Tag:Jeremy Foley
Posted on: April 20, 2011 1:09 pm
 

Fiesta Bowl's fate could be known in May

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The Fiesta Bowl has been in the news a lot recently, and for all the wrong reasons. A report was released last month that showed that the bowl had been reimbursing employees for political contributions, which is a violation of election laws and the bowl games non-profit status. The CEO of the Fiesta Bowl, John Junker, was fired following the story for overseeing everything that had taken place, along with some questionable spending habits.

Since then the BCS has put together a seven-member panel to do it's own investigation of the Fiesta Bowl and figure out what is to be done with the game in the future. More specifically, whether or not the Fiesta Bowl will remain a member of the BCS, or if it will be replaced by another bowl game, possibly the Cotton Bowl.

Well, according to Penn State president Graham Spanier, who is the head of the BCS' committee, we may not have to wait all that long to find out. In an interview with the AP on Tuesday, Spanier said that hopes we know the fate of the Fiesta Bowl by mid-May.

"We do not expect to have this drawn out very long," Spanier told the AP. "There's a lot at stake for everyone. It's in everyone's interest to move this discussion along quickly."

The committee will have the final say in the fate of the Fiesta Bowl. Aside from Spanier, the committee also includes Northern Illinois President John Peters, Big East Commissioner John Marinatto, Sun Belt Commissioner Wright Waters, and athletic directors Jeremy Foley of Florida, Bob Bowlsby of Stanford and Richard Giannani of Southern Mississippi.

Posted on: December 15, 2010 12:53 pm
 

UF to become Alabama-Gainesville under Muschamp?

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Will Muschamp had the pleasure of working under both head coaches from last year's national championship game, serving as Nick Saban's defensive coordinator at LSU (and again with the Miami Dolphins ) and as Mack Brown's DC and coach-in-(not)-waiting-(any longer) at Texas.

But the early reports on his tenure and yesterday's introductory news conference left no doubt which of those two coaches Muschamp wants to emulate, whose methods he has the greater respect for, whose program he wants to refashion for himself in Gainesville. We'll give you a hint: it's not the guy whose staff he just abandoned.

No, it's Saban who Muschamp appears to be taking his cues from, starting with Muschamp's attempts to pluck away Saban's current Muschamp-in-training, Kirby Smart. As a Saban-trained coordinator himself, Muschamp could have looked to bring in a coach with a different philosophy and blend the two approaches; instead, he appears to be trying to hire a coach who can impart what he -- and the coordinator, if Smart or another Saban disciple is hired -- learned from the master with the minimum amount of confusion (or dissent) possible.

Even more telling is Muschamp's approach to the Gator offense :

 

"We will be a pro-style attack offensively and defensively," said Muschamp, who has agreed to a five-year, $13.5 million contract ...

"I know there's going to be a lot of people who ask what type of style offense are we going to be," Muschamp said. "I think it's important that we have some pro-style systems to what we want to do.

" ... Will there be more pro-style ideas in our offense? There certainly will be. We want to be balanced in what we do."

Muschamp also said he wanted his new offensive coordinator to have NFL experience. Despite the overwhelming success of the spread in the current college game -- both of the offenses in this year's BCS title game will be helmed by spread gurus who, far from being NFL veterans, were a New Hampshire assistant and a high school coach just a few short years ago -- it may be a good time to move towards a pro-style set, as those offenses become rarer and enjoy some of the change-of-pace aspect the spread utilized in the past.

That doesn't mean it'll be easy, however. The current Gators were recruited exclusively for Urban Meyer's/Dan Mullen's spread-option attack, and the offensive staff will have to be completely overhauled. But the Saban-taught philosophy Muschamp is trying to instill requires a run-heavy, clock-killing, two-tight-end-power approach to give the hypothetically-overpowering defense its opportunity win the game (not to mention appeal to NFL-hungry recruits), and so that's what the Gators will do.

These are all good ideas, of course. There's a reason Saban has been as overwhelmingly successful as he's been at every stop of his college career, and even the reasons that go beyond his X's-and-O's or administrative prowess -- his inhuman work rate, his ability to close the deal with recruits, his detail-focused willingness to control every aspect of his program -- are traits that Muschamp would seem to share. There's no reason to blame Jeremy Foley for asking Muschamp to provide a second Crimson Tide in Gator colors, especially since the odds appear so good that Muschamp's going to give it to them.

But what if he doesn't? Part of what has made Florida Florida over the past two decades has been their unorthodox thinking under two coaching mavericks in Steve Spurrier and Meyer. Both of them arrived with offenses derided as effeminate jokes that would never work in the SEC, then departed with national title rings and new Heismans in the school's trophy case. Gator fans have been accustomed not only to winning, but of winning in a uniquely identifiable, Florida-first fashion.

That's not to say they won't accept victories as a kind of SEC East edition of the current Tide; if what we might call Alabama-Gainesville winds up with a championship or two under Muschamp, you could probably sell them officially-licensed UAG t-shirts. But if Muschamp can't deliver the goods, if it turns out Foley hasn't hired the new Saban but only the Nutrasweet facsimile of the real thing, Florida fans may wonder (and wonder quickly, and vocally ) if they shouldn't have found another coach -- like Spurrier, like Meyer -- willing to build the Gators in his own image rather than someone else's.

