Junior Hemingway to give Michigan a first and goal at the four with 21 seconds left will finally convince them he can throw. Fittingly, Robinson would keep the ball to himself on the next snap and score the game-winning touchdown -- his fifth of the day.
There aren't enough superlatives to describe the Denard Robinson we've seen through the first five weeks of the college football season. The kid is amazing and just a joy to watch.
Just give him the Heisman now.