Posted on: January 9, 2012 7:09 pm
Edited on: January 9, 2012 7:11 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- The annual American Football Coaches Association convention is going on in Texas this week and usually coincides with the BCS National Championship game. Normally the weekend offers a chance to hang out with other coaches, make a few hires, exchange a few cards and knock back a beer at the bar after a long, long season.
Such is the case again this year, with plenty of head coaches, assistants, graduate assistants and high school coaches gathering along the Riverwalk. Usually there's a buzz about the only game left, the sport's ultimate prize, but with two SEC teams in the game there's a noticable lack of interest from some coaches. Things picked up a little on Monday as kickoff drew near but there's wasn't a lot of breaking down the game over lunch as there normally was at the convention. That doesn't mean we let some of the coaches off the hook so CBSSports.com asked a few people their thoughts about the game between Alabama and LSU.
"The last two years the BCS games have been great and I can't imagine the championship game this year," Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema, fresh off of a Rose Bowl appearance, said. "I don't have a tie to either one of those schools but it will definitely be a good football game. Hopefully I'll get to watch some."
One SEC assistant, who played LSU this season and asked not to be identified, felt the game would come down to whoever controlled the line of scrimmage.
"The secondaries for both teams are so fast and so good, if the quarterbacks don't have time to throw it will be 9-6 or whatever again," he said. "Both sides will try and establish the run game first and take their chances with some big plays."
New Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin has yet to play in the SEC so he gave quite the diplomatic answer when asked about the matchup.
"I'm the new guy in the league, I can't give any predictions," Sumlin said with a laugh. "We play these guys next year so I'm not giving any predictions.
"This game could go either way. It was 9-6 and Alabama missed four field goals, you could be talking about a whole different ball game. I think you're going to see a more wide open football game. The quarterbacks have had more practice and coaches, with a lot of time, become more creative. That game was played pretty close to the vest in the middle of the year and I think tonight you're going to see a more wide open style of offense, from both teams."
The general consensus? It's going be a good, close game between two heavyweight SEC squads.
Posted on: January 10, 2011 11:49 am
Edited on: January 10, 2011 11:50 am
Posted by Bryan Fischer
DALLAS, Tex. – I’m in Dallas for the annual American Football Coaches Association Convention this week. One of the biggest draws of the convention is to network with other coaches and in some cases actually receive a job offer from a recently hired head coach.
It’s pretty obvious when you walk into the conference actually, as four large job boards are plastered with resumes. As assistants jockey for offers and shake hands in the hallway, one often forgotten aspect of switching jobs is the kids they were recruiting.
After months and months of developing a relationship andgetting pitched on attending a particular school, it can sometimes be quite jarring to 18 year olds to no longer have a coach to play for. With the majority of coaching changes occurring within a month of signing day, recruits and their families are often scrambling to schedule other official visits and talk with coaches.
At the Army All-American Bowl on Saturday, former Michigan commitment Demetrius Hart chose Alabama. Hart had committed to Michigan in October but opened things up when Rich Rodriguez was fired as head coach of the Wolverines. As an early enrollee, the coaching change had an even greater impact on his commitment.
“I’ve always liked Alabama,” he said. “But a lot of things came up with the coaching change at Michigan and me trying to get into school early. I didn’t know what coaches were going to be there. I would have been in a situation where I didn’t really know anybody. I had a good relationship (with the staff) and was going to come in early but with them leaving, Alabama was always a place I wanted to go.”
Former Miami commit Teddy Bridgewater had a longtime relationship with former Hurricane coach Randy Shannon. One of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the country, Bridgewater was originally the jewel in the Hurricanes’ class and a special bond with Shannon played an enormous role in first choosing Miami. Without a coach in place, he decommitted about a week after Shannon was fired and eventually committed to Louisville.
“I’ve known Coach Shannon since I was a child,” Bridgewater said. “I played Pop Warner football in Arch Park and he’s an alum of Scott Park, that’s my rival park growing up. He used to come out to the games and the practices. We just grew a relationship over the years.
“For him to just be fired, it hit me hard. I was expecting to play for him. But that’s just the business part of college football.”
As hires are made and the coaching carousel turns this week, it’s worth remembering that sometimes it’s the kids who are impacted the most.