 

Posted on: December 10, 2010 12:27 pm
 

Urban Meyer is 'not coaching next season'

Posted by Tom Fornelli

When the news came that Urban Meyer was stepping down as head coach at Florida, it was only natural to cast a doubting eye toward the situation.  We had already seen this play before last season when Meyer made the same decision, and then before you knew it, he was back coaching the Gators once again.  So of course there will be plenty of speculation that before next season actually begins, Meyer is going to change his mind once more, and he'll be the head coach next season.

Well, Urban Meyer wants you to know that's not the case.  He was in Tampa on Thursday -- where he had that talk with Jeremy Foley and Jon Gruden -- for the Outback Bowl contract signing party, and as you would expect, the question about his return was asked.  It was a question that Meyer answered, adamantly.

"I'm not coaching next season," said Meyer.

Now cue the "He only said next season!" crowd.  Which, honestly, isn't a crazy position to take.  Personally I doubt that Meyer is done coaching, as it's been such a huge part of his life, and he's still young.  Maybe he's going to take a year or two off to unwind and spend some time with his family, but sooner or later that itch is going to come back, and Urban is going to want to scratch it.

To me the question isn't so much will Meyer come back, but when and where.
Posted on: December 10, 2010 11:56 am
 

Gruden meets with Foley, Meyer

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's time for one of those pieces of news that's more Rorschach Test than hard data: what do you see when you look at Jon Gruden chatting with Urban Meyer and Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley at an Outback Bowl function?

Do you see ...

-- Foley and Meyer making a straightforward power play for one of the perenially hottest names on the coaching circuit?

-- Foley following the lead of his peers in the Miami athletic department and gauging Gruden's interest in coming to the college game as a prelude to potentially offering him the Gator job?

-- a discussion between three lifetime football guys about football issues, maybe even issues related to Florida, but without any real expectation that Gruden would be interested in the available coaching position?

-- a brief, cordial chat between three guys who just so happened to be in the same Tampa room at the same time and just so happened to be an available high-profile football coach, a second high-profile coach football who had just resigned, and the athletic director responsible for replacing the latter with someone like the former?

Since we've got absolutely nothing to go on other than the fact that Foley, Meyer, and Gruden happened to be sharing the same space -- a space in which which all three had good reason to be, what with the Gators playing in the Outback and Gruden living in Tampa -- and a few words of conversation, it's more than a little premature to assume Foley was offering Gruden the keys to one of the richest kingdoms in all of college football.

But it also seems unlikely that Foley, who's sworn he's going to conduct an exhaustive search for the Gators' new head coach (despite needing just the one trip to Starkville, really), would be willing to chat up Gruden in a public setting and not at least float the possibility of Gruden's coming to Gainesville.

Whether Gruden would be more receptive to a ready-built program like Florida than he was the Hurricanes, well, that's another thing you might see between the blots and might not. But this much we know: Foley, Meyer, and Gruden have given us something to look at, and until the Gator search narrows or Gruden emphatically states "I'm not going to Florida," there's going to be plenty of staring.

Posted on: December 9, 2010 4:28 pm
 

Fisher says yes, he'll be calling Gator recruits

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The game of recruiting is one where sharks are forever circling any given team's targets and commitments, looking for the one hint of blood that could let them sway a given recruit in a given direction. And seismic news like Urban Meyer's resignation at a recruiting juggernaut like Florida is like tossing those sharks a huge bucket of chum.

This is a given. A coach like Jimbo Fisher at Florida State wouldn't be earning the full amount of his multi-million dollar salary if he didn't at least make a phone call to any Gator recruits who might be inclined to give his Seminoles a closer look given the turmoil in Gainesville. But it's not every day one of the sharks comes right out and admits, as Fisher did at a Chick-Fil-A Bowl press conference today, that yes, he's going to be one of the ones circling (emphasis added):

"I think it will cause at least some delay in [Florida’s] recruiting and what they’re doing and if there’s some battles that we can win from that, OK – so be it. Because that’s part of the business.”

Fisher has gone on record before as deriding those programs who use negative recruiting tactics but, obviously, there’s no way he can’t attempt to use this situation to Florida State’s advantage. Miami is searching for a head coach. Now Florida is, too. And all of a sudden Fisher, not even through his first full season as a head coach, is the most tenured coach among the state’s Big Three.

“They were using the turmoil going on here for all the time to [recruit against us],” Fisher said. “I mean, that’s part of the business … the good thing, we don’t have many guys left to get, know what I mean? There’s six, seven guys or whatever we take or how many it is here at the end.

“It’s not like you’re at the beginning. But it could influence [recruiting] and hopefully it’ll help.”

As Fisher points out, the 2011 recruiting cycle is so far advanced at this stage that there's a limit to how much he and the Gators' other rivals can benefit. But that doesn't mean the 'Noles won't be thrilled if they can get a second shot with Florida commitments like one-time FSU target Nick Waisome, a four-star defensive back from Groveland, Fla., or a better shot with hotly-pursued uncommitted Lake City, Fla. defensive tackle Tim Jernigan.

One player is always just one player, but given how badly the 'Noles embarrassed the Gators in this year's season finale and how well the Seminoles have already recruited this cycle, every recruit that widens the gap between the two programs makes it that much harder for whoever takes over in Gainesville to regain the Gators' dominance of the state. When their rivals aren't even bothering to disguise their intentions of exploiting Meyer's departure for maximum effect, it's obvious how quickly Jeremy Foley will need to find Meyer's replacement ... and how badly he'll need to make the correct choice.

 



 
 
 
 
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